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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Interspecific Beans

Last October I blogged about beans that seemed to be crosses between Black Coco and Zolfino (Turin) drying beans and Black Magic Runner beans. Red flowered plants, presumably F1 crosses, appeared in both drying bean varieties in 2009 and yielded Runner bean type seeds (F2). There weren't many seeds and only seven of them germinated, of them only five flowered. All the F1 plants had red flowers but of the f2 plants one of the Zolfino crosses had pink and and the other white flowers. The three f2 black coco x plants had red flowers.
None of the pods had more than three beans and many had only one. One of the Black coco crosses was a climber. The rest were dwarf. Some of the plants are still green and the pods on the white flowered and beaned Zolfino cross plant have still not really ripened while one of the Black Coco plants was completely dry.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Trial by Abuse

In 2005 I saved some true seed from some Nepalese blight resistant potatoes. I grew several hundred seedlings. Below are some of the tubers from that first year 2006.

Over the last four years I have grown them out every year, usually treating them really badly. For example, one year I didn't get around to lifting them till it was time to plant them again. Other years I have forgotten to weed them. A couple of years ago we taste tested them with the students from the Kinsale Permaculture course and narrowed them down a bit further. This year I left the tubers in a bucket until sometime in May when they looked like prunes with long green sprouts, then I planted them.
When I lifted them earlier this week there were three types left. The best yielder was the pink and white variety. I decided to call it Ardagh Susan after my sister who died earlier this year. The white variety was a very smooth skinned and scab resistant. It will be Ardagh Autumn after my elder daughter. The solid pink one had rather poor skin but was the 'flouriest' I have decided to call it Ardagh Holly after my younger one.
I have put away plenty of seed potatoes in the beautiful apple storage box that Mike made. he copied the old one that Sylvia gave us, and Bridget and Noel kindly brought back from England for us. It is full of apples now.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Naughty corner

The talet seeds I got from Radix in March have done well. I wrote a blog entry about them at the time. I planted some of the plants out under a young apple tree, between some Belville sorrel plants.
It has all got a bit jungly now and I can't see if it has produced any underground pods, but it has seemed quite happy growing up its cane.

The others got a place in my cramped polytunnel in what I came to think of as the naughty corner. I have a soft spot for the weird and wonderful like achocha and bottle gourds, which are pretty vigorous.

The talet was tucked in between these two bullies and in spite of a pretty random watering regime produced quite a lot of flowers and pods.

Again, I don't know if it has produced underground seeds, it would be difficult as the ground cover would stop the flowers going underground.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Every year I try to grow some new varieties and crops. This year I grew Camelina Sativa.
It is a member of the Brassica family and was very little trouble. I grew a square meter or two and did nothing more than weed it occasionally. Although an ancient agricultural crop grown to produce oil, its current claim to fame, is that its oil contains up to 45% omega 3 fatty acids.
The biodiesel industry is also interested in it, as it is a very stable oil and it can be grown in rotation with wheat. It is a less demanding crop than wheat.
The birds rather liked mine and harvested quite a lot of it for me. The seed they droppped came up and is now flowering.
I have a small crop to play around with and try and make some vegetable oil out of, but will keep some seed to sow again next year, perhaps as part of my, grow your own chicken food, campaign.