grew several varieties of dried beans in my garden this year and
would like to save some to replant next year. However, I did not
separate varieties by any distance and now wonder if they will come
true from seed.
are self-pollinating, so different varieties do not have to be
separated by any specific distance for the strain to remain pure.
Most beans and peas are open-pollinated, rather than hybrids, and
should come true from seed that you save.
is not true of crops such as corn that are wind-pollinated.
Sweet corn and popcorn or field corn should be separated by at
least 250 feet. Another method to separate corn varieties is by
days to maturity so they are not at the pollinating stage at the
same time. A minimum difference of 14 days is best to prevent
cross-pollination. If sweet corn is pollinated by popcorn or
field corn growing nearby, it will impact the flavor and/or
starchiness of the current crop. Also, any seed saved from such
cross-pollinated corn will not produce a desirable crop the
following season. Separation in distance or days to maturity is
especially important if you are growing super sweet or
sugar-enhanced types of sweet corn.
is also not true of crops such as cucurbits that are pollinated
by insects. While they cannot cross-pollinate across species —
say, melons and cucumbers — they freely cross within the same
species. While that will not affect the current season’s crop,
any seed saved for next year will likely produce fruit quite
different than the parent plants. The easiest way to avoid
disappointment with cucurbit crops is to purchase fresh seed
rather than saving your own. Preventing cross-pollination
requires at least one-quarter of a mile between members of the
same species or erecting a physical barrier such as row covers
or hoop houses.
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