One of the many things I do, happens to be minor plant breeding.
I'm no expert geneticist, by far, more likely, very lacking, but its something I'm very interested in doing.
I work with all sorts of plants, fruit trees, grains, vegetables, major and minor crops.. I have a couple acres and lots of pots......
Here are just a few things I have growing for me right now.
Hope you enjoy, sorry if the pictures are not the best. Feel free to ask anything you want.
This is A........... Blackberry!
I know there are dozens of varieties already, but... This one is a bit special.
Its a cross between a very nice very low chill commercial berry, and a wild berry I found some years ago here in Florida.
A nice seedling I managed not to kill.
Last year they started flowering mid January, and didn't stop! The "everbearing" berries out there now just flower on one year wood in the fall. Mine flowers consistently on new wood throughout the year.
I like apples, enough said. I grow several kinds, and I also pretty much plant every seed I see.
Now all of my apples go on to M111(except seedling wood I want to fruit, that gos on Bud 9, it'll make an old tire grow apples!) its got good roots, can handle the sand, has good heat tolerance.
I just want a better rootstock though! One that doesn't have to be babied here in Florida, because as good as M111 is, it was never meant for the tropics.
So that's where these come in! They are actually the same plant x2, root cuttings, From an M111 bred to a wild crab apple. Crab apples do grow in Florida, about 20 miles north of me, and in my yard.
I wont get into what happened to the original tree, that I selected from quite a few others........ I'm just happy I got those 2 roots to sprout!
This is an Amaranth. I didn't plant it.
I do grow a couple kinds for seed and leafs, but none are giants like this girl!!
That fence is 6 feet, its about a foot & half over it, with a good 5in trunk.
Definitely saving seed. A nice self made cross?
This is one my King White Pakistan Mulberries.
I of course didn't breed it, But this is its second fruiting for the year.
I bought 5 of these trees about 6 years ago, and this is the only one that fruits twice a year. Once on new years wood, then again in late spring, mid summer on a second flush of new wood...
Here are Elder berries.
I have 2 rows of them about 50 feet long. They send up dozens and dozens of new canes every year. I get about 15 lbs of berries every year for pies and what not.
I also grow them from seed, and am working on improving the size and sugar of the berries. Id like one day to get them as large as small Blueberries.
The ones in the picture though, are greenish Elderberries, they never really turn black. A large fruited kind, that I have crossed with the native elders.
The Apple cactus. Well, interestingly enough, they don't taste like apple, But!! Like Kiwi! And Peach!! Seriously, I have 2 plants that I chose from seed starts that taste like those fruits. They normally just taste like cactus fruit, the same as Dragon fruit, but easier to grow, and can take a freeze! So I have Named my two new varieties Of apple Cactus "Kiwi" And "Peach"... Keep and eye out on EBay, as I do plan to start selling cuttings...
This one is "Kiwi" Grown from seed it took 5 years before I got to try its fruit. Its a bad picture. Its in full bloom right now, covered in hundreds of smaller buds. I will get a better picture, to show all the flowers forming, In the couple days since I took this picture.
I do grow corn.
There's a list of traits that I try to breed into my plants:
Yield(taste if its for humans, or quality pays more)
Drought/Heat tolerance(Florida can be very hot sometimes. They are pretty much one in the same, if a plant can take the heat, it generally does well with less water)
Pest & Disease resistance.(Necessary if you don't want toxic sprays around)
Cold tolerance.(It freezes here too in Florida!)
Those don't all apply to every plant of course, But its what I aim for in my plants.
Back to corn.
I grow corn 10 months out of the year, March to December.
In the picture, far left is "Henry Moore". A very high quality feed corn, but lowish yield. I'm working on improving that. Getting it to stop putting so much energy into large stalks and put it into ears.
The rest there is Stowells Evergreen and detasseled mutt, I'm trying to keep Stowells long keeping, but get larger more tender kernels..
That corn is over 10 foot btw.
Here is "Black Beauty" A sweet corn That I am trying to get to actually be Black! When it still edible.
A heavily selected Black Aztec strain.
Iv got it to the point where its a dark gray/blue when still in the prime milk stage.. Getting there, to a True Black sweet corn....
Here is a strain of Reid's Yellow Dent corn, That Iv been working on for ever.
Very very drought tolerant, I don't even water this corn anymore, it only gets the rain. That's saying something because we've been very dry since I put this corn in this year.
Iv got it to produce 3 or 4 ears per stalk too! Quite an accomplishment, if I do say so..
Maybe a small matter of getting it to actually support those ears though lol.
Right now it only fills out 1 1/2 ears or so. The yield potential though, its crazy!
Still working on it.
Sunroots, Sunchokes, Jerusalem Artichokes, whatever you call them, growing from seed....
The seeds came from French White and Reds Round both grown near each other, so they very like out crossed some.
Its not easy getting seed from these things. First off they aren't grown from seed but the tubers. Second they don't make very much viable seed. there's about 50 plants there, from over 200 seeds planted, But those 200 seeds came from literally thousands of flowers.
I am hoping to get a new variety that is better suited to growing here in the south.
Can take the heat better and doesn't need so much water.
Plus there's some disease that kept killing my original plants right to the ground.
The only reason they lived is because the things don't really care, they just send up more stalks from underground. They just made pretty much no roots for me.
These are really an underutilized crop. they can produce pounds and pound of food in the smallest area, around 25 lbs in a square foot!
And last to post here!
I got the original seed from a guy on the Internet, a few years ago.
You may notice that this is not growing in water.(Most rice grows in water. or needs to be flooded)
This is a dry land rice. The only reason that patty rice is the only rice grown commercially throughout the world is because it yields more, and doesn't compete with weeds.
I'm working on both of those problems.
You cant tell in the picture but the plants are about 3 feet tall, and I just put them in the beginning of the month!
Very vigorous, with that in creased vigor, I'm hoping to get more seed heads forming on them: more rice, better at fighting off the weeds...
Well hope you guys like the pictures and all those words..