Author Topic: Cold short-season 2021 maxima squash trial - empty seeds?  (Read 753 times)

Greenie DeS

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My squash trial this year had some strong selection involved -- only a couple varieties actually ripened fruit, and those nearly all from the same grower -- and I was pretty excited to see what all crossed up. Unfortunately all the seeds are empty, just hulls with no embryo inside. It was a rough year for pollination, it started pretty cool, is that the likely culprit or is there something else that tends to have this effect? I haven't had this happen previously but I'm also growing in a new field.

For reference it's been North Georgia Candy Roaster, Gold Nugget, Little Gem, Burgess Buttercup, and the Lofthouse buttercup squash that are giving me issues.

William S.

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Re: Cold short-season 2021 maxima squash trial - empty seeds?
« Reply #1 on: 2021-12-03, 12:39:26 PM »
Did you get any viable maxima seeds?

I've been doing this thing where I tried to plant squash hedges around my huge unfenced tomato gardens. This worked great a few years and others it amounted to squash abuse.

When I was just doing a massive maxima squash grex Lofthouse buttercup in the original version suffered as you say. When the plants were crowded and cronically underwatered I got back empties on that variety in particular and it was a favorite!

In 2020 and 2021 I grew lofthouse buttercup as a seed crop for Snake River starting with fresh seed from Josephs newer version. I took better care of it in the main but in 2021 I had one of three patches that barely produced a couple fruits and I would not be surprised to find the fruits empty or the seeds inside those empty.

If you allowed your maximas to cross freely and any at all of them set viable seed you should grow it again!

Though my main answer is if you stress maximas enough they definitely can underperform seed wise as you noted.

I suspect buttercup may be extra vulnerable.

Though from main grex squash I've also gotten squash back with tiny viable seeds from severely neglected vines.

My main maxima grex squash includes Rio Lucio, Lofthouse, Arikara, Lower Salmon River, buttercup, Lofthouse buttercup, Uncle Daves Dakota Dessert, Hidatsa, tetsukabuto and some random inclusions from farmers markets and perhaps even some Lakota squash. I haven't grown it out in a while as I was growing seed crops of Lofthouse buttercup. It might be more resilient than the buttercups or it might just be because I planted a rediculously large amount of seed. I hope I can plant a patch of it in 2022.

In 2016 I grew my old Rio Lucio seed and a Hidatsa squash from Baker creek. Only got a couple fruits. Though they had viable seeds!

In 2017 I grew a whole squash worth of Rio Lucio x Hidatsa and fresh Lofthouse maxima seed. Spectacular results. Garden hybrid maxima squash are awesome.
« Last Edit: 2021-12-03, 12:44:24 PM by William S. »
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian parent material and shallow 7" silty clay loam mollisoil topsoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days

Greenie DeS

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Re: Cold short-season 2021 maxima squash trial - empty seeds?
« Reply #2 on: 2021-12-03, 12:52:57 PM »
No viable seeds left, I have six squash left to check - one Candy Roaster, two Burgess Buttercup, two Gold Nugget, one Little Gem. I will admit to having opened all the Lofthouse Buttercup first-- I may have eaten them all raw while digging through the pulp for viable seeds, in fact. I was really hoping for *something* from them but maybe next year will need to be babied to allow me to cross them into Gold Nugget, which is my only reliable (but terrible tasting) squash up here, and get something viable from that. I bet if I pop the roofs off my pig houses the deep straw bedding will be good squash babying territory.

It seems like Heritage Harvest Seed is the source that gives me closest to reliable ripening regardless of variety, I'm going to add a bunch of seed from them for next year regardless of what else happens.

My Lofthouse squash all gave me one squash per plant, they were pretty decently watered but they were fairly crowded. I'm a bit relieved that this is a known issue. I know Joseph's garden is pretty pollinator-heavy, do you know how that compares to yours? I have a sneaking suspicion that my ducks and chickens reduce the numbers of my pollinators considerably when they range across my trial beds as compared to my little house garden.

Wish me luck on those last six squash! Anything that comes out of them will go beside my two "wow!" tomato seeds on the shelf of honour.



William S.

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Re: Cold short-season 2021 maxima squash trial - empty seeds?
« Reply #3 on: 2021-12-03, 01:12:43 PM »
I garden on two side by side eight acre parcels with some badly degraded remnant prairie. I suspect that since MT is a high species diversity bee state and my garden is adjacent to some native and wild unsprayed vegetation and I haven't had chickens in over fifteen years that I have a pretty full and vibrant community of pollinators similar to Josephs.

If heritage harvest would ship to Montana I would definitely have put in some orders.

I do hope you find some seed in those squash!
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian parent material and shallow 7" silty clay loam mollisoil topsoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days

Greenie DeS

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Re: Cold short-season 2021 maxima squash trial - empty seeds?
« Reply #4 on: 2021-12-03, 02:22:43 PM »
If heritage harvest would ship to Montana I would definitely have put in some orders.

Meanwhile I wish the museum of the fur trade would ship their little blue corn to Canada. We may have space for a potential reciprocal agreement...?

William S.

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Re: Cold short-season 2021 maxima squash trial - empty seeds?
« Reply #5 on: 2021-12-03, 02:52:06 PM »
Nope international shipping is way too complicated for me!

Only way I've figured out is to do a seed grow out and sell it to a company like snake river or EFN that has it figured out! Though I might be willing to do that for Little Blue Corn.
« Last Edit: 2021-12-03, 02:54:01 PM by William S. »
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian parent material and shallow 7" silty clay loam mollisoil topsoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days

Diane Whitehead

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Re: Cold short-season 2021 maxima squash trial - empty seeds?
« Reply #6 on: 2021-12-03, 05:15:13 PM »
William, the only complication is getting seeds into the U.S.

Getting flower and vegetable seeds into Canada is easy - I buy seeds from all over the world.

Diane
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
cool mediterranean climate  warm dry summers, mild wet winters,  70 cm rain,   sandy soil

Nicollas

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Re: Cold short-season 2021 maxima squash trial - empty seeds?
« Reply #7 on: 2021-12-03, 11:51:00 PM »
Nope international shipping is way too complicated for me!
Only way I've figured out is to do a seed grow out and sell it to a company like snake river or EFN that has it figured out!

Thats a good strategy, EFN is a very convenient proxy for us non US folks to get a lot of good things from guys on this board :)

William S.

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Re: Cold short-season 2021 maxima squash trial - empty seeds?
« Reply #8 on: 2021-12-04, 09:44:17 PM »
I promised Snake River some stock seed for Lofthouse buttercup. So I'm trying to eat the stock seed squashes I planted out three slightly different patches in 2021. One of them did the worst. It was this sand addition bed down in the cold pocket where the deeper soil accumulates. It produced precisely two feeble squashes for lack of weeding and perhaps thinning mainly I think. I opened then today and could tell they didn't fully develop full flavor but they did have good viable seed and likely with a little stressed epigenetic change. Was surprised to find viable seed.

If you were here I would give you all a slice of pie. I use a recipe from a cookbook I got  some thirty years ago The Montana Cookbook and it is called paradise pumpkin pie. It takes four eggs and 8 oz of cream cheese.
« Last Edit: 2021-12-04, 09:46:53 PM by William S. »
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Richard Watson

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Re: Cold short-season 2021 maxima squash trial - empty seeds?
« Reply #9 on: 2021-12-05, 10:57:45 AM »
Hollow maxima seed reminds me of a NZ heirloom I use to grow called Green chestnut, every year was the same, about 30% of fruit had a much darker green skin colour and inside all seed was hollow, they were tasteless also. The other 70% were the best tasting maxima, dry with a dark orange flesh, but thin flesh, only about 2cm thick. Didnt have a lot going for it apart from that amazing taste. I ended up crossing it with Whangaparaoa crown which was an ok pumpkin, thick flesh, taste average. Ten years of mixing/selecting I still get a small number of hollow seed fruit, its a trait not growing conditions in my case.
Changeable climate manly during winter & spring - 500mm average yearly rainfall. 20 years of soil improvements plus sub soil top soil reversal means my garden beds are about half metre deep. Below that is 100's of metres of alluvial shingle

Greenie DeS

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Re: Cold short-season 2021 maxima squash trial - empty seeds?
« Reply #10 on: 2022-02-14, 04:27:30 PM »
I found seeds in two squash! One, Red Kuri from Annapolis seeds, was stuffed with thick super viable-seeming seeds. The other, a Burgess Buttercup from Heritage Harvest, had mostly empty seeds but there are a couple that feel like there's something in there. Both of them were on the edge of my intermittent irrigation and outside the main patch, buried in weeds. I wonder if the pollinators stuck to the weeds? If the weeds provided a buffer for the heat/cool day/night cycle so stressed the plants less (though the plants didn't look all that much better, honestly)? Something about irrigating with cold water?

The two I was pretty sure would give me seed because the variety always ripens here, did not, exactly; they gave me transparent pouches the shape of a seed with about 1/4 of the germ end full of a truncated-looking but plump seed. I will try and sprout them to see what happens, but it's very weird. The opaque seed inside clear pouch is a small triangle, as if the seed had been sliced across a little bit past the germ.

But! I do have seeds to move forward with this year. Fingers crossed.

William S.

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Re: Cold short-season 2021 maxima squash trial - empty seeds?
« Reply #11 on: 2022-02-14, 05:09:21 PM »
2016 was a terrible squash year for me. I did get one nice big maxima squash though full of seed and it was mostly filled with hybrid seed it was Hidatsa x Rio Lucio and the result in 2017 was spectacular.

So hopefully your one Red Kuri and the buttercup will have crossed with some others and the result will be spectacular this year!

Speaking of which 2021 was an ok squash year but could have been a lot better- especially for Moschata. I hope to grow grex Maxima and Moschata squash this year and not the buttercups I grew for seed the past two years- well some, but just for eating.

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Adrian

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Re: Cold short-season 2021 maxima squash trial - empty seeds?
« Reply #12 on: 2022-02-14, 06:40:12 PM »
For moschata you can use manure chicken! It extremly efficient.
For example i know someone who has harvested violino rugosa up to 8,2kg toward Compiegne (France) with manure.
And 2021 was humid and fresh.
« Last Edit: 2022-02-15, 03:15:20 AM by Adrian »