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Bulverde, TX (Zone 8b)
Gardens in Buckets Seed Starter Keeper of Poultry Birds Bee Lover
Oct 22, 2016 6:52 PM CST
I'm a Texas native, but in 2002, when my daughter was 2 years old, I got a job that required me to move to Alaska (she stayed behind with her mother). The agency I work for is very competitive so I wasn't able to transfer back home until she was 10. Although I came back often on vacation during those years, you can imagine how I feel about missing so much of her early life. So the October that I finally made it back to her, I took her to the store to pick out a pumpkin to carve, since Halloween is a favorite holiday for both of us. I kept the seeds from it with the idea of growing them out each year, keeping the line going from that original pumpkin, and perhaps someday her own kids could make a Jack O'Lantern that originated from that special Halloween.

The next spring I planted some of the seeds near my dad's garden, because at the time I lived 2 hours away and was renting a place where I couldn't have a garden of my own. Then he decided to plant some straightneck yellow squash (besides the thread title, you can see where this is going). Sure enough, the following year when those saved seeds produced fruit, clear evidence of C. pepo shenanigans appeared. I was heartbroken because the result was essentially a smooth oversized orange straightneck squash. I almost abandoned my idea before the lightbulb clicked on in my head: I could grow a bunch out each year, take advantage of mutations and select for desired traits, and stabilize them, which would keep our special pumpkin--now christened "squashkin"--going.

After several years of careful growing and selection, the squashkin is no longer a smooth skinny ugly little log. It's an oval-ish ribbed pumpkin a little smaller than a football. It has very thick and durable whitish walls with very few strings to clean out, which is probably a contribution from its yellow squash parent. When carved into a Jack O' Lantern it will last up to 2 weeks without rotting and collapsing in on itself, and I've kept uncarved ones stored for over a year without decay. So, rather than continuing a line of someone else's pumpkin that we got from a store, an accident led to us having our very own.

The ugly result of the original cross:

Thumb of 2016-10-23/coryvp/dfa517

The modern Squashkin:

Thumb of 2016-10-23/coryvp/aa2a75

A look inside, showing the thick and sturdy walls:

Thumb of 2016-10-23/coryvp/271313

[Last edited by coryvp - Oct 22, 2016 7:30 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1303683 (1)
Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Heucheras Echinacea
Hellebores The WITWIT Badge Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Oct 22, 2016 7:46 PM CST
What a great tradition to start.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
Oct 22, 2016 8:20 PM CST
@coryvp -- awesome! You now have something that is entirely your own... and your daughter's!

Here's a little autumn smile for you...

Thumb of 2016-10-23/Weedwhacker/cf7928

“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer / - A Universe of Communities[/I] / Share your recipes: Favorite Recipes A-Z cubit
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Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
Oct 31, 2016 1:32 AM CST
sweet story
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)

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