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.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
"Astronomy Domine" Year 5 variations.
Here you can see some particularly interesting new variation in the Astronomy Domine landrace as it enters it's fifth year. As time allows I will compile a new pedigree for this composite as it has grown substantially since I last published one, we are now up amongst 170 varieties and counting with some new germplasm added this past season including old OP varieties from Native Seeds/SEARCH, Gatersleben, Dan and Val Mcmurray, ARS GRIN, and some modern SE and SE+ varieties.
The smaller squat ears are from an experimental plot planted sans any type of fertilizer on the worst piece of ground on the farm, nearly all heavy red clay, with no irrigation (the Cheese Pumpkin and Seminole X Cheese crosses were planted here and in the same way as well). The seed was planed April 1'st and survived flooding, frost, cold and wet soil, dry soil and several days of extrodinarily high temperatures for our region. The plants were stunted and all were less that 5 feet tall with many topping out at around three feet! Despite these obsitcles we were able to get many plants to produce one and sometimes two smallish ears which give us access to a suite of diverse genes which we feel will strengthen the overall genepool of the end product with some astounding tolerances.
Oh yeah, notice those green kernels? :) Getting there! Make no mistake about the diversity of those small ears though, I guarantee you there is more diversity here in this picture alone than in all of the holdings of sweet corn attributable to Seed Savers Exchange. Survival food at it's best.
The large yellow ears are from another low fertility plot and were contirbuted by the cross of Astronomy Domine to Incredible, NK199, Bodacious, and a couple of other modern yellow sweet types. The one cylandrical "perfect" ear will become a breeding plot of it's own next season, others will be bulked with seed from the previous two seasons, contributors sending seed back and the fresh harvest from the many other plots this season. Seed will be available through the Face Of The Earth Seed CSA.