How to avoid cross-pollination of squash, melons, etc.?

anney(Georgia 8)February 10, 2008

Just wondering about trying to avoid cross-pollination of Crenshaw melons, summer squash, cucumbers, and hopefully a Tahitian squash. I want to save seeds of the OP summer squash, watermelon, and Tahitian squash -- the cucumber and Crenshaw are hybrids, so I won't plan to save those seeds.

Since they all have different DTM, I'm wondering if I need to worry about cross-pollination of the OP varieties.

Any ideas?

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Watermelon with only cross with watermelon, so as long as you only grow one cultivar in the locality you should be ok. The squash are more problamatical. Most of the summer squash will cross readily with other, that means yellow crooknecks, zucchini, scallops etc. They also cross readily with other C. pepo winter types like acorn, delicata, halloween type pumkins etc. The Tahitian squash is in the butternut group. I have not experienced any crossing of C.moschata with C. Pepo.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 2:40PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Besides all the good "these won't cross" tips from farmerdilla, just bag and hand-pollinate a couple of the blooms and save those seeds.

Otherwise the choices are BIG distances between or grow only one kind (and that's no fun). But a couple of mesh bags and a few q-tips plus a couple of early mornings jaunts to the garden gets you safe seeds. ;)


    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 4:14PM
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Dave I have a question.... On the packs of melon (cantaloupe) that I purchased from SSE, it says that they will even cross with Armenian cucumbers.... if this happens, will it affect the taste of the cucumbers or of the melons this year?

I will definitely hand-pollinate and bag any blooms that I plan on saving seeds from.

Here is a link that might be useful: Judy's Square Foot Garden Blog

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 8:40PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Mag, Armenian cuke is actually a type of melon (Cucumis melo var flexuosus), not a true cucumber (Cucumis sativus). The current crops' flavors wouldn't be affected by cross pollination.

I avoid cross pollination by using tightly fitting floating row covers. For a day or two one variety is exposed to bee activity while nearby relatives are covered with the fabric. After that another variety is exposed and the other potential parents are covered by fabric.

In the cool spring around here I do hand pollinate to get some early fruiting: bundle some male stamens together and swish them inside the corollas against the female styles. Watch out for resting bumble bees early in the morning!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 8:59PM
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Back in 2006 I started an illustrated thread on how to hand pollinate squash. I believe the thread has expired. But I do have a copy in MS Word, of the basic technique, which I'd be happy to e-mail to anyone who would like it. Just drop me an e-mail if interested.

Hand pollination technique for these vine crops is pretty much the same. The main difference is timing. Squash, for instance, is best pollinated between dawn and say, 9:00 AM. I don't remember the exact details now, but cantaloupe and watermelons are generally hand pollinated a little later than squash.

Tahlequah, OK (just back from two weeks in Mexico)

    Bookmark   February 12, 2008 at 12:18PM
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On account of the photos, the hand out I offered is pretty large in MS Word format. If anyone would prefer to receive it in PDF format, which I suspect would be a MUCH smaller file, just let me know.


    Bookmark   February 12, 2008 at 2:27PM
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