"Green Blanket" : Selected from Cucurbita pepo ozarkana and wild Peruvian pumpkin hybrids open pollinated
Selected for Edible Seed-Oil Production or Wildlife Use-Fast Growing Cover type Crop-New Genus Added to Seed Mixes
"Green Blanket" offers a chance to grow a member of the Cucurbita genus in a untended setting in impoverished soils while still retaining vigor and the ability to reproduce itself if needed. The vines have a strong self rooting tendency so even vine borers do not affect the growth. The foliage is impervious to mildew and other foliar diseases. The seeds are held within the dried skin of the fruit for later dispersal or possibly harvested by for their edible use. The seeds do not have the extremely bitter compounds found in their genetic heritage, yet more needs to be done for this use and if it is more of a wild edible plant than sometime cultivated just for that purpose.
A natural cross of the Ozark gourd and wild pumpkin "Green Blanket" shows considerable variation from round yellow and green fruits to elongated type gourds. The fruits are inedible however the seeds may prove edible should someone want to harvest them for their oil and protein content. Further research is needed on this as the parents of these plants produce very bitter potentially toxic seeds. These are not bitter and have a pleasant pumpkin flavor. "Green Blanket" use is for highly disturbed sites or places where little else can establish. Because it provides a large canopy over bare soil, it would allow other plants to establish where they could not grow before without it. Humidity is retained within the soil because of this characteristic of its large palmate leaves.
Further grow outs are being carried out to focus on the seed aspect of it and potential oil extraction as well as it use for conservation, wild and feral plantings.
Germination of the seeds: Seeds can be planted after frost in a sunny location. Plant 1/4 inch deep. Seeds will germinate within 7-10 days. Seeds take a little longer to germinate than pumpkin seeds. Fruit ripens within a 60-90 day period. Seedlings can tolerate light shade and some fruiting does occur in shade. Transplanting from plugs works very well despite drought conditions during establishment. Because of the stinky foliage it appears so far deer do not forage on the leaves.
"Green Cover" : From two wild crop relatives, Green Cover represents an even population of heavy fruited gourd type fruits packed with seeds. The seeds have both potential food use as well as possibilities for conservation. It is possible to make this a feral squash if certain environmental conditions persist. Bare ground is necessary for the seeds to get wedged into the soil and sprout. The amount of pollinators especially bumblebees with these flowers is astounding. Squash flowers are very heavy in pollen production so its only natural to see a lot of bumblebees at work here. I believe it was the bumblebees that created my strains in the beginning. Further selection could be done to create an edible seed for oil extraction as well as a wild squash that could even be used for other purposes like a zucchini. Tests on fruit quality would need to be carried out.
It is likely that this variety could be further selected for heavier production of fruits. This is the direction I am taking starting in 2021. Using the round fruits of green and yellow. They are also the selections that dry in the skin as seen in the image on the top of this page. The pulp turns to paper and does not degrade like a pumpkin. Exact yields and oil measurements will be published here.
SHIPS : Year round when in stock. Harvested in October here and processed in November. New seeds are available starting in November and shipped throughout the winter and spring. Seeds are stored dried and refrigerated. Several washings are done to prevent mold from forming in storage caused by bits of pulp that adhere to the seeds.
|Genus & Species||Cucurbita ozarkensis and wild pepo|
|Height (ft)||Vines can grow up to 50 ft. in a single season. Average 20-30 ft. vines.|
|Pollination Requirements||Self pollinating. Will likely cross with other pumpkins and squash.|
|Soil||Will grow in any soil including rock and sand. Tolerant to wet conditions.|
|Ease of Cultivation||Super easy to establish. Unknown large scale seed edibility. Practical selection for groundcover and shade production while other plants are establishing. Could easily be carried in your pockets as you plant stuck into the soil planting every 10 to 20 ft. apart between plants. Potential for oil and possible seed production for eating with further selection.|