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Hybridizing ... @home

Discussion in 'Plant Propagation' started by digitS', Apr 20, 2017 at 5:54 PM.

  1. Apr 20, 2017 at 5:54 PM
    digitS'

    digitS' Garden Master

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    @lcertuche suggested today that I could come up with an industry-shaking hybrid out of the mix of plants in my pepper patch. Or, she used some such adjective ;).

    There's a problem with playing with hybrids in a small garden ... and my garden isn't even small!

    Several years ago, some of you may remember that I tried my digitS' at hybridizing tomatoes in the backyard. My plan was to take 2 varieties that I was happy enuf with and see what their offspring would be like. Of course, since tomatoes are self-fertile, I had to move the pollen. It was too much for my clumsy digitS'! I had no idea that tomato flowers are so small until I began to cut them open and try to move the pollen from one to another. Also, altho the 2 varieties were early and indeterminate, they really didn't have lots of blooms at the same time - not blooms that were in the same state that I determined was appropriate for pollen transfer.

    One problem with playing with hybrids is limited space in a garden. I was messing around with just one plant of each variety. Anyway, after having these plants intertangled with each other for 3 years - and not even attempting messing with them in years #2 & #3 - they seemed to take on the process by themselves!

    I saved seed from the Bloody Butcher in 2015 and had several seedlings with regular leaves in 2016! Now
    • Buisson - regular leaf
    • Bloody Butcher - potato leaf
    I was pleased with how well the plants grew and produced fruit. There's not a lot of difference between the fruit of each of these. Since potato leaves are a recessive characteristic, I figured that Buisson had contributed pollen. The only thing I was concerned about was that there was a regular leaf Yellow Jelly Bean plant in that tangle of plants near my deck steps. It's already a hybrid, yellow is recessive - I had to hope that the pollen was from the Buisson and not the Jelly Bean plant.

    Weeellll, I saved seed from what I thought might be my hoped-for hybrid (called it Sally ;)) and planted 6 (six) seeds in March. They all have regular leaves!!!

    "What's wrong with that?" you might ask. If the plant is hiding that recessive potato leaf characteristic, 25% of them should have had potato leaves! So, what's 25% of 6? ... maybe one. See, if I had 100 offspring and 25 of them had potato leaves (or, some reasonable number close to 25), I could be confident that "Sally" is actually a hybrid. With 6 identical appearing plants, I can't ... and, I can't begin either winnowing out the potato leaf characteristic or saving it. And, what about that Yellow Jelly Bean??? Waaahhh!

    I'm just gonna have to plant all 6 and I'm just gonna have to eat my tomatoes and be happy with that ... don't you think?

    digitS'
     
    Collector and valley ranch like this.
  2. Apr 20, 2017 at 6:06 PM
    valley ranch

    valley ranch Garden Addicted

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    Wow, I can't believe I read the whole thing. I don't hyper plants, I did once plant a particular good tasting pastry mama had made hoping the fruit of the tree would please the family, that I had thought to plant it.
     
    digitS' likes this.
  3. Apr 21, 2017 at 1:57 PM
    lcertuche

    lcertuche Deeply Rooted

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    Jackie Clay has some articles on hybrid/heirloom seed saving. I was just joking about the hybrid but then again I suppose that's how most hybrids turned up. I think it's interesting about how she plants so many varieties from the cucurbit family without cross-pollination.
    http://www.backwoodshome.com/saving-seeds/

    Plant seeds have got so expensive I will try to save as many seeds as I can. I know I planted some watermelon seeds from a store bought watermelon and what I ended up with was bushels of varying sizes of small, thick rind melons that were sooo sweet and good. They lasted for a couple of months in my garage. Now would this happen every time? I doubt it but it doesn't hurt to give it a try now and then. I happen to have a bare spot in a new garden and didn't know any better back then. It is especially interesting that it was in July when I planted the seed.
     
  4. Apr 21, 2017 at 4:47 PM
    digitS'

    digitS' Garden Master

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    "... the species Cucurbita, grown in the United States: C. pepo, C. maxima, C. mixta, C. moschata, and C. argyrosperma. C. pepos are usually pumpkins and summer squash. C. maxima are usually larger, pumpkin-shaped squash and hubbard-type squash. C. mixtas can be cushaw, “sweet potato” or Japanese squash. C. moschata includes some Japanese and pumpkin-squash. C. argyrosperma includes many striped cushaw-type fruits.

    It seems confusing, but you can still grow five different squashes in your garden each year, one of each variety, and still keep pure squash."

    There you go! I have not tried mixtas or argyrosperma but it would be fairly easy to segregate 3 more common ones with so many choices within each species.

    Steve
     
  5. Apr 21, 2017 at 6:46 PM
    lcertuche

    lcertuche Deeply Rooted

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    That came as a pleasant surprise to me to. I'll be looking closer to Latin names in the descriptions from now on.
     
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