... growing and hybridizing all kinds of plants in zone 6b Maryland since the 1980's.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Seed Cucumbers 2013

I think this is the fifth generation for my hybrid swarm population of cucumbers. They're the top two piles in the picture. It all started with some bee crosses of 'Lemon' cucumber with 'Straight 8' and 'Marketmore'. One of the years, I also grew a "pickling" cucumber before I realized that it got bitter in hot dry conditions. Hopefully none of those genes got into my lines. Last year I tried 'Chinese Yellow', because it was reported to be super productive. It did better than an average cucumber but not quite as well as my hybrid swarm. Even so, I replanted some this year, to give the bees some diverse germplasm to throw into the mix. The 'Chinese Yellow' are at the bottom. They're actually not so yellow because I'd selected a brown netted odd one last year to replant. I thought that maybe it could be from an outcross to one of those Indian brown netted ones that had occurred where the seed was produced. Also, the last two seasons I've been intentionally growing A LOT of 'Summer Dance' F1 hybrid cucumbers alongside mine, because I think it's one of the best cucumbers I've ever grown. It wouldn't hurt my feelings a bit, if the bees moved some pollen from 'Summer Dance' into my swarm.
So the top right pile are my keepers. They are the biggest, earliest, best shaped from the swarm. The masking tape was supposed to mark some of the earliest ripening. The top left pile are some of the others from that swarm. Notice the two round throwbacks to 'Lemon' in the far left upper corner.
The picture below is a closer view of the keeper pile. The brownish one on the right looks suspiciously like it might have come from a 'Summer Dance' outcross last year.


  1. Very interesting! Any evidence of self-incompatibility in cukes?

  2. I don't recall ever reading anything about self-incompatibility in cucumbers and have just assumed that it was a free-for-all pollination-wise. I haven't even actually done any hand pollination but have just relied on the bees to do the mixing for me. I just plant the intended parents side by side and look for hybrids among the next seasons seedlings. Was there a reason you were hoping they might be self-incompatible?