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What Is A Vegetable Hybrid And Where Does It Come From
What Is A Vegetable Hybrid And Where Does It Come From

Video: What Is A Vegetable Hybrid And Where Does It Come From

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Video: What are hybrid vegetables? Your questions answered! 2023, January

Some reflections on the results of the last abnormally hot summer

cucumber hybrid
cucumber hybrid

The past summer is called anomalous. I will not go into the global problems of climate change on the planet. This is a completely different topic.

At one agricultural exhibition I was asked the question: “Why did some varieties and hybrids of vegetables we know, change their economic properties under the influence of such a hot summer? They changed their usual shape, sometimes color, taste."

This was the impetus for writing this article.

Let us dwell in more detail on this important thesis, which is important precisely for those who are engaged in the cultivation of vegetables. When buying seeds for our garden, we are usually guided by the description of the main qualities indicated on the label. It is right. But the seller indicates all characteristics of the variety from the data obtained during the tests. And they were obtained on a variety testing plot, within 3-4 years in "ideal" effects - a high agricultural background, correct agricultural technology, etc.

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Now imagine that such a hybrid gets into real conditions: the notorious agricultural technology of chicken and pigeon droppings, greenhouses covered with packaging film, advertising stimulants, miracle fertilizers and other specifics of our free market. It is known from agronomy that the yield of any crop is a function not only of potential productivity, but also of the ecological stability of a species, variety, hybrid.

And what is important, in unfavorable environmental conditions, the resistance of the variety to the effects of various kinds of stress turns out to be a decisive factor in the realization of potential productivity. It is clear that in 3-4 years it is impossible to reveal all the characteristics of the ecological stability of a species, variety, hybrid. By creating a variety, a hybrid that is not able to exist for a long time without human intervention, since it does not have self-regulation, but is characterized by high productivity, we teach vegetable plants to live in our conditions. And if we want them to thank us, then they need to create appropriate conditions for life.

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I want to note that in the process of breeding and variety trials, we often do not study the features of the most important adaptive and economically valuable traits. Therefore, gardeners may be faced with various "surprises" of this or that hybrid. And such a concept as a zoned variety is not always acceptable in small areas of our plots, which, moreover, are not in the best conditions for farming, which, combined with our climate, leads to different results than those promised on the label.

In general, it takes about 12-15 years to create a sustainable modern hybrid, and then another 3-4 years the variety trials last. And at the same time, one must take into account the fact that the “novelty” of the hybrid lasts about 5-6 years, since there is strong competition between breeding companies, and a more popular hybrid appears that can win the competition of its predecessor. It is clear that this applies to world-class professional seeds.

I once watched a 3D movie in a cinema. Of course, everything is great there - effects, great shooting. But it's not that. I was interested in the budget of the creators of this masterpiece - $ 80 million. But creating a modern competitive hybrid, say, a tomato, also requires the work of large teams. It involves specialists from a wide variety of professions: breeders, geneticists, physiologists, biochemists, mathematicians, agrometeorologists, technologists, and expensive equipment is also needed for research, etc. It is when creating stress-resistant hybrids that foreign companies spend no less money than producers to create 3D films.

It is clear that professionals, when planting seeds in a greenhouse, must be confident in making a profit from its cultivation. Accordingly, the choice of hybrids follows this principle. The main positive quality of the hybrid, in my opinion, should be its minimal negative reaction to various stressful situations. The creation of hybrids is based on a genetic algorithm, i.e. the assumption is made that if we take two quite good solutions to the problem and somehow get a new solution from them, then there will be a high probability that the new solution will turn out to be good or even better. However, not all so simple.

tomatoes in the greenhouse
tomatoes in the greenhouse

I will try to explain in an accessible way some of the provisions of genetics, in particular, what relates to the resistance of our hybrid. Let's say a tomato. Its genome is the simplest. It has more than 1,300 genes, of which 242 are localized on 12 chromosomes.

Genes that are on the same chromosome are called linked. In this case, the contribution of each of the genes to the phenotype is quite small, and we can speak of the continuous variability of organisms for this trait. In particular, one of the genes can suppress the effect of another gene; otherwise, one of the genes can influence the expression of another gene. Thus, stressful manifestations of the external environment can turn on one or another gene, or even wake up the so-called dormant genes.

It would seem that there are relatively few "necessary" genes in the genomes. That is, genes that actively work, controlling the development of a plant. The main volume of DNA is the so-called non-coding part. It is also called dormant genes. While they are a kind of mystery. Some suggest that they protect non-working genes from mutations, there is also the opposite opinion. I will not bore the reader with genetics, I will only note that two important scientific events took place a little over 100 years ago: the Czech monk Gregor Mendel discovered genes, and the Swiss chemist Friedrich Mischer discovered DNA.

Unfortunately, in our country the fate of these discoveries did not find political support at the time. This is what causes the lag of our science in the creation of hybrids. Meanwhile, NI Vavilov, back in the 1920s, spoke about the creation of a fundamentally new generation of forms, varieties and hybrids of plants with complex resistance and energy-efficient indicators on the basis of the existing bank of gene resources. The basic principles of his teaching were widely implemented in foreign breeding science.

So, we answered the question: why abnormal summer conditions caused some changes in plants. It's all about the stress resistance of a particular hybrid. And this, in turn, is associated with the interactions of genes at the molecular level. Probably, gardeners should not rely on such a thing as varieties and hybrids acclimatized for a given zone, this is something like "the average temperature in the hospital."

You need to look for your own from a variety of hybrids, the one that is suitable for the specific conditions of your site. It is clear that if such a hot summer becomes the norm for our zone, then you need to focus on southern varieties. In the meantime, use stress-resistant hybrids. Summer residents of the "weekend" need to select such hybrids that, in adverse conditions, are capable of producing a good harvest, this applies to many vegetable crops. How to determine which hybrids are the most resistant to stress? This, of course, your bitter experience will tell. However, before purchasing the seeds of this or that hybrid, find out about its properties, pay less attention to the colorful drawings on the packages with seeds, but rather read the annotation more carefully and find out: what is the resistance of this hybrid to diseases.

Stress-free cucumbers

Take cucumbers for example. A sharp drop in day and night temperatures, usually observed in the Non-Black Earth Region in August, provokes the appearance of downy mildew. What's the way out here? Sow and grow in our climatic zone only those hybrids that have reliable immunity to this disease. In order to get good yields in a small area, hybrids with a bouquet type of flowering are planted, i.e. when up to 6-8 or more ovaries can form in each leaf axil. But you need to know that these hybrids need more nutrition, they need better care to realize the full potential of the hybrid.

Unfortunately, gardeners and summer residents still pay little attention to the circulation of crops. Due to the specific conditions of the suburban protected soil, when a limited set of vegetable crops is mainly grown in greenhouses and greenhouses, the soil does not change for a long time, and the disinfection of the greenhouses is insufficient. This leads to the fact that cucumbers often develop root rot. They are also harmed by such diseases as olive spot, ascochitis, angular spot and a number of others.

If you choose suitable hybrids for a greenhouse, then, in my opinion, they should have the following set of traits and properties: 100% degree of parthenocarp, bouquet arrangement of ovaries, powerful growth, limited lateral branching, group genetic resistance to root rot, to real and downy mildew and a number of other diseases. And they must also have high taste properties, both fresh and processed. The lack of bitterness in the fruit must be genetically determined. And with all the economically positive properties, they must have greater resistance to various stressful manifestations. Typically, such a set of properties is available in professional heterotic hybrids of well-known world companies.

Read part 2. What are cucumbers and tomatoes afraid of?

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