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Eggplant breeding line 1 F4 (top row is part of breeding line 3)

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Eggplant breeding line 3 F3

The photo above shows the harvest of eggplants from the open ground bed in the vegetable garden. The plants of breeding line 1 is grown out of seeds from 2012 harvested in the greenhouse. Therefore, this line is a generation ahead of processing line 3, which is grown out of seeds grown in the open ground in 2009. Since 2009, I harvested lots of eggplants in the open ground, but there has been no obvious progress in my plant breeding, no new generations. Until last year that is, when I put some plants of breeding line 1 in the greenhouse, and got a new generation, but without knowing anything about their outdoor values. I have spent the years since 2009 to determine which envelopes of the 2009 seed harvest do most frequently provide better plants. It is valuable, although it does not produce new generations, because it allows me to concentrate on growing more individuals from the best seed envelopes.

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Seeds from a single outdoor grown eggplant fruit

Never have I harvested so many eggplant seeds. Almost all mature eggplants contained seeds, and some of them contained more seeds than I’ll be able to grow before they get too old. The seeds appears to be of prime quality. An eggplant seed celebration!

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Envelopes with eggplant seeds from open ground

This many seeds promise a lot of labour to find the best seed envelopes to draw future generations from. Which of them will produce the most reliable plants for growing outdoor in my kitchengarden?

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The eggplant bed shortly after transplanting in June

The newly transplanted eggplant bed looked neat Later weed germinated in this fertile, well-watered bed, mostly dandelions, kale and sonchus, all edible, delicious and providing a long lasting harvest. I still harvest kale and dandelion. Easy and gentle multicropping.

Since I harvested way too many seeds for my own use, I will share with interested gardeners.
In Denmark through the danish seed savers: Frøsamlerne
Other nationalities please contact me either by leaving a comment, or PM me if you know me in some of the social networks like HomegrownGoodness or facebook.

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Dandelion and Petrowsky turnip fresh from the garden

There is always something to harvest in the garden,as long as the ground isn’t frozen. This time it’s the dandelion and turnips. They made a lovely salad, with a little salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar.

DSCN7536The fresh December salad

When I was younger I could hardly eat dandelion, and only leaves in early spring. My taste have changed, and I am less fond of sweets, and more fond of the bitterness. This summer I discovered that green dandelion leaves picked in mid-July has a nice bitter and nutty flavour. Here in December dandelions taste almost sweet and nutty. The sweet taste has a different and more satisfying character than traditional sugar sweet. The bitter taste satisfies, as can be experienced if you eat traditional dark chocolate (please note that the big companies are starting to make dark chocolate that does not seem to get one to stop eating naturally. Good for their bank account – bad for customers’ BMI)
The root has a similar wonderful flavour. I peel it and slice it thinly.

Dandelion is the ultimate easiest grown vegetable I can think of.
No sowing, it is self sown (weedy).
No weeding, remember, it’s a weed.
No watering, It’s weedy and hard to kill.
Only work involved is reaching to the ground for the harvest.

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Turnip Brassica rapa Petrowsky Gulia

The turnips are among the last of the ones I sowed after harvesting the garlics. The most typical, I moved to a bed where they next summer will flower and set seeds. The other large turnips we have eaten during the autumn. Left are the smaller ones, which still grows in the mild December weather we have at the moment.

If we want a spicy taste, we eat them raw with the skin on. For a mild turnip, we draw the skin off with a knife. One of the secrets of turnips :-)

Petrowsky Gulia is an old Danish strain of an Eastern European cultivar, as I have written about in a previous post:

http://toads.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/seeds-from-nordgen/

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Lima bean Phaseolus lunatus Ganymede

Russ Crow from Illinois was kind enough to send me some beans, including two cultivars of lima beans.
He has an informative internet site:
www.abeancollectorswindow.com

This was my first time growing lima beans. It was hard to believe I could grow them up here in Denmark, when I read they prefer they heat of the southern USA. But I’m fond of testing new crops. I grew both cultivars in open ground (after a start indoor) and in greenhouse.

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Lima bean Phaseolus lunatus Purple Eye

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Lima bean in greenhouse (Purple Eye)

Both cultivars grew well in the greenhouse, though Purple Eye was considerably more productive than Ganymede.

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Lima bean in open ground (Purple Eye)

In open ground they grew no higher than bush beans.
Purple Eye produced four pods, Ganymede none.

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Aiah Noack with Hablitzia

Naturplanteskolen, a new permaculture plant sale opened Friday. It is perhaps the smallest regular plant sale this year, but with a unique plant selection, some I have never before seen on the market. So far the opening hours are Fridays 12-20. Aiah Noack, who owns Nature nursery, is occupied with permaculture, natural plant breeding and art. For years she did plantbreeding in South Africa.

I came home with two cultivars of allåkerbär (Rubus × stellarcticus) (it takes two varieties for a good pollination), Vietnamese coriander (Persicaria odorata) and a large piece of weed fabric in the professional quality.

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Danish billberry, Vaccinium myrtillus

Typical for the exquisite plant selection, it is billberry of Danish origin, not Swedish or American, on sale. Not that there’s anything wrong with the others, but of the nursery sells the plants they think is best to grow in this environment, not what can be ordered in bulk from the Netherlands.

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Daubenton kale flowers rarely, allowing it to live for years

It was fantastic to see the beautiful Daubenton cabbages. Aiah got a cutting from me, which she has propagated and sell. This kale originates in France. It must be maintained by cuttings. I got a cutting of Stephen Barstow, who lives in Norway, near Trondheim. Great to see that it is now accessible to ordinary gardeners in the district.

Naturplanteskolen: http://naturplanteskolen.dk

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Frost on leaves of greater celandine, Chelidonium majus

Yesterday there was again frost in the morning. I hope it’s over for now until October.
I found these ice crystals to be incredibly long and beautiful. I also noticed that the crystals grew differently depending on the plant species. On a feverfew right next to the the greater celandine, crystals were all tiny.

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Green pepper pickled in Kombucha

Every autumn some peppers do not have time to mature to red. They can be eaten green. But this year, almost all of them were still green when I had to harvest before the first frost. They keep well in the fridge, just the taste deteriorates after a week or two. A change I do not like – they’re going to taste like peppers from the supermarket, when they get this off-taste. To avoid the off-taste, I usually salts my peppers lightly, and put them in the refrigerator. This year I tried kombucha pickling instead.

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Green pepper pickled in Kombucha

I have for some years made kombucha regularly. Gradually I discovered that kombucha have more uses than just as a healthy soft drink. Inspired by “The Art of Fermentation” written by Sandor Ellix Katz, I covered the cut green peppers with kombucha, added a pinch of salt and poured a couple of teaspoons olive oil on top. The closed glass I put in the fridge for maturing, unlike how I make kombucha.

The pickled green peppers turned out wonderful. They are still crunchy, has maintained a good pepper flavour, has a delightful sour tinge and no added sugar. It has not been necessary to heat or boil, should be great if you prefer raw food. The only drawback is that the colour of the peppers have changed to olive green. A light kombucha SCOBY developed on top. I removed it once, it didn’t develop again.
The kombucha pickled green peppers are delicious as a condiment on rye bread open sandwich and with hot meals.


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Eggplant (Solanum melongena)

Again this year, I had to resort to the eggplant seeds from 2009. I wait for a hot summer, so I again can harvest mature seeds. This year we ate the whole harvest. I harvested on September 30, and the following week we had the luxury of our own tender eggplants.

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Rima F3 No.3

The seed envelope from 2009 where I wrote “Rima F3 No.3″ is a treasure. It is with no doubt my best eggplant seed envelope. This year more than half of the plants fruited in the open ground (seedlings was sown indoor before transplant, as the other years) despite a cool summer. However, in this cold summer I can’t imagine they can set seeds. Instead we have eaten them all, except one, which revealed some seeds that might mature, as I cut it open in the kitchen.

In the greenhouse, I have grown their cousins, Rima F3 No.1. (motherplants were siblings). I did so to highly increase my chances to harvest ripe seeds. Since this is the third year in open ground without harvest of mature seeds from my eggplants, I’m testing a new strategy. Should I grow my seedlings in the greenhouse, save seeds from each fruit separately and numbered? Then I can make comparative cultivation out in the kitchen garden, and this way recognize the best seed envelope for next generation (to be grown in the greenhouse…). It will not be quite as dogmatic plant breeding, but maybe it will speed up the process? I will sow my Rima F4 No.1. seeds next year, to learn if this strategy works for me. I would of course prefer to harvest my seeds from plants in the kitchen garden. Hopefully I come to that in the future.

PS. My garden tiles measures 40x40cm.


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