Making seeds for Regional Trials

The regional trials require a lot of seeds of the new varieties. These are made by hand pollinating one flower at a time. This week, Griff’s group is finishing some hybrid seed for use in 2014.

Parental plants in greenhouse. Each parent line only has three or four plants, so all the hybrid seed must come from them.
Jeff McNamara prepares a flower for pollination by separating the sepals to expose the stigma. The flowers must be pollinated at this stage so they are not fertilized by their own pollen, which matures once the flower opens on its own.
The flower is pollinated by rubbing the pollen-laden anthers of the pollen parent on the stigma of the seed parent.
After a flower is pollinated, it is tagged with the names of the parent plants. The fruit are allowed to grow and seed develop inside. With fecund plants, as many as 10 seeds can come from one flower.
When the fruit have matured, they are collected and taken to the seed processing room along with their tag. There, the seeds are removed and placed in labelled envelopes.
Some crosses result in few seeds. These fruits only have one seed each.