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Amparo Bertram

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05:12 pm: How to make a plant geneticist happy
The cabinets for my kitchen have finally arrived, and they are currently in the process of being stained. Here are some of the cabinet doors awaiting further finishing. Installing everything is going to be a huge job.

While we were waiting for the cabinets, my dad took on the project of making me a new chandelier to replace the ceiling fan in my dining area.

One of the things I've been trying this year is growing lotus flowers in small water gardens. It's an experiment to see if they would do well enough for it to be worth putting in a small pond for my Japanese garden. There have been a number of flower buds since spring, but they all have tended to get sunburnt before opening. Finally, however, one actually bloomed in the back yard.

Another exciting thing going on in the garden is the bean harvest. Some of the earlier dry bean varieties are mature enough to be picked for seed. Now, in general, beans are self-pollinating, and therefore the gardener can save the seeds of a good variety and plant them the next year to get the same variety. However, if different varieties are grown close enough together with a robust population of pollinators, they can cross on occasion. One of the varieties that I grew last year, as it turns out, managed to cross-pollinate with the variety growing next to it. As a result, I have obtained seed of a new hybrid.

Each seed of the hybrid could potentially develop into a new variety. I'm really looking forward to growing them out next year and selecting something no one has ever seen before.

Also, this is inspiring me even more to analyze the results of my current variety trial...because if I can identify a few good varieties , it seems that I could theoretically choose some that would make good parents and plant them in intermingled plots to let the bees cross them for me. Fun times!


[User Picture]
Date:August 26th, 2013 01:24 pm (UTC)
Have you tasted the new one yet?

I can't eat it, because I have to plant it next year.

Next year will be a process of planting out the seeds and observing each plant individually, then selecting the best ones and saving their seeds.

The following year will be a repeat, this time with clusters of the selected seeds.

After that, given sufficient yield, in the third year I can grow them out to get the quantity to taste-test.
[User Picture]
Date:August 26th, 2013 01:35 pm (UTC)
What? You have to grow them for three years before you know whether they even taste good? Can't you like, cook one bean or something?
[User Picture]
Date:August 26th, 2013 10:28 pm (UTC)
Can't you like, cook one bean or something?

The problem at this stage is that each bean could be a new variety. What if the one I eat is the one that would have been the best variety ever?

If it were a squash or a tomato or something, I could eat the fruit and still have the seeds left for planting. I can't do that with beans.
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