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Heirloom Vegetables: How to prevent cross-pollination to save seed?

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Forum: Heirloom VegetablesReplies: 7, Views: 202
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darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 11, 2008
11:04 PM

Post #4651885

This year I want to grow some heirloom beans, winter squash, peppers (hot and sweet) and maybe more... AND I want to save seed. I know C. pepo will not cross with C. maxima, and C. maxima will not cross with C. mixta, so those are no problem for me.

BUT how far apart to plant peppers, beans and other squash?

THANKS in advance!
Farmerdill
Augusta, GA
(Zone 8a)


March 11, 2008
11:36 PM

Post #4651981

Beans ( P.vulgaris) rarely cross naturally so if you have those , no problem. Lima beans ( P.lunatus) will cross among cultivars as will P. coccineus (runner beans). All of the ones mentioned that cross pollinate are insect pollinated. So they need to be in a position either time or place where a bee will not carry the pollen from one flower to another. Distance is not feasible in a small garden, so either planting so they are not blooming at the same time or bagging blossoms ( hand pollination) is the most practical.

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 11, 2008
11:42 PM

Post #4652008

Thanks, you always come through with good answers!

I figured that information was already here somewhere but I couldn't find it.

melody

melody
Benton, KY
(Zone 7a)


March 13, 2008
1:50 PM

Post #4658134

Peppers are the worst for cross pollinating for some reason. I usually plant just one variety that I'm planning on saving and put them in a bed near the house with flowers. The garden peppers can do as they wish and let their genes mingle.

I save plenty of seeds for several years from my isolated peppers so that I can plant them out into the garden the next year.

Commercial pepper farms isolate them by 500 yards, which isn't practical at my house. I just plant them among other bee friendly ornamentals and this usually results in 'clean' insects for the seed peppers.

Beans usually aren't much trouble as Farmerdill stated. I just plant at opposite ends of the garden, or isolate somewhere else on the property. The way a bean blossom is made, it's hard for a bee to actually get to the pollen. The motion of the insect on the flower usually shakes it enough to cause pollination. By planting a trap crop between the beans, the bees will get busy with cukes or whatever before heading to the beans.

You can plant squash of the same species and save seeds too. Check your blossoms the night before and pick a male and female that should open the next morning. Take a bit of masking tape and tape the blossom ends shut. The next morning, pick your male flower and untape. Untape your female and hand pollinate it. Tape it back shut, and mark that blossom with a bit of yarn or something. Squash produce so many seeds, that you can do 2 or 3 flowers and have tons for growing or trading. Then let everything grow and pollinate as they naturally do. When harvest time comes, you have your marked squash to save seeds from.

Tomatoes are easy too. It's hard for insects to actually get to the pollen, and natural motion usually does the pollination trick. I isolate, and put a trap crop between the plants..(peppers are good)

Any of these can be bagged also, and those little net bags that you can get in bridal sections of craft depts are great, just don't use the little drawstring ribbon to tie it shut. When it gets rained on, it's impossible to untie! (been there done that) Use a twist tie and a bit of cotton around the stem.

Hope this helps.
tamatik
rosswood, BC

March 28, 2008
1:49 PM

Post #4720943

"Tomatoes are easy too. It's hard for insects to actually get to the pollen, and natural motion usually does the pollination trick. I isolate, and put a trap crop between the plants..(peppers are good"

ok..my 2 cents worth..first let me say that i have been away from Daves a LOONG time and have just returned..I have missed so much ..

as to the statement in parenthesiis? It has always been my understanding that peppers and tomatoes should not be grown in close proximity to each other..I don,t recall the reason.. But I have always grown them close to each other and no worries. Its just some statement that I read/or heard at one time and it stuck with me cause I was always doing the opposite.
Anybody else hear this

Gord In BC

melody

melody
Benton, KY
(Zone 7a)


March 28, 2008
2:32 PM

Post #4721205

I generally plant Solanaceae together. That way, I can rotate them in the garden together. They are generally suseptable to the same soil borne diseases, so by putting them in the same garden rotation, I can plant them in the same garden area every 4 years. It's worked fine for me for many years.
zebraman
Venice, CA
(Zone 10a)

March 31, 2008
10:37 PM

Post #4737034

Hey Darius; Peppers do readily cross, however you can grow several varieties as long as you enclose each variety in an isolation cage. This can be a simple form covered in Re-may (row cover) or regular window screening. Peppers are cross pollinated via insects and not wind. I personally use "hog-wire" cages with the inside covered with Re-may as it is easier.

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 31, 2008
10:52 PM

Post #4737092

Thanks for all the good tips everyone!

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