Get macromedia Flash Player

Dolce Vita - alternative lifestyle magazine

continued from Page 2

Then we combined the female AQ( African Queen) to the 3 males of the Afghani(AF) which looked like this:

AQ 1 x Af 1
AQ 1 x Af 2
AQ 1 x Af 3
AQ 2 x Af 1
AQ 2 x Af 2
AQ 2 x Af 3
AQ 3 x Af 1
AQ 3 x Af 2
AQ 3 x Af 3

Once we had finished all these combinations we had 18 batches of F1(first generation) seed to test. It is essential to test the outcome of these sorts of combinations of plants since this will determine the stability of a strain. When people have children together there will always be differences in the generation of progeny, the same applies for seed crops. But having the parents alive and in use means that when you find a combination that is working well together you can produce it time and time again with the identical result, since the parents are exactly the same. Once we had found the combination that satisfied us both based on the resulting generation of F1 seeds that were tested, we could reduce the mother and father plants being kept alive ending up with only one female Afghani, one male Afghani, one female African Queen and one male African Queen out of the original 400 plants we began the trials with.

This sort of seed breeding is time consuming and uses alot of space and alot of patience not to mention hard work. But combining landraces that originate from indigenous species is the clearest way to combine genetics using trial and error methodology.

If you are like so many growers who are not sure about the origins of the seed you have been growing each year, and you wish to save it genetically in seed form then each year you allow the sisters and brothers to interbreed, using the resulting seed as the next years seed batch. After 5 seed crops the variation is somewhat reduced resulting in a relatively stabilized hybrid. To further reduce the variation in the plants resulting from this random pollination you only need to select one male, say the fastest flowering male, kill all other males and let it combine to the females. Doing this sort of interbreeding will take time but it will reduce the gene pool being used and will eventually result in 70-80 % of the seed batch manifesting similar traits, making it stable. It is not as exact as the first method but if you do not have the time and space etc. it will be a great way to continually improve on your hybrid without having to keep a lot of plants alive.

Growing plants and keeping them alive is already therapy for many but to be able to contribute your own choices into creating a plant designed by you is like finding religion. It is a revelation. It is an honor. It becomes a way of life for the future growers to go on with. It is infinite and almighty and ultimately we become the hands of Mother Nature.

Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3