Let’s talk Hybrids!

Hello everyone,

Our spaces are all being planned and laid out carefully.  We have tomatoes out the wazoo already and Boy do I like growing tomatoes.   We are heading into a big weekend here at the homestead,  Memorial Day weekend on the calendar here in zone 6B is kind of considered to be the MAGICAL time here for plant survival.  So this weekend means all of those last minute preparations are getting done so that next weekend when that magical time arrives everything can go out and get GROWING!

We’ve been doing lots of talking lately about seeds, heirloom plants, it only seems fitting that today we talk about hybrids!

Hybrid plants, are those that cross pollinate two different varieties of a plant to take the best traits from both parents and produce a new variety.  Like with the heirloom plants there seems to be a great deal of misconceptions about hybrid plants though.

Hybrid seeds often get mistaken for being a Genetically Modified Organism, because of the human interaction with in the pollination process.

Now let’s not get into GMOs today, that is a conversation all its own for another day, a long one.

The truth is that hybrid seeds are just like heirloom seeds, they are natural. The easiest way to break it down is that hybrid seeds have two parents, while heirlooms have one. Farmers have selected two different varieties of the same plant, cross pollinated them together over time and worked on getting a combination that was just right to create a new variety that is more tolerant to cold, heat, and pests.

Most of our commonly known hybrid plants are often either sterile, or they will not reproduce the same plant that you saved them from if you were to save their seeds. Think of hybrids as the boy bands of the 90’s while these plants have been bred to produce faster, bigger, product ultimately like the boy band music machine they either cannot reproduce at all, or they’re simply one hit wonders.

So lets look at some of our hybrids that we have here at the homestead this season.

One of the most common and well known varieties that we have here at the homestead is that Early Girl.

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Early girl seedlings

Early Girls have what’s known as indeterminate growing so as long as your vines continue to produce flowers, you should be able to continue to grow fruit. In the Midwest they have fun with this often having contests to see who can yield tomatoes latest into the year. Some people eventually cover theirs with frost cloth to prevent them from dying too soon, and they’ve even been known to pick tomatoes right up until Thanksgiving!!

Fresh tomatoes AT THANKSGIVING!!

Imagine that!

Another variety we have here this year is the Jellybean Cherry. This is a hybrid of a grape tomato. They are known to do notoriously well here in the US and grow in clusters of up to 15-16 tomatoes.

 

Jellybean Tomato Seedling

 

Alright! Everyone have a wonderful, wonderful day! Be sure to come back tomorrow because we are going to talk about DECODING seed packets and some gardening lingo!

Tara

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