William Schlegel

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since Jan 23, 2017
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Recent posts by William Schlegel

Andrew Michaels wrote:

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:Lofthouse-Astronomy Sweet Corn

My population is more resistant to pheasants and small mammals.

How does a plant become resistant to animal predation?

The plant doesn't taste as good to them because it has some sort of natural pesticide in it? It becomes harder to chew?

With corn it is often mechanical mechanisms of resistance that don't impact taste or texture: Taller stalks, Ears higher on the stalk, Ears more tightly wrapped by husks, Etc. Last year 2017 When I grew Joseph's corn next to my own corn grex it was almost always taller. Often the ears were higher up. This was true both for sweet and field corn patches. It was also a bit longer season of corn than mine, but not too long for my climate for seed saving. I tried his Lofthouse astronomy, sweet orange high carotene, and flour. I have seed for his neandercorn for another year. I didn't get any corn planted in 2018. 
1 week ago
I did this in 2004. I planted them on my then new 8 acre lot, they haven't produced apples quite yet, but some may be getting close. They would have been faster planted most places. When I did it I also saved some seed from some feral apples about another 25 seeds and planted those as well. I had about 120 plants to start with. Then I have been slowly loosing them over the years, mainly to pocket gopher attacks.

I intended to graft them onto either mature trees, or fast rootstock to get something sooner, but never got it done.
1 week ago
Is prunus illicifolia a possibility? There are two varieties, the one from the channel islands commonly escapes from cultivation so it could be either if so. The drupes don't look to have much flesh on them.
2 weeks ago
Anyone considering acorns as a food source should in my opinion read Samuel Thayer's account starting on page 146 of his book "Nature's Garden". The low tannin varieties might be useful, but he made me realize something I hadn't previously. Most authors of edible acorn accounts aren't experienced enough to know that the tannin levels in many of the two main groups of oaks red and white, are about equal in leaching time despite starting with more in the former. So a low tannin white oak strain, unless you just don't have to leach it at all, could potentially take awhile to properly leach.

Many authors, and I used to be guilty of repeating this maintain erroneously that higher tannin acorns are less desirable as food and harder to leach, this is not true. Julia F. Parker author of "It Will Live Forever" with Beverly Ortiz uses California Black Oak and has been doing acorn leaching demonstrations for many many years. From what Samuel has found the leaching time will be about the same.

Oaks don't grow here naturally, the burr oak I planted twenty years ago is just starting to produce well.  I am slowly planting more oaks, often just using the acorns from my eldest. I think two more will be above the browse line of deer soon. I'd like to have more oak diversity but it is hard to justify expensive seedlings from fancy oaks when I can scrounge for free acorns from tried and true trees like my oldest or some squirrel isolated traffic islands I know of.  I do have a burr-gamble hybrid though.
2 weeks ago
I started this thread by referencing the famous book on Hidatsa gardening "Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden". Since then I read another book "Uses of Plants by the Hidatsa of the Northern plains" written/edited using Gilbert Wilson's original notes.

The Hidatsa only grew a relatively few staple crops. Corn, squash, beans, sunflowers, and watermelons.

They foraged for fruit, other culinary plants, and they hunted and ate a lot of meat. So they didn't grow all their own food- and as such perhaps aren't the best model system for doing so.

Their material culture required a lot of wild plants especially wood to build the things they needed.

I got to visit the Knife River Villages historic site in North Dakota this summer. Interesting. Though I think the river there is dammed so the cottonwood forests aren't regenerating naturally.

Still all told, I am still very impressed by how much food can be generated by the specific crops and sometimes the same varieties or crosses thereof used by the Hidatsa in my garden in Montana.

I myself had a very messy unweeded garden this year focusing more on work and family. Biggest success may have been March planted fava beans planted land race style for the second year in a row. Mine are now a genetic mix of early windsor from the defunct garden city seeds, Iantos return, another windsor strain, lofthouse landrace, and frog island nation. I think fava beans grown this way could be a major contributor towards growing all of one's own food. I suspect they can be dry farmed here if planted in March. Not sure if I ever watered them. Also I planted them on the base of two old piles, one of sawdust, the other bark. So they could work very well in a deep mulch Ruth Stout style system using those. I just scattered the seeds, some of them still in last years pods, and rototilled them in.
2 weeks ago

Mike Jay wrote:Ok, here's my report.  All the varieties made a ton of tomatoes.  This year was unusual, we had three Augusts and it was dry.  So better than average tomato weather.  As you can tell from the photo I haven't been harvesting them lately.  We've found most of our tomato harvest is either for the market or for canning.  We did harvest and sell every other week for market, but picking them for canning isn't worthwhile.  I taste tested them all and the only one I was really interested in was the rogue yellow pear one.  So I saved those seeds.

I was impressed that they took off and fruited so quickly.  I probably should have put them on trelli or something.  Maybe these are the only situation where those crappy tomato cages would actually work (due to the shorter stature of the plants).

Do you think the yellow pear one is a dropped seed or a hybrid? Is it yellow? Some of the sweet cherriettes are pear shaped but red, before I thought that was what you were mentioning.

I hear you about the flavor. I really only see the ultra early reds as breeding stock. For instance: I have it in mind to cross sweet cherriette with coyote and amethyst cream both of which are small cherries with better flavor in my opinion. Sub project is to get better flavored and fancier ultra earlies in general. Josephs Brad x yellow pear is a step in that direction as is his Big Hill. Big Hill x Blue Ambrosia kind of kills a few birds with one stone. Both parents are exserted. Blue Ambrosia has good flavor probably from Sungold ancestry. Big Hill is a bicolor which are also very good flavored. They both have open flowers so my planting them together this year should lead to some natural crosses next year. Only problem is they are only medium early probably in the 55 day range from transplant. Good enough I think for direct seeding here, but maybe not in a little bit shorter season. Maybe if I get a cross between those two I will cross it back to something really early like 42 days.

Brian Rodgers wrote:Thank you so much for the clear explanation. That really helps. This sparked another question. Do tomato vines work well for chop and drop? Having a greenhouse full I get a lot of trimmings, which I put in the compost. Something seems different about the way tomato vines break down or don't.

Hi Brian,

I don't chop and drop. I till in my tomato plants at the end or beginning of the growing season. They decompose eventually. I also haven't been doing crop rotation. I want my tomatoes to experience any disease pressures I have here in my low tomato disease pressure area. That's a plant breeding thing though, not a general gardening thing.
Hi, Mike

Try the fingernail test, see if the skin is hard. Then look at the stem, if the stem is warty it is getting ripe.

How are your tomatoes doing?

Brian Rodgers wrote:
Oh man I have a lot to learn. I'm trying, so here goes, "determinate?"  From the Web: BOTANY
(of a flowering shoot) having the main axis ending in a flower bud and therefore no longer extending in length, as in a cyme.
If you wouldn't mind translating this for me?
I really need to learn about plants and this thread looks perfect, thank you William

Hi Brian,

Determinate tomatoes produce a single crop of tomatoes. Indeterminate tomatoes keep producing.

My mom always liked indeterminate best. Joseph Loft house my mentor here on Permies in vegetable breeding likes determinate best.

The local lady who raises seed  for the local vegetable seed co-op of Silvery Fir Tree a determinate variety explained it well a few years ago. She thinks we should be growing them around here because all the tomatoes get ripe before frost.

The disadvantage is that once determinates have produced they are done. I think this led to my mom's dislike. If you treat them badly they might only produce say two tomatoes. Per plant. That's pretty much what I got from Big Hill this year. Though my indeterminates grown under the same conditions didn't fare much better. Also indeterminates can spread out the tomato harvest and canning season and give you a giant box of green tomatoes at the end of the growing season which my mom, and my mom's mom always allowed to slowly ripen inside into relatively tasteless tomatoes. Lately I have just been leaving the green ones on the vine at the end. Though I still have frozen tomatoes from last year.

In my breeding program I am pretty excited about using Big Hill a determinate bred by Joseph Lofthouse and Blue Ambrosia a indeterminate bred by Lee Goodwin. Both these tomatoes are what Joseph calls "promiscuous"  Which means they should have a high rate of natural crosses- and why I intermixed the plants this year in my garden, hoping for a few natural crosses to show up in 2019.

I don't plan to try for a winter generation of Big Hill because it's determinate- I don't think it would do well under the sub optimal growing conditions and it would only give me a limited window for pollinations during which time I might be too busy. Blue Ambrosia, being indeterminate, should give at least a few flowers continuously over a long time period.
Pollination seems to be taking on Blue Ambrosia from Peruvianum pollen.

There is a red tomato on the penelli x domestic with some fuzz and some blue pigment.