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pollinator
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:A year ago, I made a cross between a couple of tomato varieties Yellow Pear, and my earliest potato-leaved variety.


This year I have found some yellow pears with double of the normal size! I am going to sow them and let's see.... What you will find funny is that I have harvested 2 nice ones yesterday... Actually tomatos do not produce so well in summer here... Anyway we are not a tomato place.

I think I am going to try to get seeds from my potatoes, but I think they are in charge of themselves, as I find some potatoes without ever planting them!
 
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:
- Why irrigating at night would make you irrigate double?



Possibly because he doesn't have timers so turns it on in the evening and turns it off in the morning?
 
Xisca Nicolas
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I just thought that 12 hours was a lot as the house looks nearby. Well all in life is about context! And in my system I have 1 valve to turn on near the house... and also he says he likes that the evaporation cools the air, and in my place we have air humidity and not high temps in summer, 28-30ºC is not much as the most common temp in the afternoon... But I guess you are right, if you do not want to be a slave of your work and not work before breakfast and after dinner!
 
gardener
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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My irrigation habits are very much influenced by my life... For example, I commute to the farm by bicycle. The round trip to my closest field is 14 miles. I'm reluctant to bike after dark. Therefore, if I turn on irrigation water at night, it stays on until morning. Our irrigation system is designed for sprinkle irrigation, 12 hours per week.

I irrigate the squash field in furrows. Therefore I stay in the field the whole time the irrigation water is running. Thus I like to irrigate the squash field in late evening just before sunset while there is some shade.  The squash field doesn't have shade any other time of day.

Yes, irrigation washes pollen away, and promotes the growth of micro-organisms, and insects. But those are minor inconveniences compared to a plant that's dead from lack of water. Irrigation washes the desert dust off leaves, so they photosynthesize better, and it kills insects like aphids that harm the plants.

I am not an advocate of mulching large gardens. Because obtaining that much mulch requires mining the surrounding areas of organic material, which tends towards desertification of the mined areas.

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I'm giving a presentation near Seattle Washington

Food security through common sense and traditional methods
Snohomish, Washington
Tuesday, February 13th

late afternoon or evening.

I'll stay around after for a question and answer session about landrace gardening. Location and exact time to be announced later.

Edit to add: https://www.facebook.com/events/189291078334806/
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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In recent years, I have been changing my planting strategy, to plant as many crops as possible in the fall, so that they can take advantage of the moisture in the ground from the fall, winter, and spring precipitation. I have been screening lots of crops for winter hardiness, and making great progress.

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Winter peas are doing great.
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Winter lentils are thriving
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So far, the carrots are winter hardy. Mild winter so far.
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Barley isn't doing very well.
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Some favas are completely dead. Others are doing OK. I don't expect them to survive till spring, but one of these years they might.
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At least some of the garbanzos are thriving.
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The oats are dying off in patches depending on snow cover.
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Clary sage (chia) is going wonderful.
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Several kinds of mints are thriving.
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I have been eating sorrel. What a great winter crop!
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The poppies germinated while snow was on the ground, so they are very leggy after the snow melted.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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I have a winter garbanzo from mid east, and it is nearly black! Very dark purple.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I attended a seed swap today...
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Seed swap
 
master steward
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Wait, clary sage is chia?  I have essential oil of clary sage, didn't know those were the same plant.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Julia Winter wrote:Wait, clary sage is chia?  I have essential oil of clary sage, didn't know those were the same plant.



Clary sage is in same genus as other species that are called chia. They have the same culinary uses,  mucilaginous seeds, and omega-3 fatty acid profile, etc... 
 
pollinator
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You know, Joseph, it's just not fair that you are seeing live green things emerging this time of year in a 4b zone while we in 4a can only dream of such things.  What factors keep your soil temps warm enough for these green sprouts to make their appearance this early?  Is it just the intensity of the sun there counteracting the still low ambient temperatures?  It's a fairly typically winter here in the Red River Valley of northern Minnesota....meaning the frost depth is a good 3 + feet.  I would need to select for a plant with ethylene glycol in its veins to be able to withstand those temps! ;-)

I'm just jealous, of course....but might a hoop house placed over a soil spot in the fall reduce the frost depth sufficiently to see such sprouting in this climate?  I don't think without one any other type of shelter to reduce the winds would provide enough of a microclimate for this to happen.  Are others in central Canada with a 4a-like climate able to do this in their plots?   Thanks!
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gardener
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I know that out here in California, it has been an extremely dry and warm winter. The weather patterns have been very similar to 2014/15 — setting up high pressure ridges off the west coast, pushing cold air north and east, away from the west. This time last year, I had about 7ft of snow standing on the ground. This year, tulips are starting to push through the snowless ground as the temperatures reach mid/high 50's during the day.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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John: I have spent a lot of time and effort the past few years selecting for species and varieties with anti-freeze in their veins.  As I like to think of it, for varieties that grow even when covered with snow. So far this year, we are enjoying a maritime influenced weather pattern, and have missed the cold arctic jet-stream blasts. Snow is a great insulator, and we had snow cover since December. Still, the ground here freezes, to an unknown depth, and all the plants pictured were able to survive that, and even grow through frozen ground. I have been eating fall planted spinach, parsley, and bok choi all winter. I've been really impressed with sorrel as a winter crop.

I planted the poppies too late. They germinated through the snow, and got way etiolated. Perhaps I'll see how they do. Perhaps I'll replant.

In addition to the domestic species, I have been paying attention to wild-things that grow during the winter.... We have sorrel, mallows, chickweed that are pretty much edible any time that they are not covered with snow. The sunroot tubers survive the winter outside.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Julia Winter wrote:Wait, clary sage is chia?  I have essential oil of clary sage, didn't know those were the same plant.


Salvia sclarea and salvia hispanica are not the same, and the plants are very different, and the essential oil is anyway not from the seed. The seed itself is very similar, I have both...
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I am also growing the chia species Salvia colombiana. Working on adapting it to my growing conditions.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I recently had the pleasure of doing a podcast with Paul and Jocelyn.
https://permies.com/t/77746/podcast-Joseph-Lofthouse-plant-breeding
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
I recently had the pleasure of doing a podcast with Paul and Jocelyn.
Part 1. https://permies.com/t/77746/podcast-Joseph-Lofthouse-plant-breeding



Part 2. https://permies.com/t/78891/podcast-Joseph-Lofthouse-plant-breeding
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I been listening to this... Laughing at myself for laughing in the same way to the same things as I did while we were making the podcast. Wonderful echoes!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I checked on the honeybees this afternoon. It was sunny, and warm enough that they could have been taking cleansing flights. Looks like all the colonies died overwinter. Pretty typical for this area.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Doing cold stratification on pollinated garlic seeds.

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Germinating pollinated garlic seeds.
 
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What kind of hives do you use Joseph? I just went down a deep internet hole two nights ago with a friend into log hives and eventually found that folks in eastern europe have apparently been cutting notches in living trees and then harvesting the honey hives that form in them. wild stuff. Mostly I'm just curious why you think your local hives die over winter.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I think that our hives die overwinter because my family and our local community practice migratory beekeeping in Langstroth hives which are designed for the convenience of the beekeeper, and not for the health of the colony. So we restock each year with southern-adapted bees, that have been infected -- by their yearly trip to the almond orchards -- with a wide assortment of contagious ailments.

About a week ago, I drew up plans for a hexagonal warre style hive system. It is sized to use commonly available (usa) lumber dimensions. I would like to use a few of them for experiments in breeding locally-adapted honeybees. It's a tough project, cause even if I breed locally adapted queens, the community is still swamped with migratory southern-adapted drones.

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I pruned grapes today. Then chopped the vines into pieces and put them into pots of sand. I expect some of them to root, so I can distribute grape vines to the community. This variety is Interlaken, a green seedless grape. They tend to thrive in the valley.

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rooting grape cuttings
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Spring has arrived in the valley!

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Testicle buttercup
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First mud. Weeding the garlic.
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The sunroots survived the winter.
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Crocus: The very firstest flower.
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Violets grow feral here.
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A wild tomato hybrid cross growing in the greenhouse
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A micro-flower
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The bees sure love grape hyacinths.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I weeded today with one of my favorite weeding tools: A leaf rake. This is a bed of hull-less winter-oats. There were a bunch of annual seedlings germinating, so I raked aggressively. The oats withstood it fine. The annual seedlings succumbed easily. I expect to repeat a few more times this spring. Other crops that I use this method with include garlic, other grains, and peas.  It also works with perennials before they emerge in the spring.

And just for the information of those of you that keep advocating that I go no-till. I spread wood chips around the grapes, and over top of a row of perennials... My first tentative exploration of converting an annual garden into a fungal dominated garden. In accordance with my desire to know the provenance of everything that enters the garden, the wood chips originated in my food forest. I didn't chip any conifers, which should make the chips suitable for growing edible mushrooms.



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Weeding with a leaf rake
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Beginnings of a no-till experiment.
 
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I really like your farm and your philosophy
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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The fall planted winter wheat cover crop did poorly. It wasn't reliably winter hardy. So I replanted the field today into garbanzos, lentils, and vetch. I expect to plant squash in about 8 weeks. I finished planting just as it started raining. Because I don't have irrigation in the spring, I try to do most of my planting a day or two before rains are expected. By the time the storm passes, the seeds are typically germinated, and the roots are into the residual moisture from winter.
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Mixed species cover crop.
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A bucket of cover crop seed. Mostly sourced from the grocery store.
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Early spring micro-flowers.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I had a few crops that I really wanted to plant today, cause it's the right season, and because the forecast is for a week of rain. So I planted them, even though it was raining. I really love my clay soil. It would be a whole different life to have to learn to grow in some other soil type. I was accompanied by a guest while working.



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muddy barefoot gardening
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Garden guest
 
master steward
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I love being barefoot in the garden.  Yesterday I was weeding flax and I took my shoes off to step on the little guys.  It's like heaven to connect to the earth like that. 
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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My garden is growing well this spring. Here's a few photos.
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The tomatoes are thriving in the greenhouse
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The promiscuous pollinating tomato project is progressed wonderfully
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Perhaps an unexpected interspecies hybrid?
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I'm loving the interspecies tomato hybrids
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I have already enjoyed 3 ripe tomatoes
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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It's morel wildcrafting season at my farm.

The parts that we don't eat will get blended up in water, and poured as inoculant over wood chips.

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wildcrafting morels
 
Kyle Neath
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Have you ever had success cultivating morels? They're my favorite mushroom! Unfortunately the only source for morels I know of are wildcrafters who harvest them from the forest. Fortunately, we have a (morel) mushroom festival every year…
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I have been successful cultivating morels. The easiest way is to blend up spawn (whole mushrooms, dirty end pieces, dehydrated fruits, etc)  in water, then pour it over a thick bed of wood chips. We also save the rinse water and use it as inoculant.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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The day the irrigation becomes active is always a cause for celebration in my desert garden. After the farmer's market, I planted 1800 row feet of seeds, then started the first line of irrigation. Six more lines to set up still, which I expect to do in the next couple days.

I'm still wildcrafting mushrooms. This time oyster mushrooms. After cooking to minimize water, there were 4 pounds that went into the freezer. And the wash water provided a couple gallons of spawn, which was distributed across the farm and in the wildlands.
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First water of 2018.
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Wildcrafted oyster mushroom
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Frozen oyster mushrooms
 
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Your podcast with Paul was one of the first permies podcasts I had the satisfaction of listening to, and now I've discovered this veritable gold mine! Thanks Joseph!

Sunroots: are you immune to their apparent GI-distress-effects, or do you select for roots that don't cause upset?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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We eat sunroots frequently in small doses, rather than binging on them sporadically: as an addition to a soup or roast, for example, rather than as a main-dish of sunroots. Also, most of the sunroots that we eat have been lacto-fermented. We tend to eat a lot of pro-biotic, and pre-biotic foods, so adding one more pre-biotic doesn't throw us out-of-kilter. 
 
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Joseph, it looks like all there varieties of tomatoes are taking well to their new raised bed. One jagodtka didn't make the trip well but is recovering. We're already seeing fruit on the big hills. Thanks
Guy
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Guy: Thanks for the grow report.

I planted about 80 Big Hill plants this summer. I'm intending them as my main tomato, fresh for market. The Jagodka, that I'm growing in half-gallon pots, are setting lots of fruits. I've found enough promiscuous flowers on the wild crosses to feel really satisfied with the project.

Promiscuous tomato flower. Anthers not connected to each other. Stigma totally exposed.
 
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Location: Suburbs Salt Lake City, Utah 6a 24 in rain 58 in snow
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Joseph, we've already eaten three ripe Big Hill tomatoes! And the plants are loaded with more.

Yesterday I harvested my first Brad tomato. Very tasty!

 

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