A Seed Saver's Garden

Pulsegleaner

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I admire your adventurous spirit when it comes to planting gleanings you've found @Pulsegleaner. It is certainly a good way to find things that you won't find in seed vendor listings. I almost never see any really nice decorative corn being sold around here, but I did look at some little fall decal corns I got somewhere at some point yesterday and think....hmmm, wonder if I could grow this. The tricky thing is corn is so sensitive to seasonal length that I doubt if many would succeed here being so far up north. And that would mean, possibly, one year is a total loss for a corn. Which is a huge loss considering you can only grow one per year.
Well, I'm trying to work out a way to put in two small corn patches per year by using the house itself as a pollen block (i.e. put one on one side of the house, and one on the other). But that sort of relies on FINDING another spot on the other side of the house that has the space and sun to grow corn, or pretty much anything else! (as I have mentioned, about 90% of our property is in partial to total shade pretty much all day, and there is nothing I can do about that).

THAT there are corns adapted to your area is obvious, after all, the First Nations people had their corns. How many of those are still around I have no idea. I know there is something called Gaspe Bay Flint, and I think the Micmac still have some of their traditional strains (to be honest, I'm not 100% familiar with which native tribes ARE in the interior part of Canada. I know some of the coastal ones (Haida, Tlingit, Athabascan) but beyond that, it all goes into a blur of memories of old Dead Dog Cafe Comedy Hour episodes I've heard on tape.) Maybe one of those would work.

As for your problem, I sort of understand. I have the advantage that none of my near neighbors grow corn (only one other even has a vegetable garden, as far as I know) and the nearest one who does is down a very steep hill (so their pollen would have to blow up the hill and over the house to get to my patch, which isn't likely.) Thankfully, the restoration doesn't grow corn either, just a bit of wheat and rye for the show of things (I'm sure they grind it in the mill, but I've seen, and harvested, their patch, and it's clear than most of the grain they grind must come in from elsewhere)

As for 6-12 plants messing you up, how do you think I feel when 6-12 kernels is ALL I HAVE for a variety (or even less), and I have to face the possibility of giving a whole season to grown only two or three corn stalks! I'm seriously considering planting the one I only have four of left in just a big pot and putting it somewhere high enough to keep it out of the pollen wind line.

I actually DID do a re-visit to my main corn hunt place (not where I bought my stuff, it's going to be hard to re-visit that one.) The one I went to HAD gotten in some more since last time (some multicolored dents) but still nothing to catch my eye.

I also think I may have worked out a way to get around the fact that our recent spring weather patterns have made trying to grow cool weather crops like peas all but impossible. It occurs to me that, as I only have about five of the peas I want to regenerate, I can again take a bit pot, fill it with soil, stick a bunch of stakes in it, tie or staple some mesh to them, and create a pea complex I can bring outside when the weather is good for peas, but still yank inside if I find out that an unexpected heavy frost is coming. Probably should do something similar for the fava (since I only have one seed of that).
 

Zeedman

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I know there is something called Gaspe Bay Flint, and I think the Micmac still have some of their traditional strains (to be honest,
I grew "Gaspe" this year. Advantages: it tassels so early that if planted on time, it is virtually impossible to cross with any other corn nearby. The plants also form multiple ears - even on the tillers - so there can be 5-7 ears per plant.

Disadvantage: the small distance between the ears & the ground. I had expected to deal with rodents; what I had NOT expected was the very high vulnerability to smut caused by that closeness to the ground. At home, at least one ear per plant was infected for almost the entire planting. The blocks in the rural garden were less affected by smut - but more heavily damaged by rodents. :barnie:idunno

I estimate that about 75% of the ears were lost; but thanks to the large number of ears to begin with, enough survived for a successful seed crop.
20231010_171045.jpg

"Gaspe" flint corn

I think that planting through agricultural cloth might reduce or eliminate the losses to smut. Transplants were very effective at making every seed count; I have enough original seed remaining that I may try again.
 

heirloomgal

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@Zeedman your results are very interesting. Wow, 5-7 cobs per plant - that's a lot! I guess that must make up, at least somewhat, for the size of the cobs. As you see so often in garden vegetables, small varieties can produce quite a lot as opposed to bigger ones i.e. cherry tomatoes vs beefsteaks. I didn't realize that it was so early to tassel. That is certainly a desirable feature.

As for the smut issue, that is really something. I've never seen this phenomenon (knock on wood), and I didn't know that it originates in the soil but I guess that makes sense, same goes for white mould on beans. 75% is a pretty big loss, how much of that would you attribute to critters vs smut? Thanks for posting this, I really enjoy opportunities to read about the detailed performance & the quirks of specific varieties. 🙏
 

heirloomgal

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Well, I'm trying to work out a way to put in two small corn patches per year by using the house itself as a pollen block (i.e. put one on one side of the house, and one on the other). But that sort of relies on FINDING another spot on the other side of the house that has the space and sun to grow corn, or pretty much anything else! (as I have mentioned, about 90% of our property is in partial to total shade pretty much all day, and there is nothing I can do about that).

THAT there are corns adapted to your area is obvious, after all, the First Nations people had their corns. How many of those are still around I have no idea. I know there is something called Gaspe Bay Flint, and I think the Micmac still have some of their traditional strains (to be honest, I'm not 100% familiar with which native tribes ARE in the interior part of Canada. I know some of the coastal ones (Haida, Tlingit, Athabascan) but beyond that, it all goes into a blur of memories of old Dead Dog Cafe Comedy Hour episodes I've heard on tape.) Maybe one of those would work.

As for your problem, I sort of understand. I have the advantage that none of my near neighbors grow corn (only one other even has a vegetable garden, as far as I know) and the nearest one who does is down a very steep hill (so their pollen would have to blow up the hill and over the house to get to my patch, which isn't likely.) Thankfully, the restoration doesn't grow corn either, just a bit of wheat and rye for the show of things (I'm sure they grind it in the mill, but I've seen, and harvested, their patch, and it's clear than most of the grain they grind must come in from elsewhere)

As for 6-12 plants messing you up, how do you think I feel when 6-12 kernels is ALL I HAVE for a variety (or even less), and I have to face the possibility of giving a whole season to grown only two or three corn stalks! I'm seriously considering planting the one I only have four of left in just a big pot and putting it somewhere high enough to keep it out of the pollen wind line.

I actually DID do a re-visit to my main corn hunt place (not where I bought my stuff, it's going to be hard to re-visit that one.) The one I went to HAD gotten in some more since last time (some multicolored dents) but still nothing to catch my eye.

I also think I may have worked out a way to get around the fact that our recent spring weather patterns have made trying to grow cool weather crops like peas all but impossible. It occurs to me that, as I only have about five of the peas I want to regenerate, I can again take a bit pot, fill it with soil, stick a bunch of stakes in it, tie or staple some mesh to them, and create a pea complex I can bring outside when the weather is good for peas, but still yank inside if I find out that an unexpected heavy frost is coming. Probably should do something similar for the fava (since I only have one seed of that).
6 - 12 kernels, oh the pressure! :hide
 

heirloomgal

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4 ground cherry plants, with a late start. Went out to the patch most days after supper for dessert. Holy cow did they produce! I made a ground cherry coffee cake with some, which was okay. DD and I love them fresh. I found the cherries lost their intense flavour when cooked.:idunno The remainder was for seed.
ED0AFEE1-24D7-428E-B377-B4F3BDD4F520.jpeg
6D3575BF-BF98-45D4-9405-FD1D85FEB89F.jpeg


Also of note; a ways back I said the Tzimbalo fruit was awful. I was WRONG! I tried one last fruit today from the bowl I picked and it was incredible, really good. I don’t know if I tried them too early or if being in a cold room for the last week did it, but mackerel they taste like kiwi, pineapple and other indescribable tropical flavour nuances. Complex and layered, tart but sweet. Will definitely grow again, and more than a few plants!
 

flowerbug

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white mold in beans is a combination of issues. if you can avoid letting dead things sit under the growing green plants then you will not have much of it. i have troubles with it because some plants die back earlier than others so those dead plants are under there and then the mold comes because it is so damp here most evenings. in stands where things are more uniform and finishing at one time white mold isn't much of an issue at all.
 

Zeedman

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white mold in beans is a combination of issues. if you can avoid letting dead things sit under the growing green plants then you will not have much of it. i have troubles with it because some plants die back earlier than others so those dead plants are under there and then the mold comes because it is so damp here most evenings. in stands where things are more uniform and finishing at one time white mold isn't much of an issue at all.
I agree dead plant material contributing to white mold. The only times I've seen it has been late in the season, when dead leaves have fallen beneath dense leaf cover. Those spores, like smut, persist in the soil for a long time.
 

Pulsegleaner

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6 - 12 kernels, oh the pressure! :hide
Actually, only 4 in the case I am thinking, my last 4 mini flour kernels.

Also while I have 118 mini sweetcorn kernels TOTAL, if I divided them by the actual ear they came from (like they are now) one would only have about 18 kernels (and remember, the germination rate I currently have with this corn is only about 10%, since it is so old.) Even if I DO get miniature sweetcorn back, I have no idea what shape it's going to be, since two of the samples have thin narrow kernels and one has broad, flat ones (thanks to the non mini genes, there is a LOT of variation in kernel shape with the corns, WAY more than one would normally see in a miniature sized corn).

And under 200 is pretty normal with MOST of my samples, simply because there tend to be less than 200 kernels on a single ear (with Andean corns, it's less than 100) And that's assuming I save an plant EVERY kernel of an ear, which is rare (if I'm growing for a pattern, I only plant those kernels that have that pattern.) I only mix ears when they share the same trait I'm after, and I generally try to only mix ones that are fairly similar. For example, my speckled flint, dent and sweet corns are separate (and, in the case of the sweet, almost nonexistent).
 
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flowerbug

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I agree dead plant material contributing to white mold. The only times I've seen it has been late in the season, when dead leaves have fallen beneath dense leaf cover. Those spores, like smut, persist in the soil for a long time.

it makes the selection of interplanting companions to be similar enough to finish about the same time somewhat important.

it really could also be a self-adjusting thing because it doesn't affect the whole patch or spread beyond the initial areas that much in that it kills off the plants and that opens up more room for air flow and then it seems to die off. i've gone in and just pulled apart areas that had it to let more light and air in and that does stop it from getting much worse even if it has done some damage.

there's really no easy way for me to go through all the bean patches and remove the dead material that happens at times so it is just a part of life IMO. not interplanting would help some but i'm not sure i like that answer because interplanting might also give some benefits if the earliest plants are able to help hold up the later plants. i've done that this year and i'm fairly happy with the results. any actual controlled comparative scientific studies would need more room than i have...
 

heirloomgal

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it kills off the plants and that opens up more room for air flow and then it seems to die off
I have experienced this too. I have never done much research about that white mould outside of reading that it is in the soil, but I think air flow has a lot to do with whether it develops or not. On really well spaced plants I never see it. When the humidity is really high, some of the pole bean stems will fall prey to it because the foliage gets so dense. I can only imagine that when it isn't the result of a leaf having fall onto a stem and expired, the spores drift up in the air from the soil and take hold.
 

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