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Video: Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin
Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin founder of scientific breeding of fruit and other crops
October 28, 2010 marks the 155th anniversary of the birth of the great breeder, biologist and geneticist Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin. Unfortunately, the name of IV Michurin has recently begun to be forgotten, and not even all gardeners really know what he did. And in one book ("Russian Scientists", publishing house "Rosmen") I even read that "… IV Michurin's varieties have degenerated, there were no followers." But, dear gardeners, if something else grows from fruit and berry crops in your gardens, it is, first of all, thanks to Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin.
IV Michurin was born in the Ryazan province into a family of small landed nobles. Ryazan region is the land of gardeners; there were also gardeners among IV Michurin's relatives. So it is no coincidence that the future scientist's passion in gardening was manifested since childhood: “… as I remember myself, I was always and completely absorbed in only one desire to grow these or those plants,” he writes in his biography. But apart from this happiness in childhood IV Michurin had nothing. The family was poor, his mother died when the boy was only four years old, and he went "from the hands" of relatives; because of the early death of his father, the dream of higher education was not realized either - his father prepared him at the gymnasium course in the St. Petersburg Lyceum.
In 1872, IV Michurin received a job as a clerk at the station Kozlov (now Michurinsk) of the Moscow-Ryazan railway. The work was monotonous, exhausting, one joy - the garden. He rents an urban vacant lot with a small garden, collects a collection of fruit and berry plants and begins experiments to create new varieties. At the same time, he studied in depth special literature, while he could use foreign sources, because although he did not finish, he still studied at the gymnasium. A small additional income for living and scientific work was brought by the watch workshop he opened.
At the end of 1887, IV Michurin transferred to the more highly paid position of a railway traveling watchmaker and signaling apparatus and soon acquired a small plot outside the city. Unable to hire a horse to transport his plants, he transfers them to a new place (seven kilometers away) on his shoulders and the shoulders of two women - his wife and her sister. And that was already a feat! In addition, IV Michurin created a garden not only for commercial activities - growing and selling old, well-known varieties (which gave him the opportunity to leave the service), but also for breeding new, improved ones. And this is endless, exhausting work and an equally endless waste of money - on the purchase of plants, books, inventory. … And the result? You have to wait for the result for years and believe, believe, believe. … Believe in the necessity and rightness of your cause,believe in the correctness of the chosen path. But the breeding of a variety is often delayed for tens of years. For example, IV Michurin created the pear variety Bere winter for 30 years, and sometimes there is not enough human life for this. In 1900 IV Michurin moved with all his green animals - for the third and last time - to the valley of the Voronezh River, to a site more suitable for experiments.
Now there is a museum-reserve of the great scientist, and next to it is the majestic building and gardens of the Central Genetic Laboratory (TsGL), created during the scientist's lifetime, which has now been transformed into the All-Russian Research Institute of Genetics and Breeding of Fruit Plants (VNIIGiSPR) and bears the name of I.V. Michurin.
Work on the railroad allowed IV Michurin to get acquainted with the state of gardening in the central provinces of Russia and make sure of the deplorable state of this industry: gardening is not profitable, gardens are planted only by individual enthusiasts. In nurseries, mainly foreign varieties that are not suitable for our climate are grown (alas, we have now, unfortunately, come to this again!). The plantations contained many unproductive, low-quality fruits, semi-wild forms. IV Michurin concludes that the reason for this situation in Russian gardening is not in the severity of our climate, but in the scarcity and inconsistency with our conditions of the then assortment. And then the still very young Michurin decided to renew the existing old, semi-cultural composition of fruit plants in the middle part of Russia, for which he set himself two tasks:to replenish the assortment of fruit and berry plants of the middle zone with varieties outstanding in their yield and quality and to move the border of growth of southern crops far to the north.
Conceived in his youth, IV Michurin fulfilled. Our country has received more than 300 high-quality varieties of fruit and berry crops. But the point is not even the number and variety of varieties he received. After all, not so much is withheld from them in the gardens now, and, moreover, in limited quantities. As for the apple tree, these are Bellefleur-Kitaika, Slavyanka, Pepin saffron, Kitaika golden early, in a greater number - Bessemyanka Michurinskaya. Of the pear varieties in the gardens of the Chernozem zone, Bere Zimnyaya Michurina is preserved. The greatness of I.V. Michurin lies in the fact that at the end of the 19th century he perspicaciously determined the main direction of breeding, armed scientists with a strategy and tactics for its implementation, became the founder of scientific breeding (and, by the way, not only fruit, but also other crops). For example, in my garden for more than half a century, a lily created by IV Michurin has been blooming, smelling of a violet.It was once acquired by my father from IV Michurin's Main Nursery, and I am afraid that it is the last on earth … And his varieties became the ancestors of new, even more improved varieties, for example, Bellefleur-Kitayka gave birth to 35 varieties, Pepin saffron - 30, which, naturally, largely replaced their predecessors.
But Ivan Vladimirovich did not immediately find the right ways to create varieties. He had no one to learn from, he had to develop everything himself. There were many mistakes, disappointments, hard failures, but he persisted in his work. And this is a feat of a lifetime! At the end of the 19th century, it was widely believed in Russia that the improvement of the varietal composition of gardens in the middle zone could be achieved by the massive transfer of high-quality southern varieties here and their gradual adaptation to the harsh local climate. Gardeners have lost many years and a lot of money on this useless business. And this mistake, by the way, is now repeated by many of our compatriots who buy seedlings imported, for example, from Moldova.
At first, Ivan Vladimirovich also succumbed to the temptation of such acclimatization. And years of fruitless work will pass before the scientist, having analyzed the results of the experiments, concludes that the adaptability of old, already established varieties to new conditions is extremely limited, and it is impossible to acclimatize such varieties by simply transferring them with trees or grafting cuttings onto a winter-hardy stock. It turns out quite differently when sowing seeds. In this case, it is not the seedlings, the established varieties, that fall under the influence of the new conditions, but young seedlings, extremely plastic plants with a high degree of variability and adaptability. So the decisive conclusion was made: acclimatization is achievable only when plants multiply by sowing seeds. And many of you, dear gardeners, are doing just that now.
Indeed, the finest hour for breeders (and therefore for all of us, gardeners) was the discovery of I.V. Michurin that a really effective way of moving plants to the north is not sowing any seeds, but obtained from the targeted selection of winter-hardy parents and, consequently, the truly axial sprinkling is possible "… only by breeding new plant varieties from seeds."
And how many winter-hardy southerners have already been created in this way in our country! Now, for example, in the Moscow region varieties of sweet cherry, apricot and even quince are bearing fruit relatively well. Well, and grapes are now cultivated, one might say, everywhere, and some varieties are even practically without shelter.
Developing the doctrine of the purposeful selection of parental pairs, IV Michurin made a fateful discovery: the prospects of selection in distant hybridization - crossing of plants of different species, quite distant in relation to their relationship and growing area. Only thanks to the introduction of these scientific developments of IV Michurin into breeding, for example, did the gardening of Siberia and the Urals become possible. After all, interspecific hybridization made it possible to obtain a fundamentally new type of apple tree suitable for local places - ranetka and semi-culture (hybrids between the berry apple tree growing here, or simply Siberian, and European varieties), an unprecedented type of pear - hybrids between the local wild-growing pear species, simply called among the people - Ussuriika. All local varieties of stone fruit crops - cherries, plums, apricots - are also interspecific hybrids.Interspecific hybridization saved gooseberries from destruction by the spheroteca, returned the pear to the gardens of the middle zone, and even in an improved form. Most of the varieties of honeysuckle, mountain ash, stone fruit crops widespread throughout our country are also interspecific hybrids. When I once congratulated the famous raspberry breeder I. Kazakov on his wonderful varieties (primarily remontant ones), he said: “You know, they went somehow unexpectedly and immediately when I introduced interspecific hybridization”. And I could only smile and say: "As recommended by Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin."When I once congratulated the famous raspberry breeder I. Kazakov on his wonderful varieties (primarily remontant ones), he said: “You know, they went somehow unexpectedly and immediately when I introduced interspecific hybridization”. And I could only smile and say: "As recommended by Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin."When I once congratulated the famous raspberry breeder I. Kazakov on his wonderful varieties (primarily remontant ones), he said: “You know, they went somehow unexpectedly and immediately when I introduced interspecific hybridization”. And I could only smile and say: "As recommended by Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin."
And also remember, probably, the so-called man-made plants that have never existed in nature, growing in your gardens: Russian plum or, in other words, hybrid cherry plum (hybrids between cherry plum and various types of plum), yoshta (hybrid between currants and gooseberries), earthworm (a hybrid of wild strawberries and strawberries), cerapadus are children of cherry and bird cherry. And this is not a complete list.
And, probably, few people know that IV Michurin determined the medical direction in breeding, urging breeders when creating new varieties to be guided by the need to take into account their healing qualities. He even once wrote that if it were not for old age, he would have brought out the apple of health. That is why our garden is now becoming a supplier not only, as they say, of products for dessert, but also a life-saving pharmacy.
IV Michurin was the first to discover for gardening almost all crops that are now called non-traditional - new and rare. Most of them he first experienced in his garden. He created the first varieties and determined a future place in the Russian garden for each of the crops. It is with his light hand that chokeberries and felt cherries, lemongrass and actinidia are now growing in our plots, shepherdia and barberry are persistently asking to go to the garden, varietal mountain ash, blackthorn, bird cherry, hazel have appeared.
Ivan Vladimirovich was a great connoisseur of plants. In his garden, he collected such a collection that the Americans tried to buy it twice - in 1911 and in 1913. And they wanted, together with the land and the scientists themselves, to ferry across the ocean on a steamer. But Michurin was firm in his refusal. His plants can live only on Russian soil, his business is for Russia.
For most of his life, the scientist fought alone. Years passed, strength was depleted, it became more and more difficult for him to work in the garden. A bleak, lonely old age and need approached. And, most likely, the work on the transformation of Russian gardening would have been interrupted if IV Michurin had not been supported by the Soviet government. On February 18, 1922, a telegram came to Tambov: “Experiments in obtaining new cultivated plants are of tremendous state importance. Urgently send a report on the experiments and work of Michurin of the Kozlov district for a report to the chairman of the Council of People's Commissars, comrade. Lenin. Confirm the execution of the telegram."
An unprecedented event in history happened - the work of one person became the business of the whole country. Throughout the vast country, scientific centers for gardening, breeding, and variety study were created - institutes, experimental stations, strong points. At the same time, training centers for personnel training were organized - from institutes and technical schools to courses for training garden workers. Already at the beginning of the 30s, the first students of IV Michurin dispersed throughout the country and in the most different climatic zones - in the mountains, in the desert, steppes and among forests - they began to create new varieties. And they, together with IV Michurin, created the basis thanks to which our country has no equal in varietal diversity and the number of new cultures for the garden. And then this work was continued by the second and third generations of IV Michurin's followers.This is how the great gene pool of fruit and berry crops in Russia was created.
To our great regret, this invaluable heritage in the last 20 years has been largely lost, and due to the commercialization of gardening, it is being criminally replaced by foreign material, as IV Michurin wrote a hundred years ago, unsuitable for our conditions. Scientific work was also curtailed, many collections perished: cottage villages were built in their place. The remaining gardens are old, many are neglected.
Unfortunately, dear gardeners, the situation on your plots is not much better. And yet, according to my observations, you are now the main holders of our fruit and berry gene pool. Take care and enhance this great national heritage of ours! And further. Read Ivan Vladimirovich. His books can still be bought from second-hand booksellers, ordered on the Internet. They are written very clearly, without a pile of scientific terms, and in terms of content, they are a storehouse of ageless knowledge for both amateur gardeners and specialists.