Author Topic: New to plant breeding - where to take this chili pepper?  (Read 602 times)

Alongshore

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I joined the forum from the recent email that was sent out, thanks.  I'm in New England on Cape Cod and we have a very unique growing season that seems to be changing rapidly these days being surrounded by water. We have a really short (if at all) spring and a super warm fall that can go into December.

Anyways I have about 1/4 acre of growing space that once was a market garden but now is just our home kitchen garden and have been growing this pepper and just casually selecting it. Outside of the books "Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener" & "The Seed Garden" I don't have any experience with breeding but was wondering if you guys had some opinions on where to take this pepper I've been saving.

I initially got the seed in 2014/15 for "Flame Tongue" from Sylvia Davatz in VT of Solstice Seed as a compact chili plant that grows in cold climates - its a great pepper that turns red in maybe 60 days (see flame-tongue-saved.png). 

I saved the seed and it was stable for maybe 2 seasons (see flame-tongue-saved.png) and I noticed a couple years ago that the pods had increased in size (new-flame-tongue.png) in a couple of plants, so I saved those. 

The year they increased I had also planted Frank Morton's New Mexico Landrace within the same bed - maybe 20 plants total with 5 being New Mexico (see Landrace-chili.png)

So I saved those and have been continuing to see the compact plants (from flame tongue) with the larger pods. New Mexico is fairly large plant and I still see them in the mix now too.

I didn't intend it but the following year I added some Ahi Lemon in the beds and saved them out and noticed the following year that the plants were much more compact and the shape of Ahi Lemon was looking more like "Flame Tongue" (see ahi-lemon.png)

So I guess I don't really know where to take this pepper project from here - should I separate out the Ahi Lemon (it has great flavor)?  Should a goal be to just make this adaptable to this region and mix it all up again?  It has good production right now.

Thanks for any ideas.

--Chris

William S.

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Re: New to plant breeding - where to take this chili pepper?
« Reply #1 on: 2019-01-18, 07:46:50 AM »
You could probably alternate years and have multiple goals with this. You could also pick a personal favorite and trade seed on to someone else for your less favored types.
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian silty clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days

Doro

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Re: New to plant breeding - where to take this chili pepper?
« Reply #2 on: 2019-01-18, 09:33:09 AM »
You don't need to separate your two projects. They can grow side by side without mixing.
The Flame Tongue and the New Mexico Landrace are both Capsicum annuum. Just continue to select for the traits you like and your group breeding of the crosses will move you into the right direction with a little help of the pollinators.
The Aji Lemon is a Capsicum baccatum, it does not cross with the Capsicum annuum of your other project. The change in plant habit and fruit size will be due to growing conditions. Some pepper varieties have enough variability in their gene pool to change a little when exposed to climates out of their comfort zone. Wind can be a factor causing a drift towards bushy plants, or cool conditions with lots of sun.

Alongshore

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Re: New to plant breeding - where to take this chili pepper?
« Reply #3 on: 2019-01-18, 12:07:24 PM »
Thanks for the replies, I wasn't aware of the separate groups there, thank you. I think I'll try to still select the aji lemon for my region and these smaller compact plants.

Klaus Brugger

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Re: New to plant breeding - where to take this chili pepper?
« Reply #4 on: 2019-01-19, 05:12:24 AM »
Only on a side note: It think it's safe to say that C. annuum and C. baccatum usually do not cross, but it can be done if one wants to.
Success for sure depends, among other things, on the genotypes and the direction of the cross and backcrossing may be necessary to restore fertility.
But for some breeding goals hybridization between the two species might be worthwhile.

Doro

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Re: New to plant breeding - where to take this chili pepper?
« Reply #5 on: 2019-01-19, 08:45:49 AM »
Honestly just 'wanting to' isn't enough. Post fertilization barriers with the two are too big to just have it happen it in the garden.
I do not think embryo rescue is an option here.

Klaus Brugger

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Re: New to plant breeding - where to take this chili pepper?
« Reply #6 on: 2019-01-19, 10:21:10 AM »
I'm not talking about just having it happening but about controlled pollination. I worked with bud-pollination the one time I tried to make a hybrid between the two.
My one resulting F1 plant was pollen-sterile but backcrossing or "pseudo-backcrossing" with C. chinense worked just fine. The greenish corolla on the petals was a nice marker confirming the hybrid nature of the plant. Literature seems to be a bit inconsistent regarding this issue and embryo rescue seems to be necessary for certain combinations but definitely not for all.

EDIT: But that's rather off-topic, of course. I didn't mean to hijack this thread.
« Last Edit: 2019-01-19, 10:23:04 AM by Klaus Brugger »