A hybrid crop is a result of two different varieties of plants that are cross-pollinated to create an off-spring or hybrid which contains the best traits of each of the parents.
In hybridisation, pollination is carefully controlled to ensure that the right plants are crossed to achieve the desired combination of characteristics, such as bigger size or better disease resistance.
During a discussion on the garden Information Platform group, the Zimbabwe Development Democracy Trust (ZDDT) Horticulture Consultant, Yvonne Berkhout, said hybrids are best for commercial production because they mature within a matter of weeks.
“Hybrid seeds are specially grown by seed companies and are selected to produce vigorous, high yielding crops which are suited to particular climatic conditions. These plants will also be resistant to various diseases such as bacterial wilt, rust etc. Colour, fruit size, shelf life, taste etc are all taken into account by breeders of F1 seed. Hybrid seed is expensive, due mainly to the amount of research which goes into producing the variety. Buying hybrid seed always pays off as you will be guaranteed good germination percentage, robust disease resistant plants and high yields of quality produce which will bring you higher prices in the marketplace.
“Open pollinated varieties are those where seed can be harvested and planted over and over again. The plants are usually indeterminate in that they ramble all over the place and have flowers, immature fruit and ripe fruit all at the same time so you can harvest over a long period of time. Determinate varieties are general hybrids (F1). The seed cannot be replanted as the resultant plants will not be true to the original as in open pollinated varieties,” she said.
ZDDT promotes innovation and technological development in improving the lives of society’s most compromised.