It is now CROSSER time on #seedsavingformarketgrowers.
Reminder – SELFERS are hermaphrodite flowers that predominantly self pollinate.
Crossers are on the other side of the spectrum. These are plants that predominantly cross pollinate. Some are hermaphrodites and some have distinct male and female flowers. Whatever the flower structures, CROSSERS want to CROSS.
Now at first thought, you might think that this makes these crops hard for market gardens to #saveseed.
But for most crossers that actually isn’t the case.
The key reason is that for most crossers, we harvest the vegetative part of the crop. And so they don’t go to flower. That means that you need to intentionally let the crop go to flower to then get seed.
If you only let 1️ variety of a crop go to flower, there will be no other variety to cross pollinate your crop. This makes it easy to save true to type seed.
Two important notes:
1️⃣ It is important to know your crop species when determining what will cross with itself.
2️⃣ Sometimes a crop has wild relatives that it can cross with.
I’ll point out how these two points apply to different crops we walk through crossers over the next few weeks.
If you do want to save seed from more than one 1 crosser crop in a year, you might also be able to do that.
If you don’t sell seed, 1200’ is probably a good enough distance between crossers that might cross together. At this distance, populations of a few hundred flowering plants will have very little crossing.
But when you’re staring out, just stick to one variety of a crosser per year. It’ll make things a little simpler.
AND … if one seed harvest produces enough seed to last you a few years, you can grow out a different variety the next year!!!
p.s You want a list of crossers? remember those selfers we talked about – tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, lettuces, escarole, beans, peas. If it’s not on that list, it’s almost surely a crosser.
p.p.s. Happy Earth Day