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!!!!!!!! Sunroots For Sale: Genetically diverse. Prolifically Seeding.  RSS feed

 
garden master
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During late fall (October/November), and early spring (April/May), I may have sunroot tubers available for sale. Check the end of this thread for current availability and pricing.

Thanks,
Joseph

------

I have sunroot tubers for sale. I'm asking $25 cash for a small flat rate box of them, which will contain two tubers each of at least 6 different varieties.

They are F1 or F2 hybrids of crosses between a commercial sunroot and an improved wild population which originated in Kansas. They produce lots of seeds in my garden if the flower heads are bagged soon after petal drop to prevent predation by birds. I have selected these for high productivity of tubers, short(ish) stolons, and vigorous growth under my no-input growing conditions. I have also selected for less-knobby tubers to make cleaning and harvest easier. I'll also send a sample of the commercial clone.

While these can be grown as food for man or beast, I use them primarily as a breeding population. If you've always wanted to do a Jerusalem artichoke breeding project, but didn't want to expend the effort of overcoming the self-incompatibility issue, then this population has just what you need. Or grow them as clones, selecting whichever varieties please you, or grow best under your conditions. I'll put numbers on the different varieties so that you can send me grow-reports if you'd like. I love hearing how my things grow!

Let's make arrangements via personal message or email.

I'm not interested in shipping outside the us.

I don't have a good place to store sunroots, and they are susceptible to freezing in transit, so let's get shipping taken care of before about November 18th.

I also have seeds for sale of the improved wild population. $5 per packet. Productivity of tubers is low because they are still very feral! Seeds store well, and are available any time...
 
gardener
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I'm pulling in my financial horns just now so it's "not this year" for me. But it's an awesome offer!

Plus, it has reminded me that it's past time for me to go dig the wild patch I have my eye on. Last year I screwed up and the wild tubers I dug didn't get stored properly, I let them dry out too much (they were tiny anyway) and they wouldn't sprout in spring.

Everybody: here's a thread from earlier in the year with some of Joseph's sun root pictures.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Dan Boone: Thanks.

Sunroots are very susceptible to dehydration. In my opinion they are best stored in the ground... I also store them in plastic bags in the fridge. I typically add a bit of peat, coconut fiber, or soil to the bags to soak up any excess moisture.

Sunroots are winter hardy in my zone 4b garden, so I plant tubers in the fall.

I cover seed heads with a bit of floating row cover to save them from birds.
 
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Joseph, is it possible to get some in the spring ? I would like to get some going up at my place in Wyoming but I wont be back up there until next May.
Maybe I should just try the seeds?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Miles Flansburg wrote:Joseph, is it possible to get some in the spring ? I would like to get some going up at my place in Wyoming but I wont be back up there until next May.
Maybe I should just try the seeds?


I can share tubers of sunroot weeds in the spring. They won't be named as accurately, or selected as carefully as the ones I dig in the fall. But I'll still be able to send about a half dozen productive varieties.

Also, by spring I expect to have a few packets of F2 seeds to share. The seed heads are still drying. I planted tubers a couple days ago intending to grow a large seed crop next year.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:I can share tubers of sunroot weeds in the spring. They won't be named as accurately, or selected as carefully as the ones I dig in the fall. But I'll still be able to send about a half dozen productive varieties.


I'm expecting to dig the sunroot tubers this week. Anyone want some? I'm intending to sell the rest of them at the farmer's market on May 7th, so send me a PM if you want me to save some out for you before then.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I'll be digging the sunroot tubers during the next few weeks. I'm again making them available to permies members. This year I am asking $15 paper-currency for a small flat-rate box of tubers which includes postage. If you'd like to please me by paying with silver, I'd accept 5 silver dimes (1964 or earlier) and $7 paper-currency to cover postage. I'm not putting labels on the different varieties this year. I'll send a box of genetically diverse tubers from the F1 and F2 populations: A sampling of good productive varieties. Shipping to usa only. Send me a personal message or email if you need my mailing address, or grab it from the image on the bottom of my web site. This offer expires on November 15th, since I won't be able to store the tubers in good condition after that.

Due to requests for larger quantities, I'll also send medium flat-rate boxes for $35, postage included, or 10 silver dimes (1964 or earlier), and $14 paper-currency.




 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:This offer expires on November 15th, since I won't be able to store the tubers in good condition after that. 


The weather has been particularly mild this year, so the sunroot tubers are still in good shape. I'm extending the offer to ship tubers through the end of November.

 
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I've got self watering planting boxes prepared to accept the sunroot and dahlia seeds and so I went online to see if there were any tricks about planting them. Seems really straightforward, but nearly every site that I found was warning about how it couldn't be done, or wasn't worth the risk. Often this was in the main article, but if not then someone had to speak up in the comments. After all, they won't come true to seed so must be inferior to the parent plant. One of them specifically brought up how potatoes had to be grown from tubers because the seeds wouldn't produce edible plants. It made me instantly think of you. I hope this makes you laugh as hard as it does me.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Casie: I'm more likely to cry....  When I first started writing that I was growing sunroot seeds people were vicious with me, because the Internet and the most trusted seed saving manuals, said that "sunroots don't make seeds". Therefore, I was either lying, or mistaken about what species I was growing. So I just kept growing sunroots from seeds. And posting photos of the plants, the tubers, and the seeds. Nowadays it's not such a lonely road to walk growing sunroots, potatoes, garlic, and sweet potatoes from pollinated seeds. So I take some measure of joy and satisfaction in that. I might even laugh about how robust our seed production network is becoming.
 
Casie Becker
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Well, the good news is that there is information out there on how to plant them. The thread of conversation has shifted from won't work to not worth the bother. If it stalls out there it'll only discourage the timid. I ignored that advice years ago when wanted to grow a rose from seed. Ended up with a pale pink, ruffled edged, open formed, repeat bloomer that smelled like a fresh picked apple. I wanted to cry when it didn't survive one of my moves, but nay sayers didn't keep me from planting it in the first place.

It does make me wonder, if I ever get enough saffron to not harvest all of it, could I possibly get saffron seeds? That's another plant they say is sterile.

Final edit: I'll be sure to pass around any seed I gather this fall.
 
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I would be very interested in trying some sunroots from seed this spring. I'd like to get my own breeding program started here in Maine. Will both of you have seeds available? Also, what is your advice as far as sowing the seed? Plant indoors a few weeks early or sow in place? So awesome what you are doing Joseph! Very happy to have found a community doing this work!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Direct seeding of sunroots works well for me. I like to get them in the ground while the apple trees are flowering. I often plant them in the greenhouse, because that makes it easy to cull slow growing plants. Then I only plant out the most robust. Sunroots can grow 12 feet tall in my garden. I don't know if selecting for robust growth was the best strategy, but I make my choices, and live with the consequences.

I'm out of pollinated seeds for this spring. I'm intending to bag flowers this summer so that I can save the seeds from predation by birds.  I'll be able to dig and share tubers in March/April when the ground has thawed.

I have lots of seed from feral sunroots from about 5 generations ago that I could share. They are not suitable for use as a food crop. They would however be suitable as a wildflower, or for feeding goldfinches.


 
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Unfortunately, I can't import them to Australia. They look much smoother and easier to clean than the variety I have. Good work!
You really should write a or several books about your work!!!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I dug the spring sunroot tubers today, I'm making them available for purchase by permies members. I'm asking $15 paper-currency for a small flat-rate box of tubers which includes postage.  If you'd like to please me by paying with silver, I'd accept 5 silver dimes (1964 or earlier) and $7 paper-currency to cover postage. Some of the tubers are huge, so I'll be chopping them up into smaller pieces so that I can fit about 10 different varieties into a box. They are unnamed varieties that are the first or second generation of offspring from my breeding project. They are clones that have pleased me a lot. Back when I was keeping track of names for them, they got names like Wow!, WTF?, HF!, etc... Shipping to usa only. Send me a personal message or email if you need my mailing address, or grab it from the image on the bottom of my web site. I'll be able to store/dig these tubers for a few weeks, however the window of opportunity has begun counting down. I expect that they'll be gone for the season by April 15th. So lets make arrangements before then.

I'm not making the larger flat-rate boxes available now. It's too hard to find/dig tubers in the spring.

sunroots-2017-03-20.jpg
[Thumbnail for sunroots-2017-03-20.jpg]
Sunroot tubers.
 
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It's probably a little late in the season to get some off of you now, but I'd like to buy some the next time they're available. I'm assuming they'd be fine over wintering in zone 6 if I get them in the fall.

I have a steep wooded hillside up the back of the property that isn't very assesible and I'm tired of having to mow the poke berries out of the edge. I'm hoping between peppermint, spearmint, horseradish and sun chokes, they'll squeeze out most everything else and actually have something productive growing there instead.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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The sunroots are winter hardy in my USDA Zone 4b garden. I get reports from people about rodents eating their sunroot tubers overwinter. Wish that I could be so lucky!!!

The tubers in the field are long gone. I just checked my secret stash in the pantry. It looks like there are about 2 of the small flat-rate boxes left. Yay! I have finally learned how to store sunroots. Send me a purple moosage or email to make arrangements.
 
Casie Becker
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Oh, I have the sunroots you sent me this spring planted in large pots in different areas of the yard. They're all growing. Strangely enough the more shade the pot gets the better they seem to be doing. The ones in with only morning and dappled sun started blooming a couple weeks ago, the ones with shade from the middle of the day on have a lot of flower buds, and the one in full sun has yet to form any flower buds at all. Their size runs from big to small in the same order.

This is really exciting news for me because the pot that is doing best is sitting in the middle of a particularly unproductive corner of the front gardens. I was originally thinking I needed to sacrifice a productive full sun bed to grow these.
 
Derek Callihan
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
The sunroots are winter hardy in my USDA Zone 4b garden. I get reports from people about rodents eating their sunroot tubers overwinter. Wish that I could be so lucky!!!

The tubers in the field are long gone. I just checked my secret stash in the pantry. It looks like there are about 2 of the small flat-rate boxes left. Yay! I have finally learned how to store sunroots. Send me a purple moosage or email to make arrangements.


Moosage sent. A couple questions: You said there's 10 varieties in the small box. Is there one each or a few of each? How many tubers in an average box? Also, is there anything specific I should do before planting them?
 
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Mine are over-wintering just fine here in WI and I'm 4b also.  I love them.  I never have to plant, they just pop up from whatever I left the year before.  I have dozens of them growing this year.  They are in a garden I used to use for potatoes that measures about 20'x20'.  I'm just letting them take over.  That won't take long   I have a row of comfrey plants along one edge.  I'm curious to see if one or the other wins out, or if they find a way to co-exist.

None of my roots are the size Joseph is growing, maybe they just have to get more established here?  This is the second year in this garden.  I planted about 5 roots last year.

Casie, I think it must be your Texas climate.  Mine do much better in full sun here.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Derek: I was able to put 17 tubers in the box I packaged for you. They are field run. There are about 3 dozen unique varieties in the part of the field I dug them from, but I intentionally don't include some varieties, and some are more clever so I dig them preferentially, etc. And when filling the box, I sorted through to provide something from each visibly different type, so I estimate there are around 10 unique varieties in the box.

I don't do anything special when planting... I space them about 18" between plants. And about 4 to 5 feet between rows.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Todd: I think that tuber size is heavily influenced by genetics.   The wild sunroots around here have tubers about the diameter of a pencil. The wild strain I started with had tubers that approached the size of my thumb. Here's a photo of the best of the best of the wild roots that I used to start my breeding project.

sunroot-tubers-a.jpg
[Thumbnail for sunroot-tubers-a.jpg]
The best tubers from a strain of wild sunroots
 
Todd Parr
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Joseph, I can't remember where I got mine initially, but those are about the size of the ones I started with.  I didn't harvest many last year because I wanted to see if they would get bigger if I just let them grow.  This year I'll put the biggest and best back in the ground.  I will probably need to order some from you to add some other genetics.

Could you elaborate on how you store yours?  I haven't had any luck with that.
 
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When do sunroots emerge from the ground? I planted some this spring and they aren't up yet, should I be worried yet? As a point of reference, I'm pretty far north, our apple trees are just finishing blossoming, it is the last average frost right about now and I think the soil temperature is about 50F. Thanks.
 
Todd Parr
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Mine are a foot or so high right now.  My apple trees just finished blossoming now too.  I think yours are later because you just planted them in the spring and mine have been in since last year.  They are pretty darn hard to kill, I wouldn't be worried.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Todd Parr wrote:Could you elaborate on how you store yours?  I haven't had any luck with that.


They need to be kept humid during storage, but not wet... So by far the best and easiest way for me to store them is in the ground. Next best is in plastic in the refrigerator. Sometimes I'll add a bit of potting soil to absorb the condensation. This year I dug them. Washed them. Let them dry overnight. Then put them in a 5 gallon  bucket with a loose fitting lid. I set the bucket on the back porch, which during the winter gets close to freezing, and up till now in the spring, might be in the 60s.

My fall planted sunroots are also about a foot tall. I suppose that they emerged about a month ago, about the time the apple tree flowers were getting frozen.

I replant around 15% to 20% of the hybrid sunroots that I generate. The rest are culled for having small tubers, or too long stolons, or low productivity, etc. If you can call it "culling" to not intentionally save something that just goes on to become feral in my fields. The bane of a sunroot plant breeder!!! I have lost the productivity of about 1/10th of an acre due to sunroot weeds. I don't mind the perennial sunroot patch, cause it stays in the same place every year. But if I'm growing from seed, I have to plant in a pristine part of the field so that I can tell the difference between a desired seedling, and an unwanted weed.

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I started digging sunroot tubers today, I'm making them available for purchase by permies members. I'm asking $15 paper-currency for a small flat-rate box of tubers which includes postage.  If you'd like to please me by paying with silver, I'd accept 5 silver dimes (1964 or earlier) and $8 paper-currency to cover postage. Some of the tubers are huge, so I'll be chopping them up into smaller pieces so that I can fit about 10 different varieties into a box. They are unnamed varieties that are the first or second generation of offspring from my breeding project. They are clones that have pleased me a lot. Back when I was keeping track of names for them, they got names like Wow!, WTF?, HF!, etc... Shipping to usa only. Send me a personal message or email if you need my mailing address, or grab it from the image on the bottom of my web site. I expect to be able to ship these until the weather turns super-cold (around mid-November), so lets make arrangements before then.
 
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