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Messages - Steph S

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Plant Breeding / Re: Mild purple radishes
« on: 2021-06-21, 05:30:00 AM »
I'm with you, Andrew, in only liking mild radishes.  I had one called "Purple plum" some years ago which was mild enough for me. Mostly if I do grow radishes, I just give them away.
Last year I tried Watermelon radish and I don't think there was one root fit to eat.  All gnarly and thin.  I often have trouble with the red breakfast types as well, only rarely making a radish. 
I have some "White Icicle" seed, which I've used as a trap crop for wireworms by sowing in missed places or early pulls from the garlic beds.  Shockingly these neglected plants produced beautiful roots, I suspect they are hot though.  Wireworms didn't like.
Anyway I'll be interested in anything mild non-bolting and purple or not, if you develop it.
BTW, any take on resistance to flea beetle in radish?  The pest is seriously attracted to radish leaf here.

Yellow project:  These got treated differently from the others from the start.  They didn't get potted into beer cups and had to make do in cell packs for quite a long wait.  Only one of eight plants actually managed to start to flower while living in the small cells.  So that one got selected for the "faux earliness" which is really kudos for the attempt to make fruit when nutrients and soil volume are extremely short.   You could say that the others are artificially tardy, since they just didn't mature under the circumstances.
On the theme of nutrient and soil volume stress, the yellows got potted into 3 gallon containers.  I am not hoping for much production but expecting to see at least a few clusters of fruit which I can evaluate for taste.  As it turned out, there was some clear segregation for earliness in the circumstances, and I kept the three earliest indoors while moving the later five outside.   So far so good as the earlier ones lost no time in growing up some fruit.
I took advantage of the overcast day yesterday to try out my 'taste rescue' cross on two of the yellows.  The BN-YW F1 is sp/- so this cross to the already determinate will make it easier to select for that.  I potted up two of these F1s because of a noticeable difference in the foliage color.  Since both parent lines were at F2, some segregation was expected.  The color difference is really noticeable, and I wonder what genes are making that difference.

We have about 3 1/2 months when day length is below 10 hours, the usual minimum for vegetable growth (according to a study done by Johnny's afaik).  Leeks are the only thing that seems to continue growing in the greenhouse regardless.  Other hardy vegetables can generally overwinter easily in there, but they don't do any growing.
The daylight hours from a plant perspective is also a bit less here due to being surrounded by tall trees.  I had to cut some that were south of the house and had become quite menacing in storms from the south, which are increasing even in winter.  So I do have some extra sun on the greenhouse, which should make a difference to seasonal gain.

That would help for sure, but will need to fix other air and water leaks to make it work.  Not well sealed at all.
RH is pretty high in the summer too when it's full of tomato plants and containers.  It can be too hot as well as too cold.
About the only problem I don't have is drainage.  There's a natural catchment close by that fills up when we have heavy rain, but hardly a puddle anywhere around the house or garden.
Some of our plans had to be modified when building the house because in the excavation they struck a solid cliff.  I did not want to blast it out so we worked around it.  But the greenhouse part was the deepest, got filled with a lot of chip rock.  There's quite a bit of mass there but would be helpful to pump the hot air down below instead of simply passive gains.  After a hot sunny summer (by local standards that is) I've seen it stay above freezing through February on the passive heat, but at a certain point in our long winter it runs out.  So the system is at its coldest in March and April when a bit of extra warmth would be great for early starts.

Richard, the greenhouse is glass.  It's attached to the south side of my house, unheated, and 4 ft under ground.  Captures a lot of heat - it's really not well designed for plants, and the glass is much worse than plastic which diffuse the light.  The glazing in the end wall and the kneewall is lexan from the original build which collapsed one year under extreme amount of snow.  The glass was a second hand buy when it was rebuilt.
This is one reason I decided to focus on determinate plants, because almost nothing can set fruit in sunny weather when the plants grow up close to the glazing. (Stupice and its descendants do better than any others I've grown).
After last week's snow we've settled into a summer weather pattern, at least for the next week, with highs of 20-23C and nighttime lows at least 6C, mostly over 10 C this week although dew points are lower.  So far I've moved 15 plants outdoors to relieve the overcrowding.  I wouldn't normally do this until July, but will see how it goes. Everything has to be tied on, it is extremely windy here all year round.

Legumes / Re: Peas 2021
« on: 2021-06-17, 07:03:08 PM »
So here are some of the peas I've planted so far, on the project of dry peas for winter.
The three bush types which I got from Salt Spring are pretty similar looking, they're all maple types. 
I have a row of tall peas on trial that are or look like they might make interesting winter food.   A few Corne de Belier went in this row as well, with Brazilian (looks maple, a large snow pea), King Tut, Calvert, Magnolia Cross (from friend Nicky's garden), Irish Prean, and Clarke's Beltony Blue, shown in the pic. 
Another pic to compare the size and color of Magnolia Cross, my purple Shiraz seed, and Biskopens.  All 3 are quite different colors.
Last not least my crop peas Biskopens and Bulroyd Bean as they were soaking, just to show the enormous size of Bulroyd Bean.   They were really productive last year, although really late. 
Trellis building is still in progress but the crop peas are closing in on a foot tall still under row cover, so I need to finish that soon. 

Tomatoes / Re: Tomato Journal
« on: 2021-06-15, 07:54:52 PM »
Ten plants got moved out of the greenhouse here yesterday.  Nine are in a shelter, one just tied up to the side of a pea trellis in a sheltered area.  These are in 3 to 5 gallon pots so I'm aiming to keep them alive and produce some tomatoes, not a selection for frost this time.  Just couldn't keep the greenhouse so crowded any longer.   The low last night was 43F with a supposed risk of frost but we didn't see any frost here.  All the plants were fine.   Currently 40 F and misty.   TS Bill will be blowing past tomorrow, some rain and wind, but nights this week will be warmer after that, at least forecast to be 50F+. 
I chose plants which had not grown any fruit yet, and put those out.  Some are less tolerant of crowding or of greenhouse temperature and relative humidity extremes - or they may need more of a shaking to make good sets.  Either way the plants that go out fruitless usually set up quickly outdoors.  These are all being assessed for fruit quality, so if anything turns out to be special I can make room later in the season and bring the selected plant(s) inside for selfed seed or crossing purposes.

Tomatoes / Re: Tomato Journal
« on: 2021-06-14, 05:01:16 AM »
Wow, William that has to be the most exotic tomato ever.  :)  Looking forward to the pics of ripe fruit.

Plant Breeding / Re: Strawberry Species / Hybrids
« on: 2021-06-13, 08:09:24 PM »
I went to take a second look, wondering if I could find any female flowers.  I did find some, mostly in the small wild type, and a few that look to be intermediate in size - perhaps they have crossed.   Wondering about pollinators, ironically I found different insects on female vs hermaphrodite flowers.  I saw several flies on the big garden strawberry flowers.  Flies and ants would both be after nectar though I think, and not pollen, so being female in a hermaphrodite world would not be a huge disadvantage, if the pollinator isn't looking for pollen.

One thing that was educational about overcrowding the tomatoes, I learned about potassium defects, and the need to select away from that.   I think if there is something really special about the Skippers, they have a great potassium metabolism.  They don't ripen unevenly, even in cloudy or crowdy conditions, and they are really sweet even when they ripen in the cold.
I notice in that article I linked, that higher brix is found in the wild relatives, and in this case it seems to have come mainly from Zolotoe Serdtse, which is quite a sweet tomato.   The downfall of both ZS and I think Orange-1 is that they were bred for 'firmness', and that seems to be associated with the risk of potassium defects (uneven ripening).

In my ZS crosses I found the firmness was a very dominant trait, and produced a lot of hard and slow ripening tomatoes. But at the dosage of 1/4 ZS parentage there was segregation including some softer textures like Rodney and those like the Skipper which are just firm enough to be non cracking.
I won't be surprised if the ORFI F2 turn out to be hard as rocks either.

Yeh... when you think about the goal as being 'low maintenance' tomatoes, the path to it has sure been piled up with high maintenance years. ::)  I took a season two years ago and just grew the determinate Skippers, nothing else.  It was finally the dream of great tomatoes with hardly any work. But I missed the diversity of color and taste, so there's still a way to go.
Also the addictive thing about breeding is the surprises.  :)  Having an F2 or an F3 to watch is fun.

Asters / Re: Sunflowers for seeds to eat
« on: 2021-06-11, 07:57:28 PM »
So these are the seeds of the two sunflowers I planted a few days ago.  They both sprouted under the row cover the day before it snowed, but they look okay.  Just the big cotyledons at this stage.  Pin cherry and other shrubs are flowering at the time of planting.  I'll start another batch of Sunspot in a week or two, just in case they mature a lot earlier.

Plant Breeding / Re: Strawberry Species / Hybrids
« on: 2021-06-11, 07:48:51 PM »
These are from last year - they look like they might be white inside.   The wild ones here are tiny - like the size of a small pea. 

Plant Breeding / Re: Strawberry Species / Hybrids
« on: 2021-06-11, 03:02:39 PM »
Yes, I went out and had a closer look at the leaves and googled up virginiana and vesca leaf differences - ultimately I see no sign of vesca, and the difference between the larger berried garden type leaf and the wild virginiana is subtle - would be hard to notice what comes in between the really much smaller middle tooth of the wild leaf and the moderately smaller tip tooth on the garden variety.  They may well have crossed along the way, but I have no way of telling for sure.  There seems a fair bit of leaf shape variation on both the wild and the garden types.

At least I can be pleased that both seem pretty tolerant of cold.

Grains / Re: Naked Barley!
« on: 2021-06-11, 11:34:40 AM »
Nice to see that the peas, sunflowers and barley planted last week have survived the extreme heat followed by frost and 2 cm of snow last night.  The Arabian Blue I sowed first came up in 4 days under row cover, then got uncovered before the big heat etc.  There are a few plants keeled over but otherwise all green looking and alright, which is impressive considering such extremes within the first days of being up.  The second patch with Arabian Blue and Faust is still under row cover and maybe not through the ground yet, but I was happy to see those green sunflower cotyledons and pea shoots still pushing up. 

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