How far apart for melons, cucumbers, squash, etc so they don't cross-pollinate? - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-28-2009, 01:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am trying to plan out my bed and have realized I probably have a problem. I have several types of watermelons, melons, cucumbers, summer squash, and winter squash. How far apart do I need these to be from each other?

Maybe I won't be able to do all the varieties I have

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Old 03-28-2009, 02:33 PM
 
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I'm doing about two feet between everything. Maybe 18 inches. Last year I forgot how huge squashes got and didn't leave enough room.

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Old 03-28-2009, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry I mean for cross-pollinating, I am wondering about the tomatoes and beans now too.

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Old 03-28-2009, 04:33 PM
 
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Get your hands on Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth. I didn't do too crazy of spacing with my tomatoes and beans and peas last year, but those are pretty self-fertile. I haven't gotten to the point where I'm bagging all the blooms or using isolation cages though. We'll see. I'm okay with my semi-haphazard-ness.

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Old 03-28-2009, 04:39 PM
 
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I'm another haphazard one. So I'm interested in how this thread turns out!

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Old 03-28-2009, 08:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So is it mainly important if you are saving seed? I will see if I can get Seed to Seed.

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Old 03-30-2009, 01:26 AM
 
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Oh man another thing this newbie has to worry about it looks like!
If I have four different tomatos and stuff do I need to worry? What IS cross pollinate?

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Old 03-30-2009, 06:54 AM
 
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Cross pollination is only a problem for different varieties of the same species. It's not really a worry unless you are trying to maintain a true variety.

Here is a good link:

Its not really about spacing. Afterall, bees can fly a good distance and they are what "cross pollinate" your vege flowers. They fly between plants and the pollen mixes with other varieties, giving you hybrid vegetables. Usually they are different shapes but still edible for instance. They are cross breeds of the two varieties.

There are lots of vegetables that are just "supermarket" looking for one season - butternut squash for instance, loses its hour glass shape after a season or so. Its still o.k to eat.

hth

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Old 03-30-2009, 01:15 PM
 
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I build my squash mounds about 2 feet apart and put 4 seeds in each mound, I put different squash seeds in the mound sometimes and only once did I get a zuccini acorn squash and it was still delicious. I have 6 mounds altogether and all are planted between the corn and the raspberries so they have lots of room to spread out.
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Old 03-30-2009, 01:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think I am going to do some distance apart between varieties, but I am not going to be too concerned. I won't save the seed I guess, because I have like 6 varieties of watermelon for example. Sounds like the tomato and the beans wouldn't be affected until next year and are mainly not an issue anyway.

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Old 03-30-2009, 01:53 PM
 
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Dumb question, but couldn't you just not put the different types of watermelon, etc next to each other?
Like plant one type of watermelon, then one type of squash, one cucumber, then a second type of watermelon, second type of squash, etc?

And then just give them as much room as they actually need to grow.
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Old 03-30-2009, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That is what I am going to do, but I am not doing a row across the whole yard alternating plants. I was trying to see how far if I needed to do it in plots x amount of feet apart for better chances of my watermelon (for example) not being a cross of varieties.

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Old 03-30-2009, 05:45 PM
 
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oh lord, something else for me to worry about.
I just have your traditional rows of squash next to rows of beans, next to rows of cukes, etc. who knows what it will all look like, eh? I'll have acorn sqaush tomatoes.

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Old 03-30-2009, 06:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Don't worry they are different species

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Old 03-30-2009, 06:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steffanie3 View Post
I won't save the seed I guess, because I have like 6 varieties of watermelon for example.
If you have space, it can be kind of fun to save seeds from inappropriately spaced plants and just see what you get. We used to do that all the time with tomatoes in my grandmother's garden ... that's how our family discovered white tomatoes, actually. They just turned up one year in the seeds she had saved.
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Old 05-23-2011, 02:07 AM
 
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I came here to get an answer to the same question. The concern is not necessarily for seed saving, but for a quality fruit. When watermelon and cukes cross-polinate, you get cukes with tought rinds and watermelon that tastes rather like cukes. I don't know why, they are different species of the same curcurbita relatives, but I read and heard it from enough unrealted sources to be concerned.

I started a garden with help from a neighbor, and planted cucumbers. Now he wants to add watermelon in a separate raised bed. I need to know how far I have to locate the melon bed from the one with the cukes, so I don't get unappetizing produce.

If it was only prettiness, I would not care! Some of the best tasting stuff I ever got from a garden was nowhere near pretty enough to sell; fine, 'cuz I want to eat, not sell!

Somonee suggested it is less distance than bees, but distance does affect bees. Anyway, would it help if I had lots of other kinds of plants for the bees? I've got arugula, allyssum, beans, carrots, an eggplant, kohlrabi, lettuce, marigolds,okra, peas, a pepper, a sunflower, tomatoes, yarrow, and at  least a dozen different herbs. There are to be some kind of trailing flowers in planters atop the corner posts, too. Are there any specific plants that would minimize cross-polination?

For the newbie who is confused already, another new concept; companion planting. Some plants make other plants happier, like marigolds do for tomatoes and for roses. Others just fit together well in the same space, like "the three sisters," corn, beans and pumpkins, as "Native Americans" were doing before whites set foot in the New World. It is a lot to wrap your head around, but if you make it work for you, it makes the garden produce better, which is easier in the long run.

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Old 05-23-2011, 02:11 AM
 
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Oh, I love the Jacobean flower tree (tree of life?) I got for my picture! If I had more time, I'd be embroidering stuff like that pic.

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Old 05-23-2011, 09:55 AM
 
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The spacing is really far, way greater than the space of most people's gardens. Think along the lines of 100+feet.
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Old 05-23-2011, 11:29 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosarium View Post

I came here to get an answer to the same question. The concern is not necessarily for seed saving, but for a quality fruit. When watermelon and cukes cross-polinate, you get cukes with tought rinds and watermelon that tastes rather like cukes. I don't know why, they are different species of the same curcurbita relatives, but I read and heard it from enough unrealted sources to be concerned.

 



 

I think you've gotten some bad information. Cucumbers and watermelon are two different species. They can't cross pollinate, and even if they could, the results would be seen in the seeds.
 If they picked their watermelon when it was immature, it might taste a bit like a cuke, and if they didn't keep their cukes watered, they'd have tough skins. That seems much more likely to have been the issue.

 

And as a previous poster mentioned, if you are trying to save seed from your garden and you don't want unexpected hybrids, you'll probably need to just grow one variety of each species if you live on an average sized lot. You can keep them from cross pollinating by using row covers and hand pollinating, but if you just want to use the fruit and don't care about the seed, there is no reason to go through all that trouble.

 

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Old 05-23-2011, 08:48 PM
 
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Another reason for crop troubles: commercial seed growers can also have trouble with cross pollination in spite of all their work (and a crazy amount of work, too.  Some wind pollinated crops have to be separated by a mile or more; insect barriers and hand pollination are regularly used.)

     For home growers, this is the only cross-pollination issue that will affect your garden, unless you are saving seed as well.  The same goes for all seeds, whether from vegetable or shrub or tree.  The fruit you raise will be true to type, but the seeds inside will not (necessarily).

 

 


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