Jonathan de Revonah wrote:
Any notable updates from 2023 for this project, Mr. Reed?
In both 2022 and 2023 I spent a lot of seeds establishing a direct seeding germination rate. That is planting directly into the ground, outside without any heating or cover just like might be done with beans or anything else. While many will still lay there and sprout weeks or months later, or even the next year, I'm confident to say germination within two weeks or less is at 50% or better. In my climate most that sprout by the middle of June have time to make nice roots, but I only go on with those that sprout within two weeks of sowing.
In 2023 I discovered my favorite ever of my "ornamental" line. Ornamental meaning the plant does not make large storage roots. This plant exhibits a growth habit that makes it very easy to trellis, it almost climbs on its own. It has dark purple leaves with deep lobes, the internode length is very long with flowers at every node. It is one of seven "ornamentals" overwintering inside right now. It is one of two that I've confirmed is self-compatible.
In the culinary line I have eleven that we are evaluating now for how well they store and for flavor. With a couple of exceptions these are all nicely seedy with a bush or semi-bush growth habit and clump root trait. That is the roots grow in a nice cluster, directly under the main stem where they are easy to find and harvest. One, the most bushy and productive I've seen does not bloom until very late so makes few seeds, but it is such a nice plant, I'm keeping it at least for now. Another one has very large vines, which I don't really like but the roots are so sweet and yummy I'm keeping it too, at least until I find a bushy one of comparable flavor. Eleven is too many, so after storage and flavor evaluation I am cutting that down to the five or six, best of the best to backcross with each other next year.
If you watch that video on YouTube there are some more videos from 2023.