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Messages - reed

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Plant Breeding / Re: Blight Resistance in Potatoes and Tomatoes
« on: Yesterday at 06:30:13 PM »
I'm gonna use the heirloom Mr. Stripey as a foundation in my tomato breeding cause it has done well for me for many years and I hope it will go a long way toward increasing fruit size and flavor of those I might cross it with.

I'm mentioning this because there is another tomato called Tigerella that makes much smaller tomatoes. It also does fairly well here but tastes terrible in my opinion. I don't really know which is truly which but when I bought seeds labeled Mr. Stripey they were actually Tigerella. Some seeds I was gifted by an old fellow in KY that he called Mr. Stripey are the big good ones and it is the one that I call Mr. Stripey.

Anyway if anyone gets Mr. Stripey and it grows baseball sized and smaller fruits that are red with yellow streaks  on the skin it isn't what I call Mr. Stripey. Mr. Stripey is a large tomato with green shoulders. They are very similar in appearance to the variety Pineapple but produce better here and are not quite as sweet.

Plant Breeding / Re: Blight Resistance in Potatoes and Tomatoes
« on: Yesterday at 03:26:12 AM »
I got my packet of ten Iron Lady F1 seeds today. If I manage to get any crosses made to it. Would grow out the F1 in 2020 and then in 2021 would love someone with blight and disease issues like you have Reed to take some of the F2 seed and grow it out. Otherwise I don't see how this works without the lab work DNA tests Carol mentioned.

I would be very happy to try out some of the Iron Lady crosses. Have to admit though, I'm not optimistic about seeds from areas that don't have much in the way of tomato disease cause like I said we have lots.  And we have lots of stink bugs that happily cause their own issues as well as spread the diseases around. I don't really know how or even bother to try to identify them specifically, I just refer to them collectively as tomato disease. If a plant lives and produces it's tolerant or resistant, if not, it isn't. I don't know if I'd even get a seed from something that doesn't have at least some tolerance of the other brown spots, grey fuzzies and curled up leaves that prompt me to cull some plants before they've  hardly even bloomed. And I'm convinced the awful hot dry spells that are common now play a role, as well as the weird cool cloudy ones.

It is likely that my small garden being used for decades has turned into it's own little petri dish for all the diseases, especially since I don't follow any thing close to recommended sanitation practices but I figure if a person did that while saving their own seeds they might at the some time be breeding for plants with no tolerances at all. Then one day they screw up and trial the wrong seed or throw that wrong store bought item in the compost or just a bad wind blows and everything dies.

My plants die but not till after our canning jars are full and some keep going a little longer. The pimps like I said still go till frost. It would sure be nice to have big ones that do that again.

I have plenty of issue with birds too, stupid things. They don't bother the wild ones as much, I think cause there are just so many of them and they are better hidden in tree branches and weeds. The big ones in the yard are so much easier from a birds perspective too, I guess.

There are a number of truly wild grapes that are native to North America, don't know exactly how many.  The first commercial winery in the US was in the county where I live, or so the story goes. That was about 1806 if I remember right but the people who did it failed not far away in Kentucky before that. Early attempts a wineries were also in Arkansas and Texas, probably other places too. Finally different ones did get wineries going using European grapes but a blight in the late 1800s wiped it all out. I think they had already experimented with grafting and crossing even before then but after that they had too, the European varieties just wouldn't grow here at least on their own roots.

It's possible that some of our wild ones, especially some that grow down by the river are left over descendants of hybrids but I can''t know that for sure. And if they were, why didn't it happen more and why doesn't it still happen?  I'v heard lots of stories of wild hybrids in Arkansas and Texas but the ones I'v seen just look and taste like another American native called Muscadine whose preferences are a little too Southerly to grow here.

I don't know why the modern crosses with their bigger European fruits and their American like roots and disease resistance don't go wild especially with birds pooping their seeds out all over the place but I'v visited lots of places with old grape vines and haven't found any, so I'm gonna try fix it. 

Plant Breeding / Increasing and Improving Wild Grape Diversity
« on: 2019-01-15, 08:45:22 AM »
The notion of making new varieties of grapes that can just be turned loose in the neighborhood is one of my most favorite breeding projects but also the least successful so far. Maybe the biggest reason for the failure is it has mostly just been a daydream that generally pops up while out picking wild grapes for jelly but I have made some first step progress by acquiring about a dozen kinds of wine and table varieties, all ones that grow on their own roots. I have little interest in grafting so I think own root vines are best for trying my crosses. Also I think it probably means they all have wild American ancestors so they are already related.

My neighborhood wild grapes come in quite a variety and I'v planted seeds from my favorite ones here and there around the yard. My absolute favorite and most productive vine was already here, growing in some big cedar trees in what became the yard when I built the house. Recently a limb form a dead Ash tree fell and bent one the cedars over, yea! Cause in doing so it brought lots more of my grapes into easy reach.

All my purchased vines are up to production size now and I'v learned how to successfully clone them and I have managed to sprout a few seeds. I sell some of my clones at a swap meet and plant some along the road and in the woods near where wild grapes are growing. My brilliant scheme that they would just cross and the offspring would go wild wasn't so brilliant after all because the commercial vines and the wild ones don't coincide in bloom.

I'm gonna have to get more personally involved to get my crosses but I found this great article from Cornell that tells me how to go about it. I didn't even know till I read it that some or many of the wild grapes are likely not hermaphrodites.  That might actually work wonderfully in my favor.

My favorite vine I mentioned is hugely productive so it is certainly female or has perfect flowers.  I'll find out next year but if by chance it is female that would be perfect cause it blooms after the commercial clones. And from reading that same paper it sounds like it isn't that hard to collect and preserve pollen, certainly just for the few weeks I'll need to do so. If my favorite does have perfect flowers it also sound like emasculating them isn't as hard as I thought it would be. And if offspring from the crosses come out male and female I can also plant the males to carry genes for larger fruit into the wild population that way.

Like I said we already have a variety of wild grapes, they produce well, and they resist about all diseases the tame ones get but they are small, sometimes more seed than grape and most don't taste all that good. 

All I really want is to make a population of wild grapes that make larger fruits. Red, and white ones would be really cool too as all the wild ones are black. If it works I plan to scatter them everywhere in my neighborhood so years from now people or just critters for all I care, have something good to munch or get drunk on.


Plant Breeding / Re: Blight Resistance in Potatoes and Tomatoes
« on: 2019-01-14, 11:24:12 PM »
I'm not sure if I'll get Iron Lady or the others to add in or not. I'm thinking since I already have those pimp segregates I might use them as mother for several crosses. No clue what it is but they have something or they would not reliably still be producing all the way till frost. They do have that leaf spot issue but not uniformly, some have it less than others. And the Mr Stripey holds on in my garden, it isn't especially productive but still it's worth growing if you like large flavorful slicing tomatoes.

I think might be best for me to just plant several of the pimps, watch till I see which ones have less leaf spotting and then cross the MS and some others onto them. Then if anything good comes from it maybe I can trade for some of the Iron Lady crosses others make.

(add) I think a breeding effort specifically for LB might be a big mistake here in the Ohio Valley. I think a much more holistic approach is called for.

Plant Breeding / Re: Breeding New Sweet Potatoes
« on: 2019-01-13, 03:35:47 PM »
How many seedlings do you figure it took growing out to get to the 8 clones you have that produce well for you?  I'm curious about percentages of seedlings that germinated.

My poor record keeping is biting me in the rear again but I'd guess very roughly, it took 150 germinated seeds to find the eight clones I'm keeping. That's over the life of the project but the % of good ones is increasing. I think I had just one of my own seed grown clones in 2016, two in 2017 and then it jumped to eight this past year. The first one has been dropped because the next two were both better. I still have those two and six new ones from 2018.

The six from 2018 came from about 40 germinated seeds. So I guess about 15%, that's way up from prior years.

To release seeds for sale and or pledge I want to be confident that a minimum of 10% of seeds will produce a good plant, I think I'm already there but I need to be able to document and describe them more accurately, so better record keeping from now on, is definitely called for.

Not in my garden. Any cold tolerant tomatoes that I develop are likely to taste like an exotic tropical fruits, guavas, plums, mangos, etc.

Ah, you mean like the one pictured below, which came from your seeds. Looks like a tomato but tastes more like something that might be found under a tree in Hawaii. I called it Captain Crunch, cause it's crunchy when chomped on, very juicy and sweet. I think I sent some seeds back to you but don't remember for sure. Unfortunately it had little disease resistance as you can see by the foliage.  I like the flavor of my old red tomatoes but there is room for things like this in my garden too.

Plant Breeding / Breeding New Sweet Potatoes
« on: 2019-01-13, 06:44:39 AM »
Many people familiar with the HG forum are already familiar with this project so rather than start all over I thought I would just give a run down of how it stands now. My eventual goal is to release and sell true seed producing sweet potatoes as breeding material under the OSSI pledge. I just need to produce sufficient quantities, develop a good naming convention for the different lines and find out, in the event I want to release some as clones, what legal hoops I'll need to jump through to send them through the mail.

Anyway, five years after discovering my first true sweet potato seed  I have a total of 8 of my own seed grown clones that meet my criteria of short season production (100 days or less) of both food quality roots and seeds. I recently became aware that there is also more interest in lines developed more for greens over roots than I realized. That might greatly increase those I keep as clones. Up till now I have been mostly discarding those that only produce foliage, even if they did make seeds.

As it stands now along with those 8 seedy clones and a few other, non-rooting ones and after finding a pack I had forgotten about I have approximately 2500 seeds. Half or more of those are buried deep in the ground in well sealed stainless steel canisters.

I'm interested also in developing lines that are easy to grow and tolerant of poor conditions or neglect so I take no special actions to insure germination. I start them in cool conditions on a drafty window sill on a cheap heat and without any artificial lighting. Germination in successive generations under these conditions has increased from about 5% within a week to about 20%. Germination in an outside cold frame of just a few seeds in that time was 2%. Germination by folks I'v shared seeds with using much more controlled conditions was reported much higher, in the neighborhood of 90%.

My friend Richard in New Zealand had germination of 20% or higher, I think using a technique similar to mine and some of his plants are currently blooming. The climate there is not especially friendly to sweet potatoes so I'm watching his reports closely and keeping fingers crossed he gets good roots and seeds.

I hope in 2019 to get reports from New York and Germany. Other locations where they have been trialed include;

Sweden - no real report on germination or success
North Carolina - poor germination using techniques similar to mine, good root production on those that did grow, no seeds. No seeds was due to poor observation and repeated destruction of the vines by rabbits and deer. (*interesting, you can still get a harvest even if vines are seriously damaged)

Minnesota - no report, I think he may not have planted them yet.

Texas - excellent germination direct seeding in mid May, excellent root production, few seeds. I don't know a reason for the poor seed production there.

California - excellent germination, excellent seed production but most with poor stringy roots. I imagine by selection, crossing to new varieties and mutation the stringy root problem can soon be solved. 

Utah, Ah, Ha, this is the most exciting. This farmer and you know who you are Joseph Lofthouse did cheat some by tightly controlling germination conditions and got very good results. Still in a high desert with cold nights and a frost free season of less than 100 days managing to harvest food sized roots AND seeds FROM seed is pretty exciting.

I'm thinking for this year I will focus on continuing to push the extreme of germination under poor conditions (for sweet potatoes) even farther and plant about 500 seeds in the unheated cold frame. Select from them the first 20 or so that sprout and discard the rest. I'll also maybe keep some of the later sprouting volunteers which I expect because of my poor seed collection practice last year. I may not start any inside this year.

I'm also going to grow more individual plants of my saved clones instead of just one or two to increase the number of harvested roots from them. Those 8 all make good roots and seeds so I hope to cross them with several new commercial clones I'll get from Sandhill Preservation and elsewhere.

I want to up my seed production to 5000 this year. It's an ambitious goal not because it will be that hard to get the plants to do it, just have to have enough of them. It's ambitious because they are not exactly what you could call determinate. They just keep making seeds, you can't just harvest them all at once like you might with dry beans, there are only at most 4 in each capsule instead of hundreds like in a tomato. You have to spend an hour or more every single day looking for and collecting the seeds and there is a narrow window before they shatter. O'well, somebody's gotta do it I reckon.

Yea, flowers! Any interested bugs show up yet? You should hand pollinate it and see if maybe it is self compatible. Will be interesting to see how the flowers themselves act in your weather.

Here they all bloom in the morning and fade by afternoon but there is variation. Some are already about open by dawn, some not till a couple hours later. On cloudy or cooler days they may stay open most of the day. This is addressed in some of the papers I'v found, they even talk about the time period where they are receptive to pollination but way too much trouble in my opinion to try document that for each one.

One important thing, if the style remains after the flower drops off then it is probably pollinated but not if the style also falls off.

And, I haven't tracked it exactly but seems like it takes a long time for a seed capsule to mature. Once you have some forming I'll post a picture of what a nicely formed one looks like.

I want to focus more effort towards selecting for tomatoes with the ability to volunteer. I think that in my garden, that may also inadvertently be selecting for some measure of frost tolerance, and ability to grow in cool temperatures. 

I have lots of tomato volunteers both in spring and in late summer/fall. There is definite variation in how much frost they take. I'v seen spring volunteers survive when most didn't as well as some late ones croaking in the first fall frost and some holding on till a harder freeze. I don't have a real need for frost tolerant tomatoes so never gave them much attention. I suspect once you achieve the goal of volunteers the rest will be easier. I have to wonder though, are cold weather tomatoes gonna taste like tomatoes?

Plant Breeding / Re: Blight Resistance in Potatoes and Tomatoes
« on: 2019-01-12, 02:19:47 AM »
I think that is part of the attraction with Iron Lady. It's not just for Late Blight. It's early blight, late blight, and septoria.

I bet some of those segregating heterozygous later generations are homozygous now.

I bet crossing Iron Lady to your don't die till frost pimp hybrid population would give you the best results for disease hardiness. I think your "Just cross the whole lot of it to Mr. Stripey and my other good tomatoes and see what shakes out later on. " plan sounds reasonable.

My main thought with this is I really like the status quo which is frost kills my tomatoes.

Yea, fall frost is the best way for a tomato to die. Used to be that way here too but those days are long gone here as in a decade or more. I know a market grower who only grows inside high tunnels and even then sprays toxins on a weekly schedule. At end of season he throws away everything, soil, pots, even I think the irrigation tubes, it's obscene.

I suspect that septoria or some other spot disease may be a contributing factor in overall poor health of the plants and the pimps may play a role in it. They pretty much always have spots on the leaves, starting very early in the season and also sometimes the edges of the leaves curl up. If it effects their production it isn't obvious because it doesn't seem to slow them down one bit.

I would like to know if there are other heirlooms besides Mr. Stripey that already have some resistance. I want tomatoes with a little size and flavor to them.

Here a couple pictures of the pimps showing those leaf disease symptoms. Like I said it dose not reduce productivity or growth on the pimps themselves, it just looks bad. Stands to reason though that it spreads to others that don't tolerate it as well.

Plant Breeding / Re: Blight Resistance in Potatoes and Tomatoes
« on: 2019-01-11, 07:24:36 PM »
Dwarf tomato varieties I tried all died miserable deaths early in the season. The few fruits I got were not good but I suspect their true flavor may have been tainted by disease. Similar results with Stupice.

I'm thinking more about the pimp crosses being the only ones that still produce till frost when in years past all did. Also wondering why when I grew LB resistant strains many of them also croaked long before frost. And I'm wondering, why do I still get plenty of tomatoes early in season from several varieties?

It occurs to me that late blight is very far from being the only tomato disease here, maybe not even the worst of them. That made me think of Joseph's comment of maybe focusing specifically on a couple genes for late blight might not be the best idea. What good is late blight resistance if something else take them out early on.   

I have no idea exactly what fungus, bacteria or viruses are ruining my later tomatoes let alone what specific genes are needed to combat them. In the end I don't think it matters cause my only technique for dealing with it is observation and selection.

I have half dozen kinds that hold off the earlier diseases long enough to make a crop and I have the pimp crosses that make it all through the season. Iron Lady with it's homozygous LB resistance might be a good addition to my mix but I wonder. If it is only tolerant to late blight and nothing else would it even make it to production?

My breeding is going to use Mr. Stripey, a great, in my opinion, heirloom that is reported by Cornell University to be blight resistant, if it is or not I can't say for sure but it holds off all early obstacles long enough to make a nice crop for me. I'll also use the others that do the same.  And  my "produce till frost" pimp crosses. 

I have Mountain Merit and Plum Regal, neither of which is spectacular flavored and I have them both as F1 and later generations. They, I think, are just heterozygous against LB but they both have a long string of letters indicting other resistances behind their names and I'm starting to think that is at least equally important. I think I will go ahead and get some Iron Lady and maybe some Mountain Gem and also Bush early Girl.

Just cross the whole lot of it to Mr. Stripey and my other good tomatoes and see what shakes out later on. No clue if I can increase the size of the pimps or move their late in the season production into something bigger but if I'm going down the rabbit hole of tomato matchmaking guess I'll give it a try. 

Plant Breeding / Re: Blight Resistance in Potatoes and Tomatoes
« on: 2019-01-10, 12:58:52 PM »
Ah' shucks, I was hoping the newly crossed fruits would come out with some observable differences, no problem though, I'll tag all the flowers I do the crossing on.

I don't know that natural crossing is actually common in my garden especially on closed flower types.  S. Pimpinillifolium grew wild here for twenty years till one time an S. Pimpinillifolium looking plant with fruits three times normal size showed up. It has since segregated into half dozen or more that vary in size, shape and color. They all taste about the same, very sweet, except for a pear shaped yellow one, which is pure awful.

They just keep coming back on their own along with the old normal ones. I'v been saving some seed last few years just in case I weed them all out one year but so far there have been plenty.  I may include them in my crossing attempts too but I'm not really looking for more little sweet tomatoes. On the other hand they are more disease tolerant than most, about the only ones now days that are still producing when fall frost hits.

Here is a picture of them from two or three years ago. The biggest ones are about the size of a ping pong ball.

Plant Breeding / Re: Blight Resistance in Potatoes and Tomatoes
« on: 2019-01-10, 07:29:54 AM »
All the talk about breeding disease resistance in tomatoes is getting me interested in trying it myself.  I think I may have a bit of an advantage over some folks in that tomato diseases are so bad where I live that if I do luck into something that really is resistant it will stand out like the proverbial sore thumb. I got a bit of disadvantage though in that I don't really know what I'm doing but I watched a couple videos and the process of crossing seems pretty simple in theory so why not give it a try.

Someone posted that the F1 Iron Lady, is homozygous for a couple of the resistance genes and on this list from Cornell University it is listed as resistant to bot early and late blight. This picture of it at High Mowing Seeds isn't especially flattering in my opinion. Looks like a typical little plastic tomato to me.

The Cornell list of resistant varieties however also includes the heirloom Mr. Stripey which is one of our favorite tomatoes for fresh eating rather than canning and I have saved it's seeds for years so aside from blight resistance it is otherwise adapted to my garden.

So, seems I have little choice other than getting some Iron Lady seeds and maybe also some Skykomish and trying my hand at crossing. While I'm at it I might as well try crossing some of my other favorites to it as well.

In pictures Iron Lady and Skykomish both look very different from any of the tomatoes I might cross them with in size, color and other properties. Can I expect to see any apparent difference in the crossed fruits or will I have to wait till I grow out the seeds?


Can hardly imagine ya'll don't already know about this but just in case.
Sustainable Agriculture Research Grants

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