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Messages - Ferdzy

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1
Hi Triffid;

Good for you! We don't really have the space.

I just read another article noting the effects that climate change is having on the nutritional profile of plants generally.

https://www.motherjones.com/food/2019/10/climate-change-is-pumping-your-food-full-of-carbs/

There are so many strands coming together to make a crisis in food. Our human tendency to want to create systems that work at peak efficiency for one or two specific traits (in the case of food, the intersection of productivity and ease of processing) leads to gross deficiencies in other areas and a system that's going to crash as soon as anything changes much. And, this being life, something is going to change sooner or later. Irish potato (and subsequent) famines writ large, coming up.


2
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.

https://www.theguardian.com/food/2019/oct/10/flour-power-meet-the-bread-heads-baking-a-better-loaf

3
Plant Breeding / Re: Portage Leek
« on: 2019-10-04, 02:50:46 PM »
Interesting, and pretty.

I've been following a line of leeks that overwintered as seed, and look like being very hardy. I was chopping up a few for dinner the other night and they were so strongly scented my nose was running and my eyes were watering. They cooked up to the usual level of mild leekiness, but I've never had that reaction to a leek before.

4
I often feel comfortable thinking, "the plant knows what it is doing", but in this case you are dealing with an essentially tropical plant... that thinks it has all year to ripen seeds. So yeah, I would be inclined to trim off the flowers at this point, at least. It might give the seed pods still in process a little boost.

I am so frustrated by my sweet potatoes this year. One of the ones we bought from the supermarket a couple of years back has been blooming nicely for about a month. Normally Georgia Jet would be also blooming like crazy - but not a single blossom to be seen this year. Not one! DAAAAAAmmmmmnnn.

5
Plant Breeding / Re: TPS 2019
« on: 2019-09-13, 07:32:42 PM »
Ah, thank you. That's helpful. I wonder if maybe it is one of the Russet Burbanks. I didn't see how a seedling could have gotten into that spot. So, if for some reason the roots were damaged and the plant was stressed that might explain both the few and oddly shaped roots and the production of seed balls. At any rate, I'll be saving those seeds.

6
Plant Breeding / Re: TPS 2019
« on: 2019-09-12, 10:29:40 AM »
So I dug a couple of potatoes yesterday, that came up in the wrong spot and were dying down and so were removed as part of general clean up. One of them was actually quite interesting! I *think* it must be a seedling, because while the skin is russet (like Burbank) there were a few potatoes with odd knobby shapes, like Pink Fir Apple. It produced very few potatoes in spite of having lots of space, and attempted to produce a number of potatoes above ground on the stems. Just strange! Obviously not a keeper in and of itself. However, apart from the Blue Russians which produce buckets of seed balls under every condition, it was about the only potato to produce a generous 6 or 8 decent sized seed balls. We will definitely grow out some of the seeds, and maybe hang onto the parent for another year too.

Has anybody seen this tendency to want to make "air" potatoes before?

7
Seed Saving / Re: Tepary Beans
« on: 2019-08-27, 06:25:10 AM »
I have certainly found beans in general to be more day-length sensitive than is widely known. I got some fagiolini del Trasimeno which I am growing only a little further north than they have been for the last 4000 years, and I am barely hanging on to them. They were a landrace with 13 to 17 different colours in it, depending on whom you ask. I am down to 3 or 4 - most of them just couldn't adapt to even a slight change in latitude.

As a digression, Jared Diamond talks about this phenomenon in "Guns Germs and Steel", how every crop in the Americas crept north at a very, very slow pace because of this need to adapt to different amounts/intensities of daylight, whereas agricultural developments sloshed back and forth across Eurasia very quickly because they didn't usually need to make that adaptation.

8
Seed Saving / Re: Blossom Bags
« on: 2019-08-27, 06:08:00 AM »
I'm working with organza bags with the little drawstring. Cheap and quite handy!

Yes - I get them at the dollar store, 3 or 6 to a package, depending on size. Meant for little party favours, I guess, but as blossom bags they are ideal for most purposes. Very washable/re-usable too.

9
Plant Breeding / Re: Some Nice Beans
« on: 2019-08-26, 09:37:50 AM »
Cherokee Trail of Tears is definitely a stud! I was happy about the (Blue Lake x CToT) cross and I knew what it was right away because black seed coat seems very dominant. Subsequent grow outs gave the other two colours (white, beige) and green and purple pods. Also round and flat beans, and white and pink/purple flowers. There's quite a lot of variation hidden in there! CToT always seems to have a bit of a subtle purple cast to it, so not too surprised by subsequent purple stuff.

I'm surprised your Hoosier Wonder turned out to be ALL purple, although if it's a recessive and you got it in on both sides, then yeah, maybe.  I noticed in this cross that all the purple beans had tan seeds. I forget if ALL the white and black seeds were green - I think not? - but the tan was definitely associated with purple pods.

10
Plant Breeding / Re: Some Nice Beans
« on: 2019-08-26, 06:52:26 AM »
I agree the marble/speckle pattern is very common and can show up in crosses that didn't have it in the parents, but all the (Cherokee Trail of Tears x Blue Lake) seeds have been either white, beige, or black up to now, the F3. It isn't guaranteed that the Anellino Giallo is one of the grandparents; I just think that the balance of probability favours it. Especially since that parent also has a changeable green-to-purple pod, the reverse of this one. Since the other cross produces purple beans as well I don't think this is quite so suggestive.

In any case, I'll plant them next year and see what I get.

11
Plant Breeding / Re: Some Nice Beans
« on: 2019-08-26, 05:06:52 AM »
Hah, yes on the colour although I was lying in bed last night thinking about beans - as one does - and wondering what they would look like cooked - could be pretty unappealing. I have a feeling though, that they'll be different next year so trying not to get too attached to it.

I'm also thinking that Anellino Giallo was the only bean in the set with a marbled/patterned bean, so that's probably one of the grandparents, which is a happy thought as it is by far our most disease-resistant bean.

12
Plant Breeding / Re: Some Nice Beans
« on: 2019-08-23, 04:57:33 PM »
Here's another bean that showed up this year. It was in a patch that were already a cross, (Deseronto Potato x Blue Lake). I've been growing them out for a few years as they are a "navy bean" but pole not bush. They are productive and dry down faster than Deseronto Potato which is a terrific bean but so large I sometimes have trouble getting them dry enough to store without going mouldy.

Looking at my records, this one would be either (Deseronto Potato x Blue Lake) x (Blue Lake x Cherokee Trail of Tears) OR (Deseronto Potato x Blue Lake) x (Annelino Giiallo x Cherokee Trail of Tears), in other words the bean in the first post above. Believe it or not, those pods started off purple and faded to green as they ripened. I've never seen that happen before. You can see they dried to a standard tan. The beans, though - the beans are grey marbled. I've never seen a bean that colour/pattern combination. The bad news is this is an F1 so no guarantee I will see it again next year. Still, there's a lot of beans in that lineage, and I'm looking forward to seeing what comes out of it. They seem very resistant to the yellow mosaic virus that ravaged the beans earlier, and the anthracnose that is ravaging them now. Of course, as an F1, I expect to see a lot of variation on that front next year too.


13
I'm not sure what Carol means by "not based in epigenetic change".

Pardon a rather muddled analogy...

If we think of the genes that a plant has as a hand of cards that the plant plays, the cards that the plant will play depend on factors like climate, soil, etc. So the cards being played may change, but the hand the plant was originally dealt was the hand the plant was dealt - if it doesn't have an ace, there will be no aces in the offspring - when it gets crossed or otherwise produces offspring through sexual reproduction the cards are coming out of that hand, as well as that of one other player. I do think that your best plants among the offspring will have received the best cards (genes) for your soil and climate, so yes, epigenetics does affect what you get. But there's nothing there you wouldn't have gotten through chance anyway, because the plant can only play the cards it has. It's just that not all cards get played in every round...

... clear as mud?  :o I thought so.

14
Plant Breeding / Re: TPS 2019
« on: 2019-08-15, 06:12:13 AM »
So, yesterday I collected all the seed balls I could find except for a couple that got marked and left on the plants for further development. Both of those were on Russet Burbank.

Otherwise, as expected, there were about 2 cups of Blue Russian Berries. I include one plant which was grown from seed from Russian Blue, but which looks a lot like Russian Blue.

Second most productive was Purple Viking, with about half a cup of seed balls.

The remainder are about 8 very small seed balls from one of the seedlings, which were dropped or aborted fairly early. I am hoping to extract some seeds after leaving them to ripen for a while, and one collected Russet Burbanks with the 2 still on plants.

Russet Burbank is supposed to be female fertile only, and very very shy of producing seeds - usually in "lab" conditions only. I do not know if what I have is not actually Russet Burbank even though that's what it was sold to me as, or if something else is going on. I am hopeful it's something else. We had the kind of cool, steady temperatures that Russet Burbank requires to produce seeds both last year and this spring. Also, it is only one plant that has produced seeds - I am certain that the one seeding this year is a tuber that got missed during harvest last year as it is coming up in the exact same place as the plant that produced a seed ball last year. I understand mutations are not uncommon in potatoes and maybe I have a plant that has mutated to be moderately more fertile? However, I cannot dismiss the idea that what I have is not Russet Burbank but some other very similar Russet potato sold under the wrong name. Still, all the other Russet plants have been firmly non-fertile.

We did not grow out any new seedlings this year but continued with seedlings from 2016 and 2018. I'm pretty sure the herd is going to thinned to a sliver this year, so maybe we will be growing some of these seeds out next spring.

15
Plant Breeding / Re: TPS 2019
« on: 2019-08-14, 06:40:09 AM »
Doro, it's been an odd, difficult year here too, although not as bad as yours I don't think.

So we pulled out all the potatoes that looked virused. The rest have looked pretty good and show no signs. Some of them are starting to look yellow but I think that is just the season moving on as opposed to any actual problem. One of the really productive seedlings dropped some leaves due to what looks like septoria leaf spot but it did not get too bad and they seemed to carry on regardless. We'll find out when we dig them. One of the really productive seedlings showed no signs of trouble at all so that's good.

Seed ball production has been frustrating. The Blue Russian as usual have produced quite a lot, other things not so much. The seedlings in particular seemed to flower profusely then abort. It was absurdly hot and dry when they were flowering so I still hope that they may fruit in the future.

I do have one Russet Burbank (?) that came up where they had been planted before and produce a couple of very tiny seed balls which fell off before they got very big. Once I've let them ripen a bit I will see if it looks like there are any viable seeds. I'm pretty sure this is the same potato that produced a seed ball with viable seeds 2 years ago, judging from where it came up. It seems to be just the one potato; the other Russet Burbanks as per their reputation produced nothing.

I think today is a good day to collect and label seed balls, and see what I have.


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