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Topics - Olaf Nurlif

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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.

2
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!

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