Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Curious Case of the Butternut Pumpkins

Back in Spring, in that time of frantic seed sowing when the weather was distinctly warmer than it is now, I sowed some courgettes, some pumpkins and some butternut squash. I have never grown butternut squash before so I was looking forward to see how they would get on. I planted them all in a new plot that I had created next to my main vegetable plot. The courgettes in particular were hampered by being scratched up by the chickens, but with a little protection the plants seemed to thrive.

However, after a while I realised that planting them all together was a mistake as the plants grew through each other and I couldn't actually remember which was which. After a while though the various squash began to grow and I looked forward to harvesting them in the Autumn.

When Summer slowly drew to a close, I was a little perturbed that my squash did not really look much like pumpkins. Nor did they look much like butternut squash. Nevertheless, I just convinced myself that as they ripened they would look more like how they were supposed to. However, when I came to harvesting them last week I found that they had become these curious beasts:

These are clearly neither pumpkins or butternut squash. I checked the seed packets again and I had definitely sown what I thought I had so that wasn't the problem. After a couple of days pondering what had happened. Suddenly, it dawned on me that they had cross-pollinated!! It seems that I have inadvertently created a new type of squash. I have christened it a "butternut pumpkin". I used one of them last night in soup - I used a standard pumpkin soup recipe and it tastes pretty similar except with a slightly milder taste. I'm not sure what I will do with the rest - after all, in the recipe books do I look under "pumpkin" or "butternut squash"!?

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becky3086 said...

Either one, I guess. I have never thought there was much difference between the two tastes.

allotments4you said...

Why not look under both recipes and combine the two. I have added butternut squash to currys before to great effect. You could also try making some chips out of them. Pumpkin chips are good. Or just try mashing it.

I have a marrow that has cross pollinated with my pumpkin...we have called it a 'Mumpkin'. It's long and orange on the outside but I haven't got around to cutting it open yet!

Gardenatrix said...

Too funny!

I tend to do a bit of trench composting, and more than once have had mystery squash volunteer out of the middle of another planting bed, self sowed from the compost bowl. Always an adventure!

Elizabeth said...

I love it! That is too funny.

Anonymous said...

Cross pollination does not affect the pumpkin and squashes growth that year, it affects the seeds inside them, so that if you use that seed the following year you will get new hybrids growing. I used the seeds from my pumpkins this year and definately got strange crossed plants.