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!!!!!! Photos of Joseph Lofthouse's Garden  RSS feed

 
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I imagine that serves a secondary purpose in encouraging more cross pollination between different plants, at the same time.
 
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Joseph,

It is great to see you already hard at work!  Love the plants and it is obvious you put your heart into.  Can't wait for my family to give me the results of the seeds I got from you over the winter, and I can't wait to plant some myself in the fall when it isn't so hot here in the Phoenix Valley.

Hoping to come up your way this summer,  If we manage it I will stop by again! 

Thank you for all the hard work and sharing attitude!

Aaron
 
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Aaron: Great to hear from you again. Looking forward to any grow reports you might be able to post.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I sure enjoyed the farmer's market yesterday. Here's an overview of what I took with me.

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Farmer's market, last week of May
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I made a batch of pickled radishes last night.

Earlier in the day, I got one more line of irrigation operational.  The little line of green are F2 hybrid tomatoes of a cross between yellow pear and my earliest red saladette tomato. The larger plants to the left of that are tomatoes from the promiscuous pollination project. The big blob of green in the back is a patch of corn with bind-weed ground cover. I planted the corn there this year to shade out the bindweed. A row of flax the whole length of the field is hidden behind the water.

Even earlier in the day, I harvested and planted seeds from tomatillos that were harvested about 10 months ago. I ate the fruits.
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Pickled radishes
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Irrigation with sprinkler line
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Long-keeping tomatillo (10 months since harvest)
 
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:


This is a Chionodoxa.

Oh. I have just seen. It is already solved
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I finally got my squash field planted today. That's 11 days later than my target planting date. That's only 83 days till my expected fall frosts, so if the fall frosts come early the crops might just be a cover-crop this year... If they come late, I might expect a great harvest.

I planted Black Medic into one of the two rows of squash. Didn't have enough seed to plant both rows. So we get to see if one row grows better than the other.

This year's gift to the field was stones that I polished.

The yellow mustard spice is flowering prolifically!



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Squash field planted. June 16th, 2017
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Gift to the field: polished rocks
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Yellow Mustard Spice
 
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Just have to share--these are potatoes that I grew from your potato seeds! Unfortunately, something ate the actual plants, so I dug them up to see what I could salvage. The potatoes looked great. I had other, similarly affected potatoes nearby (grown from seed potatoes), when I dug those up, all that was left was a rotty slodgy mess. So your potatoes definitely won.

I haven't had the heart to eat these yet, because I've NEVER GROWN POTATOES FROM SEED BEFORE AND I'M JUST SO DANG EXCITED!


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How do you store your tomatillos to have them keep that long?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I picked cactus nopales this morning. Barefoot was fine, but gloves and leather arm shields would have been nice!

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Picking nopales
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Nopales ready for market
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Tim Siemens wrote:How do you store your tomatillos to have them keep that long?


They were sitting in a berry basket in the spare bedroom.

Laurie Dyer wrote:Just have to share--these are potatoes that I grew from your potato seeds!


Thanks for the grow report. Good job!
 
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That was some very brave foraging/gathering there, Joseph. I can see you clinging well to that rock with your foot too. I would be.  Did you put a few step rocks at least to get INTO the sea of prickles?

I'm just happy I have some tuna forming from my this year collection.... I am in awe at your little forest of plants and pads.

Boil gently for a few minutes and all the spines seem to disappear. Slice into strips and pan fry until the goo goes away. Mmmm

The local Hispanic population here, they do stock nopales pads at the store, WITH tongs. The ones we're seeing right now look like the ones you have there, with the soft fingers instead of hard long spines, and size too. I get a few looks as I'm one of the few non-Hispanics that buy nopales. When they get tuna in, a rare thing late fall, I will buy all they put out.  Hence I want my own...

Still, Joseph, you are one brave man there.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Deb: There is one stepping stone in the middle of the patch. I have to be pretty aggressive about trimming the pads away from the stone. Usually I do that in very early spring. This year, I decided to also do it in early summer, so that we can eat the nopales instead of wasting them.  The portions of the plant(s) that were pruned most heavily this spring produced the most nopales this summer.

The plant that produced it's first edible tuna last fall has a lot on it this summer, and has generated a lot of new pads. Another seed grown plant with the same phenotype has likewise produced a bunch of fruits. Yay! I'm finally learning how to grow and eat cactus.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I'm loving the Beautifully Promiscuous Tomato project... A lady that was visiting my garden a few days ago asked to pick some tomato flowers for inclusion in a bouquet.

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Beautifully Promiscuous Tomatoes
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I have been wanting to do more cooking in the garden. So I made a cob rocket stove today. My silty soil doesn't fire to a hard/durable condition. So I'm looking for a topcoat that I can put over it to protect if from dampness and/or rain. I wonder about whitewashing. I wonder about applying a coating of terracotta that fires well. I wonder about some sort of glazing that could be fired onto it.

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Cob rocket stove.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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There was a nice write-up about my philosophy towards food freedom and security in Journal of Peasant Studies, 2017

Beating the bounds: how does 'open source' become a seed commons?

Maywa Montenegro de Wit

Starting about page 23.

http://food.berkeley.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Beating-the-bounds-how-does-open-source-become-a-seed-commons.pdf
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I bottled the kraut today. It is kohlrabi, carrot, onion, sunroot, beet, turnip, and garlic. Mmm, mmm, mmm! We'll store it in the refrigerator until eaten.
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lacto-fermented veggies.
 
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That kraut looks delicious Joseph. That'll be good along side some beans this winter.

Speaking of beans, I just read the article mentioned above (not all of it yet, just your part)...Cool beans!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I'm trying to keep some sweet potato clones alive until spring. They are growing in water in a bedroom window. Three of these plants produced pollinated seeds during the most recent growing season, and the light green one was flowering on the longest day of the year (not day-length sensitive).

I sent 1/3 of my seeds to a close collaborator, and he shared seeds with me. The short term goal of our project is to select for a population of sweet potatoes that is highly seedy. Then once we are able to easily produce hundreds or thousands of seeds per year, we can throw a lot of seeds into the ground while selecting for productivity and taste.

p.s. Sorry that both my decent cameras have busted, so I'm down to using a mediocre camera.
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Sweet potato seeds
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Sweet potato clones
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I have daydreamed for years about keeping chickens again. Finally got that taken care of this spring. Yay! Here's what the flock looked like this afternoon.

The goat milk was too goaty to drink, so I made farmer's and ricotta cheese a few days ago. No recipes or thermometer, just winging it.
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Chickens
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goat cheeses: farmer's and ricotta
 
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Those are beautiful chickens.  What a treat. 

Did you use the vinegar method or the rennet style for ricotta?  Looks delicious. 

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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R. Ranson: Yup. Much easier to feed garden excess to chickens at home than traveling to collaborator's chicken coops.

I used rennet to make the farmer's cheese, then added lemon juice to the whey to make the ricotta. Added a bit of turmeric to the ricotta for color.  I'd guess I added about 2 to 3 times more lemon juice to the whey than was necessary. Oh well, tastes great even lemony.

I've really enjoyed eating the farmer's cheese sliced thick, and then fried to brown a couple sides.



 
r ranson
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I used rennet to make the farmer's cheese, then added lemon juice to the whey to make the ricotta. Added a bit of turmeric to the ricotta for color.  I'd guess I added about 2 to 3 times more lemon juice to the whey than was necessary. Oh well, tastes great even lemony. 


Reading that makes me want to make my own cheese again.  Sounds good. 

My chickens used to love whey - there was always so much more of it than we could use and I suspect all the things in milk I can't digest get washed into the whey so the hens were very happy. 

Thanks so much for sharing your adventures on this thread.  I always learn so much from you. 
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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A year ago, I made a cross between a couple of tomato varieties Yellow Pear, and my earliest potato-leaved variety. It was done on a lark, unconnected to any of my breeding projects. Pollen and a receptive flower just happened to be available that day. I grew out the first generation in the house overwinter, then planted the second generation in the spring. That's the fun generation where the most diversity appears. I planted 72 plants, and their phenotypes were widely divergent. I loved them. I took a lot to the farmer's market. Saved a lot for seed. If they pass germination testing I'll add them to my seed catalog.

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Chariot cherry/saladette tomatoes
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F2 hybrid tomatoes: Each row is the earliest harvest from one plant
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Mixed cherry tomatoes for the farmer's market
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I love the taste of yellow tomatoes, so I saved these separate.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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This fall, I built a seed drying rack to help dry seeds quicker and easier. Here's photos of what it looks like while drying corn and squash. I put a fan in front of it sometimes, on low to increase air circulation. I store the squash fruits right next to the seed drying rack. 

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Seed drying rack with high carotene flint corn.
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Drying squash seeds
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Fan in front of seed drying rack.
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Storing squash in the seed room as well, until seeds get extracted.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I'm running germination tests on squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, and other things. For these species, I grow them in coconut coir in a germination chamber. Normally it's closed. I opened the door of the chamber to take photos.

The germination chamber is a wooden box with a baseboard heater thermostat, a small heater, and florescent lighting. The whole thing is on a timer, so that heat/light is only available 16 hours per day. At night the temperature drops to about 65 F. I love the variability of heat/light. Better mimics natural conditions. Seems to me like it tends towards great germination. 



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Germination chamber
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Testing germination in coconut coir.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Wow! What a difference one day makes...
testing-squash-germination.jpg
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Germination testing
 
r ranson
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
Wow! What a difference one day makes...


WOWZERS!  That's fantastic.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Some of these varieties passed the germination test. Woot! Started more tests today since space was freed up in the germination chamber.
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Testing germination on squash.
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Germination testing on domestic and wild tomatoes
 
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What does the germination test entail? You're not planting out any of these seedlings I assume since it is so wintery still, so are you just running out little batches of each seed to see how quickly and completely they germinate?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Stephen: I'm counting out seeds, and planting them in coconut coir. Then a few days later counting them again. This is to insure that the seed is vigorous and healthy.

With corn or beans, I count out 100 seeds, and put them in a jar, soak them overnight, then rinse them twice a day until they germinate. Smaller seeds are easier to deal with if planted into potting soil.

Then I'm composting the seedlings. There are some tomatoes and a pot of yarrow that I intend to grow indoors over winter. The tomatoes are from a breeding project I'm working on. I want to make crosses between them, and try to get another generation of seeds before spring. 
 
stephen lowe
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OK so for some of the stuff you are attempting to get two generations of breeding out of one year, and then for the other plants are you only doing these tests because you sell the seed and want to be able to promise a certain level of vitality?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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stephen lowe wrote:... are you only doing these tests because you sell the seed and want to be able to promise a certain level of vitality?


Yes. For example, I only sell squash and tomato seed if germination is 75% or better. And I pay attention to the seedlings to make sure that they are strong, and healthy looking.  People give me feedback about my seeds being vigorous. I'd rather not sell a variety than send out something that would harm my reputation by germinating non-vigorously.

I keep a notebook to record the results of the testing. And also write test results on each bottle of seed. If a batch of seed fails to germinate well, I segregate it into the archive, so it won't get mixed up with high-germination seed. I plant low germ seed myself, or give it away, but I don't sell it.

One thing that has been very interesting to me, is to test germination for the same batch of seed year after year. It's remarkable to me how stable and long-lived seeds can be.



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Results of germination testing.
 
stephen lowe
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Awesome results there Joseph. Thank you again for the work you do and for being so open in sharing it with us all. It is truly inspiring.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Here's an example of a successful germination test. 99%!

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Germination testing on squash.
 
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