Tuesday, March 25, 2014

This Is Not Pumpkin Soup And I Am Some Pissed

And do you know why it isnt pumpkin soup?

I nurtured these pumpkins all year; first planting them as seeds in little peat pots so their roots would not be disturbed when we planted them out, then keeping them under lights, then planting them in a compost-enriched bed with a little aluminum foil collar around the stem to keep the cut-worms away, then hours spent weeding and watering, then finally collecting them and storing them carefully in the furnace room to keep them coolish and dry. A lot of effort went into those pumpkins.

And then today I trudged out into the snow to buy the other ingredients I needed to make soup. I washed my pumpkins, and cut them in half. I was a little surprised at how narrow the band of flesh was, and it seemed pale. I put this down to our summer drought though, and proceeded. I pulled out all the seeds and gunk, I rubbed them with a little oil, I roasted them until tender. Then, once they had cooled, I went to peel off the skins and put the flesh into the food-processor to purée it.


The flesh was stringy; stringy like spaghetti squash. I tasted some. It had practically no flavour beyond a slight bitterness.


I am not going to name names here. Mainly because this is the 4th batch of impure seed from this summer, from 4 different suppliers ranging from the very large to the very small, from the long-established to the very new. But you can bet I will be sending this post to all 4 companies. We got 2 batches of bad peas and my favourite slicing tomato was not my favourite slicing tomato. And thats just the stuff I can tell. I wonder how many other things that we were growing for the first time were not actually what they were supposed to be? (There were a few other tomatoes that had crossed, but this was seed we saved ourselves, and we have no-one to blame but our own inexperienced selves for those.)

Its been a while since Ive done much gardening, but I just dont remember having anything like this many problems when we were gardening in an allotment garden. True; we didnt grow as many different vegetables. Still, we did have a garden for 4 or 5 years and I just dont remember anything turning out not as advertised. Possibly we were lucky. But possibly with the surge of interest in home gardening seed suppliers are getting careless.

So, all you gardeners out there: what has been your experience - in the past and this year - with your vegetable seeds? Ive been hearing rumours of other gardeners who have been having problems with unexpected and undesirable crosses in their purchased seeds. Lets hear about it. What seed, and if you dont mind, where you got it.

*Or, if you want to get technical, hybrid seeds. But in this case the phrase that comes to mind is not "hybrid vigour". Its "mongrel". BAH HUMBUG!

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