The Self Pollinating Vegetable Plants
People new to gardening or those without the time or inclination to fuss with plants often choose self-pollinating vegetable plants due to their ease of propagation compared to those that require insect, wind or artificial pollination by a human. Largely grown as annuals, self-pollinating vegetable plants are grown in all U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones. There are several common self pollinating vegetable plants. Lettuces produce flowers with one seed in each that only remain open for a few minutes. When planting lettuce, place different varieties that produce flowers at the same time no closer than 20 feet to make sure none of their pollen crosses from plant to plant, which could cross-breed the varieties. When saving the seeds from an heirloom variety lettuce, harvest the plant’s stalk when it begins to look downy. The seeds drop off when the stalk is fully mature. While botanically fruits, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants, commonly are served as vegetables. This group also is known informally as the Nightshade family. The flowers normally do not open before the plant has released its pollen and become pollinated. Still, gardeners should keep modern varieties and heirlooms well separated to avoid any cross pollination from insects.
Many varieties of beans, including bush and pole and lima, and peas also pollinate themselves. Beans and peas normally pollinate with little interference by bees or other insects. However, much like other self-pollinators, keeping a 20-foot distance between the plant types is an effective way to eliminate any potential for cross-pollination and keep the seed true to the parent vegetable plants.