Frogsleap Farm

Frogsleap Farm

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Crossing and Seed Saving

There are several online sites that cover basic techniques for crossing and seed saving, and we've learned from all of them.  One of the best on crossing is here.  Here's a photo of Mark's crossing tool box:  scissors for trimming back to a single flower, and when necessary for trimming petals during emasculation;  a set of very sharp forecepts - the primary emasculation tool; colored wire ties to help you find the emasculated flowers the next day; a glass lens from a discarded pair of sunglasses, on which to collect and apply pollen; and some brightly colored tags to label the crossed flowers after pollination is complete.  I also use reading glasses to better see what the heck I'm doing.

Emasculated flower ready for pollination
I've had best success emasculating after work on day 1, and pollinating the following day after work.  This allows emasculation of very young un-opened flowers, and pollinating 24 hrs later when they are more mature (and receptive).  I very rarely get any accidental self pollination with this method.  Some hints on timing of pollination - I like at least 24 hrs of dry weather after pollination to make sure rain doesn't wash off the applied pollen, and I have most success when I pollinate early in the season (e.g. June), before it gets too hot.  The problem with early pollination is that you haven't had a chance to fully phenotype the parents yet (if they are from a segregating population).

Ripe fruit ready for F2 seed extraction

Fermenting in zip lock bags

I usually extract seed from the ripe fruit in the field (saving messing up the kitchen) and plop the seed and pulp right into a ziplock bag, labeled with a water proof sharpie. After fermentation in the basement for a few days, I wash the seed, dry and store in a coin envelope.

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