Author Topic: Wild Onions & Breeding with them  (Read 1027 times)

reed

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Re: Wild Onions & Breeding with them
« Reply #15 on: 2019-06-02, 04:24:03 AM »
Well my attempt to cross my new wild onions has failed for this year. Three of the four larger plants have not bloomed, instead they are growing second and third tiers of smaller bulbils, I din't notice any of them doing that in the wild patch I found. The fourth plant made just two flowers and I am pretty sure my attempts to emasculate them destroyed them instead. O'well the smaller plants should probably bloom some next year and I'll have more flowers to try again.

I might get seeds from my old walking onions though, they are acting weird. Blooming more than they ever have, a couple stalks have no bulbils at all just flowers and they almost all have more than normal flowers.

In the other patch which is a mix of potato onions from a friend in Minnesota and Joseph's onion mix there is lots of interesting stuff. All these were started from seed and have survived two or more seasons largely on their own. Most are clumped with about 1/2 of them looking more like top set onions but better flavor than my old ones. A couple have no flowers at all. Two other plants which I'm guessing came from Joseph's only have one stalk, maybe they are more bulbing type? They both have lots of flowers and no bulbils. The other 1/2 of this patch are much smaller with clumps of up to about a dozen, they are not blooming or making bulbils but they taste fantastic. After collecting what ever seeds I get here I'm going to divide and transplant all of them into my new permanent perennial patch outside the fenced garden.

So I'll have four or five types that are hardy and productive and I'll move some of the little wild ones into each patch as well. And I'll plant all the seeds I get this fall and let winter cull out any wimpy ones.

Steph S

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Re: Wild Onions & Breeding with them
« Reply #16 on: 2019-11-21, 06:21:14 PM »
I have a couple of plants in my shallot patch which look like a cross with a wild allium, maybe the same one Allium canadense.  They have flat leaves, which sets them apart from the shallots, paler and almost a lime green in color, and very small shoots in a very dense tuft.  One is very dwarf and bore no seeds, while the other was larger and produced a few seeds from mostly incomplete flowers.   We don't have wild alliums here, but the seeds came from somewhere in Canada and maybe some wild pollen crossed into her shallot patch.   I plan to move them in spring, and I will be on the lookout for any deep bulbs - this could be a big advantage for us since shallow planted shallots don't do well planted in the fall.    Besides, now that I read what you think of them, I'm hoping they would be tasty.  :)   Anyway, a different type of bulb belowground would confirm it was some kind of cross.
I've also tried to get seeds from my Egyptian Onions but nothing came of it.
Incidentally, there is another cross of A cepa and A fistulosum on the market, called "Guardsman".   It originated in the UK but is widely available in the US at present. 
I will post a couple of pics of the tiny 'tuft', certainly looks "yellow-green", flower buds light brown and shaped like the shallot buds, flowers reduced and mostly petals - this pic from the larger of the two plants but they were basically the same only smaller on the teeny tuft.  If anyone recognizes the likely parent of this, I'd love to know.
 

Chance

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Re: Wild Onions & Breeding with them
« Reply #17 on: 2019-11-21, 06:55:53 PM »
I got some onion wild relative seed this year, psekemense and altaicum.  I saw that psekemense is closer to oschaninii than other species, so naturally I thought about crossing them.  I havent grown the Griselle shallot/oschaninii, does it even flower ?

Ferdzy

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Re: Wild Onions & Breeding with them
« Reply #18 on: 2019-11-22, 05:57:21 AM »
Chance, the consensus is that no, oschaninii does not flower or produce seeds.

reed

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Re: Wild Onions & Breeding with them
« Reply #19 on: 2019-11-22, 06:17:07 AM »
I moved a bunch of my onions into a new permanent patch the other day. It consists of top set types that came to me as seeds from Joseph and my friend in Minnesota and my old variety I've had for a long time. The new ones as a rule are much better flavor than my old ones. Also included are those that clump or make small to medium sized bulbs. This second group. I think are heavily influenced by potato onions and or shallots, a lot of them have pretty blue shade to their leaves and pinkish/red in the small bulbs. They also came from the same seed origins I mentioned before and they all also taste great. And last, some of the wild  Allium canadense.

Adjacent to that is a patch of little plants from the seeds that I collected this year. It has pretty much all those mentioned before except for the Allium canadense that did not bloom very good or make any seeds. There is a chance that it might have provided a small amount of pollen but it's a pretty slim chance.

In any event, even though I didn't get confirmed crossing with the wild ones I'm pretty happy with my onion patch. It has lots that have survived both severe cold without snow cover as well as hot dry without watering. In the case of cold, some selected themselves out early on by freezing and rotting. In case of hot, dry most go dormant and start growing again in fall.

I'm mostly focused on establishing a "assisted wild" onion patch that can be harvested pretty much any time instead of producing a crop of bulbs for storage. I think it is about ready to leave it to it's own but I'll keep a very close eye of the Allium canadense for any opportunity to cross it into the others.

[add] I remember discussion but could find it again about the concept that just growing things in close proximity can encourage the different things to somehow become more compatible. Some kind of chemical or genetic transfer by a mechanism other that flowering.  I don't remember the actual term. Also not entirely sure I believe it but on the off chance something will come from it I might move some of the many other wild onions that grow around here into the patch as well.
« Last Edit: 2019-11-22, 06:50:29 AM by reed »

Richard Watson

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Re: Wild Onions & Breeding with them
« Reply #20 on: 2019-11-23, 11:28:45 AM »
What interesting looking flowers they have
Changeable year round climate with warming winters - just under 500mm average yearly rainfall. 20 years of soil improvements plus sub soil top soil reversal means my garden beds are about half metre deep. Below that is 100's of metres of alluvial out wash from the Southern
alps.

Ferdzy

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Re: Wild Onions & Breeding with them
« Reply #21 on: 2019-11-23, 11:49:50 AM »
No success for me neither. I planted my favourite shallot next to some wild leeks (ramps) and immediate problem became clear - they don't flower at the same time.

I doubt I will be able to do anything next year as we are going to Great Britain in April, but I guess the next step is to see if I can start the shallots going early. My guess is it would be pretty tricky and involve lights (day length triggers?) so in addition to possible genetic incompatibility there's that. Whoo. Ain't holding my breath.