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Localization/ adpatation of perennials

 
Brian Klock
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Stephen,
Great to having you join us. I've added your book to my "wish list". Hopefully I will be one of the lucky winners, but otherwise we'll add it to our library budget!

I am curious about experiences with localization of perennials. We are very new in our permaculture transition. We started gathering up many species of seeds, tubers and trees in 2014, and are eager to continue this year. We look forward to sharing with the community. I see many people posting wants and availables on forums. I don't mind spending some money to get some, but my hesitation is that they may not do well on our property. I know that some plants will become more localized to soil and other conditions. We saw that as we began growing garlic several years ago, and seeing how our own seed stock seemed to adapt to our conditions. We moved it to a friends property last year, as we started doing some more earthworks and livestock on our property... It failed miserably.

What are your experiences with plant adaptation, and how as permaculturists can we best share our plant species?

I will leave with this simple caveat to my question. Sometimes I hesitate to ask for plants or cuttings, as many times persons have limited supplies. I don't want to be the person that got some only to have them fail, when someone else could have been more successful, but didn't get some because I did.

Thanks for spending some time with us here on permies.com

-Brian
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
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Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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I think it is an important question, and that we should share about our tries.

I can grow in winter what you can grow in summer iin other places!
But I do not have the same day length that yuo have in summer in the north!
I had problems with chia and try it now instead of a spring sow.

I have coliflower now, and I sow it last may, sooooo long.
So I will sow this one next autumn and see....

Dendelion is not only doing great here, but I can collect it even in summer,
quite a surprise....
and it even flowers all year long.

I would like to get an understanding to success better in plant adaptation.
Even if we have to try,
I do not like this to be the only answer.
 
Stephen Barstow
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Location: Malvik, Norway
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Just a few random thoughts here! When I started growing here 30 years ago, I had no idea what would grow....people told me that the reason there were so few veggies available in the supermarkets was because of our cold climate. I tried and failed many times... but I observed that wild edibles around me, mostly perennials, grew very well and many were very tasty and quite productive and I started moving them nearer to the house as I didn't have so much time for foraging. 30 years on, I believe that I'm gardening in one of the easiest places for veggies - we never have droughts, it's not too hot and actually not too cold either (minimum in winter below -20C is unusual), but the choice of plants to grow is important. If I had just copied what the rest of Europe grows I wouldn't have been so successful. I've grown around 2,000 mostly perennial plants from around the world successfully, most little improved from the wild species, but despite that many are more productive than annual veggies. Now, I'm not saying that everyone should do this. There was no Internet discussion fora the first 20 years or so, so I just learned what kind of conditions the plants liked in nature and tried those I thought had a good chance. Now, we can all work together to learn much more quickly through this forum and other fora and even work together breeding our own local selections...it happens often naturally with seed propagated species....
We now have amateurs out there working on a range of different perennial veggies on fora such as Plant Breeding for Permaculture....we all also need to network and share locally and learn from one another and this will become more and more valuable as the permaculture movement grows.... As I've commented elsewhere, why not look first at your local wild edible plants and how Native Americans used those plants. Moving wild plants into gardens is something native peoples have always done, the first stage of domestication, but only a few, largely by accident, ended up as commercial varieties....

Personally , plant adaptation has happened accidentally over the years as I didn't really think of it until 10 years ago or so. For example, I've grown Quinoa here since about 1990. The variety was called "Dave". Saving seed of the best plants every year means that they have adapted into a local variety that I can now call "Stephe" I'm now working on a number of local breeding projects such as trying to develop a Caraway (Carum carvi) with good sized roots as a very hardy root crop (along with its other uses as a spring green and spice) and crossing perennial brassicas (I'm looking at selecting hardier varieties and I've also crossed Daubenton perennial kale with a late flowering purple sprouted broccoli with the dream of a purple sprouting perennial kale!) and I share this work, seeds and cuttings with others...
 
Stephen Barstow
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Location: Malvik, Norway
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Recommended reading: http://www.caroldeppe.com/byovv.html
 
Burra Maluca
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Stephen Barstow wrote: I'm now working on a number of local breeding projects such as trying to develop a Caraway (Carum carvi) with good sized roots as a very hardy root crop (along with its other uses as a spring green and spice) and crossing perennial brassicas (I'm looking at selecting hardier varieties and I've also crossed Daubenton perennial kale with a late flowering purple sprouted broccoli with the dream of a purple sprouting perennial kale!) and I share this work, seeds and cuttings with others...


I have some seeds of this plant if you want them. It's a short-lived perennial that tends to keel over if you let it seed. This was the only purple one we had, but we've saved seeds and grown a load of them out and the next generation have quite a few purples among them. The seeds are markedly different shades, too, and I suspect you could pick out the purple seeds and get only purple plants from them.



They produce edible grelos, which is basically a rough version of sprouting broccoli. These are mostly green, but there are a few purple ones in there.



They tolerate crazy hot summer temperatures, and our winters dip to around -9C, though not for very long at a time. I've heard rumours that cabbage family plants that tolerate heat will also tolerate cold, but I don't know how much truth there is to that. If you'd like some seed, let me know. I'm getting ready to send a few packs off soon so I might as well do a load together.
 
Stephen Barstow
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Location: Malvik, Norway
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Yes, please Burra, that's very kind....................I've never managed to get hold of material from any of the Portuguese perennial kales. Here's the section from the book about this (note, however, that the real Couve Poda rarely flowers):

Couve Poda
Perennial kales have also survived in remote regions along the Atlantic coastal
zone in Portugal (Dias, 2012). Most commonly known as Couve Poda or Couve de
Mil Folhas, the names Couve de Pernada, Couve de Mil Cabe├žas, Couve Vegetativa
and Couve de Estaca have also been recorded. These names refer either to its
vegetative propagation, thousand heads or leaves/rosettes or its branching habitat.
The aforementioned document has a couple of pictures of these much-branched
purple tinged cabbages that are being conserved in Portugal and at Gatersleben in
Germany. The sweetish tasting leaves are both used as leafy vegetables in soups or
just boiled and served with meat or fish. An interesting illustration from 1586 exists
of what is believed to be this kale! Genetic analysis (Zeven et al., 199 showed that
the Portuguese perennial kales were distinct from other kales. These kales also
seldom flower.

Can I ask where you got it from?
Let me know if you'd like something(s) in return from my seed list: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=567
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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Stephen Barstow wrote:.I've never managed to get hold of material from any of the Portuguese perennial kales.

Can I ask where you got it from?


Well I live in Portugal, and I think the batch this one was in was from the local market. It's 'Couve Galega' and has a stem like a walking stick. People tell me it's the same as collards, but I've never seen 'real' collards so I can't judge. I suspect Galega is older though, maybe closer to the original, whatever that was.

I'm not sure which other local cabbages are perennial, but I'll ask around and try to find packs of seeds of anything that looks promising and send them to you, too.

Do you have an address? PM me or point me to a link or something.

 
Stephen Barstow
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Yes, will do, thanks! It might be a thousand headed kale, sometimes called branching borecole and described as being like a walking stick kale but lower growing and with numerous side branches (old, before 1865 in Western France). Please keep a look out for the perennial kales - a friend saw one in the Algarve growing in a nursery, but didn't think to ask for a cutting
 
Brian Klock
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Stephen,
Thanks for all the great info.

I am so jealous of the perennial brassicas. I have yet to find something that has been grown in our area. We are Zone 6 here in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately it seems we get cold without snow quite a lot, which makes it hard to overwinter many vegetable varieties, without some form of protection. We had a stretch of -12C earlier in the winter with no snow, and chilling winds. I am hoping for a hoop-house for next winter to let us grow through the winter.

I am very young in my permaculture infancy, so much to learn, and much to try.

 
Stephen Barstow
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I think there's a good chance that some Perennial Kales will make it there as it's significantly colder here and they do make it in some years with down to -15C without snowcover. In any case, I take cuttings in autumn and overwinter in a cold room inside or cellar. This gives me a backup and in any case a quicker start than seed started brassicas....
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Thank you, all.

How do you take cuttings from Brassicas? Are there any cautions in doing so, predicable possible problems specific to Brassica cuttings, etc.

Do many species and varieties of Brassicas do well from cuttings? Such that it is worth it to try cuttings from any species or variety of Brassica?

Thank you. This opens up so many possibilities and is very exciting.
 
Stephen Barstow
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Location: Malvik, Norway
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Perennial brassicas are very easy to take cuttings of....just take a side shoot off the main stem and they almost always root quite quickly.
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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I took some photos a couple of years ago, and posted them here.

But I might as well share them again...

Galega will normally grow for about five years but that after a year or two it will start to put out little netas, literally 'granddaughters', from the lower stem.



So you snap them off...



...make a little hole in the ground...



...pop the neta in...



and there you have a brand new Couve Galega!

 
Jennifer Smith
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Location: Zone 5
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This is the best of all threads. Timing is everything.
I have been a member here a for years but since buying and moving onto my blank slate I haven't had much time for Internet research as I was/am hands on experimenting.
Recently I have been back to Internet research on alternative or winter goat forage. I have been studying this very subject! !
Please please may I buy some seeds? I will grow them in my garden keeping the best for a few generations till I can do several acres in a mix of clovers and grasses, and
other forbs.
Or I have a perennial topset onion to trade
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate
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Jen - if you want Galega seeds, PM me your address and I'll get some to you.
 
Paul Ryan
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I bought my couve galega seeds from an eBay seller called patch-of-heaven (they're in Portugal). They all germinated easily, were very easy to grow and good to eat! It's a great plant and very vigorous.
 
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