My second year garden was not a complete flop but it wasn’t as productive as I had hoped. I had expanded my garden from year one and included a large area outside of my fenced in area for squash, melons and corn. Nothing on the outside of my fenced in area did very well. I ended up with short corn stocks, small melons and strange squash things that were supposed to be pumpkins.
I thought the reason for my pumpkin mutation was because I planted yellow Hubbard squash next to my pumpkins. I thought they had cross pollinated. Well, after doing research on cross-pollination I discovered my plants had cross-pollinated but not in the way I had thought.
Apparently, the cross-pollination does not take place in the growing plants but in the seeds you use. The seeds that come from pumpkins that were planted close to other squash. It’s the second generation of seeds that have went through the cross-pollination.
Most of the seeds I used were from seeds I saved from pumpkins I grew. So the mystery has been solved and it’s an easy problem to fix. I will just have to buy new squash and pumpkins seeds instead of using one’s I have saved. No more squash things!
Information from Vegetable Expert
The truth be told, you only need to worry about cross-pollination of squash if you save seeds to plant the next year. Squash may require as much as 500 feet between varieties to prevent cross-pollination, so it’s not practical for most home gardeners to save squash seeds. Buy new seed next year, and put your mind at ease.
More useful information on planting and growing squash.
- All squash are warm-weather plants that are vulnerable to frost. Squash seeds will germinate in temperatures from 60° F to 100° F (16°- 38° C), but they prefer a temperature of 70° F (21° C) or higher.
- Plant squash two weeks after last frost.
- Squash are heavy feeders: they need a soil rich in organic matter with a pH of 5.8 to 6.8. They benefit from lots of compost, as well as deep, consistent watering.
Until next time 🙂