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Status of the Farm and the Farmer / Re: Fall Frosts
« Last post by Joseph Lofthouse on 2015-September-08 08:14:42 AM »
More frost on 2015-09-07. Again very light. A few more squash leaves were lightly nipped in the east field. The beans are fine. No damage in Trudy's field.
Plant Breeding Projects / Re: Runner Beans
« Last post by Joseph Lofthouse on 2015-September-07 08:34:30 AM »

Runner Bean that is mostly leaves:

Runner Bean that flowered like crazy but didn't set fruit:

Heavy Fruit set!!!
Status of the Farm and the Farmer / Medicinal Herbs...
« Last post by Joseph Lofthouse on 2015-September-06 11:59:41 PM »
A lady told me at the farmer's market a few weeks ago that I was the only person at market offering herbs... I was confused, because I often see basil, and oregano, and dill. I asked her to clarify. Eventually it became clear that she was calling me a medicine man. I was immensely pleased. I often gather plants that are renowned for their medicinal properties and take them to market with me. I give 90% of them away because they don't sell, but at least I made the effort, and a few people really appreciate what I do. What that means, is that the local shamans and medicine women associate with me a lot. A couple days ago I told one of the shaman that the deer had eaten about 1/3 of my cantaloupes, and that was OK with me, because "When/Where else are the deer folk going to get to taste such glorious muskmelons?" The response was along the lines of, "I think that you have just out shaman-ed this ol shaman".

I never would have imagined 7 growing seasons when I started down the path of landrace gardening that it would result in me being called a medicine man or shaman. But once I started saving my own corn seed, then it wasn't a very big step to start making my own catsup. It was only a small step from there to growing flavorings like stevia, garlic, mustard, dill, and fennel. And if I'm already growing my own food and flavorings, then I might as well be growing my own medicines. And if I'm growing and using medicinal herbs, then I might as well take them to market with me.

So during the next few growing seasons, I intend to put more thought and effort into growing medicinal herbs. I'd welcome feedback about which herbs you find the most useful. Any suggestions about growing conditions? Winter hardiness? etc...
Status of the Farm and the Farmer / Fall Frosts
« Last post by Joseph Lofthouse on 2015-September-06 03:32:56 PM »
I was restless last night, 2015-09-06 because it was the first clear night after the first rainstorm in September. That is the traditional way that I forecast the start of the fall frosts. I didn't take any precautions to protect things in the field. (They are too big.) But towards morning I started waking up to watch the thermometer. It got down to 42 F. When I checked in the morning, a few squash leaves here and there had been frozen. I didn't check every crop in every field yet, but things are looking good so far.
Farmer's Market / 2015-09-04
« Last post by Joseph Lofthouse on 2015-September-01 08:00:54 AM »
I'm expecting to bring muskmelons!

Also bringing:

The last of the pears,
Tomatillos (enough for salsa),
Winter squash,

The next crop of plums are being very slow about ripening.
Farmer's Market / 2015-08-22
« Last post by joseph on 2015-August-30 08:46:58 PM »
Plant Breeding Projects / Runner Beans
« Last post by joseph on 2015-August-30 06:30:10 PM »
I have planted runner beans each year for the past 7 growing seasons. The first 4 years I got zero harvest from them. Three seasons ago, Holly from California sent me a landrace of runner bean seeds from her farm. I love her seeds, because even though she has a longer growing season, it shares my dry summers with low humidity.

Holly's  beans actually produced some viable seeds in 2013. The harvest was less than what went into the ground, and many plants produced nothing, but it was a good start.

In the 2014 growing season I replanted those seeds, and some other varieties. Unfortunately, I planted them in the sunflower row and the sunflowers way out competed the runner beans. But some managed to produce seeds.

In the 2015 growing season I planted a row of runner beans all by itself, and I kept them weeded perfectly. I put all of my seed into the ground. The remainder of Holly's original seed, and the survivors from the previous two generations, and all of my backup archive seeds. It was all or nothing... It turned out to be a good risk. Some of the plants have been flowering like crazy all summer without producing fruits. Some of the plants are loaded with seeds. Woo Hoo! My grandfather grew runner beans when I was a child. I have longed to do likewise.

Most of the plants have white flowers or scarlet flowers. A couple of them have bi-color flowers.

There are a lot of pollinators on them: Hummingbirds, bumblebees, honeybees.
My Varieties -- Descriptions & Grow Reports / Lofthouse Dry Bush Beans
« Last post by joseph on 2015-August-30 05:35:57 PM »
First Harvest. 2015-08-26

Again this year, the yellow tiger bean dominates the earliest harvests. Pinto beans and pink beans are producing well.

Harvest. 2015-08-28

2015-08-28. Sorted by type.

This is what the patch looked like on 2015-07-17.

Here's what the bean patch looked like a week ago.
Plant Breeding Projects / Re: General Tomato Breeding
« Last post by joseph on 2015-August-29 11:41:16 PM »
Here's examples of some of the seeds I am saving this week:

Descended From Sungold-1

Descended From Sungold-2

Descended From Sungold-3

Descended From Sungold-4

None of the Descended from Sungold plants has the taste that the F1 hybrid is famous for.

F2:[DX52-12 X Jagodka]-1

F2:[DX52-12 X Jagodka]-2

F2:[DX52-12 X Jagodka]-4

F2:[DX52-12 X Jagodka]-5

F2:[DX52-12 X Jagodka]-6

F2:[DX52-12 X Jagodka]-7

F2:[DX52-12 X Jagodka]-10. This plant would have been culled already, except that I numbered the plants after the first culling, and it would mess up my numbering scheme to cull it now.

F2:[DX52-12 X Jagodka]-12

F2:[DX52-12 X Jagodka]-14

F2:[DX52-12 X Jagodka]-19

F2:[DX52-12 X Jagodka]-20

F2:[DX52-12 X Jagodka]-21

F2:[DX52-12 X Jagodka]-24

F2:[DX52-12 X Jagodka]-26

Segregating Hybrid of some sort or other. It has a sibling which is indeterminate.
Large Yellow Determinate:

The Wild Crosses were made by a collaborator. They are F2 or later. Some of them were spectacularly unsuited to my garden. None of them thrived here, but some of them produced a few fruits. Flea beetles were particularly troubling to them. The flowers were all tiny and industrialized types.

Wild Cross-10. Orange Indeterminate Cherry. This is a great tasting tomato. The gel sack around the seeds is green.

Wild Cross-5: Indeterminate. This is a great tasting tomato. The gel sack around the seeds is green.

Wild Cross-8. Determinate. ~18" vines

My tomato seed saving table...
Farmer's Market / 2015-08-29
« Last post by joseph on 2015-August-28 08:08:21 AM »
As usual, we are bringing honey in pint jars ($10) and 5 gallon buckets ($250).

Also bringing:

Storage Onions
Decorative pumpkins

Looks like muskmelons will be ready next week.
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