Creating the greens of the longer term


What occurs when pollen from a zucchini rubs shoulders with pumpkin blossoms? Many situations are attainable and might result in the creation of wonderful kinds of vegetation. Controlling the result of the sort of crossing is the objective of uncommon hybridizers, these backyard magicians who juggle with destiny so as to add new vegetation to the plant heritage.

Posted at 11:00 a.m.


Isabelle Morin

Isabelle Morin
The Press

play with nature


Daniel Brisebois, from the TourneSol farm

Black tomatoes with pink hearts, corn with three heads and rainbow cabbages… So many vegetation that come into being because of the manipulations of seed breeders, additionally known as hybridizers.

“I’ve at all times been curious to discover the chances. Once I see issues which have by chance or deliberately crossed paths, I inevitably get excited. That is how seed breeder Daniel Brisebois, from the TourneSol farm, explains his ardour for plant hybridization, an exercise that we don’t follow in Quebec for a residing, however reasonably out of curiosity.

The fruits

In contrast to seed corporations, whose goal is to keep away from crossbreeding to ensure that the range offered will certainly be the one promised, hybridizers begin from a crossbreeding which can be the results of likelihood or of their manipulations, and which turns into the purpose of begin of a brand new line of gamers.

To good a brand new selection, they make investments assets, years of labor, generally even a lifetime.

Daniel Brisebois dreamed of a black radish with purple flesh. Since 2007, he has been engaged on this venture which is three quarters of the way in which by to be stabilized. Ultimately, its seeds will generate a harvest composed of 100% black radishes with purple flesh. They are going to then go from hybrids – seeds that give random outcomes as soon as planted – to open-pollinated seeds, a standing that can assure offspring equivalent to the mom plant.

The start of an distinctive black radish

  • By planting black radishes with white flesh near green radishes with red flesh, Daniel Brisebois obtained astonishing results.


    By planting black radishes with white flesh close to inexperienced radishes with purple flesh, Daniel Brisebois obtained astonishing outcomes.

  • The seeds from each of the varieties were replanted the following year and gave a majority of radishes with the characteristics of the mother plants.  A few, however, stood out with their mauve hearts and black-spotted envelopes.


    The seeds from every of the varieties had been replanted the next yr and gave a majority of radishes with the traits of the mom vegetation. A number of, nevertheless, stood out with their mauve hearts and black-spotted envelopes.

  • By replanting these specimens, the breeder saw a diversity of colors emerge, including a handful of black radishes with red, purple and white flesh.


    By replanting these specimens, the breeder noticed a range of colours emerge, together with a handful of black radishes with purple, purple and white flesh.


Within the meantime, his radishes are refined from era to era because of a meticulous choice throughout which the candidates who show a most of the specified traits are reproduced between them till they provide with out fail the specified outcome.

From seed to chef’s kitchen


The breeder and market gardener Michel Lachaume

The person who has been nicknamed “the chef’s gardener” creates greens like no different. 5 new kinds of greens come from the hybridization work of Michel Lachaume. For 30 years, the breeder has additionally launched a number of outdated varieties that he needs to introduce to Quebecers, specifically a root parsley “as nobody has ever seen it in Quebec”, the place it usually stays weak and sick.

“There, I am going by the cooks, however my actual goal could be for odd individuals to have entry to it and eat the most effective greens,” he specifies. His cherry tomatoes have made their approach to grocery shops. Nonetheless, it’s his orange-fleshed Louis Albert potato – the one which makes cooks so completely satisfied – that’s his best satisfaction.

Hybridizing potatoes is an actual drug, pure heroin!

Michael Lachaume

He hopes to have the chance to share it on a bigger scale at some point.

“To combine two pollens to place them collectively, it’s not very troublesome. The majority of the job is to make the precise picks. I maintain the most effective specimens primarily based on standards of style first and at all times, then resistance to illness and environmental pressures. Look comes subsequent. Nature usually does very fairly issues by itself. »

Enrich the heritage


Peppers from the experimental farm of seed firm Michel Lachaume

Daniel Brisebois’ red-fleshed black radish from the TourneSol farm is an instance of spectacular hybridization. However the train of choice has different capabilities, akin to that of isolating the most effective peppers to make the following generations tastier or extra resistant, explains the seed-breeder. “If individuals prefer it, it step by step takes over locally. The range adapts to the place it’s. And that is the way you create a terroir. »

Breeding permits new kinds of vegatables and fruits to emerge, the place others die. “Gene banks are emptying of their content material. It existed earlier than, cauliflowers that resisted – 25 ° C and even underneath the snow. Sadly, it’s a heritage that has disappeared perpetually,” laments seed producer and breeder Michel Lachaume. Was this cauliflower tougher to develop or transport? We ignore it. One factor is definite, preservation goes by conservation, and the small seed corporations are at present the guardians of this heritage.


Multi-cob popcorn

Play roulette

The foremost seed corporations market a majority of hybrid or so-called F1 (first era) varieties. Nonetheless, a hybrid selection will produce seeds whose outcome can be unsure as soon as re-sown. To get the tasty tomatoes that charmed us final summer time, you may have to return to the supply and purchase the identical seeds… Except you wish to have enjoyable enjoying roulette, for higher or worse.

That is precisely the cardboard that Teprine Baldo, from Le Noyau farm, selected to play.

Alongside its actions, the market gardener and seed firm sells its first-generation hybrid seeds underneath the identify Zombie Seedz. The gathering contains seeds that will usually be discarded as a result of unsure yield. Offered in shock luggage illustrated by totally different artists, these seeds don’t include any assure on the outcome, besides to have enjoyable with flowers and vegetable vegetation ensuing from roughly unusual crosses, warns the seed firm, right here in counter- use.

Zombie seeds

  • Illustration of Alma Soleada on a bag of absinthe


    Illustration of Alma Soleada on a bag of absinthe

  • Illustration by Camille Lussier on a bag of ground cherries


    Illustration by Camille Lussier on a bag of floor cherries

  • Illustration of Andrea McDonald on a bag of absinthe


    Illustration of Andrea McDonald on a bag of absinthe

  • Popcorn, as seen by Alma Soleada


    Popcorn, as seen by Alma Soleada


“It is a method of bringing slightly artwork into my work, of opening up my provide and of distinguishing myself on the seed market, as a result of promoting seeds is tough!” she says. It’s nonetheless an extended course of to wish to stabilize a hybrid selection. I’ve finished just a few experiments with orange cherry tomatoes which yielded outcomes with out a lot taste. I informed myself that I might not waste my time sowing them, staking them, watering them… For the second, I observe. »

The search for the right plant

Hybridization is a matter of zeal, believes Teprine Badlo. A labor of affection…

Earlier than the seeds positively bear the specified traits, it’s going to have taken years of labor – often between 5 and 12 years. Time, cash, power. A stable ardour.

Three years in the past, Nicolas Peskir gave up a job in development to commit himself to a pastime began just a few years earlier in his yard, which shortly grew to become too small for his ambitions as an newbie coach. The Domaine Quinchien farm the place he now works in market gardening permits him to make use of a plot of land the place he does his experiments.


The Black Leb tomato, within the technique of stabilization

Some are geek of computing. Nicolas Peskir is geek of hybridization. “I like the concept of ​​collaborating within the creation of a range of vegetation that individuals will have the ability to admire”, signifies the autodidact who hybridized a corn now giving greater than three ears per plant. He additionally generated a brand new potato and tomatoes. One in all them, “Brandywine Sundown”, is now stabilized. The last word objective of this fanatic is to develop a wide range of haskaps whose sugar content material can be excessive sufficient to make wine.

For individuals who are tempted to see what nature can produce as curiosities, it’s helpful to know that sure vegetation pollinate one another extra successfully than others. Tomatoes, peas, beans and lettuce, whose flowers are small, have few alternatives to interbreed naturally within the backyard. Potatoes ? Nicolas Peskir pollinates them by hand with an electrical toothbrush. Squash, whose massive flowers act as pollen catchers, will reproduce simply with different specimens within the vegetable backyard, and even within the neighborhood… Who is aware of? This sort of accident may properly be the place to begin of a private quest to acquire the greater than good vegetable!

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