Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Plant Breeding: That Lettuce Plant

So, on 4/30, I planted some seeds, including some Red Sails, Little Gem, and Four Seasons lettuce. The Little Gem and Red Sails took a good long time to sprout, but when they sprouted, after about fourteen days, they did so fairly evenly--most of the little plants were within a couple of days of each other. All very nice and normal.

The Four Seasons was more interesting. One seed sprouted earlier than any other seed in two flats - I think; I  really must keep better records and stop expecting myself to remember things. But I don't need memory to see that that one plant is larger than any other lettuce seedling in the greenhouse, and that it's one of only two Four Seasons seeds to sprout at all.

So what does that mean? It could just mean that I somehow planted it differently. It could mean that most of that packet was bad seed. It could mean that I have one seed of an inherently superior Four Seasons--inherently superior for sprouting in the microclimate of my own tiny greenhouse, anyway. It could mean that I have one seed of either an accidental cross, or some other lettuce that was caught up in the sorting machine. I can't compare the plant with other Four Seasons plants, because the only other Four Seasons seed to sprout has barely broken ground. It does have somewhat mottled red and green coloring that seems like a reasonable fit with Four Seasons.

Whatever it means, it's potentially interesting, and if all goes well, I'm planning to save its seed for next year. Maybe it'll sprout earlier than standard Four Seasons. Maybe it'll grow out to a variety of plants, suggesting that it is an accidental hybrid. Or maybe it won't do anything interesting at all. But I'll be growing lettuce anyway, so why not?

This is all assuming, of course, that the rabbits don't eat the plant first

Photo: Mine.


  1. I haven't sewn any seeds..I'm so lazy :(

  2. Hey, Frida! I usually don't, but this year I seem to be all enthused about the garden. I have about eight flats of seedlings, but the rain won't stop so we can till! Ack!

  3. oh this rain! I barely made it to work this morning - hail, torrential downpours..the upside is that i'm awake now!

    I'm sowing seeds tonight - figure that we still have a coupla months for them to grow!

  4. Belated response: Yay on the seeds, boo on the rain. I may have tilled ground in the next couple of days. Maybe. Possibly. Perhaps.

    Except, fence repairs are going on and I don't currently have a gate to discourage the deer. :P But I'm going to be optimistic about the gate and plant the corn and beans. Really I am.