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One Solution to the Crisis: Landrace Everything

 
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Mark Reed wrote:

Ellendra Nauriel wrote:
Would you be willing to share seeds from your poppy patch? Maybe if I plant them near a rock pile, they'll be left alone long enough to have a chance.



I'll drop some in when I send your tomatoes. They are very small, will about 50,000 do? That's funny that your dad pulled them out , I nearly did the same thing.




Awesome!!! Thank you!!!
 
Ellendra Nauriel
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Mark Reed wrote:This forum is so big it's hard to know where to put some posts but since this is a new landrace I'm putting this one here. After reading Mathew Trotter's topic Total Calories I've decided my new crop for next year is AMARANTH!

I've heard that amaranth is a weed and some even advise not to get it started or you will never get rid of it but I kind of like that in a food crop.




Do you have any growing wild in your area? If not, I could send you some wildcrafted amaranth seeds. They grow everywhere out here!

The biggest difference I've noticed between the wild and the cultivated is that the cultivated grain-types tend to produce most of their seed at the top of the plant, where the wild ones have a big cluster at the top and a gazillion little clusters scattered all over the rest of the plant. Second-biggest difference is that the wild seeds are almost always black, but that's a minor thing. I usually use amaranth in a soup, with enough strong flavors that I honestly couldn't tell you if the wild and the cultivated taste different.

They are an interesting challenge to winnow. I'm pretty sure the amaranth patch in my parents' backyard is the result of one of my earliest attempts at winnowing. The seeds are just so small and light, they tend to blow away with the chaff.

As I recall, amaranth seeds can lay dormant in the ground for up to 40 years!! Choose your location carefully!
 
pioneer
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Mark Reed wrote:This forum is so big it's hard to know where to put some posts but since this is a new landrace I'm putting this one here. After reading Mathew Trotter's topic Total Calories I've decided my new crop for next year is AMARANTH!



I'm pretty lucky as far as starting an amaranth landrace goes. My local seed supplier carries a mix of all the amaranth varieties they carry. Looking forward to the crazy mix I get out of that thing.
 
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Mark Reed wrote:So now I just need to track down some seeds. I'll check all the usual places of course but also thinking here Vitacost Organic Amaranth or here Bob's Red Mill Amaranth might be good. I don't knw for sure if these have been cooked or anything but I think maybe not so that would be an easy way to get the large quantities I need to "wild" in places maybe not ideal for it. Then I can also mix in any other I can find from the seed companies. Also I know the ones purchased in bulk as food probably the ones most adapted to making grain.

If it really is as prolific as it is reported to be I should fairly easily be able to get it started on the path to becoming established as a semi or even completely wild crop where all I have to do is harvest. Well, I suspect I might also have ot compete with the birds but I'll figure that out, plus I suspect they might help spread it. If it's good to eat and grows easily I don't really care if it's invasive or native.

PM me your address and I'll send you some seeds. I have a couple varieties, but the one I grew last year was a scarlet. It may be a mix.
 
Mathew Trotter
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Meant to post this picture the other day of the selection of beans I received from EFN of Joseph's tepary landrace. A little bummed that I only got one of the white beans (not that I have a particular attachment to white beans, it just wasn't as well-represented as the other colors), though I'm sure it'll resurface if the genetics are in there.

 
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So I've been thinking..... If tomatoes have been bred to self pollinate and can be rebred to outcross (ala Joseph's Beautifully Promiscuous and Tasty Tomatoes Project), is it the same for other generally inbreeding crops? In other words, have they also been selected over time for inbreeding and could they be bred anew to outbreed once more?? I'm specifically thinking of common beans but perhaps there's other crops that I'm not thinking of at the moment. Of course, the point being to most easily and quickly allow a landrace to adapt to local conditions and grower preferences.
 
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The book "Seed to Seed" by Suzanne Ashworth indicates that there is no real consensus on how much crossing happens in common beans. She says some people claim there is none and some say it it up to 25% based a lot on how many other flowers are in bloom and how much bee activity you have. I think I read somewhere else that the crossing rate is about 5%.

I can't put a specific number on it but crossing happens enough in my garden to be easily noticeable and I encourage it by my growing practices.  I have a lot of bumblebees and they are very interested in bean flowers, honeybees are mostly not. I've noticed that the bees very methodically move from one flower then to the next closest for the most part.  That behavior I think would work against crossing just by planting in single variety units. Even for example, if you have a long row, of two types 1/2 and 1/2 at each end, only where the two joined at the middle would there be likelihood of crossing. On the other hand if the two were mixed, alternating within the row, crossing increases dramatically. If vines of two types are actually intertwined on the same support so the flowers of each are within a few inches of each other it goes up even more.

I think to try to make a specific cross, rather that the tedious process of hand pollinating I would grow individual plants of the selected mother variety, closely and completely surrounded by the selected father variety. Again, of course success depends on the bees, without them there would be no crossing at all.

I grow my dry beans as a landrace and purposely make sure different types adjoin others in the row and find new ones all the time. Some of the new ones are not however new crosses. They are instead the segregating successive generations of a prior cross. That really complicates putting a real number to the actual crossing rate.

You also can't know until the second generation that a cross occurred and there are other complications, for example you plant a white bean and a black bean beside each other.

A bee visits and carries pollen from the black flowers to a white flower

One or more seeds in the pod that forms from that flower is a cross - but you can't tell that, it looks exactly like the rest of the uncrossed beans on that vine and even in that pod.

If you don't pick and eat that bean, and if it is one you select to plant the next year it will likely show up looking different in one way or another.

For example you plant the white beans and one of the vines produces something other than white you then know it was a cross (all the beans on that single crossed vine will be the same)

All the times that same original cross occurs will result in the same new kind, that's an F1 hybrid. Who those original parents were and what direction the cross occurred is the secret kept by people who sell F1s *some one more knowledgeable speak up here if this isn't correct*

The next year if you plant the F1 seed from that single new kind they will segregate into multiple new kinds, representing other ways the genetics of those two original parents can combine. Again however, and always, all the seeds on a single vine will be the same.

If you continue to plant in successive years they will continue to segregate into sill more kinds but (assuming they don't get crossed again) will eventually settle into new stable varieties (brand new "heirlooms" if you will.

I don't know how many years that takes, it seems to me after about three years they start to settle down but that is just based on one observation, one initial cross that I made the effort to track. It probably varies a lot within a species and also is probably different in different species.

Now to make it a little more complicated, there are lots of other things besides seed color that can be different. It's possible that two seeds could look exactly the same but that the plants that grow might be more or less productive, more or less disease tolerant or have different flavor.

What I do in my garden is when picking out my seeds to plant make sure that those having qualities I like represent the lions share of what gets planted the next year but I don't actually cull much of anything unless it was really strong in something I don't like such as disease prone or poor production.

Below is  one I actually keeping track of. The original F1 was a black seed that grew from a brown speckled seed. Those black seeds produced the segregations in the picture and the brown ones were way, a way more productive than the others and extremely disease resistant.

I added them all in small amounts to my dry bean landrace but grew the brown ones by themselves this year because of the other qualities I like and they are also good as green beans.

They stayed pretty consistent from the year before except did come out in a couple different color shades, I couldn't tell much difference in them otherwise this year.
RefugeeOfftypes2019.JPG
Segregations from bean cross
Segregations from bean cross
Unnamed-bean.JPG
New unnamed bean
New unnamed bean
 
Lauren Ritz
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My experience has been very different with beans. I got different kinds of beans a few years ago, varieties I'd never planted before, and found very definite visible differences when the varieties crossed that first year--pink speckled bean planted next to an orange bean ended up orange speckled, and the orange bean planted next to black was a very odd shade of orple. When this happened again the next year (with other varieties) I determined that the crosses are visible in the first generation IF the seeds have some visible difference.

I was surprised, because everything I'd read indicated that first generation crosses shouldn't be detectable. Since then I have learned that peppers are also detectable in the first generation, not because the seeds look different but because they taste different. A hot pepper crossed with a mild pepper will have seeds hotter than one and cooler than the other.

Joseph says that if you want to keep a strain of corn pure you need to cull any kernels that are off-color for the type. Of course, if you plant red corn next to red corn it's not going to be visible. If you plant pumpkins next to zucchini the seeds are similar enough that you probably won't see the cross, particularly because seed SIZE seems to be dependent on the female parent.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KM6IaT4E5BI

I planted the beans in four bean clusters. In this cluster three survived. These are all first generation crosses as far as I know, but it is possible they crossed with other clusters before those clusters died. The kidney beans were a short distance away, they were my dry bean main crop for this year. The two kidney beans probably got mixed in on accident when I harvested.

One thing to note is that the white bean plant had ALL the pink beans. The red bean appeared to have no crosses. So the red bean appears to be the better out-crosser.

This next one I know for certain is a first generation cross.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhSBrCBJ8gg

I planted two varieties of green beans, both established heirlooms, one with white seeds and one with dark speckled seeds. I planted them in another area of the yard, all the other beans are at least 50 feet away. The beans where the plants were closest were more likely to have the speckled light brown bean.
 
Mark Reed
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Hummm, I don't know. It might be that the beans you planted were already crossed when you go them. That has happened to me before and I suspect happens fairly often. It is generally never discovered because most of the beans are simply eaten. Plus the grower has to be purposely paying attention to such things, something I never used to do until I started growing more dry use and saving my own seeds. When growing for dry use you get to see all the mature beans instead of just those few you might let mature from a green bean patch.

From what I understand and what makes sense to me is that the seed coat just like the leaves, flower color and so on is the same on any individual plant because it is just part of that (mother) plant. Inside the seed though, what you can't see is the new baby plant (I don't know the proper term). That baby, assuming it's father was a different variety is genetically different from the rest of the plant. You won't know how exactly until you plant it and it grows to maturity.

With corn there are other places in the seed that has influence from the father. The seed coat or pericarp is maternal and the same on all seeds but a layer called the aleurone has influence from both so it can be different in seeds from the same cob. The starchy part of the seed can also vary on the same cob. While the pericarp (excluding things like jumping genes) which I don't understand and I don't think has that big of influence is the same on all kernels it is often translucent or even transparent, revealing the varied colors under it. That's how you end up corn that is different colors on the same ear with some crosses being obvious in the first year.

I don't know if something like that can happen with beans. I would think that if so it would require a degree of transparency to the seed coat and I've never heard of that, although it might be. Then however it would require variation of the baby bean plant inside. That is probably likely because that baby bean does have the crossed genes even if the seed coat doesn't.  I have seen some but not a lot of color variation to newly sprouted beans but not of course until it was stating to grow.

I don't know about something like happening with peppers. It makes sense to me that everything except the embryos in the seeds is the same as the mother plant. But corn has those other areas of paternal influence so maybe other things do to.

So I still think it is likely that any 1st generation differences in beans is because they weren't really first generation. I'm guessing the1st generation actually happened before you got the seeds.

That exact thing happened to the woman here. Her favorite green bean is a variety called NT1/2 Runner, it has white seeds. She got worried that because of my frankingardening her seeds would get messed up. I told her it was rare and all we had to do was cull out any oddballs from her seeds but she went and got herself some fresh seed from the fellow that sold those and lots of other beans. I planted them for her a good 100 feet away form any other beans and told her to pick out ten nice plants to leave for seed. One of those ten plants produced longer pods with faint streaks of purple and black seeds. She saw the white seeds go in the ground but she still ended up with a vine with black seeds. It didn't happen in my garden, that crossed seed came from the grower.  What struck me about it was that out of ten random selected plants one was crossed. Statistically that seems unlikely unless crossing in bens is way more common than generally believed.


 
Aislinn Caron
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Frankingardening!! Haha - I like that! This is so fascinating - thanks Mark and Lauren for your thoughts. Perhaps I've been getting crosses then and just eating them - I've never noticed any - and I plant my beans higgeldy piggeldy together. But I eat them mostly for snap beans then save some for seed.
 
Lauren Ritz
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Mark Reed wrote:From what I understand and what makes sense to me is that the seed coat just like the leaves, flower color and so on is the same on any individual plant because it is just part of that (mother) plant. Inside the seed though, what you can't see is the new baby plant (I don't know the proper term). That baby, assuming it's father was a different variety is genetically different from the rest of the plant. You won't know how exactly until you plant it and it grows to maturity.

I don't know if something like that can happen with beans. I would think that if so it would require a degree of transparency to the seed coat and I've never heard of that, although it might be. Then however it would require variation of the baby bean plant inside. That is probably likely because that baby bean does have the crossed genes even if the seed coat doesn't.  I have seen some but not a lot of color variation to newly sprouted beans but not of course until it was stating to grow.

So I still think it is likely that any 1st generation differences in beans is because they weren't really first generation. I'm guessing the1st generation actually happened before you got the seeds.

The first generation I thought they might have been previous crosses, but 2nd and 3rd year with the same result? Red and white right next to each other have pink beans. Dark mottled and white have light brown mottled beans. I'm not a scientist--I have to go by what I see rather than what I've been told. Only one of these beans had been planted in my area previously, and all came from different sources. I can't see that the orange bean had crossed in a previous generation with the pink mottled bean. They came from different sources, and even if they had come from the same source, the chance of that exact crossing is slim to none. The white and red came from different sources--the white was a gift, the red has been grown in my yard for a couple generations. I have no other white beans that I have grown in previous years. The black and orange, the purple and brown. It works every time, it's far too regular to be accidental crossing in a previous generation.

The rattlesnake I can pretty much guarantee was a previous cross, and I'm not going to argue with more variation! :) But that's why I didn't plant that one--I wanted to see the variations created by the crosses.

How it happens, I don't know, but I know it happens. I know for a fact that I didn't just get one "variety" of beans off that plant that came from the white. I got half a dozen visually distinct variations, which tells me that those were pollen mixes and not a "next generation" phenomenon. When I had other crosses, the same. Not all the same. Some with no variation, some with a lot.

When the new beans don't cross, the offspring are relatively stable--all brown, or all white, or mottled pink, or purple, whatever the "genetic" color of the single parent might be.
 
Lauren Ritz
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Oh, and the things that reflect the mother (again from my experience) are the shape and size of the seeds.

The thing with the peppers fits in perfectly with what you said above, since it's the seed that has a different flavor, not necessarily the seed coat.
 
Aislinn Caron
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And for my next newbie question....... i live in a cold zone - i can't overwinter biennial veg in the ground. So, thoughts on selecting for or actively  breeding for annual ones instead?? So i can save seeds from the darn things without a major hassel! Carrots, beets etc. Just to be clear, I'm talking about a carrot plant (for example) that would grow, produce an edible root and set seed (if not harvested) all in one season. Is it possible?  A bad idea? Thoughts??
 
Lauren Ritz
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I've seen different opinions, but if you can get them to produce a good root and also seed in the same year (fall seed, likely) I see no reason why not.

What I have done in the past is dig up the "seed" roots and replant them in the spring, with varying results.

It's worth a try. The problem you're likely to run into is that many of these are designed for a two year lifespan. So if the roots get cold over a long period of time that triggers seeding. However, I have noticed that I usually get a few in any crop that seed in the same year. The usual guidance is to cull these, as the seeding process makes the roots useless.

My first suggestion is to plant as usual. Take the best roots to store and replant the following spring, but leave the most mature roots in the ground and see what happens. If they seed, you have a start. If they don't, try again.
 
Ellendra Nauriel
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Aislinn Caron wrote:And for my next newbie question....... i live in a cold zone - i can't overwinter biennial veg in the ground. So, thoughts on selecting for or actively  breeding for annual ones instead?? So i can save seeds from the darn things without a major hassel! Carrots, beets etc. Just to be clear, I'm talking about a carrot plant (for example) that would grow, produce an edible root and set seed (if not harvested) all in one season. Is it possible?  A bad idea? Thoughts??



It's possible. I've had some over the years that did that. Seems like there was at least one in every planting, no matter what variety I grew.

It's usually a trait that's selected against, because it makes for a tiny window in which to harvest the root for eating. But if you want to experiment with that, I'd say go for it!

 
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Lauren: Thanks for your observation that sometimes crossing can show up in the first generation of bean seeds. If we can learn how to leverage that observation, it would really speed up and simplify bean breeding. I have parroted the meme that you can't notice bean crosses in the first generation. Most of my work has been refuting Internet wisdom, so I made a plan to test this idea in my own garden, with enough pictures/video to fully vet the process.

Because white is the most neutral color, then it's easiest to notice if something is off-color in white seeds. This coming growing season, I'm intending to plant a row of alternating white beans and colored beans. And then to harvest the white beans one plant at a time, to look for individual seeds that are F1 hybrids. I suspect that I'll further open them one pod at a time, so that i don't inadvertently include pods from the colorful seeded plants.

In crosses between wild tomatoes (small seeded) and domestic tomatoes (large seeded) differences in seed size, shall we say in the F0, are discernible between crossed and uncrossed. I suspect that a shape/size difference would also show up in crosses between different sized/shaped common beans, if someone where willing to look closely enough at them. Hmm. Small round beans vs large flat Kidney beans?

If sweet peppers are pollinated by hot peppers, the capsaisin can be tasted in the F0 seeds, and sometimes in the placenta or fruit in general, because capsaisin in soluble in the sap and can diffuse into the rest of the seed.

In my garden, I figure that by preferentially planting the naturally occurring hybrids, that I'm selecting for a population that is more susceptible to cross pollination.

 
Mark Reed
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I still remain skeptical that a first year cross can be detected by seed color. But I would be greatly interested in watching that experiment to find out for sure. I don't think I could do it myself. My beans are so mixed up that discovery of off color seeds in mine would not be conclusive at all because of the possibility the parent was already crossed. Plus I've found enough crosses in newly acquired seed to make any observations there equally as suspect.

It makes sense to me that a first year cross might be more apparent in size or shape of the seed. Since the embryo, if that is the proper term certainly is a result of the cross I wonder... What if I planted a smaller than a pea size greasy bean next to a great big bean of some kind? Might a first year cross show as larger or differently shaped seeds? On the other hand because it makes sense to me doesn't mean its so.  And again it wouldn't prove anything in my garden for the same reason above.

I find off type beans all time anyway, most of which I'm sure are not first year but rather segregations of prior ones. That makes sense to me and also not necessarily true. I know for sure that beans cross more often than commonly believed but surely not as much as I see. I can't think of another explanation other than continuing segregations of a few actual crosses.
 
Mark Reed
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In reading the last few posts again I notice Joseph had already mentioned the idea that difference between size and shape might also be an indicator of a first year cross.

And also mentioned being careful to examine individual plants. Wouldn't a first year cross more likely effect just an individual pod, or even an individual seed? If so then that would be easy to look for even in my case where there are a lot of different kinds and crosses planted all mixed up. If the grower was only to take time to open pods individually rather than thrashing then out all together.

As I harvest I have different sacks for seed and food. Seed are generally the earliest to mature and those with less or no blemishes or from more vigorous and productive vines. Bigger sacks catch the rest and they generally get thrashed together but I do often shell the seed ones individually. So that won't be hard really to just be a little more observant and see if indeed an off type seed or seeds shows up individually in a single pod and now that I'm thinking about I think that has happened.

I remember one time I had a little sack of probably not more than 25 pods of the woman's favorite green bean that I do keep separated from mine. When I crunched it up dumped them out there were three or four brown seeds among the white ones. It was the seed sack and I know it would not have included any pods small enough to only have  three or four seeds. And I can't say for sure that was the only time I've seen that happen. I'm gonna pay better attention from now on.
 
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The technical term for seeing the pollen influence in the F1 seed (the seeds within the P generation) is Xenia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenia_(plants)
It may be easier to look knowing the term @Joseph, Mark, and Lauren

Lentils show xenia only for one specific color, orange. With beans, o
 
Lauren Ritz
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hans muster wrote:Lentils show xenia only for one specific color, orange. With beans, o

When you say that, is the orange the female or male parent? Or does it matter?
 
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:I suspect that a shape/size difference would also show up in crosses between different sized/shaped common beans, if someone where willing to look closely enough at them. Hmm. Small round beans vs large flat Kidney beans?



I wonder if that's sometimes the cause for seed deformation? If the pod or the female parent can't physically handle a larger seed? I've seen some seeds that looked all twisted up inside the pod.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Mark: An issue that confounds the selection criteria of examining one plant or pod at a time, is that it's possible for the seed coat of beans to undergo what I call a "reversal" in which the colors on a bean are switched, but it is not a heritable trait. If I plant the reverse-colored seeds, the plants revert back to the normal color scheme in the next generation.

This can be seen in pinto beans, where most of the beans will be light beige with dark brown speckles, but 2 or 5 beans per pound will be dark brown with beige speckles.  
beans-reversal.jpg
A "reversed" pinto bean
A "reversed" pinto bean
 
Mark Reed
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Yea, I see that color reversal pretty often, in about any two color bean but seems more common in brown ones like pinto or what I call little speckled greasy. Something else is beans change color with age. I've planted beans that were five or even ten years old that produced beans that barely looked like the ones I planted. Really just lighter shades of the same colors though. So we would want to look for different color rather than just a reversal.

Most of my intense research and reading on inheritance has been as it relates to corn and sweet potatoes. I guess I assumed, perhaps erroneously that  what applies to pericarp in corn applies to the seed coat of other things. And I don't understand that jumping genes or transposons that Carol Deppe mentioned, again related to the pericarp in corn. I'll refrain from assuming that also could apply to beans, specially since I barely have a clue what it even is.

I have done some research on inheritance in beans but focused on vine type. I'm trying to develop a landrace of semi-runner beans. Pole beans that definitely climb but top out at not more that six feet or so rather than reaching for the sky as most do. I hit pretty much of a dead end on that and figured to heck with it, I'll just plant bush beans beside pole beans and see if anything interesting shows up. If indeed a bean cross can be identified on the F1 that would be a breakthrough for me. They still might not have the habit I'm looking for but possible candidates could be selected rather that just chosen at random.  
 
Mark Reed
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This may be only slightly related, it's more me just wondering and thought I would share it. I reread the bean section in Susan Ashworth's "Seed to Seed". Her writing is informative on how to prevent crossing which is of course the opposite of what we are talking. Anyway she mentions with beans you should not plant two white seeded varieties near one another because you wouldn't be able to see crosses. I think, actually I'm pretty sure she was meaning in the F2 rather than the F1.

I've been thinking on that and based on my observations on of beans, I'm not sure that two white beans would necessarily produce white offspring. I meant they might, maybe even probably would but I'd almost bet it isn't cut in stone. There are just too many new colors that show up in subsequent generations of a cross. I think the genes for other colors are very likely in white beans and any other for that matter and anytime a couple inbred strains cross opportunity for something different is presented even if those two looked very much alike.

I know such is true of sweet potatoes because I've seen pictures and read about solid purple ones, there are number of named varieties but I have never planted one. Yet they have showed up occasionally from the seeds of white and orange ones. The genes for it were apparently hiding inside those others. On the other hand there I go again speculating about one species  based on observations of another.      
 
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I would imagine if a cross was showing up in F0, then it would look like corn, so you would have a few beans on a white plant showing other colours, while  every bean on a plant being the same colour would be evidence for some sort of segregation from a previous cross. Does that make sense?
 
Lauren Ritz
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Sure. All the beans that are self pollinated on a particular plant will be basically the same color/shape. If we see multiple colors in F0 it's a cross, but not all crosses may show up that way.
 
Lauren Ritz
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Mark Reed wrote:I know such is true of sweet potatoes because I've seen pictures and read about solid purple ones, there are number of named varieties but I have never planted one. Yet they have showed up occasionally from the seeds of white and orange ones. The genes for it were apparently hiding inside those others. On the other hand there I go again speculating about one species  based on observations of another.      


I got solid purple from some of your seeds. I also got a weird mottled purple and white that was absolutely amazing.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I see epistasis commonly in my plant breeding. That is where it takes multiple genes for a trait to show up, and every gene has to be present. So if each parent is missing even one of the required genes the trait is absent, but if the offspring manages to get a complete set then the trait is present. Two  of the corns I used to grow were that way. Each variety was missing one of the genes in the purple color pathway, therefore the corn seeds were white. But when the two white parents were crossed, some of the kernels had both of the required genes and therefore were purple colored.

And with that analysis, i'm ready to propose a mechanism for how color might show up in the maternal-seed-coat-tissue of a white bean seed. Supposing that the white seeded mother plant is missing only one gene for making a precursor in the chemical pathways necessary to make color in the seed coat. Then, the missing precursor chemical shuts down the whole color pathway leading to a white seed. What if the embryo, contained the genetics for making the precursor chemical? What if that chemical was water soluble and released into the plants sap? Might the maternal seed-coat cells take up that precursor chemical and plug it into the otherwise fully functional color pathway?  Perhaps the concentration of the precursor in the sap would be less than if the cell had made it's own precursor, thus leading to a pastel colored seed.

I think this mechanism might very well be active in some cases. We know that capsaisin escapes from sweet pepper embryos pollinated with hot peppers. Other seeds probably behave in similar ways with other chemicals.

And we are not limited to white seeds. Colors are complicated with many different pathways converging to make particular colors, and if a precursor chemical is missing, then different output colors can be generated.

Edit to add: When I was sorting beans last fall, there were some washed out pale beans. I reviewed the photo archives, and I culled those, figuring that it was an environmental issue.... And the mis-shapen beans? Culled for environmental issue... Ha!!!
 
hans muster
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Lauren Ritz wrote:

hans muster wrote:Lentils show xenia only for one specific color, orange. With beans, o

When you say that, is the orange the female or male parent? Or does it matter?



the male parent was orange if I remember well, couldn't find it right now. And similar to what Joseph just mentioned, the color of the cotyledons, which are orange because of the father, wash out and show up in the seed coat, are therefore visible in the F1 seeds. (visible inside the pod of the female parent)
 
Lauren Ritz
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:And with that analysis, i'm ready to propose a mechanism for how color might show up in the maternal-seed-coat-tissue of a white bean seed. Supposing that the white seeded mother plant is missing only one gene for making a precursor in the chemical pathways necessary to make color in the seed coat. Then, the missing precursor chemical shuts down the whole color pathway leading to a white seed. What if the embryo, contained the genetics for making the precursor chemical? What if that chemical was water soluble and released into the plants sap? Might the maternal seed-coat cells take up that precursor chemical and plug it into the otherwise fully functional color pathway?  Perhaps the concentration of the precursor in the sap would be less than if the cell had made it's own precursor, thus leading to a pastel colored seed.

It may not be limited to white seeds, but white is the color where the differences are likely to show up the  most if your theory is correct. Any dark colored bean that is slightly off color is going to be dismissed. Particularly any of the blacks and purples, unless the gene that makes them dark is affected they're just going to be dark. No visible change, although there might be a chemical one. The white is where the change is most likely to be seen.
 
Mark Reed
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And if you look at this picture again.


You see that black and black is not always the same. I believe this shiny vs dull appearance applies to all other colors well, are we talking nearly apple red or more brick red?  To make it more fun black isn't even really always black. Often when I'm anxious to see my new seeds, especially the first of the season, I crack open pods for a peak. Turns out in bright sunshine, black is sometimes purple or blue. Mottling visible in the sun hides in dull light too. I tried to demonstrate using a very bright flashlight, it worked for me to see it, sort of, but not at all to photograph.

I know the maternal grandmother of this cross looked like the ones marked "normal Like". Was the granddaddy white? black? brown? Color of the offspring I believe, offers no clues on what color granddaddy was, none at all. At least in this case.  

All this is great fun to observe, learn about and discuss but I sure am glad it don't really matter all that much when it comes to filling the pantry.

ADD - Now that I'm thinking about I don't know for sure I've ever seen true black in bright sunshine. If so I think only in the dull ones, shiny is about always actually blue or purple. I'll look and see if I can find actual shiny black this year.
 
Lauren Ritz
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Mark Reed wrote: Now that I'm thinking about I don't know for sure I've ever seen true black in bright sunshine. If so I think only in the dull ones, shiny is about always actually blue or purple. I'll look and see if I can find actual shiny black this year.

I've never seen a true black bean that I'm aware of. Always some shade of purple or blue. That was quite a surprise, the first time I opened a seed capsule for a "black" bean and the beans weren't quite ripe--and very purple. They darkened as they ripened.
 
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I'm curious if everyone was able to get or save the seed they need for this year. I'm very grateful I started aggressively saving seed last year. 2021 is the year I plan on moving forward with local perennial/tree seed breeding. Last year I dabbled a bit, including by direct sowing some paw paw seeds in the fall.
 
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I would need to quadripple my available gardenspace if i were to plant all the seeds i saved. It’s some sort of addiction.
Luckily there are others people who are happy to take them. There was a seed exchange at the local farmers market. Some people had only one or two kinds of seeds to offer but left with a fair amount of the seeds i am confident about will work in these poor granite soils.
Some guy came with lupins and some other flowet and left with ten kind of veggies. But the lupins came up and it’s only a week ago.
I tell people my fennels for instance, they’re not as bulby as they come in the shops, but they do sprout generously and grow through harsh circumstances. And provide loads of seeds. In stead of 1 i take 3 and it’s the same. People picked up on that.
I’ve ordered some fat bulby fennels and will mix them in this year. Selecting for fat bulby and tough fennels coming years.

A friend gave his fathers bean seeds that have been growing here for fifty years and another old timer provided me with three different kinds of beans. I might be able to get one more local kind, that makes 6. For years to no avail i tried beans. If it doesnt work this year it’s me doing it wrong.

Maybe next year i’ll have doubled the arsenal of locally adapted prolific seeding veggies if all goes well. Hopefully the big seed exchange will bnot be cancelled and i can go and spread the food. Getting by giving. Nature is generous when taken care off.

 
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While in general I'm on board with intentionally increasing the genetic diversity of garden crops, one that has left me particularly puzzled is beans. I see the pictures of very mixed looking beans and can't figure out how I would cook with them. We have over a dozen varieties that we keep separate mostly for their contributions in the kitchen. Some varieties are grown for specific recipes because of texture or flavor and differing cook times. Horticulturally different habits or harvest timing also comes into play. With a crop like corn it's easy to pick and sort cobs but with beans we grow over 100# a year and like to be able to thresh them rather than husk each pod individually. I think some of these cooking and eating notions influenced selections in the past and led to narrowing the genetic variability of named varieties. One way to deal with genetic bottlenecks and to keep a variety more "vibrant" is to occasionally swap some seed with another gardener/farmer growing the same variety but selected from their land. Hopefully this will introduce some genetics able to cope with differing environmental conditions while preserving the basic attributes of a variety.
 
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Aislinn, regarding your carrot question:
It sounds like carrots certainly have the ability to flower the first year. I suspect the problem you might run into is lack of tasty root- biologically, biennials have large tasty roots because they are saving the summer energy for one big flowering bonanza the following year. If they are using their energy to flower the first year, how much will they have to bulk up their roots? Certainly try it! But it might be hard to overcome that, depending on your local climate.
An alternative strategy- I can’t see where you are, but are there truly no biennial wild plants in your zone? Unless it is so cold that no herbaceous plants survive the winter, might it be possible instead to select for carrots that can survive in the ground all winter and set seed the following years as usual? You might even get both populations to save from if you plant a large experimental patch...
 
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Aislinn Caron wrote:And for my next newbie question....... i live in a cold zone - i can't overwinter biennial veg in the ground. So, thoughts on selecting for or actively  breeding for annual ones instead?? So i can save seeds from the darn things without a major hassel! Carrots, beets etc. Just to be clear, I'm talking about a carrot plant (for example) that would grow, produce an edible root and set seed (if not harvested) all in one season. Is it possible?  A bad idea? Thoughts??



Carrots and beets are biennials, so inducing flowering in the first year means that you will be forcing Mother Nature to do what she doesn't want to do. [That is always a lot harder than working *with* mother Nature]. In the first year, it gathers strength for the reproductive phase in the second year. You might be trying to get a root to produce when it has not yet gathered its strength. That means that you might end up with an inferior product.
Producing you own carrot seeds is a tricky business because you may have their wild ancestor, Queen Ann's Lace already growing nearby.
I will assume that you have looked and found none within 1/4 mile.
You pointed out that you live "in a cold zone" and could not leave them in the ground. OK. I live in zone 4b, and indeed, it is too cold to do that.
Will you be going nuclear and plant a whole field of it? Or do you want enough to make a big bed of them? I will assume the second is true. Because carrots are prolific, you will not have to keep many roots over the winter. Perhaps as few as 5-12 of your best specimens would suffice. If weather permits, you could keep them well covered in the dark, in an unheated garage. Or you might want to make a box or buy a plastic container that could accommodate 12 carrots plus a little wet sand and keep them in a refrigerator, *NOT* a freezer, which is way too cold.
In the spring, you could plant it around the time you normally plant carrots, and voilà! A dozen plants to produce all the seeds you will want. The advantage is that you could grow them side by side with the carrots you intend to eat.
Carrots we purchase in the store are usually hybrids. However, over several generations, it is possible that they acquire a set, meaning they will not be all that different from the parent plant. Considering the price of seeds, I'm mightily tempted to buy some full size carrots and give them the treatment. I'd have to make sure they didn't mess up the crown, but they might be worth it. Or you may go to an organic Farmers' market and buy them there, perhaps with some tops even.
Either way, bringing your healthy carrots through the winter in a cold zone will be a lot easier that developing a landrace. Here is a great article form someone who knows a lot more than I do!
https://gardenerspath.com/plants/vegetables/save-carrot-seeds/#:~:text=So%20you%20can%20grow%20multiple,produce%20seed%20in%20year%20two.



 
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Hugo Morvan wrote:I would need to quadripple my available gardenspace if i were to plant all the seeds i saved. It’s some sort of addiction.


When I have way too many seeds, I toss the extras into the food forest/zone 2. I hope this will give me a diversity/seed bank to draw on in the future.
 
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Aislinn Caron wrote:And for my next newbie question....... i live in a cold zone - i can't overwinter biennial veg in the ground. So, thoughts on selecting for or actively  breeding for annual ones instead?? So i can save seeds from the darn things without a major hassel! Carrots, beets etc. Just to be clear, I'm talking about a carrot plant (for example) that would grow, produce an edible root and set seed (if not harvested) all in one season. Is it possible?  A bad idea? Thoughts??



You can try to store root veggies in dirt I believe and then plant in the spring.  Or you can mulch when ground gets just a bit of frost and cover plants with dry mulch and something to keep mulch dry.  And pray that mice and voles don't find your stash.
 
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