Monday, April 29, 2019

Why I am Breeding Plants.

This is one of the reasons I took the Online Seed Course. "All agricultural crops have continuously changed with the selection pressures applied from both farmers and the environments in which they were cultivated. When farmers and the environment changed, the crop changed. Many of our crops continue to change and adapt to new challenges. 

The number of environments that crops are bred in, and the number of breeders, have both shrunk over the past 100 years. This is because farmers in most agricultural regions of the globe do little or no plant breeding anymore, and the number of regionalized seed companies doing breeding has also drastically shrunk in the past 40 to 60 years."

source: Introduction to On-farm Organic Plant Breeding

Daylily in Container: Photo

On front deck. Other daylilies beside the lilac tree and along side of the house with tulips.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea)

I am planting a few of these, Purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) alongside the house as soon as the soil is warm enough.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Photo Corn

Gem corn. This is an experiment. Sharing six plants with a friend planting the other six. Will save seeds to share.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Earth Day

What are your Earth Day plans?
"In nature, nothing exists alone.”
— Rachel Carson, 1962
Nature’s gifts to our planet are the millions of species that we know and love, and many more that remain to be discovered. Unfortunately, human beings have irrevocably upset the balance of nature and, as a result, the world is facing the greatest rate of extinction since we lost the dinosaurs more than 60 million years ago. But unlike the fate of the dinosaurs, the rapid extinction of species in our world today is the result of human activity."

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Seed Starting: Photo

These are some of the seeds I am starting for myself and a friend.

I  will post a photo of the seed saving setup, tomorrow.

Also, my next post will feature the bean seeds I am using in my breeding project. Some  I will save, others will be used to develop a new heat tolerant, hardy bean.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Bean Breeding #1

What do you love to grow?

I enjoy the growing process from saving seeds to harvesting the fruit. I do not have a favourite plant but am focusing on beans for breeding.

What are the interesting characteristics for which you would breed or select? 

Projections about the future indicate many parts of the world will see greater heat stress — higher temperatures that can result in more frequent, longer periods of excessive heat for crops.

 This is bad news for growers of certain crops. That would include beans. I am interested in heat resistance. Beans do not like a nighttime temperature over 23. In my rea, Central Ontario, Canada, currently few nights exceed the 20C nighttime heat limit but that may be changing.

Last summer, my first in the area, was hot and humid and more than a few nights exceeded the maximum temperature.

Talking with people who have gardened here for years, that summer was unusual. The previous year was cooler and wetter. The forecast for this year rests somewhere between the two. What the future holds, who knows.

In addition, to selecting for heat extremes, I am also interested in hardiness. I want to develop beans that will thrive in the soil where I live and will be resilient enough to tackle future challenges.

How would you go about facilitating this project? What about climactic conditions, geographic location within your garden or farm? Soil issues, disease?

The soil here is clay. I have worked in clay before and am comfortable I can use its advantages to the garden’s best effect. I am a renter with a large yard, permission to use it, as I will for growing, and a good lease. I have obtained several heritage beans, as well as, tepary beans suitable for much warmer climates.

Climate change is a major concern when it comes to future food security and may other issues. Beans are an ideal crop for storing over long periods of time and have multiple uses.

I will plant four varieties of beans, including tepary, and select and pollinate the plants that demonstrate the characteristics I am looking for.  I will also be saving and sharing seeds with the local seed Library.

Monday, April 1, 2019


Perennials are herbaceous plants that live for more than three seasons. Perennials are the foundation upon which your garden is built. If you treat them well they will come back for several seasons and in some cases even longer.

Perennials are often considered to be the gardens’ skin because they form the majority of plants which are used for borders and for ground cover.
Perennials offer a wide variety of form, flower and foliage and give the gardener a large palette from which to make plant selections.
The perennial plant ranges from very small rock plants to gigantic bamboos and there is a perennial for just about any gardening situation.
Perennials for the backs of borders;
When you use a tall perennial for the back of your garden border you create a look of permanence and their majestic size catches the eye. Some tall perennials such as one of my favourites the delphinium will require support in order to avoid being knocked flat by the wind. Delphiniums like rich and deep soils.
Rudbeckia is a strong growing plant with bright yellow double flowers and a green centre that appears among the leafy green foliage from late summer into the fall.
Perennials as Specimen Plants
A specimen plant is a plant that is so striking that it can stand alone as a special feature in your garden.
Ornamental Rhubarb (Rheum plamatum) is a large, lobed leave plant that displays brilliant heads or crimson flowers in early summer.
Perennials as a groundcover;
There is no reason to leave a bare spot in your garden when there are so many perennials available that make ideal groundcover. The hosta not only provides groundcover and beautiful foliage but enjoys the shade and will produce flowers in summer.
If you are seeking a native plant, then depending upon your location the wood anemone or Anemone nemorosa is ideal. This plant will form a carpet of ferny leaves and star-shaped flowers in the spring.
Other possibilities;
If you are looking for a medium height perennial the Chrysanthemum ‘Clara Curtis’ or Korean Chrysanthemum is a bushy plant that flowers all through the summer and autumn.
If you have heavy clay soil there are a number of choices, one of the most striking and easy to grow is the New England Aster or Aster novae-angliae. The New England Aster forms erect clumps of leafy stems which produce large branching heads of daisy-like flowers in autumn.

When it comes to perennials the gardener’s palette is large and there is a plant to met most needs. You can free your creativity and create lasting beauty when you choose perennials.

Podcast Coming soon

I am working on a podcast, working title "We Are Nature Working" I will talk about the many issues facing us from climate catastro...