26 February 2013

First parsnip seed

My parsips are finally seeding, the heads drying down, and yesterday I harvested the first seeds.
The 4 varieties in the first sowing haven't all flowered or seeded together, though. Halblange Weiss and de Guernsey flowering earlier than the Kral - of which I have only half a dozen plants surviving. My late sowing of Melbourne Whiteskin, which replaced a failed Kral sowing from a different seed source, is also late in setting seed.

This difference in flowering times is a bit problematic - the early seeds from the Halblange and de Guernsey will most likely have only crossed with each other, and my plan was to get a cross with the fat-rooted Kral. The seeds from the Kral are likely to have crossed with the later flowers of the other three varieties, but half a dozen plants makes for a narrow genetic base.

My plan is to harvest the late seed from the Halblange and de Guernsey, and the earliest seed from the Kral, hoping these will have crossed up, and collecting the seed from each variety separately.

It's been the driest spring/summer on record for Bendigo, and it 's been a real struggle to keep anything alive, but the breeding stock has got most of the attention, with my tomatoes now only sad dry sticks.

So just as I want some dry weather to ripen seed, it decides to rain! Gotta love nature...