The Q&A Archives: Yellow Pumpkins

Question: Yellow pumpkins (or look alikes) are growing in my garden. I did not plant them. Are they poisonous? Can I eat them?

Answer: Squash and melons sometimes show up where they're not planted because the seeds travel via birds or in compost that didn't get hot enough to kill the embryo inside the seed. If you imported topsoil or compost, or if birds frequent your yard, that's probably where the seed came from. In my yard we've had volunteer plants because one of our sons spit melon seeds out while enjoying a piece of melon, or tossed an overmature pumpkin out of the patch and down the embankment. Both squash and melons can cross-pollinate and while the fruit will look and taste as expected, any seed within the fruit may very well produce something completely different-looking than the parent. As long as you can identify the pumpkin/squash growing in your garden as a pumpkin/squash, it's safe to eat. No guarantees on the quality or taste, though!

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