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Messages - Olaf Nurlif

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1
Seed Saving / Re: Bunias orientalis
« on: 2019-06-12, 05:35:36 PM »
I don't really like the leaves as a vegetable, the flower bud sprouts (before flowers open...) can be used like broccoli or broccoletto and are very nice.
you can cut it several times and it will grow back always.

It's rather invasive in our pannonic climate. It thrives even on the most drought prone locations i.e. steep southern slopes in our wineyards and tends to outcompete the local flora.

2
Seed Saving / Re: Seed winnower - fan advice.
« on: 2019-05-29, 02:40:15 AM »
Yep, I built one, -  works OK, but it means i have to access 240V, and get the vacuum cleaner out every time - a battery powered lightweight system that I can use anywhere is my preferred option.

You could use a akku or battery powered vacuum cleaner though.
It might be not that light weight any more then, so...

3
Plant Breeding / Re: Selecting for endosperm color in corn
« on: 2019-05-29, 02:38:31 AM »
@spacecase0
but you won't see it if any flour corns with coloured pericarps and pure white endosperm pollinate your white flour corn!
But I guess red or brown flour corns are not grown that often and if they cross into variety only good things can come out of it :)

4
Plant Breeding / Re: tiny seeded melon
« on: 2019-05-29, 02:35:01 AM »
I hope I didn't overlook anything but you guys asked (among other things) for a naked seed type watermelon, did I understand that correctly?
There is an OSSI-pledged variety with this trait if I'm not mistaken:

Egusi Papershell
Crop: Watermelon Seeds
Latin name: Citrullus lanatus var. mucosospermus
Plant Breeder: Ken Asmus, Oikos Tree Crops

It seems to be rather spicy though, that might be undesirable in a dual purpose variety ^^.
But as you already mentioned a dual purpose seed/flesh type may be possible to breed but not desirable because of several factors..

5
Seed Saving / Re: Seed winnower - fan advice.
« on: 2019-05-16, 10:27:13 AM »
I'm sorry if this has already been mentioned but I don't have time to read the whole thread.

Do you know the plans for the "Real Seeds (UK)" Seed Aspirator?
http://www.realseeds.co.uk/seedcleaner.html

You can use a vacuum cleaner as a "fan".

I built one and it works very well, even though I am not a very good woodworking human and it looks a bit crooked. I also used the wrong wood, it was too soft, I have to build a new one that is more exact and prettier.

6
Plant Breeding / Re: Trouble with Yacon true seed germination
« on: 2019-05-14, 11:04:15 AM »
Thank you for the reply!
We had about 30 plants of the "standard variety" that circulates in europe and 13 seedlings from your seed.
I had an accident and mixed all the plants last year so I don't know which plants came from your 2016 and which from the 2017 mass cross...

Five plants that germinated in February 2018 flowered in their first year, and two of these early germinated seedlings had the greatest yield among all plants this season...
We also got one with nice yellow-orangey peachy flesh color!
Two of the 13 seedlings did not flower at all but 6 startet to flower (sparsely) in July and were in full bloom visited by honey bees by the end of August.

This year we have the one new seedling from our own seeds and about 30 rhizome propagated plants from the 13 seedlings.
We use rather big rhizome parts because our space is a bit limited but we will have more ground in 2020...
Also I got 4-5 plants of "Morado" (which flowers nicely in our climate as well), "NZ" and "Roja" (I don't know if these latter two flowere here..

Sadly I didn't buy any more seeds from you this year because I thought I would get at least 10 seedlings from our 120 seeds.
Well! As you said, the hard part is done, now I only have to hope for a last fall frost. (Go climate change!)

Edit: I might have won in the Cultivariable Yacon Lottery, one plant (Nr.7, probably from the 2017 mass cross seed) seems to start flowering about 15 days after planting the rhizome in a pot...
We only split the rhizome in two parts with about 100 and 130g and only one of the two plants is setting flower bulbs at this point. I'll report and harvest seeds seperately if she continues to flower and sets seed.

7
Plant Breeding / Trouble with Yacon true seed germination
« on: 2019-05-13, 04:10:02 AM »
Hi!

In 2018 we successfully harvested our first own Yacon seeds.
In Austria, 49 latitude! Sadly I made a mistake and didn't cover the plants on 27th of September when a slight night freeze killed most flowers and leaves.
Well, this year I am prepared better.

We got about 200 viable looking seeds. I used to only slightly press them between my fingers when I ordered seeds from Cultivariable (thank you again btw!) to find empty ones.
I discovered that some seeds look rather mature but if you press really hard they will split and are totally empty or with a tiny endosperm.
So I pressed all 200 seeds that way and got 120 that seemed perfect.

Was that a mistake as well? Only one seed germinated... after about a month, which was suprising.
We sowed in the beginning of February, 60 seeds were carefully scarified with a scalpel (I'm sure I did not hurt them at this step!), 60 were sown non-scarified.
We used standard organic potting/seedling substrate, the same we use for virtually everything.

They were placed on a heat mat and substrate temperature was never below 20 or so, and we kept the substrate rather moist all the time.

Could I have dislodged the embryo with my seed pressing or something? Or do I simply underestimate how long it takes to germinate Yacon seeds?

The seeds I received from Cultivariable also germinated over a period of about 6 months but there was always a "flush" of seedlings after one month and after 8-10 weeks. Then they kinda dripped in slowly and then we usually forgot about them in summer.

I guess I will only select visually and maybe by density in water from now on and be even more careful when scarifying the seeds.
Or should I fluctuate temperatures a bit? Change the Light regime? Let it dry out completely and water again after a week or so?

I don't want to use gibberellic acid at this point, I think that would induce a questionable selection pressure, I think it was hard enough for Bill to get them to set viable seeds (again, thank you...).

Oh, I also guess that I can harvest a few hundred or even thousand seeds if nothing terrible happens. So if any people in Europe (or wherever the import of Yacon seeds is not regulated. Stupid seed import rules, pah.) want some true yacon seeds tell me!

Edit: Changed title from "Trouble with Yacon germination" to clarify that seeds are meant.

8
Plant Breeding / Re: Fava breeding
« on: 2019-05-10, 02:36:13 PM »
I think popcorn can be too dry to pop, and probably favas can be, too.  I'll put some of mine in a jar with a wee bit of water for a while and then try.

Popcorn (usually?) has the best "expansion" rate at ca 13,5% seed moisture content.
If it's higher than that the water in the seed will expand too fast and the pericarp will split before enough pressure is built up in the seed.
If it's lower than that there's simply not enough water in the seed to build up enogh pressure and it will not pop or taste rather hard/chewy.

You would have to put the seeds in an environment with about 65% relative humidity for about 1-2 weeks to get it that wet.
In our conditions corn seed usually dries to under 10% seed moisture content. That's nice for mid term seed storage but bad for popping.

Of course you can also calculate/estimate the seed moisture content and then calculate the amount of water needed to get a certain amount of corn seeds to 13-14% seed moisture content. Just use a sealed container as you already mentioned.


Has anybody testet if popping quality of Cicer/Hannan Popbean and/or Nunas is better at a certain seed moisture level?
I have to admit that I am having big trouble getting our Hannan Popbeans to "pop" properly and consistently...
A bag of them is waiting for a small experiment but I will only be able to do that next winter.

Edit: Sorry, I just realised there are some papers available about popping chickpeas because it is common in India and other countries..
i.e. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0023643815300104
I will read a bit and maybe report back!

9
Plant Breeding / Re: General stuff about corn
« on: 2019-05-10, 02:16:01 PM »
A note on storing corn pollen:
If I remember correctly maize pollen has about 60% moisture after shedding.
You can dry it to 20-30% without risking too much loss of pollen viability and it will greatly increase longevity of the pollen.

I used silica gel and a fine scale to estimate the water loss, I did not measure the pollen moisture content directly.
So I just put the pollen on a scale every 30 mins or so and after a few hours I sealed it in plastic containers and cooled/froze it.

After a month I got fully pollinated ears when using the pollen stored in the refrigerator (ca 5C).
According to literature, you can store dried and frozen corn pollen for >1 year and pollinate successfully.

You probably have to care to minimize UV exposure of the pollen - I think corn pollen is rather UV sensitive.

But for short term storage drying and cooling pollen should enable you to make any crosses you desire among your varieties.


I'm sorry, I'm a bit tired and have too much to do, I researched that topic quite intensely and somewhere I have the papers and exact figures in a word document but I won't find it now anyway... you should however find much of the information when searching for maize pollen longevity or similar strings.

10
Good polenta flint corns require not just the true flint type, but also pericarps that are delicate and tasty. (Some varieties have pericarps that are thick and are like eating a mix of grain and wood. and some pericarps have bad flavors.) It also helps if the attachment of the kernel and cob is small instead of huge. The latter also gives polenta with unappetizing chunks of wood in it. (Varieties that were traditionally nixtamalized, which involves removing the skins, can have really bad flavored pericarps.)(With these true flint varieties, if you nixtamalize, you can simply rinse after the alkali treatment and leave skins on, since they are delicate and taste good. That cuts out the laborious rubbing step.)

To make polenta with these true flints, I use 2 cups of coarse-ground meal (biggest pieces no larger than 4 mm), 4 TBS butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt. I bring water, butter, salt to a boil, dump in meal, whisk in if needed. Turn down heat. After it comes back to boiling I cook with stirring for 7 minutes, timed. Then let it sit in covered pot 45 minutes or more. Then I stir it and eat some and pour the rest into bread baking pans and cover with aluminum foil. After it cooks I refrigerate it for use on subsequent days. If I want an especially creamy polenta and have the time, I'll put the pot in a 250 degree F oven for an hour after the 7 minute boil step instead of letting it sit. But usually I just let it sit and eat some.

Most flints that are not true flint types require boiling with stirring for 45 minutes or more, and then baking in layers in baking pans for an hour or more. If you just boil them, they will always taste a bit raw, with the amount of raw taste proportional to the amount of floury endosperm.

I think the flint/cooking issue may be even more complex..
I am pretty sure that there are at least two types of the flinty endosperm.
Well, it probably is a continuum, depending upon the starch types involved. I will so some research this winter!
(I also cannot totally rule out environmental influences although the varieties I will describe were grown on the same soil over two+ years (water levels were variable though, so that just might be it...!))
The two 'true flints' I know are Longfellow (Source CGN Wageningen Genebank, seems to be the real deal) and Cascade Ruby Gold. Our CRG was crossed up when we received it (with a lavender flour corn most likely) but after some cleaning up I am rather sure that they have the same kernel type.

So.. the Longfellow/CRG kernels are just as carol described. Very hard starch, thin pericarp, cooks quickly and is delicious (especially the red CRG in my opinion!).

We also grew some Italian polenta varieties. I fell in love with the "rice type" pointy kernels of the "Rostrato" Group of italian polenta corns. In Italy, several forms exist.

Narrow and long cobbed true flint types (that might be confused with popcorn (the pericarp is too thin for popcorn though.))
Some of these have a very orange flint endosperm. They probably have Corioco (sorry that might be wrong, what's the race of Argentine/South American flints?) ancestors.
The pericarp is thin and in most varieties it is colorless. Red and "Sun/Halo(?)" pericarps can be found too.
There are also semiflint/semident forms of this group. These varieties were probably crossed with North American gourdseed varieties some 150 years ago. They have huge ears and rather large pointy kernels. Sometimes you find cobs with 22-24 rows. It ripens about 5-6 weeks after Cascade Ruby Gold - so the yield is potentially much higher (the water use as well). Also, CRG is much more colorful and beautiful!
Typical cook and bake polentas of course...

(This type may be available in the USA named "Floriani Red Flint", I am not 100% sure though.)

We crossed this type with CRG and selected the progeny for flint type, pointy rice type kernels and lodging resistance.

The flint types we got from this cross have a softer type of flint endosperm.
I have to admit that I don't have an instrument to measure this.. but it is rather obvious after hand milling kilo after kilo of Rostrato Rosso X CRG and Longfellow.
I also poked and cut many kernels.

As far as I can tell the true flint types cook as fast as Longfellow but the consistency and taste (taste is probably pericarp related..) are different. I don't think it tastes raw.

But I have to admit that sometimes I like to eat mushes made out of semiflints or even dents - they are a bit creamy/slimy but for me they never taste raw after only cooking (which takes much longer than with the true flints of course.).

Oh, we also got progeny that has no woody part attached at the kernels at all. You can see right to the black layer at all kernels of those cobs. Does someone know if this is a special trait of the rice type pointy kernels? All the "normal" flints (of the North American  Flint and Flour Gene Pool) have some woody stuff that is attached after threshing... Happy accident if this is stable..


11
OSSI pledged varieties / Re: Magic Manna
« on: 2019-03-31, 05:11:54 PM »
@triffid: I can send you seed of Magic Manna if you want some. pm me. quickly, maybe brexit will complicate things in the future.

Hi Carol...    *blush*

We grew Cascade Ruby gold twice and it was our main staple for three years. :)
Sadly I could not get foundation grade seed from you and the seed we obtained was crossed up (probably with a lavender and blue flour variety(-ies)). I didn't notice it either, probably was hiding beneath that awesome tasty red pericarp.
Various Polenta dishes made with the red pericarp CRG type is probably my favourite food ever.

Anyways, I never tried cleaning it up because ("our" crossed up strain!!) is very susceptible to fusarium (cob rot) in our agroecological niche.
I guess we have different fusarium strains (pathotypes?) in Europe?
Well, we also grew an Italian variety (Rostrato Rosso, flint/semiflint/dent beaked kernels). I liked the appearance of the cobs filled with those beaked kernels so much that I tossed some pollen around and pollinated it with CRG pollen I stored for almost a month.

Turns out the F1 is very vigorous and tolerant to this cob rot. So I'm breeding a "beaked cascade ruby gold" now with that crossed up strain.
I know, not optimal but It just happened. Maybe If I get some foundation grade seed from you I start new with better known and selected material and a reciprocal cross...

Back to Magic Manna:
Yes! MM Pancakes are awesome indeed.

When do you plant MM in Oregon/at which soil temp? Here we usually sow it in the beginning of may with soil temperature well over 10C. They burst out of the ground. And still finish flowering before commercial hybrids start to.
But I think I will try the seed priming method this year, very clever.

We are thinking about crossing Magic Manna with "Pueblo Blue Flour" (PI 476869, Origin Arizona). (Well, the plan is to make a "Pueblo White Flour" first without losing too much of the diversity of the landrace but dropping the blue aleurone before crossing it with Magic Manna.)
Although this would probably lead to a somewhat later variety I think this could improve the yield of Magic Manna without losing its special uses.

I will definitively try your method for MM gravy!

12
OSSI pledged varieties / Magic Manna
« on: 2019-03-11, 06:28:11 PM »
I just ate some parched Magic Manna.
And had to start this thread to honor the greatness of this variety!
Thank you Carol Deppe! :)

So, how many of you do grow/have grown it, I would be interested how adaptable and resilient it is in other climates.

We got it from a great seed saver from southern Austria (she got one packet from Carol).
I'm trying to get some more seed from Carol for a bit better genetic base but importing corn seed is a pain...

Well, we now have bags full of it and grow it in our garden in northern Austria in a pannonic climate on loess soil.
We had four severe droughts in the last five years. We usually don't have reliable rainfall from may to august (avg ~500mm/year).
Pair that with several weeks of 30C+ and you might want to consider to grow Sorghum, not Maize.

But Magic Manna will grow food, even in the worst years.
When the high-input-field-corn-hybrid-varieties start to roll their leaves and yet have to tassel Magic Manna is happily growing and you don't have to bother with hand pollination.

And I always have to imagine that all farmers here would grow Magic Manna (or other equally beautiful/colorful varieties!).
Instead of the hybrid uniformity..
Well, Magic Manna would not be suited for that kind of production schemes of course.
Who would want to combine harvest it. It's much too exciting to husk it manually to discover what color variant awaits.

I think I have yet to perfect the process of parching. I think I have to experiment with different moisture contents.
They don't look as expanded/split as in the pictures in The Resilient Gardener.
But they taste soo good... I like the orange/brown ones parched too, although Carol seems to dislike this color when parched.
Although you cannot deny that the red pericarp ones are the best tasting parched..


Any information and experiences you made with this great variety would be greatly appreciated!

13
Plant Breeding / Re: Quality Ornamental / Food Crops
« on: 2019-03-11, 05:50:05 PM »
Maybe you could sell brooms made from Sorghum.
I bet you could even breed a (free threshing?) "grain-broomcorn".
Well, maybe they exist. The few broom-sorghums I saw all had small kernels that were totally enclosed in the hull (glumes?).

I love Sorghum.

14
Plant Breeding / Re: Plant breeders without borders
« on: 2019-02-26, 04:51:33 PM »
Nagoya protocol. Yes or No.

I don't think someone could opt out of the Nagoya protocol, right?
At least in countries that ratified it.

15
I grow corn that is far removed from typical.

I see kernels sometimes that  are almost completely purple, inside and out. I save kernels from time to time, but haven't done much breeding with them.

I imported genetics from South America which produce orange (beta-carotene) hard starch instead of yellow (zeaxanthin).

The attached photos show kernels broken open to expose the insides. The high carotene corn pops up yellow. I wonder if the high anthocyanin corns would pop purple?

That's very interesting. I never read about or saw any purple flint endosperm.
Have you tried scraping off the aleurone layer to see if the anthos are really in the endosperm?

Do you know where the germplasm came from? Kculli?!



Purple Polenta, mhhh... :)

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