Sunday, June 2, 2013

Breeding red choi

I was a bit miffed last year that I couldn't find an open pollinated red choi so I decided to make my own. It won't be as easy to produce one as with carrots but it shouldn't be too hard to do. All the red choi seed that I found was hybrid and male sterile so I planted some alongside a couple other varieties of choi and this is my first crossbred (F1) generation. I will weed out the male sterile ones when they flower and only do some basic selecting for type in this bed but I will only allow the red ones to flower, the others will be sold in my veg boxes. The vigorous culling and selecting will come in the next generation.
My main problem will be selecting for a stable size as they are a mixture of three different types, all different sizes. I'm not sure what size I will select for yet, I will wait and see which ones appeal to me later.

I have put in three beds of them so I will have plenty to sell as well as save seeds from. I like to save seeds from at least 30 individual plants of brassicas to get a good gene variety though it is not quite so important with hybrids as they are generally gene diverse. I will probably end up with around 50 plants for seed in this bed even though they have not yet been thinned as you can see.

Below is a picture of the damage that Red Legged Earth Mite do to seedlings. They suck the leaves dry and eventually kill the plant. You can see the tiny black pinpricks on the leaves, that is the mites. They are the most numerous at the moment than I have any time I remember.

It was a bit drizzly all day and cold so I didn't get more done than a bit of weeding. A bit lazy of me but at least I did something for the day.
I did pick some radishes and made a couple of jars of radish pickles though. I am not that fond of the taste of radishes so it will be interesting to see what the pickles taste like. I had to pick them as I was turning over the bed, and they would have got too big and split anyway. I put some chook poo on and planted some cabbage seed in there.

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