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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"
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
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...
Maybe I'll patent the mixture and make some money off it. Oh yes,
USDA doesn't allow the sale of diverse vegetable seed blends like this. Almost
forgot about that.