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Messages - Rebsie Fairholm

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Plant Breeding / Re: Some Nice Beans
« on: 2019-08-24, 04:31:37 AM »
Wow, those are an amazing colour which I've never seen before. I guess there's no knowing whether it'll turn up again in the F2 but at least it gives you a good incentive to try! This is the greatest joy of plant breeding for me, getting these sorts of surprises.

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Plant Breeding / Re: TPS 2019
« on: 2019-08-19, 04:45:43 AM »
Maybe bribing the potato fairy with buttered mash wasn't such a silly idea ;D
I love that idea!

There do seem to be so many variables that affect flower fertility and berry setting, it's hard to make any judgement on what will work and what won't, even in the same garden from one year to the next. I had a couple of self-pollinated berries one time on a variety which produces only dry, misshapen anthers ... while another variety which has been used in many past crosses won't set a single fruit for me. The only thing we can do really is keep trying stuff, collect data, not give up hope and be very very patient.

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Plant Breeding / Re: Twin bean pods
« on: 2019-08-14, 03:10:37 AM »
That is a curious thing. What a shame it dropped off!

I haven't seen anything like that in beans (or peas). It's funny, we never bat an eyelid when tomatoes do bizarre things (I have a greenhouse full of conjoined twins, lewd appendages, flower petals growing out of fruit stalks etc) but in things with pods that sort of stuff doesn't usually happen.

I don't have an explanation, but I have had spontaneous fasciation in peas caused by a period of erratic weather as if the weather in the UK isn't always erratic.

Also this year I had a doubled/conjoined flower (or two flowers rather, joined back to back) in one of my peas. In this instance it was an umbellatum type pea, so the fasciation was genetic, just a little bit messed up. It briefly set two pods before dropping off, but didn't get anywhere near as advanced as yours.

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Community & Forum Building / Re: Welcome and Introduce Yourself!
« on: 2019-08-13, 06:01:38 AM »
Hello everyone, I'm Rebsie Fairholm. Some of you already know me from my Daughter of the Soil blog, or from the early days of the Homegrown Goodness forum. I've not been very active in recent years due to life getting in the way, but I'm still here, breeding mostly peas in my small back garden in south-west England.

I'm a musician, gardener, photographer and graphic designer. The graphic design provides just enough income to allow me to do the other three things. My background is in publishing; I worked as a designer and editor for a large British publisher for many years, and now I have my own very very small publishing venture which just about pays the bills but only because I do all the work myself. Working from home is the blessing which enables me to take care of the garden. Music is also taking off again after a long hiatus and I recently played my first gig in 12 years.

I've been a Daughter of the Soil from the earliest age: my mum hoped I would be a dainty, feminine little girl but all I wanted to do was play in the mud. I'm a self-taught gardener and I got into heritage vegetables around 2005, when I finally had a garden with enough space to collect and experiment. I'm very drawn to historic varieties, just because I love the idea of growing the same varieties my ancestors did. But it soon became apparent that these old varieties were endangered and disappearing, and I needed to encourage others to grow and save seeds from them. And so I began my blog in 2006.

In 2005 when my family were pestering me about what I wanted for Christmas, I went browsing for books to stick on my wish list. I came across Carol Deppe's book and thought "that looks vaguely interesting" and put it on the list without a second thought. It was duly bought for me, and I didn't bother to look at it for another six months, but when I did my goodness, what a revelation! It was June and I had some heritage peas growing in the garden so I just had to rush straight outside with a scalpel and get pollinating. What makes Carol's book special, of course, is that it makes a very complicated subject totally accessible to someone like me, while also being very inspiring in a spiritual kind of way it just joined up all the dots for me. It not only taught me everything I know about plant breeding, it also made, for me, a crucial link with the work I was doing with heritage vegetables. I understood for the first time that the survival of these varieties is not all about trying to preserve them in their historic forms (which is impossible anyway) but about reusing their genetics in new combinations. And what a vital role the amateur gardener plays in that process. That revelation has stood me in very good stead, because the best results I've had have come from crossing old, rare, historic and non-commercial varieties.

My most exciting result, as many of you know, was the totally accidental creation of red-podded peas, in 2008. I was trying to breed a purple mangetout (snow) pea. (I still am.) It has given me a few years of frustration, but in 2019 I've been blessed with a spectacularly beautiful scarlet-red mangetout, which actually tastes good! Hurrah! All I have to do now is spend a few years stabilising it. Plant breeding is a hobby for the incredibly patient.

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Plant Breeding / Re: Rebsie's Red-Podded Peas
« on: 2019-08-12, 04:39:27 AM »
The very humbled Rebsie Fairholm has just registered on this forum and greatly appreciates such a nice welcome, thank you.

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