In my recent articles about seed saving, I had mentioned the consequences of saving seeds from a plant grown from hybrid seed. There was also some explanation on why saving such a seed will not produce the same type of yield that you got to begin with. While it is good to understand the concept theoretically we always need some visual proof as to what happens if we really save the seed from a hybrid plant. In this post, we are going to see just that.
Last year, I had purchased White brinjal seeds.By white I mean milk white. The moment I saw that brinjal seed I was taken away. It had glowing white color and it was priced at 50/- per packet. I didn’t bother too much about the fact it is hybrid or not. What went in my mind was, the packet has many seeds!..why should I bother about saving the seeds. I don’t even know if i can use all the seeds. Anyway, I bought those seeds and sowed them without any delay. I got a bountiful harvest whose pictures I posted in this blog here. One of those plants, had a huge brinjal which I left for seed. The white brinjal when ripe becomes yellow in color.
After it reached the stage I can collect seeds, I did the obvious.I collected seeds and sowed most of them back. All of them germinated with in 3-4 days and I had lush green seedlings. I transplanted them into different pots. Things are fine so far. Due the difference in sizes of the pots, few started flowering early and few took their own time.
The first few flowers I saw were purple in color. The initial plant I grew from purchased seed was purple. You sow purple you get purple. Like the flower below, I was happy. I got the purple flower and the Brinjal was white as milk.
Purple flower and its fruit
Well, After couple of weeks, I had few more plants starting to flower and guess what the color is White. Initially I thought, may be thats a ‘sport’. More and more plants with white colored flower.
White flower and its fruit:
It dawned on me then!.. I went back again to look at the seed packet and there you go! it has hybrid written on it in uppercase. Interestingly, the ones with the white flowers have fruits that are dull white more towards pale green and the ones with purple yield perfectly white brinjal. Also, the size of the fruit has come down drastically. These could be one of the parents that resulted in the Hybrid.
Now what If i wanted those original seeds that gave me good yield and big veggies? I guess i will have go to the seed company to buy it again. May be not. If I carefully sow many seeds and select the plants based on their traits may be I can get the same variety again. But who can do that?. This is exactly why you don’t save seeds from a F1 hybrid plant.
Nice information out there, I have been following your posts for 2 months now. I have learnt a lot from you in these 2 months. Its people like you who have created inspiration for people like me.
Although from childhood I was always intersted in plants, I never could take it seriously. These 2 months I have changed the landscape of my terrace to have useful set of plants, Thanks to you and also a friend of mine ( who is into Hydroponics). Currently, I have huge set of flower plants ( basically because of my mom insist to have our own flower for pooja) and very smal set of vegetable plants ( Okra, tomato, beans, carrot and cucubmer) all in young stage. I have planted all of them in pot with mix of coco peat, compost( soil mixed) and Red soil ( with gobbar mixed). I make sure I sprey Neem oil once a week to keep it clean from pest. For now, Flowers have come out well for my satisfaction and its too early to know if Veggie has all incredients required. To be frank, I am still not sure if I am taking it in right direction. I have seen many posts from you about lot of veggie, I realised if there was a post from you which can completely detail about growing a veggie plant from seeding to harvesting ( which include details about your potting mix[ you bought them or you did it urself, if bought from where?], maintanence details etc). I think your fellow bloggers including me will definetly appritiate you for your help by doing so.
I am also intersted to have detailed discussions with you, so if you are on gtalk please include my gmail id for a chat.
Thanks for this great help.
Thanks for taking the time to comment. Your comment is valuable and it is very motivating. I like your suggestion of a post that focuses on entire life cycle of a vegetable. I have started working on it and trust me, it will on the web very soon. It will be a multipart series from seedstarting, transplanting, taking care/repotting/pruning, guarding it from pests and anything related to that veggie.
I really appreciate the efforts that you are taking. You are starting on gardening and are doing a great job already. You are in the right direction. Please post any questions you might have here or on the google talk id I provided.
Keep us posted of your progress and watch this space for posts. and BTW, I am speechless looking at your flickr page. Now I know whom to bug for photography tips.
Nice to see some real life example following up on the pretty handy explanation given out earlier. Nice post!!
It should take 6-10 generations to stabilize a hybrid, still might not be true to the original hybrid. search for “open pollinated sungold” for the effort involved.
sungold is the hybrid
“Sungold Select I/II/III” are the openpollinated version
Not to sound paranoid here, but is it possible that the seed companies deliberately ensure that their seeds can’t be saved and planted?
I’ve heard of some foreign companies that do this. Sounds a bit unethical to me. Like DRM for plants!
There is nothing paranoid about this. Yes it is possible to ensure the seeds can’t be saved. Usually the companies that hybridize don’t release the information regarding the parent lines and hence you cannot come up with same seed with same traits. The hybrid plants will bear seeds but that wont be true to type.
There are techniques used by Seed companies that add a special gene(terminator gene) that stops the seeds from being produced( or something similar to that).
we can still go ahead and use OP varieties and not rely on the companies. Its upto us.