Graham Fleming, Australia


August 27, 2009

Categories: Breeding, Fertility, Hybridizing, Seedling, Seeds

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We don’t do produce anywhere near the numbers we did when we did a lot of standard hybridising as well as miniatures (in those days we peaked at over 50,000 seeds-and yes in the past I have been known to count each seed but I don’t anymore). These days we harvest around 10,000 to 15,000 miniature seeds. Our seed harvest has suffered because we have have been in drought for about the last 7 years and more recently because of our house building activities. However, the drought has mostly affected our standards in terms of seed set and these days we only use our standards as an adjunct to our miniature breeding.
As Helen (the other half of Keira Bulbs) and I both work full-time our seed harvest is limited by the time available to the crosses. We only hybridise a fraction of our miniatures that flower each year now and yes taking photos cuts into hybridising time as well. We have been doing intersectional crosses as well and expect a lower harvest from these crosses. However, most of our miniature crosses involve our own fertile miniature seedlings so fertility is not an issue. We don’t have the climatic problems of the northern hemisphere hybridisers. We just plant the seed in boxes outside so we will have hardy seedlings (we grow our wet program seedlings in our shadehouse). Our conditions are good because we are starting to get a fair number of feral seedlings as well (ie from seed that we fail to collect and that just drops on the ground). I always regret not doing more of the crosses that I had hoped to do at the end of each season!
Our flowering season is quite long and we have been breeding to extend the flowering time for our miniatures into late season. Our peak time for our miniatures ends in mid-September but we are often still doing crosses in mid-October! Our main focus to produce exhibition quality miniatures that flower during the show season.
There is a looming lifting problem because we have a lot of standard seedlings that we need to lift and move and yes they were from one of the years when we harvested about 50,000 seeds. They are starting to flower in their boxes.
Kind regards


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