A brief note to update you all on a new variety I am breeding for Hawaii. It is called “Waimea Gold,” and it is growing beautifully here. I have crossed two strong landraces, then inter planted with other c. moschatas that were performing well. I allowed them to again cross, and now I am hand pollinating and selecting traits. This last step is currently going on, and it will be part of the stabilization process.
The result is a market variety that is beginning to show up at some of our farmer’s markets, and the chefs have been serving them up too. I have given seed to two local farmers that are growing them already. They have noted that it just “wants to grow” which is exactly what we need. No fuss. But I will be doing a bit of fussing in the months ahead, as I continue to stabilize the traits.
For those of you interested in plant/squash breeding, here are the traits that I am selecting for: Small size (3-4lb max), smooth, easy to peel, versatility in flavor profile (can be used in a wide variety of dishes,) pest and disease resistance (especially powdery mildew and pickleworm,) and best of all it is a contender to give the imported bland little kabochas a run for their money. Tasty and local…not to mention kinda cute. Here are the current photos! The green ties on the stem mark that the pumpkin blooms were hand pollinated for seed purity. So Waimea….let’s hope we have struck gold!
I just want to write a note to bring attention to the efforts of editors across the country who made the decision to include a story about sustainable agriculture in their papers. It may not seem like much to some of you, but it means a lot to we small farmers and heirloom seed preservationists/researchers who are trying to get our voices heard. The idea? That we have answers right in front of us. Myself and many others have been trying our best to share old news that is also good news: Heirlooms matter. So it is all the better when editors get an opportunity to pick up an AP article about such things and run with it. So farmer hat is off to the Editorial staff at the following publications:
SFGate of San Francisco, California
The Washington Times of D.C
Lancaster Farming of Ephrata, PA
The Star Advertiser of Honolulu, HI
MySA of San Antonio, TX
and of course the team at the West Hawaii Today of Kona, HI who put the ball in motion.
For running this article about my farming efforts in their publications. Each and every action matters from seed to soil to getting the word out to others. So thank you news teams for helping to share a bit of good news.
What if you thought that you couldn’t grow tomatoes or melons, or pumpkins, only to find out that you could have all along? A lot of Hawaii gardeners begin by thinking of mainland season, and mainland vegetables, Soon they watch their dreams fizzle as plant after plant fails. I read and respond to so many messages where all I can do is encourage experimentation, research, and expand your tastes. All kinds of plantings are possible, but sometimes, you have to be the one to figure out those possibilities. Now, so many of us have websites that can hopefully cut your research down by several seasons, if not years, But due to micro climates, what works for me may not work for you, or maybe it will. Often we must just try and see. Many just want answers, they just want seeds, while others are problem solvers and researchers.
Think it cannot be done? It can, trust me on that one. We are now mining history for seed solutions that have been solutions for many generations. They have just been pushed out of popularity due to commercial interests. It is not too late. The Internet connects growers and seed savers from around the globe.
Possibilities are being rediscovered every season. So give it a try, and see if you can find your own solutions. Inspiration is contagious.