Is #saveseeds on your farmer bucket list?
But you’re afraid of scary old cross pollination?
Depending on what you grow, you might not have to be scared of that bogeyman!
There is one group of crops that barely cross pollinate at all. And those crops are called SELFERS.
Selfers have hermaphroditic flowers that are wrapped in tight petals that make it hard for insects to get to the pollen, and even harder for them to spread that pollen to other plants.
This means selfer plants are predominantly pollinated by themselves. (You can probably see why we call them selfers)
These crops are great candidates for market gardeners who don’t have time/space to isolate plant varieties.
If you have two selfer varieties of the same crop growing side by side, and you save the seed of one of them, you will barely see any crossing in the next generation.
And if you do see some crossing, it will be at a very low rate – low like 1% to 5%.
Now that might be too much crossing for a seed company that wants to deliver true to type seeds to their clients. But that’s an acceptable amount of crossing for on-farm use.
Any of those crossed plants will still be edible so don’t worry about poisoning anybody.
If you see any accidental crosses, simply skip those plants when you next save seed. Only save seed from plants that look the way you want the variety to look.
When you’re saving SELFER seeds, a few rogue off-types will not influence your population genetics much.
So what crops are selfers?
Here’s a list of selfers that you might be growing on your farm.:
Actually, that’s a list of the selfers we grow @fermetournesol and that I know best.
There are a few selfers missing from the list, but the list of selfer crops is pretty short.
Stay tuned for posts about each of these selfers and how to save their seed in your market garden.
Note: the picture in this post is not of a SELFER – these are mustards flowering in early spring just raring for pollinators to spread that pollen far and wide.