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 10, 2009

For those asking about reserach editorials and some other big news.

I will begin writing some of my yearly farm research editorials shortly, I have a ton of topics to expand upon and look forward to it, just waiting for the time to make itself available. Before I can think about it I must first begin re-stocking "The Wyrm" composting project with fresh bedding and harvest the old bedding and take the poject to capacity to ensure adequate compost for next season, and then the conversion of the old Rion hobby greenhouse into a turkey shed and the building of three further rabbit hutches and burning of brush in the Food Forrest project. Surely by then my intelectual fires will be burning hot and I'll find the time to do a bit more elaboration on our many projects here at bishops homegrown.

In the mean time you can check out the new Bishop's Homegrown Farm web-site at it will be aimed mostly at local audiences and more for information than anything else, but hey, at least I made an effort!

In other news there is the possibility of a massive project involving Michael Lachaume, myself, Hip-Gnosis Seed Development/Homegrown Goodness and many other well known plant breeding personalities in coordination with a massive research facility in the coming months....more on that later.

Some more fantastic online resources.

Thanks to my friend MJC over at the Homegrown Goodness Message Board (come visit us friends!) I'm adding a couple more great resources here.

The Biodiversity Library and where you can check out several thousand old publications full of vast agricultural knowledge. Why not spend some time studying this winter, it will make that first lush growth of spring look that much more beautiful!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Peace Seeds Planetary Genepool Resource Library vol. 2

Is Here. Consists of scans of three of the Peace Seeds/Deep Diversity catalog covers, introduction articles, graphics, and special articles. More to be added soon.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Yeah, Yeah, I know, I joined the darkside.

But facebook makes political commentary so much more visible than blogger.

Another excellent google books article on turkeys.

Check it out here.

Also thought I'd add that more articles will be being uploaded to the Peace Seeds Planetary Genepool Resource library over the next several days.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Are GMO and Morgellons Disease related?

Check out this article.

Invaluable book for turkey fanciers......

Found "Turkeys and How to Grow Them" over on google books. Written in 1909 I believe, it is a fantastic read for anyone wishing to raise turkeys and full of more information than could be memorized in one setting. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Excellent 1909 turkey article

As an example of the usefulness of google books, this article is wonderful for the turkey enthusiast.


This winter when you hit the "doldrum" period (for me January 2'nd - Feb. 20 or so) and you've got nothing much going on, these links make for good reading and inspiration.

Luther Burbank his methods and discoveries and practical aplications

Thomas Jefferson's Garden Book

and spend a bit of time at google books, you never know what your going to find there, it has proven itself and excellent resource for agricultural bulletins and old public domain advertisements such as this

A Year in Search of Seeds and Hope! blog

Was exploring some links here on the site earlier tonight and came across an interesting blog, here, written by a Thomas J. Watson Fellow who used his grant to travel the world in search of seeds and sustainable agriculture. Most of the blogs are short and to the point, but some wonderful insight can be gained from reading them and the pictures are wonderful.

I'll have to contact this fellow and see just what seeds he manged to get back to the states, some interesting diversity is featured in the posts which once seed is increased could be of great value to sustainable farmers, seed savers, and independent plant breeders.

Interesting video on new legislation

My friend Dale Asberry sent me this link over on Facebook. Pretty interesting, good concepts, though I'm not much of one to believe in CO2 affecting our planet negatively, carbon sequestration can't be a bad thing and organic/sustainable agriculture is the answer to the negatives affecting our consumer culture, eco-systems, and dieteary disease issues. It's nice to see someone in politics actually taking a moment to use critical thinking to help provide a solution to our problems instead of just handing out money and power to their friends.

The Alan M Kapular Planetary Genepool Resource Library vol. 1

The first piece of the new Alan Kapuler Planetary Genepool Resource Library is online now with Free Amino Acids in our common fruits and vegetables, and invaluable resource. To view the scans, click on the link, click on a page, go over to the right side where there is the gray box with info on uploader, click the blue arrow to close this and then click on the magnify option, some margin words are cut off here and there, but well worth studying my friends. Enjoy and great thanks to Dr. Alan Kapuler.

The Alan Kapuler Resource Library Free Amino Acids Papers

Monday, November 30, 2009

Kinship Garden Layout for the planetary seedplant flora.

Dr. Alan Kapuler has been kind enough to send me a new Kinship Garden Layout complete with common names to share with the world. Below you will find a rather poorly scanned copy of it, don't fret, the map was rather large and didn't fit my personal scanner and as such had to be scanned in halves in order to post, it doesn't look the best in the world at the moment and some info is missing at the top, but in a few days I'll make a trip to town and get it copied and re sized and then put back online for everyone to view, for the moment you can use the one below to get some ideas, the bit of info missing from the top are descriptors and common names pointing to the families as follows (from left to right)

Pointing at Rosales is Stone fruits; peaches, plums, apricots, cherries and Pomes: apples, pears, quince... Brambles: rasp-, Black-, Barion-berries... Strawberries...Jujube, cascara, fig mulberry

Next Fabales Leuguemes: peas, beans, peanut, soy, lentil, garbanzo, adzuki.

Next cirle is Apiales Carrots, dill, cilantro, celery, parsley, alexander's, ginseng, gotu kola....

Next Circle is Asterales with lettuce, chicory, artichoke, gobo, sunflowers, stevia, marigolds, yacon, sunroots,

That should fill in the missing information for now.

This map would be excellent for anyone wanting to plant a kinship garden and give a good idea of how to lay one out in relation to who is related to whom, such a garden could also obviously incorporate elements of growing bio-intensive and of course permaculture. I'll try to get the new map up in a couple days.

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"I know the pieces fit 'cause I watched them fall away"

LOL, in this excellent blog via "The Times", we get an article that's less of an article providing facts and more of a podium for bio-tech propaganda. Here we have Michael Mack, the chief executive of the Swiss agribusiness firm Syngenta telling us that petrol based and GM based agriculture is better for the environment and human health than organic or "eco-logical" type farming and that if we doubt so, then we doubt our government, and if we doubt our all knowing government then of course we are way off course. Yeah, 'cause they never lie do they?

Here are some of his points:
1. “Organic food is not only not better for the planet,” he said, in an interview at The New York Times building on Tuesday. “It is categorically worse.”

2. The problem, Mr. Mack said, is that organic farming takes up about 30 percent more land, on average, than nonorganic farming for the same yield.

3. “If the whole planet were to suddenly switch to organic farming tomorrow, it would be an ecological disaster,” he said.

4. organic food is the “productive equivalent of driving an S.U.V.”

5. Pesticides that help crops to grow more efficiently in this country, he argued, “have been proven safe and effective and absolutely not harmful to the environment or to humans” and have been certified as such by the Food and Drug Administration or the Environmental Protection Agency.

The implication of not believing that pesticides are safe, he said, is that you don’t trust the government’s findings.

6. “It underplays the significance of agricultural productivity,” he said.

My points:

1. Yeah, a guy with a major investment in a 12 billion dollar is only telling you what is "true" out of the deep love in his heart. Organic food being worse for the planet is categorically false. Even just looking at livestock operations and the underlying eugenics ideas and control ideas expressed in articles such as this one, we can see quite clearly that runoff from industrial farming are far more harmful to the larger environment than the tiny amount of organic runoff from a small sustainable farm, the bit of dangerous runoff and toxic material that ends up on organic farms is usually only found on USDA certified farms where 30 odd inorganic compounds are allowed to be used in production and where certain natural substances which shouldn't be used in production are (ie. copper). But this alone is a big step away from say the toxicity of synthetic chemical compounds sprayed in ever increasing doses on "genetically improved" crops.

2. Biointensive management has proven the magical "yield" argument quite wrong. Organic is capable of not only eqaling yield in conventional systems but surpasing it. Of course we got another "wild card" up our sleeve too by the name of diversity. More than ever we have access to genetics selected in a traditional manner which give us multiple harvests (when correct seed selection is made in terms of use as well as bio-region adapted varieties) as opposed to the often single harvest of larger and more conventional farms. Not to mention the insane amount of diversity lends itself to preventing complete crop failures and minimizes our losses as compared to a seed industry who spent so many years breeding genetics out of corn as to have almost caused a major industrial famine in the 1970's.

3. It's true, there can be no sudden switch or overnight switch to organic, it had to be transitional and it takes time to learn and educate ourselves and one another. In time though, when the economic and petrol based system fails (and fail it will) it may be too late indeed to learn. The transition needs to start now, South Africa, Cuba, and Native American agriculture is a good starting point. This statement is a threatening one, one which equates a switch to organic as dangerous, that's called fear mongering, the underlying emphasis of which is basically; "Well if you want organic some people are going to have to go". That's called Eugenics.

4. The SUV comment is the dumbest tripe I've heard recently. The comparison is moot, our agricultural system doesn't run on crude.

5. Yeah, 'cause the government always has the environment and cosumers best interest at heart. As long as fucks like this guy and his company and their big ag. friends have an open door with the FDA and USDA there will always be doubt as to the veracity of any study done on industrial agriculture.

6. hahahhahahahhahaha, Son, we can do more with less than you can with all your petty toys. Wait and see, your gonna learn soon enough, hope you know exactly what a bushel of your worthless gm corn is worth in silver in a few years.

Now if you wan't to read a terrific article, check this out!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The writings of Alan Kapuler and Peace Seeds.

Recently, my brother in nature, Dr. Alan Kapuler contacted me about posting some more of his kin-ship layouts and Peace Seeds Papers from his journals online, a job which I gladly took on in order to share as much of his wonderful knowledge as I can with the world, much in the way that I have devoted part of my farm to the amazing work of Tim Peters and his outstanding perrinnial grains.

Over the next few weeks I will be scanning and retyping many of Dr. Kapuler's works to the blog site here. I hope you enjoy.

Also, be sure to check out where you can read and order from the Peace Seeds 2010 catalog which is outstanding!

Native American groups returning to their cullinary heritage.

One of my many varried interests is in the area of Native American agriculture and the spiritual relevance often placed on their agriculture, it's place in their belief systems.

So many tribes unfortunately were robbed of their very lifeforce in the form their seed (indeed, many cultures even ascribe their very existence to a corn god) by the settlers who moved them from their land and a government all to willing to put them on reservations far away from their homeland where their seed no longer thrived.

Yet there is hope, recently a couple of tribes have begun to reclaim their heritage and fight the scourges of diet related illness (heart disease and diabetes) given to them by their oppressors.

One is the Oneida who have returned to growing their traditional white corn to feed their people. You can check out this article and video here.

The second is the Pawnee, who never lost their corn completely but instead had issues getting it to grow in their new environment and as such has not existed in recent years in quantities more than enough to ensure it's survival via seed saving. Article here. via our friends at

This gives me hope, while the Native Americans are attempting to retain their cullinary culture and varieties I am working to replace or improve mine with it's many holes here in the mid-west.

Of course Native Seeds/SEARCH does amazing work in the American Southwest in preserving the varieties of those tribes, it's only a shame we don't have a corresponding organization searching for the woodlands tribes lost diversity.

Some great Tom Wagner videos

Since this season has been so busy in regards to expanding our operation and as such I haven't had much time to check up or catch up on blogs or videos or much of anything I hadn't had much of a chance to set down and watch this set of wonderful videos from my friend Patrick's wonderful blog called Bifurcated carrots. These videos of Tom speaking about the genetics and pedigrees of his varried tomato and potato breeding experiments are quite interesting and if you have an interest in listening to Tom speak of such things then check it out.

I must admit I am a bit jealous of Tom Wagner, he is much more organized than I am when it comes down to plant breeding, but that probably comes down to a difference in philosophies more than anything else, I know if I had gone on that wonderful trip that he and my brother Michael Lachaume had went on my talks and rememberances of my work would have been much more "on the fly" and probably as such a bit less accurate than what Tom speaks of in these videos. Anyhow, check it out.

Meat production at Bishop's Homegrown and Stock Breeding

This year we have expanded big time in the area of livestock, mostly into poultry, Turkey's and Guineas and moving a bit away from our Chickens which will be replaced with the natural breeding jumbo Guineas which are larger than standard types and similar to the French type guinea, but that is work still to do.

Here you will see some photo's of our Turkeys (the few which were ranging close enough to the house to get a picture of) intermingled with some of our guineas. These turkeys have been mentioned in the past in regards to future breeding work, below there are some pictures of some Spanish Black tom's, Blue Slate Toms, and a Bourban Red Tom as well as a picture of 3 of the young Royal Palm's that I purchased about a month ago locally. The emphasis with our turkey breeding will be in searching for new color combinations, better feed to meat ratio, and two seprate size classes. We will be soon setting up a second coop for our second class of meat producing turkeys. The first selections will be of a traditional larger sized, naturally mating type genepool of Turkeys with maximum genetic diversity. Hens being 15-20 lbs and Toms up to 35 lbs. Of course a lot of folks don't need birds this large since families are smaller now days (an anolog of this can bee seeen in our work to breed smaller and more family friendly Hubbard squash types and cheese pumpkins along with maintaining our large lines as well). The second genepool of turkeys will be selected from a genepool containing broad brested bronze, royal palm, midget white, and some off type small mutts, once again selecting for maximum diversity and feed to weight conversion but this time selecting for sizes along 8-10 lb hens and 14-18 lb. Toms.

Within the next year we will be expanding our Turkey operation in order to provide poults locally as well as meat. Plans are underway for maintaining two flocks of 100 individuals each, one hundred for each of the two genepools with the 20 best individuals (4 toms and 16 hens) to be retained for breeding every season.

This past Thanksgiving weekend we had the pleasure of learning to slaughter our own birds, chickens and turkeys. A task which wasn't near as hard as I had been led to believe. We culled two turkeys from the flock, a standard bronze tom that dressed our to a massive carcass from which I'm sure we will be eating for a week and a second hen of the red variety which I gave to Kim's family. Both were delicious and of a quality not seen anywhere in a local store in Indiana in many, many years. I will at some point in time put a tutorial or even a video up here for slaugtering ones own birds. If you are a vegan, I apoologize in advance but know that these animals are all well taken care of and their life isn't taken without some amount of trepadation and thought, it is just the way of the world.

My interest in turkeys only keeps deepening, as pointed above, to the extent that I will be liquidating the chicken flock within the next year in favor of supporting more turkeys and jumbo guineas (which produce eggs year round). I plan on maintaining a flock of 50 standard guineas and 100 jumbo types for egg and meat purposes as well as selling keets to the local public, the standard varieties are once again in my characteristic style a "genepool" of many colors and types. Beautiful and good watchdogs and bug eaters.

The flocks will hopefully be feed mostly from things grown here on the farm. I have noticed that the turkeys and the guineas consume much less feed during the season than what the chickens do, prefering to spend their time free ranging over our agricultural and pasture fields for worms, grasshopers, butterflys and moths. From my observations it appears even that after the two month stage of feeding a mixture of cracked corn, oats, millet, and dried worms as starter feed they become easy to raise on nothing more than cracked corn, a commodity which I can and am able and willing to produce here on farm.

I have plans to grow close to four or up to six acres of four seperate dent/flint/flour corns next season for feeding the livestock as well as selling at the local market to those who wish to use it for home use or feeding livestock or squirrels (of course we too also use it in the kitchen for many things). I will be growing the four sacred colors of corn (red, blue, white, yellow) in the tradition of the Anasazi who quite possibly may have been the first Americans to domesticate the turkey (The Rio Grand is the decendent of these first domesticate ancestors). Of course the manure/bedding from the poultry houses makes for a wonderful manure which when fully composted can be used to once again grow this special feed for my brids.

The next meat related project on the docket is more of a personal one as the rules and inspection in Indiana regarding meat rabbits are quite strict, but I have found myself expanding to meet the needs of my family and friends meat consuming lifestyle in a healthier example of such than raising cattle. Once again I have a breeding focus here, below you will see some of our breeding stock. We have one Harlequin buck and one English Lop Buck, one pure bred Harlequin female, two large meat type mutt females, and two females which are the offspring of a cross between and english lop and a Californian. For our purposes we are selecting for a mid sized type meat rabbit with good bone to meat ration resembling our Indiana wild rabbits, as such the Harliquen types are good selections along with the young brown female you see in the picture below. We hope to incorporate a system which is self sustainable for the rabbits as well by growing many of our own feedstocks including their hay and feeding them with some amount of the produce grown on the farm, we feel that by doing this we will have healthier animals that taste more like and resemble more the wild rabbits we all grew up eating in Southern Indiana.

Of course the rabbits will also provide us with another source of much needed humous in the form of their manure which can be spread directly on the gardens or around the plants since it is low in N, but will most likely find it being used as a feedstock for our composting worm operation further refining it for the purpose of soil building and or as a constituent in our custom made soil mix for potting and seed starting purposes.

The hutches you see here were mostly scabbed together for bits and scraps we had laying around the farm in the old tobacco barn and so far they are working out quite well, I know some people don't like the idea of eating rabbit and I respect that but please refrain from leaving nasty comments here on the blog.

Anyhow, enjoy the photos.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Note to self and appology to readers.

I need to learn to use spell check, it exists for a reason, I should use it.

I should also slow down when writing a blog post so as not to make as many grammatical and punctuation errors.

Life is too busy for writing "proper" sometimes.

I love all of you and sorry for my terrible spelling. LOL.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving is coming!

Lots and lots of projects on the farm ongoing! Renovating the floor of the greenhouse and transforming it into a raised bed is going well, just waiting on another load of rotten sawdust and then I'll add a 4 x 4 x 4 container of composted chicken/turkey/guinea litter and a 4 x 4 x 4 container of refined worm castings and several good scoops of composted cow manure and a couple 50 lb. bags of dolomitic lime.

Spring will allow me to know if my experiment was worth while.

We have finally moved into the world of raising rabbits, mostly for meat for ourselves, but also for sale to the local area in the coming months. We have started with two Harlequins (one buck and one doe) and a couple of mutts of pretty good size. Hoping to pick up a mini-lop and Californian from a good friend of mine. I built one 8 food 3 chambered hutch and a second six foot two chambered grow out hutch along with scraping together two 3 foot grow out hutches, I've already breed the 3 does and am hoping to see the results soon! Pictures will be posted in coming days.

In other news, I finally got around to calling around and getting hold of the "Indiana food police" as I call them to ask about poultry regulations.

I can slaughter and kill 999 birds and sell direct to consumer here on farm or deliver directly to the consumers home. year the turkey business expands, the talk at the moment between Kim and myself is for 200 a year.

Of course, we will be hedging our bets on weather the corn strains I have developed will produce the much needed grain to raise and fatten these majestic animals, I see a one row corn picker and building a corn crib in my future to say the least. Next year I plan on having four acres of dent corn production. One planted to UK Tuxpeno, One planted to Backwater, One planted to Onedia, and one split between Bloody Butcher and Hopi Blue. These will be grown in isolation to prevent crossing as we will be experimenting with each corn in controlled feeding of the poultry in both it's cracked corn form as well as in mixtures made on farm, to determine which is the best for our purposes.

We will also start selling butchered chickens next season as well.

I went today and bought a nice set of processing knives and scisors for $40.00, the name brand is nothing spectacular and the knives were slightly used, but having worked for Cutco back in the day, I can guarantee these were made by that same company given their design.

Tomorrow I will be practicing my poultry processing skills on a few extra roosters before I move on to 3 turkeys on tues. or wed. next week just in time for Thanksgiving here and at Kim's parents house.

I'm also currently evaluating my seed strains and my breeding work and looking into starting a legitamate seed company next season. Nearly all the gaps in my seed stock are filled in minus just a couple brassica types that I've been unsuccessful in producing seed stock for in previous seasons, but there is always next season to perfect that skill.

Everyone be sure to check out the Homegrown Goodness message board when you have a few free minuites, lots of good information over there and now that cool weather is setting in we expect the site traffic to pick up once again.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hip-Gnosis: Edenic "Food Forrest" breeding project

Alongside the orchard which I am planning and planting at the moment I am also working on a veritable "Food Forrest" made up of mostly ungrafted fruiting trees, vines, and shrubs.

The back fence and subsequent dirt road of our woodlot here on the farm was filled with many old and decaying trees, young trees which were not of good quality, and a ton of wild black raspberry and multi-flora rose until the recent weeks.

Throughout the months of September/October while my colleagues Michael Lachaume and Tom Wagner (of Tater-Mater seed)over at Homegrown Goodness were in Europe (I was supposed to go, but personal responsibility got in the way) I took the time to clear this land which had once, not long ago even, been an open and fertile field. Only today was the project finished.

I recently moved one of the wood burning stoves from one of the greenhouses into a new small outbuilding behind the house and set it up to heat our house this winter in a bid to save on rising electric bills, as such the wood was needed and the free space this wood cutting provided was much appreciated for a new project.

Amongst the many things I am planning in this food Forrest are persimmon trees (I have collected seed from the very best of the local American varieties available to me including one outstanding variety with fruit nearly 3 inches across!) peaches, apples, crab apples, wild Kazakhstan apples, pears, plums, Asian plums, date plums, blueberries, orange/red/black/pink/purple blackberries, alpine strawberries and a ton of Tim Peters amazing perennial grain varieties including individual breeding plots.

This will be my veritable "Garden of Eden" so to speak. Here I will work for years and years and years keeping everything well organized and selecting for new fruiting varieties, work which sorely is needed in the world of agriculture. Many of the trees will produce nothing of value and will at some point become a point for grafting good cultivars onto or will become firewood, but some will produce quite good fruit and a very few may produce something excellent. All apples and pears can be used for cider and I very well know what to expect from persimmon seeds and berry plants started from cuttings and seeds. If no other purpose this will be prime hunting grounds for supplementing my income and diet in the future.

The Orchard will be close to 4 acres when all of the brush is burned off and will be made up of 6 rows of trees, two "groves" of plums and "persimmons" planted on the wet marginal land, a future pond for fish and irrigation of the farm purposes and the periphery of the project will be marked by brambles. On one side, the east, will be placed the many different cultivars of raspberries and blueberries I have collected. On the west side will be located "Iceberg" and "Snowbank" white blackberries as well as the infamous Lawton. These will be kept in check and kept from spreading by way of the bush hog. The understory of this food forest will be made up of breeding pools of non shattering and shattering perennial wheat, rye, and sorghum which I am working with courtesy of Tim Peters, many selection will be made here of these very important and impressive grains, some of which will in time be introduced to the farming and gardening public. I made it very clear to Tim that he can consider this farm a repository for all of his important work and is welcome to visit any time he wants.

The ground cover in this Edenic wonderland will be made up of various cultivars and hybrids of strawberries, most notably white and yellow alpines.

It's a big project and chances are I'll never see a dollar from it, but the peace of mind that I will have from this area will be worth more than any real "job" could ever pay me.

Back to the blog!

OK, cold weather has arrived and presumably at some point I'll be here on a regular basis!

I've been working hard the past two months to bring all of my projects together and start a few new ones.

Amongst the many projects that have kept me busy, the orchard(s) by far have been the most time consuming. I have been working hard to track down a number of cultivars of various varieties including the two very hard to find Burbank white blackberries, of which I have obtained "Iceberg" the first of the two, and am waiting to hear back from a new friend I made in California by the name of Bob Hornback who has located for me and is sending to me "Snowbank", or improved iceberg. These will be heavily propagated here on our little far, available as nursery stock, fruit, seeds, and available for sale and trade in coming years.

I have also been working on obtaining breeding material for perennial fruiting vines and trees and starting those, most of which require some degree of winter stratification. Of the many things I have been able to obtain I must think everyone who has helped me, sometimes tracking down this material is harder than it would seem, but via friends, expeditions into the local country side, and a few commercial sources I have located tons of persimmons, nuts, raspberries of all colors, blackberries, boysenberries, dew berries, apples, pears (including recessive red/purple fleshed material), peaches, apricots, plums, grapes and so many other things. Many of these will be placed in the "food Forrest" orchard I am working on at the moment, but some will be reserved for grafting projects as well.

I have also managed to locate via ARS GRIN a cache of seed of Kazakhstan wild apples and some scion wood from my friend Phillip Forsline at the New York, Geneva ARS. The scion wood is from that of elite varieties, those already tested for disease resistance/tolerance and for production and taste. The seed is a mixed genetic lot from those planted on Geneva's trial grounds several years back. I am so very excited to get to work with this very rare material from the motherland of the apple! Lot's of discovery to document I am sure.

I also had the strange luck of stumbling into the "pink lady" or "cripps pink" apple seeds germinating inside the apple experiment which I have read so much about in recent we speak there are probably 100 seedlings in a south west facing window of the house.....many of these I will graft on to but some will be added to the "Food Forrest" for selection purposes.

My time has also been occupied filling seed orders and more well organizing my seed collection. The coming years will see the introduction and further stabilization of many Hip-Gnosis breeding projects and the balance of my seed production will be in selecting from the best of the rarest of those other varieties available to me. Regarding annual crops my work in coming years will focus mostly on field corns and their improvement, but there are a number of other very interesting projects at the forefront and close to release as well, from time to time these will be introduced as new Hip-Gnosis Seed Development varieties and offered here and at Homegrown Goodness.

I also lucked out late in the season and was able to locate five 7 week old Royal Palm turkeys to add to my breeding flock. Good healthy turkeys at that which have taken away to free ranging and are thriving in their new home. It was particularly important for me to find these lovely smaller turkeys for their genetics and my shortage of hens. At the moment they are too young to sex, but I am presuming that at least 2-3 of them will be tom turkeys with any luck! With these and the remainder of my flock I will now have access to all the genetic combinations available in color and size to an aspiring poultry breeder (minus midget white, which the genetics probably contributed to the diminutive Royal Palm anyhow). From here I can begin my breeding experiments next year with some amount of predilection when it comes to isolating pairs and making crosses. Narragansett, Royal Palm, Bourbon Red, Black Spanish, Bronze, Slate Blue, Norfolk Black are all amongst my flock now.

In the bit of spare time I have had I have taken up the hobby of squirrel and rabbit hunting to both supplement my diet (that's as free range and "organic" as it gets!) and to cut down on the pest problems here on the farm. I am constantly fighting a loosing battle with these pests when it comes to seedling trees, nut caches for trees, and growing sweet corn.....the freezer is quickly filling!

I have also taken it upon myself to set up and design a more appropriate and long term Bishop's Homegrown and Hip-Gnosis Seed Development web-site. Hopefully by December or January it will be finished and online, but we shall see!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Michael Pollan possibly a hypocrite?

Although I am excited about the Botany of Desire documentary (mostly due to the subject of Khazakistan wild apples as well as the section on Marijuana, as well as an appearance by Phillip Forsline of ARS GRIN Geneva) I have always questioned Michael ...Pollan, and now more than ever, I'm thinking he is just another tool. Now he suddenly supports "open source" genetic engineering...absolutely not....playing god/artifically manipulating DNA is not our place.

The Botany Of Desire documentary trailer:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Kazakhstan Wild Apples

After posting my "happy birthday johnny Appleseed" article here and over at the Homegrown Goodness forum our good friend Jason Carty and some other fine folks were kind enough to pass some information onto me regarding some apple diversity having come from Kazakhstan which is the motherland of our apples.

Apparently Michael Pollan (spelling?) had written about this diversity in his book "The Botany of Desire" which I have not yet had an opportunity to purchase or read.

Anyhow, given the morsels of information left on my blog regarding disease resistance and wide genetic diversity of the "apple Forrest's" apparently dotting the land in Kazakhstan I immediately started googling for images and information and found lots of information, one thing in particular that I found was a source for seed and scion wood via a friend of ours at USDA ARS GRIN Geneva New York.

Phillip Forsline who was kind enough to share many budwood apple cuttings with me this season was kind enough to also speak with me on the phone regarding this diversity and I was able to place a request and will subsequently obtain some seed from the Kazakhstan stock planted a Geneva, now these will obviously all be crosses between the Kazakhstan apples that Geneva has grown from seed as the actual seed from Kazakhstan which was collected there is being held for Universities and Professional breeders which I find respectable for sure. Anyhow, I'll be receiving this seed in November and some Scion wood of some "elite" varieties come next spring. Some of these apple varieties will be pretty useless taste wise no doubt and given the plantings proximity to Malus Domestica at Geneva I expect some crosses will not contain pure Kazakhstan wild apple genes, but that just makes the shuffling of the deck all that much more fun!

Anyhow, the exciting news in all of this is that some of these apples are proven winners with supermarket qualities already expressing themselves in the wild apple forests of their homeland. Many have interesting disease resistance which is lacking in much of our domestic apple diversity (not really very diverse at all if you look into the history of the apple). And many also contain interesting protein compounds leading to the development of interesting flesh colors.

Pretty cool If I do say so myself!

If you get a chance this week do some google searching and read a bit about these wild apples and this diversity that needs to be saved!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Paying Tribute to John "Johnny Appleseed" Chapman

Ahhh, so this is the birth week of Mr. Johnathan Chapman, better known in American Folklore as Johnny Appleseed.

I've spent many articles worth of space here and over at Homegrown Goodness talking about the wonderful exploits of Mr. Luther Burbank, but only recently have I come to see the intelligence of John Chapman. Yes, Johnny Appleseed was a real man and if you want to read about him and his real life exploits then check out his wikipedia and this article.

Anyhow, one of the many project we are working on here at Bishop's Homegrown is our orchard. I've spent many years thinking about it and all of the last year planning it and this year actually planting and preparing it. I have thus far been very diligent in learning as much about the orchard trade as I can. I have learned a number of grafting methods including whip and tongue, cleft grafting, t-budding, and chip budding over the preceding months of 2009. I have grafted pears and apples and have had some great success for having been a self taught first timer. I have thus far shied myself away from my instincts for selection and breeding due to discouragement by mainstream type orchardist, who I have come to realize, I bear no resemblance to in terms of "wants vs. needs". After reading through a number of sources of information and daydreaming about the exploits of Luther Burbank I got really curious about apple seedlings, that is, ungrafted apples grown from seeds or as they are more professionally called "pips", this lead me down the long, strange, and windy road of Mr. John Chapman.

I have read many times that a century ago there were upwards of 10,000 varieties of apples in existence, whereas now with apples grown for commercial purposes and grafted for the home garden that perhaps there are 300 varieties. And just why is that exactly?

I came to a conclusion, people are scared of the unknown, don't like to explore "new territory" anymore and perhaps lowest on the list don't have space to grow apples from seed which will reach "full sized tree" status as opposed to the diminutive grafted trees on dwarfing stock. To me this was a sad realization, no longer we have no diversity left, people are so used to the supermarket red delicious and granny smith that they have overlooked and forgotten those varieties that made orchards so special a hundred or more years ago.

Perhaps first we should look at how the apple and it's uses in our society have changed over the years. You see, back in Mr. Chapmans' day the apple was most commonly used as a "cider" apple, in the sense of "hard cider", so named and grafted varieties weren't necessarily of great importance on the frontier of the west or even within the colonies (as is evidenced by reading through Thomas Jefferson's garden journals), instead of apples having been selected for table quality, they instead were selected for cider qualities or generally blended together in a mix, those that were horrid were not wasted and became a valuable source of hog feed. Let us also not forget that Mr. Chapman had a religious aversion to apple grafting and that his innovative style of planting "seed nurseries" allowed him to accomplish two feats in one, by planting naturally hybridized seed (all apples are by nature hybrids) he had the opportunity to select and search out new and terrific varieties for keeping the settlers fed, but also the more important task (at that time)of providing the average "cider" apple trees so sought after by local settlers and apple presses. Fast forward a bit later and the apple market and subsequently orchards were forced to undergo massive changes due to industry turmoil. It seems the seeping in of prohibition in American moral culture forced the industry to pull a quick switch to more table/palette friendly apples, quickly the focus and PR of apples was changed from one of "drink of choice" to that of health icon and "dessert of choice".

Anyhow, since by their very nature all apples are considered cider apples, Johnny was doing a big favor to settlers moving west in planting a bag of mixed genetic seedlings in his nurseries for later sale to the homesteaders who would use them in home use, as barter, or sell them to cider presses (the very same source of those apple pits that Mr. Chapman was planting). Just how many new varieties out of those now "lost" varieties was Mr. Chapman indeed responsible for? We may never know. What is really sad is there are very few, and I have done my research and I mean very few people working on new apple varieties.....but I'll get to that in a moment.

First let me focus on that pesky little fact that apples don't come true from seed for those interested in that line of thought. Three words come to mind. NOT ENTIRELY TRUE. There are indeed "self fertile" or "preponderant" varieties such as Wolf River (cider, pie, apple butter) and the Russian "Antanovka" (fresh eating) as well as Cox's Orange Pippen, that will come quite true from seed.....most of the time. I tracked down nine of them, seeds and all which have made their way into our new nursery project both as plants for sale next season and as trees for our own orchard.

Anyhow, I have been working hard at starting our nursery project over the past several weeks, tracking down seeds and starts of many fruits, nuts, and trees. White Blackberries, white, red, black, and pink currants, gooseberries, hardy figs, blueberries, hardy kiwi, hazelnut, black walnut, pecans, peaches, pears, persimmons, English Walnuts, Josta berries, raspberries of all colors and apples....apples....apples. At the same time I've been working on getting my nursery license for local use for next season and cutting wood out of the old lane on the boarder of our woodlot in one of the few flat and navigable roads on our property.

All of this work has lead to many interesting trains of thought. One of which involved cleaning out the wooded lane (the wood was mostly of walnut and black cherry which was of no commercial value given the weird shapes and poor growth it exhibited and was instead to be used for firewood) and eventually replanting the lane in high value timber which can also be used as orchard crops. Black Walnut, Persimmon, Shagbark Hickory and so on. I theorize that in time this will afford Kim and I a trip to some far off shore we would like to visit and would make harvesting the wood much easier given the flat and wide lane it will be planted in.

Ok.....back to apples. I must express that while I am starting many crops from seeds, they tend to be varieties that come true from seed, or relatively true, preponderant as Luther Burbank called it. Cherries are no big deal, peaches come relatively true, but I kept throwing out apples and pears as an experiment until I started reading about Johnny Appleseed and his adventure which inspired my creativity to kick into overtime, it just so happens I started researching him a couple weeks before his birthday (conveniently. He is also buried in Indiana and worked in many places in our beautiful state), it was also convenient to know he sourced his seed from cider presses.....light bulbs start going off and I start thinking really hard about some new theories. Just so happens this past week we had a big celebration called "Old Settlers Days" up the road in Salem Indiana, held at the John Hay museum, the festival is based in the small pioneer village on the property and is an experience and great time everyone in the county and everyone who visits should experience. It just so happens that every year the Rotary club comes and presses fresh apples into cider on the site and that I happen to know a couple members.....ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!

Quickly I make phone calls and tell Kim about my asinine idea for experimenting with apple seedlings that will not fruit and make their value known for ten years.

Needless to say, Sunday I sifted through five full trash bags of pippins, running them through my worm harvester to separate the seeds from the leftover apple and then floating off what still passed through the screen. The end result? Nearly five ounces of seed, and what am I going to do with that seed? Plant it of course!

I figure it like this, every empty hole in the Forrest where I take a tree for wood or the wind or ice downs one for our use can be replanted with apples. The field that lies fallow due to overuse alongside the boundaries of our open fields can be planted to close to 100 of these trees and the remainder will find themselves useful as rootstock or even as "cider apple" seedlings for sale in our nursery. In time I will know if any of them are useful, if not, I'll cut them down or graft them, no big deal, besides it's not as though I don't have 35 grafted and known variety trees as a backup, and you never know, the best new apple this century could come from one of these trees, weather here on our property or by way of a customer who busy a Bishop's Homegrown/Hip-Gnosis Seed Produced "cider apple" from our nursery.

Either way it is a project I am devoted to, I think more people should find the time and space to plant pips if at all possible and explore apples. If we ever want to build up apple diversity to where it once was it will take people in the spirit of John Chapman to accomplish such feats of diversity!

Monday, September 7, 2009

A small list of things I am currently looking for......seed barter welcome, donations accepted!

It's no short order.....

Hardy fig varieties, cuttings will work well here.

Red Raspberries - Latham or Heritage would be terrific. Seed is fine, cuttings or root tips welcome

Lawton Blackberries - Same Methods as above.

Jostaberries -Whatever the acceptable method of propigation is, I'll take it.

Red Mullberry - seeds

White fruiting mullbery -seeds

Quince - Whatever I can get, though way late for grafting

Plum - Seeds

Paw Paw - Seeds, cultivated or wild types.

American Perssimon - Seeds - larger fruited specimens prefered but am not picky. Also looking for the elusive blue perssimon.

Boysenberry - Rooted Tips

Aronia - Whatever the accepted method of propigation.

Trifoliate Orange


Hazelnut - viable nuts
Pecan - Viable nuts
Hickory - Viable nuts

Hubbard Squash - Open Pollinated lines of all colors. Small and Large types.


Wow, so much to do before cold weather sets in and a lot to keep me busy!

Right now I'm building trellis systems for the future orchard/vineyard and cutting the cedar posts as well. Cutting a ton of wood for both greenhouses and house, preparing to slaughter a ton of chickens, planting orchard plants, starting perennial seeds, and so much more I can't even begin to fathom how I'll have time to do it all......though it is stressful it is fun.

This week I also have the added fun of cleaning out the goat pen, keeping an eye open for interesting native edible perennial and going on expeditions to track down the best of those for seed, and then exploring the ruins of what is left of "old Pekin" including the old cemetery on the outskirts of town both in search of history and useful cultivates.

Anyhow, I just wanted to take a moment to explain that soon cool weather will set in and this board will be hoping again and in full swing along with my blog and hopefully my new web-site, until then I will probably be a bit scarce around here so I hope you all will join in with anything you can contribute.

I have made huge leaps and bounds this year towards self sustainability and towards building this family farm into something to be proud of. The past several years has brought many new learning opportunities and has built my experience and faith in more ways than I can count

I was recently given the invitation and a plane ticket to Europe via Association Kokopelli and Michael Lachume (Canada Mike), an honor which I cannot express in words, I only wish the trip was possible for me at this point in time, unfortunately the work to do on this farm and regarding my plant breeding coupled with some family health issues has prevented such a trip from happening, but the invitation alone has renewed my spirit and my resolve.

The road in front of me is long but I look forward to traveling it. My work will move from annual plant breeding towards more perennial type crops. My introductions into the vegetable world will continue as at this point in time the name of the game is selection, both from new hybrids, commercial hybrids, and old open pollinated lines. Of course as many of you are aware, the world of poultry has also caught my fancy and the objective of breeding new colors of turkeys an guineas of the heritage type is most certainly on the agenda.

aah, and the future........culinary much to do on this little farm.

I've also been experimenting with creating my own various soil mixes and recipes completely from material commonly available on this farm, that's right, no bought inputs at all! I'll be updating that line of research here shortly! I'll also be uploading some notes regarding my work on the farm here shortly.

Also, many people have asked about the seed list, seed will be available again this season in limited quantities and I will probably upload the 2010 seed list here around the 1'st of October or so.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cuba's Organiponico's: Teaching the United States a hard lesson it need to learn.....

Cuba is definitely in the privilaged position of teaching us the hard lessons that we need to learn. For a couple of years now I have been reading about the many Organiponico's (small organic farms, self sustainable in type, and built using recycled materials and no synthetics) which are responsible for the production of 80% of all of Cuba's vegetable production.

Contrary to popular belief, Cuba is nowhere near the hell hole that our mass media has portrayed it to be, in fact in many ways they are far ahead of us, when the oil runs out in this country Cuba will be just fine!

Anyhow, without getting to deep into it, I'll allow you guys to check it out with these two videos via YouTube.

Working on the orchard/permaculture project....

The past two weeks have been very busy; cutting posts, building trellis' systems, grafting trees, starting seed of fruiting varieties of brambles and trees and planting them and oh so much more.

By next spring we plan to be a certified nursery, we will, with any luck, be able to provide grafted apple trees, wild and river grapes, raspberries, thorn less blackberries, gooseberries, pear trees and on and on and on....just another facet of our business, of course I'll keep that up to date here, but at some point in the near future I'm going to have to get a "real" web-site developed.

This year I have learned a number of grafting techniques that have turned out well and I ended up with 30 something pear trees which are coming along nicely, I planted a ton of gooseberries and blackberries, and some "sport" cherry trees from a local endemic population located on an old homestead which seem to come remarkably true to type. Our experiment with creating a persimmon seed bed in the garden last fall paid off in spades and we were able to dig, pot up and sell many seedlings in small pots this season as well as transplant the delicate little trees where we wanted them. A crop of early mulberries paid off not only in raw wine making material but in germplasm which germinated quickly and are growing vigorously, first in pots and now directly in the field, and at the moment we have a number of valuable varieties of fruit seed (varieties which do come "true" from seed) awaiting us in frozen suspended animation for next season.

This past Thursday I received an abundance of budwood from the USDA and took the crash course in teaching myself to "t-bud" onto rootstock ordered earlier in the year from Willamette nursery. Worked out pretty well and seems to be an easy and reliable system. Today I visited the old orchard down the road which was once run by the principle of the old school here in Pekin Indiana. It is in bad shape and in deep disrepair and most of the apples are of common types, however there are some real gems hiding in there including several which I could not identify, the lack of pruning and the abundance of fire blight as well as years of neglect and ice and windstorms has done the orchard little justice but the two "gems" I did find were baring fairly prolifically and unaffected by the lack of pruning or fire blight. I have 14 root stocks planted in the field which I will use to graft this material to early next spring.

The past couple of weeks I have been working hard on the old garden area (the garden my parents first tended when we moved to the farm, adjacent to the house, also the area where the old chicken coop was located) building a number of trellis systems, incorporating a new system, building a alpine/musk/sand strawberry selection nursery for the further improvement of those stocks, and re-incorporating the old chicken coop into the design. The first of the trellis systems was built this past spring and used to grow an abundant crop of blue lake, roma, and greasy beans which are still there, they were built from leftover fencing materials as well as cedar posts taken down in last seasons ice storm, they have now been expanded using nothing but pole nails and cedar posts. This area is going to be the center block of our "berry blocks" of the future (areas planted in between and underneath trees or in otherwise unused areas). Here we will trellis blackberries, raspberries, European gooseberries, rambling roses, wild and river grapes, wolf berry, and many others including the elusive "snowbank" black berry (a white blackberry bred by Luther Burbank, as well as orange, red, black, white, and yellow raspberries). Where the corn currently stands in the photos we will have some type of shrub or very small trees in a line.....still to come....the same goes for the opposite side of the old chicken coop which I am slowly trellising and incorporating in the design. Mull berries have been planted on the northern ark of this new "berry block".

This week several grafted apples, some sport cherries, some mullberries, and gooseberries will be installed on the grounds......and as always anymore it seems I will find myself in the Forrest cutting cedar posts and driving ridiculously long pole barn nails once again this week...

Poultry 2009: Turkeys and the such.

The heritage turkeys are coming along nicely with the toms learning to "puff up" and strut at the same time, the males are fighting for dominance and seem to have their "favorite" hens that they already have paired up with and "claimed". The off color guinea types are coming along nicely as well, picking their partners now and learning to bark rather proficiently. The chickens as always are coming along nicely. The amarcauna flock is laying terrifically at the moment, they haven't stopped laying as of yet....ever, I've got a banty setting a next of eggs for a friend at the moment.

The younger chickens, mostly polish, buff orpingtons, cuckoo marans, and some Rhode Island Reds haven't started laying yet, but the roosters have mastered won't be long 'till the first eggs come along.

I thought now would be a good time to post some photo updates and elaborate a bit on future plans.

As you can see we have developed a new coop for the birds, it's working out well in the warm weather and I will put some roll down flaps of tarp or plastic on there for this winter for added insulation from the cold due to the chicken mesh only lower sides, this is actually my original greenhouse which then evolved into the first worm house and now finds itself at use as a bird house.

Kim and I have been considering buying another section or two to add to this coop for the adoption of a further and larger turkey breeding operation...of course they will still be free range as they are now, coming and going as they please, really the coop is just there for protection from night predators and the turkeys and guineas really don't care for it much, prefering to try and roost in trees and the currently empty compost bins at the back of the coop, they have to be reminded to enter the coop nightly, hopefully they will eventually learn.

In the long run I would like to look into the regulations for how many and how you would be able to slaughter/sell turkeys in the state of Indiana for the holidays, this season everything is breeding stock minus two extra toms which we will enjoy come Thanksgiving and Christmas. Anybody know how to find out the regulations?

We also now have two high quality incubators in our posession and plan to breed and sell chicks, keets, and poults in the coming years, we plan to work towards breeding some new colors of turkeys and selecting for the sizes historically depicted in the varieties we already have. We finally picked up a high quality hygrometor for the incubators today on our bi-monthly trip to town, I'm going to be firing up the incubators in a couple weeks in time for fall hatching although chickens will be all that's on the menu for this season due to turkeys and guineas not breeding/laying until they are a year old. Our current breeding stock of turkeys includes: Black Spanish, Slate Blue, Bourbon Red, Naragansette, and standard bronze, plenty of genetics to go around but we plan to add the genetics of royal palms and eastern wild as well as Rio Grande wild types in the future.....much like my plant breeding we enjoy diversity in our birds.

If you live locally and need some chicks this fall please give us a call at 812-967-2073, just ask for Alan.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Is this racist?

Do I think this is racist? No. Do I think this is offensive? No.

Of course when the house of cards starts to fall those who live within the house walls will throw up whatever they can to keep it from falling.

What do I think of the image? I think they got it all wrong. You want to paint Obama as he really is, use the Batman. After all, here is the Batman in the movie the Dark Knight percieving himself as upholding the law all the while breaking the very rules and laws he has sworn himself to protect, engaging in conspiracy, and pretending to be a hero. That my friends is what Obama does.

Now, while the Joker is portrayed as a psychopathic killer in the movie and the comic, the truth is that many of the ideas presented in the character of the joker are more akin to the way that patriots are feeling these days........after all it is their engineered economy that is collapsing and it is our system of cheap and free bartering and self sufficiency that so throws a monkey wrench in their plants....."It's not about the money, it's about sending a message." A profound and true statement if ever one did exist, an utterance that gives birth to new ideas, a seed that has been planted.

Let me ask you something. How far away do you think this world is away from someone painting up their face and pulling the same stunts as the Joker? Only this time those whom we know as bankers, those who are corrupt politicians, and those behind the scenes animating the corspe of what was known as the U.S. will represent the mobsters from the movie.

All of this race card bullshit. All of this "left"/"right" bullshit is a fucking joke.

Not only does the fed deserve to be audited, it needs to be shut down.

Not only does our government no longer work but it is our responsibility to fix it, weather peacefully or by revolution. Doesn't matter to me one way or the other, the straw that will break the camels back could be stacked onto the heap at anytime now.

This country is undergoing an awakening and real Change is coming.

Not the "Change" handed to Obama by his banking buddies and shaddow government.

Not the Euginicist dream that the Rockerfellers and Rothschilds dream of.

The American Dream. The change will be one away from tyranny to one of free exchange of ideas.

Like it or not, get on your horse and ride into the battle when it comes motherfuckers, there will be no where you can run, no where you can hide.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Working Away!

Been planting the fall garden the past few days.

-Yellow Cabbage Collards
-Late Flat Dutch, Winter Drumhead Savoy, Discovery Cabbage
-A mass cross of slicing cucumbers
-Roma II beans
-A mass cross/mix of kale
-Purple Top Globe Turnips
-A new bed of alpine strawberries from my selections
-Daikon raddishes, cherry belle, and a mix I've made
-Sugar Snap and Snow Peas
-Hip-Gnosis Lettuce Mix

Also been busy saving seed from everything under the sun.

This year we grew out a selection I made two years ago from Astronomy Domine, grew it last year and though it was a straight ahead F1 hybrid, this year it is remarkably stable and much like last year. Very pretty 8 row bantam type, about 65 days to fresh eating, starts out bi-color and large kernel and proceedes blue and then starts to dry down to red and black. Definitely and normal sugary type (SU), would probably have relatively high protein. Pretty happy with it for the moment and sticking with it for a few years along with Rainbow Inca.

We have had an incredibly we season here. Apparently Indiana has moved to the Pacific Northwest. Rain like no one has seen in Indiana for at least a hundred years, temperatures that fair the same as well, the coolest year I ever remember.

We have learned a lot of hard lessons this year. We did a number of Open Pollinated sweet corn growouts which I plan on writing a report on later, most of them were so poorly maintained over the years by the likes of seed banks that they were far to inbred to actually be of any merit. The wet weather also brought out the raccons, possums, squirrels, rabbits, deer and other pests like never before, we lost a lot of corn and subsequently a lot of money. Weeds have been another issue all together and we have moved forward with plans for next season to use black plastic mulch in the vegetable gardens, going far more bio-intensive than we ever had this year worked out well, better than I would have thought, I just have to get the weed issues under control.

We have also been working on our "orchard" when the time allows. We have taken on some of the ideas that Thomas Jefferson was espousing at Monticello in regards to "berry blocks", applying this even to strips of orchard trees on the periphery of our fields.

We have filled 95% of the gaps in our seed "library" in the past five years with our newly bred varieties. We now believe we truly have our "repitor" down to a system, we will publish our master seed list later this year for those in this area interested in what we are growing along with why.

We have made the decision recently to invest the next several years into researching field corn varieties. Partly because of our new association with the Becks Mill project and volunteering on the site to help with the agricultural history of the site and partly because someone desperately needs to be working with the time tested open pollinated types.

Next year we will be growing five acres of dent corn for use as on farm chicken feed, grains for sale for farm animals, and also for those who want to feed the squirrels or birds on their property. Hip-Gnosis seed development and Bishop's Homegrown will also be donating this seed to the gift shop at Becks Mill in order to place varieties once grown by the locals and ground at the mill back into the hands of the community which we love.

I just finished uploading about 500 pics from the farm and from mine and Kim's summer journeys onto the computer, I'll upload them to the net along with my more frequent posts over the next few weeks, we have had a blast going on our every other Sunday adventures this summer. Becks Mill, Spring Mill, Marengo Cave, Onedia Kentucky and Daniel Boone National Forestry, and the little Swiss Amish community right down the road in Salem Indiana.

I expect to start updating this blog with small updates on a much more regular basis now, at least once every couple days. Could be a new research article, could be a blurb, could be a simple as a picture, the truth is though that if I hope to help anyone with this blog or to get their attention and interest in agriculture I'm going to have to spend a bit more time here in the future.

I hope everyone is doing well and having a terrific summer!


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Some Interesting Observations as of 7/5/07

-OSU purple tomatoes are producing fairly prolifically in some 5 gallon trade nursery pots providing ample opporotunities for crosses between them and the ever popular Sungold F1 tomato.

-Astronomy Domine is about 1 week from being ready for table for the most part. Since there are so many cultivars in the heritage of Astronomy Domine the harvest is in an extended window of nearly three weeks difference. Always interesting. This year nearly 50 new cultivars have been added to the mix. The next several years will see selections of segragates and isolation in order to "perfect" new lines of open pollinated and mostly sugar enhanced sweet corn lines. There is a lot of potential here.

-10,000 B.C. is the name of a new Grex of sweet corns we are working with. The intention being a multi-colored and multi-purpose normal suguary sweet corn variety which can also be used as an animal feed or for other uses. 50 varieties, many which were accessed via seed banks the world over but which were far to degraded in terms of inbreding depression to warrant growout and issolation have now been merged. Tassling and silking at the moment.

-The tomato patch is growing along nicely. Not as many varieties in the past, trying to focus in more on varieties I have developed and creating a market for those varieties locally while also increasing seed to send out all over the world to be selected for localities outside of the Ohio Valley. Apparently Jack White and Absinthe both have quite the fanfare in France and elsewhere. Very happy about that.

-Working deeply with soil fertility theories. Found a couple good sources of bat guano that was sustainably and responsibly harvested. Working with both Guano and Worm castings in fertilizing fruit trees and alpine strawberries and both will play a large part this fall in the greenhouse in which we will use rotten sawdust and good quality manure and topsoil to make the floor of the greenhouse into a raised bed. More to come then.

-Growing out and selecting from a massive number of Alpine Strawberry cultivars to find the very best of them and select for a larger size. Also obtained some seed of several F. Chilonese varieties which have germinated well and will be potted up this week. Must still track down the ever elusive Musk Strawberry that I hear so much about! Got any? Want to share? Shoot me an e-mail at

-Our orchard is growing well, the grafted pear trees from this past spring are growing rather quickly, some more or less open pollinated tart cherries started from pits are now nearly eight inches tall in their first season and we had a lot of luck with germinating some local persimmon population seeds!

-The poultry is coming along nicely. We just used a couple bantams to hatch out a fairly large nest of guinea keets which we are selling to some good friends of ours. The turkeys are still young but some of the Toms are growing very quickly and learning to strut already. Our goal is to keep larger type heritage turkeys that are good for meat but to breed in some new color combinations. At the moment we have Black Spanish, Bourbon Red, Blue Slate, Naraganset, and Standard Bronze. A lot of fun to watch and beautiful to boot.

Updates and the such.

Making an effort to find the time to update the blog and Homegrown Goodness with the minimum of information during the busy growing season. I was digging around looking for information on Thomas Jefferson's growouts at Monticello and came across his "garden journal" which to say the least is very intriguing to read. Basic information, not a whole lot of description or detail, but very interesting.

Anyhow, that gave me some inspiration to start updating this thing over the growing season even though with limited time it will prove quite a bit difficult. You can check out the garden journal here.

So much is going on in regard to plant breeding and development here on the farm, lots and lots of exciting experiments and growouts! It's such a beautiful experience to explore the farm and the diversity planted here. The poulty breeding is going great as well with the new turkeys coming along nicely.

Kim and I have been taking many pictures of projects and making notes regarding our growouts like crazy, all will find their way online in the near future, sometimes there just isn't enough time in a day for all we would like to do or say, but soon enough my friends......

Anyhow, expect short updates and descriptive posts soon. Sorry for the absence but you must make hay while the sun in shining!


Thursday, June 11, 2009

A few items I am currently looking for.....and yes I know one sounds extremely weird!

-Red Okra, a good productive strain.
-A corn sheller, would most certainly help in working up livestock feed this fall and winter!

and to top off the list!

BAT GUANO - preferably harvested in a responisable way or from an area such as an attic or a barn or garage where no damage is done to the colony, or a bat house. We recently put up two but they have yet to be inhabited. Will take as much as you can send and will pay for shipping plus trade you out a lifetime supply of seed!

Will gladly trade seeds for all other items.

As another quick update, we will be at the Washington County Farmers Market in Salem Indiana at the fairgrounds again on Saturday from 8:30 A.M. until 12:30 P.M. and will have a terrific selection of our "eco-Logically" grown (read organic) produce on hand including the following:

-Red Chiefton potatoes harvested as New Potatoes. Absolutely delicious anyway you want to cook them! 3.00 a quart
-Leaf Lettuce Mix: Red types, Green Types, Purple, Red Edged in an efficient and beautiful mix for 2.50 a gallon bag
-Broccoli-an assortment of types. Small heads 1.50 large 2.00-2.50
-Cabbage, early Jersey Wakefield, Early Round Dutch, Early Golden Acre. 2.00 a small Head, 2.50-3.00 a large head
-Sugar Snap and snow peas. 3.50 a quart bag. Delicious, especially when mixed with the red potatoes cubed up in a skillet!
-Farm Fresh, Free Range, "Eco-Logically" grown Green and Blue eggs!
-Yellow Cabbage Collards. Beautiful yellow-green and large leaved collards, better than any you have ever tasted. A terrific strain we sourced through a friend via "the collard shack" (google that one).
-Alpine Strawberry Plants. Mostly white fruited, non-runnering type plants, prolific and everbearing. Deliciously sweet without the "tart" of modern berries. Several strains, many most likely grown by Thomas Jefferson himself. Small pots 4.00 and large pots 8.00
-Yellow Transparent apple trees. Smallish summer cooking apple. Great for pies. 5.00 one gallon nursery pots.
-Compost tea concentrate. All the nutrient you need to make 15-20 gallons of great compost tea, inoculated with benificial microbes and mychorizial fungi.

We are also taking orders on Amaracauna Chicks in both large fowl and bantam size as well as pearl/pied guineas.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mr. Obama, you are complicit in the war crimes carried out at Abu Ghirab!

Your complacency and refusal to release the torture photos depicting the rape of women, men, and children, in the hell hole known as Abu Ghirab speaks highly of your true "cult of personality", that with which you sold yourself to the American "Republic". Your denial of and subsequent "nothing to see here" statements reek of the protectionism of those who made these orders within the Bush administration as well as those who carried out these heinous violations of human rights. You sir are complacent and actively seeking to cover up crimes against humanity, and as such there is no difference between yourself and a Nazi sympathizer! You sir are actively seeking to cover up a crime and allow the perpetrators of said crime to run free, this sir makes you a criminal.

Perhaps it is because you have no real power? Perhaps is is because you are afraid of what your puppet masters may have carried out in retribution, either way there is not now and nor will there be in the future any amount of "change" as long as a charlatan such as yourself sits in the highest office of the United States, a disgrace to our country, some may even say a traitor to the people. Who can fault you however? With everyone parading you around as a messiah I would hate to be called a heretic, but it is what it is, and it ain't what it ain't, so I won't make it what it isn't. It's not as though you have ever had a choice is it? You were groomed to be our alchemical king just as the fool king before you was placed in power as well.

Alaster Crowley would most certainly be proud of such tactics.

How far off do you think this country is from revolution?

Demand the truth!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bishop's Homegrown/Hip-Gnosis Seed Circular summer 2009

Here is the first edition of our new produce circular of products that we expect to have available this summer with approximate dates and prices. This is of concern mostly to local consumers, feel free to pass this around friends, we will have this in hardcopy at next Saturdays Washington County Farmers Market as well.


Free Range Chicken Eggs - Mostly Amaracauna and some Browns. Available all season long. 2.00 a dozen.

Onions, Lettuce, Kale, Collards, Raddishes - May-June
lettuce 2.00 gallon bag, onions six for 1.50, raddishes 6 for 1.50, collards and kale in large bunches for 3.50. Special Option: lettuce, 6 onions, 6 raddishes for 3.50

New Potatoes - June-July. Red and White. Strawberry basket 3.00

Cabbage, Broccoli - June-August. 3.00 a head

Sweet Corn - July-September. 3 for 1.00

Tomatoes and Peppers July-October. Various Pricing.

Greenhouse "Have You Got It Yet" tomatoes - strawberry basket for 4.00

More to come later!!! Updated Often


White Alpine Strawberries in four gallon pots. 8.00 available all summer
Grafted apple and pear trees - Limited availabilty, multiple varieties, one gallon pots- 15.00

Amaracauna chicks, available in June, July, August, and September for 2.50
Guinea Keets, Available June, July, August, September for 4.00

Bishop's Homegrown/Hip-Gnosis Seed Development
5604 S. State Rd. 60
Pekin Indiana 47165


And just as an aside, here is a short list of things we plant to have available, minus dates over the next 365 days:

-hatching eggs
-meat chickens
-turkeys for meat
-poults, keets
-mapple syrup
-composting worms
-fishing worms
-worm castings
-compost teas
-orchard fruits
-grafted trees
-potted plants
-summer produce
-winter produce
-poultry feeds
-consulting and information
-research and development
-plant breeding
-poultry breeding

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

On going research and development:

In liu of having the time to actually write a "priori proof" here are some notes regarding the ongoing work here on the farm in regards to Bishop's Homegrown/Hip-Gnosis Seed Development and also a peek at what you can expect over the next few months and years, as we evolve with the economy and the state of our country from day to day most of this will apply specifically to local and regional residents of Washington County Indiana but we are also in the process of designing a much more efficient and informative web-site to host our information and future products which will be up for interest to a much more diverse segment of the self-sustainable and eco-logical community.

R and D bulletins

- Compost Teas: Recipies, Methods, Forumlas, and bottled for sale. Over the years we have worked with a number of different compost teas and have created several formulas and methods which work well for us, this year we will be bottling and selling many of these in concentrate form to the local area via our farm, roadside farmstands, crossroads store, and the Washington County Farmers Market. Ironically some of the information I have been reading lately when I have a moment or two independently of our message board is currently being discussed at The Homegrown Goodness Messageboard regarding lactic bacteria and collecting local and woodland microbes.

-Hatching Eggs, Chicks, Keets, Poults for sale. We were recently given a very nice incubator and are hatching a number of varieties of poultry for sale this season to the local area. Hopefully by next spring we will be able to ship hatching eggs as well.

-Worm castings, fishing worms, and bulk worms, we are getting close to have enough breeding stock to greatly expand our efficiency in this area, in time we will offer castings, fishing worms and bulk composting worms both locally and on the net

-Poultry breeding, we recently aqired our first stock of heritage turkeys including bourban reds, black spanish, blue slate, nargansette, Rio Grande wild, and Royal Palms, we plan to enter into some breeding projects selecting for large size meat birds in new colors and patterns and to also be able to slaughter our own birds as well as offer poults for sale and meat for sale along with Guinea and Chicken meat to the local area in the near future.

-Feed Production, currently we are working on refining a new feed corn variety from our own stock grown on our own farm, the corn is very high protein and we plan to be able to produce all of our own feed and to offer some for sale in the fall in 10 and 15 lb bags. We have recently entered into a co-operative venture with a couple of friends which will see us release a circular quarterly which will contain a list of our products, prices, information, availabilty dates and more including our own feed, poults, chicks, keets, produce, seeds, plants, fruit trees, eggs and more.

-Hip-Gnosis and the new co-operative will most likely release this first circular to the local area sometime this summer or early fall.

-Bishop's Homegrown will all issue a quarterly circular to the local area detailing all of our available products as well.

-This fall we plan to have a more permanent, secure, and organized web-site for ordering our seeds from Hip-Gnosis

-A vast majority of the plant breeding we started five years ago will be finished this year and bulked for sale, many of these varieties will have quite a bit of genetic diversity left in them for the home gardener to make selections from, this fall we will once again have a larger seed selection available via mail order.


Around the farm.

All the initial planting and replanting/replacing is finished, now it's all about maintenance, in that spirit I bring some photos of the ongoings of the farm.

Amongst the following photos you'll see images of what used to be the chicken coop, torn down to it's basic framework with the doors and several posts left in place, part of my absence as of late from the net has been due to a restructuring of my poultry program including donating my bantam flock to a good friend, honestly I was just tired of spending so much time working with birds that give such little eggs and which literally will allow themselves to be mated so brutally that it would put them on their death bed. I was also dealing with a minx issue which is now under control, but more importantly I created a brand new chicken/turkey/guinea coop out of the original worm house, it's much safer and sturdy than the old coop and also has electricity and plenty of room for a relatively large stock of Ameracauna, Marans, Polish, Guineas, and Heritage Turkeys, all of which we will be working with in the near future in breeding lines, hatching chicks for sale, selling hatching eggs, and slaughtering meat both for our own consumption and for sale.

The old coop will be allowed to sit and "mellow" for a year whereupon I will add some posts and some hog panels and plant pole beans in that area, I will also plant sunflowers along the borders to create a "natural room" area for family and visitors enjoyment. The new coop was basically already setup and what wasn't ready to go was more or less lying around the farm anyways including the rough cut lumber type roosts, the eggboxes came from the old coop, the little "window-doors" you see were given to me by a friend and were actually out of an old school bus, heck we even had the chicken wire and nails laying around, so essentially minus labor (which was enough with having to catch all the chickens and move them, catch all the banties and relocate them, and tear down the original coop) the coop was free.

You will also see pics of our new bean trellis system and many of the crops including greenhouse tomatoes which are blooming, lettuce, onions, peas, heelless oats and potatoes. More pics to follow in the coming weeks and months including photos of our breeding projects and new heritage poultry as they grow.

I have yet to take a photo of the "Wyrm House" and it's new set up which is working out nicely, our breeding stock bins are getting up to size and filling up nicely and providing use with some beautiful looking castings, they are moving along at such a pace that we plan to be able to start the second set of three bins sometime within the next month or so! We also purchased two bathouses from The Organization for Bat Conservation, they have not been inhabited yet and probably won't be this year, however the bats have been flying around and checking them out and we have high hopes that they will indeed inhabit their new castles next spring.

Lots of experimenting and planning going on right now at Bishop's Homegrown/Hip-Gnosis seed development including the breeding and production of our own on farm poultry feeds for our flock and also for sale in the coming years. I'll update some new stuff shortly including our new quarterly circular of available products and services and our new "priori proof" paper as well as discuss some of the ideas we are tossing around aimed at making our farm more self sustainable and more profitable, Lot's of cool things going on right now and over the next few years.

Follow This Link for the images!