raspberryfool: (Default)
The hybrid pea plants, and the non-hybrid parent varieties, are rocketting away now. They're mostly around 4 feet tall now, and most are looking chunky and voluptuous. cut for pea obsessiveness! )

So my job tomorrow is to tie them into the canes again; a task I only did last week! meanwhile the garden is looking beautiful; lilac is out and smelling gogeous, strawberry flowers, primroses... I love early summer, though the weather feels less than summery at the moment!

Which reminds me: happy World Naked Gardening Day. I'll pass this year, thanks; I like my neighbours and I'd like to keep it that way. You're welcome! :-D
raspberryfool: (Gardening)
In 2014, as you'll remember, I cross-pollinated the mangetout pea varieties Golden Sweet and Bijou; the former being yellow-podded and the latter having large, wide, green pods. The aim is to introduce the genes for yellow pods from Golden Sweet into the Bijou line.

Last year's F1 plants threw in one surprise; I got everything I'd expected – tall plants, purple splodges in the leaf axils, bi-coloured purple flowers and small, green pods. F1 hybrid seeds are homozygous, which basically means they're genetically identical and only the dominant genes are expressed. The surprise was that instead of being fibreless, the pods on all six F1 plants had a fibrous layer like shelling peas, making them inedible. I've read in several places that mangetout pea plants lack the dominant genes for making fibrous pods. I also understand that dominant genes don't hide themselves away like recessives do, so I've no idea where these fibrous pods were coming from; perhaps G.S. has a fibre-making gene after all. The F1 generation produced over 200 seeds; enough to keep me busy for a few seasons if I wish!

This year, I'm growing out the heterozygous F2 generation, which is where the fun begins. Each seed should be genetically different, and potentially each seed is a new variety. The genes begin to segregate into their parent lines, which is exactly what I've found. Of the forty-odd plants I've grown (all tall), I've had small, yellow mangetout like Golden Sweet; both small and large, green mangetout; and large, green, fibrous pods.


One yellow-podded line looks as though it might be worth growing out – its completely fibreless pods curl upwards rather than lying flat like Golden Sweet's do.


And then there's this; a single plant has produced large, fibreless, yellow pods. I know they're fibreless by the way the seeds deform the pod walls as they mature. The plant is short-ish and a bit scrawny, and the pods seem to become greener as they age; here it's compared with Golden Sweet, which is the small pod on the left of this photo. I tasted one young pod, whichch i found tasted acceptable but wasn't quite as tasty as Golden Sweet. This, however, may be the prototype I'm looking for. Next year's pea-growing is looking exciting!

raspberryfool: (Gardening)
Yes it's been a while since I posted here. I'd love to say I've been really busy having a life, but I can't. Instead, the next few posts will document my garden adventures this year. Let's start with the mangetout peas I grew.

Peas are a relatively new addition to my garden. Until 2011 I hadn't ever grown them before and it was only Rebsie Fairholm's website that persuaded me to try them. I bought my seeds from The Real Seeds Catalogue, choosing the mangetout varieties "Golden Sweet" and "Bijou". The former is a tall, yellow-podded, mangetout variety; it's very pretty and even has pale yellow tendrils and growing tips. You can read Rebsie's review of it here.

goldensweet1 yellow mangetout

The latter variety is a very tall, green-podded mangetout variety that produces huge, inch-wide and six-inch-long pods--yes really! Sadly I ate them all before I managed to take any photographs.

These varieties—I rew areound forty plants of each—performed very well in my garden this year, but succumbed to the hot weather in July and were covered in mildew. Part of the reason I grew so many plants is to harvest the seeds. I want to take some to my local seed-swap next year—hopefully to exchange for some other interesting vegetables—and to acclimatise them to my garden's soil and microclimates. another—more intriguing reason is so I could cross-breed the varieties to produce—nature-willing—a new variety with large, yellow pods. Now that would be really special!

My attempts at crossing the varieties largely failed; either the pods didn't set or they stalled before producing anything like seeds. I did, however, produce one single—and very precious—seed that I hope is a F1 "Golden Sweet x Bijou" cross. So what sort of plants am I likely to get from this spawn of my shenanigins? Well, both varieties have the recessive "edible pod" genes, so it's likely I'll get that trait. Golden Sweet's yellow-pods come from a recessive gene called gp, but Bijou's green pods come from a dominant gene, so I'm expecting green pods from the first generation. The trait of tallness is also dominant, so I expect the F1 plant to be tall. Both Golden Sweet and Bijou have red splodges in the leaf axils, but I don't know whether that is dominant or recessive. I also don't know whether the gene(s) controlling pod size are dominant.

With luck, 2015 could see the start of my bid for world domination of the pea a new, unique variety of mangetout. I can hardly wait to see what grows from this precious offspring.