Alfred Reed Bishop and Doris William Butler

The picture above is the very tap root of Bishop's Homegrown/Face Of The Earth Seed. My grandparents shortly after moving to Pekin Indiana from Greensburg KY in 1947 where they purchased the farm that is now Bishop's Homegrown. This picture was taken in Pekin in front of the old co-op next to the old railroad depot, neither of which exist today.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Breeding Projects in 2008

Written and Researched by: Alan Reed Bishop of Hip-Gnosis Seed Development and Bishop's Homegrown

These are just a few of the projects that I will be working on in 2008

Greasy Bean growouts - I have been collecting a number of Greasy Bean types locally after posting an add looking for local open pollinated heritage varieties here in Washington and Orange counties in Indiana. I was really suprised by the response and it's good to know that so many folks are so willing to share thier family saved and bred seed with me for posterity and future distribution. Greasy beans are named so (like so many culturally relevent names) for their lack of rough texture that common modern day beans have, this gives them a slick, or "greasy" look, hence the observant naming of such varieties. Greasy beans are often reffered to as being a particular variety but trust me there is a lot of variation of the "greasy" gene in bean crops, particularly those comming from the appalachian region and the decendents of those people living here in Southern Indiana, it seems that every family has their own strain or selection of greasy beans that they believe is the best. The taste and texture in my mind and in the mind of many of our farmstand customers is far superior to the taste of modern day varities and we have collected a number of seed accessions of "greasy" type beans which we will growout, evaluate, and hopefully, baring crop failure have available for our market customers and later in the fall be able to distribute seed of to our plant breeding, market farming, and home gardening friends the world over. This is a project I find particularly exciting.

Brewers Red and Brewers Yellow Tomato, Bishops Greensburg Red and Yellow Tomatoes - Brewers Red and Yellow were given to us by a fellow market gardener. From a local family who has been growing these two types for 50 plus years. Bishops Greensbur Red and Yellow were given to us by family members at a recent reunion in Greensbur Ky. Grown by Anner and and Arlene Bishop in Greensburg for upwards of fourty plus years.

Opal Floyd Pimento Pepper - A pimento Pepper given to us by 90 year old Opal Floyd of Salem Indiana. Opal and her husband operated a market farm about a mile from my house in Pekin Indiana for nearly 60 years! This pepper was grown there every year since year one! We also have a number of other accessions donated by Opal and her son.

Sunflower Mass cross - Sunflowers are one of my favorite crops, there is nothing that I love to do more than to set after a long day in the hot sun, at sunset and relax and eat supper outside while staring at our mass growout and crosses of sunflower types. Any time we run into seed stock that we don't have we add it to the collection and let them cross and hybridize on their own which has led to many new varieties in our fields, some of which we will be growing in isolation over the next few years to get them to the open pollinated state, I should probably be a little more strict in this manner so I don't loose unique crosses, particularly those with recessive genes to the more dominant genes in the bunch. This year there will be close to t fifty varieties in the plot as well as the numerous crosses and segregates of F1 commercial sunflowers. Seed will once again be offere on the message board this fall.

Astronomy Domine - The sweet corn that has become one of my primary focuses here on the farm, both with our farm stand customers and our breeding agenda. Astronomy Domines parent material was obtained from a mass cross of twenty plus uniqe open pollinated and hybrid cultivars. This year we have added even more diversity with the addition of Rainbow Inca, Painted Hills, Mushrooms Martian Double Red, Howling Mob, Hookers sweet, country gentleman, and a couple of other un-named selections. The diversity should and could be staggering. There will be several plots of this sweet corn planted, one will be nothing but the seed from the original cross with the new material added in where I will select for cool soil emergence, sweetness, disease tolerance, pest tolerance and drought tolerance. Another couple of plots (one for saving seed and one for sale at market) will see rows of astronomy domine planted alongsied the Sugar Enhanced type sweet corn Silver King which will be de-tassled and used as a mother plant so as to hopefully be able to get the size of silver king, the colors of Astronomy Domine, and more important the Sugar Enhanced Trait of Silver King over the Normal Sugary trait of the old open pollinated types in the mix. One could, in theory be able to obtain the SE trait from the original mass cross of Astronomy Domine though considering that the SE Burpee Hybrid "Ruby Queen" was one of the original parents, though the chances are pretty set against that and the time involved immense.

Tobacco Recessive Gene Search Mass Cross - I've got a number of Nicotiana Tobaccum types in the seed collection that represent a number of recessive traits which may be desirable to the person searching for a nice ornamental tobacco plant including off colored flower in shades of red, maroon, blue, and apparently what has been described as purple as well as those showing the nice wide leaved state of "havana" or "connecticuit" type tobaccos and the alternating light green, dark green characteristics of foliage in some verigated tobacco types. I thought it would be nice to be able to offer a selection of these plants to customers while also being able to plant them together here on the farm and risk some chance crosses, some controlled crosses, and some "self pollinated" flowers so that I can offer seed on the site of some nice recessive tobaccos which folks will be able to pick and choose and develop types which they like and prefer that do well for them in their micro-environments.

Winter Squash Mix (C. Moshata, C. Mixta, C. Maxima)- Though the species themselves will not intercross, varieties within one species will easily and do easily cross with the help of the bees or the ocassional plant breeder making guestimations of good parents for a new variety. This year there will be something like 300 plus varieties in the mass cross along with segragates from last years crosses which I will keep an eye on for unique features in which case I will self polinate that plant and grow the seeds in Isolation in coming years. Should show terrific diversity and ample opporotunity. The pie making customers that visit our farm stand will love us this year and as always we will offer seeds of the mix this fall on the message board. There is also a C. Pepo mix of Acorns and Mini Pumpkins like this that will be grown out seperately this year.

Watermelon Mass cross - We are growing out three mass crosses of watermelon this year so as to start work towards some new varities. Watermelons don't particularly like our red clay soil here in indiana so some sand, mulch, hills, cow manure and vermicompost should give us a nice helping hand this year. There will be a red mass cross with a number of red fleshed watermelons, oblong, dark green rind, green rind, striped rind, moon and star types, yellow rind types ext. A white type mass cross with four white fleshed varieties and a yello/orange mass cross. We figure since we don't have great luck with watermelons this might give a chance to A. See what varieties do well here and to self pollinate those to save seed from and B. Mix up the genes which will lead to future breeding work to come up with open pollinated varities. and C. give us a huge amount of diversity at our market stands.

Green Fleshed and Orange Fleshed muskmelon mass cross - With regards to the orange fleshed cross (which will be grown seperately from the green fleshed types), it's sort of the same thing as the problem with watermelons, they just don't do well here and we are making this mass for the same reason. The green flesh mass/trial if succesful could lead to a underutilized niche crop of green fleshed melons which can be marketed at the height of Muskmelon season without competition from others who grow exclusively orange fleshed types. Of course it will take educating the public on the merits of green fleshed types and giving a few away to start the "hype" but if successful could be economically rewarding. I would also love to share the seed of the green fleshed types with the world since there was a time when they were the most popular muskmelon and I would like to see their popularity rise because they are so delicious, unique and beautiful. One cross I will probably try to make is between banana melon and Green Machine melon, looking for the double recesive green fleshed banana melon.

Small Hubbard Squash - Continuing on the work that Ken Ettlinger started with his small hubbard squash mix. Selecting for 10 lbs or so hubbard squash for the small modern family and their pie needs. May try to breed in some new color combos.

Cherry tomato Mix - Interplanting and chancing mass crosses of cherries and controled crosses between cherries, currants, L. Cheesmani, grapes and pear types. Looking for a range of currant crosses with high brix. Also using the genetics of Ken Ettlingers Currant crosses.

Dinosaur Egg Cabbage F1 generation - from a cross I made last year between early jersey wakefield cabbage and large drumhead savoy. Hoping for a savoy leafed pointed cabbage.

Lettuce growout - Growing out seed of multiple types of seed of loosleaf lettuce in shades of greens, reds, and purples. Hoping for chance crosses which more than likely won't happen since lettuce is self pollinating.

Broccoli Mass cross - I have accesed a number of seed accesions of different varities of brocoli and plan on letting them cross for the sake of diversity and selecting new hardy types.

Maize Morado growout - This is a "waxy" trait dent corn from South America which is very high in Anthocyanins which is free radical scavenger. Very high in protein. It is used to make a mildly alcoholic drink called Chicha Morado in South America as well as a popular soft drink. Seed sources are rare in the US and I would like to provide my friends and collaborators with seed. Particular those interested in raising chickens or vermicomposting red worms for which this should be an ideal "super feed". Will do some selection for larger ears since the ears are somewhat small.

These are just a few notes on what I'm looking for and planing on doing. Of course there are pages of these things and we will see what time leaves us with and where this all goes, but as the year progresses I will post pictures along with blogs describing whats going on with the crosses and the growouts and what I am after.

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