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Messages - Steph S

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1
Seed Saving / Re: Poor timing
« on: 2020-11-05, 07:34:40 PM »
I've noticed that European seed companies offer quite a few varieties for fall planting - including onions, carrots etc.   Interesting idea.
I tried planting perennial wheat here in September...  I was really thrilled to see them coming up, and then really sorry to see them disappeared, every last one.  :-[  Some pest was autumn hungry, I now have doubts about fall planting grains before the small denizens are all done for the year.    Six weeks before frost is when every creature is packing away whatever they can... 
I have the same issue with leeks here, that they flower too late and are too slow to produce seeds.   I can get seeds by digging a few leeks to overwinter in the greenhouse, then put them outside in their container in the spring.  They continue growing in the cold dark days, and the overwintered plants flower much sooner than usual.

2
Plant Breeding / Re: True Garlic Seed (TGS)
« on: 2020-11-05, 07:23:26 PM »
Yes, they have mislabeled it as 'true' garlic seed.  These are not new varieties from true seeds.  I know Lyubasha, which I tried to grow from bulbils here, but it didn't make it.

I made some attempts to get true garlic seed here, but then realized, with our very short season there was really a remote chance of succeeding.  Even bulbils won't often fully develop in the field, you have to pull the plants and bring them inside to finish up when it's already season over here.

3
Ditto, many thanks for the mention of the good Kew bean!   Love the description, it's a match made in heaven.  :-*

I've heard it said of peas, that the seeds with anthocyanin are hardier to cold planting conditions.   Still better reasons to eat colourful!   :)

4
Aha.  TBH I am not a big bean grower because we have too many seasons that turn out 'not a bean year'.  Beans simply hate it cold and wet, and now more than ever we can't guess when that might rule a summer month.   But of those that I have grown, my favorite by far was the Pencil Pod Black Wax Bean.   Yellow pod, black seeds.   We had zero problem with any discoloration from the black seeds, if there was such a thing?...  and they were tender and delicious and relatively productive and resistant to the ills of beans.
That is an old variety that remained popular, so IMO it's unlikely to be an issue.  If anything it's a plus because the cut beans have the surprise color to show.  And we do love surprises.  ;)
Also forgot to mention, it's very exciting to hear about disease resistance in beans.
As with tomatoes, there's a limit to how much time and space you can lavish on something that wants to turn into a pile of grey slime.
I would even consider to grow beans with the (disease resistant selected) tomatoes in the greenhouse, if I didn't expect them to contribute to a foul brood of the same.

5
Community & Forum Building / Re: Our Weather -2020
« on: 2020-10-24, 07:39:55 PM »
We had an amazing fall - amazingly warm.   Lots of days in the 20's in September and overall 15C plus days right through October.  But we had three frosts in the last two weeks, white on the ground.  Epsilon is dropping 30-40 mm of rain overnight and then we're expected to drop below seasonal for a change.   Foreseeable highs no more than 5 C and frosty nights will be the rule next week they say.   I'm still picking peas and tomatoes.   Had outdoor tomatoes picked before frost last week.  Couple of late crosses in the greenhouse I'm waiting to ripen.
We are down to ten hour days on October 31st, so it's over for everything but leeks anyway.

6
Nice to see that.  Your bean projects look like a lot of fun...  love the looks of that super productive light brown one.  And the blue-black is good looking... why not green pods and black seeds?  You are growing for the dry beans, right?  So the bean's the thing, never mind pod color.  Hope to see them next year. :)

7
Greens / Re: Brassica carinata
« on: 2020-08-24, 09:29:16 AM »
From what I have read, the issue with erucic acid is when it is present in oil used for cooking on a regular basis, so forming quite a significant part of the diet.   In some countries rapeseed oil (with high erucic acid) is the preferred cooking oil, so you could consume quite a bit of it by daily use.
I haven't seen any comment about hazards of mustard as a condiment anywhere.
In western Canada where a lot of mustard is grown, there is one variety of "Oriental Mustard" (B juncea) which was bred for zero erucic acid and could be used for oil:
https://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/pdf/10.4141/CJPS09155

https://www.mustard21.com/canadian-varieties/oriental-mustard/

But the other mustards which are grown, appear to be selected for other traits - there's no mention of erucic acid.  Nothing here about B. carinata so I guess it's use or cultivation has not taken off as competition to the others.

https://www.mustard21.com/canadian-varieties/yellow-mustard/

https://www.mustard21.com/canadian-varieties/brown-mustard/

My favorite (bought) mustard condiment is an 'old fashioned' style mustard which is a mix of brown and yellow seeds in a base of powdered yellow.  I would think that mixing seeds whole and/or crushed/powdered in some ratio with vinegar and salt would pretty well be it.  :)

8
Tomatoes / Re: Composite/compound in domestic? tomatoes
« on: 2020-08-23, 06:08:15 PM »
The size and form of tomato flowers is a useful early 'tell' when you're looking for larger size fruit/multi-locule traits.   I don't have a lot of greenhouse space, so I often keep my seedlings in beer cups until they make a first flower.   Then give container space to the ones with the most likely flowers.
One thing I've noticed about the 'fasciated' type flowers, sometimes they don't open properly in humid or cold weather.   I had one like that this year, which the flowers often seemed to be stuck together on one side.  Fruit of course are also lopsided, with all the seeds on one side.   Two siblings and the larger of the two are also more misshapen and had fewer sets - more difficulty self pollinating overall.    It is a ruffled type fruit so lots of locules but there is a high risk of unfortunate shapes.
My preference is for fruit that readily pollinate themselves without any effort on my part, since generally they're in a greenhouse and no bees in there.

9
The bumblebees that you see early in the year are the queens that overwintered.  They have no workers yet, and they need both nectar (for themselves) and pollen for the brood they are bringing up.   The queens never touch my tomatoes in early season here, even when other flowers are scarce.  They'll do a flyby speeding along in search of something good, never stopping for any of what we've got... That is because tomato flowers have lots of pollen but no nectar.    Once the first brood have hatched these little bees will work the tomatoes really thoroughly, to bring home the abundant pollen for the next brood.   
OTOH put out pepper plants or brassicas that bolted, and the queens will be humming 'thank you thank you!" and gobbling it up.

10
Greens / Re: Brassica carinata
« on: 2020-08-20, 06:33:52 AM »
B. carinata is certainly interesting, I haven't had a chance to grow it yet but there's a lot to be said for the multiple stress tolerance (drought, heat and frost - nice!).  I've mostly considered using it as a rotation for garlic, for the biofumigant potential (and condiment seed).

It seems that a number of different varieties have been obtained by selection for specific traits especially oil content and type - so for example, if I were to find a seed source selling B. carinata as a biofumigant, it would probably be the seed line that was selected for that purpose, while the Texcel were selected for greens.

There's a ton of information about cross breeding with other brassicas as well, if you scroll down this document:
https://www.inspection.gc.ca/plant-varieties/plants-with-novel-traits/applicants/directive-94-08/biology-documents/brassica-carinata/eng/1501087371874/1501087468251

11
Greens / Re: Brassica crosses
« on: 2020-08-20, 06:07:46 AM »
Ditto for bumblebees, they simply adore brassica flowers and no wonder... they smell wonderful.   I grew some Kai Lan this summer which is spectacular in bloom as the flowers are so much larger than the usual brassica crops.   So pretty it makes it hard to cut and eat them.   Those are B. oleraceae and to my mind, much better eating than broccoli.  Crosses with colorful cauliflowers might be interesting.

A big growout of my RRKx F2 hasn't happened yet for various reasons, but I have space available now that the garlic is in.
I did start a batch of seedlings which are victims of neglect.  What am I saying! -  which are being used for a stress test.  ::)
Once again I'm not seeing normal anthocyanin on plants that are indoors under lights or with limited window light.   They seem to need full spectrum to develop that normally.
On seedlings that have been sitting outdoors, I'm seeing variation in the amount of anthocyanin produced, ranging from pale pink to purple.   So I need to put the other plants which are in a container indoors, outside for evaluation.    There is surprisingly little variation in leaf shape, which was true for the hundred or so seedlings I started.

A second feature of interest, the RRKx has far less insect damage than the Blues hybrid napa cabbage seedlings sitting next to them.  Whatever has been eating them is for sure a brassica pest, as the lettuce on the same table has not been touched.   Probably cabbage butterflies, but I haven't checked the napas yet to look for caterpillars.   I notice that the worst RRKx is also the one with least anthocyanin - not a significant sample size obviously but something to watch for in a bigger sample.  Pest resistance, I definitely am looking for.



12
Community & Forum Building / Re: Our Weather -2020
« on: 2020-08-16, 06:28:46 PM »
We had a frost warning last night too, after 4 days of heat warnings - seems all I got was a heavy dew, luckily.   This year has been all mixed up.  Very cold May until the last week turned very hot, and that continued through June, hot and dry with a few very cold days to break it up, just enough to wait for July to turn the corner - and then July was very wet and cold, close to the record set in 2015.  August so far mostly very hot but some rain or fog a couple of times a week.    Greenhouse tomatoes found it too hot to set in June, they did better setting in July but we are late getting anything ripe and overall the fruit set is scanty.  Garlic harvest was early, and did pretty well overall.  Peas took a long time to flower, they have only just started. 

13
I have the wild blackberry Rubus ursinus I think.  Birds brought it (I guess).   It is not at all picky about soil but once it gets into a sunny area is a lot more fruitful.  The berries are a bit late for us, they tend to be tart rather than sweet and have big seeds.  Plant is low growing and creeps along making new plants from runners... a very thorny ground cover I suppose might discourage animals?  or serve as erosion control for steep banks with marginal soil.  IDK if there are any traits that would be useful for breeding (or how they cross with other species,  but I wouldn't use these unless you have lots of room/ difficult or steep landscape.   

14
Allium / Re: Overwintering leeks for immediate use in the spring
« on: 2020-07-08, 01:39:37 PM »
That is interesting...  I thought the same thing about the Mammoth Leeks from seed I got in the swap.   There seemed a lot of variation in leaf color and growth habit - length of stalk, whether a bulbous part underground or not, and also whether they divided readily and formed 'pearls' that is baby leeks on the side.  (A lot of leeks did so that summer, including another var at my friend's farm as well as in my garden.  So it could be mainly environmental.)  May have been an accidental cross in that batch.
I have a small group that I selected from the Mammoth brood although I don't recall exactly what I selected for - they got brought into the greenhouse and the others didn't survive.  They are in a pot outdoors now and will flower soon.
My hardy leeks got moved this year to a sunnier place with less competition, hoping they will settle in there and set seed earlier than they usually do, which is very late.  No sign of any scapes on these until August or September.   Overwintering in the greenhouse is pretty much the only way I can get seed in this short season, but maybe do better in the sunny spot.

15
Legumes / Re: Lentil crossing Lens culinaris, seed coat color
« on: 2020-06-15, 05:36:19 PM »
Thanks, Adrian!  That's important to know.  (Plenty of slugs here, of course.)

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