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Cross-pollination

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Cross-pollination

Post  TheVickster on Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:10 pm

OK, so every once and a while the subject of cross-pollination comes up. Should I be concerned, and if so, under what circumstances? Last year a friend gasped (literally) when I mentioned I was growing a watermelon next to my cantaloupe. Well, this year I have 2 kinds of: watermelon, cantaloupe, tomatoes, beans, peas, plus a cucumber, summer and winter squash. Oh, and zucchini. About half of these are heirloom, and some day I will probably try to preserve the seeds. Nothing is planted yet, so I have time to change my plan if necessary. :?:
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Re: Cross-pollination

Post  camprn on Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:40 pm

If you are not planning on keeping seed from this years harvest, this is simply a non issue. If you plan on saving seed in the future, this will alter your planting plans for that season.
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Cross-pollination

Post  TheVickster on Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:22 pm

Got it. This year won't be an issue, but for future reference is there any rule of thumb? A certain distance between plants perhaps?
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Re: Cross-pollination

Post  camprn on Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:41 pm

Yes indeed. I would encourage you to do some web research as there is much information out there. I kept my Tomato varieties apart by 15 feet. HERE is some basic info.
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Re: Cross-pollination

Post  Patty from Yorktown on Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:44 pm

There are many different distances depending on the plant/vegetable. Most good books on saving seeds will tell you. It depends on how picky you want to be if you build isolation chambers and play bee with a paint brush. I am not that picky, not to mention I cannot control bees outside of my yard. A good place to start saving seeds is with plants that are mostly or completely self pollinated. For example beans and non-potato leaf tomatoes. If you want to trade seeds, just label them as open pollinated. Other gardeners will understand what you mean. Hope this helps.

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Re: Cross-pollination

Post  TheVickster on Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:02 pm

Oh my . . . well . . . sounds like a good subject for winter-time research! I am relieved to know it won't affect this year's crop. *whew* Thanks!
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Re: Cross-pollination

Post  quiltbea on Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:41 pm

I plan to save seeds from some of my tomato plants this year as I did last year.
I'll be sure the varieties are separated by at least 5 ft of space from another variety.
I also plan to make several tulle or net bags with drawtrings to put over a newly-blossoming flower so the bees can't reach it after I've tapped the flowers above it. You can pollinate your blossoms by tapping the branches and the pollen will fall to those below.
I'll leave the bag there until a tomato begins to form, then remove it, but tag the branch with a strip of cloth so I know which tomato to save at the end of the season.
I hope these precautions give me seeds I'm expecting for the following year.

I read that corn needs hundreds of feet apart.

As for melons, they easily cross-pollinate so any seeds saved one year may produce bitter fruits the next year. Either great distance or bags are the only answer if one wants to save their seeds.

Some folks plan a pollination corner in their gardens to grow a lettuce, broccoli, carrots, etc to seed so they can be saved. You might check into that practice if you want to save your own seed from year to year.

Different rules for different veggies. You'd have to read about each one to be sure.
Good luck whatever you decide.
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Re: Cross-pollination

Post  TheVickster on Mon Mar 07, 2011 6:42 pm

Quiltbee - love your idea with the tomatoes! The tiny bags seem more manageable to me than some of the other methods. I may actually try it some time.

For now, seeds are pretty inexpensive, so I'm OK with not saving them. Each year I'm sure I will add to our garden, try new things, and so on. This year I'm sure we'll have our hands full with triple the garden from last year (which was pretty small).

I hope you'll keep us posted on your seed-saving process.

Wink
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Re: Cross-pollination

Post  quiltbea on Mon Mar 07, 2011 6:57 pm

I also plan to share in our Seed Exchange the seeds I get to save this year.
I'm planning on planting several varieties.

Thankfully, my son is planning to buy a new refrigerator/freezer with the freezer on the bottom like mine. His old side-by-side will come down to the furnace room so we can buy meats on sale to freeze and I can freeze more roasted tomatoes this year.
The crisper drawers will be allocated to saving seed so I plan to get more lidded jars to put the packets inside. I need more crisper room for seed saving. Wink

Happy gardening everyone!
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