Aussies Living Simply

Pumpkin Flowers

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  • #257512
    jaden62jaden62
    Member

    I know pumpkins (squashes, various melons, etc) have male & female flowers & I know that @ times different weather causes one or the other to dominate – but I can’t remember what weather causes what flowers. How am I likely to get both male & female flowers on the one plant?

    At the moment I have a number of self-seeded “somethings” (a couple of different sorts of pumpkins & rockmelons, at least), one of which is setting record numbers of female flowers but no males at all. Another one is setting a few male flowers & no females.

    The plants themselves are healthy, even after the last couple of days of heat (SA here), but I just can’t get both lots of flowers on any one plant.

    #530001
    mumof6mumof6
    Member

    The different flowers on different plants allows for cross pollanation (spt?) good as far as the plant is concerned but not for us gardeners who want to collect seed. on a brigt not i had a pumkin seed grow one year that had crossed with ? sweet maybe a melon well mashed and boiled it was bad runny and weird flavored way too sweet but baked it was the best had ever tasted a sweet caramel pumkin its seeds grow as a different again had crossed with a zuc and was long and funny looking and just all round runny and watery when cooked, i would love to have the first cross back but as i just collect seed as we eat the pumkins then mas plant the seeds letting the strongest ones work it out for them self also in saying this this year all collected seed failed to germaite and i have had to by seed for pumkins this year. :nice:

    #530002
    BobbeeBobbee
    Member

    Hi jaden62, My pumpkins have lots of male flowers early and the female flowers come along on the lengths of shoots, with male flowers growing also as the plant gets bigger.

    If you look carefully you may find a male flower and then you can hand pollinate the female flowers yourself.

    How big are the plants? Without knowing the answer to that I would just say to be patient, at some stage of growth there should be both male and female flowers on your plants at the same time.

    Good luck with it all. :tup:

    #530003
    BelBel
    Member

    mudhen and I were discussing this the other day. Apparently female flowers are more inclined to grow along laterals, so if you pinch off the tips of the leading shoots, you have more chance of encouraging female flowers. Haven’t tried it myself though. I do find that males tend to come earlier than females though….

    #530004
    lmd80lmd80
    Member

    I find mine also start with male then female come later. How far do different types need to be apart to stop cross pollination? Also is it only pumpkins with pumpkins or do squash or watermelon or other affect the seed collection?

    #530005
    donkeynomaddonkeynomad
    Member

    Cucurbits are a funny family and I won’t go into the complicated stuff so here goes:

    Watermelons (Citrullus lanatus) can only cross with other watermelons

    Cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) can only cross with other cucumbers unless you grow armenian cucumbers (Cucumis melo) that are really melons that taste and look like cucumbers.

    Melons (Cucumis melo) can only cross with other melons like rockmelons, canteloupes, honeydews and crenshaws.

    Pumpkins come in a few families that will only cross with difficulty so you would be faily unlucky for any of them to cross even if they were planted side by side.

    [ol]

    [li]Cucurbita maxima – giant pumpkins, hubbards, Jarrah, Qld blue[/li]

    [li]Cucubita mixta – Silver edge, cushaw[/li]

    [li]Cucurbita moschata – butternut, musquee de provence, long island cheese, black futsu[/li]

    [li]Cucurbita pepo – Summer squash, spaghetti squash, acorns, zucchini[/li]

    [/ol]

    Hope that helps. Cheers,

    Rowan

    #530006
    BelBel
    Member

    Great explanation donkeynomad, thanks!

    #530007
    lmd80lmd80
    Member

    Thanks, extrememly helpful! I do think I have Butternut and musquee de provence planted by not 100% sure. Is this likely they will cross or mor just possible? I will collect seeds anyway 😉

    #530008
    donkeynomaddonkeynomad
    Member

    If your butternut and musquee de provence are in the same area of your garden they will likely cross but that doesn’t mean you can’t collect the seeds, it just means that you may get some surprises as to the the shape and look of the fruit next year. They will still be edible, and may even be better, you never know. That’s how new varieties are founded.

    #530009
    lostinthefoglostinthefog
    Member

    I am growing Spaghetti Squash and Zucchini…I forget the name but it’s a round Italian heirloom variety…as the Zucchinis had male flowers I used them to fertilise the female spaghetti Squash flowers (such goings on in the vege garden!)…will this work? Thanks for the fantastic info Donkeynomad! :tup:

    #530010
    donkeynomaddonkeynomad
    Member

    If you can, hand pollinate them seperately for pure seed. A couple of years ago I did a cross between spaghetti squash and ‘Golden’ zucchini. I planted a few of the resulting seeds last year and all of the plants produced very poor fruits, almost inedible with the worst traits from each parent.

    I didn’t bother going on with the experiment.

    #530011
    lostinthefoglostinthefog
    Member

    Thanks Donkeynomad…I’m not too worried about the seed…I just want the squash to fertilise as it seems to have all female flowers so far and the zucchini all male…

    #530012
    julsajulsa
    Member

    We have had the same problem with all male or all female flowers coming out on pumpkins at times. One solution is to pick the male flowers and put them in an air tight container and store them in the bottom of your fridge until the female flowers are ready to pollinate. The pollen will remain viable for a few days.

    #530013
    julsajulsa
    Member

    We were given some Jap pumpkins by my Mum a couple of years ago and they were so nice to eat that we kept some seed. The next generation of pumpkins which were produced indicated that Mum’s pumpkins were fertilised by a neighbours pumpkin plants which were obviously not Jap pumpkins. However these interesting pumpkins which came in three different shapes had one type which were so good that we kept seed from them and have been growing them on and crossing them back to themselves trying to set type. We live in a cool part of Victoria and have a very short growing season and these resultant pumpkins seem to have a quicker maturing time than pure Jap pumpkins but they have the same yummy flavour plus the bonus of no lobing and easy to peel thin skin.

    To grow pure pumpkins for seed collection you need to be quite isolated as bees will apparently travel over one kilometre. If you have neighbours growing pumpkins nearby you run the chance of a cross if they have a different type of pumpkin growing.

    Even geting up early and doing hand pollination you can find the bees have got up earlier and are beating you to it. One option it to tape the female flowers shut (with something like masking tape) then remove the tape and hand pollinate then tape closed again. Quite an elaborate process. The other option would be to erect an insect proof netting enclosure.

    Aalways keep more seeds than you think you will need as it is common that the seed will not be viable. Always choose fat seeds over thin seeds where possible, they seem to be more viable.

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