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Messages - Oxbow Farm

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Humm... I want the  colored pericarp and figure on anything but the very dark red I'll still be able to see different shades and select accordingly.

I'm not saying its impossible reed, but selecting high carotene endosperm color through colored pericarp is going to really complicate your life.  Even the lightest pink or bronze tint to the pericarp totally skews and masks the endosperm color to a huge degree. 

I am very busy selecting my flint for high carotene. There definitely is shading of color when you are working with a population that is highly variable and segregating for white,yellow,orange endosperm.  But the differences can be surprisingly subtle except for the white kernels.  That's the main reason I've been weeding all the pericarp color out of my flint population, because the tinted pericarp colors really interfere with visually selecting for orange/high carotene kernels on a mixed color ear.  If I had my project to do over again, I would have started with a plain yellow flint instead of starting with the Cascade Series and Bronze Beauty.  Both Cascade Ruby Gold and Bronze Beauty have shaded/tinted pericarp that is transparent enough to see the endosperm, but it changes the visible color, not unlike a tinted window.  It makes it really hard to tell an orange kernel from a average yellow.

This picture is not ideal, this is an F1 ear of Cargill North Temperate Cuzco X Oxbow Orange Flint Grex and the floury starch in the kernel centers is too prominent compared to a good flint, so its a little harder to see the endosperm color, but the pericarp is clear so you can see the range of segregation for yellow and white, and there are a few kernels that are clearly high carotene crosses. 

I think selecting for maysin will not be terribly difficult given the heavy worm pressure your corn is subjected to.  For myself, I was interested in Zap Chico because of the maysin genetics, but also because it is considered a premium tortilla quality corn in Oaxaca (based on my reading).  My earworm/armyworm pressure is very low, so my ability to visually select for worm resitance is compromised by not having enough natural selection pressure from the worms. 

It is good to know the genetics involved, at least the ones that have been studied, but selection of worm-free ears is probably going to take you all the way home.  In terms of the other pericarp colors, only time will tell. 

Community & Forum Building / Re: Cooking Section Idea
« on: 2018-12-05, 02:43:01 PM »
Doro,  I want that pea bread recipe you mentioned in one of your videos!

Plant Breeding / Re: Homestead Potato Breeding and Selection
« on: 2018-12-05, 11:06:02 AM »
Gilbert, you might consider trying some Cimatli potatoes from Cultivariable.  They might be more adapted to such a dryland system than tuberosum.

Community & Forum Building / Re: Cooking Section Idea
« on: 2018-12-05, 10:34:23 AM »
I would be very interested in a cooking section.  It would be really informative to get cooking discussions from plant breeders.  So many recipes treat the vegetables as universally substitutes, any pepper or potato is as good as any other.  This is not the case in my experience. 

I'd love it if Carol did a video on making her Universal Skillet Cornbread.  I've tried that recipe many times and it has never come out the way she describes in Resilent Gardener, and I cannot figure out what is going on.

Plant Breeding / Re: Homestead Potato Breeding and Selection
« on: 2018-12-04, 04:55:42 PM »

How do they become selfed and inbred if they are outbreeding?

Diploid potatoes have a strong self incompatibility mechanism, but it is not functional in tetraploids for some reason involving the doubled genome.  So it is easy for a pollen fertile tetraploid to produce a lot of self pollinated seeds since the pollen is released in immediate proximity to the stigma in Solanum flowers.

Plant Breeding / Re: Homestead Potato Breeding and Selection
« on: 2018-12-04, 07:33:32 AM »
I have never been particularly interested in landrace plant breeding for most crops.  I also do not think that potatoes are particularly well suited to landrace techniques, at least under my conditions.  It seems like the only way to do that effectively is to use diploids, given their combination of pollen fertility with self incompatibility.  With pollen fertile tetraploids, I find that plants that produce huge crops of berries are almost certainly self pollinating to a huge extent.  I do think I have relatively high levels of crossing in my potato plantings, since I see the bees working the flowers actively, and I know most of the stuff I grow is pollen fertile. 

This year I collected approximately 13 ounces of bulk TPS from my potatoes.  Over 50% of that was from one variety that produced 7.5 ounces of seed (that I managed to harvest).  I was very happy to collect so much seed, and I happily was able to sell some wholesale and donate a large amount to the Kenosha potato project. 

For my own TPS grow-outs though, I am more interested in the tiny batches of seed I collected from other potatoes with much more sparse fruiting.  It seems much more likely to me that these indicate successfull crosses, and are likely to produce a variety of offspring to select from. 

I remember a few years ago on HG Joseph was advocating breeding for an "abundantly fruitfull" potato landrace, which would produce high yields of tubers and large amounts of seed.  It isn't clear to me that that is a feasible goal, at least under North American conditions.  I do think it is important to focus on male fertile lines as much as possible.

For my own projects, I don't know if I will begin doing careful planned crosses though.  It is very difficult for me to commit that kind of time to hand pollinating at that time of year.  In general hand pollinating is not a breeding technique I'm particularly interested in, simply due to lack of time. 

What IS fairly easy for me to do is grow out large numbers of seedlings, and to evaluate them over a number of years.  I've been really grateful to have access to Nathan's extra TPS crosses, as they have been very fun to grow out.

One area I would like to explore more is to better understand the difference in behavior of TPS seedlings from the seedling year to the first and second tuber years.  I would like to get much better at evaluating seedlings for their potential.  I have found that the results from the seedling year don't necessarily translate to the tuber grown years, and I want to understand better what changes can be predicted.  If that makes sense. 


My other concern with Zapalote Chico (Oxbow Farm shared some with me too), is that it seems more like a dent corn than flour. ZC kernels actually bear some resemblance to gourdseed corn, with a large amount of floury endosperm in the center, but also a pretty thick layer of flinty endosperm around the edges -- unlike a true flour corn. I wonder how difficult it will be to select that little bit of flinty-ness back out of your flour corn. It probably wouldn't hurt much for grinding, hominy, or ornamental purposes, but a little flint may negatively affect parching qualities. might be worth it for the worm resistance.

Mike,  In my experience it is extremely easy to remove dent and flint characteristics from flour corn mixed populations by visually selecting them as long as you have pericarp that is clear enough to see the endosperm.  With opaque pericarp colors you can still eliminate visibly "denty" phenotypes but getting rid of flinty endosperm is pretty hard unless you start hand pollinating and selfing, which is upping the labor intensiveness of the breeding work quite a bit.  In my own white flour grex I have included Caribbean flints which were very flinty, as well as Tuxpeño which is a pretty classic dent, and Coroico/Pirincinco which had flinty/denty/and floury all mixed together.  My procedure is to de-tassel for two years and then visually select for the visibly flouriest kernels in the F2 ears that have made the cut for other agronomic characters like standability, NLB resistance etc.  The F2 selected seed is added to the grex and allowed to pollinate and be selected with the mass population.

My personal approach has been to do everything I can to eliminate pericarp and aleurone colors from my populations so I can visually select endosperm character to select individual kernels within an individual ear.  It really depends on your goal for the corn though.  Pericarp and aleurone color is really useful for an ornamental corn like reed is building.  For my own uses the colors don't add anything I need, and prevent me from selecting my corn the way I want to as well as interfering with nixtamalization. 

I ask because the flour corns are just so much more of a pain to grow than the flints. And especially in the midwest. They are more susceptible to stalk rots and insects. And have much more tendency to mold if rained upon after they start drying down. Much harder to store, too. There's a little moth that loves them that has a hard time doing much with a flint.

Carol,  in general this is true, but most of the serious issues with growing and drying down flour corn east of the Mississippi are eliminated if you start with the right material.  In my experience, flour corns derived from the Southwestern/Great Plains flour corns are really hard to grow well out East.  They have essentially zero tolerance for fungal pathogens at all.  Especially ear and stalk rot, and Northern Leaf Blight.  Lack of NLB tolerance is pretty characteristic of all Native American heirlooms from N. America in my experience, but corns like Painted Mtn, Hopi Pink, Parching Red Supai, etc are essentially 100% susceptible.

If you use corns from the Eastern White Flour complex like Cherokee White, Miami White, or one of the many strains of Iroquois/6 Nations White, the results are very different.  They are highly resistant to stalk rot and ear rot and usually have no trouble maturing dry grain in my fall weather conditions without significant mold. 

I've also found it really useful to include genetics from S. America and Central American corn, Coroico/Pirincinco is a flour corn from the Amazon, and has great mold resistant genetics to contribute, as well as near perfect field immunity to Northern Leaf Blight. 

Grain moth damage in storage is definitely a problem though, that much is true. We get cold enough in winter that I often put my buckets of shelled corn out on the porch for a few weeks to freeze.  But they get recolonized since we have a resident house population of the moths.

I find it worth it to grow flour corn because you get much different textures and can make different dishes with flour corn.  I prefer flour corn for posole, and for things like arepas and flautas.  It is easier to grind flour corn into a very fine grained masa than it is for flint, so the texture of the resulting tortilla or flauta is more delicate.  You also cannot make atole with flint corn very well, at least I haven't been able to.

I've never heard of Outstanding, I am familiar with Outredgeous.  I believe Frank Morton from Wild Garden Seed developed Outredgeous.  I have not grown it often as I stopped growing romaine at all several years ago,  it is difficult to grow good romaine here as it is badly damaged (cosmetically) by tarnished plant bug for most of the summer months. 

Outredgeous is a very very red lettuce when it is small, and it is used a lot as a baby leaf lettuce.  It doesn't make a very strong head as a full sized lettuce, so it is a pretty loose lettuce for a romaine.  Its also a lot less red as a full size lettuce than a baby leaf. Thats about all I've got.

Plant Breeding / Re: Homestead Potato Breeding and Selection
« on: 2018-11-15, 01:31:20 PM »
So it seems like I can never find a seedling that is 100% what I am looking for. 

This seedling yielded just about the maximum possible yield a potato is capable of, at 13 lbs of tubers.  I wonder if I'll ever see single plant yields like this ever again, this year was such a bizarre weather year with almost an extra month and a half of growing season when you add the early start and super late end.  Plus colossal rain from July till winter. 

They did have a bit of hollow heart, and many of the tubers were on the small side.

I cooked them up and they were extremely floury, the flesh texture was just exactly what I love.  I had steamed the split half tubers in the picture till they were fork tender, and the skin peeled away from the flesh, so I had tried the flesh separately.  When I tasted the skin it was EXTREMELY BITTER.  The bitterness lingered in the back of my mouth and throat for several minutes after eating the skin from one of the half tubers.  Several hours later and my stomach does not feel any discomfort, but the initial bitterness was so intense that I am pretty sure that this potato has unsafe levels of glycoalkaloids. 

In the Cultivariable podcast with Tom Wagner, Tom talked about liking to use Lenape (B5141-6) as a parent variety, even though it had been found to have excessive glyco levels.  So I'm wondering about the wisdom of saving this one as a parent for high yield and flouriness, despite the bitterness.  I don't have any idea how one goes about testing for glycoalkaloid levels  other than tasting the spuds.  I've never had a seedling that I found offputtingly bitter before this. 

Community & Forum Building / Re: OSSI Varieties forum?
« on: 2018-11-12, 08:11:31 AM »
Is there currently a location with a list of the existing OSSI varieties? I admit I have not even noodled around the main OSSI site at all.

Plant Breeding / Re: Hybrid Beans
« on: 2018-11-12, 07:52:00 AM »
They look wonderful!
I have no bean breeding project yet, but am thinking about giving it a try next summer. The flower shape scares me though lol so fiddly!
I'm not very lucky with common bean growing. Soil temperature stays too low here for most varieties and the long photoperiod is making things even more difficult. Most varieties flower too late and don't make ripe seed. I found one bush variety (searching since 10 years lol) which gives a decent harvest. I tried adapting it to my conditions by selection, but hit a wall. Very uniform plants, must be fairly inbred already.
My old family runner bean, has adapted fine to its 'new' garden the past 12 years. Stabilizing the different colour lines is progressing nicely too. But most important, it does not mind cold feet or long days. Being a runner it grows huge though, not a field plant and trellis space is limited. Pollination has been an issue lately too.
An interspecific hybrid of both could be interesting. Having a bush bean with the hardiness of my runners would be a dream.

I'd like to learn some more about colour genetics in the dried beans, to make a better decision on which line of my runners to cross with the one common bean variety I can grow. But I could not find much online... probably I'm not using the right key words when searching. Could you help me with a link or the proper English search terms please?

Adding a picture of grandmas runners and the only common beans that grow for me.

Hey Doro,  I don't know much about color genetics of beans, but I do know that there are two separate domestication events in P. vulgaris one is called Meso-American and the other Andean.  The two lines are genetically distinct, and distinguishable somewhat by phenotype.  I'm given to understand that most large seeded P. vulgaris are likely descended from the Andean type, and this was the type that was first introduced widely in Europe.  Meso-American is typically smaller seeded. 

The two types are fully interfertile, except there is a root-shoot incompatibility in the embryo of the F1 which typically kills them during germination.  If the embryo successfully manages to sprout adventitious roots above the radicle it can survive and grow, but most of them die.  So this results in something of a crossing barrier that is fairly easy to overcome if you work at it, but results in low levels of crossing between the two types.  It might be possible that one or the other type might cross more easily with coccineus?  No idea though. 

In terms of color genetics, the only thing I know for sure is that black is very dominant over other colors except some of the white patterns, and that horticultural seed coat patterns seem pretty dominant too over solid colors. 

Plant Breeding / Re: Homestead Potato Breeding and Selection
« on: 2018-11-05, 08:46:46 PM »
I guess I'll use a recently harvested seedling to kind of discuss my confusion on how to proceed with certain seedlings and how much of a struggle it is to figure out if you should keep a variety or not.

This potato is a seedling from a batch of bulk seed collected from my 2017 seedling row of Sarpo Mira X Bulk mix that was crossed by nathanp and he gifted to the KPP seed train. This plant produced 1 pound 12 ounces of these coal purple round tubers. 

My previous cut off was 2 pounds. I would toss any seedling that yielded below that.

When I cooked a tuber of this variety I have generally been steaming them in chunks or whole depending on the size of the tuber.  This tuber did this after 10 minutes of steam.

 I don't exactly understand what is going on with the skin, but it has about the flour-iest, highest dry matter texture of any potato I've ever had.  It also has some light purple streaks in the flesh before it is cooked, so the cooked tuber flesh is a bit grey. 

There are a lot of aspects to this potato that I don't like.  I don't like black/purple russets that are shaped just like rocks.  They are impossible to see when you are harvesting.  I don't like purple tinted/streaked flesh. It looks grey after it is cooked.  The skin seems oddly thick but doesn't hold together when cooked in steam.  The yield was low.

But I LOVE floury potatoes.  Shouldn't I keep this one because it is unusual and so floury?  I don't know that I would want a huge row of these, but if it is fertile then wouldn't it be possible to breed a better skin color, yield size, crossed to it to make a good potato?

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