Joseph Lofthouse

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since Dec 16, 2014

Joseph Lofthouse grew up on the farm and in the community that was settled by his ggg-grandmother and her son. He still farms there. Growing conditions are high-altitude brilliantly-sunlit desert mountain valley in Northern Utah with irrigation, clayish-silty high-pH soil, super low humidity, short-season, and intense radiant cooling at night. Joseph learned traditional agricultural and seed saving techniques from his grandfather and father. Joseph is a sustenance market farmer and landrace seed-developer. He grows seed for about 95 species. Joseph is enamored with landrace growing and is working to convert every species that he grows into adaptivar landraces. He writes the Landrace Gardening Blog for Mother Earth News.
Farming Philosophy
Promiscuous Pollination and ongoing segregation are encouraged in all varieties. Joseph's style of landrace gardening can best be summed up as throwing a bunch of varieties into a field, allowing them to promiscuously cross pollinate, and then through a combination of survival-of-the-fittest and farmer-directed selection saving seeds year after year to arrive at a locally-adapted genetically-diverse population that thrives because it is closely tied to the land, the weather, the pests, the farmer's habits and tastes, and community desires.
Joseph lives under a vow of poverty and grows using subsistence level conditions without using cides or fertilizers. He prefers to select for genetics that can thrive under existing conditions. He figures that it is easier to change the genetics of a population of plants than it is to modify the soil, weather, bugs, etc. For example, because Joseph's weeding is marginal, plants have to germinate quickly, and burst out of the soil with robust growth in order to compete with the weeds.
Joseph is preserving the genes of thousands of varieties of plants, but does not keep individual varieties intact or pure. The stories don't matter to him. What matters is the web of ongoing life. For his purposes a squash is a squash is a squash. Plant purity doesn't exist in Joseph's world, other than in very broad ways like keeping hot peppers separate from sweet peppers. Some landraces might even contain multiple species!
Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Recent posts by Joseph Lofthouse

In my garden, most corn pollen falls approximately straight down, most of the time. Therefore, at my place, corn tends towards self pollination. For example, I accidentally planted a seed for colored kernels in my white popcorn patch. The top cob is from the stray seed. The bottom cob is what got contaminated. It is obvious which kernels received pollen from the colored cob, because pollen that carries the "color" gene shows up in the kernels that were pollinated by it.

I haven't counted the kernels, but what's that? Only about 5% visible cross-pollination at 3 feet separation? Then double that to 10%, since 1/2 of the pollen from the colored plant is for white kernels.

1 day ago

I loved the growing conditions in Missouri! And the high humidity seemed good for my health and well being. I recommend that construction techniques take the high humidity into account.
1 day ago

John C Daley wrote:Dampness and mustiness is a result of bad design and construction rather than the environment.

In my case, my dislike of the building might also be attributed to living more than 40 years in a dry desert, so Missouri was just plain old musty and dank to me, even outside. 
1 day ago

I continue to celebrate freedom by working on this project.
3 days ago

Bryant RedHawk wrote:You can plant eggplant interspersed with squash, since the eggplant will grow taller than the squash leaves all will be fine.

I giggle at this, and marvel about how gardening is highly localized. At my place, squash leaves are often waist high, and form a completely closed canopy. A really excellent eggplant might get as tall as mid-calf.

For what it's worth, at my place, peppers are also a mid-calf height. Online, I see photos of pepper plants that are waist high.

I lived in a straw-bale monastery in central Missouri. I really disliked how damp and musty it felt inside.

3 days ago
Thanks for mentioning that Nicole. I checked my tuber stash a few minutes ago. I still have sunroot tubers available.
1 week ago

Dakota Brown wrote:I want the USDA around.

The new Utah law is written specifically to deny jurisdiction to the USDA. Other than winking and saying that poultry and rabbit processing will be done in sanitary conditions as recommended by USDA.
1 week ago

Because of the history of how Utah was settled, it has a very strong libertarian sentiment. The legislation passed unanimously in the state senate, and at 90% in the house.

Yesterday, just about all of the black market food that I have been buying became legal. Therefore, I'm not hanging out with criminals any more. LOL. I already have a supplier in mind from which to make my first legal unregulated food purchase. I bet she frames the $5 that I give her. I'm intending to frame the $ that I get from my first legal sale of an unlicensed value added product.

I already made a demonstration label for my first sale, which complies with the new law. In actual practice, I'm likely to include a list of ingredients.

1 week ago
My garden is growing well this spring. Here's a few photos.