Guidelines for Breeding Brassicas

by Frank Morton

Get your varieties from a few different sources.

Note: PGRU/GRIN does not have any accessions.

Read everything about B. rapa and its varieties, their climate range, and uses in:

-Cornicopia II (Facciola, 1998),

-Hortus, Garden Seed Inventory,

-The Vegetable Garden (Vilmorin,1885),

-Heirloom Vegetable Gardening (W.W.Weaver), and

-Seed To Seed.

Plant your varieties and source accessions in flats as early as possible for your area. Label well. Plant as many of each accession as you can manage. This allows for selection prior to flowering. Figure to save the best-performing 40% of what you sow.

If a source accession appears weak or off-type, you might consider discarding it entirely in favor of a better-maintained accession for inclusion in the cross. Or, you might see an off-type as a special opportunity. Think about it.

There are different strategies for creating the crossed populations. Consider all the possible combinations of 2-way or 3-way crosses, and the different ways these may be brought together (all at once or sequentially). You may choose to create mass populations from all the varieties, or from 2 varieties. You may choose to create pedigree lines from particular individuals with special
qualities. These are your choices, and more choices will continue to present themselves. This is how and why we will all end up with our own creations, though we begin at the same point with (almost) the same materials.

It may help to think of the process as the recombination of two or three poems into one word pool, from which you can derive any number of new poems by word recombination, followed by editing each poem, draft (generation) by draft until your satisfaction.

At some point you will have to ask yourself, what is the goal of this process?
But at this point, you don't even know all the possible answers to this question.
Dream of the fun.

Frank - always dreamin

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