Here are a few updates from projects I have been cultivating (pun intended)
These are the sweet potato slips (Update! Experiments in (sweet) potato) growing under lights in the office. They are growing along quite slowly which I think is fine as it is cold outside and they will only be planted out when it is quite warm. Suddenly, yesterday (almost seemingly overnight) most have shot up and opened up quite a few leaves instead of tiny buds. Not sure if it is the longer sunshine hours coming through the window or what prompted it but I broke some off and put them in water to try to get some roots before planting out.
These are the tallest two that I broke off and set in water – I have moved them to directly under the sun lamp in hopes that they grow leaves rather than just keep shooting upwards.
These are the sprouts from the tiger nuts I planted last week (Tiger Nuts). The first one sprouted quite quickly and now others have followed after a few days. They are a cute little grass sprouts at the moment but they will turn into a big clump of grass when the weather warms up and hopefully produce a lot of little tubers for me to eat.
Below is the strangest update (Hand pollination) and a question for anyone who reads this; asking whether it has ever happened to them. The pictures that follow are of a mini pumpkin planted from seed packet called ‘Jack Be Little’. From all that I can search they are a bright orange pumpkin that grows to be a miniature size fruit around tennis ball sized (250g). However, fruit below can not by any stretch be called bright orange, this is my first time growing these pumpkins and I know that the prefertilised fruit was green and round and since I pollinated; the fruit has taken a distinctly pumpkin shape but the colour is distinctly not pumpkin orange.
The caveat is that at the time of hand pollination I had no male pumpkin flowers so I used a male courgette flower to pollinate (also C. pepo) The pollen clearly took and the fruit started to grow, although from all I have read the pumpkin should not have been affected by the courgette pollen and still grown a regular orange pumpkin.
Below is the latest photo of the courgette ‘One Ball’ that was hand pollinated on the same day with courgette pollen. (The white patch is white out to mark hand pollination as pen fades/washes off). This fruit is around twice the size of the pumpkin so far and I will be keeping this one for seed experiment (it is an F1 hybrid) and now will probably want to keep the strange pumpkini seeds as well.
I have found a few instances on the internet of this happening where the fruit on the vine of the same plant produced normal fruit when the correct pollen was used. I have had to hand pollinate another pumpkin (different plant) with a courgette flower as there are still no male pumpkin flowers to be found as yet. I guess all will be revealed later on in the season and we will see if the other pumpkins become bright orange on the same vine.
So any suggestions or experiences that are similar in your world – I would be fascinated to find out if this has happened to others.