Monday, April 8, 2019

Bean Breeding #1

What do you love to grow?

I enjoy the growing process from saving seeds to harvesting the fruit. I do not have a favourite plant but am focusing on beans for breeding.

What are the interesting characteristics for which you would breed or select? 

Projections about the future indicate many parts of the world will see greater heat stress — higher temperatures that can result in more frequent, longer periods of excessive heat for crops.

 This is bad news for growers of certain crops. That would include beans. I am interested in heat resistance. Beans do not like a nighttime temperature over 23. In my rea, Central Ontario, Canada, currently few nights exceed the 20C nighttime heat limit but that may be changing.

Last summer, my first in the area, was hot and humid and more than a few nights exceeded the maximum temperature.

Talking with people who have gardened here for years, that summer was unusual. The previous year was cooler and wetter. The forecast for this year rests somewhere between the two. What the future holds, who knows.

In addition, to selecting for heat extremes, I am also interested in hardiness. I want to develop beans that will thrive in the soil where I live and will be resilient enough to tackle future challenges.

How would you go about facilitating this project? What about climactic conditions, geographic location within your garden or farm? Soil issues, disease?

The soil here is clay. I have worked in clay before and am comfortable I can use its advantages to the garden’s best effect. I am a renter with a large yard, permission to use it, as I will for growing, and a good lease. I have obtained several heritage beans, as well as, tepary beans suitable for much warmer climates.

Climate change is a major concern when it comes to future food security and may other issues. Beans are an ideal crop for storing over long periods of time and have multiple uses.

I will plant four varieties of beans, including tepary, and select and pollinate the plants that demonstrate the characteristics I am looking for.  I will also be saving and sharing seeds with the local seed Library.

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