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Vegetable Gardening: Zucchini gone crazy or elongated pumpkins

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Forum: Vegetable GardeningReplies: 17, Views: 131
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kahall2001
Wright, WY

September 28, 2012
6:44 PM

Post #9289385

I have been getting some strange squash this season. I have a garden dedicated to winter squash with another pumpkin patch close by. The squash in question was discovered after the weather turned cooler and the plants started to die back and thin out. It is dark green, but the skin has color variation similar to green pumpkins. They have become huge up to 2 feet long and 8"-10" in diameter. The skin is very hard (do zucchini skins get hard if they are allowed to grow to large?). Opening it up it did resemble zucchini (pale green) flesh with the stringy center and large seeds. (Still could resemble green pumpkins) It has minimal flavor so that isn't helping me identify it and it is extremely crisp. Simmering it took a long time to soften up and still unsure of identity. There are a large number of them in my garden and I don't know if I need to pick them now or let them mature?

I have had interesting cross pollination issues before with spagetti squash with green pumpkin style skin and elongated acorn squash but these have me stumped.

The kicker is I didn't plant zucchini anywhere close to these winter squash and pumpkins. ( yes, could be a rogue zuc seed in with the others.

General info: I planted 5 types of winter squash together - spaggetti, acorn, butternut, golden hubbard and delicata. Pumpkins are near and crawling across the squash bed as well.

Any ideas on how to identify?
rjogden
Gainesville, FL
(Zone 8b)

September 29, 2012
7:02 AM

Post #9289744

kahall2001 wrote:The kicker is I didn't plant zucchini anywhere close to these winter squash and pumpkins. ( yes, could be a rogue zuc seed in with the others.

General info: I planted 5 types of winter squash together - spaggetti, acorn, butternut, golden hubbard and delicata. Pumpkins are near and crawling across the squash bed as well.

Any ideas on how to identify?

My best guess is a rogue Zuc seed. All these plants cross readily, though of course you wouldn't see the results until the next generation. If you've been using the same patch for squash it could even be seed from a fruit that didn't get removed, or it could just be one that found its way into a packet you bought. Or even a random mutation, though given your planted varieties that seems less likely.

-Rich
mraider3
Helena, MT

October 23, 2012
3:15 AM

Post #9312812

I had exactly the same thing last year. Zucchini pumpkins as I called them. Apparently zucchini can readily cross with pumpkins. I turned mine to worm food but now I wish I had tried them in a pie, or zucchini cake or pie recipe. Never know what you might get saving squash seed. We have a particular winter squash which the whole family likes and grows well here. It is called Pottamarain and looks like a big, orange, pointy acorn squash. I have tried to save the seed, but it never comes true to form the next season. I usually just purchase new seed each year form my squash and pumpkins.
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

October 23, 2012
8:51 PM

Post #9313680

Morgan, is the seed open pollinated or a hybrid? According to my handy dandy chart squash (pumpkins) need to be a minimum of 600 feet apart to ensure they don't cross if your using isolation as a method to save true seed. I just buy it too. Lol
mraider3
Helena, MT

October 24, 2012
6:32 AM

Post #9313858

Lisa, I use Black Beauty Zucchini (OP), and generally plant the Zucchini in a row along with cucumbers and several pumpkin plants in a single mound at the end of a sixty foot soaker hose. A couple of Zucchini plants are sufficient for our needs so I just purchase a packet and used it for several years. Saving the Zucchini seed just isn't worth the effort and I can do the same with pumpkins as well. I have grown the winter squash in an area outside of the main garden, however these as well have never proven successful in saving the seed. Our bumble bee population is growing each year and these bees are generally pretty active before the regular bees migrate from the alfalfa field across the highway. I would wager these busy bees are responsible for the cross pollination of the squash, but they don't seem to be affecting the tomatoes which I save seed from. Can't explain why!
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

October 24, 2012
7:52 PM

Post #9314600

Tomatoes are self pollinating so they probably get pollinated before the bees get to them. Also, the shape of the flower makes a difference too. I don't save seeds for anything (this year I had planned to save seeds from my Dwarf tomatoes bc they are in containers and can easily be isolated.

Also, I think, crosses between some tomatoes and peppers are not as obvious as squash crosses. I buy them all. It's just so much easier. Maybe someday...
ERNIECOPP
Vista, CA

October 24, 2012
9:19 PM

Post #9314665

I had a very interesting experience with Butternut Squash this past summer. I planted either a four or six pac of plants in my garden, and as i harvested the beets, turnips, bush beans and other veggies, the BN squash started spreading out, and each time it would find a damp spot from a vacant drip emitter it would put down roots, form a new plant, and produce fruit. I wound up with about 200 real nice squash from those original plants. I gave most of them away, and will enjoy the rest of them cooked in several different ways. They were still spreading and blooming when i took the vines out.

Ernie

Solace

Solace
Monte Vista, CO
(Zone 4a)

October 24, 2012
10:10 PM

Post #9314689

Ernie, I had some plants in plastic cups (in lieu of starter pots) where they kept growing there, all the cups in a plastic tub awaiting transplant, and they reached over into adjacent cups and put down roots. I finally transplanted them outside, amending with a combination of homemade compost, some ground Calcium citrate tablets (people vitamins) that were out of date, liquid vitamin B complex, crushed iron tablets, a little molasses and hydrogen peroxide all stirred together with some water which I poured in the hole and around them. They grew like gangbusters, then got frost with the first freeze, frosted again, then I transplanted them into pots and they're happy as clams, big, and putting on squash. I just broke off the frozen leaves and they put out new leaves. Breaking off the blackened leaves apparently stopped the 'signal' to die, and they went on. I did the same thing, removing the frost-bitten leaves, with my potato crop last spring, and they came back and grew well.
1. Second chances squash

Thumbnail by Solace
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mraider3
Helena, MT

October 25, 2012
7:08 AM

Post #9314884

Ernie, I heard the same is true for pumpkins which are heavy feeders, so I plant three or four pumpkin plants in a single mound at the end of the soaker hose which for some reason gets far more water than the rest of the hose. I fill a four square foot hole at the end of this soaker hose with fish parts and feed the runners which attach themselves as they spread out. These runners can go up to twenty feet and just one hole can produce a dozen or more really nice pumpkins which is plenty for our needs. I fact the size of these pumpkins can be double what the packet claims they will grow to.

Lisa, thanks for the tip on the tomatoes. I hadn't thought about the self pollinating. I have been taking tomatoes from the bottoms of these plants which get missed in the picking and are over ripe...a tip from Carolyn. I did find some unusually large, Large Select Sungold (OP) tomatoes mixed in with about twenty other sprawled plants at harvest clean up. I saved about six or seven and collected the seed. I would wager these are one of the parent tomatoes from which my Sun Gold F1 Hybrid tomatoes were derived from. The seed is about twice the size of the tiny seeds normally collected from Large Sun Gold Select. At first I though they might be small Stupice tomatoes which I also grow, but these seeds are even larger than the Stupice seeds. The flavor of these tomatoes was good so next season I plan to plant another sixty foot row from these larger seeds. Due to my short season I am limited to smaller tomatoes which tend to ripen within my growing season much better than larger ones. I also grow Black Cherry tomatoes, all of which are blended together to make our various tomatoes sauces.

I have never heard of crosses between tomatoes and peppers. Would like to know more about that. This season we canned about twenty five quarts of blended tomatoes, Jalapeno peppers, and onions. About a third of each went into a large cooking pot and we extracted eight half gallons of the juice which was also canned. I use the juice to soak and cook my dried beans (Kidney and Indian woman) for my Saturday's spicy deer meat chili. Cayenne peppers get chopped up and cooked with the meat. A cross between tomatoes and peppers would be an interesting combination to add to this dish.
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

October 25, 2012
11:39 AM

Post #9315147

I was afraid that sentence was confusing.

I DIDNT MEAN PEPPERS AND TOMATOES WOULD CROSS. I meant that a tomato that crosses with another tomato ( or a pepper that crosses with another pepper) may not be as obvious as a cross between different types of squash. Different squash look so much different some tomatoes/peppers look a lot alike, at least to me. Sorry

Sorry for the confusion, my fault.
grits74571
Talihina, OK

October 25, 2012
12:18 PM

Post #9315174

Just another example of a Zuchinni gone wild,oops don't seem to have an icon to up load pix today seems to be happening a lot lately

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

October 25, 2012
12:28 PM

Post #9315185

I've been having grief trying to upload pics, too!
ERNIECOPP
Vista, CA

October 25, 2012
12:28 PM

Post #9315186

I am a bit reluctant to mention it, as it sounds so far fetched, but it did seem to me that some of the vines would head straight for the wet spots. and i had one 10 foot stretch of errant vine that went just as straight down the drip tube as i could have placed it by hand. I will watch it again next year and see if it happens again.

Ernie
grits74571
Talihina, OK

October 25, 2012
12:57 PM

Post #9315218

these are growing from a single Trombone Zuchinni Later it covers every inch of the ground shown in picture #3 and now has reached 39 feet from it's starting point and has produced an astounding number of squash

Thumbnail by grits74571   Thumbnail by grits74571   Thumbnail by grits74571      
Click an image for an enlarged view.

grits74571
Talihina, OK

October 26, 2012
6:31 AM

Post #9315824

A more recent pic of the monster that ate my backyard

Thumbnail by grits74571
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

October 26, 2012
6:54 AM

Post #9315843

That is soooooooooooo KEWL!!!!
mraider3
Helena, MT

October 26, 2012
1:25 PM

Post #9316225

I'm betting Erin filled that wooden slat cage with some power compost. That is why I place my pumpkin patches at the end of the garden. That way the fines can run all the way over to the neighbors yard., and the kids next door get first choice of which ever pumpkin they want to carve up...
grits74571
Talihina, OK

October 28, 2012
4:00 AM

Post #9317680

30 here last night so I guess Jack Frost put an end to the reign of terror that the Rabicante zuchetta had been up to LOL

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