Friday, April 19, 2019


What the heck is Parthenocarpic? It's where fruit is produced without pollination. Yes, that exists and it isn't due to GMO. Parthenocarpy becomes a desirable trait if you grow certain veggies in a greenhouse that blocks out insects. Veggies that self pollinate can be easily grown in a greenhouse, but there are others that need cross pollination. Cucumbers and squash come to mind, because I like to grow them and it's difficult to grow them out in the field due to the pickleworm moth. Unless I'm willing and prepared to hand pollinate these when growing in an insect-free greenhouse (hint - I'm not), I need to look into a parthenocarpic variety. 

So.... I grow both summer squash and cucumbers in my screened greenhouses. I use parthenocarpic varieties, of course. The cucumbers are specially bred to be parthenocarpic. The seed is expensive, but heck, just how many cucumber plants does one need? So I buy the seed. By the way, these cucumbers are seedless. No pollination = no seed. 

I also grow some summer squash in the greenhouses. No way can I get squash out in my field. The moths find them all. But I the greenhouses I can grow several types. Although they are not listed as parthenocarpic in the seeds catalogs, several summer squashes will produce a fair amount of fruit regardless, without pollination. One of my favorites was Floridor, a hybrid. It consistently did good for me. By alas, the seed is getting very difficult to find, so I'm guessing it won't be available much longer. 

Parthenocarpic is different from self pollinated, because no pollen is involved. And the resulting fruits are seedless. So if they're seedless how is seed produced? That's because these veggies are hybrids. I don't know how it is done, but the seeds are produced and result in a parthenocarpic variety. 

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