Author Topic: Forcing Blooms / Turning Biennials into annuals  (Read 155 times)

reed

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Forcing Blooms / Turning Biennials into annuals
« on: 2018-12-29, 08:25:57 AM »
I'm interested in the notion of creating annual vegetables from biennials as it relates to brassica such as cabbage or Brussels sprouts. I'm not even opposed to it for carrots. I know the reasoning of higher production, better quality and so on for growing  biennial but that doesn't work for me if I can't get seeds and I can't for those things I mentioned. They just don't make it through winter to bloom the next year.

I think the reason a lot of things are not hardy here when they are in colder places is those places get cold and stay that way, maybe even with a long term blanket of snow, stuff just goes to sleep and wake up later. We have long periods of above freezing punctuated with short periods below zero F and rarely any snow, very little survives it. 

For carrots I think it might be fairly easy because I have had some carrots bolt the first year so all I got to do is find and save more that do that. If all I get is small roots, I can live with that because getting biennial seed just isn't working for me.

But the brassicas is my primary interest. Broccoli is annual for me easy enough, but the others only infrequently live to make seed the next year.  At least a little kale usually overwinters but that is the only one that does, collards keep going well into winter but croak before spring.

I want to mix, as many of these plants as I can into an an annual crop with strong cold tolerance so I can grow it spring and fall for the leaves, stalks, flower clusters and seed pods. I hope to use broccoli to help bring in the annual blooming and kale for some extra cold tolerance but I have failed so far in getting crosses between those things.

I'm wondering if I start some things like savoy cabbage, Brussels sprouts and the like right now inside and put them in the cold frame to freeze a little till spring, closing it up on very cold nights if I might be able to force some blooms next year.  I already moved some kale and collards, although the collards don't look too good into a bed I can cover when needed. I think if I could just get one good mass cross I might be on my way. 


Richard Watson

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Re: Forcing Blooms / Turning Biennials into annuals
« Reply #1 on: 2018-12-29, 10:23:53 AM »
The likes of carrots, why cant you winter them over indoors.
« Last Edit: 2018-12-29, 10:39:07 AM by Richard Watson »

Diane Whitehead

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Re: Forcing Blooms / Turning Biennials into annuals
« Reply #2 on: 2018-12-29, 10:30:59 AM »
You might be able to take advantage of breeder's mixes from some seed companies.

 I just did a quick search for mixed brassicas but I could find only leafy ones.  Both Wild Garden Seeds and Adaptive Seeds sell mixes of kales and mustards from which they select varieties they name.  You would select the annuals.

I wonder if anyone is offering mixes of heading brassicas. 

I have plans for crossing some this year, like Brussels sprouts crossed with those fancy spiralled Romanesco so maybe I will have seeds to offer.
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
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Joseph Lofthouse

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Re: Forcing Blooms / Turning Biennials into annuals
« Reply #3 on: 2018-12-29, 10:39:23 AM »
Bok Choi, is an annual crop. Turnips are biennial. They are the same species. Seems like the same sort of thing could be possible with other brassicas. For me, fall planted Bok Choi seems to grow all winter long, then it flowers in the spring, so technically a biennial. But if I plant it in the spring, it flowers during the summer. I much prefer fall planted Bok Choi.

I have noticed that small plants are more likely to survive the winter than larger plants. So something planted during September might survive, but something planted in May doesn't. I see that pattern with carrots, turnips, kale, grains, etc.


reed

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Re: Forcing Blooms / Turning Biennials into annuals
« Reply #4 on: 2018-12-29, 02:01:10 PM »
I went into last winter with a beautiful late planted patch of choi and also a lot of other stuff but last winter was warm most of time with two short spells of around -15 F separated by a few weeks. Some plants survived the first one but were finished off by the second. Even just a very few turnips which have been hardy for me for years made it through.

I think my wet clay soil may also play a role. What I have this year is in the highest, driest part of the garden and looking good but we have only been a little below freezing a couple times so far.  I'm thinking of cutting my loses on overwintering and shooting for a short season spring and fall grown crop instead with the spring one of course providing the seeds. I'd love to see it go somewhat feral like the radishes have. 

Doro

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Re: Forcing Blooms / Turning Biennials into annuals
« Reply #5 on: 2018-12-29, 02:23:58 PM »
Try parsnips, they are the only biannual surviving my winter in ground. More hardy than kale, kale never survives my winter.

I did a little experimenting with seed from early bolting carrots, those that bolted in normal growing conditions when they should not bolt. The next generation bolted even earlier, before producing a carrot. Nice flowers, but no food. I rather overwinter carrots in the root cellar.
Root cellar storage works for me to bring carrots and other roots like beetroot, rutabaga etc. over the winter.
No luck with cabbage or brussels though, they need light and less humidity.

Chinese cabbage and turnip is quite easy to force into flowering in one year. I start them early indoors (february), bring them outdoors while there is still light night frost (april) and plant them into the greenhouse for summer ;) bolting guarantee. These seeds did not produce early bolting plants for me, so it seems to be an ok method. I will try that with cabbage, brussels and kale too when I find more space indoors.

Joseph Lofthouse

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Re: Forcing Blooms / Turning Biennials into annuals
« Reply #6 on: 2018-12-29, 03:09:57 PM »
Feral radishes eh? How fun! I should try that. Problem is, that grasshoppers are ferocious predators of radish seed pods in my garden. Hmm. Sounds like it's finally time to get some chickens out there.

I didn't intend for my turnips to go feral, but I sure am glad that they did. They have pretty much become a self-seeding weed in my garden. I might collect the largest rooted survivors in the spring, and plant them together in a patch to grow seed. Then more or less try to weed out the others so that they don't contribute much pollen.

Last spring, favas survived the winter for me. Then they succumbed in April, a month after the snow melted. This fall, I sent lots of different aged plants into winter, and some seeds. Last year, fall planted seeds germinated during the winter, and they thrived.

I had established a feral patch of parsnips. Problem is, there was a woman involved, so I lost them. Might be nice to restart that project.

One year, we had a frost of 16F after the carrots were in the ground. Nobody at the farmer's market had carrots early in the season, because the crops from the entire valley bolted immediately.


William S.

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Re: Forcing Blooms / Turning Biennials into annuals
« Reply #7 on: 2018-12-29, 03:25:45 PM »
I left for years of botany work in California and when I got back Radishes, Turnips, Siberian Kale, and Parsnips were there to greet me.

Joseph there doesn't seem to be a lot of variation in parsnip. You have written about short fat stubby carrots working well in your clay glacier lakebed sediment soil. l have similar clay lake bed sediment soil. Do you think short fat parsnip genetics would be a good idea like from the variety Kral?

https://www.adaptiveseeds.com/product/vegetables/parsnips/parsnip-kral-russian-organic/
« Last Edit: 2018-12-29, 03:46:37 PM by William S. »
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A

reed

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Re: Forcing Blooms / Turning Biennials into annuals
« Reply #8 on: 2018-12-29, 04:48:58 PM »
William, did you keep those what I like to call "wilded" crops going? I think radishes and turnips are best things ever. They till the dirt, they mulch the dirt, they fertilize the dirt and the leaves, stems, flower clusters and seed pods are delicious.

I love all those things but I'm chicken to grow parsnips as we have huge amounts of wild parsnip like plants, at least some from what I understand, are very poisonous.




William S.

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Re: Forcing Blooms / Turning Biennials into annuals
« Reply #9 on: 2018-12-29, 05:17:30 PM »
Yep, they are still going. I started them in 2011 or 2012. Though I've tried to provide them with a little bit more genetic diversity. Added a packet of Turga to the originally lancer parsnips last year. Already have bought a new packet of Turga and another parsnip. Would maybe like to add in that Kral. Bought a new packet of siberian kale mix a few years ago. Tried to add some golden turnips last year, might have grabbed another packet. Would like to add in a packet of Ohno Revival turnip. Except for the Daikon radishes. Don't think I've managed to add another strain of that yet. Would like something that looks different somehow. Have some little radishes kicking around but I read somewhere they don't cross with Daikon.

I suspect if I left again for a few years I would be able to add lots of things to my list. Orach maybe.
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Joseph Lofthouse

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Re: Forcing Blooms / Turning Biennials into annuals
« Reply #10 on: 2018-12-29, 05:18:59 PM »
I used the same strategy with parsnips as with carrots. I am growing descendants of Kral. I got tired of only being able to harvest the top 4 inches of root, because my soil is too hard.

William S.

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Re: Forcing Blooms / Turning Biennials into annuals
« Reply #11 on: 2018-12-29, 05:30:43 PM »
I used the same strategy with parsnips as with carrots. I am growing descendants of Kral. I got tired of only being able to harvest the top 4 inches of root, because my soil is too hard.

You are always two steps ahead of me! I can't remember ever seeing parsnip in your seed listing. Do you find they cross up readily?. Just finished Will Bonsall's book and he listed parsnip as possibly selfing. He also had some very specific ideas as to what makes a good parsnip. Not the Hollow Crown Parsnips Gary Paul Nabhan featured in his book on Americans forgotten food traditions. I think will likes them solid and tapering slowly for maximum biomass. One of the nearby seed farmers grows Turga.
« Last Edit: 2018-12-29, 05:37:54 PM by William S. »
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A

reed

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Re: Forcing Blooms / Turning Biennials into annuals
« Reply #12 on: 2018-12-29, 05:43:21 PM »
I don't know if diakon crosses with other radishes or not. I assumed they did cause I have colorful roots just as big as any diakon. Also baseball sized round white ones, could be that's just what happens when a bunch of radishes get together even without diakon in the mix, which it is.

My turnips are near pure Purple Top White Globe.  Probably is time to add in some more since they don't seem quite as hardy as the used too be. Actually now that I think about it they have been out there a long time. Maybe they have genetic depression. 

Joseph Lofthouse

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Re: Forcing Blooms / Turning Biennials into annuals
« Reply #13 on: 2018-12-29, 05:45:17 PM »
Ha! I offered Kral parsnip seed from 2012 to 2014. I lost the parsnip patch in 2015, and haven't successfully restarted the project. I wasn't very happy with the slow growth of kral. These days, the first thing I would do with them is turn them into a grex, and then re-select for something that would thrive for me and have short/fat roots. I have a few roots of kral and a grex of short/fat parsnips that are overwintering. Perhaps they will make enough seed to restart the project. I put them in the orchard, where I won't have to disturb them. There are a lot of sunroot weeds where I planted them, which is rather annoying.

Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties references 30% out-crossing for parsnips.

There is no point for me in growing long/tapering parsnips, because I can't dig them.



« Last Edit: 2018-12-29, 05:50:43 PM by Joseph Lofthouse »

Diane Whitehead

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Re: Forcing Blooms / Turning Biennials into annuals
« Reply #14 on: 2018-12-29, 08:11:23 PM »
Here is someone in Australia doing something similar to your parsnip project.

http://www.usefulseeds.com/product/parsnip-proto-fatso/

An early release from our short fat parsnip project, parents included de Gurnesey, Melbourne Whiteskin, Cobham, Halblange Weiss, and Kral. We are searching for a locally adapted round-rooted parsnip, you can select whatever you want from this diverse genepool..

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cool mediterranean climate  warm dry summers, mild wet winters,  70 cm rain,   sandy soil