Row by Row Episode 94: Cross Pollinating to Save Seeds for Future Growing Seasons

Tips for Cross-Pollinating

When it comes to saving seeds the most important factor in keeping that seed pure to its genetics is ensuring you aren’t cross-pollinating with other varieties in the vegetable garden.

Different Types of Pollination

The three main pollinating types of crops are self-pollinating, wind pollinating, and insect pollinating. The self-pollinating crops include beans, peas, okra, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant which do not require beneficial insects to pollinate them. To ensure you do not experience cross-pollinating of the self-pollinating crops there are isolation distances to help with keeping the seeds you are wanting to save true or pure for future growing seasons. The isolation distances recommended for beans or peas is 20 feet, okra is 1500 feet, tomatoes is 10 feet, peppers is 100 feet, and eggplant is 50 feet between varieties in the area. When it comes to wind-pollinating, corn is the only crop that is wind-pollinated. When growing corn you have a male flower which is the tassel and the female flower which is the silk. Wind-pollination allows the pollen grains on the tassel to fertilize the silk and every little silk represents a kernel on the ear of corn. Another important type of pollination is our insect-pollination where we need bees to help us make fruits during the growing season. The insect-pollinated crops include cantaloupes, watermelons, cucumbers, pumpkins, summer squash, winter squash, and gourds.

Show and Tell Segment

On the show and tell segment, Travis has a handful of Viper Carrots that he recently harvested from the vegetable garden. Greg grew the Yellowstone variety that was rather small and more personal-sized carrots. The guys also discuss their composting technique for different plots and vegetables this growing season. According to Greg, it may be the year for planting potatoes, however, Travis is a little worried that the weather temperatures have struck hot quick for potato growing. Travis shows off a seed starting tray full of tomato transplants that are ready to be planting in the garden. The several different tomato varieties he plans on planting are Bella Rosa, Celebration, Brickyard, Red Snapper, Chef’s Choice Orange, Homestead, and Black Krim.

Viewer Questions Segment

On the question and answer segment this week, the guys answer questions about planting sweet potato slips, using cotton gin trash compost, and squash succession planting. Travis likes to wait and plant sweet potato slips in June or sometimes even July that way he can dig them towards November. Although there as been concern about using gin trash compost, Travis and Greg are getting their compost from a gin trash company that is taking the right measurements to ensure they are creating quality grade compost that can be used in the garden area. Greg mentions when succession planting summer squash he always direct seeds and moves them over a row or two so he doesn’t plant in the same exact row.

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