Last years seed - good for nothing?

Rivian

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We grew various vegetables last year. I collected, cleaned, stored, sowed the seeds and theyre sprouting now.
But some gardener told me I can basically throw them away because theyre hybrids or whatever. I dont care if they dont turn out exactly like last year but Im told they may not grow well at all or be super bitter or poisonous (What the heck).
So right now I have seeds of last years Hokkaido pumpkin and store-bought honey melon fruit sprouting. Last year we had butternut squash and small melons growing very near the Hokkaido.
Are they worthless?
Tomatoes seemed fine over the years, growing what sprouted on its own
 
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ShadyStump

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If you're concerned about what exact variety of vegetable you get from the seeds you planted, then you may be disappointed.
It's a little like air layering trees. If the parent tree is grafted into dwarf rootstock, the tree you get from air layering above the graft will be exactly what the scion is, but will NOT be a dwarf.
If you're not concerned about it, go for it, and let us know. The Growing Other Stuff thread I started is great for these things. I'd love to see what turns up.

I'll use tomatoes as an example to start with.
A variety of yellow tomato called Lemon Boy is exceptionally good in my climate. Heat tolerant, drought resistant, and prolific fruit production all season long. Can be tricky to find, though because it's an unstable hybrid of two other varieties. That means that if I plant the seeds, I'll get something other than Lemon Boys.
However, I will still get tomatoes, and they will in all likelihood be edible. Palatable is another question all together, but they'll be nutritious in some way.

Peppers- capsicum anuum specifically, the species most commonly grown for Food production, and includes pretty much EVERY variety of pepper you'll find in a grocery store- are notorious for cross pollinating very easy because all the hundreds of varieties are all one in the same species.
So if you plant your sweet bell pepper next to cayenne pepper, not only are your bells likely to come out spicy that year, any seeds you plant will produce a hybrid of the two peppers.
A related side note: ANYTHING you plant too close to peppers runs the risk of producing something with a bit of the pepper characteristics. Once as kid my mom planted the cauliflower next to the jalapenos and we got spicy cauliflower. It was delicious 😋 We put it in our pickled pepper mix with an egg in each jar, thus kicking off my love of pickled eggs.

If you want to ensure you'll grow the same thing you got the seeds from every year, look for what's called heirloom varieties. These are individual cultivars, not hybrids, so the seed will make the same thing every time you plant.
Back to tomatoes, the San Marisano variety is an heirloom tomato. It's been specifically bred to produce fruit with specific qualities, and only pollinates with tomatoes that will result in San Marisano fruit when the seeds are planted next year.
I can't speak to your hokaido pumpkins specifically, but butternut squash is an heirloom, so you'll only get butternut. I don't bother buying seeds for those, just a squash at the store.
 

HorseloverFat

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Shady nailed it.

This happens a lot.. people MISunderstand the concepts of SEED GENETICS, CULTIVARS, HEIRLOOMS, and HYBRIDS. Trying to "teach" their misunderstandings... not with MALICE.. but ignorance.

Even the "Master Gardener" that runs the Florist's shop near me.. tried telling me that growing poms, apples, and citrus from Grocery Store fruit would "never work"... (Then I got to teach HER something.)

It's a misunderstanding that is passed down through Nurserypeople and Home Gardeners.... We can end the cycle!!
 

EverThorn

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I've read and heard a lot of horror stories about bitter melons and the like, from saved melon seeds, but I've honestly not grown any out myself to KNOW how accurate that is. I know that most people I know who do grow gourds or any Cucurbits for seed will tend to grow a particular cultivar exclusively. Maintaining heirloom stock is noble work.

I can tell you also that different species within a genus don't cross, as a general rule (with some exceptions).. That's what makes them a 'species' as opposed to a 'cultivar' or 'variety'. I know some genus have a tendency to follow this rule less than others, but I'm not an authority enough to tell you more than that. I do bag or other physical isolation methods to maintain my varieties. I also save a LOT of open-pollinated pepper seeds and can say I've had mixed results with a tendency towards them coming true to what they were, despite the 'mosh pit' I play with them.. Which is impressive considering pepper flowers become receptive to pollen almost immediately upon opening, and don't begin to produce pollen until hours later.

@ShadyStump I think you mean that Heirlooms will come true to seed, if they aren't crossed.. As opposed to typical vendor 'hybrid' seed which will only come true to that form the first grow, and tend to be very variable in subsequent generations. If I grow my Aleppo next to my Padron, and don't isolate them.. There will likely be some crossing, regardless of them being a 'heirloom'. Heirlooms are just cultivated varieties that have been proofed and refined over generations by a given region, family, or company.. Open-pollinated, as opposed to manually crossed or genetically modified.
If not, I'd like to read where you read that stuff about heirlooms not making viable seed with others and only with themselves.. Because that's new to me.

@Mapleminx, I wish I were a prolific veggie grower! More like rabbit food plot creator.. Schmutziger Kanichens! 🙃
 

HorseloverFat

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@ShadyStump I think you mean that Heirlooms will come true to seed, if they aren't crossed.. As opposed to typical vendor 'hybrid' seed which will only come true to that form the first grow,

I figured THIS was what Shady was talking about.

Like I have some ALMOST heirloom Purple Serrano... It's their "second time" (including Hung Black/Serrano CROSS that started it)... 80 percent stayed "true".. now THIS YEAR'S "Purple Serrano seeds" WILL be heirloom.. with a VERY minute chance for "Instability".
 

EverThorn

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I figured THIS was what Shady was talking about.

Like I have some ALMOST heirloom Purple Serrano... It's their "second time" (including Hung Black/Serrano CROSS that started it)... 80 percent stayed "true".. now THIS YEAR'S "Purple Serrano seeds" WILL be heirloom.. with a VERY minute chance for "Instability".

Sometimes, the hybrids are even better than the originals.. Getting them to stick is another matter. It takes something like 6-8 generations to proof a Capsicum cultivar, from the cross, if you can maintain the traits you are after thru that process. Genetics are an interesting study, and a lot deeper than I had thought when I started my journey into reading more on them. Just like us, plants have traits that are recessive and those that are dominant.. Making getting what you want in breeding a bit of a gamble, slightly less so if you know how to 'count the cards'.
 

HorseloverFat

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Sometimes, the hybrids are even better than the originals.. Getting them to stick is another matter. It takes something like 6-8 generations to proof a Capsicum cultivar, from the cross, if you can maintain the traits you are after thru that process. Genetics are an interesting study, and a lot deeper than I had thought when I started my journey into reading more on them. Just like us, plants have traits that are recessive and those that are dominant.. Making getting what you want in breeding a bit of a gamble, slightly less so if you know how to 'count the cards'.
I explain it to people like human genetics as well.

"Normies" are all "This is the same tree as THAT?"...

I say, "Kids are different!"

So far, Peppers, Cannabis, Papavers and Acer are the species I either HAVE done DEEP genetic study on.. or am IN a DEEP genetic study of...

Lots... and lots... and lots.. and LOTS.. of culling.

🤓
 

HorseloverFat

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I was curious about how MANY generations OUT the mentioned purple serranos where... So I asked @StudlyRob (he doesn't exist here, I'm just playing) for verification...

He said the seeds I received LAST year and grew where 3rd generation INCLUDING cross...

So we are on our fifth generation.. and the 3 that I KEPT... remained true...

So IF these seeds produce true NEXT Season.. ... seeds in those fruits will be "Purple Serrano" for REAL. 😂
 

HorseloverFat

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considering pepper flowers become receptive to pollen almost immediately upon opening, and don't begin to produce pollen until hours later.
Yeah! you gotta be QUICK with the q-tips.. or else they'll self-pollinate.
 

EverThorn

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I was curious about how MANY generations OUT the mentioned purple serranos where... So I asked @StudlyRob (he doesn't exist here, I'm just playing) for verification...

He said the seeds I received LAST year and grew where 3rd generation INCLUDING cross...

So we are on our fifth generation.. and the 3 that I KEPT... remained true...

So IF these seeds produce true NEXT Season.. ... seeds in those fruits will be "Purple Serrano" for REAL. 😂
I forget what the hurdle number is, but I've read pretty good things about fifth and sixth generation.. And also know there is some debate as to what the actual number of generations it takes for them to be considered stable. I would speculate it varies depending on the degree of variance between the original parents. I don't know what generation it technically would become a 'heirloom'. I've been studying Capsicum for a few years now, yet rely heavily on files for things I don't have actual experience with.. To which I can say 2nd and 3rd generation are definitely more 'interesting' than 'encouraging', if you don't have enough variety to pull from.

I feel I have no choice for now, but to play the long odds, in regards to breeding anything.. And a couple of the ones I've played with have led me back to the beginning, so I long for space. I've only been running about a dozen max, at a pop, which isn't nearly what I should be. A little more focus would probably go a long way, but I'm not quite ready to settle down with a few select varieties yet. I'd like to get to where I grow one of each species every year, in quantity.. And maybe have a 3 year cycle in which I rotate my seedstock thru.

How many did you start with, that ended in just the the three plants?
 

HorseloverFat

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I forget what the hurdle number is, but I've read pretty good things about fifth and sixth generation.. And also know there is some debate as to what the actual number of generations it takes for them to be considered stable. I would speculate it varies depending on the degree of variance between the original parents. I don't know what generation it technically would become a 'heirloom'. I've been studying Capsicum for a few years now, yet rely heavily on files for things I don't have actual experience with.. To which I can say 2nd and 3rd generation are definitely more 'interesting' than 'encouraging', if you don't have enough variety to pull from.

I feel I have no choice for now, but to play the long odds, in regards to breeding anything.. And a couple of the ones I've played with have led me back to the beginning, so I long for space. I've only been running about a dozen max, at a pop, which isn't nearly what I should be. A little more focus would probably go a long way, but I'm not quite ready to settle down with a few select varieties yet. I'd like to get to where I grow one of each species every year, in quantity.. And maybe have a 3 year cycle in which I rotate my seedstock thru.

How many did you start with, that ended in just the the three plants?
I lucked out!

My germination was poor... Only 4 sprouted... one was green-stemmed off the bat..

The Hung-black will be purple-stemmed, purple leafed..

Serrano, green-stemmed, green leafed..

Last year, I kept the purple-stemmed/green leafed.. and I guessed right!

So I THINK three (using this same method) are stable.. time will tell.
 

ShadyStump

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@ShadyStump I think you mean that Heirlooms will come true to seed, if they aren't crossed
Yes, but I was trying to throw the basic concepts out there and not confuse someone who might be just beginning.

I will say that you seem to have peppers on your mind, while I was thinking of my tomato example, and between the two genus there's a big difference in the cross pollination one can expect.
Some heirloom tomato varieties really will only pollinate with themselves or certain other tomatoes to produce viable seed, the same way some production geared prunus varieties will only pollinate with themselves and/or certain others to produce fruit.
Capsicum are sluts; they'll pollinate with any other pepper they can find.
 
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