Somewhere in Kenya, there is a family with considerable acres of land. During the planting seasons, this family made it a habit to distribute some of their seeds to the neighbors for planting. Weird I know. When asked why, the head of that family answered that it is a strategy to make sure that his land produces quality produce during the time of harvest.
Tree planting is not as easy as we tend to believe. Having a good tree nursery goes beyond just planting and watching them grow. It is a process that needs a lot of concentration and guidance from the experts of trees. Here in Kenya, the experts being KeFRI (Kenya Forest and Research Institute), are highly equipped with knowledge on how to have a healthy tree nursery and ways to make sure that the posterity of the trees are assured.
Did you know that for a tree nursery to be viewed as properly made, the owner need to have information the following:-
- Where the seeds were found.
- A good label of the scientific name of the tree seedlings.
Knowing where the seeds are have been found helps a lot in knowing the kind issues the batch might be having. This means, collecting seeds in the field and planting them does not qualify as a good seed bed. Why?
There are rules to be followed in the collection of the seeds to assure that:-
- You do not get the same family of seeds as this would lead to issues with how the plants grow. Think of it like incest, for a good seedling to be productive during transplant, you need different families in the bed so that during pollination, if any of the families in the seedling would, for example, had a stunted growth, during pollination, that problem can be well neutralized. To help solve that, when collecting seeds for yourself, have like 30 meters interval. Why 30 meters you ask? During pollination, the pollen can only travel up to 30 meters. Past that, it gets void and can not be used for pollinating another plant.
So, if we go back to our story, the family did that practice to ensure that in case there was cross pollination between their crops, they’ll still get a quality produce as they were sure of the seeds planted by their neighbors.