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Anyone develop their own varieties?

Posted by Bruneau Z5 (My Page) on
Sun, Feb 17, 13 at 11:02

I know several have probably read the book "Breed your own Vegetable Varieties" by Carol Deppe. I became interested in plant breeding/variety development many years ago when I used to save seed from my biggest pumpkin each year and then one time the seed grew plants that were a crossed with a spaghetti squash. I then researched more about crossing plants and ended up buying the book. I am not a big fan of some of her ideas but the basic concept is fascinating to me. I then started several projects crossing tomatoes, peas, corn(to make hybrids), and squash. After a couple years I had my entire garden wiped out including most of my breeding projects and I lost interest after that. So I have never developed a new variety worth anything but I am planning to make some new crosses this year. I never plan on creating a variety I would profit off of, this is just for fun.

Do any other gardeners cross vegetables and try to develop something better or unique? If so what have you come up with?

A neighbor of my family over 70 years ago developed an early melon that does well here and I still grow it today. Other than that I don't know of any gardeners in this area making intentional crosses.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Anyone develop their own varieties?

Check out the Hybridizing Forum here.


Here is a link that might be useful: Hybridizing forum

RE: Anyone develop their own varieties?

I am interested in breeding vegetables that are commonly grown as annuals, but are originally perennial in order to restore or improve their perennial characteristics.

I live in a mild sub-tropical zone, with occasional frosts in the northern foothills area of los angeles, so I am particularly interested in growing some of these sub-tropicals for frost hardiness.

I just got some cherry tomatoes that come from a plant that is in it's 4th year of production, according to the owner so I will grow those out. I also have a volunteer tomato that survived this winter unprotected as well, so if it produces this spring those seeds go in the breeding pool.

I am also interested in breeding sweet peppers for frost tolerance. I'm going to try crossing with a rocoto chile, which is one of the hardier peppers. But basically my plan is to plant out sweet peppers and whatever survives goes in the breeding pool.

I am also growing moringa oleifera and hope to add pigeon pea. The intention would be to develop hardier strains of both of these.

I'm no botanist, but I am interested in pushing the envelope. I'm growing anyway, so why not?

RE: Anyone develop their own varieties?

I select for cold tolerance too, here in the pacific northwest. Also slug and snail resistance, and resistance to spring aphids (broccoli, I am looking at you!)

I don't do a lot of deliberate hybridizing, but I save seeds from the plants that do best, and label them according to their characteristics. I have broccoli that is best for winter production, and another that is best in spring, for example.

For flowers, I do more actual breeding, but that's another forum ;).

RE: Anyone develop their own varieties?

One way to think of it is that if you're saving seed, you are already developing new varieties to a degree.

Even with the best seed saving practices intended to maintain a variety, there will be some degree of adaptation to the conditions in your garden, including pest resistance (if it isn't pest resistant, it probably ain't gonna make it to seed). Seeds will also adapt to your gardening practices, including seed starting methods.

With poor seed saving practices, you may be unknowingly creating an early or a late variety, or selecting against

One big problem with plant breeding and seed saving on a backyard scale is not specimens to select seed from. Let's say you're super lucky and 20% of the plants you grow have the characteristics you want and make it all the way to seed, you are going to need to start with 100 plants to end up with 20 plants as your breeding pool.

It is most efficiently done on a commercial scale or possibly as a part of a community effort. But then again, don't underestimate the power of a lone passionate gardener...

RE: Anyone develop their own varieties?


I don't do a lot of deliberate hybridizing, but I do take steps to /prevent/ breeding with plants that have characteristics I don't like. I cut off their flowers.

RE: Anyone develop their own varieties?

Peppers, yes...I breed for flavor and production/yield per plant.

I've experimented with 5 different intentional lines of various focus, and I've only kept 2 going long enough to be released or close to release. 1 has been bred to a seed release and the other 1 I'm currently breeding to release (still years away, but promising so far).

Peppers are really easy to deliberately's choosing the plants you take to the next generation(s) and the quality of the variability after the initial cross that's tricky...along when knowing when to walk away from what you've grown out as being not worth the time/space to continue.

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