seems like the biggest trouble with breeding a self-sowing carrot/Queen Anne's Lace would be that there's an abundant reservoir of regular old Queen Anne's Lace to dilute any improvements you make. so you might get one generation that's pretty good, one generation that's passable, and succeeding generations wouldn't be much different than the woody, small, prolific wild plant. if you kept it up, I'm sure you would eventually put enough of carrot genetics into your locality that you could keep it going. I don't think you could ever completely ignore it, though. you would always have to select seed from the plants you like. I would put that in the definitely-worth-a-shot category, but be prepared to put in your time. Queen Anne's Lace is a very useful plant in its own right, though: an effective contraceptive, rugged survivor in marginal dirt, and a superb insectary plant.
you're likely to run into the same problem with brassicas: there's so much escaped weedy stuff of limited food value that will dilute your efforts. again, I think it is totally worth a shot and is likely to succeed with a little patience. it will probably be quite some time before delicious broccolis are growing wild, though. but if we don't start sometime, it'll never happen. and sea kale (Crambe maritima
) comes to mind. it's a wild brassicaceae vegetable that's pretty good unimproved. not likely to thrive on neglect where you're at, Kyle, but it suggests that there's hope. I'm also reminded of the kale that kept growing in a hayfield I worked on even after ten years of mowing, and occasional discing, plowing, and reseeding with grass. I only ever saw it in the summer, so it wasn't that sweet when I tasted it, but there's a survivor for sure.
on the wild parsnip front, they're just escaped cultivated parsnips. most places around here consider them noxious weeds, and not without reason. folks typically only know they've had an encounter with a wild parsnip when the painful blisters show up. and they are painful. haven't spent much time on the east side, but over here on the west side they're not terribly rare. if you really want to grow them, I think letting cultivated parsnips set seed would probably do the trick. a couple generations will probably retain their "office hands", but parsnip produces a lot of seed, and my guess is that it will adapt to neglect pretty quickly.
grafting tomatoes: I believe they're usually bench grafted. similar to grape vines. there's a tool that cuts the rootstock and scion so that they fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. not too expensive for the basic model. grafting to nightshade isn't going to make a tomato perennial
for you, though. if your nightshade is winter hardy, it will survive and the grafted tomato will die. some rootstocks will improve hardiness of the scion by a few degrees, but you'll fall far short of getting a tomato through an upper Columbia winter. tomatoes are weakly perennial where it's warm enough, though, and there are plenty of edible relatives that are long-lived perennials. but they're all tropical. except for a couple. maybe a long-term breeding project
could make the difference, but chances are good that it would take multiple human generations to accomplish. getting tomatoes that reliably self-sow annually, though, seems more likely to be successful in the short term. I've seen plenty of volunteer
tomatoes in unlikely places. and tomatillos and ground cherries self-sow no problem. and those couple of hardy perennial tomato relatives include plants that look a lot like tomatillos or ground cherries. the names escape me at the moment. in the genus Physalis
, I think.
I'm not familiar with the wild or hybrid salsify, but it certainly sounds promising.
I sure like where your head's at, Kyle. keep it up.