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Plant breeding for permaculture

 
                                              
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    Honestly this is possibly the most powerful tool at our disposal as folks working in this field. Arguably anyway....

    Many plants have traits we do not generally realize, because they are rarer.

    variety selection alone is paramount. it can make as much of a difference as anything else folks are doing.

    the great thing is though breeding CAN be very intensive, it doesnt have to be to get workable results!!!

    Id like to float the idea of a breeders guild or something of that nature. Im sure theres more then a few similar regions folks here live in, and we could feasibly run several types of projects, that could have profound impacts for permaculture.

    Some projects im working on include.....

    +Ive collected the most drought tolerant (im in an arid region) and also the most cold tolerant winter varieties of wheat, and barley. Rye i didnt because Ive got perennial ryes Im working with instead. My water comes inwinter, so Im working on the most drought tolerant winter types I can.

    +Ive got the most drought tolerant and also shade tolerant teparies, along with all the available tepary beans that people selected. So the shade tolerance is a side deal, but I am breeding for a desirable but totally dry farmed tepary. this wont be hard at all, as teparies are the epitome of drought tolerant, but not positive how productive within that i can get yet.
 
        +jerusalem artichokes with edible tubers ANd useful seeds. Whether the seed is for oil or animal fodder.

        + I collected peas, not austrian peas but actual peas, and lentils with winter habits. not just cool weather habits, actual winter habits. I als have the most drought tolerant ones....

        +corn I have many with the deepest root systems, most drought tolerance, and also heavy tilerring. Like the hopi i think tillering offers a neat opportunity. in dry years the main stalk gets the energy in wetter ones you have several stalks and ears....  another aspect is cold soil germination, some corn can take frost as a sprout!! Other factors as well. there should be no problem having a corn crop from ONLY the water in the soil left from winter.....

        + prickley pear cactus. im in zone 5-6. so most of these with truly desirable fruits are in warm regions. so Ive got some of them and many forms i collected in the wild. Im going for desirable tasty fruit. another aspect is I also have many varieties without spines!!! they do still have little hairy spines. but those are burned off easily and may be breed out in time to.... this would make a great animal fodder in dry regions, though you might have to burn off the hairy spines if I cant breed them out...

        +fruit and nuts... im working with many rarer ones, but also all the commonly known ones. these are longer term projects, but EASY to do with some space and effort. If all goes well i will eventually have much better adapted fruits, for an area no one specifically bred for....

        + perennial squash... this project may take me decades. But it Is possible!!! Its one of my favorites to. Feel free to join me in this one especially!!! Ive got the seeds you need!!!

        + perennial eggplants, and tomatillo/ground cherries.

    Lots and lots and lots of others....

    some of these projects im doing in a semi passive way, others Im getting into the nitty gritty. If you save seeds at all, you can breed with no additional efforts!!! a few things that is, some stuff wont work like that.... i highly recommend you folks consider this. this is a profound tool, every bit as profound or more so then any others used here..... Its also something most gardeners and permies seem to not care terribly about, although there are some of course.... this should be at the forefront!!!
 
Tyler Ludens
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We have wild perennial squash here but they taste horrible!  If you can breed up a tasty perennial squash that would be fantastic! 
 
                                              
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Ludi wrote:
We have wild perennial squash here but they taste horrible!  If you can breed up a tasty perennial squash that would be fantastic!   


can you get me seeds!!!

Yep believe it or not these will cross with annuals, of certain species if you work at it. theres also the possibility of crossing the wild perennials together, over and over and seeking divergent lines within that, and trying to get something like that. a project at a unniversity years ago did this breeding not for edible squash but seeds for oil. they ended up with a plant that was totally dry farmed in DRY regions!!! that had MORe oil per acre that was of quality good enough for people to us for cooking.... sadly they disbanded the project and the unniversity atleast claims to not have these seed. But we can re do this!!!
 
Tyler Ludens
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SILVERSEEDS wrote:
can you get me seeds!!!


I will sure try! 
 
                                              
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i would greatly appreciate it. Ive got a few now, but preferably i get all of them possible, i will have much better chances that way.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Here is a source for seeds of our native perennial squash:  http://www.seedsource.com/catalog/detail.asp?product_id=3161

 
                                              
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  Id still want some from you if you can get them. unless thats where you sourced your seeds to begin with. Each population that is secluded built up its own set of mutations. when I cross them together, and continue to grow out those crosses, I can get those mutations to line up in new ways. Eventually i will find differences large enough to use, to get where I need to go.....
 
                            
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One of the things I'm hoping to start this year, or maybe next, is domesticating the local wild beans.  There are two species here: Phaseolus polystachios and Strophostyles helvola.  The P. Polystachios look like tiny kidney beans, but they are perennials to zone 4 or 5.  S. helvola is an annual, but readily self-seeds.  Both appear to potentially be productive, but the seeds need to be larger for them to find common use.  Even the Indians didn't fiddle with them much.
 
                                              
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Phaseolus polystachios looks very interesting. It could feasibly work for me to. Part of its range is in some dry states, and part in some colder areas.... Put those together, and if not for humans, perhaps its a great pasture crop? I dunno, bt that is pretty interesting. Try to source genetics from other places if possible, because if you cross them together, you can get the genetics to line up differently, and end up finding differences you might not of gotten from selection alone. even if you find a new population a few miles away, this can help.
 
Tyler Ludens
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SILVERSEEDS wrote:
  Id still want some from you if you can get them. unless thats where you sourced your seeds to begin with


I think I know where some are growing about a half mile from my house.
 
                                              
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I will happily pay for shipping if you find some. likely have something to trade you to. Atleast by fall I will.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thanks, but you can just send me some seeds, no need to send $.  I prefer the Sharing Economy. 

I'll try to get them in the next week, when I do, I'll message you for your address. 

 
John Polk
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I am curious if you have tried Mexican/Texan Persimmons in your area.  I know that they are native to the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts.  The cherry sized fruits are said to be quite sweet and tasty.
 
                                              
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No i dont believe so. sounds like its for a much warmer region then a mountain in zone 5-6? Ive got a cold winter, and cool nights even in the summer.....
 
John Polk
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It ranges to +/- 6,000' elevation, so high desert is no stranger.  Here is a little info:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapote

I believe I still have a source for seeds if it is something you feel would fit your needs.
 
Tyler Ludens
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John Polk wrote:
I am curious if you have tried Mexican/Texan Persimmons in your area.  I know that they are native to the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts.  The cherry sized fruits are said to be quite sweet and tasty.



We have those all over here in Central Texas.  They are very sweet but otherwise rather tasteless.  They turn your tongue black. 
 
                                              
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John Polk wrote:
It ranges to +/- 6,000' elevation, so high desert is no stranger.  Here is a little info:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapote

I believe I still have a source for seeds if it is something you feel would fit your needs.



yeah, id love to try it. Though if its got that much of a range, seeds from one region might not do as well in another....
 
John Polk
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I believe that their northernmost natural range is Zone 6.  My seed source is zone 8-9, so it might be pushing it if you are 5-6.  Anybody else have seeds from closer to 5-6?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Silverseeds, have you read anything by Wes Jackson?  He has been working for years at the Land Institute on perennial grains and other perennial crops for prairie farming.  You might find his work interesting and possibly be able to contact him for more info. 

http://www.landinstitute.org/
 
                                              
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Yes i know of them. Ive got the genetics for projects  as far along as those.

Have you heard of the breeder Tim Peters? i have much of his work including perennial wheat, rye, and the partially completed sorghum.... lots of others to. I wrote to the land institute once, but didnt get any correspondence back.

I intend to try again later....
 
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Is the sorghum as invasive as Johnson Grass?  One of the perennial sorghums is a hybrid with Johnson and so I would be worried about it taking over in the nasty way Johnson does. 

I am not familiar with Tim Peters. 
 
                                              
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Ludi wrote:
Is the sorghum as invasive as Johnson Grass?  One of the perennial sorghums is a hybrid with Johnson and so I would be worried about it taking over in the nasty way Johnson does.   

I am not familiar with Tim Peters. 


that is the exact path to a perennial sorghum actually.

Keep in mind though, such things need work. In breeding such things it takes a lot of time or a MASSIVE amount of land growing the things out. you can select it to grow however you like. you simply dont select it to be as invasive as johnson grass is. the choice is up to the breeder, and the longer you spend breeding it, the more potential there is to get the precise forms your after...

Tim is well known in breeding circles. His site is down, though he is working on getting back into the field, and releasing more of his work. Ive got some amazing things from him. not all perennials. Like corn that he bred to grow only on water in the soil at planting time, and melons that are 10 days earlier then anything else, and multiple times bigger then most melons even as close to as early... lots of other things... Truthfully, you might say his work was breeding with a PC mindset.
 
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Sounds great! 
 
bunkie weir
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:.....I am not familiar with Tim Peters. 


there's a lot of info and articles written by and about Tim here. i am also experimenting with his perennial wheat and rye...

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&q=Tim+Peters+perennial+grains&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=
 
                                              
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bunkie wrote:
there's a lot of info and articles written by and about Tim here. i am also experimenting with his perennial wheat and rye...

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&q=Tim+Peters+perennial+grains&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=


Whoa!!! hey bunkie neat to see you here....
 
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