Field of pumpkins


Today’s plans for Tomorrow’s Pumpkins

My friend Jack is already planning for next Halloween, not getting together next year’s costume, but squirreling away seeds for growing next year’s pumpkins. Jack wants good yields and he wants large pumpkins. Seeds that he bought this past spring for giant pumpkins didn’t produce any fruits. But a plant growing out of his compost pile — a “volunteer” plant — did produce a few good-sized fruits.

Jack’s question to me was whether the seeds he has saved from this productive volunteer will produce good pumpkins. My answer was, “It depends.”Field of pumpkins

First of all, it depends on what seed gave rise to that volunteer plant. Of course it was from a pumpkin. But did that pumpkin grow from a hybrid seed?

Hybrid seed is produced by deliberately crossing one plant having certain desirable traits with another plant having another set of desirable traits. Seeds from that deliberate cross grow into plants that combine the qualities of both parents.

But these qualities are not perpetuated in the seeds from the fruit of a plant grown from hybrid seed. (Yes, I wrote that correctly.) Read more