How far to separate different varieties

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by GREENCOUNTYPETE, Jan 17, 2007.

  1. GREENCOUNTYPETE

    GREENCOUNTYPETE Moderator Staff Member

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    so i was doing some reading and the book said while beans almost never cross but to keep varieties 100' apart it said that peas could be 10-15 feet
    and i recal martin saying that 10-15 feet was good for tomatoes

    so realisticaly how far do you keep your bean varieties from each other.

    i am doing a jacobs cattle and chrokee trail of tears and may be one other

    Thanks
     
  2. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    100' would be total overkill for beans. Even Suzanne Ashworth of "Seed to Seed" says that regular bean varieties may be grown side-by-side. For any insect to even get into such a bean blossom, they have to chew their way in. Even then, the area with the nectar is not near the pollen which would already have pollinated the blossom BEFORE opening. Bees and other insects know exactly where to look for it without expending a lot of energy tearing the blossom apart.

    With my beans, I have either a narrow aisle or another vegetable between varieties of ordinary P. vulgaris. They are planted in either wide rows or double rows. Wide rows are usually 5 plants wide, 40" with 8" spacing all around.

    Pole beans get their separate tepees or short fences. Several times, bush beans were also planted around the perimeter or the tepee. Even that resulted in almost 3' separation between the blossoms of the two varieties.

    Everything above is for conditions normal to this area. Even the bumblebees won't bother with a bean flower here. In areas where other sources of nectar are scarce, insects can and do attack the blossoms before they are are open and self-pollinated. Then some sort of physical barrier must be used, be it a full cage for bush or bagged blossoms for pole. If that's not done, then isolation is the rule.

    Martin
     

  3. GrannySue_in_IL

    GrannySue_in_IL Member

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    I interplant a lot within a single bed, and only put the beans probably 15' apart at most - but I don't grow things like limas that can cross readily (there are a couple types that do that... not sure which ones, though). It is very rare that my family allows space for dried beans (nobody but me likes them), so don't know about the JC.

    My tomatoes - same, peas I actually have interplanted in the same bed, separated only by a few rows of corn.

    Most of the books I've read seem to work on a market basis, and then I would probably use wider spacing - more for convenience than because of fear of crossing. Also, several of the books I've read have contained conflicting information on this topic... Not sure why.

    If you're growing for yourself, its a lot different than if you are selling your produce, so wouldn't worry too much.
     
  4. GREENCOUNTYPETE

    GREENCOUNTYPETE Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks martin and sue. the distance requirments are what originaly scared me off of seed saving several years ago i went to see a speaker at garden expo in madison and they were talking about needing considerable spaces between different varieties

    at the time i had a 75 x120 lot and was just plain out of space but when we got a new house 2 years one of it's selling points besides the move from 2 to 4 bedroom, was the double lot it sat on 135x135 plus i take no shame in using the land between sidwalk and street as i like adding about 15 more feet to make it more like 150 x 150
    that and a basment i could stand up in a full 8 feet tall (old one was 5'11" i am 6'2")
    the house was new to us but thats about it ,96 the house we sold that was 120 years old.

    but now with my garden getting bigger every year i have found varieties that are my standards and rather than buying them each year i would like to save the seeds
    most of my garden gets ordered from seed savers exchange so i know they are heirlooms and will save it was just a concern about the crossing.

    I am also in south central wisconsin.
     
  5. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Whenever there are seed-saving experts speaking, it seems like they always talk only in terms of absolute purity. There's a reason for that. If we know that 10' is fine for tomatoes, then someone will think that 8' is OK and space 2 seedlings that far apart. By fall, the 2 have grown together and the gardener is trying to sort out which is which. Don't laugh, since one noted tomato grower used to claim having to do that with her plants planted 5' apart! I start with at least 15' and try to keep them that way.

    Nothing wrong with using that terrace between sidewalk and curb. When city decided that we needed a sidewalk after 80+ years without, I stood up at the meeting and informed the city that they were taking my best tomato ground. City engineer had to admit that it was the truth! Ended up with lousy soil for the terrace but still have the good soil on the lawn side. End up planting 3 varieties right beside the sidewalk.

    Martin
     
  6. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Years ago I had some beans that a friend brought from Guatemala, and for years after that I had beans of other varieties that had crossed. Every reference I found said it shouldn't have been a problem, but it was. Now I try to keep them 20 to 50 feet apart, but it is hard when growing many varieties.
     
  7. kidsngarden

    kidsngarden Well-Known Member

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    So Martin, If I want to save the seed of some of those great heirlooms you sent I need to plant all my varieties 15 feet apart? I'm going to try those upside down hanging pots too to save space in my garden.

    Bethany
     
  8. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    If you can isolate tomatoes by 15', there's a very good chance that the seed produced will be 99% pure. You can also look back on this forum for other threads about seed-saving and get a few more ideas.

    Martin