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Messages - Kai Duby

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Tomatoes / Re: Are Determinate Tomatoes Weaklings?
« on: 2019-02-09, 09:25:42 PM »
Thanks for all the perspectives!

I've decided to do a big tomato grow out this year with dwarf and determinate varieties just to figure out my own take on the small guys. I'll be growing a small amount of ind. that, if they do well enough, I will cross with the best dwarf/det.

William S: I was excited to see the sungold f2 on your list. It's one of the ind. I'll be growing this year and I will certainly look out for all of those other varieties too! Thanks!

Plant Breeding / Re: OSSI Industrial Hemp
« on: 2019-02-09, 09:16:09 PM »
I went to a seed exchange today that featured hemp and, as it turned out, the hemp was what filled up the parking lot, not the little, measly local veggie lovers. There were tons of booths with all the wondrous hemp potential spread out.
Some of the hemp items:

- Delicious hemp hearts: apparently they have a nearly complete amino acid profile AND contain a high percentage of omege 3 and 6.
- Insulation like conventional fiberglass bats and apparently with a comparable R value
- Hemp-crete bricks which are apparently used in load bearing walls but they also have some insulation value.
- Teas, salves, infused coffee, raw essential oil etc. ( These mainly with CBD oil)
- Biodegradable plastic pellets made from hemp hulls, which can be used for general plastic manufacture.

....So the possibilities are apparently much grander than potato sacks.

Obviously a lot of this stuff is "industrial" oriented and not exactly geared toward home growers or even small scale farmers. I asked a few of the vendors about smaller scale implementations and home scale breeding operations but I think that, given the current legal restrictions, the possibilities are slim so know one has even considered it.
The seed suppliers were state certified and had their materials lab tested. When I asked them about breeding for drought tolerance and overall organic field conditions they pretty much laughed at me.

Olaf: I've heard a lot of varying opinion about isolation distance for Cannabis but no concrete answers. Obviously my specific location would not be a good place to start because everyone and their mom is growing marijuana.
From talking to the seed growers at the event it seems that the thc content, even from certified low percentage seed, various a lot with growing conditions.

Plant Breeding / OSSI Industrial Hemp
« on: 2019-02-04, 05:13:18 PM »
I know that this is a bit of a testy subject but given the recent legislature and current trends I think it's important to bring up.

On the land I am currently living on I have one neighbor who is growing hemp for CBD, another that is a recreational retail grower, and farther afield there are hundreds of acres getting planted in hemp. About every 5 miles down the country road there are big razor wire fences surrounding high input greenhouses growing some kind of Cannabis. So it's a huge business out here in the high altitude desert.

For this forum I am only talking about hemp as the USDA defines it:
a plant of the genus Cannabis and any part of the plant, whether growing or not, containing a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of no more than three-tenths of one percent (0.3%) on a dry weight basis.

This is obviously a bit of onerous bureaucratic lingo but I think that is why it's important to put the issue up here because, although it is now legal, hemp is steeped in regulation, which makes it less likely to be picked up by small-scale breeders and more likely to have large corporate buy in.

There are currently only 6 true, tested 0.3% hemp varieties available (that I know of) here in CO that are distributed through the CDA.
I was thinking about what would happen if a large part of the very limited genuine 0.3% testing seed was OSSI pledged before any kind of corporate seed grab occurred. Perhaps that's dangerous thinking but that's why I thought I'd throw the idea out here.

I've never actually grown it but I've watched all of this ag-industry grow up around me and it makes me wonder.

Would it be worth giving the county commissioner a key to your land and dealing with regulatory fees, testing and all of the rigmarole to breed out an OSSI  hemp variety?

Grains / Re: Beginnings of a wheat landrace
« on: 2019-01-26, 08:01:02 PM »
Walt: Thank you for the details! I did grow the Khorasan right next to the common wheat so I will certainly be on the look out for crosses. Do the aneuploids have any advantage or disadvantage over the other ploidy levels? Would an ongoing population of the two have varying cross pollination every year so the aneuploid count would be annually rejuvenated despite decreasing annually from poor fertility?

Tomatoes / Re: Are Determinate Tomatoes Weaklings?
« on: 2019-01-26, 07:48:30 PM »
Joseph I'm also in a very dry, short season, high altitude (7500') climate so your outlook is much appreciated. I did notice that the determinates I grew last year were much better tasting but there was only one ind. variety that made enough fruit to make a good comparison and that variety turned out to be an especially bad tasting paste tomato.

That graph certainly tells a story in favor of determinates! How many of those determinates you trialed tasted good? (I'm familiar with your tomato taste standards and, after trying to eat through buckets of sub-par toms, I can definitely relate to being picky)!

So, for example, I can pick out bush squash segregants by sprouting the seeds on paper towels in a way in which the seeds are all oriented so the roots can grow freely downward, and identify the bush plants by the bush roots
This sounds like an excellent method for pre trialing determinates (or dwarves) and picking out the more vigorous roots.

William S May I ask what the varieties of determinates were that made the direct seeding cut?

Tomatoes / Re: Are Determinate Tomatoes Weaklings?
« on: 2019-01-24, 10:14:28 PM »
William S. I'm all about plant torture! And a dry farmed (or at least very low water use) tomato is basically what I would like to strive for. Although, all of that is very much a long haul project.

I think that to develop dry farmed tomatoes the seedlings would have to have extremely vigorous roots to take advantage of available moisture. I've been playing around with that kind of seedling torture and, mostly. they just up and die. So far they just can't keep pace with something like wheat or peas. Otherwise, I think that the determinate habit seems to fit the bill for a hardy, fast, wind resistant dryland crop.

I'm in the same skeptical boat as far as thinking determinates are all weaklings though!

As far as your frost tolerant tomatoes go I think that determinates could have an advantage. This year I grew out a whole slurry of different varieties all mixed up together in the same field and when the first light frosts of fall came I noticed that the small determinate plants actually survived because they were hugging the still warm ground whereas the indeterminates were out for the count. The fruit and leaves close to the ground survived for at least 3 more weeks than the taller plants. So they are frost avoiding rather than frost tolerant.

Tomatoes / Re: Are Determinate Tomatoes Weaklings?
« on: 2019-01-24, 09:49:40 PM »
Thanks for all the great input!

Carol: I vividly remember the most delicious tomato I've ever eaten and it was a determinate called 'Glacier.' That being said, it was also the first non-cardboard tomato I had ever eaten so, perhaps, breaking that taste threshold had a bit of a biased effect on me. That variety must have something special going for it considering how quickly it sells out in seed catalogs. Luckily I was able to save some seed but the taste just hasn't ever been the same whether due to growing conditions or my own growing tastes.

The dwarf tomatoes are something I have been eyeing up recently and it seems like they would be a great go-between for small vigorous plants. Thanks for the tip!
As far as my brief research could turn up the dwarf tomatoes are also considered semi-indeterminate and the main gene for this trait (d) is interlinked with the determinate trait (sp), which are both recessive. I couldn't seem to find any information about crosses between determinate and dwarf plants though.

Something else I could not find definitive evidence on is whether or not rooting habit is directly linked to the determinate trait. If the reduced leaf area of a small plant influences rooting that's one thing but if the roots of a determinate plant are actively "self pruned' like the above ground portion then I think that would be grounds for calling them weaklings.

Tomatoes / Are Determinate Tomatoes Weaklings?
« on: 2019-01-13, 09:26:32 PM »
I have read various accounts that determinate toms generally have a weaker root system (as above so below) and, given their reduced size, are generally weaker than indeterminates. This year was my first year really growing tomatoes in large quantities and it seemed to me that, yes, the indeterminates, although longer to maturity, tended to out perform the determinates. However, for the purposes of market gardening, the determinate tomatoes were more ideal for labor input, space requirements and generally a shorter time to yield.

I haven't seen very many farmers growing determinates for market and judging by the many schemes for trellising greenhouse tomatoes, there seems to be a disproportionate advantage to growing indeterminates.

It may be a "newbie" question but if determinate tomatoes really are doomed to a less-than fate then I might as well gear my tomato projects toward a more behaved indeterminate type.

Community & Forum Building / Re: Seed Swap Announcements
« on: 2019-01-13, 08:53:20 PM »
9th Annual San Luis Valley Seed Exchange

Feb. 9th & 10th at Joyful Journey Hot Springs, CO

Grains / Re: Beginnings of a wheat landrace
« on: 2019-01-13, 08:43:48 PM »
As far as I have been able to find Khorasan wheat is actually a subspecies of Durum (Triticum turgidum subsp. turanicum) as is Polish wheat and Sin et Pheel (T. turgidum subsp. polonicum). The durums are apparently tetraploids while common wheat (T. aestivum) is a hexaploid. I don't know how this effects their ability to hybridize.

I enjoy the taste of Khorasan wheat so much and use it in a different way that I'm aiming to keep it separate from the common wheat mix. So I am planning on making multiple groups or psuedo-populations for specific traits and species.

- T. turgidum: likely a mix of the less common forms like khorasan, polish and persian. Mainly for large grains suitable for soups and pasta. This whole species interests me because I don't seem to have a problem digesting the less common "ancient" grains whereas most pastas and semolina flours give me quite the gut grief.

- Common Awned Spring Wheats

- Common Awnless Spring Wheats: I think the awnless quality is important enough to warrant a separate group because I intend on keeping animals one day that I'll feed some wheat hay to and hand harvesting awnless wheat seems to be a more enjoyable experience.

- Common Winter Wheats

I certainly intend on trialing the other species of wheat at some point but for my own purposes the "hulless" species and varieties are more appealing.
I think it would also be a worthwhile venture to accumulate the wheat ancestors and have a working population that represents all wheat diversity like the mountain maize populations interplanted with teosinte.

Grains / Re: Beginnings of a wheat landrace
« on: 2019-01-13, 08:14:02 PM »
Left=Lofthouse. Mid=Roadside. Right= Khorasan.

Grains / Re: Beginnings of a wheat landrace
« on: 2019-01-13, 08:11:12 PM »
I started trialing for my own wheat landrace this year. For now I'm taking out the weakest plants but saving seed from the majority because I hope to trial them in a dryland rotation once I have the land prepared in the near future. This year I just abused them a little and was surprised at how resilient they were. I flood irrigated until early June and then let them be until harvest around mid to late July.

I have many more varieties ordered for this year including many landraces from GRIN that originated in analogous climates to my own.
The varieties I used this year were:

"Roadside"- I found a large patch of these plants growing by an interstate in Denver where they must have been planted for erosion control. They were certainly the most productive.

Lofthouse- From the couple of pinches Joseph gave me I was able to grow more than 3/4lb., which was not as productive as the "Roadside" but that may be because I planted them at different dates during the spring. I plan on closely planting rows of Lofthouse and "Roadside" this year to get more of a side by side comparison before harvesting them together and creating a mix. The two are very similar other than the Lofthouse variety tended to have smaller ears and seeds.

"Seans Wheat"- Likely a commercial winter wheat that my friend grew out in MT. It did not produce seed until nearly September when spring planted and the plants were dwarfed.

Khorasan Wheat and it's weed Wheat tag-alongs- Admittedly I grew this out from the store bought brand name. This was the most diverse wheat and certainly the tastiest so I think the company may be right in calling it a landrace. It produced nearly as well as the "Roadside," which was a surprise. I have more Khorasan Wheat landraces ordered from GRIN to trial alongside the brand name this year. As a bonus the store bought wheat had a couple different varieties of wheat intermixed with the big headed Khorasan. Most of these were a vigorous awnless variety that I ended up seperating out.

Hey Gilbert, I couldn't help but respond since this is something I have been pondering recently but geared more toward endophytic diazatrophs.

They're basically plant penetrating microbes that fix N. But instead of just living in root nodules these can live on stems, leaves and roots. There's a lot of research available.

Some of the most intriguing are studies that have taken diazatrophs from lodgepole pine needles, cultured them and applied them to the leave s of crops like tomatoes. Apparently the applications increased growth and yield quite a bit.

Just from gleaning the research available it seems that these microbes are about as widespread as mycorhizae and may be just as important for plant health.

So then how to identify and culture them without a lab?
I immediately think of the Korean natural farming methods that utilize inoculum from various areas to make diverse inoculants that can be applied directly or to composts.

Keeping past years residue on the soil may be a good practice too. It probably depends on the specific microbes life cycle, ability to overwinter without a host, presence of other competing microbes etc. So it may be more about a methodology for growing the crops that allows for these to flourish alongside crops that will readily accept them.

All said, without a microscope to identify specific bacteria it may be just as viable to continue selecting the most vigorous plants, which may (or may not) harbor the beneficial microbes.

I really appreciate seeing epigenetics being discussed alongside breeding efforts!

I recently came across some research on Goji berry breeding, which indicated that there is the potential to cross tomatoes and other Solanaceae with Lycium sp. It's mentioned under Hybridization here:

The study states that out of seven lines from 21 cross combinations they were able to obtain two flowering and fruiting plants.

This may not necessarily count as a true tomato breeding project but given the cold hardiness of many Lycium sp. it may be worth looking into. There are certainly many more factors to consider but it seems like a potential path toward a perennial zone 4 tomato-like plant. Perhaps a tomoji?

I hope this doesn't diverge too drastically from your original subject but I thought it should be mentioned.

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