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Messages - Carol Deppe

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Community & Forum Building / Re: Homegrown Goodness Forum
« on: 2019-04-26, 02:50:41 PM »
The copyright rules for writing on the internet are exactly the same as for writing on paper.

I think there are more violations partly because writing on the internet seems less important, more casual, and more ephemeral that, say writing in a book. And often is. There was actually the same problem with letters, where the recipient also felt (wrongfully) free to copy the letter or sections of it and send it to others. But actually, the writing in letters, too, is also automatically copyrighted, and the copyright belongs to the writer, though the physical letter belongs to the recipient. However, it is just way easier to copy and share writing on the internet than writing in people's letters.

In addition, sometimes people care about the copyright on their internet/website/email writing, and want you to get permission, or link to them instead of copying. But many people don't care, or care only with some material. And being asked for permission when you don't care and the writing involved is not a financial proposition is just a nuisance. And declaring such things public domain doesn't necessarily fit, because that removes ALL restrictions--meaning someone can claim your work as their own without having broken any laws. And some people are willing for their work to be used for free by non-profits, but not commerically, etc.

Creative Commons licenses, a major advance, were created to deal with such situations. Those of you who have looked at the OSSI fight songs that I published in the OSSI on-line magazine Free the Seed! might have noticed that they carry Creative Commons licenses. Specifically, the CC-BY licenses, which allows use of any sort, commercial or noncommercial, and allows modification; the only restriction is Attribution, that is, the user has to credit the work to me. That way whoever wants to use the songs can do so without messing with getting permission. My books have ordinary copyrights, and must have in order for a publisher to be willing to publish them. However, I'm not a professional song-writer, and my songs are not a financial sort of thing. The CC-BY license is perfect for this situation. If you want people to be able to use your stuff without your permission, check out the Creative Commons website.

Community & Forum Building / Re: Homegrown Goodness Forum
« on: 2019-04-25, 10:17:55 PM »
That's good to know.

If Homegrown Goodness terms of use don't take copyright of the posts, however, copyright of the posts belong to the owners of the posts. So you still wouldn't have the right to use or repost any of their posts without the permission of the relevant authors.

Secondly, the cooking time of flints for polenta - does anyone understand what makes a flint corn cook more quickly? Is it more flinty endosperm or another factor entirely? Any thoughts appreciated.
I've done a lot of cooking trials and taste tests on flints as polentas. There's several pages on flints and cooking with flints in The Resilient Gardener Here's the basic generalization I came up with: the flinty part of the corn kernel cooks well in response to boiling or steaming. The floury part actually does not cook at all when boiled or steamed; it requires baking.

I classify flints into what I somewhat arbitrarily call "true" flints, which make great polenta and johnnycakes, and everything else, which doesn't. The true flints all have extreme flint character--very high proportion of flint, very tiny amount of flour, and the flour itself seems to have a different texture. They are best cooked by boiling with 3X as much water, by volume, as coarse-ground corn (with some fat of some sort and salt). They will cook completely with 7 minutes of boiling with stirring followed by 45 minutes of sitting in the covered pot. They do not require additional baking. Here are the varieties of these fast-cooking flints that I know, starting with those I've bred myself: Cascade Ruby-Gold Flint, Cascade Cream-Cap Flint, Landmark Flint (parentage is Cascade Ruby-Gold and Longfellow), Abenaki/Roy's Calais flint, Byron flint, Longfellow flint, Narragansett Indian Flint, Rhode Island Whitecap. These all make great-tasting cornbread, too. If you want them to hold together without adding wheat flour or an artificial binder such as xanthan gum, you add boiling water to part of the cornmeal to make a sort of glue, then add the eggs and the rest of the cornmeal (containing the baking powder). (See The Resilient Gardener.

Good polenta flint corns require not just the true flint type, but also pericarps that are delicate and tasty. (Some varieties have pericarps that are thick and are like eating a mix of grain and wood. and some pericarps have bad flavors.) It also helps if the attachment of the kernel and cob is small instead of huge. The latter also gives polenta with unappetizing chunks of wood in it. (Varieties that were traditionally nixtamalized, which involves removing the skins, can have really bad flavored pericarps.)(With these true flint varieties, if you nixtamalize, you can simply rinse after the alkali treatment and leave skins on, since they are delicate and taste good. That cuts out the laborious rubbing step.)

To make polenta with these true flints, I use 2 cups of coarse-ground meal (biggest pieces no larger than 4 mm), 4 TBS butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt. I bring water, butter, salt to a boil, dump in meal, whisk in if needed. Turn down heat. After it comes back to boiling I cook with stirring for 7 minutes, timed. Then let it sit in covered pot 45 minutes or more. Then I stir it and eat some and pour the rest into bread baking pans and cover with aluminum foil. After it cooks I refrigerate it for use on subsequent days. If I want an especially creamy polenta and have the time, I'll put the pot in a 250 degree F oven for an hour after the 7 minute boil step instead of letting it sit. But usually I just let it sit and eat some.

All other flint varieties I've tried have a higher portion of floury endosperm, require 4 cups or more of water per cup meal, and don't taste good after the fast cooking process. They always taste a little raw. In fact, if you get used to polentas made with true flints, no other polenta tastes very good, no matter how long you boil and bake it.

All multicolored "Indian" flints I've tried are not true flints and don't cook quick. And they weren't what the Indians ate either, not as boiled mush at least. They seem to have been eating pure-color varieties. Varieties with a mix of kernel types (flint, floury, dent) are, in my experience, never good polenta corns.

Most flints that are not true flint types require boiling with stirring for 45 minutes or more, and then baking in layers in baking pans for an hour or more. If you just boil them, they will always taste a bit raw, with the amount of raw taste proportional to the amount of floury endosperm.

Commercial flints are often/usually not true flints. In fact often they are dents, ground, with the flour blown away by fans during processing. But a lot of flour sticks to the flinty bits, so there is always a raw taste if you try to cook commercial polenta made from commercial dent corn with just boiling.

Plant Breeding / Re: Plant breeders without borders
« on: 2019-04-25, 09:00:25 PM »
I personally think this a perfectly acceptable thread for this forum, who knows if any of the resulting varieties from this project will become OSSI pledged. I would hate to think that opinions on worthiness might put off independent breeders from participating in discussions here.

I also think this is a perfectly acceptable thread for the forum. In fact, 3 OSSI Board of Directors members have participated in this thread--Bill, Jack Kloppenburg (at my request), and me. (Jack, author of First the Seed, is an expert on all aspects of seed control, including international. Probably the foremost expert on it in the country, maybe the world.) None of us OSSI Board Members balked about this thread being here. Didn't even occur to me. Let Anthony present his ideas and make his case. Let people see his ideas and what he is doing and participate or not as they wish.

OSSI pledged varieties / Re: Magic Manna
« on: 2019-04-25, 08:05:13 PM »
@triffid: I can send you seed of Magic Manna if you want some. pm me. quickly, maybe brexit will complicate things in the future.

Hi Carol...    *blush*

We grew Cascade Ruby gold twice and it was our main staple for three years. :)
Sadly I could not get foundation grade seed from you and the seed we obtained was crossed up (probably with a lavender and blue flour variety(-ies)). I didn't notice it either, probably was hiding beneath that awesome tasty red pericarp.
Various Polenta dishes made with the red pericarp CRG type is probably my favourite food ever.

Anyways, I never tried cleaning it up because ("our" crossed up strain!!) is very susceptible to fusarium (cob rot) in our agroecological niche.
I guess we have different fusarium strains (pathotypes?) in Europe?
Well, we also grew an Italian variety (Rostrato Rosso, flint/semiflint/dent beaked kernels). I liked the appearance of the cobs filled with those beaked kernels so much that I tossed some pollen around and pollinated it with CRG pollen I stored for almost a month.

Turns out the F1 is very vigorous and tolerant to this cob rot. So I'm breeding a "beaked cascade ruby gold" now with that crossed up strain.
I know, not optimal but It just happened. Maybe If I get some foundation grade seed from you I start new with better known and selected material and a reciprocal cross...

Back to Magic Manna:
Yes! MM Pancakes are awesome indeed.

When do you plant MM in Oregon/at which soil temp? Here we usually sow it in the beginning of may with soil temperature well over 10C. They burst out of the ground. And still finish flowering before commercial hybrids start to.
But I think I will try the seed priming method this year, very clever.

We are thinking about crossing Magic Manna with "Pueblo Blue Flour" (PI 476869, Origin Arizona). (Well, the plan is to make a "Pueblo White Flour" first without losing too much of the diversity of the landrace but dropping the blue aleurone before crossing it with Magic Manna.)
Although this would probably lead to a somewhat later variety I think this could improve the yield of Magic Manna without losing its special uses.

I will definitively try your method for MM gravy!

We plant Magic Manna the first half of May here in Corvallis, Oregon. That's much later than necessary. My main cooperating grower has trouble with a pest called symphylans in his field, and they are much more of a problem when we plant earlier. Magic Manna has good freeze resistance and ability to grow in the cold, though. So you can plant it before your last freezes. And if you presoak the seed to break dormancy inside, you don't even need much warmth during the planting period.

If you want to cross Magic Manna to something else to develop similar varieties with better yield or adaptation for your situation, such as with Pueblo Blue flour corn, the trick is that you really don't want the black/blue aleurone at all. And it's pretty near impossible to identify and select against blue aleurone when it is buried underneath a red or brown pericarp. So I'd suggest you combine all the rest of the genetics of Magic Manna except the pericarp genes with the Blue corn genes. Then remove the blue (Purple) genes. Then add the pericarp genes. Since the pericarp genes are dominant, it's easier than it sounds.

So what I'd do is sort a bunch of white kernels from Magic Manna. Some of these will be homozygous for clear pericarp, which is what we want at this point. Some will be heterozygous for pericarp color, but not showing any because the mother plant's genes, not the kernels genes, make the pericarp. So interplant rows of white kernels from MM with your blue corn. Detassel the MM. The MM ears should all be various shades of kernels that are blue or blue speckled, some ears with pericarp color some without. You want the ears without pericarp color. Plant those out to get an F2.

That F2 should be all ears with clear pericarp, but segregating for blue/black/speckled aleurone. Now you have to pick the white kernels out of those ears. Plant those to give yourself another generation to get rid of any black you might have missed. You do that by hand picking any black/blue/lavender/purple/specked kernels out of the whole ears where there are just a few. If there are lots, discard the entire ear. So that should give you pure white material that is an F3 of MM and your blue corn except for Purple and anything closely linked to Purple, which would have been eliminated. Let's call that material Blueless Blue. It's a white flour corn that is genetically half MM and half Blue except for the blue/purple gene and anything closely linked to it.

Take your nice white F3 Blueless Blue and interplant it with the desired colors of colored-pericarp kernels from MM. Detassel Magic Manna. The resulting ears will be either white or colored-pericarp. And with the desired white aleurone and white endosperm. And they will be otherwise genetically 3/4 MM. If you want the material to be genetically 3/4 MM, you just plant out mostly pericarp-color ears and the best white ears, and you will have your variety. And in just four generations.

If you prefer to have the variety be genetically closer to the blue corn, you can backcross that material to the Blueless Blue to get a variety that is 5/8 Magic Manna and has white aleurone, white endosperm, and all the magic pericarp colors you included in the mix.

My own inclination would be to develop the 3/4 MM material by simply growing it out as well as doing a backcross to Blueless Blue by planting a couple of rows of Blueless blue in the field of 3/4 MM material and detasseling them. That would give both a somewhat larger portion of Blue genetics as well as a line that had the Blue cytoplasm instead of the MM cytoplasm. No telling which would be best. You could plant both lines side by side in the same field thereafter. Eat where the blocks come together. Work with both selecting for what you like. See which does best. Or use both in your variety.

Anyway, I think that's how I'd approach trying to combine the virtues of MM with the virtues of a black/blue flour corn brtter adaoted to my region or higher yielding. Exactly the same approach would work with a yellow flour corn. Cross with white MM first, get rid of yellow, then add in pericarp genes. Certainly not the only way. And a lot happens between the plans and what happens in the field. You could do the initial cross, for example, and find you really liked the cross between white MM and the blue corn, and instead develop an earlier blue corn.

There is a trade-off between maturity and yield. MM yields very well for such an early flour corn. There are flour corns that yield better, but in my experience, these are much bigger plants and are much later. I like MM to be that early so it can grow and finish on moisture from winter rains without irrigation. We normally do not get any rain at all in maritime Oregon in the summer. Also, that way the ears dry down in August before our winter rains start, and once we are in the rainy season, flour corn is more likely to mold than dry properly.

OSSI pledged varieties / Re: Magic Manna
« on: 2019-04-25, 07:18:21 PM »
Hello Reed--

The hardest part of breeding Magic Manna is I had to figure out what all the colors tasted like. So I hand sorted hundreds of kernels of different colors. Then using a file on nail clippers, I filed off a little bit of the pericarp on each of the seeds that had pericarp color so as to identify every seed's flint color as white or yellow and aleurone color as clear or black or lavender. Then I planted a small block of every color. All that did was give me a bigger proportion of the starting color. So I spent huge amounts of time hand sorting the resulting ears and kernels to get enough to make a small batch of cornbread with each pure color. I also parched some of each color, since a big thing I wanted was great parching corn. So for parching corn, I figured out that to get good flavor as well as parch nicely without a tendency to burn, the tiny amt of flinty layer had to be white, not yellow; the aleurone had to be clear or lavender; and the pericarp had to be red or pink. A good parching corn always had white flinty layer. But there were three possibilities otherwise, all of which give dramatically different flavor classes when parched. Red/pink pericarp, red-striped pericarp, or lavender aleurone. (Or some combination of those.) Lavender aleurone seems to be purple (black) but with a recessive modifier. The different colors all tasted good as cornbread or corncakes. So from there I designed a combination of pericarp colors with underlying white aleurone and white endosperm that would give me solid ears where each color would have specific flavors and purposes so you could fill many culinary niches with just one corn patch. And if you liked certain uses, you could easily just select more of that. Those colors involving white endosperm, white, aleurone, and red/pink or brown pericarp also gave me most of my favorite flavors for cornbread.

Painted Mountain was variable for pericarp color, being either cloudy opaque/white/clear, clear, red, pink, red-striped, or brown. I selected against the opaque/cloudy pericarp because it makes the underlying colors look dull, so makes the corn less attractive as an ornamental. I separated red-stripe pericarp off into a separate variety, as too many pericarp colors cause confused flavor profiles and mess up using different colors for different purposes as you get too many mixed colors. I left the brown-striped pericarp in there; it's my favorite for gravy. It and red-stripe are the only ones that don't have a sweetish flavor; they are the best for non-sweet cornbread and gravy. I left clear pericarp in because with underlying white colors and a little added sugar, it has a distinctive pancakey flavor. It's my favorite for making pancakes. And I bred the material to have a lot of red/pink pericarp so that there would be plenty of parching corn.

Since I developed the variety from material I used in those first plantings to evaluate the flavors and uses of different colors, and mass selected from there, it took many years to get rid of the yellow endosperm and black/lavender aleurone. Five or more years. However, there is a much faster easier way to do it.

If I were developing something like Magic Manna from Painted Mountain these days, I would simply pick out and plant hundreds of pure white kernels. That would eliminate nearly all the yellow endosperm and black/lavender aleurone in one step. (It wouldn't quite get rid of all the yellow endosperm, because you can't always tell heterozygous yellows from whites; you really can't tell with indoors lighting; do the sorting in full sun.)(Also, there are modifiers that can lighten the yellow making it harder to identify; so you don't get rid of all the yellow just by sorting and planting only white kernels. But you can get rid of most of it.) (It would get rid of nearly all but not all the black/lavender aleurone, because heterozygotes can be mosaics that can have variable amounts of expression of purple/lavender/black all the way from lots to so little you miss it when sorting.)

Since the pericarp colors are maternally inherited, those sorted white kernels all had mothers who had no pericarp color genes. But the pollen would have brought in genes for pericarp color. So many of those white kernels are heterozygous for the pericarp color genes (which appear to be dominant). Since the mother plant makes all the pericarps on the ear, you don't get to see the genetics of the individual kernels with respect to pericarp color until the next generations. So if you planted lots of white kernels from Painted Mountain, you should get plenty of red/pink-pericarp ears, plenty of red-striped-pericarp ears, plenty of brown-pericarp ears, and plenty of pure white ears. And you should be able to get rid of nearly all the yellow endosperm and black/purple/lavender aleurone during the sorting step so that after you grow out the hand-sorted white kernels, there will be very little colored aleurone or endosperm.

Then you examine whole ears from your first grow-out and get rid of all that show segregation for yellow (obvious in whole white ears, much less obvious in individual kernels). And get rid of all ears that show segregation for black/lavender/purple, also much more obvious in whole ears. Pick any off type kernels out of any white ears you keep. And out of the pericarp color ears to the extent that you can identify them.

So go ahead with kernels from the pericarp color ears of the types you want plus white ears.

It's best to retain a mix of white and pericarp colors, because the pericarp color genes have a genetic load. That is, when plants are homozygous for them it hurts yield. The plants are smaller and wimpier, and the ears are much smaller. So if you select for pure homozygous red, you will have a patch that has dramatically lower yield with dramatically smaller ears--about half the size of normal ears--a big difference. However, those homozygous red-pericarp kernels/ears--which are a deep almost black-looking red--are absolutely the most delicious parching corn. So I like Magic Manna to have high enough gene frequencies for red-pericarp that I do get some of the deep red ears, just not too many.

OSSI pledged varieties / Re: Outredgeous in Suttons Catalogue
« on: 2019-03-23, 10:31:39 AM »
I am working on a variety, well have been for a number of years now but I am only now close to it being stable due to a couple of problems with colour understanding. I have had a lot of enquiries in it already from commercial interests and I really hope that OSSI sticks as I think it might be something others will want to breed from to get it better - and it can be better, at least in flavour IMO.
Ahh, I think next year will be the tell. Anyway, I hope that the OSSI pledge is recognised and respected in Australia when I do get it pledged. This is why I put information about it on my website last year so at least I have some evidence that I developed it. Rascal Zucchini.
The critical thing is you should if possible avoid distributing seed until the variety is Pledged. In addition, I suggest you Pledge it right away. We can put a hold on listing it on the OSSI website until you are ready to release it. Or list it with a release date a year or two hence. (We usually don't Pledge varieties until seed is available, but do so in situations like this, especially for someone who, like you, is already an OSSI contributor.) That way we have documentation of the variety including the dates it existed and was Pledged.

OSSI pledged varieties / Re: Outredgeous in Suttons Catalogue
« on: 2019-03-23, 09:50:13 AM »
Thanks for shedding light on the status of some OSSI varieties - so am I correct in understanding that it is physical seed that is covered by IP and not varieties, as they are 'intangible'?
Varieties may be intangible, but so are songs and inventions. Intangibility is not the issue.

The IP is the legal rights granted by the state with respect to the situation. So for copyright of a book or song, for example, USA grants the author copyright automatically as of the writing, with or without any application or filing. With respect to plant varieties, no automatic IP exists. Those who want IP have to apply for a patent or PVP. Or use licenses or bag tag agreements. Patents and PVPs are binding whether the recipient of the material has been properly informed about the status or not. (Ignorance of the law is no excuse.) Licenses and bag tag agreements operate under contractual law, and are valid only if the two parties agree. So you aren't bound by a bag tag or license you don't know about. But it can be claimed that you obtained the material illegitimately.

You can tell us more about breeding the variety here. :-)

Here is S2E4 of the OSSI-sponsored podcasts on plant breeding with host Rachel Holtengren.

This podcast features the Dwarf Tomato Project with interviewees Craig LeHouller and Patrina Nuske-Small, the co-directors of the project. This project involved more than 200 volunteer gardeners in North America and Australia. The purpose was to greatly expand the class of dwarf tomatoes. These are tomatoes carrying the recessive d gene, which have short internodes but are indeterminate. They produce compact plants up to about 4 feet tall that are great for growing in containers or small gardens. Unlike determinate tomatoes (which usually carry the recessive gene sp, self-pruning), dwarf tomatoes have a normal ratio of leaf surface to tomato, and are capable of producing full-flavored fruit. However, until Craig and Patrina came along, there were just a few boring varieties of dwarf tomatoes with boring small red fruits, except for one variety with large red fruits, which had been overlooked and forgotten. Craig and Patrina saw the potential for an entirely new class of tomatoes with the sizes and unique colors and flavors of heirloom tomatoes but in smaller more controllable plants.  (Plants that actually fit nicely in those tomato cages you can buy.) (Dwarf tomatoes, by the way, have a distinctive rugose foliage that let's you identify them in the seedling stage when doing breeding.)

All the Dwarf Tomato Project varieties are all OSSI-Pledged. Victory Seeds has the most complete listing; I think they carry them all. There are nearly 100 at this point.

Here's episode S2E3 of the OSSI-sponsored plant breeding podcasts with host Rachel Holtengren. This one is on potato breeding in general, history of potato breeding, and Rozette potato in particular. Interviewee is Bill Whitson, owner of Cultivariable Seeds.

OSSI pledged varieties / Re: Outredgeous in Suttons Catalogue
« on: 2019-03-20, 02:46:15 PM »
When Frank Morton Pledged Outredgeous lettuce, it was long after the variety had been released and circulating for years. We call such varieties ex post, that is, Pledged after released and circulating. Unfortunately, this means many, even most people received the variety without the Pledge or are buying it from people who released it without the Pledge. Those who did so are under no obligation to put the Pledge on seeds they distribute. So there is forever two statuses of seed for the variety, some Pledged, some not. Seed companies that are associated with OSSI already normally put the Pledge on their distribution of that seed, even if they are propagating from a line of unPledged seed. This "recaptures" part of the seed stream for OSSI. But non-OSSI partners are not likely to do so and may not even know about OSSI.

One implication is that it would be difficult or impossible for OSSI to actually actively protect a variety that was Pledged ex post. The person who was trying to claim ownership or privatize an OSSI-Pledged variety or derivative could always say they got the material unPledged, and quite possibly did. (Some people say the OSSI Pledge can't protect anything. But our lawyers say they think it is legally binding. And we are expecting to need to protect a variety legally sooner or later. The breeding history data and release and Pledge dates we collect when you Pledge your variety are asked for in part so we will have what we need to legally protect the variety if we need to.) I personally, think it is unlikely we would ever be able to protect an ex post variety, however. So why do we accept them? Because they add to OSSI's list and help build the platform and community.

However, you can see why I strongly urge breeders to breed their varieties BEFORE they start distributing them instead of after. And if you distribute breeding material before you release a finished variety, I urge you to OSSI-Pledge the breeding material as early as possible.

Each variety of pea has, as part of it's defining characteristics, the first node at which it is capable of flowering, weather permitting. Peas don't flower until it is warm enough. So when a variety flowers may or may not be on the defined node depending on when it was planted and the weather.

Plant Breeding / Re: Wild Onions & Breeding with them
« on: 2019-03-17, 06:23:20 PM »
Well, I'm gonna give it a try. My old walking onions are great but extremely hot flavor, have to be careful how they are used in the kitchen the leaves are really the best part. These new little onions are extremely mild and wonderfully delicious but very small. A cross might make something really really nice.
You might also try a cross of your walking onions to Allium fistulosum, the Welsh onion. Those are extraordinarily mild. And supposedly walking onions themselves are a cross of Allium cepa, presumably a hot variety, and Allium fistulosum. So that cross would actually be a backcross.

Plant Breeding / Re: Quality Ornamental / Food Crops
« on: 2019-03-16, 10:50:35 PM »
Reed, getting back to edible ornamentals--

What about breeding some sweet potatoes selected for both beauty and flavor of foliage? Maybe it would be happy houseplants in winter that you could snack upon. Then it gets used to make starts that are set out in spring and grown for greens.

In tropical areas sweet potatoes are a favorite crop to interplant with corn. I suspect they wouldnt get enough sun interplanted with corn in temperate areas. But maybe they would. or maybe they would if they were mostly producing leaves rather than roots. Might be worthwhile deliberately selecting under shady conditions. Lots of urbanites have gardens than are mostly shaded because of other houses and trees.

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