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Landrace and Heirlooms

 
pollinator
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It is very cool of Mr. Lofthouse to hang around here and I do hope I win his book so I don't have to buy it. These promos work I know because I am getting the Fokin Hoe for Father's Day I believe, hahaha.

Anyways, I was wondering if someone out there, doesn't have to be Joseph, can help me out with this concept. I've asked before but it just isn't gelling, as they say.

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? But why?  Ugh, I just don't think I am explaining myself correctly. Maybe I should just buy the damn book!

 
Mother Tree
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Dan Fish wrote:Heirloom plants always produce heirloom seeds right?



Only if it's pollinated by another heirloom plant. Both parents would have to be of the same heirloom variety to give heirloom seeds. If you grow two heirloom varieties, you'll get a mixture of both types of heirlooms *and* some cross-pollinated hybrids from the seeds.

And everyone always tells you not to save hybrid seeds cause you will get seeds from just one of it's parents.



Only because they're muddled up. The genes swap around before seeds are produced so you'll get a mix of genes from all of the parents and grandparents.

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.



Pretty much, though with tomatoes they don't cross-pollinate very easily unless you help them a bit. Or grow some of Joseph Lofthouse's landrace varieties which are selected to have big flowers which cross pollinate easily.

So heirlooms cannot be used as a component of these fictional landrace tomatoes, correct?



Yes they can! Go for it!

 
Dan Fish
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Holy Moley! I think I get it now! I remember reading about landrace gardening a year or two ago, when I first found Permies and for some reason I was not tracking at all. This made my day.

Thank you so much.
 
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My definition of an heirloom, is an inbred variety that was beloved by some far away farmer, a long time ago.

Since that time, the heirloom preservation purists have been inbreeding it for decades, to keep it "pure". Inbreeding causes lack of vigor in plants.

Heirlooms are great as inputs for developing a landrace. Some hybrids are great inputs. Hybrids of tomatoes, squash, melons, spinach, sunroots, and corn are wonderful additions to a landrace. I don't like using hybrids of small flowered species because of seed company shenanigans regarding how the hybrids are made.

Offspring tend to resemble their parents and grandparents. Therefore, if we start with great parents, we tend to get great offspring.
 
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Shoot: I posted where I wasn’t supposed to post. So, I copied it to this thread.  I think it fits here rather than on another because all of the plants I put into my vegetable gardens are heirloom varieties (to the best of my knowledge, anyway). I apologize for the duplicate posting.

—————————-
I did not know about this book. I think I need to read it.

I stopped rototilling a couple of summers ago. I had only done it twice anyway. I didn’t like it.
This year I am getting tons of volunteer plants. Turnip greens really surprised me - its the first time they have shown up since I planted them 4 years ago. I noticed them a few days ago in a thicket of cursed dock that I need to pluck. But here’s the thing: the dock leaves are riddled with bug holes while the turnip greens are nearly blemish free. I think I learned something here. There may be a place for dock.

The real prize is 3 or 4 volunteer tomato plants. I did a poor job hardening off my tomato seedlings. Beyond poor. I put them out ‘for an hour’ and forgot them. All day long. Afternoon sun beating down. They are just now beginning to recover. But those volunteers will fill in the gap. I may have learned something here too.  Maybe I can direct seed under good mulch (still learning the do’s and don’ts of gardening here in the Willamette valley).

And of course, lots of squash vines are coming up.  I saved squash seeds from last year’s garden but maybe I didn’t have to bother. It will be fun to see what they become. I hope there’s some hubbard …

If this isn’t a good reason to stop tilling, I don’t know what is. Free plants, no labor, suited to my garden conditions, and the great fun of the wonder and anticipation.

I need to learn more lest I do things that get in the way of my volunteers’ success  now and in years to come.
 
pollinator
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I started growing turnips and cabbage this year. Three varieties of cabbage, only one of turnips so far, but I need to acquire more. My main landrace concern for this area is drought tolerance, so I either need short season varieties that will ripen on spring moisture (and endure the cold!) or types that are really drought and heat tolerant.

The varieties I've got are all technically heirlooms, but I'm hoping for some interesting crosses. The crosses (hybrids) are where the good stuff starts.

One of the cabbage varieties is a 2nd generation hybrid (they grew the hybrid, got seeds from it, and these are the next generation that have crossed once) so I'm waiting to see what I get there. Should be some great variety. One of the three is doing great in my summer greenhouse, so there's hope for heat tolerance as well.

With landrace breeding the more diversity you can get the better, and hybrids give you a bonus of two (or more, if you get lucky) in one package..
 
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Hi Joseph... I initiated and run a local Community Seed Bank project and up to this point been committed to seed saving from traditional open pollinated heirloom varieties only...to preserve that gene pool and  true to type specific varietal characteristics ...and secondly... sowing seed saved from each true to type growout to adapt to our specific conditions thereby increasing yields and pest and disease tolerance etc... so it sounds like you are advocating inter varietal crossing for better lines specific to one's region as well as for genetic diversification... is that right... appreciate your comment in this regard...from Qld. Oz...oh very new to this site and haven't read your book but must say sounds fascinating to me
 
master gardener
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Hi Dee,

Welcome to Permies.
 
Dee Kempson
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thank you John
 
Dee Kempson
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ok Joseph ..so have just found a post of your take on landrace gardening from 6 yrs ago... and become more acquainted with ...etc...so my question to you from this point now is ...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...
 
Lauren Ritz
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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.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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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 commend your local garden club for their wild ways!

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.

 
Dee Kempson
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aye...our grass roots community seed bank is "dynamic" in that there is no hi tech storage ...a fridge for holding, with the imperative that the seed stock where possible is given out freely and put in the ground within 2-3 years by our members... and any seed saved from a successful crop is shared and planted, with "samples" passed back to the bank for tagging and then dissemination...cyclically... I have tried to teach seed saving practices that maintain "true to type" characteristics but most are not actually compelled to do that...I do consider adaptations to our specific environment more important though because of my leaning towards food security and food sovereignty in these times we live in...
 
Dan Fish
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Very cool Dee. Someday I thinkit would be cool if someone documented their running of a seed bank. Although I know nothing about seeds/genetics, hence the post, I am fascinated by it.

Thank you Joseph for replying directly. It's all becoming clear...
 
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My interpretation of the "benefits" of heirloom varieties was from reading about fewer and fewer varieties being grown nowadays compared to even 50, but particularly 100 years ago. "Heirloom" were held up as an example of a way that everyday people could preserve old varieties that were open pollinated and had been developed the old-fashioned way of choosing the best plants rather than some of the really abusive way modern researchers seem to try to force changes.

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?
 
Dee Kempson
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Dan when I find someone I can train into the "job" that's exactly what I want to do ... 25 years ago I had the experience of developing pathways and processes for Seed Savers Network seedbank (OZ) ...a national NGO of about 3300 subscribers /contributors... now I am doing same for the opposite pole...a community ngo/project as offshoot to a garden club with about 64 members on the mailout list but up to 20 odd attend meets and or are are active at any given time...really scaling down and keeping it simple, free, and volunteer run... a personalised  training /operations manual /story is what I have in mind !... (something like " the barefoot banker")
 
Dee Kempson
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Jay!  I love this overview...thank you... having just happened upon "landrace gardening" it spun me a bit as it seemed to be 180 degrees from what I had been taught and been teaching to "preserve" heirlooms... and nice to see my "wild/promiscuous mob" at the garden club are very likely showing me their instinctive response to the times...
 
Dee Kempson
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Lauren...Interesting...I find the first growout of an heirloom variety can be hit and miss but does steadily improve with each generational growout...and am presuming the variety is increasingly adapting to the specific conditions of the environment. I do tend to save the seeds from a mix of plants from each growout ...not just the best plants... my thinking being that although I do live in a high rainfall area...every several years or so we can have a drought by comparison, and maybe the "runts" seeds contain a gene for that occasion...or for any other environmental stressor that is unusual for here...
 
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Oh! I learned about Landraces in one of my classes this last year in University!

Before though I started a project where I take wild plantain (non-native Michigan leafy green) and try to start breeding it for less bitterness and higher seed yield. Now its year 2 of the project and my plantain plant from last year is back and thriving!
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.
Any advice on plants to keep those tiny moth larva off my cabbage/kale/broc? Thanks!
 
Dee Kempson
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You could try this as a companion planting...  https://jerry-coleby-williams.net/2014/11/01/nannys-cabbage-companion-confirmed-caterpillar-killer-by-university-of-queensland/
 
Lauren Ritz
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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.

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.

I never watered them, never protected them. It's a shaded north facing wall, but I seriously have no idea where they're getting their water. When I dug out some of the plants this spring to move them to another location there was no water in the soil. Dust.
 
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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.



I just howled over the beta-reader calling you genocidal!
 
Diane Kistner
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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.



This post really helped me understand what we're trying to accomplish here! Thanks, Lauren.
 
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Previously I thought heirloom seeds were the tried, true and tested varieties and honestly the way to go.  Honestly I'm not much of a tomato connoisseur but am known to munch on a warm one from the garden occasionally.  This year I went with some new-to-me heirloom varieties and one in particular (Hungarian Heart) has been disappointing.  The seedlings were spindly and it got worse as they grew although they had the same light and growing conditions as all the other varieties which grew nice and stocky.  They're looking better now that they've been planted but the stems are still quite small and weak-looking compared to the others.  I guess the real test will be taste and production, but unless I'm awed by this variety by the end of the season, I probably won't grow it again.  

 
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Personally I've discovered that whatever seeds I start, wherever I get them from initially that by keeping seeds from the plants that grow well in my garden they tend to do well year-after-year. I don't worry at all about cross-pollination (guess that makes my entire garden "landrace") and I find that things that grew well last year are hardier and better suited to our habits. I'm guessing a lot of other folks have similar experiences.
 
Lauren Ritz
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This plant is a zucchetti. A zucchini-spaghetti squash  mix. The first generation I deliberately cross pollinated with pie pumpkin and zucchini. Last year my survivors were one zucchetti, one pumpetti, and one spaghetti squash. The spaghetti squash never got any fruit on it and died from squash bug attack.

This plant was started from seed, in this spot, at the beginning of April. It has endured several freezes, heat and high UV, lack of water, and currently has four fruit on it. They have the stripes of the zucchini but are more the shape of a spaghetti squash.

This year I'll be removing all the male flowers from the spaghetti squash so they have to cross pollinate with the crosses. I'm looking for a drought and cold tolerant spaghetti squash with the continuous production of the zucchini and the ability to keep over the winter. Pie in the sky, right?

These are the descendants of the single survivor of a packet of spaghetti squash a few years ago.
IMG_20210617_083033717.jpg
zuchetti
zuchetti
 
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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!
But landracing means we're selecting for the plants best for our soil, climate, whether we neglect or baby our plants, with the characteristics we value highest. It's an exciting idea, and Joseph has shown that it works!
Essential to have this conversation now, with climates changing, agribusiness locking up seeds by removing reproductive capacity and breeding for chemical dependency, and food scarcity likely to become more of an issue.
 
Dan Fish
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I feel 50% smarter after reading this thread.

Can I ask another quick question? There has to be some adaptation that goes on through the generations of heirlooms right? For example, I planted a bunch of Mortgage Lifter tomatoes this year and they are exceeding expectations so far. 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?

Lauren, that spazinni is awesome looking!
 
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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?


These are important questions, and they will vary from species-to-species. For instance, I have observed that plants grown from bean seeds I’ve saved do much better than the packets that I originally bought. That’s too quick to be genetic. Some people call it “seed memory” or “heritable epigenetics”, but it is basically a set of mechanisms for mother plants to pass on information about the local environment to give their offspring a head start in life.

Examples include the ability to cope with too little (or perhaps too much) water, poor soil nutrients, and other stresses the plants might encounter. This is an active area of research in the agricultural academic world. I’ve seen papers confirming it in the common bean, and a recent paper where some varieties of peanut exhibited this seed memory and some did not. I haven’t seen anything on tomatoes, but I strongly suspect that locally saved seeds will generally do better in one’s own garden than the equivalent genetics grown at a seed farm (even if that’s not provable “clinically”).
 
Lauren Ritz
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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?

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.

If the changes are epigenetic, I've been told they will fade within a few generations if not reinforced. If your conditions waken some forgotten DNA quirk, it could be permanent. It depends on what type of change is triggered.
 
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This is all very new to me, so please excuse the very basic question.  How do you know what seeds to save?  I  understand you choose  qualities you like best, but beyond that are there seeds that are a waist of time to save?  This year my  chickens ate and destroyed all the veggies I was hardening off. So everything I planted was a already growing veggie I bought.  Should I save seeds from the ones I like?  Or wait until next year when I start my veggies from seed?
What veggies just aren't worth saving the seeds for? As a beginner what veggies are the most successful for saving seeds?  Thanks, I'm just not sure where to start.
 
Lauren Ritz
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Simplest is going to be items that go to seed the first year--squash, tomatoes, peppers, and so on. Make sure that the fruit is entirely ripe, preferably ripened on the plant. A zucchini, for example, will be 3+ feet long and 6+ inches in diameter when it's "ripe." On the other hand, the seeds of a tomato are ready when the tomato is ready. If you have a particular plant that you like (appearance, taste, or some other trait) keep seeds from it.

As to whether you should keep seeds from store-bought plants, that's going to depend on your goals. Keep in mind that some hybrids have in-bred male sterility (this makes it easier for the breeders to create a reliable hybrid). If you're growing heirlooms or open pollinated varieties that shouldn't be a problem and you can safely keep seeds.
 
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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.
 
L Anderson
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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.)

 
L Anderson
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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.



Said SO much better than I could. Thank you for your post.
 
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Hi Dee, your seed bank sounds just like what some are trying to start here in my neighborhood, no budget and mostly concerned with sharing seeds broadly.  People are interested in developing local landraces. Where are you located?  How long has your seed bank been operating?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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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?



I don't care about old varieties being lost. That is because I grow 5000 genetically unique corn plants on my farm each year. Any plant could be inbred to become a new variety. After 50 more years of inbreeding, people could start calling it an heirloom.

My sweet corn is descended from hundreds of named varieties of sweet corn, and from landraces from the Andes, the Caribbean, the northern plains, and Hopiland. There may be more genetic diversity in my sweet corn, than in the entire industrialized seed system combined. There is certainly more diversity in one cob of my sweet corn than in 100 acres of a commercial sweet corn variety.

While I don't hold on to the names, or the stories, I hold onto many of the genes, and to the ongoing web of life.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Michelle Heath: Regarding spindly tomatoes.... Some varieties just grow spindly. Nothing wrong with that in particular. They might be highly productive, they might be easier to trellis, the might crawl over weeds better. I prefer compact determinate plants, because they create a closed canopy that shades out weeds. Then I don't have to weed them. That keeps the tomatoes close to the ground, that can be a problem in areas with soil diseases that infect the leaves.

I advocate growing what we love. If you don't like the spindly trait, don't grow that type again.
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Growing what we love
Growing what we love
 
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