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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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Now trading: Seeds for books and other useful objects.

This year there are few seeds we are looking for and since the impetitus of our mission is to keep from selling seed as much as possible as we prefer to trade we came up with yet another way for you to obtain seed.

I'm constantly searching for information on the net, but it's always nice to have things in hardcopy where available, in that spirit, we decided to offer a sees for books trade option.

From time to time I'll update a list of what I'm looking for, but to give you an idea of where I'm heading, here is a short list of things I'm looking for.

Firefox book series
Old (pre 1985 or so) Mother Earth News magizines

Old Turkey World Magazines

As many herb based pharmocopeia books as I can get my hands on

The cultivators handbook of natural tobacco

Small scale grain raising

The herbal medicine makers handbook

And of course many others. Email me at if you have anything I might be interested in.

The same goes for seed as there are some things I'd still like to get ahold of.

Of course the silver coin offer still stands as well.

Just pick from the Face of the earth seed bazaar below what you want of equal value, send book and note of what you want to:
Alan Bishop
5604 S. State Rd. 60
Pekin IN 47165

Face of the earth seed bazaar.

An introduction: Here is the completed 2011 Face of the Earth Seed Trade list. This is not the entirety of the seed collection or our work as Hip-Gnosis Seed Development over the preceding five years but instead a library of seed that we feel comfortable releasing as quality seed this season.

In the future we will be releasing many more collections than what is represented here; it is likely given the time constraints of conventional plant breeding and seed production by a single person that each year will see the release of 5-10 new collections. All seed collections represented below are public domain, unpatented, and open source. We also use no Genetically Modified Seeds in our breeding projects. We are comfortable that the seed we offer for trade is of good quality with acceptable germination.

You will notice that most of these collections are not pure varieties, they are various admixtures of new hybrids, segregating original crosses, and new open pollinated accessions, most of which we have breed on our own in recent history. We do not recommend these seeds to those who are concerned with high yield or with producing a large market crop; instead we offer these collections as an efficient and affordable (barter) source of genetics which would otherwise be cost prohibitive to the average gardener, farmer, or plant breeder to obtain.

Bulk Seed: Occasionally bulked seed is available of some of these projects send us an e-mail to inquire about obtaining bulk samples.

In Regards to acquiring seed: WE DO NOT CURRENTLY SELL SEED although that function will be explored thoroughly in coming seasons. WE ARE NOT A COMMERCIAL SEED COMPANY, instead we are agricultural explorers who are determined to put genetically diverse, bio-regionally adapted seed grexes into the hands of those who would make selections from them which would suit their wants and needs on an individual basis.

There are essentially three ways to obtain seed from our collection based on an idea our friend Joseph Lofthouse passed our direction. All three methods are based on tried and true methods of organizing an agricultural society through out human history; trade and barter.

1. In recent years we have began trading silver coins for seed to add to our collection. For each variety send two pre 1965 silver dimes per variety as well as $2.00 per order (not variety) to cover shipping. Silver dimes are readily available on e-bay, at pawn shops, and sometimes jewelry stores, you may even have some laying around in your coin collection. Other silver coins are also welcome as long as they are 90% silver, send us an e-mail explaining what you have and we can discuss the trade value.

2. Seed Trades - From time to time there are things we are looking for, at the moment we are mostly focused on perennial grains, brassica crops, corn, and fruit seeds, scions, or seedlings. We also are interested in poultry hatching eggs, most generally quail.

3. Cooperation - Public domain plant breeding requires the cooperation of other interested parties who will share genetics back in forth and help follow the progress of varieties and collections as they evolve. This would involve sending seed back to us every year for the sake of preserving as much genetic diversity as possible as well as for the sake of comparing and contrasting individual selections. In this method you will still need to cover shipping costs at $2.00 per order under 5 packs and $5.00 for orders over 5 packs unless the order is made up of small seed such as tomatoes, tobacco, or peppers.

For local orders visit us at our farm to discuss projects and trades or visit us at the Washington County Indiana Farmers Market located at the fairgrounds in Salem Indiana.

If you are a member of the seed CSA none of the above applies and you may order at your discretion.

Non specific requests: As mentioned above these collections don’t represent anywhere near the full scope of seed which we are producing for trade and instead just cover what we feel comfortable offering to the public at this time and seed which we had large quantities of. We do have many various other OP’s, Hybrids, and Populations on hand at any given time, if there is something which you are looking for but that is not listed here, please feel free to e-mail us and we will see what we have on hand. There is also the distinct possibility that more seed selections could be amended to this list later in the winter or early next spring if we add a variety we will republish the list on the web-site.

In regards to fruit seed and currently unlisted projects: Every year we have a number of events which interfere with the normal course of our agricultural pursuits, this season was no different with a drought unlike any I have ever witnessed in the Ohio Valley, and this brought production of some crops to their knees. The on farm turkey flock also taught us the importance of keeping certain crops such as alpine strawberries well protected from ravenous game birds, as such they are unfortunately not listed here this year as we barely got away with enough seed of our various crosses to maintain our new lines thereof, for members of the seed CSA if this was one of the varieties you had been interested in we will gladly credit you for a package for next season. We had planned on offering many other varieties this year as well but unfortunately the weather just did not cooperate, bad for seed production, but good for seed selection, we feel that even if it set us back a bit this year it just makes the seed selection process that much more reliable in terms of improved seed for the coming season.

Regarding treated seed: There are occasionally a small percentage of treated seeds present in our grexes as we make use of many commercial lines in breeding. We do not approve of this but in order to offer certain genetic traits this is currently the trade off we have to deal with. It shouldn’t have to be said but do not use these seeds for feed, oil, human consumption or any other absolutely idiotic perusal of death that you can dream of. WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR STUPIDITY.

The only guarantee we make on seed is that they will give acceptable germination (unless noted) and will grow a highly diverse and experimental crop of whatever type the seed is… We make no warranty otherwise.

Projects which we are pursuing and which will see release in the 2012 bazaar:
Cabbage Grex, Carrot Grex, Winter Cabbage Grex, Collard Grex, Mustard Grex, Perennial Rye, Perennial Wheat, Kazak apple seed, Raspberry grex, individual lines of soup and snap beans, Beet Grex, Chard Grex, Spinach Grex and many others.

Contact and ordering information:

Send orders on paper with required postage moneys as well as trade to:Alan Bishop
5604 S. State Rd. 60
Pekin IN 47165

To discuss trades or projects including silver

Shipping Times: Since we do not employ seed packers and operate on a shoestring budget out of my own personal expense shipping isn’t quite industrialized but we strive to make sure that orders go out in a timely manner as they are received.


Mer De Noms Tomato - One of our very first and most noted breeding projects! 3-5 ounce red, juicy, globes. Highly esteemed by friends, family, and market customers as the perfect snacking or Saladette type tomato. Wonderfully sweet and slightly biting flavor. People have “fought” over these at home and market. Great for greenhouse culture or field culture, producing heavy trusses of reliable fruit. Quite a bit of disease resistance for an OP. Unfazed by late blight in 2009 and 2010.

Absinthe Tomato - Our unique green when ripe tomato is back for a second year. From a stabilized cross of Aunt Ruby’s German Green X Emerald Evergreen. Named after the famous drink favored by artists such as Picasso. Ripens to green with an amber blush. Drought tolerant reliable market or home garden cross. Spicy flavor which is great for BLT’s.

Jack White Tomato - Another of our unique new OP tomatoes. Jack white is a stabilized cross between White Beauty and White Tomesol, gaining the love of white tomato haters everywhere for it’s unique and delicious taste when compared to other white tomatoes. Named after Jack White, lead singer of the White Stripes band.

Phoenix Pink Tomato Landrace - Seeds from our favorite crosses, op’s, and homemade hybrids, saved together as a single variety over the past four years. The Pink Floyd Tomato we released several years ago is here as well. Lot’s of diversity, potato leaf and regular leaf. Tomatoes from 6 ounces up to two lbs or more. Trial this and select what you like, there are no named tomatoes in this mix other than Pink Floyd, these are literally all original unlabeled public domain works.

Sunspots Yellow/Orange Tomato Landrace - Seeds from our favorite crosses, op’s, and homemade hybrids, saved together as a single variety over the past four years. The Pac-Man Tomato we released several years ago is here as well. Lot’s of diversity, potato leaf and regular leaf. Tomatoes from 6 ounces up to two lbs or more. Trial this and select what you like, there are no named tomatoes in this mix other than Pac Man which was still segregating, these are literally all original unlabeled public domain works.

Olde 101 Red Tomato Mix - Obtained from one of the local Amish communities known for selling extra high quality canning and slicing tomatoes in bulk. 25 lbs for $5.00! When we spoke to them we were told these were maintained not as individual selections of seed but as a collection of diverse types. 8-16 ounces, mostly slicers and juicers but also some larger paste types similar to or the same as Amish paste! A new workhorse for us.

Paradigm red tomato Landrace - Seeds from our favorite crosses, op’s, and homemade hybrids, saved together as a single variety over the past four years. Lot’s of diversity, potato leaf and regular leaf. Tomatoes from 6 ounces up to two lbs or more. Trial this and select what you like, there are no named tomatoes in this mix as these are literally all original unlabeled public domain works. DTM 70-90

OSU Blue Tomato - A high anthocyanin tomato bred at Oregon Stat University by Jim Meyers. Anthocyanin develops in proportion to the fruits exposure to sunlight and is only skin deep. Some complain about the flavor but we have found them to actually be favorable as a salad tomato as well as a juicing tomato and have had a ton of luck with them as a market crop.

Roller coaster Cherry Tomato Landrace - Five years ago we collected an absolute ton of cherry tomato, currant tomato, cheesmani tomato, and Hirustrum tomato seeds of all colors of the rainbow, mixed them together and direct seeded them to a field which tends to stay saturated in wet weather allowing them to interbred and give rise to new strains of “half wild” tomatoes. Fortunately or unfortunately they self seed the same field every year, surprising us with their diverse forms and colors as well as shapes and tastes, these are some of the best selections from those feral tomatoes.

Electric Head - A mix of our favorite cos and romaine types and a few loose leaf types, lots of purples and splotches. We grow this in a compost pile, let it seed, bury with fresh organic material, and let it come back spring and fall. Directly from our compost pile!


Absinthe Green Fleshed Musk Melon Mix - A mass cross of 9 distinct green fleshed muskmelon types. Great taste, good looks, better than orange fleshed melons. A big hit at the farmers market! A favorite breakfast item here at Bishop’s Homegrown! Selections from a mass cross of all commercially available green fleshed muskmelons and a few honey dews. Doesn’t set large fruit but masses of smaller ones. Expect off types including a few orange fleshed or honey dew types. Early season and quick cropping time make these great for short seasons as well as a fall planting.

Between the Sun and Moon Yellow/Orange/Red/White Watermelon Mass Cross - A mass cross of mostly yellow, orange, and white watermelons and an occasional high brix red icebox type. Too many varieties to name were planted in the field (close to 100). We saved seeds from the best in color, taste, and use! Check this out if you love watermelons! Select for those traits which fit your needs. We have consistently grown these in “weed patches” with better than expected results.

Red Watermelon Gene pool - From an absolutely huge mass cross of red fleshed melons 3 years ago, very diverse in type, days to maturity, disease resistance ext. Seed is a couple years old so we over packed to compensate for any shortcomings regarding germination, should be plenty here to develop something great for your uses out of.

Dionysus Melon Grex - Cantaloupes, Honey Dews, Tam Dews, Orange Fleshed Musk Melons grown in a mass cross situation for a couple of years. We ascribe to the plant orgy method of plant breeding from time to time, particularly in crops which due sub prime in our heavy clay soil anyhow. This is where the search for a truly great Ohio Valley Melon begins. Dionysus was the Greek god of wine and fertility and apparently a muse for non conventional plant breeders.

Sweet Corn:
Astronomy Domine Sweet Corn - A diverse gene pool from Hip-Gnosis Seed Development/Alan Reed Bishop. For those willing to give room and time to experimental plant breeding. Over 170 lines of open pollinated and hybrid (non-gmo) corn cultivars have been genetically folded together and selected in the direction of a mid season multi-color grex with great drought tolerance and a rainbow of color. Recent generations saw the inclusion of high yielding yellow hybrids, select away from yellow to maintain more diverse color in coming years. Lots of diversity and something here for everyone, survival food. Bulk too.

Edamame Grex - Been thinking about growing edamame but don't know where to start? This one is for you. A grex of 20 plus varieties selected over 3 seasons for production from the ground up to the tip of the plant. Good for fixing nitrogen, better as a human food or forage crop. Select what you like. Incredibly drought tolerant and fairly short season at about 80-90 DTM. We didn’t plant ours until July and they did just fine!


6 Turnip Root Grex - An excellent public domain project by the wonderful Dr. Alan Kapuler! Several years back “Mushroom” decided to run a trial on several varieties of turnips, he selected the best six performers to take to the next generation and allowed them to interbreed. Original seed provided by Peace Seeds.


Summer Radish Grex - I took Kapulers idea along with a ton of seed from Kent Ettlingers work and from the local seed store and ran with it. The results turned out interesting; we included some Daikon types for the sake of diversity and ended up with some nice new types. Very good sellers at market and wonderful when young and sliced into a salad.


PerfeKt pepper landrace - We have grown and crossed a number of Italian type sweet frying peppers, bell peppers, and other sweet peppers together over the years, most are now outcrossed and thoroughly integrated into this landrace which we maintain as one diverse variety. A utilitarian, everyday pepper mix, you may occasionally find one with heat, so approach with caution at harvest time.

Easter Everywhere Bell Pepper Mix - A collection of 9 or 10 bell peppers that we have made improved selections from over the past five years. Mature to multiple colors of the rainbow and contains genes for purple while green bells as well. Selection has been aimed towards productivity and large pepper size as well as ability to hold up well to stuffing and baking.

High Voltage Hot Pepper Landrace - We took our favorite heat stroke inducing peppers and folded them together into this unique grex of varieties. We don’t give much thought to the shape or color of the pepper, but more the taste and culinary uses of such. All of these are great for drying and use in Chiles, good in salsas as well, many are great for frying.


Louisiana Red Cow horn Okra - Our neighbor Fred Bishop was kind enough to introduce us to this absolutely amazingly productive new to us cultivar of okra. The pods grow absolutely huge at more than a foot long often times and we have seen some approaching 20 inches. The pods stay amazingly tender even when large and the plants are extra productive. Doesn’t give most people the “okra itch” when you brush against the plant like traditional okras have a tendency to do. A new favorite and a Louisiana family heirloom that’s been adopted in the Ohio Valley by a different set of Bishop’s. Bulk Too

Green Gumbo Okra Mix - We have been collecting Okra for a few years now. It’s an obsession trying to find more diversity and better textures in one of our favorite crops. Here we present the 14 best types we have found thus far.


Gold Standard Landrace Summer Squash - We do love summer squash, don’t get us wrong, but we also have issues with cucumber beetles and powdery mildew. Several yeas back Kent Ettlinger sent us seed for many diverse types of summer squash and we also purchased seeds for many others. We trialed them, tasted them, made selections and various crosses and started selecting from the mix which originally included zucchini types, crooknecks, scallops, and eight balls we have since pared it down to mostly crosses of zucchini and crooknecks which produce well throughout the season and don’t give us as many pest or disease issues. We have also had some luck in ferreting out a crookneck gene which allows the crookneck to get to a much larger size without developing a leathery skin or large inedible seeds, these we call gold standard, but since many off types still exist including the dominant zucchini we just maintain them as a whole for the time being. Bulk Too

Dry Farm Acorn Squash landrace - a mix of acorn varieties from our own collection as well as that of Long Island seed grown on the absolutely worst piece of soil on the farm over the past couple of years. Hard and heavy read clay is the norm here. This year we didn’t even add compost, instead we allowed the squash to show us what they had and forwent any irrigation as well, and the best of the best survived and produced a bumper crop of acorn squash from small to large in size in a diversity of color. From there we have chosen seed from the best looking, best tasting, and best storing of the survivors. Not the same as our ornamental edible mix which will be back next season. Bulk too

Cucurbrita Maxima Grex - A gene pool of mass crossed Maxima types, mostly of South American and African origin as well as some from the orient. Wonderfully flavored moist squash types in many shapes and sizes. Bulk too.

Hip-Gnosis Butternut - A simple butternut selection which we think is far better adapted to the Ohio Valley. A little more diverse that Waltham. A utility variety with great culinary qualities. Probably the one time we will ever pursue line breeding here on the farm as I just don’t find it all that exciting. A good selection none the less.


Hip-Gnosis Long White Slicing Cucumber - From a recurring mass cross of long white slicing cucumbers. Incredibly mild tasting cucumbers born on viney water seeking plants with incredible production. Still pretty diverse.

Bootleggers Best Seed (farm and feed crop)

Millet Mix - Selected from bags of scratch grain and bird seeds, includes several species of the grain commonly known as millet. Excellent high protein bird feed and forage crop, a favorite of game birds like quail, turkeys and guineas. Also makes a wonderful porridge.

El Diablo Tobacco Grex - A controversial plant for sure, tobacco provided us with the economic foundation we built our country upon and also wrecked the health of many great individuals. I obtained my formal agricultural training starting as a young boy working this very soil with my grandfather in his tobacco patch, without this formal introduction to the old ways and agriculture I wouldn‘t be doing what I do now. Tobacco use continues and there are many herbal uses for this sacred plant as well. When and if things ever go bad it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have this on hand for trade and barter. We have included several hundred original crosses here in this mix including burley types, shade leaf, Orinoco, Madole, Perique, Cavendish and others. Some of these genetics came directly from Castro’s Plantation. In the near future we plan on doing a feature regarding growing and curing tobacco at

UK Tuxpeno Corn - Sent to us by our friend Jim Culpepper a couple years ago. Selectively bred by the University of Kentucky from a high yielding, high protein tropical lowland corn. Semi Flint. In trials here on the farm we have found the Turkeys prefer this variety as opposed to nearly all others. Grows close to 15 feet tall, prolific; two to three 6-8 inch ears per stalk, tight husk. Needs a bit of selection to breed out the tendency to produce a smut nose which protrudes occasionally through the end of the husk. Good breeding germ plasm. About 115-120 DTM. Bulk too.

Amanda Palmer Landrace corn - We folded a ton of old mid southern and corn belt dents as well as UK tuxpeno into this new landrace this past season including: bloody butcher, Daemon Morgans Kentucky Butcher, Reids Yellow Dent, Lancaster Surecrop, JF3, UK Tuxpeno, Mammoth White, Boone County White, Jellicorse Twin and several others. Multi color dent to semi flint in type. We selected for numerous beneficial traits including large stocks with a smaller “core” for fodder as well as the prolific trait, midsize to large ears, a multitude of kernel types, stalk strength and stand ability, ear drop, drought tolerance, low fertility tolerance, germination in cool wet soils. Most importantly however we selected for animal and human preference in the first generation seed, we individual trialed selected individual cobs as well as block selections for animal preference and palatability with our turkey flock and also tested this dent for culinary qualities as a fine corn bread. The meal is yellow with flecks of purple, red, and blue with a slightly naturally sweet flavor, it has become a huge hit in our household, makes a fine “sticky” type of grit as well. Something for everyone and my proudest breeding project yet even in only its first year. There are also “Kculli” genes floating around in this landrace and we have made a fine Chicha from select ears. I hear from friends in the know that it makes a fine moonshine as well. J 90 - 115 DTM. Select what works for you. Bulk too

Survivalism Rice Grex - Not a dry land rice, though we plan to offer that next year in the lineup, this instead is a gene pool we created a couple years back from material furnished to us by the USDA, includes some “blue rice” genes as well as some glutinous rice genes. We started and grew to fruition in a kiddy pool. Fairly long season, give it a jump by starting in a greenhouse. Contrary to popular belief rice doesn’t have to be grown in water. We used worm castings and garden loam as a starting base, dibbled the seeds into the mix, added water to about 2” over the soil level, after the rice emerged we slowly drained the water off and kept evenly moist throughout the summer. Does require a pretty long season and isn’t as heavily productive as I would like, but there is something here to work with if you are interested. 120 DTM

Wax corn grex - Our good friend and Chestnut breeder par excellence Castanea from Homegrown Goodness was kind enough to send us three separate 90 DTM selections of Waxy Corn from Lion Seeds. Two of these are hybrids and one is an OP, fortunately he sent more than enough seed to us to share them as a mixed accession giving you genetics to a rare genotype of corn not commonly seen outside of Asia. Waxy corn is well known in the orient as a wonderfully useful culinary corn which makes sticky flour, should be excellent for dessert dishes including a very “sticky” grit and more. Waxy corn is commonly used in the U.S. to make an adhesive; we find this a shame and would prefer to see it used more widely as human and animal food. In tests administered by the USDA in the 30’s and 40’s it was shown that wax corn was much more efficient as a feed grain that any of the other types of corn commonly used. All three selections are 90 DTM and their agronomic descriptions suggest that they should blend well into a new utility landrace making them excellent material for adventurous plant breeders. Which one of you wants to be the first to develop an independently bred waxy, human consumption grade, OP corn variety? 90 DTM

Saucerfull of Secrets sunflower mix - A wonderfully diverse mixture of sunflower types, we started with nearly 100 and selected for large and medium sized single heads with of multiple colors as well as multi-branched poly flowering types. In recent years we have selected seeds based not only on looks but on seed production and preference based on the poultry flock when feed as a scratch grain or in admixture with our home grown and ground feeds. Excellent crop for cut flowers, decorative hedges, or a fed grain. Bulk too.

Inanna Spring Wheat - We have a very limited amount of this very special wheat. A mixture of varieties rescued from Iraq post invasion. This is not cleaned seed it will consist of two or three awns and is offered here as a bonus only to those willing to put their heart and soul into preserving a tiny bit of the Iraqi agricultural heritage

Blackberries: A mixture of seed from 10 distinct thornless cultivars, lots of room to create a new thorn less blackberry including genes from runnering or dewberry type blackberries.

Alpine Strawberries: We had high hopes of introducing new alpine seeds this year, unfortunately a combination of drought, wild pigs, and the turkey flock dashed this from happening this season, we have foundation stock and will grow with greater protection next season, any one who wants seed can and will receive a credit on next seasons CSA.

List available in print by sending $2.00 to:
Alan Bishop
5604 S. State Rd. 60
Pekin IN 47165

List will also be printed in the Grande Bazzar spring 2011.

1 comment:

Robert said...

I very much like your idea of developing grexes, but I've no idea how to go about creating one. Any chance of a post on how you pick the varieties you're starting with, how stable you expect it to become, etc?