Good news, we’ve figured out who the father is
About six weeks ago, I snapped a couple of photos of a pair of odd baby pumpkins in the keyhole garden.
Part pumpkin maybe, but papa was no Jack O’ Lantern.
The seeds were from a very nice Howden pumpkin I grew the year before, but it was obvious from the offspring, that near perfect pumpkin’s father was no Jack O’ Lantern.
Jane (rear) was a 14 pound Howden pumpkin seen here sunning in 2021 with a cousin
The pumpkin (we’ll call her “Jane”), was a medium-sized pumpkin with a perfect width-to-height ratio, slight ribs, and firm orange skin that contrasted nicely with her deep green stem. Jane was a very attractive squash. Above you can see her (stem to the right) with a cousin lounging in the early fall sun near the edge of our pumpkin patch.
Looking at her little ones above though, other than a similar general height to width ratio, they don’t look much like her at all. There were other squash varieties in the garden, but none so close as to be obvious which one’s pollen made a visit to Jane’s corner of the patch.
I decided to put on my detective hat and solve the mystery.
Perusing my garden notes from a year earlier, I narrowed the list of likely sires to three squashes in flower around the same time: Delicata, Waltham Butternut and Green Stripe Zucchini.
Meet the Squash Suspects
After reviewing the evidence and considering any connections the suspect squashes might have had with Jane, I was ready to rule out Butternut (his shape and color were wrong) and focus on the two fat green squashes. Zucchini had the stripes like the odd babies, but Delicata had the thicker winter-squash skin they did.
Ultimately, since there’s no Ancestry.com database to run the odd babies’ DNA through and definitely identify the father, my investigation pretty much ended there. I figured I’d just wait and see.
And it worked! Now that the babies are all grown up, it’s pretty obvious who the papa was.