Dan Fish wrote:Heirloom plants always produce heirloom seeds right?
And everyone always tells you not to save hybrid seeds cause you will get seeds from just one of it's parents.
But with landrace gardening I would grow many types of, say tomatoes, and collect the cross pollinated seeds in an attempt to capture the best traits for my area.
So heirlooms cannot be used as a component of these fictional landrace tomatoes, correct?
Dee Kempson wrote:...is there any value in maintaining true to type heirloom varieties via seed saving... at the local, national, and global levels...my garden club members are a "wild" bunch and not that keen to maintain "true to type" seedstock from varieties I hand out to them ...which I research as to their relevence for our climatic and env. conditions...genetic custodianship v. "allowing landraces" to show themselves for food security in a specific microenvironment...
I did that quite on accident with collards. I was sorting seeds for the collards I'd planted and some of them apparently fell by the steps. A year later, boom, small collard patch.
Robin Wild wrote:I decided to grow a bunch more varieties of kale this year to get more genetics in my 3rd generation Kale seed collection. I think I managed to breed a decently perenialized Kale plant as it has handled the spring drought we have been having and comes back to seed after each winter. I believe it was a Russian blue plant to begin with, I put two other varieties in now! Hopefully I can develop a more bug resistant strain as that was a large issue last year.
Joseph Lofthouse wrote:People love their inbred heirlooms. One of the beta-readers of my book called me genocidal, for not preserving the inbred heirlooms.
Despite the best intentions of people, they can't prevent genetic drift in heirlooms. It's happening constantly through mutations, and inadvertent crossing. I'm just being honest about it. I'm more interested in preserving a living seed bank, than I am in curating a museum specimen from long ago and far away.
Lauren Ritz wrote:It's said that 95+% of our garden genetics has been lost through selective breeding for "heirloom" varieties. Everyone wants the same plant, the same food, no variation in color, taste, or size.
I choose not to grow heirlooms because most of what goes in my soil dies the first year. Germination and survival are better the 2nd year, and by the third year the plants are trying to take over the world. Heirlooms tend to die. They're just not strong enough. But mix two, or three, or five, and survival is much more likely.
I look at heirlooms as a genetic seed bank--not so much for today, or for a specific location, but a hedge against lost genetics in the future.
In a very different way, landraces are also a hedge against changes in the future. By combining those genetics in different ways, they allow for development in situations where heirlooms simply would not survive.
Dan Fish wrote:There has to be some adaptation that goes on through the generations of heirlooms right? […] Or another way of putting it is, how stable is stable when talking about a heirloom's genetics?
There is cross pollination--it's just that the mother plant is providing both halves. So the genes still mix, within the limits of the variety.
Dan Fish wrote:If the fruit is as good as the plants look I will want to save seeds from these but will they slowly adapt to my local conditions even though they get no cross pollination? (They are isolated from the other tomatoes). Or another way of putting it is, how stable is stable when talking about a heirloom's genetics?
I love this discussion of landracing and can't wait to try it!
The problem I see with heirlooms is that they're basically someone elses's landrace, suited to that grower's soil, climate, plant preferences, and gardening habits. No wonder they so often fail when we grow them, and we blame ourselves!
I couldn’t agree more. For example, I have always loved Brandywine. They did great in my gardens in Bakersfield, CA (100 + degrees F June - October and usually 0 rainfall in those months), and in Bloomington, IN (85-90 F in summer with so much rain I didn’t even have a hose). Here, I try stubbornly every summer and am lucky to get 3 tomatoes which don’t have the flavor they should. I know, definition of insanity. They just don’t like it here. At my place, anyway. But the Cherokee Purple and the Opalka are huge winners in flavor, yield, and hardiness. This is why I’m so exited about my volunteer plants. I don’t know about their taste a vigor yet, but they might just like it here enough to thrive in my heavy clay soil and thats a good sign in my book. (And now you know that I’m not fastidious when it comes to cleaning the garden at the end of the year).
P.S. I haven’t bought a zucchini seed since my first garden here. They sprout anew here and there. I keep a couple that look good and aren’t in the way, and they are better every year. And, they need a lot less water. (Its not as hot here as in Bakersfield, but summertime rain is nearly as rare.)
Debbie Ann wrote:Hi. I hope I don't upset any of you but I would like to make a comment about heirloom vegetables. Please be kind to me. I have no idea what a landrace is. But I'm pretty old and I can remember what 'real' vegetables tasted like. Back in the day they tasted really good. No one had to 'force me' to eat my vegetables when I was a kid.
Heirloom seeds were the things that mostly... a lady brought with her in a covered wagon across the country centuries ago. “People would come from all over the county to ask Missus Taylor for her zucchini seed because they were so good.” And they really were so damned sweet! She collected them and coveted them because the vegetables tasted awesome and her family would actually eat them and remain healthy. They were something special.
Not like the hybrid stuff they sell in the stores today that all seem to taste like cardboard. Over the decades I've read a lot and listened to lots of interviews about the newest, greatest hybrid varieties. Their origins are not a secret. They are specifically bred (and I'm not talking GMO here) to give better yields, bigger fruits, be more resistant to diseases, easier to transport, longer shelf life, etc. etc. etc. And in the case of a lot of the seedlings you can buy at your local nursery today they are even bred to specifically be exactly 8 inches tall at 6 weeks old because that is the height of the shelves in their trucks and they want uniform sizes to pack in as much as possible. I'm not kidding. God's honest truth.
Hybrids are bred to be the best, super, duper plants.... but they are not bred TO TASTE GOOD! Yes, that trait is on the list but only in last place. I grow heirlooms because they taste so damned good! Like in the olden days when I was a kid. Yes, they can be susceptible to more issues and they usually have very little shelf life but....THEY TASTE REALLY, REALLY GOOD! Most of them are so damned sweet and my tomatoes taste like candy!
Someone mentioned inbreeding. If you are only using seed year after year, decade after decade from your small yard then you would have inbreeding. If you are sharing seeds with others all over the county, all over the country, all over the planet there is no inbreeding. Just great vegies. Some end up in Alaska and adapt to cold temperatures. Some go to Algeria and learn to grow under very different conditions. The important thing is that they still all need to, must TASTE REALLY GREAT. That's why we grow heirloom vegies. Just saying......
Thank you for reading my post.
Jay Angler wrote:Getting to understand "Landrace" seems really important, because it appears to me that with landrace we're developing new varieties for today's weather pattern and encouraging that very genetic breadth that we were in danger of loosing, by encouraging needed diversity by helping plants adapt to local ecosystems, rather than importing someone else's genetics to our land.
Does that make sense?
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