Well its almost a year since I germinated my first peas to develop an antipodean purple snow pea. And I've had a chance to take stock. I dived in, without thinking through a strategy to optimise success. In part, this was due to some time pressures - rationally assessing each variety, sitting down and thinking through possible crosses, and then waiting another year to do the crosses just didn't fit with my impatience to get cracking. So I sowed every purple. yellow and snow I could lay my hands on, and crossed as much of everything with everything else that I could, given the constraints of time and available flowers at the right level of maturity.
Problem is, I now have not quite enough seed of any one line to really explore the F2 outcomes, and too much seed of multiple crosses to be able to grow out with a good chance of success this season.
A smart approach would have been to select one purple (since my guess is the three purples available in Australia are probably all the same anyway), choose a good, tasy, disease resistant, dwarfing, multi flowered snow pea of good taste, and do multiple crosses between them to get a big whack of F1 seed to grow out over summer, with a resultant 300 - 400 F2 seeds of one line to try in autumn.
Instead, I've got (or will get) about 100-150 seeds of about a dozen crosses - not quite enough to be confident of getting the desired class in one season, which could be refined , stabilised, or outcrossed for missing phenotypes in subsequent generations. It looks like I will need a few extra generations to get the classes I want, so leaping in without proper planning in an effort to get results more quickly may have backfired. This season will tell.
While the summer growouts did give some F2 seed, even sowing these as soon as I got them didn't really give me enough time to grow out the F2 plants for F3 seed this spring - my plants are just setting pods - they were very slow over winter, and some flowers didn't set seed during the winter cold - and now is when I should be sowing the next generation to escape the hot November when seeds won't set, but the pods on the F2s are onlt just developing. Let's hope for a long spring (but with an El Nino expected, I don't like my chances).