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Garlic

I have been conducting growing trials on garlic (no breeding of varieties done as plants do not produce fertile flowers) and have tested over 150 types since starting this work in 1991. Two aspects of varietal improvement that I am working on are:

a. Growing from bulbils in an attempt to produce disease-free seed; and,

b. Observing for natural mutations and growing these to determine their permanence, and, if so, improved characteristics.

The latter has shown promise in at least one case and I have 6 more types in various stages of testing.

I am certainly willing to share this information, and although it doesn't fall strictly under the definition of plant breeding, it does provide the equivalent data for a vegetatively propagated plant.

Paul Pospisil, Garlic Research,
Small-Plot Garlic Variety Trials,
3656 Bolingbroke Road,
Maberly, Ont. K0H2B0
ph. 613-273-5683

Forums: 

When I was at College we had a lecturer who was way over qualified for the RHS course he was teaching, and held the unconventional opinion that the only part of horticulture worth bothering with was fruit! As a concequence all lectures no matter what the subject eventually found their way to fruit, mostly apples, which are propagated as clones. In one lecture he told us about the development of the self fertile Cox. Cox's Orange Pippin is the main English desert apple, and appart from the fact that people buy it, it has little to commend it to growers on anything but the best soil. It is succeptible to most pests and diseases as well as being self sterile. About 30 years ago scientists collected samples from around the country and analysed them at the genetic level and found 27 different types within the one clone. Of these 27 types one was self fertile. It has now be developed for the market and is avaliable from most suppliers of fruit trees. The Cox's Orange Pippin was only around for about 100 years before the study took place, given the greater age of garlic clones there is probably considerable variation within the best clones from your trials. Quite how valuble this work with the Cox was is debatable as it is possible to just breed better apples. If you could find out about the methods used it might be more use for developing garlic. Unfortunatly as this was an aside that convieniently passed the second half of the lecture (can't remember what the actual lecture was about)I don't have a reference for you.