Eino Kenttä

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since Jan 06, 2021
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Recent posts by Eino Kenttä

Joseph, are the seeds for any of your tomatoes available in Europe? Would love to have some of those (facultative) outcrossing traits in the population, but it'd feel a bit silly to start from scratch with all the same wild species you used, considering that you did that work already...

Do pimpinellifolium and cheesmaniae typically have flowers as closed as the domestic types? We had one plant flowering last year that was either pimpinellifolium or cheesmaniae, and I seem to remember that the stigmata looked somewhat exserted (but I might be wrong). What about galapagense?
20 hours ago
Chufa/tigernut (Cyperus esculentus var sativus) might do well in your climate, Xisca. Unless it's too dry?
6 days ago
The same thing happened in Europe, with Berberis vulgaris. But if I got it right, they dropped the goal of eradicating barberry here, because modern wheat varieties are resistant to the fungus...

Also, a thought. If I understood you correctly, since you mentioned goldenseal, you're looking for a backup source of berberine? Have you considered Oregon grape, Berberis (Mahonia) aquifolium? It's at least native to North America, even if it might not be found locally where you are.
1 week ago
Ugh... Suppose the logical endpoint of the AI mania is that it will be irrational to fully believe anything at all that you didn't see for yourself, with your own two eyes, untouched by any computer. Which just makes it even more important that we share knowledge directly, person-to-person.

Of course, source criticism was always a vital skill when reading foraging books. I've read quite a lot of things in older books that are, hm, dubious. I remember one small book I saw, published in the early 40s sometime, that was more like a propaganda pamphlet advocating the eating of wild food to remedy the food shortages brought on by the war. It gave some fairly dangerous advice. The one specific thing I remember is that it suggested that eating bracken fern rhizomes with minimal processing was fine. It's most certainly not. It's likely to give you stomach cancer... So the problem is not exactly new. But well, AI is just going to make it soooo much worse. All manner of desinformation echoed a million times, and some random computer hallucinations on top of that. Yuck.

Anyways, thanks for letting us know.
1 week ago
I know one ebay seller based in Russia (before the war broke out) used to send seeds embedded in a bag of random buttons, and mark the package "mixed buttons, vintage"...
1 week ago
According to Wikipedia, the tree known as balm-of-gilead is actually a hybrid (Populus × jackii) and the parent species are balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera) and eastern cottonwood (P. deltoides). Also, eastern cottonwood apparently has resinous buds, and if I got it right that resin is what you're after. I think it sounds promising.
1 week ago

Nancy Reading wrote:
Yay! You're a braver person than I, Eino! It's a million to one chance but it might just work! I hope you are successful and will be amongst the first to beg for seed off you! Have you a project thread, or is it too early yet?

Well, brave or stupid, I'm not sure which... If it works you'll be welcome to some seed. A bit early for a project thread yet, there wouldn't be much to put in it other than a description of last year's failure. Watch for one this autumn. In the interest of science I might make a thread about it even if it turns out to be utterly impossible (a negative result is still a result, and all that) but I do hope there will be some small progress to report by then...
1 week ago
I'll pretty much echo what Nancy said. It's all evolution, and a "bad" trait in a given set of circumstances can be valuable if (when) those circumstances change. Plus, like Nancy mentioned, recessive traits might not be expressed at all in the parent varieties (especially if some of them are F1 hybrids). I'd say go for maximum diversity! Once you've built up a wide genetic base of plants that reliably flower and fruit in your conditions, you can start narrowing it down to the traits you like (in terms of fruit flavour etc.) And any plants that don't like your particular conditions won't likely flower very much anyways, so even assuming spontaneous cross-pollination does take place (doubtful with most tomatoes) they aren't likely to contribute very much to the next generation.

I'm trying a similar project in a very different climate. Technically started last year, but a poorly chosen planting site meant that none of the plants had time to set any fruit. Maybe it's a wild-goose chase to try growing tomatoes outside on the Norwegian coast, but I'll try nonetheless. My plan is to plant as many different varieties as possible, including some wild species that don't have any issues crossing with domestic tomatoes (pimpinellifolium, cheesmaniae and galapagense), emasculate a couple of flowers on each plant, and pollinate with mixed pollen from all the plants. I might repeat this for a couple of years. The rest is mainly taken care of by evolution. Any plants that are not well-adapted to the site and climate won't have time to ripen their fruits (I fully expect this to be the case for the vast majority of them the first couple of years) and so will be strongly selected against, but still contribute pollen and have the chance to pass on any adaptive traits that might be lurking in there. If I ever get to the point where there's a population that reliably sets fruit, which is far from certain, then I'll start selecting for other traits. Well, we shall see.
1 week ago

Alina Green wrote:Has anyone used the seeds of plantain like psyllium, for fiber and/or laxative properties?

If so, which species did you use, and what do you do--just rub the seeds off and consume as is?

I made porridge from the seeds once. Didn't notice any drop in blood pressure, nor any laxative effect that I can remember. The taste was nice, but the seed shells stay crunchy no matter how long you boil the stuff. It would definitely work for thickening things the same way as psyllium. I had to keep adding water, since it thickened super fast and kept on thickening as I added more water. I think if I wanted to use it in cooking or gluten-free baking, I'd grind the seeds and use them the same as psyllium. However, they are very hard, so don't know a practical method for grinding. They are a bit too tiny for a mortar and pestle to work well. An alternative approach could be to boil or soak the seeds, and then strain out the shells using a cheesecloth or similar and use the liquid/goo, kind of like with flax seeds.

Edit to say I believe it was Plantago major I used. Don't think we have any others here.
1 week ago
Ugh, that sucks! But if I've got it right, it might not be hopeless. I believe plants have two systems blocking uptake of toxins, including metals: one between the roots and aerial parts, and one between the vegetative parts and the reproductive structures. So while root crops might be a bad idea (depending on whether a given species of plant has a high level of chromium uptake) leafy vegetables, and especially fruits/nuts/seeds/flowers, will probably be a lot safer. Also, if Cr(III) is less soluble, the plants might be less inclined to take up excessive amounts.

Would it be feasible to run a test on some of the foods already growing there, to see if they contain large amounts of chromium? Doesn't really matter what the soil contains if the food is ok. Except... the water might be a bigger issue. But I suppose you could go for rainwater harvesting for drinking purposes and use the water from the sources for watering the plants, cleaning, etc.

Also, maybe you could reduce the availability and mobility of chromium in the soil somehow. Here is a study that seems to say biochar is a viable way to do that. It also seems like biochar can reduce Cr(VI) to Cr(III).

I hope you can find a way to live there. It sounds like an awesome place.
2 weeks ago