Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - Kai Duby

Pages: [1] 2
Grains / Re: Evolutionary Breeding: Wheat & Barley
« on: 2020-05-07, 08:13:56 PM »
Thanks for the technique pointers Joseph! I've been experimenting with just grinding wheat with some hulls still on and it has worked well but adding the same mix to soup has not been a crowd pleaser. My friend recently remarked that he couldn't finish the soup for all the little husks. I don't personally mind. They have a nice abrasive texture but a fan and a little sorting may be in order.

Have you done any selection for taste or culinary attributes between the different varieties?

Grains / Re: Evolutionary Breeding: Wheat & Barley
« on: 2020-05-06, 08:37:13 PM »
The diversity of grains is always surprising! Those blue/gray wheat leaves jumped out at me too. They look just like a lot of cereal rye I've grown.

The idea of selecting for tall plants is great for the added biomass as well!

When you go to select out seed for planting how do you winnow out the seeds that keep their hulls? I can get things pretty clean with buckets and tarps but those few tenacious hulls are hard to get out of the hulless seeds.

I look forward to taking part in RMSA grain trials in upcoming years.

Tomatoes / Re: Tomato Microbiome article
« on: 2019-12-23, 05:57:35 PM »
This reminds me of something I posted here long ago. It likely got buried but I'll bring it up here since it seems pertinent.

Endophytic diazatrophs. Nitrogen fixing bacteria that inhabit leaves all over the place! The research is still in its infancy but it is interesting.

It's thought that these microbes provide a substantial amount of N to coniferous forest and crop plants.

Here's some research:

I worked on a farm this year that grew lots of Johnnys tomato varieties and I noticed that a lot of them had exserted stigmas. I don't know if the varieties were specifically from the Johnnys breeders but, whatever the source, it seems they used the exserted trait.

The varieties that certainly had exserted stigmas:

- Prudens Purple
- Pink Berkeley Tiedye
- Striped German

These are all rather large, long season varieties but figured I'd list them for later reference.

Community & Forum Building / Re: Multi option staple poll
« on: 2019-11-25, 08:01:27 PM »
Though I checked corn I really mean the old corns: wheat, rye, oats and I have plans to expand this with millet, barley, sorghum and whatever other small grains can produce as well as wheat. This year was my first year growing corn and it was marginal at best though I will certainly try again because I do eat tons of corn in the form of polenta, popcorn and masa.

Though I checked beans I really mean lentils, and peas. I've had about as much success with beans as corn. Cool weather crops fit better into my current watering/ growing regime. I eat lots of chickpeas too though I have not grown them.

I didn't check squash mainly because it takes such a large space to grow so little bulk food. Though that is based on my own experiences. I recently bought a bunch of overstock pumpkins after Halloween for a $1 a piece and it's amazing how much delicious seed comes out of a single squash. As a dual purpose veggie-flesh and fatty, grain-like seed I can see how it would be considered a staple.

I would also include: onions, garlic, beets, peppers, tomatoes, turnips, and cooking greens like orach, spinach and arugula. These don't provide the bulk of my calories but they are usually cooked alongside the staples. They are more like staples for the staples.

Tomatoes / Re: Are Determinate Tomatoes Weaklings?
« on: 2019-11-25, 07:06:07 PM »
After this years tomato abuse I would say that determinates are not weaklings, at least in my own harsh conditions.

I planted a good slew of different varieties and about half of them were dets. I also did a side by side comparison of transplanted vs. direct seeded with roughly the same varieties.

Unfortunately (and fortunately) I did not have the time during the busy summer to coddle the plants like I wanted to. In fact, they were a sad, neglected bunch planted in first year beds, in what used to be a compacted pad for a trailer. So they were planted in what was basically a road, dug up a bit (so compacted that shovels literally bent), and sprinkled with some old horse manure. I heavily watered them twice after planting out and that was it until the drenching rains of mid July. Then they were haphazardly watered once while in flower.

I was very surprised in September when, after forgetting the tomatoes and really having no hope for them because I abused them even more than I intended to, my dad handed me some tomatoes that I had somehow grown.

They certainly weren't lush but they had fruit setting on them despite a lack of water, heat, and wind. And the direct seeded plants had caught up with the transplanted, and in some cases, surpassed them.

Sure enough, the first to set fruit was a transplanted, red fruited Sungold F2. The determinate Bonsai variety was also loaded with ripe fruits at the same time but they were hit with some kind of fungal disease. Most of the other varieties were close behind.

I did not even have time to harvest the tomatoes so I knew when frost had hit when my dad handed me a big sack of the most ripe fruit and I went out and harvested the next to ripe. They yielded surprisingly well!

The indeterminates were all stunted by the harsh growing conditions so that it was difficult to tell them apart from the dets. In some cases the dets grew quite a bit bigger and made more fruit.

I gathered tons of seeds and every fruit was packed with flavor! The difference between the taste of these neglected fruits and those I helped grow on a local farm with plentiful irrigation was pretty striking. A single thimble sized fruit had more goodness than two pounds of the irrigated tomatoes.

Here's a bad picture of the tomatoes after frost. The bed on the right is direct seed and the one on the far left was from transplants started about a month early.

Legumes / Re: Fava breeding
« on: 2019-05-10, 01:16:59 PM »
Joseph My field is all wide open as well. Last year I experimented with interplanting big sunflowers between the fava rows and it seemed that it helped some. I'm trying the same thing this year with sunflower every 2-3ft. between the favas. They tend to get big and start really shading the ground around the time the favas are flowering.

Legumes / Re: Fava breeding
« on: 2019-05-10, 01:13:10 PM »
Barely out of the ground and the little black ants are all over them. They seem to travel along the leaf margin and periodically dip under the leaves.

Legumes / Re: Fava breeding
« on: 2019-04-30, 08:13:15 AM »
I forgot to mention another trait that I think is very interesting in favas: insects! And I'm not just talking about beneficial pollinators.

Next to sunflowers the favas certainly attracted the next best slew of bugs. The first year I grew them I noticed a ton of ant activity all over them. When I looked closer I noticed that the ants were congregating around these perfect round spots near the base of the leaves. From what it looked like they were licking these spots pretty adamantly! The spots were on just about the exact same place on the leaves wherever they occurred, which makes me think that it is something the plant creates to attract things like ants. Likely a sugary secretion. At first I wondered if the ants might be cultivating some kind of fungus but, when I looked at the population as a whole, the plants with the black spots and ants were MUCH more vigorous than the others. In fact, until that point I was wondering why some of the plants were looking like they were about to drop dead. Turns out that all of the near-death plants that I observed lacked the black spots. This was Josephs fava mix by the way.

I suspect that attracting insects for foliar inoculation may be a great trait to select for. Insects traveling from one plant to another are bound to transfer beneficial microbes (and I suppose in bad cases disease organisms), which from what I've been reading about things like endophytic diazatrophs(leaf inhabiting nitrogen fixers) and other similar organisms, may be a key component of healthy plants.
Add to that that little ants devouring delicious leaf excretions are probably more likely to fight for the health of their plant when invaders come around.

Legumes / Re: Fava breeding
« on: 2019-04-29, 09:26:56 PM »
I really like the idea of winter planting favas and having them come up first thing in the spring because no matter how early I plant them in the spring they don't seem to want to come up until nearly a month later and by that time the heat is getting cranked up for summer.
 Joseph When you plant in November do you irrigate them at all/ stick them in wet ground and how early do you irrigate them in the spring?

I recently found a feral fava that must have come from a patch of small seeded types I grew last year. It is already a good 2 weeks ahead of the favas I planted.

Another trait that I'd like to select for is wind resistance. Right now as the little favas are poking their heads up there is a consistent 15-20mph wind blowing likely until mid-May. Last year they really didn't like that. They take the cold but the wind was scorching the leaves pretty bad so I hope to find some that will stand up to that kind of abuse.  Have a local variety now that's been grown in this area for nearly a century so I'm hoping it can add a bit of eolian toughness. 

Seed Saving / Re: In Ground -Biennial Roots- Harsh Winters
« on: 2019-04-29, 09:11:41 PM »
I thought the carrots were a bust but while I was raking away the mulch I had piled on top of them I noticed a few haphazard little green carrot frills! I'm quite surprised they survived. There was about a month and a half this winter that the temperature didn't get above 20F. Unfortunately only about 5 out of 50 made it. I feel like these are more lucky than anything and that the soil conditions had more to do with their survival than some inherent property of their own. I basically replanted them in a flood irrigated trench, which was still very wet when I dug them up this spring to take a look.

Daikon made a perfect huge radish shaped hole in the ground where it froze and then dissolved back into the earth.

I saved the biggest, nicest, bug free rutabagas out in the ground under mulch but they up and died. However, the red russian kale roots I selected out and replanted not only survived the cold, they survived marauding rabbits eating the tops below ground!
I wonder why it is that a big fat root is more susceptible to cold than the little roots.

Seed Saving / Re: In Ground -Biennial Roots- Harsh Winters
« on: 2019-03-09, 02:17:31 PM »
The beets survived! As did the turnips.
I've planted out the turnips cause I figure they can take the cold.
Ground is warming up during the day above 50F but the night temps are still dropping to a bit above 15F.
Will beets survive in unfrozen ground with night time temps that low for multiple weeks to come or should I wait to plant them out?

Seed Saving / Re: In Ground -Biennial Roots- Harsh Winters
« on: 2019-02-13, 06:22:21 PM »
So certain varieties of parsnip and turnip sound like a sure thing. Wild salsify is certainly hardy so I would suspect some domesticates would be as well.

Joseph: It's interesting that you mention your carrots because I grew some of your carrot mix a few years back and they survived the winter quite well though, for various reasons, I wasn't able to save seed from them. The biggest root was about a thumb and a half in width so not too small considering they weren't ever irrigated! I didn't have any irrigation available but your carrots just came up with the spring rains and survived on about 20-25'' of rain through the season, which I was pretty impressed with! This was also in very heavy clay.

I wonder why it is that small carrots can make it and large ones can't. Could it be because of the roots water content?

I replanted the most carrots this last fall so I'm eager to see if they survived. I don't have much hope for the daikon but I figured I'd try since I had so many.

I've heard that the reason carrots become sweeter after a frost is because they are making "antifreeze" sugars in response to the cold. Perhaps this would be a good trait to focus on for a more cold hardy carrot.

Seed Saving / In Ground -Biennial Roots- Harsh Winters
« on: 2019-02-12, 07:36:21 PM »
This is my first year attempting to save seed of biennial root crops by storing them directly in the ground over the winter. I know that a lot of seed growers hand books say that this is not a good idea but I have also met a lot of gardeners that have been able to keep the roots and get seed just fine in the ground.

By harsh winters I mean either extreme, abrupt changes in temperature often to below freezing for short periods of time or extended, months long freezing temperatures. The moisture levels in soil going into winter seems like a determining factor as well.

I've met people who say that they have overwintered carrots in frozen soil.
I have personally overwintered rutabagas through a harsh winter under some snow though quite exposed on a southerly slope.

This year I am attempting carrots, daikon, and rutabaga directly in the ground. I planted them in furrows after selecting them from the market bunches and when frost was imminent I covered them with a good 8-12'' of straw.

I also put a lot of the roots in totes filled with sawdust, but given my limited space, I buried the boxes in heaps of old hay in an old excavated hole.

Just wondering if anyone else has successfully overwinter the common biennial root crops through harsh winters.

Plant Breeding / Re: Stabilizing the Walking Onion F1 Hybrid
« on: 2019-02-12, 07:13:48 PM »
Richard: For good seed set do you remove the bulbils like you would in garlic?

I haphazardly attempted hand pollinating some of the walker flowers this last year but with no luck.

I've thought it would be interesting to cross walkers with bulbing onions because of the extreme drought tolerance that I've seen in walkers. Have you attempted any crosses like this?

Pages: [1] 2