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Gardeners: Gourds, Pumpkins & Melons living together!
Old 08-21-2013, 11:12 AM   #1
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Gardeners: Gourds, Pumpkins & Melons living together!

I know there are some very knowledgeable gardeners out there, so thought I'd try this post here, rather than some garden forum.

I don't garden much any more, tired of fighting deer, bunny and bugs. But this year I did plant things more for ornamental purposes. Put in a bunch of gourd seeds from five of the ones DW bought/saved for fall decos last year. Even though some seem a little rotted, almost all the seeds sprouted and I had to thin down to a few plants of each.

For 'fun', I also planted some cantaloupe seeds from a packet. These also sprouted and grew well.

The vines grew so strong (we've had a lot of rain), they are all intertwined. I see quite a few gourds of different shapes/colors, so that looks good. Some might be from the other gourds we composted, can't tell now. I also saw some big green globes, that are now clearly small pumpkins - these are probably from composting the remains of sugar pumpkins we used for pies.

But I don't see any cantaloupes.

My Question: Would the cantaloupes have cross-pollinated with gourds/pumpkins such that I can't tell them from the others?

I'm kind of surprised to see all the variation in the gourds, I thought those would cross into 'mutts'. And the sugar pumpkins may not be 'true' to the parent, but we will probably just use them for decos.

I also have saved seed from some decorative 'broom corn' (or milo, sorghum?) that DW purchased. That is also doing well. Plus a few sweet pepper and hot pepper seeds from a packet - I planted those direct to soil, and rather late in the year. Plants are small and just forming fruit now, so I may not get anything. Also some small tomatoes from compost - I might get a couple to ripen, but those are wimpy little things. Oh, and I had some green onions going bad in the fridge, I planted those, so am getting some onions too. All very simple stuff.

But the garden looks nice with all those big squash-type leaves and blossoms, and the broom corn. Good output for very little work - leaves are so thick I've done no weeding.

-ERD50
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Old 08-21-2013, 12:45 PM   #2
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You are doing something I want to do...plant more from scraps, found seeds, leftovers, etc. It fascinates me, but I keep forgetting. Between my compost pile and a bag of vegetable pieces I store in the freezer for making vegetable broth, we do not throw the peels and tops and pieces out. But, planting it and watching it grow would be more fun.

Sorry I don't know the answer to your question.

Wish you would post a photo. I would help you look for the cataloupes.
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Old 08-21-2013, 02:43 PM   #3
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Any seeds planted from bought seeds should not cross this season. If you saved seeds assuming it is an open pollinated variety and grew other squashes and gourds that year then yes the fruits may be crossed but I'd think they would look basically true to type.

Example - a few years ago I had butternut squashes that were maturing sizewise and most (30-40) looked tan but a few (3-5) were green, correct shapebut had a bit of a dark stripe sort of like a watermelon. They may have been crossed the prior season though they were purchased seeds.

These type of plants (squashes and gourds) do readily cross so seed saving when planting many different varieties and types close to each other can result in having crossed seed.

ETA: open pollinated plants come true to type BUT hybrid plants will not. There is no way to know when you grow from saved seeds from hybrids what you will get. An orange cherry tomato that's a hybrid could grow patio or medium sized fruits that are orange or red or whatever color and taste can be good to terrible. Volunteer plants should be culled as you have no idea what it is or is from unless all you grow is OP.
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Old 08-21-2013, 03:37 PM   #4
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Any seeds planted from bought seeds should not cross this season. If you saved seeds assuming it is an open pollinated variety and grew other squashes and gourds that year then yes the fruits may be crossed but I'd think they would look basically true to type. ...
That makes sense - I realize now that I knew that, I just didn't think it through. Thanks.

The gourds may be hybrids, those seeds were saved from the plants we bought. But so far we seem to have a good variety of colors and shapes. Maybe I'll save these seeds to see if they lean more towards 'mutts' next year.

Maybe my cantaloupes are just not fruiting, or will come later.

-ERD50
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Old 08-23-2013, 08:03 AM   #5
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Virtually all seeds today, especially from big box stores but even seed companies, are hybrids. If you bought OP seeds they know you won't have to purchase them again, not a good business model! If they are OP they most likely would denote that in a catalog or on the packet.

If you are growing for fall/ Halloween decorations then crosses won't matter but if they are for eating it is not a wise idea to plant seeds from hybrids.

There are many seed companies that offer OP seeds if you want that but OP's can and will cross, peppers are wickly prone to crossing whereas tomatoes not as much and they are from the same family. Results may be ok or not, this is how new varieties are made by home gardeners. Regrowing hybrid seeds is a lot less likely to produce anything as good taste or sizewise as the original.
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Old 08-23-2013, 08:36 AM   #6
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How to Avoid Crossing Similar Varieties of Heirloom Seeds
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Old 08-26-2013, 11:33 PM   #7
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I looked them up on wikipedia. Pumpkins and cantaloupes are both members of the cucumber family but not in the same genus. I think that makes it very unlikely that you will get hybrids between the melons and the other two.

My guess is maybe your growing season isn't long enough for melons to produce fruit from seed sown directly in the garden. They need consistent warm temperatures over a long growing season for that, and in many places that means either buying started plants or starting them yourself indoors before it's warm enough to plant them in the garden. Otherwise you may get lots of leaves and stems, but no cantaloupes.
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Old 08-27-2013, 08:56 PM   #8
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Northern Il. is not too cold to grow melons. Their summers are long enough and warm enough. Maybe if on the lake then that huge body of water could keep temperatures low in the immediate area but from what I have seen Chicago gets plenty hot in summer so I doubt that would be an issue, not that the OP is in Chicago.

While I doubt that cukes, melons and squashes would cross with each other I know that squashes can cross with other squashes, gourds with other gourds and I'm sure cukes with other cukes. It's an issue if you save seeds to plant the following year not in the current growing season.
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:16 PM   #9
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Virtually all seeds today, especially from big box stores but even seed companies, are hybrids. If you bought OP seeds they know you won't have to purchase them again, not a good business model! If they are OP they most likely would denote that in a catalog or on the packet.
There are still some vegetables which are usually OP. Ones that come to mind are beans, peas, & lettuce.

OTOH, I will not grow heirloom tomatoes again. I tried them and I got lots of foliage and hardly any tomatoes. Good hybrid tomato varieties bred for home gardeners taste great and are far more productive, at least for me. Unfortunately, seed companies aren't producing a couple of my favorite hybrid tomato varieties anymore.
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:01 PM   #10
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Do you remember the variety names? Too much foliage is usually a sign of too much Nitrogen, tomatoes don't need a lot of fertilizing or watering. Keep in mind not all OPs are good! Many are lousy and they can be unpredictable but no fruits is not common with OP varieties.

That's a surprise because I stopped growing hybrid tomatoes and just grow OPs for years many of which are considered heirlooms. There is one exception a hybrid called Sun Gold, it's a cherry and will always be in my garden.

OP's can be less predictable than hybrids in size, yield and sometimes even shape. Hybrids are developed for consistency in whatever traits you want from a tomato but then injection molding machines do the same with plastic. That's not a smart a$$ crack just an observation on my part.

I have grown over 60 varieties of both types and have 10-12 favorites and just one is a hybrid. I grow tomatoes for taste not yield and I don't think it is a coincidence the ones I rated the very best are OPs. I am sure I could get much heavier yields from hybrids. I don't can and usually don't make sauce, though I did the past two years but that's another story, so my preference is for taste not uniformity or volume. Taste is subjective and no one tastes things the same so tomato lovers always have different favorites even among those of us that are exclusively OP fans.
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:10 PM   #11
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Gourds and pumpkins will cross. And I have always heard that gourds will make your melons bitter. I don't know because I always plant my gourds in a patch well away from the rest of the garden.

I did plant a bunch of saved seeds from bought melons. Of the four kinds I planted, two kinds were very good, although smaller than the bought melons. Two kinds were not very good at all. I only saved seeds from one melon, which was a couple of weeks ahead of the rest. It should be true now.

If you can find them, get some banana cantaloupe seeds. I planted some {OP} seeds my DW got from a friend at work. We love them. And have plenty of seeds saved for next year.

One thing that cross pollination will affect the same season taste of is peppers. The seeds are where the heat is, so if you have Habanero beside sweet banana, they will both be more and less hot that expected.
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:27 PM   #12
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Do you remember the variety names? Too much foliage is usually a sign of too much Nitrogen, tomatoes don't need a lot of fertilizing or watering. Keep in mind not all OPs are good! Many are lousy and they can be unpredictable but no fruits is not common with OP varieties.

That's a surprise because I stopped growing hybrid tomatoes and just grow OPs for years many of which are considered heirlooms. There is one exception a hybrid called Sun Gold, it's a cherry and will always be in my garden.
The hybrids & OPs were in the same bed, adjacent to one another. They definitely were not getting excessive nitrogen, as I grow them organically. I got lots of tomatoes, as usual, from the hybrids, but not the heirloom OPs. One OP variety I recall was Big Rainbow. I have found that my tomatoes grow best if I keep them well-watered, esp. if I want them to keep producing tomatoes until frost.

My favorite hybrid varieties are Big Beef, Lemon Boy, Enchantment, & Sweet Chelsea (a fantastic small variety). I really liked Golden Boy, too, but they stopped hybridizing it. I'm looking for a good indeterminate large orange variety to replace it. For whatever reason, most orange varieties tend to be determinate. I prefer indeterminate varieties, which usually keep producing until frost. I've often grown Sungold, too. I usually try a new variety or two each year. A new one I tried and liked this year is called Mountain Magic, a small (2 oz) tomato which is very tasty and keeps well.

I think that the taste of Big Beef is just about the best tomato flavor I can think of. The fact that the plants are good producers with good disease resistance combined with their delicious flavor makes it my tomato of choice.
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:55 PM   #13
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That's a surprise because I stopped growing hybrid tomatoes and just grow OPs for years many of which are considered heirlooms. There is one exception a hybrid called Sun Gold, it's a cherry and will always be in my garden.
+1 on the Sun Gold tomato. I have experienced SG seeds produce about 3 red cherry to 1 SG based on volunteers I have allowed to grow and produce fruit.
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Old 08-29-2013, 03:52 PM   #14
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+1 on the Sun Gold tomato. I have experienced SG seeds produce about 3 red cherry to 1 SG based on volunteers I have allowed to grow and produce fruit.
I have no idea what you are saying, Sun Gold are tangerine orange not red.

Sun Gold plants produce vast amounts of fruit. I used to grow Sweet 100 but it has been so long I don't recall if they out produce SG, have grown Sweet Million but not as good as SOH. I've tried several other cherries but they can't hold a candle to Sun Gold or SOH.

Volunteers if from hybrid seed will be unpredictable as to size, color and taste. Sun Gold hybrids may well be terrible because you don't know what genes will be present in those seeds. If you like something and it is a hybrid buy the seeds If you have an OP save the seeds.
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Old 08-29-2013, 04:09 PM   #15
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The hybrids & OPs were in the same bed, adjacent to one another. They definitely were not getting excessive nitrogen, as I grow them organically. I have no idea why that matters, you can over fertilize using organic as well as chemical fertilizer though it is easier with chemical. I got lots of tomatoes, as usual, from the hybrids, but not the heirloom OPs. One OP variety I recall was Big Rainbow. Never heard of it, there are a lot of OPs. What others did you grow? I have found that my tomatoes grow best if I keep them well-watered, esp. if I want them to keep producing tomatoes until frost. I don't know where you are but it isn't in the deep south where there is excessively high temps if you get frost. Tomatoes do not need a lot of water in fact it can cause blossom end rot due to an interference in the update of nutrients and a calcium imbalance. BER is often caused by excessive watering. Tomatoes originated in the foothills of the Andes. When the snows melted the low lands were flooded but then there wasn't much rain after that. Yes tomato plants require water but most people over water them. I seldom water mine unless there has been no rain for at least 2 weeks or if it is very hot (95+ day after day) then I'll water them every 10 days but I meter what they get, about 1 gallon no more.

My favorite hybrid varieties are Big Beef a favorite of many and I thought it was a pretty good tomato until one year they were terrible tasting (seeds from Tomato Growers Supply so a very reputable company) and I stopped growing them, Lemon Boy, Enchantment, & Sweet Chelsea (a fantastic small variety). I really liked Golden Boy, too, but they stopped hybridizing it. I'm looking for a good indeterminate large orange variety to replace it Kellogg's Breakfast is an indeterminate but it is an OP so maybe you aren't interested. HUGE fruits, bright orange but the taste is so so to me. I don't like white, yellow or orange tomatoes they are too mild vs pinks, reds and blacks are more to my taste. For whatever reason, most orange varieties tend to be determinate check TGS Orange-Tomato Growers Supply Company. I prefer indeterminate varieties, which usually keep producing until frost. I've often grown Sungold, too. I usually try a new variety or two each year. A new one I tried and liked this year is called Mountain Magic, a small (2 oz) tomato which is very tasty and keeps well.

I think that the taste of Big Beef is just about the best tomato flavor I can think of taste is subjective, I can name 10-12 that put it to shame but they are all OPs, some produce a lot some are low yielding. The fact that the plants are good producers with good disease resistance where do you think the disease resistance genes came from? OP varieties of course!combined with their delicious flavor makes it my tomato of choice.
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Old 08-29-2013, 04:29 PM   #16
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I haven't eaten a single OP variety which tastes better to me than Big Beef. That's my opinion; you clearly have a different one. Let's leave it at that.

As for tomato culture, everyone has their own climate and their own soil conditions. Therefore, growing techniques can vary widely.

I want to reiterated that there are plenty of non-hybrid seeds for sale out there. As I said previously, beans, peas, & lettuce are usually OP. Most flowers I grow are non-hybrids, as well.

where do you think the disease resistance genes came from? OP varieties of course!

Of course, a hybrid can have greater disease resistance because it will inherit traits from each parent.
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