Author Topic: Brassica crosses  (Read 661 times)

Steph S

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Brassica crosses
« on: 2019-11-29, 08:16:21 PM »
I had to start a few Michihili for our winter greens, so I picked a pack that was most likely to have crosses, planted 14 seeds, four of them are crossed.   Michihili is B. rapa and so were many of the possible crosses, but there is an obvious Red Russian Kale cross there too (B napus).

One thing I noticed with the Michihili is that the growth rate/vigor is really variable (not just this seed lot but the previous years as well).  You pot up two seedlings that look about the same and one grows much faster than the other.   I  see that the crossed seedlings are more vigorous compared to the selfed Michihili.   So maybe there is some inbreeding depression there, which is relieved in the crosses.  Or maybe it is the genetics of growth rate, which could lead to a faster growing cabbage.

Pic at the bottom is the normal Michihili phenotype.   First two crosses  RRK is obvious and Bok Choy as well, in the leaf shape.  The second two have some mustard blood in them (I nibbled.  RRK cross tasted like a rich romaine, Bok cross mild, the other two are kaley/turnipy).



Richard Watson

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Re: Brassica crosses
« Reply #1 on: 2019-11-29, 09:12:55 PM »
So i take it you are doing these under lights are you steph.
Changeable year round climate, less so summertime, 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.

reed

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Re: Brassica crosses
« Reply #2 on: 2019-11-30, 03:07:16 AM »
I'v been trying for several seasons to make a mix up brassica that will overwinter and or reliably self sow. Haven't had much luck as mostly just kale and turnips ave survived winter.

Steph S

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Re: Brassica crosses
« Reply #3 on: 2019-11-30, 06:39:31 AM »
So i take it you are doing these under lights are you steph.
Yep.   All kinds of greens under lights in the winter.  I have a greenhouse attached to my house, and a few things are there as well but nothing grows without lights in the cold and less than ten hours of daylight - except for leeks.   We won't see ten hours again until the tenth of february, and by then I expect the greenhouse to be pretty cold.   Although I have cut some trees that were blocking the sun on that side, so perhaps it will warm up earlier than in recent years.   
When the mich. cabbage and crosses are big enough we'll eat from them by harvesting outer leaves instead of cutting the whole thing.  That way I can get seeds from the same plants when I put them outdoors in spring.   

Steph S

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Re: Brassica crosses
« Reply #4 on: 2019-11-30, 07:03:03 AM »
I'v been trying for several seasons to make a mix up brassica that will overwinter and or reliably self sow. Haven't had much luck as mostly just kale and turnips ave survived winter.
My mom had a brassica patch that was left to self seed for a number of years.  I have seen Bok Choy, Red Russian Kale, curly kale,  and Osaka Purple mustard popping up from seed, as well as some random crosses.   They are near the ocean so that moderates winter conditions somewhat - although afaik the ground has been frozen hard there without snow cover in the course of winter.
The problem with self sowing brassicas IMO is that they aren't set up by nature to get big and bumptious.  If you just leave them where they lay, you can get baby greens alright but more of them will soon bolt and never produce much of anything.  This is why I decided to collect the seed instead and put transplants in after some bed prep and with suitable ferts.   There are still strays coming up, so I  take a few of those and give them space in the row for variety sake, and they mostly do alright.
We had a really nice 'kale' of unknown origin with tender blue-green leaves and mild taste, which overwintered and the following spring would produce a 5-6 foot spike full of "mockoli" as well as the tender leaves, small but just as nice as broc.   My seeds are getting old, and I failed to get any this year as besides the cold season the cabbage butterflies stripped them bare and they appeared not to recover so the roots were chucked.  :-\ I will try to get some growing again in the greenhouse later this winter, and get some big plants out into one or both gardens.  I wouldn't want to lose it, but when it does produce seed look out there's lots.  :)  You may want to try it.

Steph S

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Re: Brassica crosses
« Reply #5 on: 2019-11-30, 07:28:52 AM »
I forgot to post this really useful link.   It is a research paper from NZ that contains all the information afaict you would ever need to save pure lines of brassicas or attempt their crosses.
https://www.agronomysociety.org.nz/files/2002_9._Review_-_Brassica_cross-pollination.pdf

Also, I don't know anything at all about the genetics of brassicas, so I'm looking at the phenos of these crosses to try to glean some intel.
1) hairy leaf from the Michihili parent seems to be dominant, as all the crossed plants have it including the Bok Choy cross which would otherwise be smooth.
2) the leaf shapes of the pollen donors definitely came through over Michihili's pheno of evenly, lightly serrated leaf. 
3) the anthocyanin from RRK appears to be dominant

Also from the above research paper, it seems the Michihili X RRK is now a Brassica napus.

reed

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Re: Brassica crosses
« Reply #6 on: 2019-12-01, 02:39:56 AM »
I'm at 38.70 N and inland a few hundred miles so way different here of course, temp and day length wise. Big reason I want to mix up the brassicas is to arrive at something that can produce leaves or flower stalks in cool weather of spring and fall, outside the temp range of the cabbage worms which are awful here.  I just want fresh green stuff when little of such is normally available and that isn't covered in worms.

I think a lot of things might actually be more hardy in a colder place cause it can just go dormant especially if covered with snow. Here we have weeks above freezing then a couple nights below zero F without snow. Then back to above freezing again, plants don't know what to do. This year we have only been below freezing maybe a week of nights but one of them was  8 F. My mustard and turnip patches look fine although some did freeze out.

Over in the other patch RRK, a single Brussels Sprout and some collards are all that's left. The 8 degree night was three weeks ago and they have resumed some growth. I think I will transplant them close together and set a cold frame over so I can close it up if necessary. Ultimately they need to survive colder that 8 F cause it can go to -15 F but these few plants are tougher than the others so seed from them might be a good start.

I don't really know much about the genetics of things myself.  I use Ashworth's "Seed to Seed" as a general reference. It is written with intention of keeping things pure but the info is equally useful in doing the opposite.



« Last Edit: 2019-12-01, 02:55:57 AM by reed »

Steph S

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Re: Brassica crosses
« Reply #7 on: 2020-04-24, 06:16:46 PM »
Both of the crosses shown in the first pics produced greens for a good time but bolted well before the genuine michihili did.   The flower stalks were so much taller than my lights, I brought them up to the living room window to set their seed.
Do not do this!  ::) I won't repeat, because the mess of petals I still am dealing with.   They don't sweep nicely and stay stuck to the floor or the broom or randomly travel about.  >:(

However I did get some seed set.  I brought them down to the greenhouse to finish (in spite of cold and extremes when the sun shines) and seed had ripened enough to cut and bag them to dry a little more a couple of days ago.

The RRK X which is technically a B napus has also inherited the trait of being not self-incompatible and produced a lot more seed than the B napus X B napus (which I also made some effort to pollinate amongst its own flowers.   Couple of pics showing the pod production of the RRKx vs the BnapusX.
Many of the B napus X also have but one or two seeds per pod.  So there are only a few of these, but maybe enough to find a good descendant of the cross. 

Will be growing the new generation out at some point when there is enough native/perennial vegetation about to distract the wildlife.


« Last Edit: 2020-04-24, 06:20:25 PM by Steph S »

Garrett Schantz

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Re: Brassica crosses
« Reply #8 on: 2020-08-19, 08:32:27 PM »
Brassica fruticulosa has appearently been synthetically bred with Brassica Napa before - I can't find any sources for it, but appearently invasive in some parts of the United States. Brassica hilarionis seems like an interesting species to try and integrate as well - it seems quite different than other brassicas in terms of flowering stalk, flower type / size though.
Plants I have had come up from fallen seed are -  tatsoi, komatsuna and black spanish radishes - not a brassica but in the same genus with similar flowers. I had/have a large group of these plants bordering a pool purely for flowers. Pink, white, yellow brassicaceae type flowers - honey bees swarmed to all of them not discriminating between family, genus, species etc - most likely due to it being a large group of them. I threw dried plants that I had saved seed from there and some extras I didn't save decided to come and sprout there. I threw even more dead brassicaceae plants there as well now, left the dried up plants with seed pods there too. The area there is all rocky so weeds aren't a problem. If I notice any crosses between anything I will post about it here.

Steph S

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Re: Brassica crosses
« Reply #9 on: 2020-08-20, 06:07:46 AM »
Ditto for bumblebees, they simply adore brassica flowers and no wonder... they smell wonderful.   I grew some Kai Lan this summer which is spectacular in bloom as the flowers are so much larger than the usual brassica crops.   So pretty it makes it hard to cut and eat them.   Those are B. oleraceae and to my mind, much better eating than broccoli.  Crosses with colorful cauliflowers might be interesting.

A big growout of my RRKx F2 hasn't happened yet for various reasons, but I have space available now that the garlic is in.
I did start a batch of seedlings which are victims of neglect.  What am I saying! -  which are being used for a stress test.  ::)
Once again I'm not seeing normal anthocyanin on plants that are indoors under lights or with limited window light.   They seem to need full spectrum to develop that normally.
On seedlings that have been sitting outdoors, I'm seeing variation in the amount of anthocyanin produced, ranging from pale pink to purple.   So I need to put the other plants which are in a container indoors, outside for evaluation.    There is surprisingly little variation in leaf shape, which was true for the hundred or so seedlings I started.

A second feature of interest, the RRKx has far less insect damage than the Blues hybrid napa cabbage seedlings sitting next to them.  Whatever has been eating them is for sure a brassica pest, as the lettuce on the same table has not been touched.   Probably cabbage butterflies, but I haven't checked the napas yet to look for caterpillars.   I notice that the worst RRKx is also the one with least anthocyanin - not a significant sample size obviously but something to watch for in a bigger sample.  Pest resistance, I definitely am looking for.



Garrett Schantz

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Re: Brassica crosses
« Reply #10 on: 2020-08-24, 09:48:54 PM »
Not a Brassica, but a Brassicaceae. Radish - Raphanus sativus. Technically has a very small chance of crossing with a few species of brassica. Very small chance, but possible. I let all of my brassicas grow all around each other last year. These all appear to be black Spanish radishes - can't find flowers that look like these on google images. I quite like them. Radishes being crossed with any brassica would be nice considering how well they grow. There are also wild radish types and yellow flowering types. There are also "Rat-Tail Radishes" Raphanus sativus var. caudatus - or Raphanus caudatus. Lot of potential depending on what you cross - could be oil seed types found in wild, can't find too much on the wild types. Anyway some Brassicaceae actually contain genuses with species that have close relations to some brassicas. Currently growing a bunch together simply for seed and greens, and radishes of course. Rutabaga is apparently "Brassica Napus" which is a hybrid - same as Rapeseed. One is grown for enlarged roots, the other for oilseed. I am growing a few different Brassica juncea together, some other brassicas as well for fall greens. Bees should swarm them relatively quickly considering the time they will flower - meaning there will almost certainly be crosses.

Garrett Schantz

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Re: Brassica crosses
« Reply #11 on: 2020-09-14, 05:46:11 PM »
Turnip volunteers with large, nice looking leaves. Might try breeding turnips for greens, believe there are already varieties for that purpose though. I have a lot of brassica volunteers coming up in another spot, probably some crosses there. I use that area for flowers / pods. Leaves on the first image are becoming komatsuna sized(Which did grow next to these last year), still tender and taste decent enough. Looks like there is a slender looking root above ground, its all white.  I tend to grow my greens in the fall, spring greens never get big enough before the heat starts coming in. Also a good bit of rain before then which leads to leaf problems...