"Green Blanket" : Selected from Cucurbita pepo ozarkana and wild Peruvian pumpkin hybrids open pollinated
Selected for Possible Edible Seed 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 rarely affect the growth. The foliage is impervious to mildew and other foliar diseases. The seeds can be held within the dried skin of the fruit for later dispersal or possibly harvested by people for their edible use. (Yet to be determined)
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.
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.
How this variety was created and where to go from here: From these two wild crop relatives, it is possible to make this a feral squash if the environmental conditions persist. The amount of pollinators with these flowers is astounding. Squash flowers are very heavy in pollen production. This is what created my strains in the beginning. Further selection could be done to create even more edible seed for oil extraction as well as a wild squash that could even be used for other purposes. It was pretty much by accident that I threw out the Peruvian pumpkin seeds along with the Ozark squash a t the same time. It is likely that this variety could be further selected for heavier production of fruits. This is the direction I am taking using the round fruits of green and yellow. They are also the selections that dry in the skin as seen in the image I have potsted.
|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 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.|