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A better butternut

Metro butternut

Butternut plants$3.95 for 30 butternut seeds. It sounded like a lot when I'd been saving my own seeds for years and could likely refresh my supply at the dollar store for under a buck. But I decided to splurge and try out a hybrid butternut --- Metro F1 --- this year...and I was blown away.

The resistance to powdery mildew meant my vines didn't succumb before they finished ripening fruits. So we ended up with about 200 pounds of winter squash with nearly no work.

Butternut pieThen there's the flavor. So rich and sweet that our pies and soups this winter have been a step above previous years' even though I used the same recipes. Our milk goat gets a butternut squash every two or three days, and she's yet to show any signs of boredom with that portion of her diet. In short, Metro really is better.

The frugal side of me wants to save some seeds and see what I'll get if I plant them in next year's garden. The smart side of me says that, at 2 cents a pound, I should buy another packet of the hybrid and stick to a good thing. What do you think?



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Hybrids don't breed true (supposedly) So, buy the seeds this year but plant a test row or a few plants to verify that belief.

Comment by Tom Mon Dec 14 08:19:20 2015
If you happen to have enough room to plant them separately, plant purchased and saved. Then you can do a direct comparison. Otherwise, just do the purchased. You already know it's worth the $4!
Comment by jen g Mon Dec 14 09:37:22 2015
I think Joseph Lofthouse (http://garden.lofthouse.com/adaptivar-landrace.phtml) might say keep a broad mix of seeds from this year, and in future years be intentional about how you select seeds. E.g. mark for saving seeds from plants that don't succumb to disease quickly, that produced proficiently, that had best flavor, etc. More work would go into maintaining this type of seed line than just re-ordering, though.
Comment by Emma Mon Dec 14 10:42:40 2015
My experience with planting seeds from hybrids is that they look great but have no flavor
Comment by Terry Mon Dec 14 10:46:56 2015
I love the idea of seed saving for all kinds of reasons, but I'm quickly becoming a convert for buying new seeds of veggies we love. I'll still save seeds, if only to ensure that we always have a ready supply, but we plant so many different varieties and don't have enough space to protect them against cross-breeding that if I want to ensure getting the same quality the next year, I need to rely on the seed packets from a trusted grower.
Comment by Carole Mon Dec 14 13:10:42 2015