I can tell I had a difficult year when I can't find too many pictures of a project. Usually what happens is that I go out into the gardens, point my camera at the mess and think "nah." Sometimes I snap the shots anyhow because photographs are one of my primary record keeping tools but I must have been sufficiently depressed or overwhelmed by other projects that I didn't bother! That or there's a trove of photos somewhere that I couldn't find (note to self, tag all photos).
The Cucurbita moschata, Butternut Squash, Community Landrace Breeding Project was a success this year though not exactly in the most ideal way. We had a serious drought. We had bugs, masses and masses of cucumber beetles (several types), squash bug and squash vine borer (though no obvious cases at ALE and none reported in these squash from participants I don't think. C. moschata is resistant because of solid stems). Eventually we had powdery mildew at around August 23rd (according to my scant photographic records).
Germination wasn't ideal as I am a low input acreage and rely mostly on irrigation from the heavens. They weren't obliging so I probably poured a few buckets of water on the rows every once in a while. I swear I have some seedling photos from like mid-June or even later... Flowering was late. Fruiting was very, very late. I have immature first flush fruit photos from September. Note the lack of sandals in the below picture... suspicious. Not only that but I cannot find a single full harvest photo. And I've looked three times. Please don't make me look again, I have a lot of photos of plants...
So we did get one and a half flushes of fruit rather than two or three like usual. The half meant that I was harvesting some very immature fruit at frost time and using them more like zucchini.
So why was this good? Well these survivors will potentially enhance some pressure genes into the mix. It also gives me a sense of what parameters this strain can handle. It clearly isn't super thrilled with very high heat and/or very dry soil at flowering time staying in the male flower phase for quite some time. Participants that irrigated or lived in hills that were receiving more precipitation had much better fruit set.
When it comes to plant selection, all years are good years in that they produce results (null - more on that below - is a result) even if those results are not stellar.
Notes from community PARTICIPANTS
I'll post more results when I get them. Thank you everyone!
Past and future
Memories from an easier year 2015.
Plans for the future
Happy Pumpkin Pies and Squash Stews!
All about growing, selecting and using edible plants in the Ottawa valley.