Friday, February 5, 2016

Pollination problems, and a variety name rant

Well... all my cucurbits are getting ready to harvest now and I have been eagerly awaiting putting away the seed I am contracted to provide, but apart from the watermelons nearly all the other pumpkins, melons, squash and cucumbers have not a single viable seed in them. The heat has affected the pollination so badly that I am not getting a single viable seed in any fruits in the rows. I am so disappointed.
What a waste of water and time. You would think that in a 40m row you would get a few seeds.

There were plenty of bees working the flowers and I hand pollinated a lot as I have been walking around but the seeds all aborted with the heat. I have never had this so bad before.

I am hoping that with the two weeks of cooler weather we have just had the female flowers that bloomed during that time will have held onto their seeds so if I wait a bit longer the plants will put out another lot of fruits that might be better.

This is a Cox's Golden Pippin, typical of the fruits containing all empty seeds.

On a positive though, they do taste great. Even my father who hates pumpkin mentioned that he enjoyed eating this one.
I just served them up boiled with a knob of butter but I expect they would be even better baked. They are just the right size for one or two people.

Now to the rant.

I am heartily sick of supermarkets and other vegetable and seed seller deliberately putting their own names on varieties for their own marketing purposes.

It has been happening in the seed industry for a while but I have noticed supermarkets doing it more lately, and yesterday when I was in a vegetable shop I saw a box of Royal Blue potatoes labelled as a different name with the words 'known elsewhere as Royal Blue potatoes' in small writing.

It is not only confusing for customers who want to know a variety name as they are familiar with it, but also disrespectful to plant breeders who have lovingly bred and named something only to have their rights usurped. People who grow heritage varieties often are interested in the history of that variety so when it is given another name the history is gone.

This problem of naming leads to the issue like has happened to Purple Congo potatoes where the variety has a dozen or more names so it is very confusing to anyone who wants to grow them.

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