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Photos of Joseph Lofthouse's Garden

 
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Location: PA, zone 6a
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I believe the male sterility is just a F1 problem. It happens a lot with intergenus crosses.
 
steward
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I preserved butternut squash pie filling last night. Both frozen and bottled. Sure looks pretty when done on a human scale by loving hands and with singing and dancing for the crop from seed, to harvest, to preservation.
bottled-butternut.jpg
bottled butternut pie filling
bottled butternut pie filling
frozen-butternut-squash.jpg
frozen butternut squash
frozen butternut squash
pressure-canner.jpg
pressure canner
pressure canner
 
gardener
Posts: 779
Location: Ontario - Currently in Zone 4b
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Joseph, that looks delicious!
Do you have a recipe/general methodology?

That looks like it's more similar to Apple pie filling than what I normally consider squash pie, which would  be a nice change. Have quite a few squash hanging out in the basement that I need to use soon and live with someone who (gasp) isn't much a fan of traditional pumpkin pie.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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For bottling, I followed the recommendations of the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

The recipe is to peel and cube the squash and bring to boiling, then hot pack into jars and pressure cook. I peel them with a potato peeler. Seeds get saved and washed in a colander, then put under a fan to dry.

For quart jars at my altitude, and with my equipment, processing time was 90 minutes. I use a jiggling pressure gauge, because it's much easier (for me) to listen for an occasional jiggle than to watch a dial. Pints would have only required 55 minutes, and might have resulted in a better tasting product. However, quart jars hold about 16 ounces of pumpkin, and most recipes based on store bought pumpkin call for a 15 ounce can of pumpkin, so I used quart jars to match the expected recipes.

There was an error in the recipe. It said that 16 pounds of cubed squash was needed to fill 7 quart jars. The actual amount required was 9 pounds. Therefore, I froze the rest, also in 16 ounce packages. Except for what I ate for supper!
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Mmm. mmm. mmm.
Mmm. mmm. mmm.
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cubed butternut squash
cubed butternut squash
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I did the same type of taste testing with the pepo winter squash. Culled any with white-ish flesh (bleck), or with woody skins.

I wonder if the fruits with fuzzy skin would be resistant to insects and/or the diseases that they carry?

I avoided growing pepo winter squash for years, because I thought they were bland and tasteless. Then I said to myself, "Duh!". I realized that if I want great tasting squash, I can breed them myself, therefore, I started tasting every fruit before saving seeds from it. Just like I do with every other species. The flavor has come a long way in the 4 years since I adopted that strategy for the pepo squash. They are actually worth eating now!!! Yum.
lofthouse-pepo-winter-squash.jpg
Lofthouse pepo winter squash
Lofthouse pepo winter squash
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fuzzy skin and orange flesh on pepo winter squash
fuzzy skin and orange flesh on pepo winter squash
taste-testing-pepo-squash.jpg
Taste testing squash
Taste testing squash
pepo-winter-squash-seeds.jpg
Lots of pepo winter squash seeds to share
Lots of pepo winter squash seeds to share
 
pollinator
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I've often been impressed at the range of flavors in my C. pepo breeding project. There was one, which I'm trying to recapture, that was so incredibly sweet you could use it as a sugar substitute!
 
steward
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Ellendra Nauriel wrote:I've often been impressed at the range of flavors in my C. pepo breeding project. There was one, which I'm trying to recapture, that was so incredibly sweet you could use it as a sugar substitute!


I love this Ellendra.  If you would, please let us know if you can get it back.  I did a little searching and picked up seeds for a few hybrid C. pepo varieties that are said to be very sweet out of curiosity.  Will experiment with those a little to see what comes of it.
 
Ellendra Nauriel
pollinator
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Greg Martin wrote:

Ellendra Nauriel wrote:I've often been impressed at the range of flavors in my C. pepo breeding project. There was one, which I'm trying to recapture, that was so incredibly sweet you could use it as a sugar substitute!


I love this Ellendra.  If you would, please let us know if you can get it back.  



Definitely! My plan is to try and develop it into its own consistent variety, and sell seeds.

This year the sweetest pumpkin I got was an 8 on a 0-10 sweetness scale. Last year there were 3 plants that produced 10s. Which raises the question of whether it was genetic or environmental, but still. It shows what's possible.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Experimental Farm Network is distributing my seed varieties this year. That frees up my time for learning, teaching, travel, writing, and generally being an elder. They are the near exclusive provider of the seeds that I grew on my farm. Their catalog went live today.

Experimental Farm Network

Other places which carry some of my varieties include:

Giving Ground Seeds
High Ground Gardens
Snake River Seed Cooperative
Wild Mountain Seeds
Seed Savers Exchange
Baker Creek Seeds
Resilient Seeds
Miss Penn's Mountain Seeds
Hawthorn Farm Organic Seeds
 
Joseph Lofthouse
steward
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I attended the Utah Farm and Food Conference this weekend. People in attendance got access to every variety I grow for which I had sufficient seed for sharing. And bottled food that I have sang and danced for since it was still seeds, and every step of the process since then, including growing, irrigation, weeding, harvest, and processing...



lofthouse-landrace-seeds.jpg
Seed swap
Seed swap
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Experimental Farm Network is distributing my seeds this year. That fees me up to act more like a seed elder. Therefore, I'm writing the book that people have been asking for. Today's big news is that I received an ISBN! At my typical rate of 1100 words per day, I'm about 5 days from finishing the rough draft.

Shannon Brooks of Monticello College collected my Mother Earth News Articles together into a single pdf file. http://garden.lofthouse.com/landrace-gardening-MEN.pdf

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Writing that book
Writing that book
cover-first-draft-blurred.png
Landrace Gardening
Landrace Gardening
 
pollinator
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:Experimental Farm Network is distributing my seeds this year. That fees me up to act more like a seed elder. Therefore, I'm writing the book that people have been asking for. Today's big news is that I received an ISBN! At my typical rate of 1100 words per day, I'm about 5 days from finishing the rough draft.

Shannon Brooks of Monticello College collected my Mother Earth News Articles together into a single pdf file. http://garden.lofthouse.com/landrace-gardening-MEN.pdf


Congratulations Joseph! I can't wait for the opportunity to read your book
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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The cuttings from the elite promiscuous tomatoes are still alive. At least some of them are. My favorites either didn't survive or lost their labels.

They are right on schedule to produce seeds in time for spring planting.
promiscuous-tomato-cuttings.jpg
Cuttings from the most elite of the promiscuous tomatoes
Cuttings from the most elite of the promiscuous tomatoes
 
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Here's my Lofthouse Maxima squash, grown on in 2020 from seeds I saved in 2019. They do great in my high desert conditions. Extremely delicious. I've given seeds to a couple of friends here in Ladakh but haven't heard back yet from anyone who grew and ate them.

My recipe is:
With a large strong knife, cut the squash in half, then in slices about 1 to 3 inches wide. Peel either with a veg peeler or by slicing off thin layers with a knife. Cut into approximately inch chunks or larger.

Roll in oil, salt, and any other flavor of your choice. I add minced fresh rosemary and a mild powdered chilli.

Leave overnight first (eg to prepare ahead for a feast), or bake right away. Bake at approx 350F (my oven doesn't have accurate controls and the squash always comes out delicious).

It takes about 45 to 60 minutes. Stick a fork in a larger piece to see if they're getting soft. The ones that get slightly burnt on the bottom get much sweeter and yummier. Plenty of oil helps that happen but if you're watching your oil intake, less oil works fine too.
2021-01-15-Lofthouse-maxima-squash-cooked.jpeg
Baked with salt, oil and rosemary
Baked with salt, oil and rosemary
2021-01-15-Lofthouse-maxima-squash.jpeg
Cut in January, but could have lasted months more
Cut in January, but could have lasted months more
 
Ellendra Nauriel
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How does one go about selling seeds through the Experimental Farm Network? I poked around their website and couldn't find an answer to that.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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This week, I finished the first draft of the book, and completed one round of editing. Still missing a couple photos that I'll take when the snow melts in a couple weeks.

It's ready for beta readers! A beta reader's role is to give a general assessment of the flow of the book. What works? What's clunky, boring, or brilliant?

Beta reading is best done in waves. A few people read and provide feedback, changes are made, then the next group gets a look.  

If you'd like to volunteer to read and critique the beta version, please send me an email or purple mooseage. It is 138 pages. I'd like feedback within 2 weeks.

For the early rounds, I'll send a pdf file. I'd prefer that people outside the usa participate in the early rounds, cause it's hard to send paper books overseas in a timely manner.

landrace-gardening-book.jpg
Landrace Gardening, first draft
Landrace Gardening, first draft
 
gardener
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I'll have to keep an eye on this for when you're ready for the U.S.A. phase of beta readers. Lord knows I'd love to help out on this one!
 
pollinator
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Ellendra Nauriel wrote:How does one go about selling seeds through the Experimental Farm Network? I poked around their website and couldn't find an answer to that.



I just sent them a message through their Web form and they emailed me back when I had this same question. I explained who I am what tomatoes I've bred, and why they are useful for plant breeders. Got a definite maybe in reply. Plan to stay in touch and send in some seeds maybe next cycle. Note: I also work closely with Joseph on a few things which is why the Exserted Orange Tomato seed is available now- that was a definite in. I also don't expect to make much money on this. For example: I just sent a different and regional seed company an ounce of unique tomato seed for $50.

Though before I did this I worked at plant breeding for a few years and have a couple tomato varieties in progress of potential utility to others like us. Not everything on EFN is new so it would also work to be the seed steward of a unique variety with limited availability. Which is something we often encounter when engaged in plant breeding because we also are seed savers and often looking for unique varieties. When we find a unique variety we like we often seed steward it as well. If there is enough demand we might as well grow enough seed for a seed crop and make it available.

I think there is a logical progression here in my case it's gone like this:
Gardening>Seed Saving>Native Plants> Heirlooms> Seed Trading> Plant Breeding and or Seed Stewarding > More Seed Trading > Seed Sales.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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The snow has melted, and I'm planting cold loving seeds: Lettuce, onion, cilantro, fava, wheat, barley, rye, oats, fenugreek, pea, lentil, garbanzo. Soaked the fava beans overnight to give them a quicker start. These are William Schlegel's landrace, plus a few from Colorado.

I added a sign up form to my web site where people can ask to be notified when the book is available: Notify Me
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William Schlegel's Landrace Fava
William Schlegel's Landrace Fava
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I sorted seeds today. Emptied jars of old seeds from breeding projects into a bucket. Washed the jars. Emptied hundreds of seed packets into the bucket. I'm intending to broadcast them into non-cultivated areas of the farm. I'm getting much better at simplifying seedkeeping, and only keeping one jar of seeds for each species/variety.

seed-purge.jpg
Purging excess seeds
Purging excess seeds
 
pollinator
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I never had nearly as many seeds as you but I adopted the one container per species practice a few years back, soooo much easier. Of course there are several exceptions, for example the woman here would have a royal fit if her favorite green beans or tomatoes were not grown separately. I do admit I also have a few of my own in that category.
I still haven't started mixing new seed together yet. I have several amaranth and sorghum varieties new to me this year and they will be planted together and saved together from then on but for now I have them stored in the original packs. I want to make sure an equal amount of each is planted.
 
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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. 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.



I ordered some of these Chariot tomato seeds through Experimental Farm Network, and they sprouted up really fast. The other tomatoes I started from seed didn't sprout nearly as fast. I have one with potato leaves, and one with a different leaf type. My kids each took one plant, and we're excited to see if we get yellow or red tomatoes, and what shape they'll be!

Thank you for recording your breeding projects here! It's been fun learning about these tomatoes!
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My daughter planting her tomatoes--what will they be?
My daughter planting her tomatoes--what will they be?
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And my son planting his! Now to put cloches around them!
And my son planting his! Now to put cloches around them!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Nicole Alderman wrote:I ordered some of these Chariot tomato seeds through Experimental Farm Network, and they sprouted up really fast. The other tomatoes I started from seed didn't sprout nearly as fast.



Interestingly enough, I planted about 900 tomato seeds a few days ago. Brad, the ancestor of Chariot was the first to sprout. Brad usually ties with Jagodka for earliest to produce fruit.

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Mark: I also make exceptions to the rule of one seed jar per species or variety. For example, the promiscuous tomatoes are a very active breeding project, therefore, I often save seeds separately from each plant. I found a few Delicata squash with fuzzy fruits. I saved seeds from them separately, because I want to explore the trait without committing wholeheartedly to it. I save specific strains of inbreeding domestic tomatoes.

I can't believe that I was so slow to adopt the strategy of one jar per species!!!
 
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:Another of my fields. This one is planted mostly into beans and corn. There are also patches of raspberries and garlic, and some seed crops: turnips, beets, parsnips, and kohlrabi. Also irrigated via sprinkler with 40 foot long 4" diameter irrigation pipes.





Do you keep the soil covered with a cover crop or mulch over Winter? I'm currently looking into methods of reducing soil erosion and subsidence.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Ryan M Miller wrote:Do you keep the soil covered with a cover crop or mulch over Winter? I'm currently looking into methods of reducing soil erosion and subsidence.



Snow covers my fields for 5 months each winter. The ground is in stasis during that time. The desert soil sucks in every bit of moisture it can acquire. There is no soil erosion.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Yesterday, I submitted the 'Landrace Gardening' book to the editor!

Today, I finished building a new greenhouse.

Here's a meme that I've posted here before. Air-brushed the background trash, so that it could be included in book.

greenhouse-foundation-a.jpg
Redwood foundation
Redwood foundation
greenhouse-finished-a.jpg
Finished greenhouse
Finished greenhouse
path-to-victory-carrots-pa.jpg
The path to victory is doing what we love
The path to victory is doing what we love
 
Mark Reed
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Thant's a sweet green house. Makes me want to get off my rear and build one too!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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The tomatoes in the greenhouse survived 3 nights of frosty weather. I'm really liking the thermostatically controlled propane heater.
tomatoes-greenhouse.jpg
The Beautifully Promiscuous And Tasty Tomato Project
The Beautifully Promiscuous And Tasty Tomato Project
 
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How cold do you let the greenhouse get ? I put my wildling, p20 and ildi on the rooftop terrace a week ago and aside from the ildi (which has since bounced back), they did fine with a week of 40 degree F night time weather.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Patrick Marchand wrote:How cold do you let the greenhouse get ?



I aim for 50 F at 5 feet above the floor.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I finished the final edits to the book today.

Remaining tasks include printing a few proof copies for review of the final layout and photo quality, then arranging for printing and distribution.

Oh, and the most important task: selecting a date for a book-release party. Potluck. We'll jam, dance, and eat.  

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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The Book is Published!

The premium color edition of Landrace Gardening is now available for purchase.

Hardback and paperback are available from Lulu. I get higher royalties from Lulu, the workmanship is better, and it's protected better during shipping.

Paperback is available from Amazon. Amazon ships quicker, and sometimes offers free shipping, or discounted pricing.

Over the next few weeks, I expect to add additional distributors.


Back Cover Blurb

Food reliability matters more than ever

Joseph Lofthouse taught landrace gardening at conferences hosted by the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance, National Heirloom Expo, Organic Seed Alliance, Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA-NY), and Utah Farm & Food Conference. He serves as World Tomato Society ambassador.

“Landrace Gardening is brilliant. It’s a love story! And 2 parts gardening handbook. There are so many revelations I don’t know where to begin? AMAZING. In every way this is a book for the ages. Bravo Joseph.” Dan Barber, Blue Hill At Stone Barns, and Row 7 Seed Company

“There is magic in the way Joseph Lofthouse marries his no-stress approach to gardening with such deep love and passion. This book is as much a gardening manual as it is a re-framing of our relationship with each other and the world. Landrace Gardening gives us a roadmap to the kind of joyful food security that we need for healing many of the most important wounds of our time.” Jason Padvorac

“Joseph Lofthouse has a focus upon something that all gardeners should know: Landrace varieties are the way to sustainability. The best part is that everything in his book is adaptable for any gardener. No high level knowledge of botany or chemistry is required. The versatility and diversity of growing landrace plants speaks for themselves.” Jere Gettle— Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.

“The western sustainable agriculture movement has long needed its own version of the 'One Straw Revolution'. Joseph Lofthouse provides just that. With revolutionary gusto based on heretical thought and age old human gnosis. In Landrace Gardening, Food Security... Lofthouse steps firmly into the role of Iconoclast and elder seed shaman.” Alan Bishop, Alchemist at Spirits Of French Lick

landrace-gardening-book.png
Landrace Gardening: Food Security through Biodiversity and Promiscuous Pollination
Landrace Gardening: Food Security through Biodiversity and Promiscuous Pollination
 
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Congrats on publishing the book!
I just placed an order.
 
s. lowe
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Congratulations Joseph! It's an amazing book and I'll be putting in my order today.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I planted-out tomatoes today. These are from the Beautifully Promiscuous and Tasty Tomatoes project.
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Beautifully Promiscuous and Tasty Tomatoes
Beautifully Promiscuous and Tasty Tomatoes
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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The rhubarb thrived this year.
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rhubarb
rhubarb
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Harvested 40 pounds
Harvested 40 pounds
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Made pies, and stewed rhubarb
Made pies, and stewed rhubarb
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started a batch of wine
started a batch of wine
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Saving the last sip of the old wine, until the new is ready.
Saving the last sip of the old wine, until the new is ready.
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Bottled some for eating during the winter.
Bottled some for eating during the winter.
 
gardener
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:I love this tomato. I just mailed seed to Experimental Farm Network for distribution this winter.

Big Hill was the first open pollinated tomato that I developed on my farm. It originated as part of the Beautifully Promiscuous and Tasty Tomato Project. It combines earliness with fantastic flavor.



This morning I discovered that a Lofthouse Big Hill tomato in my container garden had snapped clean off at the base, presumably due to a strong wind gust from a thunderburst that hit us in the night.  I have seen many tomato plants knocked over by strong winds with damage to the stalk, but I never saw one just snap at the soil level before. The stalk was almost thumb-thick in a strong upright bush configuration that had appeared sturdy, so I had offered it no support.  First flower cluster had just opened.

I was standing there with the plant in my hand, weighing all the usual games I play to rescue distressed plants. There was one little independent leaf frond below the break -- should I just mound soil around it and let the plant recover? (Plenty of growing season left here, first frost not until October or November.) Should I prune most of the leaves off of the broken plant stem and re-plant it in moist soil, to see if it would root? (There were little air roots above the break, so it probably would take.)

And, then, finally, the light dawned on Marble Head (that would be my stone head, thank you very much.)  I have dozens of thriving tomato plants this year, in many varieties. I have several more happy-looking Lofthouse Big Hills, which probably have enough genetic diversity that the other ones won't have this exact problem.  I no longer need to treat every distressed plant like a rescue case, the way I did when I was first learning to grow tomatoes. I am delighted to be growing the Big Hills for the first time but my big realization was that I did not want to save that plant!  I will have plenty of tomatoes this year without it (barring something weird like a giant hail catastrophe) and strong gusty winds are normal here.  So what good to me are the genetics of a plant that can't handle locally-common wind gusts?

And then I thought about the couple dozen robust plant seedlings in four inch pots sitting at the edge of the garden, waiting for me to find places for them before it's too late. Some of them are going to die in those pots.  I always overplant.

After a moment's reflection, I yanked the root ball of that failed Big Hill out of the soil and pitched it toward my compost pile.  Went and got an EFN-sourced "African Green Egg" eggplant start that was begging for a home, and planted it straight into the same hole.  

This is, I think, absolutely the first time I've ever been confident enough to cull a plant because I did not like a thing that it did.  Even though I save seed from my favorites, I typically try to baby along struggling plants for whatever production they can provide.  But I am, I think, learning better.  

I'm still very excited to see what the other Big Hill plants do, though!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Dan: How exciting!
 
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