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Topics - Gilbert Fritz

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Plant Breeding / Is male sterility in brassicas dominant?
« on: 2018-12-11, 05:16:18 PM »
I've been thinking about male sterility in brassicas. When seed is saved from a male sterile F1 (which by definition myst have been pollenated by a male fertile plant) what will happen in the F2? As I understand it, all the plants will be male sterile. Why would this be?

Plant Breeding / Fake Tetsukabuto?
« on: 2018-11-26, 10:10:39 AM »
I grew a few hills of Tetsukabuto squash in hopes of getting crosses with nearby moschatas and maximas. I harvested a half dozen fruit. They are dark green/ black, roundish, slightly ribbed, with the flared, five sided stems of a moschata.

Then I chopped one open. I'd heard that Tetsukabuto squash usually have a seed cavity densely packed with flesh/fiber, with only a few seeds.

On the contrary, this one was rather stringy/ empty, and had quite a few seeds. They looked like moschata seeds, though rather large.

Is this the real thing? Or is it just a moschata of some sort?

Plant Breeding / Looking for collaborators on two projects
« on: 2018-11-19, 06:51:27 PM »
I'm looking for collaborators on two projects.

I ordered some seeds from GRIN; to be specific, Cucurbita pedatifolia and C. x scabridifolia. I am investigating the possibility of producing perennial cucurbita crops for food, oil and fodder. I am currently growing C. foetidissima (buffalo gourd), which can be crossed with difficulty with C. ficifolia (Malabar gourd). However, the literature seems to indicate that subsequent generations are sterile. I can not find any references to the cross compatibility of C. ficifolia with either C. pedatifolia or Cucurbita ×scabridifolia.  C. foetidissima, however, crosses with C. pedatifolia to produce C. x scabridifolia. I hope, therefore, that C. ficifolia may be more compatable with one of these species, either before or after a cross with C. foetidissima, or that a cross with C. foetidissima would generate enough diversity for selection by itself.

Also, I can't find much information on what these plants are like, so observing them and their performance in my climate is part of the planned research.

This is my first interaction with GRIN, and I want it to be positive, including a return of information. In the past, I've ordered rare seeds, or been gifted them, and failed to make any progress; they've failed to sprout, got neglected, etc. If I have collaborators, it is more likely there would be conclusive results.

So if you are in a similar climate to mine within the USA, and want to work on this project, please let me know! I'd share some seeds, though I will only be getting ten of each.

The second project is breeding a walnut that tolerates the Front Range and resists Thousand Cankers. Black walnut did fairly well here until Thousand Cankers showed up. The other walnuts may grow, but usually fail to produce a crop. I've ordered seeds for Juglans hindsii, J. major, and J. mandshurica, and bareroot trees of J. nigra and J. regia. I hope to cross these varieties and plant out the resulting nuts. This may take quite an effort to keep the walnut twig beetles off and keep the tender species from freezing out in cold winters. I plan on establishing J. nigra in ground and coating it with something to deter twig beetles; maybe Neem, or kaolin, or something else? In a good cause, I'd be willing to coat frequently, and even use something more toxic if necessary. The tender species could be grown for a few years in pots under cover, and then cut for scion wood to be grafted onto the black walnut, allowing for earlier flowering. I may also try various tricks to get the trees to flower early.

If somebody in the Denver Metro Area would like to collaborate on this, please let me know!

Plant Breeding / Recessive traits in outbreeding landraces.
« on: 2018-11-13, 10:12:33 AM »
One great thing about landrace breeding, from my point, is the time savings. Instead of trying out hundreds of combinations through hand pollination and careful records, the bees do most of the work.

However, one thing I'm wondering about is how to remove undesirable recessive traits from a strongly outcrossing landrace. Assuming that one copy of the gene does not impact the vigor of the plants, mere rouging of visible recessives would still end up with a large percentage of recessives in the next generation, particularly if the full recessives flower before they are eliminated.

Of course, if the recessive trait is merely low vigor or fruiting, more seeds can be planted to compensate. But what if the recessive is connected to poor fruit quality, poor storage, or some other important quality?

Is there any way to eliminate such a quality short of going through the hassle and genetic bottlenecking of sibling selection?

This thread got my attention: It is about the nitrogen fixing capabilities of plants other than legumes, in cooperation with cyanobacteria, and the possibility of developing strains that cooperate with different species of plants.

I'm sure we are all selecting for this sort of thing in an unfocused way, if we use landraces and low inputs.

However, let's say one wanted to breed the plants and bacteria together in a focused way, as a sort of speeded-up coevolution, that could then be shared with other farmers and gardeners in the form of seeds and inoculant.

How would one proceed?

Plant Breeding / Toxins in squash
« on: 2018-11-07, 10:12:57 AM »
Since I'm doing some breeding with wild squash family plants, I've got a question about toxins. I know cucurbitacins are bitter, and thus can be detected and eliminated easily. Are there other, less noticeable toxins to worry about in squash? 

Is this article substantially correct? I'd have to wonder why the people described in it who got poisoned ate the bitter curbits! Then again, I've found that there's an odd idea floating around that bitter things are good for you; which is true in some cases, but could lead to trouble.

Community & Forum Building / OSSI website
« on: 2018-11-07, 10:07:42 AM »
Will the OSSI website eventually promote this forum?

Plant Breeding / overwintering pea breeding
« on: 2018-11-07, 10:06:56 AM »
In September, I planted out 13 types of peas, most of them from Andrew Barney. So far, they've survived the erratic Colorado Fall weather, warm sunny periods alternating with cold and snow. There is a range of sizes, from one two three inches, and a striking diversity of leaf and plant shape. A few got nibbled by a rabbit, but I've been using animal repellent liberally. I put some Red Russian Kale in the rows as contrast; if it does not survive the winter, we'll know things were really bad.

Colorado weather is harsh on overwintering plants due to midwinter heat and sudden cold snaps. But I think that if peas could overwinter, they would be able to optimally utilize our spring moisture, thus needing little irrigation.

This is the first step in breeding pasture crop peas; eventually, I hope to have a landrace that can be oversown on a warm weather pasture in September, overwinter, grow quickly in the spring, and dry down for harvest as the warm weather perennial grasses and legumes take over in June and July. Ideally, the peas would be alternated with rye or winter wheat.

Pasture cropping has been somewhat successful in Australia, but I have not been able to find any examples in the USA; quite a bit of breeding and experimentation may be needed.

Plant Breeding / Breeding a perennial dryland squash
« on: 2018-10-27, 05:00:00 PM »
I thought I'd open a thread here about a squash breeding project as I get ready for next year.

I'm hoping to develop a perennial dryland squash from the Buffalo Gourd, Cucurbita foetidissima. Possibilities for crossing with it are C. ficifolia, C. pedatifolia, C. radicans, and C. ×scabridifolia, with the final goal being an eventual cross with C. pepo or C. moschata. Embryo rescue might be needed.

So far, not much luck. My foetidissima plants didn't flower their first year, and the ficifolia plants were dismal looking.

Any advice is welcome. I'll update this thread as I proceed. This is probably the breeding project I'm most interested in right now.

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