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Messages - reed

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Sure looks like it. Are all of his plants doing that or just some? Is his climate significantly different that yours?

Plant Breeding / Re: Books about plant breeding
« on: Yesterday at 08:37:53 AM »
Just glanced at the chapter and section titles of the PDF "Return to Resistance"  No way I'm reading that on a screen so I went to Amazon and ordered a print copy. 

Do you need more than one flower?

That's a good question. I have a single example that indicates only one flower is needed but I think it varies a lot. Some plants don't make seeds even if lots of other plants are blooming around them. Of course all the seeds you got came from nicely seedy plants so who knows. I think I included some 2018 seeds in your pack so you might even be a generation ahead of me on how they keep segregating.

If ya can get some crosses to your old more adapted varieties  it should unlock all kinds of new stuff.

Plant Breeding / Re: Tomatoes for the Central Ohio Valley
« on: 2019-01-19, 03:42:25 PM »
Thanks William, I do tend to forget about how the genes line up in an F1. Even if one parent is homozygous for something the child might not be unless the other parent also was.

I'm betting on different helpful genes coming  together from different parents. If I do get Iron Lady it might croak before it even gets a chance to resist LB but as long as it manages to bloom I might still be able to mix it in by crossing on to the pimps. The pimps bloom early and don't stop so they can be a catch all for pollen from anything else. I'm curious but guess I'll never know who the other parent of the original pimp cross was.

My biggest obstacle will be growing large enough populations to find the good plants but I remember in one of Carol's books she said if all you want is to test for disease resistance you can grow them very crowded. 

Plant Breeding / Tomatoes for the Central Ohio Valley
« on: 2019-01-19, 05:41:57 AM »
I'v never tried to hand pollinate to tomatoes before but because of the need to get some better disease resistance into the mix I'm gonna give it a go this year. I'm not going to do meticulous record keeping nor really commit to an ongoing project of back crossing and the like. I'm more interested in just doing a landrace style project and  just select for good segregates that show up future generations, assuming of course I am able to successfully make the initial crosses.

I'll start with some I already have that although they don't survive till end of season they still make an early crop sufficient to fill our canning jars, which is our primary goal although we certainly do enjoy fresh tomatoes too. These include:
Utah Heart - an extremely good juice and sauce tomato, from an "early all kinds" mix from Joseph Lofthouse.
Hoosier Rose I and II - Large slicing tomatoes that vary a little, one has more green shoulders and seems a little more disease resistant, they are F 4 or so from a commercial  F1 called Red Rose (Brandywine x Rutgers)
Particularly Productive Rutgers -  A more productive and more determinate form that showed up in my Rutgers patch a few years ago. 
Mr. Stripey - A large red and yellow beefsteak type heirloom that is more disease resistant then most. It is often confused with Tigerella a terrible tasting variety in my opinion. I wasn't sure which was truly which but am going with the Cornell University description...
Open pollinated. Main season standard beefsteak type. Indeterminate plants produce fruit that is up to 2 pound, golden yellow with reddish-pink vertical stripes. Disease resistant variety. Resistance to late blight. About 80 days to maturity. Not to be confused with bicolor 'Tigerella'
...especially since it is consistent with my experience.

I'll also be including my own diverse population from a pimpinellifolium cross that showed up a few years ago. These are the most blight resistant tomatoes I have and pretty much the only ones that still produce up to frost but they are prone to other foliage diseases to varying degrees. This year I will plant several of them and select for the less diseased ones to cross with the others. I might have to wait a while in the season to see which are most resistant, I'm also hopeful that the ones with larger fruits might be the most resistant. If I could get a ping pong ball sized fruit from a more resistant pimp cross that I'm confident was pollinated by Mr. Stripey, that would be a treasure.

I may get some Iron Lady and some Skykomish for added LB resistance but LB is far from the only disease issue I have so not sure how that will work out.

I'll also use two more commercial hybrids I already have, both as the original purchased F1 and my own F3 or 4. Plum Regal and Mountain Merit. They both have at least some LB resistance but also just as importantly to me are reported to have considerable resistance to other diseases. Mountain Merit is productive and blends good in juice and Plum Regal seems to be easy to sun dry and I'm interested in learning to do that. They are neither one the best flavored tomatoes I'v ever tasted but they are not terrible, certainly better than store bought.

I'm just going to try to make lots of different crosses between all these various ones and then see what happens when I grow out the F1s.  I'll keep good track in the first year of F1 parents. Any good things that show up in F1 will be either dehybridized or maybe crossed some more, will see how it shakes out but I think some good things could show up and at very least I'll have good supply of seeds for future season that at least have some chance of having both good fruits and disease resistance. 

I'm taking a more "nature finds a way" over a more scientifically grounded approach not because I think the second is flawed but because I know I don't have the discipline to pull it off.   

Richard, how are the babies doing? Any seed capsules developing? I'v been watching your temps some on the web and looks like mostly it's been a little on the cool side.  Sure hope you get some seeds or at least some roots big enough to store till next year and of course you can keep cuttings as house plants too if need be.

Plant Breeding / Re: Blight Resistance in Potatoes and Tomatoes
« on: 2019-01-16, 06:30:13 PM »
I'm gonna use the heirloom Mr. Stripey as a foundation in my tomato breeding cause it has done well for me for many years and I hope it will go a long way toward increasing fruit size and flavor of those I might cross it with.

I'm mentioning this because there is another tomato called Tigerella that makes much smaller tomatoes. It also does fairly well here but tastes terrible in my opinion. I don't really know which is truly which but when I bought seeds labeled Mr. Stripey they were actually Tigerella. Some seeds I was gifted by an old fellow in KY that he called Mr. Stripey are the big good ones and it is the one that I call Mr. Stripey.

Anyway if anyone gets Mr. Stripey and it grows baseball sized and smaller fruits that are red with yellow streaks  on the skin it isn't what I call Mr. Stripey. Mr. Stripey is a large tomato with green shoulders. They are very similar in appearance to the variety Pineapple but produce better here and are not quite as sweet.

Plant Breeding / Re: Blight Resistance in Potatoes and Tomatoes
« on: 2019-01-16, 03:26:12 AM »
I got my packet of ten Iron Lady F1 seeds today. If I manage to get any crosses made to it. Would grow out the F1 in 2020 and then in 2021 would love someone with blight and disease issues like you have Reed to take some of the F2 seed and grow it out. Otherwise I don't see how this works without the lab work DNA tests Carol mentioned.

I would be very happy to try out some of the Iron Lady crosses. Have to admit though, I'm not optimistic about seeds from areas that don't have much in the way of tomato disease cause like I said we have lots.  And we have lots of stink bugs that happily cause their own issues as well as spread the diseases around. I don't really know how or even bother to try to identify them specifically, I just refer to them collectively as tomato disease. If a plant lives and produces it's tolerant or resistant, if not, it isn't. I don't know if I'd even get a seed from something that doesn't have at least some tolerance of the other brown spots, grey fuzzies and curled up leaves that prompt me to cull some plants before they've  hardly even bloomed. And I'm convinced the awful hot dry spells that are common now play a role, as well as the weird cool cloudy ones.

It is likely that my small garden being used for decades has turned into it's own little petri dish for all the diseases, especially since I don't follow any thing close to recommended sanitation practices but I figure if a person did that while saving their own seeds they might at the some time be breeding for plants with no tolerances at all. Then one day they screw up and trial the wrong seed or throw that wrong store bought item in the compost or just a bad wind blows and everything dies.

My plants die but not till after our canning jars are full and some keep going a little longer. The pimps like I said still go till frost. It would sure be nice to have big ones that do that again.

I have plenty of issue with birds too, stupid things. They don't bother the wild ones as much, I think cause there are just so many of them and they are better hidden in tree branches and weeds. The big ones in the yard are so much easier from a birds perspective too, I guess.

There are a number of truly wild grapes that are native to North America, don't know exactly how many.  The first commercial winery in the US was in the county where I live, or so the story goes. That was about 1806 if I remember right but the people who did it failed not far away in Kentucky before that. Early attempts a wineries were also in Arkansas and Texas, probably other places too. Finally different ones did get wineries going using European grapes but a blight in the late 1800s wiped it all out. I think they had already experimented with grafting and crossing even before then but after that they had too, the European varieties just wouldn't grow here at least on their own roots.

It's possible that some of our wild ones, especially some that grow down by the river are left over descendants of hybrids but I can''t know that for sure. And if they were, why didn't it happen more and why doesn't it still happen?  I'v heard lots of stories of wild hybrids in Arkansas and Texas but the ones I'v seen just look and taste like another American native called Muscadine whose preferences are a little too Southerly to grow here.

I don't know why the modern crosses with their bigger European fruits and their American like roots and disease resistance don't go wild especially with birds pooping their seeds out all over the place but I'v visited lots of places with old grape vines and haven't found any, so I'm gonna try fix it. 

Plant Breeding / Increasing and Improving Wild Grape Diversity
« on: 2019-01-15, 08:45:22 AM »
The notion of making new varieties of grapes that can just be turned loose in the neighborhood is one of my most favorite breeding projects but also the least successful so far. Maybe the biggest reason for the failure is it has mostly just been a daydream that generally pops up while out picking wild grapes for jelly but I have made some first step progress by acquiring about a dozen kinds of wine and table varieties, all ones that grow on their own roots. I have little interest in grafting so I think own root vines are best for trying my crosses. Also I think it probably means they all have wild American ancestors so they are already related.

My neighborhood wild grapes come in quite a variety and I'v planted seeds from my favorite ones here and there around the yard. My absolute favorite and most productive vine was already here, growing in some big cedar trees in what became the yard when I built the house. Recently a limb form a dead Ash tree fell and bent one the cedars over, yea! Cause in doing so it brought lots more of my grapes into easy reach.

All my purchased vines are up to production size now and I'v learned how to successfully clone them and I have managed to sprout a few seeds. I sell some of my clones at a swap meet and plant some along the road and in the woods near where wild grapes are growing. My brilliant scheme that they would just cross and the offspring would go wild wasn't so brilliant after all because the commercial vines and the wild ones don't coincide in bloom.

I'm gonna have to get more personally involved to get my crosses but I found this great article from Cornell that tells me how to go about it. I didn't even know till I read it that some or many of the wild grapes are likely not hermaphrodites.  That might actually work wonderfully in my favor.

My favorite vine I mentioned is hugely productive so it is certainly female or has perfect flowers.  I'll find out next year but if by chance it is female that would be perfect cause it blooms after the commercial clones. And from reading that same paper it sounds like it isn't that hard to collect and preserve pollen, certainly just for the few weeks I'll need to do so. If my favorite does have perfect flowers it also sound like emasculating them isn't as hard as I thought it would be. And if offspring from the crosses come out male and female I can also plant the males to carry genes for larger fruit into the wild population that way.

Like I said we already have a variety of wild grapes, they produce well, and they resist about all diseases the tame ones get but they are small, sometimes more seed than grape and most don't taste all that good. 

All I really want is to make a population of wild grapes that make larger fruits. Red, and white ones would be really cool too as all the wild ones are black. If it works I plan to scatter them everywhere in my neighborhood so years from now people or just critters for all I care, have something good to munch or get drunk on.


Plant Breeding / Re: Blight Resistance in Potatoes and Tomatoes
« on: 2019-01-14, 11:24:12 PM »
I'm not sure if I'll get Iron Lady or the others to add in or not. I'm thinking since I already have those pimp segregates I might use them as mother for several crosses. No clue what it is but they have something or they would not reliably still be producing all the way till frost. They do have that leaf spot issue but not uniformly, some have it less than others. And the Mr Stripey holds on in my garden, it isn't especially productive but still it's worth growing if you like large flavorful slicing tomatoes.

I think might be best for me to just plant several of the pimps, watch till I see which ones have less leaf spotting and then cross the MS and some others onto them. Then if anything good comes from it maybe I can trade for some of the Iron Lady crosses others make.

(add) I think a breeding effort specifically for LB might be a big mistake here in the Ohio Valley. I think a much more holistic approach is called for.

Plant Breeding / Re: Breeding New Sweet Potatoes
« on: 2019-01-13, 03:35:47 PM »
How many seedlings do you figure it took growing out to get to the 8 clones you have that produce well for you?  I'm curious about percentages of seedlings that germinated.

My poor record keeping is biting me in the rear again but I'd guess very roughly, it took 150 germinated seeds to find the eight clones I'm keeping. That's over the life of the project but the % of good ones is increasing. I think I had just one of my own seed grown clones in 2016, two in 2017 and then it jumped to eight this past year. The first one has been dropped because the next two were both better. I still have those two and six new ones from 2018.

The six from 2018 came from about 40 germinated seeds. So I guess about 15%, that's way up from prior years.

To release seeds for sale and or pledge I want to be confident that a minimum of 10% of seeds will produce a good plant, I think I'm already there but I need to be able to document and describe them more accurately, so better record keeping from now on, is definitely called for.

Not in my garden. Any cold tolerant tomatoes that I develop are likely to taste like an exotic tropical fruits, guavas, plums, mangos, etc.

Ah, you mean like the one pictured below, which came from your seeds. Looks like a tomato but tastes more like something that might be found under a tree in Hawaii. I called it Captain Crunch, cause it's crunchy when chomped on, very juicy and sweet. I think I sent some seeds back to you but don't remember for sure. Unfortunately it had little disease resistance as you can see by the foliage.  I like the flavor of my old red tomatoes but there is room for things like this in my garden too.

Plant Breeding / Breeding New Sweet Potatoes
« on: 2019-01-13, 06:44:39 AM »
Many people familiar with the HG forum are already familiar with this project so rather than start all over I thought I would just give a run down of how it stands now. My eventual goal is to release and sell true seed producing sweet potatoes as breeding material under the OSSI pledge. I just need to produce sufficient quantities, develop a good naming convention for the different lines and find out, in the event I want to release some as clones, what legal hoops I'll need to jump through to send them through the mail.

Anyway, five years after discovering my first true sweet potato seed  I have a total of 8 of my own seed grown clones that meet my criteria of short season production (100 days or less) of both food quality roots and seeds. I recently became aware that there is also more interest in lines developed more for greens over roots than I realized. That might greatly increase those I keep as clones. Up till now I have been mostly discarding those that only produce foliage, even if they did make seeds.

As it stands now along with those 8 seedy clones and a few other, non-rooting ones and after finding a pack I had forgotten about I have approximately 2500 seeds. Half or more of those are buried deep in the ground in well sealed stainless steel canisters.

I'm interested also in developing lines that are easy to grow and tolerant of poor conditions or neglect so I take no special actions to insure germination. I start them in cool conditions on a drafty window sill on a cheap heat and without any artificial lighting. Germination in successive generations under these conditions has increased from about 5% within a week to about 20%. Germination in an outside cold frame of just a few seeds in that time was 2%. Germination by folks I'v shared seeds with using much more controlled conditions was reported much higher, in the neighborhood of 90%.

My friend Richard in New Zealand had germination of 20% or higher, I think using a technique similar to mine and some of his plants are currently blooming. The climate there is not especially friendly to sweet potatoes so I'm watching his reports closely and keeping fingers crossed he gets good roots and seeds.

I hope in 2019 to get reports from New York and Germany. Other locations where they have been trialed include;

Sweden - no real report on germination or success
North Carolina - poor germination using techniques similar to mine, good root production on those that did grow, no seeds. No seeds was due to poor observation and repeated destruction of the vines by rabbits and deer. (*interesting, you can still get a harvest even if vines are seriously damaged)

Minnesota - no report, I think he may not have planted them yet.

Texas - excellent germination direct seeding in mid May, excellent root production, few seeds. I don't know a reason for the poor seed production there.

California - excellent germination, excellent seed production but most with poor stringy roots. I imagine by selection, crossing to new varieties and mutation the stringy root problem can soon be solved. 

Utah, Ah, Ha, this is the most exciting. This farmer and you know who you are Joseph Lofthouse did cheat some by tightly controlling germination conditions and got very good results. Still in a high desert with cold nights and a frost free season of less than 100 days managing to harvest food sized roots AND seeds FROM seed is pretty exciting.

I'm thinking for this year I will focus on continuing to push the extreme of germination under poor conditions (for sweet potatoes) even farther and plant about 500 seeds in the unheated cold frame. Select from them the first 20 or so that sprout and discard the rest. I'll also maybe keep some of the later sprouting volunteers which I expect because of my poor seed collection practice last year. I may not start any inside this year.

I'm also going to grow more individual plants of my saved clones instead of just one or two to increase the number of harvested roots from them. Those 8 all make good roots and seeds so I hope to cross them with several new commercial clones I'll get from Sandhill Preservation and elsewhere.

I want to up my seed production to 5000 this year. It's an ambitious goal not because it will be that hard to get the plants to do it, just have to have enough of them. It's ambitious because they are not exactly what you could call determinate. They just keep making seeds, you can't just harvest them all at once like you might with dry beans, there are only at most 4 in each capsule instead of hundreds like in a tomato. You have to spend an hour or more every single day looking for and collecting the seeds and there is a narrow window before they shatter. O'well, somebody's gotta do it I reckon.

Yea, flowers! Any interested bugs show up yet? You should hand pollinate it and see if maybe it is self compatible. Will be interesting to see how the flowers themselves act in your weather.

Here they all bloom in the morning and fade by afternoon but there is variation. Some are already about open by dawn, some not till a couple hours later. On cloudy or cooler days they may stay open most of the day. This is addressed in some of the papers I'v found, they even talk about the time period where they are receptive to pollination but way too much trouble in my opinion to try document that for each one.

One important thing, if the style remains after the flower drops off then it is probably pollinated but not if the style also falls off.

And, I haven't tracked it exactly but seems like it takes a long time for a seed capsule to mature. Once you have some forming I'll post a picture of what a nicely formed one looks like.

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