Author Topic: C.melo manual crossing help needed.  (Read 646 times)

gmuller

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C.melo manual crossing help needed.
« on: 2020-02-27, 03:23:37 PM »
I'm trying to manually cross a dwarf melon to a selected small fruited melon with exceptional table qualities to get the dwarf architecture into my tasty melon.
I'm hoping that  dwarf is is recessive, but that's the least of my problems.

I can identify the male and female flowers and their maturity, but using tape to enclose the flowers is proving problematic - every time i go to get the tape off, i destroy or mangle the flowers. I'm using painter's masking tape.

Are there any hints or tricks or tape recommendations. In desperation I'm trying small plastic tomato grafting clips again, but last year they just caused all the flowers to abort.
I really want to do this cross this year, and the window is rapidly closing...
Gregg

Diane Whitehead

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Re: C.melo manual crossing help needed.
« Reply #1 on: 2020-02-27, 03:36:05 PM »
In Carol Deppe's first book, Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties, she wrote:

For the male flower:  Untape them by removing the end of the flower with the tape, and tear off the petals.

After the male flower is in hand and prepared, untape the female flower by removing the tips of the petals with the tape.  Then brush pollen from the male onto the stigma of the female.  Retape the end of the female flower closed with a new piece of tape.
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Ferdzy

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Re: C.melo manual crossing help needed.
« Reply #2 on: 2020-02-27, 03:37:41 PM »
I got some small organza (nylon) party-favour bags at the dollar store a few years back. They come in a couple of sizes, but are basically designed to hold 2 to 6 candied almonds or something of the sort. They have draw-strings to close them. They have been pretty useful for me in covering melon type blossoms, although you may need to find some assistance in holding them closed around the stems. Price is right for experimenting, anyway.

whwoz

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Re: C.melo manual crossing help needed.
« Reply #3 on: 2020-02-27, 05:23:24 PM »
Like Ferdzy, I was going to suggest the Organza bags, most $2 shops should have them in two sizes if you do currently have them for tomato seed saving

Nicollas

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Re: C.melo manual crossing help needed.
« Reply #4 on: 2020-02-27, 10:51:23 PM »
I use clothspins on squashs flowers

gmuller

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Re: C.melo manual crossing help needed.
« Reply #5 on: 2020-02-28, 11:57:48 PM »
Thanks all for the suggestions. I didn't think to just tape the very ends of the flowers - good idea. I should have re-read carol's book, of course!

The little organza bags are a bit too bulky for the small melon flowers, and getting them close to the stems of the plants is a bit of a struggle too - the draw string hems get in the way, even when trimmed right down. I'll check in the morning to see if the grafting clips have done the job. Might sit down in front of the telly tonight and see what i can sew up - plenty of organza in our bulging fabric cupboard.
One issue is the weight of any device placed on the flowers - they seem very prone to dropping off
Nicollas, the clothes pegs are a bit too big and heavy for the little melon flowers- but i will keep it in mind for any squash projects (which I'm just letting mass cross this year).
G

Kim K.

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Re: C.melo manual crossing help needed.
« Reply #6 on: 2020-03-03, 02:09:11 PM »
Another technique is to drape row cover over the entire mother plant (or the whole bed.) Then you must hand pollinate every female flower you want to set fruit--but you know all the fruit are the result of your own crosses exclusively.
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Joseph Lofthouse

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Re: C.melo manual crossing help needed.
« Reply #7 on: 2020-03-03, 05:56:25 PM »
I visit a number of farms that use clothes-pins for closing the flowers. Easy on. Easy off.

Lauren

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Re: C.melo manual crossing help needed.
« Reply #8 on: 2020-03-04, 10:27:12 AM »
The clothes pegs are a bit too big and heavy for the little melon flowers
G
Maybe a paperclip for the smaller flowers?

Diane Whitehead

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Re: C.melo manual crossing help needed.
« Reply #9 on: 2020-03-04, 11:58:51 AM »
A large coloured plastic-covered paperclip is more flexible than a plain metal one, so would probably work well.
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gmuller

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Re: C.melo manual crossing help needed.
« Reply #10 on: 2020-03-04, 01:09:05 PM »
It seems the little plastic tomato grafting clips have worked, this year. The flowers were still closed tight, and the light weight seems to have prevented aborting. Should I prune off other naturally crossed fruits to encourage  my fruit to develop?
I'm getting a bit excited about this project, wondering if I can raise an F1 generation in my poly tunnel over winter - I've got my doubts, even with a heat mat.

GM

gmuller

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Re: C.melo manual crossing help needed.
« Reply #11 on: 2020-03-04, 01:23:34 PM »
id a half a dozen crosses yesterday.

Dwarf architecture is recessive - and tightly linked to the yellowish leaf gene. I hadn't noticed before, but the dwarf melons I have (which might have Utah genetics) are markedly lighter green than the others - so hoping this is the case. This trait would be a great marker for selection particularly if it shows up in the cotelydon stage. Sow a few hundred F2 seed, and select the light ones for growout.
I've also added a second cross to the project  well, a second project actually, crossing my lunchbox melons to Kajari melon, reputedly drought tolerant from India. If nothing else, should add some really colourful cosmetics to the project. Kajari has a delightful orange, green and cream striped livery.
g

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