After I posted my crazy landrace seed-mixing starting transplants video, I got a few comments from people telling me I was “doing it wrong!”
Here’s the video:
One commenter writes:
“Think you boobooed on mixing the seeds. It’s more than what grows best, it is also different flavors. You’ve made it harder on the cook. I would have mixed some and left some to open-pollinate. Wouldn’t mix dent corn and sweet corn, or a sauerkraut cabbage with bokchoy…”
Yes, that is correct. It’s not good to mix that far, unless you’re really ready to do the hard work to un-thread the needle later on. It can be interesting to do wide crosses for breeding purposes, but I’m NOT mixing sweet corn with grain corn, or broccoli with cabbages, or anything like that. I’m sticking to “type,” but mixing a bunch of cultivars together.
So: winter squashes of good flavor and color are all getting mixed together, then we’ll sort by vigor and other interests. I’m not mixing winter squashes with summer squashes. (Well, not much. I do think I have a few C. pepo winter squashes that got mixed into the summer squash jar.)
We’re breeding for vigor and survivability first, then going from there. The video could have been a lot longer – I had a lot I cut out, because I was getting bored listening to myself. For example, I stuck a bunch of sweet cantaloupe and related melon seeds together into one jar, but I threw out the Queen Anne Pocket Melon seeds because they are a bland novelty variety I did not want to disrupt my sweet melon line.
There is a method to the madness. Though it is tempting to throw all caution to the wind and plant everything together, I am more interested in getting solid, highly diverse genetic types that are well suited to Lower Alabama. I would really like a “David The Good” cucumber line that’s super vigorous, as well as my own okra, watermelons, C. moschata squash, etc., all tailored to our style of gardening, our soil, and this unique climate.
Also, this comment is awesome: