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  • Butternut Mix

    This year I was a bit late getting my butternut seed sown and planted, but it's been a good summer and I’m hoping I’ll have a few to harvest to eat and for seed to go into the mix for next year. I'm relying on the bees having done their jobs spreading pollen from the different varieties. I must admit I've my fingers crossed for viable seed, as I really want to see how the mix develops in future generations. But if not this year, no worries I'll continue with planting a mix of butternut varieties next season and leave survival of the fittest decide once again.

    It's getting quite exciting to see what has grown, now the foliage is starting to die back. I've got some pictures of some fruits early on, but the butternut patch became a bit overgrown to be able to check on progress! I know at least 2 of the fruits split, I didn't water and it was a dry year.

  • #2
    Did you find treasures when the foliage withered at the end of the season? Sorry about split ones. I find that mice/voles eat the young ones, or at least nibble them, some heal over and thrive, but many rot. Not had split ones. For the mix would you like seeds of a commercial (probably hybrid, just saved from shop produce) Hungarian Sonka squash? A bit larger than butternut with bright orange flesh, not quite as dry. Looks more like an orange carrot than a squash.
    Last edited by Galina; 12-02-2015, 09:03.

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    • #3
      I'm planning a courgette/summer squash race. I figure I can hand pollinate a few flowers of varieties I want to keep pure "just because" (like crookneck or pattypan types) and let the others cross as they feel like it. Should be interesting to see what colours and shapes I end up with, especially as some of my seeds are F1s.

      I don't care much for commercial F1s, but after a while my race will be pretty much all mixed up hybrids!

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      • #4
        Is hybrid vigour really a factor when it comes to squashes? I know they are outbreeding, but they don't suffer any inbreeding depression, so I'd think there wouldn't be much difference between hybrid and OP varieties.

        I haven't really paid attention with my own plants though, so I have no idea.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Galina View Post
          Did you find treasures when the foliage withered at the end of the season? Sorry about split ones. I find that mice/voles eat the young ones, or at least nibble them, some heal over and thrive, but many rot. Not had split ones. For the mix would you like seeds of a commercial (probably hybrid, just saved from shop produce) Hungarian Sonka squash? A bit larger than butternut with bright orange flesh, not quite as dry. Looks more like an orange carrot than a squash.
          Yes, overall it was a good crop and I was pleased with how they did, Taste has been excellent and I'd be happy to grow all again. I've not had had many viable seeds, but so far just enough to be able to add some to the mix.
          Hungarian Sonka squash sound very interesting, how do you think they would do here? And how was the taste?

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          • Galina
            Galina commented
            Editing a comment
            Slightly less earthy and a bit more flavoured towards carrots, not as dry. No idea how they would do here. According to Bobby's Seeds' website they are '110 days to maturity' (whatever that means). And that is the same as they claim Waltham Butternut needs. So if Waltham does ok, these might too.

        • #6
          Originally posted by Silverleaf View Post
          I'm planning a courgette/summer squash race. I figure I can hand pollinate a few flowers of varieties I want to keep pure "just because" (like crookneck or pattypan types) and let the others cross as they feel like it. Should be interesting to see what colours and shapes I end up with, especially as some of my seeds are F1s.

          I don't care much for commercial F1s, but after a while my race will be pretty much all mixed up hybrids!
          Oooh, sounds interesting and fun Looking forward to your progress. I've several F1 butternuts that are in the mix, can't see it as a handicap and hopefully they will all bring something positive to the mix. If they don't do well they will weed themselves out!

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          • #7
            Originally posted by Silverleaf View Post
            Is hybrid vigour really a factor when it comes to squashes? I know they are outbreeding, but they don't suffer any inbreeding depression, so I'd think there wouldn't be much difference between hybrid and OP varieties.

            I haven't really paid attention with my own plants though, so I have no idea.

            The cross pollinated plants I've grown do seem to do well and have a bit of sparkle. I think perhaps the modern hybrids being bred for health, resistance and productivity might have the edge on some open pollinated varieties in those respects, but flavour?

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            • #8
              Round two, planted in varying numbers
              Sonka
              Hunter F1
              Walnut F1
              Tiana F1
              Barbara F1
              Waltham
              Butternut Early Remix

              Also growing in the squash plot are Long Island and Black Futsu. Over the other side of the garden are Lunga Piena di Napoli and Tromba D’Albenga. So maybe more of a moschata mix than solely butternut.

              Bit of a squib with my saved seeds, germination was poor and the plants that grew were weak in comparison to the others so I binned them. Hoping for better things this year or will do a rethink.

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              • #9
                I think this year might be another washout for trying to put together a butternut mix. No blooming male flowers! Or at least very few so far. I'm feeling this may be doomed to failure, perhaps if we get a good couple of weeks now it might make a difference?

                I'm a bit disappointed with the Butternut Early Remix, only a few fruits are set and they are still of a small size so might be aborted yet. Most of the F1 varieties have one or more young fruit on them, Waltham doesn't seem to have joined the party yet! Sonka on the other hand are doing well and have set fruit, some are getting a decent size. I've had a couple of male flowers on these the last couple of days which as it's been so wet I've used to self some of the females rather than let them open pollinate as I think the pollen would have gone to waste in the rain.

                Both the Lunga Piena di Napoli and Tromba D’Albenga are lagging behind, I don't think they are liking their spot. I'm going to try feeding them up a bit and hope they get a move on. Long Island Cheese and Black Futsu have lots of female flowers and again a lack of male flowers. It looks like a few fruit may have set but there won't be many seeds if at all.

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                • #10
                  It is hard to think of summer as almost over, but apart from a few blazing days it has just been so cold and forever cloudy.

                  I have the same problem on my Tromboncinos. Only one early male flower in a while and only one practically ripe mature fruit and nothing since. We have actually been eating the not-pollinated females as 'courgettes', they are big enough for that. Black Futsu on the other hand is like your Walthams, perhaps just not suited for our neck of the woods at all.

                  Over on A4A we recently had some comparisons of when crops ripen and the differences in the UK are quite staggering. For example ripe blackberries were reported weeks ago just 100 miles South of us, whilst ours have weeks to go (usually ripe in September). On a recent trip to London I saw ripe blackberries on some wasteland too. That is only 50 miles away from us 'as the crow flies' but with warmer town micro climate.

                  Sorry if your efforts come to little, but there is 'some' mixing potential in what you have and the first year was always going to be the most difficult in your project.

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                  • #11
                    It's no worries, if they are not keen to grow.... I'll perhaps persevere for a bit.
                    But I'm wondering if Sonka might be the surprise ace in the hole?

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                    • #12
                      It's funny, although our winters are somewhat milder than much of Britain, our spring season and early summer is often later. Trees and blossom is usually 2-3 weeks behind, elderflower too. So I guess it might follow squash and such are slower to get going, but we tend to get a little bit added on the end of the season. Perhaps things aren't in quite so much of a rush.

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