Jul 02

How a Hybrid Works

Seed developers cross two similar plants to get seeds that will be better than their parents, that's a hybrid.
This is done for many reasons that gardeners can benefit from; such as disease and pest resistance, weather tolerance, appearance, and early and increased production.

In most cases you don't actually see the plants do what they do; you won't find a pest resistant plant actually fighting off a bug. Well, not that you can see anyway.
For many gardeners, that's just fine.

For those of us that lean towards geeky, well, we like to see it for ourselves. :-)

Last year I came across a zucchini hybrid called 'Cashflow' from Johnny's Select Seeds. It is a hybrid that was bred to be very prolific.
"That's exactly the opposite of what you want from a zucchini" my husband joked.

But in reality if you are selling at a stand, have a small garden that you want to get the most from, or are feeding more than a few people, it may be just what you need.

So I planted it anyway and was glad for two reasons:
1. Even though the rabbits were feeding on it we still got a good harvest.
2. Geek pics.

What I noticed last year was this:

Two flowers on most of the male stems.

Two flowers on most of the male stems.

Can you go wrong with twice the pollen from the male stems?

What I saw this year was even better:

More girls than boys here.

More girls than boys here.

The female flowers have the little zucchini right at the end of the stem, waiting to be pollinated.

The males are on their way.

The males are on their way.

Normally squash start by producing a lot of male flowers, followed by the females. These are doing just the opposite. There is an abundance right now of females that unfortunately won't produce, but the males are right behind them and soon it will be zucchinipalooza.

Isn't that just the neatest thing ever?

Let me just say that my favorite tasting zucchini is an heirloom that does not produce much, but is well worth growing for any dish that it is the main ingredient in.
For everything else, there is a gardening geek's dream veggie.

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