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My future landraces

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  • My future landraces

    I've been intrigued by this landrace idea since I discovered it a few months ago, so i thought I'd give it a try.

    The less interesting races
    I usually end up with several different varieties of lots of the veggies i grow, and the packets take up storage space and I mess about writing plant labels and try to keep them apart and it's all a bit pointless. I don't usually mind what kind I grow as long as they taste good and grow well. So I've consolidated as much as possible with all my carrot seeds in one bag, all the cut-and-come-again lettuces in another, etc. Seems more convenient that way So here are the landraces that don't really excite me.
    • Spinach
    • Salad mix (those with land cress, lettuce, mizuna, mustard, etc - I had four or five of those)
    • Radish
    • Chard
    • Carrot (lots of different colours and some different shapes)
    • Sprouting broccoli
    • Cauliflower
    • Spring onion
    • Leek
    • Nasturtium (yes I do grow these to eat)

  • #2
    The fun stuff!
    You guys know I'm really interested in legumes, so I'm actually planning out what I'm doing with those races. My plan is to collect as many different varieties as I can, segregate them by habit and use and let crosses happen within each group.


    • #3
      I love beans! I'm splitting them into four races, and I'll be adding more varieties this year, mostly from my own saved seed assuming everything goes well. I'm happy to mix species if they require the same conditions, and I'll be interested to see if there's any crossing between the species.

      Climbing beans for pods
      • Scarlet Emperor (runner)
      • Enorma (runner)
      • White Emergo (runner)
      • White Lady (runner)
      • Czar (runner)
      • Cosse Violette (French)
      • Cherokee Trail of Tears (French)
      • Goldfield (French)
      • Santa Anna (French)
      I'll be adding Aeron Purple Star runners, and hopefully Poletschka, Kew Blue and Blue Lake French beans. Also possibly an unlabelled French bean which may or may not be Cosse Violette - if it is CV, I likely won't include it twice.

      Climbing beans for seeds
      • Gigandes (runner)
      • Gigandes, coloured (runner)
      • Albena (runner)
      • Strakata (runner)
      • Pinto (French)
      I'm planning to add Poletschka (French), Cosse Violette (French) and Cherokee Trail of Tears (French), plus as many more as I can get my hands on.

      Dwarf beans for pods​

      I currently only have one, Roquencourt (French), but should be getting more this year.

      Dwarf beans for seeds
      • Ernie's Big Eye (French)
      • Swedish One Dot (French)
      • California Black Eye no5 (cowpea)
      In general, I plan to keep adding new varieties every year if I can. I'll taste each plant and cull any I don't like. I'll switch any that are the wrong type (i.e a dwarf in a climbing race, or a fibrous pod in a pod race) to the appropriate race. I shouldn't have to do any other selection work because the ones that don't grow as well won't produce as many seeds as the others.

      The runner beans I've got growing at the moment are in two mini- races - pods and seeds. We'll see how they do.
      Last edited by Silverleaf; 11-08-2014, 15:38.


      • #4
        I don't usually grow dwarf peas (except for my experimental ones which I'm using for breeding - the end goal is for all of them to become tall). Tall peas are more productive, more attractive, and better use of my very limited space. This means fewer races. Since peas only very rarely cross, I'm only segregating them really for my own convenience when harvesting.

        Mangetout/snap peas
        • Elisabeth
        • Shiraz
        • Guise (bought from Lidl labelled "Sugar Bon" which it definitely isn't since it's a tall mangetout rather than a short snap, so I've renamed it after a character in my favourite superhero card game)
        • Carouby de Maussane
        I'll add Golden Sweet too once this year's seeds are ready. I'd love a tall snap but I just haven't managed to acquire one yet, hopefully my Golden Sweet x Sugar Ann cross will yield a good one or two for me.

        Soup peas
        • Purple Podded
        • Latvian Christmas
        I'm yet to be persuaded by soup peas, since I hate mushy peas. I'm hoping they're different in soups and casseroles and such (pea hummus was recommended to me and I mean to try that) but if not my boyfriend likes mushy peas so it's all good. I'll add Biskopens Gråært next year once I've grown it out.

        Shelling peas
        • Telephone
        • Magnum Bonum
        I like the old-fashioned varieties, so I'll try to collect a few more of those.


        • Galina
          Galina commented
          Editing a comment
          I think soup peas and mushy peas are different. Mushy peas are made from dried green marrowfat peas like Alderman etc, except that because of mechanical harvesting they use short varieties for the typical dried green peas in the supermarket.

          There is a soup/mushy crossover in the peas pottage of old, which was reheated with bits added for days, so any 'soup' peas would have ended up mushy.

          There is a tradition of eating dark peas in various ways, parching being one of them. Carlin peas are another example.

          The traditional Latvian pea recipe (reconstituted, boiled but not mushed and served with bacon) is here:

          Last edited by Galina; 11-08-2014, 08:44.

        • Silverleaf
          Silverleaf commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks, that's really helpful! Since I hate mushy peas I really don't know much about them...

        • Galina
          Galina commented
          Editing a comment
          Silverleaf, you wrote: I'd love a tall snap but I just haven't managed to acquire one yet, hopefully my Golden Sweet x Sugar Ann cross will yield a good one or two for me.

          Well, there is one in this year's seed circle, rescued from obscurity by goodlife (from ancient seeds which she somehow got to germinate), and that is the variety Sugar Lord. You will love these.
          Then there is Opal Creek, a lovely yellow snap (I can send you seeds, if you like) and Sugar Magnolia.
          We will see how my yellow snap works out, that and your own GS x SA would give you all the colours bar red

      • #5
        Wow, only a few projects to keep you going!
        Yes I must admit I'm turning more towards a mix for some things. I'm looking forward to reading your progress.


        • #6
          Should keep me quiet for a bit, right? Got some pea breeding going on too, which is quite exciting.


          • #7
            Silverleaf - excellent plans! Very exciting. Yes landrace breeding is an entirely new concept. I think started by Alan Kapuler who crossed sweet corn with multicolour Native American corn types, for flavour and beauty. Joseph on the 'Bishop's Homegrown' forum works hard creating landraces - he is a market gardener who needs adapted varieties for his harsh growing conditions. Plant survival is far more important for him than uniformity of crop. Looking forward to reading about your adventures and progress

            A nice project for a landrace is to follow up runnerbean x French bean interspecies crosses. Whilst they often crop late (once they are established for a few generations - the first filial generation is not very fertile!), they often have magnificent flower colours. See photo

            Especially when growing purple podded beans (Blue Coco, Blue Peter, Kew Blue, your Cosse Violette etc) next to runnerbeans, it is very common to get a red-flowered plant with red stems amongst the French beans the following year. When I saw it for the first time, I had no idea what was happening until Jaap Vlaming - Dutch seedsaver and maintainer of old varieties - paid us a surprise visit and told me what it was. As I had a chance cross with Painted Lady, my F1 flower was bicolour. See picture. (sorry no picture). People on other forums now and then mention that they have a red-flowered French bean. It happens more frequently than is generally assumed.

            One of my 'runner crosses' has somewhat stabilised into a purple podded French bean type, another into a yellow podded French bean type. But in most cases, they do not stabilise and what you get is a surprise year on year. They lose a lot of their runner characteristics, although rougher pod walls sometimes return. On one occasion I had a return to a small (French bean sized) seed but with full runnerbean markings.

            The cotyledons of the interspecies cross are mostly epigea, evenl right after the cross in the F2 generationand sometimes split (one higher up the stem than the other, if an F2 seed was misshapen).

            These interspecies beans are tougher than French beans and runnerbeans put together - their only drawback is late production (hinting at daylight sensitivity perhaps?). In my garden this is not considered a drawback, because there are still beans to harvest when autumn gales have destroyed my French beans and even the runners have stopped producing.

            Can't seem to upload the picture of the original F1 flower, never mind - seems to happen to me now and then on this forum that a picture is refused as being a 'corrupted file', when it seems perfectly fine and of the correct size, Don't know what I am not doing right. My favourite, the peachy coloured F2 interspecies cross has uploaded and shows just how pretty these crosses can be.
            Last edited by Galina; 11-08-2014, 08:59.


            • Galina
              Galina commented
              Editing a comment
              Just wanted to add that the interspecies cross did indeed produce right to the end, although the last few pods were not full size. Seeds were black. They will probably be different again next year, hopefully still with good late harvest and lovely coloured flowers.

          • #8
            I had the idea earlier this year to essentially create a landrace (my Rainbow Pea project), before I even found out about landraces, so I was happy to see that it wasn't such a weird idea after all!

            I'm really hoping I'll get a few runner x French crosses, they look very interesting and sounds like they'll add length to the growing season, as well as prettiness with those flower colours. I love your pics.


          • #9
            Fascinating post Galina

            Good luck with your Runner x French crosses Silverleaf, a very interesting project I think.


            • #10
              Thanks jayb, it should be fun to see what happens!