Saturday, 26 April 2014

Grafted Sweet Peppers

How they looked on arrival, no other packaging 

This year I've bought three 'Super Plug' grafted mixed sweet peppers on-line from Suttons, though at the moment the only thing looking super is the price 3 for £9.99! (though I did have a £5 off voucher to use against them) They will need to produce exceptionally well to recoup their cost.

They arrived in a black plastic tray covered in clear film, with an address label and a plant identification label. I received sweet peppers Chelsea (Yellow), Britney (Red) and Melina (Orange), no indication of root stock used. 

They look healthy enough, a shame several leaves
were damaged during packing 

ABC = Chelsea, Britney and Melina

I've potted them on and popped them under lights, I should think for a couple of weeks, I'm interested to see how well they do grow on in this time. They are currently a paler green colour than the plants I have.

The 3 grafted plants

All newly potted on, Melina in comparison to Palermo F1

It will hardly be scientific, but I'll be comparing their progress with the two varieties I've sown and am growing this year, Palermo RZ F1 and Romanian Rainbow. Both sown on 15th March in a heated propagator and grown on under lights.

Palermo RZ F1

 Palermo RZ F1 is a long pointy red pepper, bred by Rijk Zwaan

Romanian Rainbow

An open pollinated, early compact growing blocky type pepper.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Elisabeth x Kent Blue Pea

Elisabeth x Kent Blue Pea F1

These gorgeous flowers are of a hybrid pea I grew last summer, the cross I made is Elisabeth x Kent Blue F1. The rich colour of the flowers indicates the input from Kent Blue, which has beautifully dark flowers and take on a bluey hue -hence the name. I'm looking in part to see flower colour combination in the F2's, also pod tenderness and as an after thought, pea vine length. 

Flowers were born mostly in pairs, and splashes of burgundy could be seen in the leaf joins, indicating flower colour.

Coloured leaf axis

Dark maroon  flower colour

Eight peas forming

These plants grew well, likely from hybrid vigour. They gave a good set of green pods, the young peas can be seen in the pod when held against the light. Taste was good as a raw mangetout, pods being tender although I only sampled one or two to allow most of the pods to mature and save the peas for next year's crop.

Below some of the podded peas, now F2 seed which is quite varied in colour and type, with round and wrinkled, lighter and darker colours some speckled too. 

Something I hadn't previously considered, the difference in pea pods at F1? But here it would seem two sorts. Both types are fairly thin shelled, though those on the right were the thinner of the two and felt 'softer' to the touch. They also had a slightly raised crinkly look and feel. Similar results to Elisabeth x Llanover F1 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Sugar Beth F1 Peas

I was lucky enough to receive the variety Elisabeth, a lovely salmon-pink flowered Mange-tout pea, from a friend and I have enjoyed growing it the last few years. 

Elisabeth Pea

It's a climber and looks particularly pretty growing alongside white and magenta purple pea vines. 

I've made several crosses using Elisabeth and the inspiration for this cross came when I grew Sugar Magnolia a purple podded sugar snap variety, bred in the US by Dr Alan Kapuler, alongside Elisabeth. The purple pods were such a pretty contrast, I thought it would be fun to see if the two traits could be recombined in one variety. I've given the working name Sugar Beth to the resulting F1 plants/F2 seed.

Sugar Beth F1
 As you can see they have purple magenta flowers, 

Sugar Beth F1
 purple splodges in the leaf axils

Sugar Beth F1
 and partly purple pods, all in all very pretty. 

Sugar Beth F1

The couple of pods I tasted raw were very tasty and very much a mangetout type, no hint of fibre in the pods.
When first harvested the seeds looked to be green seeded although now they have dried further there are subtle variations. 

F2 Seed

 The dried pods are quite soft and fragile to the feel and none of them appeared thick and fibrous.

Non fibrous pods

I'm looking forward to seeing how they segregate this season, it would be great to get some different colour combinations.

For pictures of Sugar Beth F2 progress have a look here Growing Food Saving Seeds

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Purple, Black and coloured Carrots

This year, I thought I'd grow several varieties of coloured carrots, firstly as a crop to eat and secondly to compare the varieties and then keep the best roots of those I like to grow next year to produce flowers so I can save the seed to grow again.

Coloured Carrot mix packets

On my list to be sown;
Afghan Purple
Atomic Red
Cosmic Purple
Deep Purple F1
John's Purple
Lunar White
Morada (Spanish Black)
Purple Haze F1
Purple Sun F1
Solar Yellow
Turkish Black Carrot

I'm not sure how many of each I will be growing yet as space, carrot root fly and how many we will eat will all be issues and as yet I've not prepared the ground for them!

The F1 Hybrids won't be included for seed as they are likely to be male sterile, which I'd rather stay clear of if I can.

Elisabeth x Llanover pea

Elisabeth a lovely salmon pink flowered mangetout pea crossed to a rare heritage white flowered tall pea, Llanover. 

Pictures of the F1 generation growing

The Purple flower colour again confirms white x Salmon pink = purple/magenta coloured flowers in the F1 generation. Next growing season colour will segregate for salmon-purple-white with some subtle variation within the colours.

I only sampled a couple of pods of peas, these were definitely shelling peas rather than a mangetout, with pods quickly becoming fibrous.  Seeds tasted were lovely, nicely sweet with a good fresh pea taste.
Surprisingly the saved F2 or second generation peas from the cross are very varied, I was not expecting this and suggests this was not a straight forward cross between two stable varieties.  The seeds are what I would expect the F3 seed to look like, with smooth and wrinkly types and a range of seed coat colours which should indicate the colour of the next generation seeds. The darker speckle ones likely to be purple flowered, the buff white round pea white or and the green seeded most likely white flowered peas.

F2 seeds and pods

Interestingly the dried pea pods divided into two basic types, on the right quite thick walled pods, they feel hard to touch and I think when fresh would have been quite tough and fibrous to try and eat. The pods on the left felt thinner and softer to the touch and had a slightly raised and lumpy feel to them. I'm pretty sure the gene for non fibrous pods must be recessive. Whether a true mangetout can be bred from this combination I'm unsure at the moment.  
Two types of pods

I have just sown the third generation seeds (F3)