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Fall Farmtivities

September 30, 2022

The weather is changing, and so are our farm activities (Farmtivities).

This week we are prepping the soil for planting the 2022 seedlings from 30+ crosses made back in February. That’s right, you read that correctly. We are planting seedlings from crosses made this same year!

Instead of stratifying the seeds conventionally with cold storage, which takes time, and leads to a Spring planting, we are able to expedite the process with help from dormancy breaking hormones. The hormones allow the seeds to germinate immediately and start growing as soon as they are harvested, giving us the ability to have hardy seedlings in the ground with a little time to establish before the first frost.

This may not seem important or particularly noteworthy to just anyone, but it can save us a whole year! Commonly we can evaluate the first crop from the hybrids in 3 years (once they are large enough to set a crop), but with Fall planting, the seedlings kick off the warm spring weather with a ferocious vigor, having already established a root network the previous fall. This leads to having a (small but fruitful) crop on the second year!

We are always looking for new and advantageous ways to speed up the selection process and maximize efficiency in our program, and Fall planting hybrids is now our standard protocol.

 

From everyone in the Peach Breeding Lab,

Here’s to a mild fall, and another successful season ahead!