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Messages - Ferdzy

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Plant Breeding / Re: Interspecies squash hybrids
« on: 2019-12-03, 07:14:44 PM »
I'm not much of a squash eater and I don't find them easy or reliable to grow here, so I just have to admire them from a distance.  :)

And even for people who do like squash, and can grow them, it's a lot of space for something that's more of a lottery ticket than actual food. I do get it. That's why I won't be growing them out myself, beyond maybe one or two plants... which really won't tell me much, I don't think.

Plant Breeding / Re: Interspecies squash hybrids
« on: 2019-12-03, 07:12:28 PM »
Ferdzy, this is super interesting.  Really great progress could be made for a more resistant zucchini like cultivar.  When I looked at cucurbita genetic relationships a while ago, one thing that stood out is that pepo has a huge amount of diversity, with genetic distance of some cultivars greater that between even the other species of cucurbita.  Some of these cultivars are closer to argyrosperma.  Id love to grow some of these but it would have to wait till 2021.  Looking forward to updates.

Chance, I will cheerfully save some seeds for you until then. I believe cucurbit seeds keep very well. Unfortunately, I know these will take a lot of space and a lot of time to turn into something valuable, but my impression from a quick look around is that that the pepo-argyrosperma cross really is quite unusual.

Plant Breeding / Re: Interspecies squash hybrids
« on: 2019-12-02, 04:19:54 PM »
Well, they all germinated beautifully but I guess no one is particularly interested.  :(

I'll keep a few seeds but not too sure what I'll do with them.

Plant Breeding / Re: Interspecies squash hybrids
« on: 2019-11-28, 08:27:09 AM »
Okay! I put 8 seeds in a damp coffee filter etc, on the 25th and today at least 2 have sprouted. So obviously some good fertility there! Is anyone interested in some of these seeds? They are almost certainly (pepo White Bush Lebanese x argyrosperma Tennessee Sweet Potato) x pepo unknown (multiple?). Apparently this doesn't happen very often. We may grow out a few, but I think, at least in the next (f2) generation they are likely to be rather large plants.

Community & Forum Building / Re: Multi option staple poll
« on: 2019-11-27, 09:00:06 AM »
Thanks, William. I'll try to remember to ask you again in the spring about them.

I'm a lazy gardener; if plonking things into the ground works for me (and it does, after the application of a lot of manure) then plonking things into the ground is what I'm going to do.

Community & Forum Building / Re: Multi option staple poll
« on: 2019-11-27, 07:27:50 AM »
Richard thanks for the tip on leeks. I should buy a couple more packets and spring sow. Had the packets in hand just used all the space for tomato projects this spring. So it wasn't until tomatoes were about done that I got the relatively short lived seeds that I thought should be planted in the ground. Will be curious to see if anything comes of them anyway. The local seed co-op has a variety they claim is winter hardy here.

William, I will be really interested in hearing how your fall-sown leeks do. I have only had fall sown leeks germinate once, and I thought it was a bit of an anomaly. If I'm wrong about that it would be useful information for me to have.

Plant Breeding / Re: Interspecies squash hybrids
« on: 2019-11-25, 05:34:00 PM »
So! I cut open one of my supposedly crossed squashes this afternoon. I am more convinced than ever that it is a cross between a pepo and an argyrosperma. The skin was very hard - it took my largest knife and a fair bit of pressure to get it open. Seeds look plentiful, plump and lovely. Flesh was pale, and extremely bland when tasted raw. It took a looooong time to cook; 1 1/2 hours at 400F. and the texture was still quite firm, almost crunchy; the flavour was still very mild but actually quite pleasant.

I can find little information about pepo-argyrosperma crosses, although I did find a comment that they were "rare". It also appears, the fine apparent quality of the seeds notwithstanding, that they are likely to be infertile. I have popped 8 of them into a damp coffee filter in a baggie by the fireplace; I'll see what, if anything, happens.

I took a picture of the insides, and also I want back and looked at a photo taken of the squash bed in the summer. In it, you can clearly see that the plant from which these squash came has the typical argyrosperma silvery markings, even though it was saved from a White Lebanese (pepo) zucchini.

Edit: no, I'm wrong about the leaves. That's actually a pepo (zucchini) - I was thinking I was looking at this bed from 180 different spot. The leaves from this one are in fact very large and shallowly lobed, dark green and fairly low, and behind the second post. This was taken in mid July and they had not yet taken over the entire bed as they had by the end of the season.

Community & Forum Building / Re: Staple Food Crops
« on: 2019-11-23, 09:04:21 PM »
Just because it doesn't supply much in the way of calories doesn't mean a don't regard it as a staple, if we eat a lot of it and I would be upset if it disappeared from the garden. Staples for us are:

 - Potatoes (but about to be much less so, now I am pre-diabetic - being taken over by sweet potatoes and squash). We are growing potatoes from seed and keeping the best and I get vaguer and vaguer about which are which, but I guess not actually a landrace. Would grow sweet potato seed if they would only make some, but no luck so far. Moschata squash are more or less a landrace, but we grow acorn squash as varieties because we buy seed - they cross with our zucchini and results of that have been pretty bad.

 - Carrots, onions, shallots, and leeks. I'm keeping one pure variety of onion (Rose de Roscoff), all the rest are mass crosses. Oh yeah, and garlic.

 - Dried beans and peas (want to increase these), as well as green beans and peas for fresh eating and the freezer. (Our two main frozen veg). Don't usually cross but when I find a cross I will often pursue it to see if it's any good.

 - Tomatoes and peppers for canning, drying, and freezing - used to make about 48 litres of tomato sauce, but less now that I'm not eating much pasta. We buy pepper seed because I want specific results, although I am growing out a couple of hard to get varieties in (I hope) isolation for seed. I have one variety of tomato I'm trying to keep going, we plant some named varieties from purchased seeds for fresh eating, and the paste tomatoes are a mass cross into which we throw one or two new named varieties each year.

 - Cucumbers for pickles. Beets too, occasionally. Did a mass cross of beets one year and the results were good but mostly purchase seed as they are not a priority. Saved cuke seed results have been poor to awful.

 - Zucchini daily in the summer. We buy seeds as we grow too many varieties and saved seeds were sometimes interesting but mostly not.
 - Spinach and Swiss chard for greens, fresh and frozen. Have always bought them.

 - Lettuce for salads. Frequently self-seeds but seems to rarely cross.

 - Cabbage for winter storage. Brussels sprouts if the little bastards will grow. We have saved seeds for both of these with good results. Cabbage was a cross between January King and a savoy, and Brussels sprouts had some kale in it. Both results were good but the Brussels sprouts are a bit variable in quality.

 - Asparagus in season; the two of us will eat a pound a day for as long as it comes. Seedlings pop up all over and are often saved; they're asparagus.

 - Strawberries, blackberries, and peaches for fresh eating, jam, and freezing. Mostly purchased varieties except for one strawberry that popped up as a seedling and turned out to be amazing.

I would like to grow and keep in the cold cellar more in the way of celeriac and rutabaga, both of which have proven surprisingly hard to grow. Kohlrabi too. We would grow eat more brassicas if they liked our soil better and had fewer pests. Corn would be a staple if we could grow it, but we can't. Well, we can grow it, I guess, the problem is getting to be the critter who consumes it. Easier said than done.

Actually kale is the one brassica that does really well here. We all hate it, so every few years I get excited by how pretty it looks, plant some, and admire it until it gets pulled and put on the compost. Not a staple.

Unfamiliar with Mammoth leeks but as far as I know American Flag is just another name for Giant Musselburgh, which has long been a staple for me. It is not the hardiest in my experience but pretty good, up there, etc.

Elephant garlic is actually a leek and when you get those little "pearls" or bulbs at the base, your leeks are heading in that direction. For what that's worth.

Plant Breeding / Re: Wild Onions & Breeding with them
« on: 2019-11-23, 11:49:50 AM »
No success for me neither. I planted my favourite shallot next to some wild leeks (ramps) and immediate problem became clear - they don't flower at the same time.

I doubt I will be able to do anything next year as we are going to Great Britain in April, but I guess the next step is to see if I can start the shallots going early. My guess is it would be pretty tricky and involve lights (day length triggers?) so in addition to possible genetic incompatibility there's that. Whoo. Ain't holding my breath.

Plant Breeding / Re: Watermelon Landrace (project)
« on: 2019-11-22, 07:25:39 AM »
David, your email is full.

Plant Breeding / Re: Wild Onions & Breeding with them
« on: 2019-11-22, 05:57:21 AM »
Chance, the consensus is that no, oschaninii does not flower or produce seeds.

Plant Breeding / Re: A diverse patch of shallots
« on: 2019-11-20, 02:53:12 PM »
Wow, those are amazing. The photos look more like chives than allium cepa, but far more variable than I've ever seen in chives.

Plant Breeding / Re: A diverse patch of shallots
« on: 2019-11-14, 10:47:46 AM »
Steph, environment does play a part I'm pretty sure. We had a strange summer here - it started off slow, cool, and very wet. It got a bit dry in the middle (as it almost always does) but in spite of nice sunny and reasonably warm days we never really seemed to get any critical mass of heat. A lot of things did not do well. I didn't have that many saved shallots from the year before but I did think they were not behaving exactly as they had in previous years. Onions in general seemed to have *a lot* of trouble dying down at the end of the season.

Plant Breeding / Re: A diverse patch of shallots
« on: 2019-11-14, 10:42:09 AM »
Diane, that sounds much more like what I was expecting. I would love it if you could send me a few.

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