Author Topic: Separating wind pollinated crops (beetroot)  (Read 253 times)

Doro

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 78
  • Karma: 15
  • Värmland, Sweden
    • View Profile
Separating wind pollinated crops (beetroot)
« on: 2019-03-27, 03:47:21 AM »
Usually I only grow out one variety of seed beetroot for the swedish seedsavers per year. Just to avoid crosspollination.
However I got my hands on an older seed sample of a rare sugar beet and I'd also need to up my own seed stock for my favourite beetroot variety. So now I'm having three varieties waiting for seed production next year :/ but there is no way I could plant all tree in the required distance to avoid crosspollination.
Having a seed cage would also be nice to keep beetroot from crossing to Swiss chard. I'd eventually need to take seeds from that again too.

But how should I go about building a seed cage for wind pollinating crops?
I assume garden fabric could be used, but I am worried it will become too hot and humid under it for beetroot. Can't just open the cages to air them, right? Any ideas how this is done?

bill

  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 75
  • Karma: 15
  • USA, WA Coast
    • View Profile
    • Cultivariable
Re: Separating wind pollinated crops (beetroot)
« Reply #1 on: 2019-03-27, 11:26:53 AM »
It is probably easier to plant them at different times.  Fabric barriers will reduce pollen movement, but they won't stop it.  If you offset planting by 3-4 weeks, that should be enough.

rowan

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 35
  • Karma: 14
  • Southern Victoria, Australia
    • View Profile
    • Garden Larder
    • Email
Re: Separating wind pollinated crops (beetroot)
« Reply #2 on: 2019-03-27, 12:10:11 PM »
My beets flower for a very long period and time separation would not work so I just grow one per year.
--------------------------------
Garden Larder:  www.gardenlarder.com.au

bill

  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 75
  • Karma: 15
  • USA, WA Coast
    • View Profile
    • Cultivariable
Re: Separating wind pollinated crops (beetroot)
« Reply #3 on: 2019-03-27, 12:19:04 PM »
They do, but you can work around that, either by pulling the plants and finishing the seed maturation elsewhere or by bagging the stalks once they have had enough time to set some seed.  That wouldn't work for field-scale production, but if you are just trying to get seed from enough plants to propagate, it is easy enough.  I grew beets like this for years.  It isn't perfect and sometimes the bags get blown off the plants or I get surprised by flowering before I am ready, but I am also not too concerned about a small amount of crossing. 

Doro

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 78
  • Karma: 15
  • Värmland, Sweden
    • View Profile
Re: Separating wind pollinated crops (beetroot)
« Reply #4 on: 2019-03-28, 01:57:32 AM »
Offsetting planting time is a great idea, thank you! I wasn't thinking of that at all because of their long flowering time.
But when combined with at least a decent distance and some fabric barriers around the stalks, that sould stil work good enough.
Cuttinf off the late flowers on the first planted variety and discarding the first seeds from saving on the last flowering one will reduce risks even more. I let 10 roots go to flower on average, that's tons of seed and discarding a few does not hurt.

Planting them late will be the trickiest part though. All my seed roots spend 5-6 Months in the root cellar, winter is awfully long here. They usually are desperate for planting as soon as possible. But some varieties store better than others, so it should work out somehow.