Growing two generations in two different places within the same year

Reading about this topic got me thinking that I can probably get away with multiple generations quite easily for multiple crops.

I already did that this year with moschata, melon, watermelon, and zucchini. But I think I can do it with other crops.

I do not know if the adaptation in spring, summer and autumn will help with each other but more generations with genetic diversity should be a good thing.

And then @JesseI contacted me about just that. Try to adapt some warm weather plants to be cold tolerant. Growing my crops in spring and then sending seeds to grow in his summer.

An additional extension of this would be to also plant during my fall, very tight if seeds will come later than summer. But I can still do it with previous spring seeds.

These are the plots that I have available, 1-3 are my plots, and 4-6 are from some friends that I can persuade to sow some seeds. Probably @Tanjaeskildsen.

These are the temperature graphs near to my plots. We also need to consider microclimates. Two of my plots have a nice microclimate and they are quite protected. Perhaps I can plant earlier.

Last frost date map

Temperatures for 2023.

Temperatures for 2022

This year I already got tomatoes in late May, early June. The tomatoes were from transplants from a big tomato variety, sowed early/mid March. If I can get plant seeds that are more cold tolerant, maybe I can grow them faster.

For the crop selection, I was thinking about species that I already grow and do fine for me.

Corn (probably flour)

For these crops I can probably do three generations every year if I rush.

Probably by myself I can do two generations, but If I need to have seed ready to send before summer I need to hurry.

Maybe I need to do transplants or greenhouse plastic that can help in early spring, maybe I can get a 2 week head start.

My challenges are:

Poor soil, I do not have any plans to change that on a grand scale, plants need to be adapted. Rocky calcisol soil and in general and no mulch.

Dry, very little rain and not enough moisture. Different types of watering, clogged drip line, uneven sprinkles, occupied owner, gas powered pump.

Compacted soil. In one plot I got access to tilling, the others not. Transplanting on compacted soil is very tedious and hard.

Germination, I got low or no germination in early spring. If I want to be confident to deliver the seed I need to take this into account. I have a small greenhouse which can help a little bit, but needs more watering.

Direct sowing, If I want to have a bigger trial and do direct sowing I need to purchase a manual seeder and probably tile. If I do not tile the soil, weeds will be present and disturb the crops, quite imposible to use the machine.

Points of views and opinions are always welcomed.


To add my point of view and what I have been thinking. I don’t mean to be selfish, but I really don’t have any other option than breed for cold tolerance. I’m no help when it comes to heat tolerance and drought tolerance might be a bit sporadic depending on the year. I do plan to go more and more towards not watering, but rainfall in any given year might be more than enough. Average rainfall isn’t that high so there might be some selection for those that need lots of water like squash.

For species I was more thinking of those that are less adapted to cool weather. Of course nothing is excluded, it’s just that with cold tolerant plants it’s maybe not as difficult to get 2 generations in one year. Also some cool tolerant plants don’t work in this way that well because they might be better suited to bolt (or bred to bolt) in one location.

My personal interest is anything that is not cold tolerant. The point is not to have some unrealistic jump in frost tolerance that would allow to expand the growing season but more like to take the most of the season I have. Although there are people from many types of climates, many have some cooler frost free period before summer comes. Personally I think even a short period of cool to start with can show which plants would do better if cool weather continues. It’s not like it’s cool here every summer and sometimes you have to use small differences early season and in ripening times to determine which would do well in cooler summer. In a warmer climate it might not make a differece if there is a week difference in ripening times, but here it might mean 2-3 weeks in a cooler summer.

My idea would be to direct seed as much as possible when it’s reasonable, even if it’s not ideal for making maximum yield. That way it’s easier to screen lots of seeds and make more progess overall. Amount of seeds shouldn’t be a problem. Some species it’s possible to make 2 generations a year, but there isn’t a need to. I have for example tens of thousands of pepper seeds that I can’t use myself and it would be nice if more people could direct seed them to see which would produce fastest. I will open another topic about that later to explain it in more detail.

My season is quite fixed to june-august with a possibility to start some mid june and continue ripening early september, but not much more than that. That’s why it would be useful if there were people from not-too-hot climates that could make another generation from seeds that won’t ripen in time for me to use. Still not certain how much Richard can ripen in time to be useful for me.

You can write here your interest and ideas. Even if this doesn’t quite work in your climate, it may be something to keep an eye out for if you have one unusually cool season or part of a season that makes selection for cooler.

I have started with “direct seed” with my own seeds that I have spare. Melons, beans, corn, zucchini, fava, watermelon, luffa and other tree seeds.

I think I got a couple of your melon seeds and something else from the serendipity swap.

I want to discuss watering in general. And also watering for this project. I have used drip lines and sprinklers. How many hours each day should I water?
For sprinklers 1-3 times every week?
For drip lines 1 hour every day or every other day, probably 1-4 in summer?

What ever you feel is necessary. You know your climate better. Some struggling with water would be good if plan is to make them less dependant on additional watering.

I was concerning more about “if I water your seeds like mine, they going to suffer a lot from drought”.

Let them suffer :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: .Atleast melons and watermelons have gone through some drought training. Only early season I kept ground moist to have fast start, but otherwise didn’t really water them at all and neither was there much rain. Squash I did water this year a bit more because I had them so tight and I wanted to have good seed harvest, but there are also some that have gone through drought training the previous year. My plan for most of the squash is no watering next year so hopefully there are some that survive that treatment.

Sure, extreme landrace style? It is time for a trial run.

I am concerned about losing all the plants or not get any fruit. Also not getting viable seeds before your last day of sowing. But we’ll see.

I know Lauren has dry-farmed melons and watermelons with thick wood chip mulch. She lived in Utah at the time, and Utah has dry summers with virtually no rain. (Maybe a few light sprinkles in four months’ time.)

I’ve heard that dry-farming melons and watermelons tends to result in more concentrated, sweeter flavor, and they tend to be able to handle being dry farmed because they were native to deserts.

That’s why there should be lots of seeds to start with. Getting in time would be most helped by making sure there is enough moisture to get them started. Once they are established, drought shouldn’t slow them down other than if they completely abort fruits. Hopefully early start and little cooler conditions helps with that. Besides the start, drought might actually little speed up the ripening process when plants are stressed. I think you just have to go with the flow and make adjustments if they are needed.

And I do recommend either mulching them well or planting them in swales, if you’re going to dry farm them. That will help any moisture in the soil stay there.

My low watering melons and watermelons result in very small fruit, like apple size. Maybe in the coming years will get bigger and edible.

I will use swales for sure. I tried with some of my tomatoes but I did not perceive any apparent difference. I think plants were more protected in seedling stage.

I do not have a steady source of mulch. But I used some crushed branches and leaves but not enough for all the plants.

Same story for me: small fruits if no irrigation. Like this year.
But I must add that, as I have been partially cultivating under plastic in 2021 and 2022, I must say that even if not irrigated you can get nice yields : notably on watermelons, and on nearly all cucurbits, particularly the very warm loving crops like luffas… I don’t like plastic, because I believe it cannot be good on the long run, especially for the soil, but I believe that it could be very interesting for the first stage of a breeding project with outcrossers, when you create a grex, in this stage (generation 1 and 2 or so) where you want to generate loads of crosses, i.e. loads of fruits and seeds to reselect on. And too, it helps the crops become more precocious (2 to 3 weeks I would say), which may help doing two generations a year in that early stage …
I would have never think about that and even more suggested it if I had to buy some : here I get some used ones from farmers, prior they send it to thrash. They use it for silage. It is kind of unnatural, but depending of your stage of your breeding project, you may consider it as a way to accelerate it, and maybe do 2 generations in a year… Where I am at I believe it could not be possible, even if I was transplanting plants I would have grown very early in the season, but maybe you can.

EDIT 16 january 2024: after having red this thread To use plastic, or not, in growing - a wealth of academic sources I would say that I do not recommend plastic anymore and to anyone. That will too imply a shift in my personnal practice. Probably more hoeing and/or using more hay to mulch instead of my very usual and very practical plastic tarp.