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Expert

Beet/Swiss Chard, Cabbage Family, Carrot, Escarole/Frissee, Onion, Radicchio/Endive, Turnip/Chinese Cabbage. The expert gardener's vegetables normally require more than one year for seed production and mandate separation to prevent cross-pollination.

Beet/Swiss Chard - Beta vulgaris

PLANT: Grow seed for only one variety of beet or Swiss chard at any one time. Seed to seed: Mulch first year crop in the fall to ensure winter survival. The following spring, thin to 18" spacing. Root to seed : Harvest roots in fall. Select desirable roots and trim tops 1-2" above root. Store at 40° F. in humid location. Replant in early spring at 18" intervals with tops just showing above the soil.

FLOWER: Beets and Swiss chard produce perfect flowers. Pollen is light and can be carried for miles by the wind.

INBREEDING DEPRESSION: Save seed from at least 6 different beets to ensure genetic diversity and vigor.

SELECTION TRAITS: Root color: red, red with white stripes, pink, gold, and yellow. Root shape: round, cylindrical.

HARVEST: Cut 4' tall tops just above the root when majority flowering clusters have turned brown. Tops can be stored in cool, dry locations for 2-3 weeks to encourage further seed ripening.

PROCESS: Small quantities of seed can be stripped by hand as seed matures. Large numbers of tops can be put into a cloth bag and stomped or pounded. Chaff can be winnowed.

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Cabbage Family - Brassica oleracea

Includes broccoli, brussels sprout, cauliflower, cabbage and kale.

PLANT: All vegetables and varieties in this large species will cross with each other. Separate different varieties at least 1000 feet for satisfactory results or at least 1 mile for purity. Caging with introduced pollinators or alternate day caging is also recommended in small gardens. Plants to be left for seed production should be mulched in the fall or carefully dug, trimmed and stored for the winter in humid area with temperatures between 35-40° F. Flowering plants can reach 4' in height and need at least 2' spacing for good seed production.

FLOWER: Members of the B. oleracea species, with the exception of a few early -season broccolis and cauliflowers, require vernalization (cold, winter-like tempera tures for several weeks) before flowering occurs. Flowers are perfect, most of which cannot be self-pollinated. Necessary cross-pollination is performed by bees. The stigma becomes receptive before the flower opens, and pollen is shed hours after the flower opens.

INBREEDING DEPRESSION: Plant at least 6 different plants to protect vigor and ensure a reasonable amount of genetic diversity.

SELECTION TRAITS: Plant characteristics: t all, D; side buds, D. Plant color: purple, green, magenta. Leaf shape: wide, entire, smooth, hairy.

HARVEST: Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kohlrabi heads grown for seed should not be trimmed for consumption. Brussels sprouts, collards and kale can be lightly trimmed for eating without affecting quality seed production. If small amounts of seeds are wanted, allow individual pods to dry to a light brown color before picking and opening by hand. Lower pods dry first followed by those progressively higher on the plant. For larger amounts of seeds pull entire plant after a majority of pods have dried. Green pods rarely produce viable seeds even if allowed to dry after the plant is pulled.

PROCESS: Smash unopened pods in cloth bag with mallet or by walking on them. Chaff can be winnowed.

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Carrot - Daucus carota

PLANT: Separate different varieties at least 1/2 mile to ensure purity. (Queen Anne's Lace or wild carrot will cross with garden carrot.) Alternate day caging or caging with introduced pollinators allows two or more varieties to be grown for seed in small gardens. Seed to seed: Plant seeds in mid-summer. Finger-sized carrots are more winter hardy than full-grown carrots. Mulch in late-fall to ensure winter survival. Thin to 30" spacing in the spring. Root to seed: Harvest eating-sized roots in fall for replanting in fall or early spring. Mulch if planted in fall. Clip tops to 1 -2" and store at 35-40° F. in humid location or layered in sawdust or sand. Replant roots with desirable characteristics 30" apart with soil just covering shoulders.

FLOWER: Carrots produce perfect flowers that are cross-pollinated by a number of insects. Flowers are arranged in round, flat groups called umbels. Carrots require vernalization (cold, winter-like temperatures for several weeks) before flowering occurs.

INBREEDING DEPRESSION: Carrots can exhibit severe inbreeding depression. Save and mix seed from as many different carrots as possible.

SELECTION TRAITS: Root color: white, D; black, orange, purple, red, yellow, r. Root shape : tapered, triangular, round, stubby.

HARVEST: For small amounts, hand pick each umbel as it dries brown. Large amounts of seed can be harvested by cutting entire flowering top as umbels begin to dry. Allow to mature in cool, dry location for an additional 2-3 weeks.

PROCESS: Clean small amounts by rubbing between hands. Larger amounts can be beaten from stalks and umbels. Screen and winnow to clean. Carrot seed is naturally hairy or "bearded". Debearding in the cleaning process does not affect germination.

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Escarole/Frissee - Chichorium endivia

PLANT: Separate different varieties at least 1/2 mile to ensure purity. Caging with introduced pollinators allows two or more varieties to be grown for seed in small gardens. Cages must be left on for entire flowering season. Although C. endivia is a biennial, cold, short days during the first spring will sometimes cause bolting. See: radicchio/Belgian endive.

FLOWER: Perfect, mostly-self-pollinating flowers. Pollen from C. endivia will pollinate C. intybus (radicchio), however C. endivia will not be pollinated by C. intybus .

HARVEST: A few outside leaves can be harvested for eating without harming seed production. Allow plants to dry completely after most of the flowers have set pods. Pry open pods to release dry, hard seeds.

PROCESS: Small amounts of seed can be left in pods and replanted. Some thinning will be required. Crush large amounts of pods in cloth bag with wooden mallet. Screen and winnow to remove debris.

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Onion - Allium sp.

Varieties within each onion species will cross with each other. Crosses between species although not common, are possible.
Allium schoenoprasum: Common chives
Allium tuberosum: Garlic chives
Allium fistulosum: Japanese bunching onions (Occasional crossing between A. fistulosum and A. cepa has been observed.)
Allium cepa comprised of three groups: Aggregatum includes shallots, multiplier onions and potato onions; Cepa our biennial, common storage and slicing onions; Proliferum includes the Egyptian or walking onions.

PLANT: Separate from other flowering Alliums of the same species at least 1000 feet for satisfactory results or at least 1 mile for purity. Caging with introduced pollinators or alternate day caging is also recommended in small gardens. Seed to seed: Plant seeds in late-spring or early-summer. Immature onions are more winter hardy than larger, full-grown bulbs. Mulch in late-fall to ensure winter survival. Thin to 12" spacing in the spring. Root to seed : Harvest in the fall and select the largest bulbs which produce more seed. Clip tops to 6" and store at 35-40° F. in dry, airy location. Replant in early spring with 12" spacing. Cover bulbs with 1/2" soil.

FLOWER: The Alliums produce perfect flowers, most of which are cross-polli nated because stigmas in each flower become receptive only after pollen in that flower is shed. Flowers in an individual umbel open and shed pollen at different times so crosses can and do occur on the same plant. Cross-pollination is performed mostly by bees. Many onions require vernalization (cold, winter-like temperatures for several weeks) before flowering occurs. Store for at least two weeks in a refrigerator.

INBREEDING DEPRESSION: Onions display a fair amount of inbreeding depression after two or three generations of self-pollination. Save and mix the seeds from at least two different plants.

SELECTION TRAITS: Bulb color: white, D; buff, red, yellow, r.

HARVEST: Clip umbels as soon as majority of flowers have dried. Seeds will start dropping from some flowers at this time so check often. Allow to dry in cool, dry location for up to 2-3 weeks.

PROCESS: Fully dried flowers will drop clean seeds naturally. For small amounts, rub remaining flowers to free seeds. For larger amounts, rub heads over screens. Winnow to remove remaining debris.

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Radicchio/Belgian Endive - Cichorium intybus

PLANT: Isolate different varieties by 1/2 mile to ensure purity. Pollen from escarole and frisee, C. endivia, will contaminate C. intybus and must also be isolated. Wild chicory will cross and should be eliminated. Seed to seed: Mulch in late-fall to insure winter survival. Thin to 18" spacing in the spring. Root to seed: Harvest in the fall and select the best roots. Clip tops to 2" and store at 35-40° F. in humid location for up to 3 months. Replant in early spring with 18" spacing.

FLOWER: Although chicory flowers are perfect, they do not self-pollinate. Insects perform cross-pollination.

HARVEST: A few outside leaves can be harvested for eating without harming seed production. Allow plants to dry completely after most of the flowers have set pods. Pry open pods to release dry, hard seeds.

PROCESS: Radicchio seed is difficult to remove from the pods. The entire pod can be planted without removing the seeds, but some of the numerous seedlings emerging in each location will need to be thinned. Crush large amounts of pods in cloth bag with wooden mallet. Screen and winnow to remove debris.

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Turnip/Chinese Cabbage - Brassica campestris

Formerly B. rapa. B. campestris varieties, divided below into five separate groups because of similar features, will cross with each other.)
Rapifera: root turnips
Ruvo: flower-stalk turnips including Italian turnips, rapa and broccoli raab
Chinensis: nonheading varieties of Chinese mustard including pak choi and celery mustard
Pekinensis: heading varieties of Chinese cabbage
Perviridis: spinach mustards
PLANT: Separate B. campestris varieties at least 1000 feet for satisfactory results or at least 1/2 mile for purity. Caging with introduced pollinators or alternate day caging is also recommended in small gardens. Seed to seed : Plants left for seed production should be mulched in the fall. Flowering plants can grow 3' tall and need at least 2' spacing for good seed production. Root to seed: Carefully dig roots in the fall, trim tops to 2" and store for the winter in humid location (layered in sand or sawdust) with temperatures 35-40° F. Replant best roots in early spring with 2' spacing.

FLOWER: The B. campestris species produces perfect flowers, most of which cannot be self-pollinated. Cross-pollination is performed mostly by bees. The stigma becomes receptive before the flower opens. Pollen is shed hours after the flower opens. B. campestris varieties require vernalization (cold, winter-like temperatures for several weeks) before flowering occurs. Store for at least four weeks in a refrigerator.

INBREEDING DEPRESSION: Plant at least 6 different plants to ensure a reasonable amount of genetic diversity.

HARVEST: Turnips grown for seed should not be trimmed for eating. Chinese cabbage can be lightly trimmed for eating without affecting quality seed production. If small amounts of seeds are wanted, allow individual pods to dry to a light brown color before picking and opening by hand. Lower pods dry first followed by those progressively higher on the plant. For larger amounts of seeds pull entire plant after a majority of pods have dried. Green pods rarely produce viable seeds even if allowed to dry after the plant is pulled.

PROCESS: Smash unopened pods in a cloth bag with mallet or by walking on them. Chaff can be winnowed.

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