Open Pollinated Vegetables in Greenhouses
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Annelore
Posted on: August 04, 2005

We at Blue Lagoon Florascape purchase a lot of seeds from you. We are now erecting a winter greenhouse in Manitoba. We need open pollinated seeds since there will be no bees in the greenhouse. Could you please advise if any of the seeds I purchased are open pollinated? Roma, Beefsteak and Brandywine tomatoes or Muncher, Straight 8 cucumbers. If these are not open pollinated do you have any organic seeds that are?

All of these varieties are open-pollinated.

I think you are misunderstanding the concept of "open-pollinated" here. The concept of "open pollinated" seeds refers to seeds that were produced by allowing pollen to freely travel from one plant to another. In contrast hybrid seeds are produced by carefully ensuring that only the pollen from plants of one parent variety are allowed to pollinate the plants of another parent variety. The seeds that develop from the cross-pollination are what we call hybrid seeds, and by definition they are not "open-pollinated". Seeds gathered from plants allowed to pollinate freely are called "open-pollinated."

Whether you use open-pollinated or hydrid seeds is immaterial for greenhouse production. Either type will fail or succeed in greenhouses for reasons totally unrelated to whether the seeds are open-pollinated or hybrid. What matters in greenhouses is whether plants of the varieties you are growing are capable of pollinating themselves in absence of insect or other pollinators or wind. If the crop needs insects or wind to pollinate it may become necessary to artifically pollinate the flowers in order to get them to successfully set fruits. This is a crop-by-crop and variety-by-variety thing: you need to make sure that the varieties you want to grow under cover will successfully pollinate themselves. For example, tomatoes need the help of a vibrator to shake pollen from the male anthers to the female stigmas in the flowers.

For more information on vegetable pollination, please see:

http://msucares.com/lawn/garden/vegetables/pollination/ http://gardening.wsu.edu/library/vege016/vege016.htm http://www.pollinator.com/cucumber.htm

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