Hybrid Corn---saved seed

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Manny, Dec 26, 2003.

  1. Manny

    Manny Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone tried planting seed saved from hybrid sweet corn grown the previous season? If you have what were some of the results? It seems reasonable to assume that all of the open pollinated varieties were hybrids at one time in their lives. I'll be trying some in the 2004 season and was curious as to whether anybody has had good or bad experiences doing this.
    Thanks------Manny
     
  2. Wingnut

    Wingnut Well-Known Member

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    Spicewood, TX ~ just west of Austin ~ zone 8b
    I haven't ever done it myself, but I've read of others' experiences with it. Judging from that, you more than likely won't get the same plants, but if you have the room, why not try for grins? If you know what kind of corn were the parents of your hybrid, you'll know what some of your corn will be like, but some of it will be VERY different ~ very probably even not tasty.


    Yes, all of the open pollinated varieties were hybrids at one time or another, but it took YEARS and generations to weed out the rejects before a person could be assured of having a pure crop. The way it works is something like this (not all will be these percentages, but it's an example):

    1st generation ~ 25% what you want, 25% the OPPOSITE of what you want and 50% somewhere in between but still rejects ~ toss all but the 25% you want (you'll have to wait until the plants mature and you eat the ears before you'll know which is which) and save seed from the best plants that are left after taking measures to avoid cross-pollination from other crops if possible (a tricky thing in corn for sure)

    2nd generation (probably second year) ~ 35% what you want, 20% opposite of what you want, the rest in between but still rejects ~ isolate for true seed and save from the best plants

    3rd generation (probably third year) ~ 45% what you want, 20% opposite, rest still rejects too ~ isolate and save seed from best plants

    And on it goes for years until you get seed that will produce 99% true-to-type seed. Even nowadays you'll get a plant or two every now and again that will crop up in your open pollinated crop that's weird and definitely NOT true to type. These need to be pulled and NOT allowed to pollinate any other plants.
     

  3. Manny

    Manny Well-Known Member

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    I am aware of the possible results of dealing with a first generation hybrid but I'm wondering about some of these hybrid varieties that have been very widely sold for many years by a great number of seed companies. Take for instance "Kandy". I wonder if this variety is hybridized each year in the large amounts sold or if it is getting near to being stabilized? I wonder also about the vast number of other "hybrid" veggies such as tomatoes, melons, squash, etc. Are these still hybrid to the point that they won't grow true, or are we being sold a bill of goods by the seed companies to keep buying their products? I enjoy saving seeds and I think that I'm going to spend some of my remaining gardening years in growing out some of these hybrids. I look forward to getting some first hand accounts by gardeners who have tried this with specific varieties of any hybrid veggie.
    Thanks for your reply--------Manny
     
  4. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Fresh hybrid corn would be produced every year. The hybrid seed is NEVER saved to be planted back for seed. That is why the results are the same every year. Hybrid corn is created by usually planting 4 rows of one variety and then 8 rows of another. The tassels are removed from one variety before they develop. The 4 then pollinate the 8. That becomes the source of seed for next year. Only the seed from the 4 rows, the pollinator, is saved to plant back unless that also was a hybrid.

    Martin
     
  5. Wingnut

    Wingnut Well-Known Member

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    As Martin explained, a first generation is what you get when you buy hybrids. That's what the "F1" means in the name ~ first filial generation.