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Topics - Diane Whitehead

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Cucurbits / hermaphrodite flowers
« on: 2021-02-20, 08:28:19 PM »

I bought seeds of Nanticoke Squash from the Experimental Farm Network.

This is a very diverse lot, and some of them have perfect flowers - well, perhaps not perfectly perfect, as the description says:

                   hermaphrodite flowers (male-leaning and female-leaning, with normal males too)

That sounds exciting - maybe I'll get more squash than I normally do - Last year almost every plant had no female flowers.

Plant Breeding / jiggling chromosomes with microwaves
« on: 2021-02-16, 02:56:16 PM »
I just read an article about someone who microwaved seeds from a rhododendron cross he made.  He used several different times.  10 seconds popped them like popcorn, 7 seconds and no seeds germinated, but he has a lot of plants from seeds microwaved for 4.5 seconds.

These plants are very dense, while the ones from non-microwaved seeds are about 2 metres high.

They haven't flowered yet.

I think it will be fun to try this with some vegetables.  I haven't decided which, yet.

The original article is here:

I just read this on the Royal Horticultural Society website:

Pat Fitzgerald, founder of Fitzgerald Nurseries based Kilkenny in Ireland.

“I first had the idea for the Treasure Island series during a visit to the USA in 2013,”  “I saw how tremendously versatile Ipomoea was in containers and in the landscape yet none of the varieties had roots that were suitable for eating.

“I asked sweet potato specialist Professor Don Labonte, Director of the School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences at Louisiana State University, why this was – as I understood they were genetically similar.

“Don told me that bringing the two types together was something that was very possible but had never been considered. We chatted about it and thought it would be a fun project – so the seeds were sown. Thousands of seedlings were grown, trialled in Europe, varieties emerged and finally, in 2018, we settled on what is now the Treasure Island Series.

“The concept Treasure Island came from my fascination with the French Polynesian Islands as a child, watching Mutiny on the Bounty as there were tales of Irishmen on board the Bounty. That, and the idea of the sweet potato roots being the treasure under the colourful foliage brought me to choosing the name.”

Three varieties are available, all named for Polynesian islands. 'Makatea' has chartreuse, heart-shaped foliage and orange-flushed, white fleshed tubers. 'Tahiti' has green foliage and dark purple tubers. 'Tatakoto'  has purple-veined leaves with purple-skinned, orange-fleshed tubers. More are on the way. And the leaves are edible too!

You can order Treasure Island sweet potatoes from Thompson & Morgan.

*Also, take a look at Ipomoea Sunpuma Purple (‘SunTun1’), recently featured here, that combines colourful flowers and foliage. 

Seed Saving / Poor timing
« on: 2020-08-25, 02:53:29 PM »
There might be more vegetables that time their seeds badly, but only two that I am growing.

Parsnip seeds are now mature, but it is too late to sow them for this winter, and the seeds aren't viable for long.

Leeks are the same.  it is fortunate that I have leeks that produce little bulbs on their roots, so I have perennial ones and don't have to worry about the slow seeds.

Tinkering / organize plant breeding posts
« on: 2020-02-05, 07:52:50 PM »
In a few days there will be 3000 posts in the Plant Breeding section, all scrambled.  Yes, there is a search function, but it would be a lot easier to navigate if we had all the pea, tomato, sweet potato, etc. posts in separate groups.

Diane Whitehead

Seed Saving / seeds from parthenocarpic fruit
« on: 2019-12-16, 12:29:43 PM »
Some very early tomatoes are seedless but produce seeds later.

What about cucumbers?  I'm reading the latest Whole Seed Catalog, and Baker Creek is enthusiastic about China Jade cucumber, their best tasting one.

Do they produce fruit with no seeds if they are kept in an insect-free greenhouse, but perhaps have seeds if they are grown outside where they can be pollinated?

Seed Saving / Saving landraces of rice in India
« on: 2019-11-08, 08:44:30 PM »
An article by Debal Deb in the October 2019 issue of Scientific American - "Restoring Rice Biodiversity"

Until the Green Revolution of the 1970s, there were 110, 000 rice landraces in India.  Some contained  high quantities of certain nutrients, like iron,  others could grow in floods, saline soils, droughts, or withstand insects and diseases.

Government agriculture advisors continue to discourage the growing of traditional varieties, and official seedbanks like that of the International Rice Research Institute don't distribute seeds to farmers, or even researchers like Debal Deb.  Instead, they are helping companies to hybridize and patent new varieties.

Deb quit his job as an ecologist with World Wide Fund for Nature-India and set up Basudha Farm where he maintains 1420 kinds of rice on less than 0.7 hectares.  He has helped set up more than 20 other seed banks in various parts of India, and promotes seed-exchange networks.

Plant Breeding / CRISPR for sale
« on: 2019-09-21, 10:07:45 AM »
There is a company that will sell us a gene snipper and a gene snippet to put in the gap.

I wonder how much it costs.

This is from an ad accompanying an article in EatingWell

CRISPR Design Tool

World’s Fastest & Easiest CRISPR Gene Knockout Design Tool

Community & Forum Building / Carol Deppe website?
« on: 2019-06-30, 01:09:57 PM »
Has Carol changed her website?

I get shifted to an online pharmacy.

Tomatoes / Breeding for Late Blight Resistant Tomatoes
« on: 2019-02-28, 07:12:37 PM »
We have had a long discussion on late blight, potatoes and tomatoes.

Instead of adding to it, I'd like to start this new one on a project to start breeding this year.

I have some resistant varieties, and have bought more, from England and the U.S.

 These are the seeds I have already grown. I don't know which resistance they have.

Geranium Kiss
Bolivianische Obsttomate
Chernomor, Reg Lf
IPK LYC 859 El Salvador
Little Julia
Matt's Wild Cherry
Sky Reacher

These are the new ones I just bought.

Make My Day - by Tom Wagner
Cocktail Crush a new release by Burpee Europe presumably F1, but it doesn't say
Crimson Crush F1
Oh Happy Day
Losetto Cherry F1  bred from the Bangor University research

The packets promise just 10 seeds each, but if someone has a project that they would be useful for, I can spare a few.

I hope Carol can suggest the best way to proceed.

Dehybridize the new European ones?  Start crossing?

Tomatoes / Bangor University research on late blight
« on: 2019-01-15, 03:12:02 PM »
Tom Wagner reported that one of his tomatoes was part of a study for a PhD in Wales.  The doctorate was awarded to James Stroud in 2015.  I was hoping for a quick way to see the results of his trials, but haven't succeeded yet.

Before he began, in 2011, there was a suspicion that some strains of blight favoured tomatoes over potatoes.  Here are the objectives of the study:

Experimental Aims

Evaluate a wide range of existing tomato genotypes for resistance to late blight, caused by Phytophthora infestans.
Create an experimental mapping population of hybrid tomato plants that segregate for different blight resistance genes for understanding inheritance of resistance and selecting better varieties.
Establish whether the tomato based P. infestans population is different from the potato based P. infestans population and investigate which factors lead to host specialisation.

The thesis has been published, and I have read the abstract.;jsessionid=711592F7854B0F4352955A905943F197?

The conclusion of it:

Taken as a whole, the findings of these studies indicated that novel tomato cultivars with P. infestans resistance from a broad range of genes are needed to combat the threat from a highly diverse and evolving P. infestans population. The breeding and mapping work undertaken in this project makes some contribution to addressing this challenge, although further work is needed to fully capitalise on this.

So, no quick look at the list of tomatoes tested, though maybe if someone is able to download the whole thesis they could find the list.

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