13 November 2011

The tools

I'm working on getting my equipment requirements together - something to do the emasculation on the female parent (removal of the pollen before it sheds), transfer of pollen from the male parent, labelling so you don't forget what you've done, and something to keep records in, so you know what you've done, and what you might need to do.

So I've been assembling my tool kit. A few more practised breeders put me on the right track. I started using a scalpel (Rebsie's weapon of choice, I believe), but juggling the flower parts, and manipulating the scalpel to prise apart the sepals and petals and excise the stamens had me somewhat concerned about slicing my fingers or hand open.

So I went online and purchased a number of different forceps - fine points in straight, curved and offset, a set of reverse action fine points (squeeze to open), and a set of medium point regulars. The reverse action ones (Carol Deppe recommends these) I found hard to use. The curved points are great, the curve seems to make manipulating the bits easier, and doesn't obscure you vision of the all the little bits. Handy for nipping off the redundant flower buds as well.

I got mine online from Australian Entomological Supplies - no connection, but when someone does a good job, its worth letting people know. Their prices were good, service was fine, and they have a sense of humour - the confirming email  raised quite a chuckle when I received it. And the product has so far given good service. At around $10 per unit, I can replace 'em relatively cheaply.

And to sterilise and clean the instruments, a screw top specimen jar full of methylated spirits.

For labelling the pollinated buds I use a bit of light garden twine loosely tied around the base of the bud, and an aluminium plant label - the thin soft sort that you can emboss with a ballpoint - affixed to the node below the pollinated bud with a thin bit of wire. I've even taken to writing over the label with a permanent marker to make the labels stand out a bit in the tangle of stalks and leaves.

To keep a record of my pollination activities I thought I would celebrate and rather than keep records in the cheap exercise books I use for my vege garden records, I lashed out and got a couple of Moleskine extra large grid square notebooks. Expensive, but hey, I'm worth it. Grids make it easy to keep schematic garden maps.

No comments:

Post a Comment