The Ornamental Mini Pumpkins

It all started with Baby Boo, that slightly flattened ribbed white mini-pumpkin that is a big hit at the fall farmstands.  It happens to be the one patented squash I am crazy obsessed about in what is now a sea of patented living things.  Ask me about plant patenting.  Go ahead.  I dare you.   Let me tell you my feelings about the ownership of genetic resources...

Long Island Seed's new "Ornamental Edibles"

Long Island Seed's new "Ornamental Edibles"

I guess I was a little irked because Baby Boo looks so very much like an heirloom white pumpkin from Asia that I used to grow and now that Asian pumpkin or something very similar was "owned" by some person who could collect the royalties from it.  I've calmed down and now realize that Baby Boo was probably developed independently from Chinese White and could have unique genetic combinations introduced into it by it's breeder.  Perhaps I was just irked at the USDA Plant Patenting Office for not even realizing there was already a Baby Boo look-a-like out there and they were handing out ownership rights for this and God-knows-what other living thing.  Maybe I'm just becoming a curmudgeon and I ought to just "get over with it".  Patenting is here...good or bad.

Well, perhaps some good did come of it.  One of the amazing things that has happened over the last few years is the increased variation in my patch of "Ornamental Edibles" a term coined by the folks at Rupp Seeds for decorative mini pumpkins .  This year the diversity was truly a thing of beauty.  And they all harken back to Baby Boo parentage.  After all, you can use a patented variety in breeding projects like I did (until the USDA and our Congress choose to make that illegal too).  Several years ago I crossed Baby Boo to other pumpkins, acorn squash, even zucchini.  Call it, making a statement.

Actually, my foray into mini pumpkin breeding which culminated in this fall's wonderful harvest started with the "Boo" and Jack Be Little (the tiny orange mini pumpkin) and later Sweet Dumpling and Sweet Lightning were added to the gene pool, and some unintentional bee crossing.  The average size of the mixture of "ornamental edibles" is about twice the size of the original Baby Boo and Jack Be Little.  This mix has everything going for it, good looks, outstanding flavor...