Author Topic: Onion crossing and stabilizing projest  (Read 283 times)

Richard Watson

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Onion crossing and stabilizing projest
« on: 2019-12-17, 11:54:37 AM »
Ive never played around cross breeding any of the my onions varieties, which are - Pukekohe Long keeper (brown), a lost named variety I call Medbury Red, tree onions and clone Amuri Red.
In June I bought https://www.mammothonion.co.uk/cgi-bin/trolleyed_public.cgi?action=showprod_ONP1,  I managed to plant out two lots of seedlings, one lot you can see in the photo and the rest have pretty much fulled a 6mx1m bed. The inside plants are huge that have leaves about a metre long, outside plants not as big but still much larger the PLK and MR but about the size of AR.
Thinking that mixing those three and buying seed of a white onion would make for an interesting project, So plans are, I want to flower/seed the Mammoth this time next year in the garden here. In a friends garden 3kms away who is even more isolated than here I could plant a few of each while hunting down a few white onions to stick in also. There garden is a free draining, an old alluvial river flat that has had enough time to build a 30-40cm soil sitting on up to 50kg rocks. With water it grows well.

Question- what would you say be a good number of each? Onion crossing and stabilizing


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.

Steph S

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Re: Onion crossing and stabilizing projest
« Reply #1 on: 2019-12-17, 01:34:19 PM »
For an OP onion variety, SSE recommends 5 plants minimum to get viable seed, and 20-50 plants to maintain the variety.
OTOH, for a cross between two varieties, you should really only need at minimum one of each - assuming there's plenty of genetic distance between the two varieties, because the F1 cross would not be at risk of inbreeding depression. 
If you're letting pollinators do the crossing, I would say grow as many plants as you need for the amount of seed you planned to grow out - since allium seed isn't a good keeper.  If you're going that way with 2 or more varieties, and plan to select the interesting crosses to grow forward while eating the rest, then it might be good to follow the general amount for viable OP seed for each of them (5 plants each).  That would give you some assurance that the selfed seed of any one of them will still be good to sow and produce (vs weak seedlings I guess, if they selfed and had inbreeding depression issues).

We loved the Mammoth onion btw.  Such a high growth rate, they sized up nicely and were sweet. :)


Walt

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Re: Onion crossing and stabilizing projest
« Reply #2 on: 2019-12-17, 01:57:33 PM »
Onions do have some inbreeding depression, but generally not bad.  Allard lists it as one of the species where some inbred lines are as good as cross-pollinated seedlings from the same OP variety the inbreds were derived from.
Yes, 5 from each parent variety should do fine.
Back 1975-81 I was a professional onion breeder.  Jones and Mann wrote the book on onion breeding.

Richard Watson

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Re: Onion crossing and stabilizing projest
« Reply #3 on: 2019-12-18, 10:47:51 AM »
Five bulbs from each would be the maximum number I would want to do, dont want to take up to much space in there garden. Second grow out I will grow that back here and I will look to do a 100+ block so that the genetics get well mixed 
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: Onion crossing and stabilizing projest
« Reply #4 on: 2019-12-19, 04:17:34 AM »
I'm real excited about my onion patch. Started in fall of 2016  I think it was with seeds from Joseph's mix and another mix of mostly potato onions from a friend in Minnesota. Also my old walking onions and some from the grocery store I just stuck in the ground. This fall I moved about 100 plants that had survived winters and summer droughts out side the fences to my new permanent perennial onion patch and they are looking pretty good right now. 

Lots of them seem to be of the potato type, making clusters of small to medium bulbs. Only a couple make a larger single bulb and some are just clumps of skinny little green onions. This past season some made seeds, some made top sets and some made both.

Stabilizing for me just means that they grow in a semi wild condition, hardy perennial and taste good.  Haven't paid that much attention to the seeds last couple years but now that I'v got a nice mixed up patch, I'm looking forward to seeing what seeds from now on will yield. I'll direct plant next years seeds next fall to keep up the pressure on winter hardiness, also avoids having to worry over watering like if spring planted.




Steph S

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Re: Onion crossing and stabilizing projest
« Reply #5 on: 2019-12-19, 10:19:54 AM »
Onions do have some inbreeding depression, but generally not bad.  Allard lists it as one of the species where some inbred lines are as good as cross-pollinated seedlings from the same OP variety the inbreds were derived from.
Yes, 5 from each parent variety should do fine.
Back 1975-81 I was a professional onion breeder.  Jones and Mann wrote the book on onion breeding.

Walt, I was thinking about growing out some of my shallot seed as sets, mainly because of space limitations.   Just wondered if this is ever done in onion breeding, and whether there is much useful selection that can be done that way at the 'set' stage?   Other than shape and color, that is.  TIA for any advice.  I am totally new to this.

Got some information about growing onion sets here:
https://naldc.nal.usda.gov/download/ORC00000286/PDF

Richard Watson

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Re: Onion crossing and stabilizing projest
« Reply #6 on: 2019-12-19, 09:03:07 PM »
Growing out sets is something Ive never done either
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.

Walt

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Re: Onion crossing and stabilizing projest
« Reply #7 on: 2019-12-20, 12:35:27 PM »
Steph S
I've only grown onion sets at my home garden.  I never used them in breeding.
Ny work was limited to selection in the varietirs Violet de Galmi and Blanc de Galmi, and a new variety in progress from Violet de Galmi x Creol.  I'll give some thought to how onion sets could be used in breeding but just now I can't think of a way they would help.

gmuller

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Re: Onion crossing and stabilizing projest
« Reply #8 on: 2019-12-20, 09:17:05 PM »
Richard,
5 varieties X 5 plants each is only 25 plants - should be able to do that in less than half a sq metre. Since you aren't worried about root yield you could almost just shove all 25 into a bucket of potting mix and let em go for it.
Are your Amuris still doing the dreadlock hairstyle thing? Mine died out unfortunately.
GM

Richard Watson

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Re: Onion crossing and stabilizing projest
« Reply #9 on: 2019-12-21, 11:00:40 AM »
Hi Gregg, sounds like 5 bulbs of each is going to be ideal number, so that's what I will aim for. Growing them in pots maybe not such a good idea though, having them at someone else's place and trying to keep them well watered may not be easy, they have the room so it should be easier just to poke em in a corner somewhere.

Shame the Amuri red onion died out for you.  This clone must be around 7-8 years old by now I would think. The last year has been the best they have done, early autumn sown bulbils which got through winter did better than they have in the past. What is good about having this clone is they are the first eatable onion in spring just when the last of the long keepers are nearly gone, they really do help with the 12 month supply. Last summers bulbs I had one single onion that stored so well, its now growing more bulbils, the photo show how the March sown bulbils look as of this morning.

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.

Walt

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Re: Onion crossing and stabilizing projest
« Reply #10 on: 2019-12-22, 03:20:54 PM »
Violet de Galmi onions store for 18 months or more.  When I was in charge of breeding them and seed production of them, I was pleased to read published reports comparing different onion varieties storage results.  Generally the experiments were to put the same number of onion bulbs of several varieties on a shelf and check weekly and throw out any onion that showed any sign of rot.  Then they gave a chart showing days to 50% spoiled for each variety.  Most all had footnotes saying Violet de Galmi had greater than 50% good onions when the experiment was discontinued at 18 months.
Australian Brown always took second place.
Violet de Galmi is a very strong-flavored onion.  It also has high % dry matter.  These two traits make it good as dehydrated onion flakes.
It would be a good addition to a breeding program to improve storage quality.
Baker Creek sells the seed in USA.

Steph S

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Re: Onion crossing and stabilizing projest
« Reply #11 on: 2019-12-22, 05:14:23 PM »
I wish it was a long day onion!  They are beautiful. :)  And long keeper would be a big value for us.

Richard, are you short day in NZ?

I don't even know how onions are optimally stored, or whether I would be able to select for storage value with sets? but it may certainly turn up I suppose...  I guess I will find out, whether some show different keeping quality than others.   Road ahead...  full of questions.  But this is how we like it.  ;)

reed

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Re: Onion crossing and stabilizing projest
« Reply #12 on: 2019-12-23, 01:28:01 AM »
What happens if you grow a short day onion outside if it's daylight requirements? Does it just not grow as large, or does it not grow a bulb at all? Will it mature and flower and cross with other onions?

When I looked it up what I found said "they would not meet their full potential" but I've found that statements like that are often subjective.
« Last Edit: 2019-12-23, 01:33:38 AM by reed »

Ferdzy

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Re: Onion crossing and stabilizing projest
« Reply #13 on: 2019-12-23, 04:47:05 AM »
My understanding - but I don't know for sure, or where I heard this - is that short day (southern adapted) onions do better in the north than long day (northern adapted) onions do in the south. I think you can expect long day onions to not form a bulb if grown in the south, but that short day onions will grow reasonably well in the north - you may be weeding out a few, but basically okay.

Steph S

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Re: Onion crossing and stabilizing projest
« Reply #14 on: 2019-12-23, 07:17:01 AM »
You can grow short day onions here for picklers.  Sweet little onions, but not much of a crop.  We have a late spring here, which seems to be getting worse if anything, and very few degree days before the summer solstice.  ::)