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Messages - Gilbert Fritz

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Most of my breeding projects are likely to produce less food than other plantings; I'm working with citron/watermelons, overwintering breeding where most plants don't survive, dahilas, wild tomatoes, wild (toxic) squash, wild, slow growing sweet potato relatives, black walnut seedlings, etc. Some of them might produce food but are experimental and might not produce the food we'd like.

I'm not going to be doing much of any breeding this year; most of the projects will be shelved, with the exception of the "prophet Elisha project" (Buffalo Gourd wide crosses.)

I'm trying to really ramp up the amount of food we get out of the garden, so I'll be focusing on vegetables at home and winter squash and other staples on remote plots.

I got the greenhouse mostly finished, which is a plus.

I want to get started with grain corn, but have never done anything with it before. Do any of you have advice as to how to start, what varieties might do well with little care, flint vs flour, what would happen if I bought whole grain grinding corn or popcorn and planted it, etc? I'm sort on funds, thus the attraction of buying corn meant for eating (or chicken feed!) and growing it. Would I just get a big jump start on landrace starting? If I was concerned about GMO contamination (I'm not sure if I am) are there any GMO flint corns?

Plant Breeding / Re: Breeding a perennial dryland squash
« on: 2019-09-20, 02:20:58 PM »
Well, not much progress to report on this (or any of my other projects either.) It was a bad year, and a lot of my stuff didn't even get planted. I did plant out the wild squashes; C ficifolia, C. foetidissima (from last year) C. pedatifolia and C. ×scabridifolia. The last two stayed very small, though vigorous and bushy looking. No flowers. The ficifolia flowered, but I don't think it will have time to ripen fruit. The foetidissima is larger than last year, but still no flowers. I'll try to overwinter the perennials and try again next year.

Plant Breeding / Re: overwintering pea breeding
« on: 2019-04-05, 03:25:46 PM »
One lonely pea plant out of about 100 survived; I've flagged it to save seed from.

Those citron patterns look like the patterns I got in my patch.

Plant Breeding / Re: Is male sterility in brassicas dominant?
« on: 2018-12-12, 08:03:56 AM »
Thanks, that makes sense.

Plant Breeding / Is male sterility in brassicas dominant?
« on: 2018-12-11, 05:16:18 PM »
I've been thinking about male sterility in brassicas. When seed is saved from a male sterile F1 (which by definition myst have been pollenated by a male fertile plant) what will happen in the F2? As I understand it, all the plants will be male sterile. Why would this be?

Potatoes / Re: Homestead Potato Breeding and Selection
« on: 2018-12-05, 08:46:49 AM »
If by dry farming, you mean no irrigation, then I dry farm everything I grow.  I only water at time of transplanting seedlings.  That will limit yields with many crops, however, including potatoes.  Potatoes mostly like regular watering.

And I'm in a much more arid location. But, this guy is growing dry-farmed (no irrigation) potatoes and other vegetables on 12 inches of rain. On the other hand, he has a somewhat cooler climate than I do.

I'd guess that a targeted breeding program would end up with potatoes that ran roots much further from the center of the plant to capitalize on the wide spacing of dryland farmed plants.

Potatoes / Re: Homestead Potato Breeding and Selection
« on: 2018-12-04, 04:03:33 PM »
I thought that potatoes were strongly outcrossing; is this not the case?

From the Cultivariable site:

The potato of commerce is tetraploid, bearing four copies of each chromosome, resulting in a sort of built-in hybrid vigor that typically allows them to grow larger and yield more than diploids.  Potatoes are outbreeders and experience inbreeding depression.  As a result, they do not grow true from seed.  Every potato plant grown from TPS is genetically different.

How do they become selfed and inbred if they are outbreeding?

My interest in TPS is different now from a few years ago. A few years ago, I was very interested in breeding a "tower potato." I now think this may be impossible, and besides, I'm not sure if it is desirable.

I'm now more interested in the fact that the native climate of some potato species and varieties is rather like the high desert climate of Colorado, and that potatoes can be dry farmed. I'm also attracted by the ability to avoid purchase of certified seed and the trouble of overwintering large amounts of seed potatoes; planting an expensive seed potato in a marginal dry-field where yield will be low doesn't seem like the brightest idea. 

I'd like to grow TPS in a garden plot to form micro-tubers, which could be tasted to eliminate bitter ones, before planting out on a dry field for production the next year.

If I only harvested TPS from clones in their second (or third) year after evaluating yield, would I avoid the problems discussed above?

Plant Breeding / Re: Adapting plants to new climates
« on: 2018-12-03, 08:46:34 AM »
I agree; their stuff is really interesting. I was just looking at it the other day; 60 day corn, high altitude squash, etc.

Well, don't send me anything rare. (Much as I'd like to try them!) But if you have lots of nap gene peas, I'd be happy to trade for some.

Plant Breeding / Re: Looking for collaborators on two projects
« on: 2018-12-03, 08:39:26 AM »
Thanks Carol and Joseph for the suggestions on wide crosses! It should be very interesting and I'll be reporting back on what happens.

Since the information on sterile results of wide crosses came from folks interested in establishing genetic relationships among species rather than in plant breeding, I suspected it was not as absolute as they made it sound.

And Andrew, I'd be delighted to get some black walnuts. In my area, a lot of walnuts have already declined and disappeared, including the only one I knew of near my house. I was going to use the website "Falling Fruit" to locate walnut trees around the metro (they list thousands) and see if they were still alive and bearing. Using google street views combined with the Falling Fruit site, however, suggested that many of them were dead or dying, and I didn't get around to it. It is on my list of things to do this year.

This is all hypothetical right now. I'm getting ready plans for lots of upcoming landraces; peas, lentils, grains, quinoa, pepo squash, cabbage, etc. And I'm sure I'd run across this eventually.

Well, I'm very interested. And I already have a lot of your material. But . . . I'm quite likely to fail! I'll do my best, though, to return some seed.

Are you particularly interested in purity of lines? I'm interested in trying to get as many crosses as possible without intervention by close planting and possibly introducing the mutant varieties discussed in other threads.

Plant Breeding / Re: Looking for collaborators on two projects
« on: 2018-12-01, 03:48:59 PM »
Andrew, do you have Thousand Cankers in your area? Around here, it has been taking out all the black walnuts. Or have any trees in your area survived it? I've been looking for such trees for their possibly superior genetics.

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