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Topics - Ferdzy

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Plant Breeding / Large-Seeded Carrots
« on: 2020-05-27, 07:18:11 AM »
Back in the day when we were all hanging out on Homegrown Goodness, I lamented the difficulty we have been having getting carrots to germinate in any kind of timely manner, and speculated as to whether we might get better germination if the seeds were bigger.

So last fall I sifted our seeds into a larger seeded group and smaller seeded group. They were planted on the 18th - nine days ago now, and began to appear on about day six. This is astoundingly fast and good germination in general, and I attribute it to the extremely unseasonable warm weather we have been having. So at least part of our problem, I would deduce, is that we have been insisting on planting them too early. As to the differences from seed size: YES! The large seeded section was clearly up the earliest, by a couple of days, and with much more consistency than the others.

I am, however, a bit perplexed by some of the results. We planted one section each of the larger and smaller seeds saved from carrots grown by us last year, some of which would be offspring of other saved carrots etc. The other two sections planted were Amsterdam Maxi and Flakkee (Autumn King). Flakkee, being a large, robust carrot, drew the outside position where there is the most competition from weeds. It was well-cleared before we planted.

Logically, the Amsterdam Maxi and the Flakkee should have been a mix of larger and smaller seeds since I presume the seed sellers don't sort them by size the way we did.  So I would expect them to have come up spottily but at the same time in comparison to the large seeded from their own large seeds within the mix. They did not. If anything, they are trailing the small seeded home-grown batch. The seed is a couple of years old at this point, but it's certainly germinating and carrot seed seems to last well for beyond the age they are in my experience so I don't think age would be the reason. I suppose that our seeds are just that much more adapted to our soil after even one generation. (Most of the carrots saved for seed last year were from named varieties with just a few grown from a previous batch of our own seed thrown in.)

Now we will see how these carrots actually do as carrots; hopefully they are not all wild carrot crosses or something dire like that. Don't think so. I can never eliminate those crosses completely but they seem to be down to a dull roar.

Community & Forum Building / "Chaos" farming during the pandemic
« on: 2020-05-13, 07:17:33 AM »
Excellent article here on some things that some American prairie farmers are doing at the moment:

Very interesting approach for combining a certain efficiency of scale with wide variety of resulting vegetables.

Grains / Naked Barley!
« on: 2020-04-06, 07:48:17 PM »
We are about to plant barley for the first time ever. I cleaned out the bed today and we are soaking half of 1 type to see if that helps germination. We are planting quite a lot of different barleys, although they are all hulless and I hope, mostly 6-row types. The type we are soaking is Lawina, which is a 2-row type. It has the largest grains of any of the ones we got, and it's a lovely pale yellow. We got it from Adaptive Seeds. We also got Dango Mugi and Valsergerste from Great Lakes Staple Seeds. These are both described as golden barleys but they are quite brown in comparison to the Lawina. However, in addition to being only 2 row, I gather that Lawina is not the most reliable variety around. And finally, we got some "Special Mix Hulless Barley" from Prairie Garden Seeds. They tend towards the greyish-brownish, although there are some lighter ones.

I guess this means we are about to "breed barley" since they are wind pollinated and will, I assume, cross freely. From the culinary point of view I admit I am accustomed to and therefore tend to gravitate to the pale creamy white or yellow varieties. However, I can adapt if others turn out to be easier to grow, taste better, etc!

Anyone else growing barley? How's it doing for you?

Community & Forum Building / EFAO Research Library
« on: 2020-02-16, 08:50:30 AM »
I often attend local Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario (EFAO) events, but I didn't realize until a recent email from them that they have quite a nice little research library building up. I see there are some topics of interest to users of this forum, so here's a link.

Plant Breeding / Interesting Article on a British Wheat Landrace
« on: 2019-10-10, 06:43:05 PM »
Interesting for the landrace, but also because it talks about the wheat in a number of different contexts.

Plant Breeding / Some Nice Beans
« on: 2019-08-10, 05:49:54 PM »
Here are the f3 of a cross that showed up a few years back. I was initially a bit disappointed with the f2 (last year) because they didn't flush with a purple haze as nicely as the f1. Also the beans were rather short. On the other hand they are really delicious and have very decent anthracnose resistance. I believe them to be a cross between Anellino Giallo (Anellino Yellow) and Cherokee Trail of Tears. (No, not all my bean crosses are fathered by CTOT, just 95% of them.)

I'm actually seeing more variation in them this year; some of them flush purple more quickly than others, and some of them are quite long while others are still fairly short. I know some of them have strings and some of them don't and I need to work on getting that out. We also have yellow mosaic virus in the beans this year, quite badly, and there is variation in how well they are handling that.

I'm quite hopeful that another few years of selection will make these a distinctive and rather special bean.

Plant Breeding / Carouby de Maussane x Amish Snap Peas
« on: 2019-07-28, 06:21:59 PM »
A few years back I got interested in trying to cross these two peas to create the perfect pea - edible at every stage of development: as a snow pea, a snap pea, and a shelled pea. My conclusion was that I was not successful.

This year I planted a bunch of what I thought were saved Carouby de Maussane snow peas. They are not. I believe they are the result of this cross. We ate a bunch for dinner and I was quite impressed: large, tender pods with semi-developed peas in them that mingled the flavours of snow peas and shelled peas. I think the secret is that you just have to go ahead and eat them, even though they look kind of weird, which means that probably nobody but me will be much interested in them. And, I hope, you lot of oddballs and kooks.

Have I attached a picture? I'm trying to attach a picture.

Two summers ago I was very excited to find that some leek seeds that had dropped from seed heads had overwintered. This is the first time I have seen that happen. We grew them out, and they seemed particularly good the spring after that, which is to say last spring. They went to seed last fall and I saved the seed with the idea that we would be continuing to select these for early spring eating. Then I thought I had lost the seed and was heartbroken, but I have just figured out where it went: half our Rose de Roscoff seedlings are turning out to be leeks.  :-[

Has anyone else had leek seed overwinter in the garden, and if so, what kind of winter? The winter these seeds/seedlings survived was not particularly cold, but still, it was winter in Canada. I would say it got down to near or just below -20C only a few times. Spring had quite a bit of freezing and thawing. As far as I can tell, the mother of these seeds was Verdonnet, allowed to cross with Bandit (Green Winter), Giant Musselburgh, and Inegol which is a Turkish landrace (?) as well as itself, of course. Seedlings were only found within range of the Verdonnet section but I can see signs of the other varieties in them, even the Inegol which is the least apparently winter hardy.

Our goal with these is to be able to dig them as soon as the ground thaws in the spring, and for them to actually look nice - marketable, even - when that happens. When we grow them out again we will be looking for late bolters, again so they can be usable in the spring for as long as possible.

Short but intriguing article at Atlas Obscura about pre-Columbian farming around what is today St. Louis - it mentions some plants that I am not familiar with at all.

Plant Breeding / Need advice re: watermelons
« on: 2019-02-06, 07:14:52 AM »
Hello all -

As some of you will know, Mr. Ferdzy and I have been working on 2 varieties of watermelon.

One is a cross between Orange Glow and Sweet SIberian, to create a mid-sized, tasty, northern-adapted orange fleshed watermelon. We have been making good progress on that.

The other is a cross between Golden Midget with Crimson Sweet and Grover Delaney. The goal here is to create a bigger, better melon than Golden Midget, but with the trait that the rind turns yellow when ripe. We've made some really exciting progress with this one too.

Here's the problem: last summer, during harvest, I discovered one of the Orange cross in the Golden Rind project bed. Up until now they have been staying separated very nicely. On examining the plant and the fruit my conclusion is that this did not happen as a result of the two projects crossing, but by some bird or animal moving a seed from the Orange project bed. This happens pretty commonly with peas and beans in my experience, but this is the first time I have seen it with melons. However it happened, we now have a dilemma.

Do we go back a year and replant the batch of seeds we planted last summer and chalk this one up to bad luck? I have a horrid suspicion the answer is yes, at least for the Golden Rind project. The Orange project should be okay.

Or do we go ahead and plant this years seeds and hope for the best? If crosses turn up, how many years do you think it will take to weed them and their offspring out?

Plant Breeding / Beans and Anthracnose
« on: 2019-02-01, 08:12:16 AM »
Hello all;

We have been working with anthracnose resistance in beans for the last few years. This is not a project that we chose, it chose us when I purchased some beans from a national hardware chain (Cdn Tire) the brand being one of the old American seedhouses (Burpee? But I don't really remember) and they turned out to be infected. By the time we realized what it was and how serious it was our garden was well saturated in the stuff and now growing beans is a big problem.

Meanwhile, some bean crosses had been showing up in the garden, most of them plainly fathered by Cherokee Trail of Tears. Fortuitously, CToT has really quite decent anthracnose resistance so this has been good. One of the beans they crossed with was Blue Lake S7, so we are trying to end up with a strain of beans very like Blue Lake but with better resistance. Right now they are segregating into flat and round pods, green and purple pods, and white, beige, and black seeds.

Is there anyone else out there with bean anthracnose? Would you like to try some of these seeds? If you do NOT have it, I highly recommend that you do not get these seeds from me. We do our best to collect clean seed but the odds are very good that they carry the spores and are infected.

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