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Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener: How to Create Unique Vegetables & Flowers

Articles: Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener: How to Create Unique Vegetables & Flowers

“Plant breeding is easy. Under the right conditions ... you can hardly help but breed new varieties. Just nature and a little careful weeding will all but do it for you.”

Joseph Tychonievich’s warm, friendly, and encouraging voice is central to his new book introducing the home gardener to the world of plant breeding—a task most of us have long since left to experts. Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener flips that notion on its market-driven head, and encourages home gardeners to take back the process and have some fun in doing so.

Chapter one begins with a historical look at plant breeding beginning with the story of teosinte, an ancient grass that today we know as corn—“one of the most productive and useful plants humans have ever grown.” Traditional breeding practices are defined as a practical—if time consuming—collaboration between plants and gardeners. Seeds were planted, crops assessed, and seed was saved from those plants that were the most productive, flavorful, or otherwise successful. The process of sorting and selecting, year after year, fell to the grower to execute.

Today, producing new plants has largely been 
outsourced to laboratories and factory farms. 
H...

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