Howdy folks! No lurker here. I found your site today and immediately registered. Don't know if I'll have much to contribute, but I know I can learn booksworth here.
I live 3 minutes from downtown Birmingham, AL, and have been a small backyard veggie gardner for years. My interest has recently increased multi-fold after running across some YouTube tomato vids by accident.
I've started several new varieties from seed this year I've never tried,(soon to be transplanted) and I'm looking forward to some staking techniches I've never tried. I've barely scratched the surface here. Pleased a site like this exists. Cheers to all!
Birmingham, AL; isn't that one of the cities grown so large that it generates its own weather? What's your temp range and rain season, mas o menos?
Hello, Steev. Birmingham is what I would call a small to medium sized city in the Deep South. Usually rainy spring season (received over 7" during the last 10 days), July and August and into September are hot and humid. Fairly mild winters when compared to the central and northeast U.S. Growing season falls short of Florida and and parts of western U.S., but is longer season than most of U.S.
Post by dreamkatcher on May 16, 2014 6:43:51 GMT -5
I would love to know more about how you changed your potatoes to a variety that produces seed!! Can you tell me if you have an article on it somewhere on here? We grow a whole lot of potatoes every year and save a percentage of them for replanting every year. We never have enough potatoes. Seed might help with that.
We have a very large garden. Fruit, veggies and wheat are on about 1/4-1/3 of an acre. Most of what we grow is heirloom seed. We are slowly working our way to being food self-sufficient. I need to do better with collecting seed but I will get there.
I just read your article about Walking Onions on Mother Earth News. I didn't realize I could start harvesting them so early or that I didn't need to wait for the bulbils to replant them. My plants are 2 years old now. I didn't harvest much of them last year as a hail storm took out so many of the bulbils. I am trying to get a whole bed of them so we always have onions.
With my background in horticulture, I am looking forward to learning how to create my own varieties of plants that do their best in our soil and climate.
Post by Joseph Lofthouse on May 16, 2014 8:22:53 GMT -5
dreamkatcher: Once I started creating my own vegetable varieties it turned my farming world upside down. Welcome to the journey.
I cried, the day I converted my potato patch into "Abundantly Fruiting Only". What that meant to me is that I went down to the potato storage room, and gathered together the seed potatoes from all of the cultivars that weren't producing seed, and I made a potato salad. That was traumatic, because I am so careful about preserving the tubers from year to year. These days I am a bit more generous towards the pikers. I keep a few non-fruiting potatoes around if I really like them, but they represent only about 20% of what I grow. All of the varieties that I had been growing and loving were non-fruiting. A couple years before I had obtained potato seeds from New World Seeds & Tubers. Most of them produced non-fruiting offspring, but there were enough that produced fruit to get me started.
I grow fresh seedlings most years. I keep the ones that produce both tubers and fruits in the first year, and occasionally something that produces tubers only -- if the tubers are really clever. When I replant, the vast majority of tubers come from plants that bore seeds previously. Some years are better for seed production than others. To stay around long term, a clone has to either be at least occasionally fruitful or it has to be really clever in some other way. (There is one I keep because of the color pattern. Another I keep because of the shape.)
In the past, I have spent around $80 per year buying onion sets, which I have then harvested as scallions or as storage onions for the farmer's market. Last fall I decided that it was not a good idea to buy onion sets that were produced in Texas in order to feed my myself and my community. Therefore all of my scallions this year will be Egyptian Onions. I was the only farmer that had green onions for the first farmer's market this year, because I took Egyptian Onions. Most of last year's crop is already too mature to take to market because they are flowering already and the flower stalk is fibrous. I have a spring planted crop that will be ready to harvest in two weeks after I finish harvesting the volunteers that got plowed under last fall. The plowing set them back a few weeks. Also that field is in a cooler micro-environment. I'm also harvesting volunteer leeks and garlic.
Here's what the spring planted patch looked like a few minutes ago:
And the perennial patch looked like this. This is the patch that creates the bulbils for planting the annual crops.
Post by dreamkatcher on May 16, 2014 12:24:35 GMT -5
Is there a variety of TPS that you find does well for you in Utah? Being in Colorado we would have a similar growing experience. I looked at that site and they have 45 kinds to choose from.
I will see if I can get a pic of my walking onions next week. They look a bit different from yours. I did finally get some great onions from seed this year so this will probably be our last year of planting any onion sets.
I saw you do garlic seed too...which I plan on looking at further, I just haven't the time to read it all today. For now I just have a 2' x 8' bed planted from cloves of last years garlic last fall that is doing super well. Right now we are still growing for us and family but that may change in the future. This year I plan to put extra out by the curb with a donation can so we will see how that goes.
Here's what my first attempt at true potato seed looked like. The two that I am still growing from 2010 are the top row third from the left, and the left most on the second row down. The white potatoes are Zoluska, and they didn't produce seeds so I eliminated them. The blue and purple potatoes self-eliminated by producing fewer tubers than went into the ground. The yellow potatoes didn't store well enough to make it through the winters to be replanted. I don't remember why the light pink-skinned potatoes are no longer with me. The other red-skinned potatoes were eliminated for being unproductive.
These are some of the different kinds of tubers that I saved at the end of the 2013 growing season. I have given pet names to some of the clones, and others just get propagated without names. Some of the names are more a description of the phenotype than anything else. (Ella's and Bountiful are the same clones as in the previous photo.)
This spring as I have been digging Egyptian Onions I am finding two different phenotypes: One with yellow/brown skin, and one with purple skin... What the heck!!! I suppose that my family has been growing these for more than 80 years, so even if seed production is very rare, that's a lot of generations for the plant to attempt to produce a seed and a new type of seedling. I'm intending to grab one of each color next time I dig them and plant them into a bed where I can compare performance and traits. I had a helper this week that was very efficient at cleaning off the outer layer of skin...
Post by dreamkatcher on May 17, 2014 17:31:00 GMT -5
Thanks for the info! I have the Zoluska seed but I already knew that one was a hybrid. I emailed that company too so we will see what they say. Do you know, are we too late to plant seeds this year? Their site didn't say much about planting timing etc. I am very happy I found you and that site. I had seen some potato seed a couple of years ago and then I couldn't find it again until I found the zoluska but I would prefer open-pollinated.
We have the purple skin walking onion. We also have a yellow skin multiplier onion. I wonder if yours is maybe a cross of the two? The multiplier onion doesn't get the bulbils at the top at all. They just produce about the same size onion at a rate of 8-10 per one planted. I did dig up a few of those last year but still trying to get those to fill the bed along with the walking onions so I probably didn't dig up enough. Plus the hail damaged them pretty well last year too. Not common for us to have the 50 cent size hail so hopefully it won't happen this year. First I had seen it that big in 12 years. It was amazing to me that the only real damage we had was to the garden and luckily most things came back well from it. I have a raised bed with a couple of each of the onions in it...to see growth patterns etc in.
Hey Keen101! Welcome back. Hope that your travels were fulfilling to you. What growing projects are you hoping to work on this year?
I grew out the hybrid swarm of corn that you sent me. I made an F1 hybrid between it and a synthetic composite of the major corn races from South America... I sent the zea diploperrenis to someone in a warmer climate who said he'd grow it out and return seeds. I'm still growing the Hopi white that you sent me. This year I allowed it to grow in the main squash patch, so it may be cross pollinated. I'm still fussing with watermelons.
Silt/clay, high-altitude, super-arid, sun-drenched, irrigated-desert garden. Cold radiant-cooled nights. ~100 frost free days. Grow most of my own locally adapted landrace seed. GDD10C ~1300. Author of Mother Earth News: Landrace Gardening Blog.