Posts

Image
 Layering chilean hazelnut (gevuina avellana). I already did this successfully last year. This method works very well and i think that one can multiply and grow almost any plant on its own roots this way. Young gevuina avellana tree. To begin i choose a low growing side branch on my plant and trim away the leaves in the middle. A small side branch growing close to the ground like this is ideal. I cut off the leaves in the mid section. Using a sharp knife i carefully open the stem with a long cut. I try not to cut further up than half of the thickness of the stem. Apply rooting hormone to the wound (it probably works without hormone too, but i like to use it). It's very important to wedge one or two small bits of matchstick into the cut to force the wound to stay open. I cut a plastic pot leaving two holes at the correct height to accommodate the branch passing through. Put the pot in place, taking care that the cut is roughly in the middle and that the bits of matchstick stay in pl
Image
 Mauka (mirabilis expansa). My mauka roja plant is starting to flower. My two varieties, blanca and roja, are growing in two large pots in my polytunnel. I dug those two pots into the ground to make it easier for me to build a mini tunnel over them for frost protection. Mauka blanca on the left and mauka roja on the right. Mauka begins to flower when the days start to get longer again after the winter solstice. Mauka roja is beginning to show flowers. Mauka seeds grow true to the parent type so i need to cross the two if i want to breed a new variety. The plants need to be protected from frost during flowering and seed set. Mauka roja beginning to flower. Difficult to see, but i think mauka blanca will start flowering also. And another picture of mauka blanca starting to grow flower buds. Now i will have to figure out how to cross them. According to William Whitson from www.cultivariable.com i should try and hand pollinate. William knows a lot about south american root crops and has su
Image
 Sweet potatoes. (Ipomoea batatas) I grew three different kinds of sweet potatoes this year. The three varieties were Tahiti, Kaukara and Tatakoto. I planted them all outside. The variety that grew best was Tahiti. Kaukara on the left, Tahiti in the middle and Tatakoto on the right. We had an early morning frost recently and i thought it would be a good time to harvest the sweet potatoes. I thought that the plant in the middle, Tahiti, since it was much larger than the other ones would give me the biggest potato harvest, but i was wrong. That plant actually yielded nothing. The best plant was the one on the left, Kaukara. Second place went to the plant on the right, Tatakoto. The plant that grew most vigorously, Tahiti, gave the least amount of sweet potatoes. I was surprised. I didn't expect that. Champion Kaukara! Very small top growth and a really good amount of sweet potatoes! A beautiful plant with nice leaves and very pretty roots! Second place goes to Tatakoto with some swee
Image
 Brussels sprouts. Seven different varieties of brussels sprouts are now growing at my place. Next year i will let them run to seed in order to cross them and try to select ancient brussel sprouts. The idea is to reestablish an open pollinated landrace of brussels sprouts that slowly ripens over a long period of time from the bottom of the plant upwards like the old varieties used to do before modern farming needs modified them to all ripen at the same time. Some heirloom varieties still ripen over an extended period of time but the goal of this project is to see whether an improved brussel sprout plant for the private gardener can be created.
Image
 Medlar. Mespilus germanica. I was lucky to get two very rare types of medlar. One kind was sent to me by a swiss collector who said it is the best tasting variety he knows. The second one is a seedless one that makes larger fruit than the ordinary seedless one, so also very special. There still is a huge potential in improving medlars through breeding simply by crossing them or even by trying to cross them with other fruit species. Medlars give fruit in my climate every year. No other fruit tree is as reliable for me as the medlar. superior tasting swiss type. large fruited, seedless type from bulgaria.
Image
 Murdannia loriformis. First time growing murdannia. This plant was successfully tested in thailand for its anti-cancerous properties. In clinical tests people who took this plant had a significant reduction of cancerous tumours. Unfortunately this plant comes from thailand and is therefore not so easy to grow in temperate climates. It will and does grow in a polytunnel, no problem, but when temperatures drop it stops to grow and you have to keep it indoors over winter. To treat yourself against cancer with this you would need large amounts of plant material rendering the practical application of this plant very difficult unless you have a frost free glass house with a lot of space. In trials people drank the freshly pressed juice of this plant and it was effective in combating cancer. But like i said if you wanted to do this yourself you would need huge amounts of this plant growing in a frost free glass house and it might not help against all types of cancer.
Image
 Mauka. Mirabilis expansa. I managed to grow two mauka varieties. Mauka blanca and mauka roja. I gave leaves to a friend of mine to try and eat them as spinach. He said they were moderately good and knowing him, if he says that, it means they are rather bad. I am trying to grow them through winter. The idea is to protect them from the frost so they might flower in january/february in order to get seeds. Mauka blanca Mauka roja.