Landrace Gardening: 2014 Progress Report


| 12/1/2014 8:54:00 AM


Tags: gardening, vegetables, Joseph Lofthouse, Utah,

Today I'm sharing stories about the successes and failures of this growing season. Sorry that it's been so long since I posted. I allowed a slow personal economy and a series of family troubles to distract me from writing.

Vigorous Carrots and Parsnips

In Racing the Weeds I suggested that it would be nice to select among the carrots and parsnips for seedlings that grow vigorously so that they can out-compete the weeds. I am content to say that was a stunning success this growing season! A patch of carrots was grown without weeding or thinning. They didn't grow as big or produce as abundantly as the patch that was weeded and thinned only one time, but both patches produced food for the table and roots to be grown for seed next year. The parsnips were also grown without weeding. They are still in the ground. The smaller plants can be culled in the spring before the patch flowers. The surviving carrots and parsnips have shown that they can handle the weeds. The photo of a recently weeded carrot row shows the huge differences in growth that can exist between strains. I don't see the value in keeping the slow growing plants. They would continue to grow slowly for the entire growing season.

Selecting carrots for vigor

Skunks Attack Corn!

Skunks ate 2-3/4 patches of sweet corn. My corn varieties were developed in fields that are not bothered by skunks, so when planted into a new field they were decimated by a new pest. No worries. A quarter of the plants in one variety passed the survival-of-the-fittest test and overcame the skunk predation. They had stronger stalks, or higher cobs, or other traits that kept them from being eaten. I'll replant the survivors into the same field next year with the goal of developing a skunk-proof, or at least skunk-resistant, sweet corn.

Tomatoes Getting Frisky

Open tomato flower

Great progress was made on the project to develop Promiscuously Pollinated Tomatoes. A number of varieties were identified that have loose or open flowers. The shorter season specimens were combined into a new grex. Then F1 hybrids were created between them and my earliest tomato. The hybrids are currently growing indoors under lights in hopes that they'll produce F2 seed to plant in the spring. The second generation after a cross is the most exciting. That is where the most diversity shows up.

Melons & Squash vs. the Rain

Mixta Squash




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