In the episode of Gourd Seed Saving, we have talked in detail about the conditions for successful pollination of Cucurbitaceae. There are some seed saving principles that could be applied to different family of crops. Seed saving is a fun process because it is not only treating your crop as food source, but also as a member of ecosystem. Let's take a look at some seed saving principles!
Open-pollinated (OP) & Hybrid (F1) Seed
After a season of hardwork, you found a variety that you like, especially one that tastes good, you will want to save the seeds. The seed saving process of open-pollination (OP) is rather straight-forward, but hybrid (F1) varieties have a more complex genetic background - Of course you can still save F1 seed, but you won't get the original variety that you were aiming for.
External Factors of Seed Saving
Seed saving works similarly as you were growing your crop. But there are a few differences:
- Density: If your goal was to save seeds, you can increase the spatial density of the crops. When you grow at home, it is most usual the case that you will be saving seeds as you harvest the crop. In that case - always remember to choose a plant that is strong, disease-free, and carries the characteristic of the species as your target plant for seed save.
- Fertilisation: You don't need to input too much Nitrogen for the targeted plant, but towards the end of seed saving, you will want to add more Phosphrus and Potassium
- Water: Water your plant as you were growing it for harvest, but you will have to reduce the water amount towards the end of seed saving
You should also be aware of the growing cycle of the plant, particularly the flowering condition of a particular species, for example, plants may flower according to:
- Fertiisation: Species from the solanaceae family, or the lettuce, beans will turn from vegetative growth to reproductive growth if they have the right amount of fertilization
- Day-length, for example
- Long day-length: flowering in Summer, such as Lettuce or other chrysanthemum vegetables
- Short day-length: flowering in Winter, such as amaranthus, malabar spinach and certain variety of beans
- Vernalisation, meaning the plant should be exposed to Winter for flowering. Examples include: Brassica or apiaceae such as carrots
Tomato will shift into reproductive growth once they have the right fertilization
Malabar Spinach will flower and produce seeds during short day-length Autumn and Winter
Long Day-length promote the growth of male flowers
Physical and Genetic Purity of Seeds
Brassica depends on insect pollination, anther must be deposited to stigma of a different flower for successful pollination
Ready to Try?
- Is my crop produced from open-polliated (OP) or hybrid (F1) seeds?
- Does my crop self-pollinated or cross-pollinated?
- Does my crop flower during long day-length or short day-length?
Autumn Sow Species’ Flowering & Pollination Worksheet
|Family||Name of Species||Sowing Season||Clover Availability (2023/8)||Botanical Name||Flower Structure||Pollination||Pollinating Agent||Life Cycle||Note|
|Asteraceae||Lettuce||Autumn||✓||Lactuca satica L.||Complete||Self||/||Annual||Seeds may be infected by Lettuce Mosaic Virus (LMV)|
|Asteraceae||Garland Crysanthemum||Autumn||✘||Chrysanthemum sagetum L.||Complete||Self||/||Biennial||Long Day-length|
|Brassicaceae||Chinese Cabbage||Autumn||✘||Brassica pekinesis (Lour.) Rupr||Complete||Cross||Insect||Biennial||May hybridise with Pak Choi or Choi Sum.
|Brassicaceae||Chinese Kale||Autumn||✓||Brassica alboglabra L.H.Bailey||Complete||Cross||Insect||1||May hybridise with Kohlrabi.
|Brassicaceae||Kohlrabi||Autumn||✓||Brassica caulorapa DC. Ex Pasq||Complete||Cross||Insect||Biennial||May hybridise with Chinese Kale.
|Brassicaceae||Cabbage||Autumn||✓||Brassica oleracea var. capitata L.||Complete||Cross||Insect||Biennial|
|Brassicaceae||Cauliflower||Autumn||✓||Brassica oleracea L. var. botrytis L.||Complete||Cross||Insect||Biennial|
|Brassicaceae||Broccoli||Autumn||✓||Brassica oleracea var. italica||Complete||Cross||Insect||Biennial|
|Brassicaceae||Radish||Autumn||✓||Raphanus sativus||Complete||Cross||Insect||Biennial||Self Incompatible|
|Cucurbitaceae||Melon||Autumn||✘||Cucumus melo L.||Monoecious||Cross||Insect||Annual||May hybridise with other variety of muskmelon|
|Fabaceae||Pea||Autumn||✘||Pisum sativum L.||Complete||Self||/||Annual||Seeds may be infected by weevil|
|Solanaceae||Tomato||Autumn||✓||Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.||Complete||Self||/||Annual||Seeds may be infected by various diseases|
|Solanaceae||Chili / Pepper||Autumn||✓||Capsicum annum L.||Complete||Self||/||Annual||Seeds may be infected by various diseases|
|Solanaceae||Eggplant||Autumn||✓||Solanum melongena L.||Complete||Self||/||Annual||Seeds may be infected by various diseases<|
|Apiaceae||Celery||Autumn||✓||Apium graveolens L.||Complete||Cross||Insect||Biennial|
|Apiaceae||Coriander/Cilantro||Autumn||✘||Coriandrum sativum L.||Complete||Cross||Insect||Biennial|
|Apiaceae||Carrot||Autumn||✓||Daucus carota L. var. sativa DC||Complete||Cross||Insect||Biennial|
|Brassicaceae||Pak Choi||Spring / Autumn||✓||Brassica chinensis||Complete||Cross||Insect||Annual||May hybridise with Chinese Cabbage or Choi Sum. Self Incompatible|
|Brassicaceae||Choi Sum||Spring/Autumn||✓||Brassica parachinensis L. H.Bailey||Complete||Cross||Insect||Annual||May hybridise with Chinese Cabbage or Pak Choi. Self Incompatible|
|Brassicaceae||Chinese Mustard||Spring / Autumn||✓||Brassica juncea (L.) Czern.||Complete||Cross||Insect||Biennial||May hybridize with other mustard varieties, such as Brown Mustard.