Hybridizing Carts? What do you use?

I have long been wanting to streamline my process of collecting, documenting and pollinating while I am out in the garden. I feel like I have a lot of wasted time in the lugging around, picking up/putting down, walking back for supplies, etc. that goes on with my current process. One thing I think that would help, is if I had a hybridizing cart of sorts. Right now, I have a tray I carry around that holds my collection cups and a couple of other necessary tools for the collection process (markers, razor blades, q-tips, etc.). When I happen to be pollinating, I also carry around a clipboard to log all of the crosses. So, every time I stop to either collect or deposit, I put down the tray, lean down to pull out what tools I need, do my work…lean back down to put things away, pick up the tray and move on. It is really cumbersome. And then, there is the matter of only being able to carry so much at one time. So, I have to trek back and forth to get new collection cups every so often. Oh, there is also that little matter of my obsessive/compulsive nead for a neat and tidy garden. So, as a result, I also carry a bucket around with me to discard the petals and whatever else I come across while collecting pollden and prepping blooms. I thought about starting to use a garden apron to carry some of my materials (like the markers, retractable razor blades, labeled tags for my crosses). But, that only solves part of the problem. It would be nice to have a waist high surface to set my clipboard on, a recessed tray/shelf to put my collection tray in and maybe a lower shelf for my trash bucket…then maybe some side pockets or cups to put the other tools I carry around.

Now, obviously the extra lifting and walking back and forth is certainly good additional excercise for me. And I am never one to complain about that. However, I feel like I could be getting so much more accomplished if I was not wasting time doing some of the things I am doing now. I have searched and searched on the internet…and the garden carts I’ve found just don’t fit the bill. Either they don’t have trays; or the wheels are really meant for rolling on a patio and not in the grass; or they tilt forward instead of backward so maeuvering would be cumbersome; and the list of problems just seems to go on.

I am thinking I am just going to have to draw up my own plans for what I want and then have my husband build it for me. I was thinking something similar to the carts IT departments use (like the Utility cart in the link I provided below ) , except with wheels suitable for the garden ( that provide less bouncing and easily travel over rough terrain, etc.).

BUT, before I go reinventing the wheel, I thought I would check and see if anyone else has already done something like this and would care to share their design/suggestions.

So, has anyone already done this?

Link: tinyurl.com/yv2sax

Michelle, If I could find the same one but with bicycle wheels, I would buy it immediately :wink:

Michelle, We carry around all of our pollination supplies for corn in mesh aprons. You can get them from Midco. It does not help with the bucket and writing surface issue, unfortunately.

Link: www.midcoenterprises.com/AGSeedResearchSupplies.html

My hybridizing area is small but that’s where I keep practically all of my seed parents. I choose pollens from the rest of my garden.

I usually collect pollens fresh in the morning so I know what I have to work with. The small area makes it relatively easy to navigate.

I saw a nice garden cart with large rugged wheels tonight at our local Costco by Rubbermaid for $78.00. One would have to add one’s own dividers and it’s too low to write on but it would be a nice platform for customization. I couldn’t find it at Costco.com however.

In the small gardens I use a wooden garden cart, the kind with two big wheels and a metal bar, and in the large gardens I pull a two wheeled cart behind the lawn tractor. In the carts I have a series of buckets and a wide board. A bucket for pruning tools, one for debris, one with markers, labels etc. and the most important one is the one I turn upside down to sit on! The board rests on top of the sides of the cart when I need it to use as a writing surface and the bucket seat is about the right height to create a “desk” chair and to work on the roses. I use the tall buckets that joint compound comes in (free from any construction site) and they come with covers. Plus I like wearing pullover tops with a kangaroo pocket.

I have a stainless steel cart something like the Staples cart shown. I use it for moving my seedlings in and out of the barn. It has two shelves, no solid but mesh, so that I can water on top and the extra water goes through to the bottom shelf. The small wheels are not very good for grass/rough surfaces. It was bought at Sams Club.

Liz - I like that mesh apron idea. Thanks for the link.

Well, I’ve found something even closer, but a bit pricey…particularly when you add in an additional $50-$60 for shipping. :astonished:( (see first link below)

Liz, thanks for the link. I might have to seriously consider the apron to solve some of my problem.

Robert, yes, a smaller localised area definitely helps. At the “old” garden the majority of my roses were centered around my back porch, where I would set up “home base” for my supplies, so I didn’t really have that far to go to get to most of the roses. However, here at the new garden, the majority of my roses are going to be on the back acre of our 2 acre property. So, going back and forth is REALLY going to take a lot more time if I don’t come up with an alternative plan.

Lori, sounds like you have a rather clever set up going there. It actually has sparked an idea for me that perhaps I already have something I should adapt. I have a garden cart, that I use to haul things around by hand (or can attach to the tractor…your comment about the tractor is what made me think of my cart). One of the main things I use it for, is my tank sprayer. My husband built a skid that fits right in to the dimensions of the cart and mounted the tank sprayer on it (see photo in the second link below). It might just be a better idea to build another insert for this cart. Funny how sometimes the simplest solution can be staring you right in the face. LOL

Link: www.rhinocart.com/store/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=57&CFID=3217235&CFTOKEN=51285418

Michelle, I haven’t ever used a cart, but most of my parents are grouped like Robert’s.

Though I have a problem with obsessive/compulsive tendencies too(!), I have let go of some of my documenting to maximize time pollinating. During the pollination season the only thing that I am keeping track of is the total number of pollinations (based on number of tags used to mark pollinations). I do not create my database until the hips are shelled out at the end of the season. During the growing season, I do take mental note of which seed parent plants tend to abort hips, and note which pollen parents were used when it seems that only a few hips are aborting, but I do not keep exact stats on those items.

Something else that I do during pollination that has helped, is to prepare all of the blooms to be pollinated early in the morning starting before sunrise just as soon as I can see in the greenhouse/garden. I start first with the singles and varieties that tend to open fast, then move to the other plants. They are prepared by removing all but one or two petals and stripping off the anthers. I also carry around a bucket to collect the petals as I go.

Later, I go back with the pollens and tags and mark them after I pollinate each plant (the last step being the removal of the one or two petals remaining). I tend to use only one or two pollens on each plant per day - this speeds up the process. Each plant, however, may end up with many pollen parents used over time. If I don’t finish my pollinations in the morning, I finish when I get back from work.

Good luck on getting your cart to work for you!

Jim Sproul

I just use the window ledge and label everything such as my pollen containers. I keep my brushes in small vases of water along side another vase without water full of grease pens, sewing scissors, tweezersetc. I keep my plastic horticultural grade labels next to those. I put anything I need fromt he window ledge in my pockets or hands.

I dont mind walking. It gives me an excuse to play in the garden. Sometimes (okay… a lot) I get sidetracked. I think if I had to carry A TON of stuff, I’d opt for a tackle box for fishing. Artists do this, but instead of fishing talke, theyre full of brushes, paints, cutting tools, etc.

Michelle; Be creative and design your own cart. I have a two wheel cart with bicycle wheels. It is a nice looking cart with shelves designed to fit my garden needs. The top shelf is designed with plastic trays to take care of my hybridizing equipment such as budding knife , budding bands, glassine bags ,record book and what ever other supplies needed. The big bike wheels also helps cushions smoothness of travel. On the bottom area, I have designed areas for other garden supplies.All I had to purchase was a small amount of lumber,paint and several plastic trays at Walmart. If the original plan does not work, use your imagination and rework the design. No two individuals will design the same way. I keep the cart out of the weather by parking it in the garden house. The cart is not heavy and designed for ladies use.

Milford Clausen

No way could I easily push a cart of any kind from greenhouse to garden and back. The terrain prohibits that. I put a bundle or two of 100 string tags in my pocket when I leave the house, plus a mechanical pencil, tweezers, and I carry a tray of the large watchmakers cases full of pollen in my hand. Thats it. Nothing else needed. Out in the garden I sometimes have with me a rusty old folding card table I set up, and it stays in the garden; I just move it when I need to. Otherwise everything I need is either in a pocket or in my hand. I gave up using brushes four years ago, I now just use my fingertips. Easier to clean on the spot, and one less tool to carry. I refuse to carry more tools with me than what is absolutely necessary, but thats just me.

The Watchmakers cases I use are the 2" diameter ones, in boxes of 12. I rarely need more than 12 varieties of pollen on any given morning, but I have a second case of them if I need more. See the listing on Lee Valley Tools:

Link: www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&p=44948&cat=1,43326

Paul… I tried your finger-tip pollinating for the first time today and I have to say it is SO easy and ‘Peace’ pollen actually doesn’t taste too bad LOL a little spicy actually LOL. All I carry now are twist ties, aluminium plant labels, a ball-point pen (don’t care if it works or not), small labelled specimen jars of pollen, a pair of scissors (to cut the corners off the zip-lock bags and the anthers off if they are small, otherwise I just pull them off with my fingers), and some plastic zip-lock bags :slight_smile: All in a bucket so I can carry it around easily. I’m real slow too… not because I’m slow at it but because I tend to like to sit down among the roses, look at the flowers, dream… I love it. Today I was sitting down next to ‘Scabrosa’ admiring the beautiful flowers and the hundreds of tiny native bees crawling all over the flowers, it was a warm (hot) 35 degrees Celcius day… oh yeah… did a few pollinations too LOL There was a lot to learn out there today. I discovered today that those little black Australian native bees, 5-8mm long are a pain in the butt for hybridisers! I pulled the petals and anthers off a flower, swirled my finger in some pollen, and slabbed the pollen on thinking “there is sooo much polen on there… if that doesn’t take nothing ever will!”, then watched as two little native bees proceeded to harvest, by scraping, all of the pollen and fly away with it. It was, to my eyes, completely gone in 20 minutes! So I liberally reapplied the pollen and put a bag over it this time to keep the native bees out :slight_smile: Was pretty cool actually :slight_smile:

Regarding using the finger tip to transfer rose pollen. Pollens do carry viruses. Plant viruses normally do not make the crossover to animals, but …, see:


Link: www.pnas.org/content/96/14/8022.abstract

The authors state that this is purely speculative and it should be regarded as such, IMO.

Here is a 2008 review. In the full paper, use the search command with the word plant.

Link: www.springerlink.com/content/d845g783608374l6/

Another recent scientific paper concerning plant viruses in animals:


Since I had a sister that died from polio, I was particularily interested in the following quote:

"The similarities in genetic organization and structure between the plant and animal picornaviruses are significant, and it is unlikely that picornaviruslike

viruses spontaneously arose separately in both plants and animals. For example, using the Enterovirus genus within the Picornaviridae family, the genome arrangements of animal Poliovirus (28) and Coxsackievirus (9) are very similar to that of CPMV (37, 57)"

Link: jvi.asm.org/cgi/content/abstract/81/4/1632

Simon, I would keep using your fingers to do the pollinating. It is way easier and just as effective as using brushes. Furthermore, if you do use a brush and don’t wear a biohazard suit, I can guarantee that you will still be exposed to pollen that for practical purposes is only dangerous to humans as an allergen.

Happy pollinating!

Jim Sproul

Hmmmm… I don’t want to be disrespectful so I am not going to say anything…



What if those jumping viruses transfer us roses genes?

We will be GM breeders then…:wink:

Finger tip application and wipeing the finger clean is one thing. Cleaning the finger by putting it in one’s mouth is another ( “‘Peace’ pollen actually doesn’t taste too bad”).

Jim, I feel that there is a big difference in probability between breathing natural concentrations of pollen and placing the pollen directly in one’s mouth by licking one’s finger.

Please note that in one of the papers the virus was transfered orally:

"We recently showed that CPMV is bioavailable in the mouse, with a several-day retention time following either oral or intravenous inoculation, suggesting that the virus particles were taken up into cells in vivo (47). "

My father’s 1917 college chemistry labatory book had as part of the experiments that the characterization of the newly prepared chemicals include observations concerning their taste. This is just one example of a practice being acceptable until our understanding deepened.