Sunday, 9 November 2014

Sugar Beth F2

What progress?
I'm a bit behind on quite a few things this year. I'd left the young plants, grown from seed a bit too long in their pots. They had become somewhat intertwined with each other and they looked weedy and a bit yellow! But they have been very forgiving and since their late planting out they are putting a lot of effort into correcting my neglect. I now have some flowering Sugar Beth peas!

One of three pink flowering vines.

Purple flowers on one of the vines

I have 12 plants growing from this sowing, 3 are pink flowering and the remainder purple. The purple flowering peas are showing a selection of coloured pods, green, partly purple and I think one is solid purple. Most are mange-tout type pods with 1 being a sugar snap which is part purple

Nearly all purple

Slightly mottled pod of a sugar snap type

Sunlight highlighting the purple and green colours

My aim for this cross was a pink flowering, purple podded mange-tout type pea, although I'd be happy with a sugar snap. But it looks like my aim won't be achieved. The 3 pink-salmon flowering peas have resulted in 1 green podded type and two coloured, but that's where it goes a little skew. The pods initially look like they are purple but as they grow they appear more reddy in colour, I think perhaps the pink flowering gene affects the tone of pod colour as well as the flower and leaf axil splodges. Although it might be a trait from the pollen parent. Anyway it is very attractive, though not as intense a red colour as the pictures I have seen of a 'red podded pea'. It is very pretty none the less, especially when sunlight catches behind the pod, then I think they look amazing!

Two of the pink flowering F2's have pinky - red colour on the pods

Pretty and unusual pod colour

A  purple flowered with green pod and a
pink flowered with 'pink' pod side by side.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Hello Blog

I've been posting on Growing Food Saving Seeds forum GFSS for a little while and have been wanting to start a blog to run alongside, but there seems to be a blog gremlin on the site so thought I'd start one here instead!

What is it about? A love of gardening and in this case edibles. A pleasure in growing healthy food that looks good and tastes great! 

The blog will be mostly my thoughts and experiences on growing heritage and open pollinated varieties to suit my tastes and growing conditions. With some crops I'm starting to lean towards growing a grex or developing a landrace. For other crops or varieties it might be a home produced hybrid is best. I guess it is also a bit of a dabble into breeding and developing new varieties to grow and a lot learning. My small redress to the big seed boys, who are only interested in ticking certain boxes and seem hell bent on interfering with nature. 

I'll transfer some blog posts from Mostly Tomato Mania  because I think they are more relevant here.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Pink-Red podded peas!

I was surprised to find these colour pods in my pea patch!
They are not a purple and not quite red, somewhere in-between. When lit with sunlight from behind they look very similar to a red podded pea - well a Mange-tout really!

Here it looks more like a Red Podded Pea

And here a part coloured Pink Red Podded Pea

Thursday, 19 June 2014

More Pink Flowered Peas

I'm very happy, I have some pretty pale pink flowers from one of the crosses (a back cross really) I made last year. It was a bit of an experiment to see what happened to the F1 flower colour when both parents having the pink flower gene are crossed, that's assuming it is the same pink gene as two different pink lines are being used. Usually a cross with a pink flowered pea gives a purple/magenta flowered F1 plant, regardless if the other parent used in the cross is white or purple/magenta flowering.

Purple/magenta pea flower

I crossed Salmon Flowered Crown to Elisabeth x Sugar Magnolia (F1) which at only the first generation meant it would have genes bouncing around and the subsequent F1 seed I saved, would be unlikely to be uniform in type as most F1's to stable parents are. I have 3 F1 plants growing and they have just started flowering.  2 pink and 1 purple flowered!

Plant 1, pink flower 

Plant 1, pink flower 

Plant 2, pink flower 

Plant 2, pink flower 

Plant 3, purple flower 

Plant 3 purple leaf splodge!

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Black Pod Runner Beans (Phaseolus coccineus)

I chose these runner beans as part of my selection from the Heritage Seed Library (HSL) in 2012 and they have become a favourite here the last couple of years. They may not be the longest podded beans and they do get stringy if left not picked young, yet they have a distinct charm about them that I love. 

The variety was received by HSL from Jane Bygott and is an Heirloom variety from Bridgenorth in Shropshire having been grown there for the last one hundred years. "The beans were passed to Jane by her aunt Mary, who still grew a few beans up a trellis in the corner of her garden when she was in her nineties." HSL Catalogue

Underside leaf ribs are red, which adds to their beauty

Flowers are a gorgeous intense red.

Young beans already with a tip coloured burgundy red.

As you can see, loved by bees too!

Just getting into the swing of it.

Pods develop a lovely colour as they grow, these are ready for picking.

Pods left to ripen on the vine.

Smallish sized seeds.

Some of next seasons crop.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Chance crossed Anasazi Beans

Anasazi beans, as they should look

Anasazi are a climbing variety and produces lots of lovely burgundy and creamy white beans, they are quite a small seeded bean. I use them sometimes as a fresh shelly bean, but mostly use them from dried. They have a super flavour with a lovely soft creamy texture and cook quite quickly

Which brings me to 'Chance crossed Anasazi'. The beans I grew a few years ago produced both a dried bean with more white colouring than the seed I'd sown and a black coloured bean. None of the beans I shelled that season looked like the parent variety. From correspondence with Remy (Sample Seed Shop) I understand different growing conditions can sometimes affect the appearance of seed colour which might account for why my beans had less burgundy colour. We did indeed have a cool wet summer the year these were produced.

Black x beans and whiter Anasazi beans grown 2011

The pale coloured Anasazi beans have in subsequent years produced very much the same looking and tasting beans, the amount of red-burgundy colour does vary from year to year and so far I have never harvested seed that are as dark as the original seed. I'm fairly sure these are pure Anasazi beans and it would be interesting to see what colour beans they produce in hotter climes than here.

Top Anasazi beans from 2011 and bottom 2012 crop. 

I sowed some of the black beans the following year and harvested both black and pink beans. Taste and texture is delicious and quite the same as Anasazi beans. There look to be a few types of black beans and also the pinks either have a white splash or not, all the beans in a pod are similar ie all with white. 

2012 crop of beans from black 2011 produced both black and pink beans. 

Pink beans with a splash of white!

Last year, I grew some of the original black x beans alongside the other saved beans and had a nice selection of types at harvest time. Quite fun shelling pods to see what colour and patterned beans might be inside!

Anasazi x 2013 

Anasazi x 2013, pretty pinky pods with lovely black beans inside

Selection of different sorts harvested in 3013

I'll be sowing beans in the next few days and above are a selection of the Anasazi x I'll be sowing.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Grafted Sweet Peppers

How they looked on arrival, no other packaging 

This year I've bought three 'Super Plug' grafted mixed sweet peppers on-line from Suttons, though at the moment the only thing looking super is the price 3 for £9.99! (though I did have a £5 off voucher to use against them) They will need to produce exceptionally well to recoup their cost.

They arrived in a black plastic tray covered in clear film, with an address label and a plant identification label. I received sweet peppers Chelsea (Yellow), Britney (Red) and Melina (Orange), no indication of root stock used. 

They look healthy enough, a shame several leaves
were damaged during packing 

ABC = Chelsea, Britney and Melina

I've potted them on and popped them under lights, I should think for a couple of weeks, I'm interested to see how well they do grow on in this time. They are currently a paler green colour than the plants I have.

The 3 grafted plants

All newly potted on, Melina in comparison to Palermo F1

It will hardly be scientific, but I'll be comparing their progress with the two varieties I've sown and am growing this year, Palermo RZ F1 and Romanian Rainbow. Both sown on 15th March in a heated propagator and grown on under lights.

Palermo RZ F1

 Palermo RZ F1 is a long pointy red pepper, bred by Rijk Zwaan

Romanian Rainbow

An open pollinated, early compact growing blocky type pepper.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Elisabeth x Kent Blue Pea

Elisabeth x Kent Blue Pea F1

These gorgeous flowers are of a hybrid pea I grew last summer, the cross I made is Elisabeth x Kent Blue F1. The rich colour of the flowers indicates the input from Kent Blue, which has beautifully dark flowers and take on a bluey hue -hence the name. I'm looking in part to see flower colour combination in the F2's, also pod tenderness and as an after thought, pea vine length. 

Flowers were born mostly in pairs, and splashes of burgundy could be seen in the leaf joins, indicating flower colour.

Coloured leaf axis

Dark maroon  flower colour

Eight peas forming

These plants grew well, likely from hybrid vigour. They gave a good set of green pods, the young peas can be seen in the pod when held against the light. Taste was good as a raw mangetout, pods being tender although I only sampled one or two to allow most of the pods to mature and save the peas for next year's crop.

Below some of the podded peas, now F2 seed which is quite varied in colour and type, with round and wrinkled, lighter and darker colours some speckled too. 

Something I hadn't previously considered, the difference in pea pods at F1? But here it would seem two sorts. Both types are fairly thin shelled, though those on the right were the thinner of the two and felt 'softer' to the touch. They also had a slightly raised crinkly look and feel. Similar results to Elisabeth x Llanover F1