Vegetables and Fruit forum: Landrace varieties

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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
May 30, 2015 12:46 PM CST
Just heard the term "landrace" for the first time the other day. Did a little googling about it. Does one need to grow more than one variety of a plant for cross-pollination to get to the "survival of the fittest" or are environmental factors enough (although limiting)? I've only collected tomato seeds in the past as far as vegetables are concerned.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jun 15, 2015 7:25 PM CST
I think that a central part of the meaning of "landrace" is that it developed from a very diverse gene pool.

Just one variety of plant would not have a great deal of genetic variety. Both OP and hybrid cultivars come from inbred lines that are as genetically uniform as their breeders could make them.

ATP is lucky to have @Joseph as a member. He is breeding multiple landraces using the widest possible variety of cultivars as his source gene pool.

His climate selects ruthlessly and his yields increased greatly the first few years he combined many cultivars and kept only those plants that survived his weather.

Joseph also has a landrace blog with the Mother earth news:
http://www.motherearthnews.com/search.aspx?tags=%20Lofthouse

Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jun 16, 2015 7:40 AM CST
I did read the MEN article before I posted the question. I initially heard the term for the first time last month from @chelle and I got curious. It makes sense about the genetic variety but I wasn't sure if environmental factors had any influence on the genetics. I have such a small gardening area and I grow a lot in pots so I wasn't sure if I could squeeze in enough variety to experiment with. Thanks for clarifying.
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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chelle
Jun 16, 2015 9:42 AM CST
Cindy,

The seeds I recently sent to you were from plants I originally grew out of Joseph's seeds. Just thought you might like to know, and I couldn't recall if I'd mentioned it before. Smiling
Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jun 16, 2015 9:58 AM CST
chelle - I remember you mentioning landrace but didn't know that the seeds came from the Joseph in the MEN article. Thanks again for those seeds. I think I'm going to try a few of them in the fall to see what happens. Seems a shame to only grow them in the spring.
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Image
chelle
Jun 16, 2015 10:54 AM CST
You're very welcome. Smiling
Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Jun 16, 2015 12:26 PM CST
Shadegardener said: ... It makes sense about the genetic variety but I wasn't sure if environmental factors had any influence on the genetics. I have such a small gardening area and I grow a lot in pots so I wasn't sure if I could squeeze in enough variety to experiment with. Thanks for clarifying.


Certainly your environment will select for traits that support survival and propagation where you live (climate, pests, diseases, soil, etc). However, with most commercial seeds, the genetic variety has mostly been bred out of them.

So starting a landrace with commercial OP or F1 hybrids is like looking for needles in a haystack, where the haystack has very few needles. You'll find that variety's best genes for your region, but the odds are against that one variety having many extra-suitable genes.

I think that the breeding game is a numbers game: it works faster and gives more options if you're choosing the best few plants out of 1,000 plants or 10,000 plants. Picking the best plant from ten plants will go much slower, and it might be many years before you see an unusually good combination of genes.





Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jun 16, 2015 3:01 PM CST
Thanks for all of the explanations. Sounds like years of daunting trial and error to find the very best variety but the fun's in the trying, right?
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Jun 16, 2015 3:17 PM CST
>> the fun's in the trying

I agree.

Also, it almost feels liberating to think that there IS NO "one best variety".

There's what grows fastest in one area, what yields the most, what needs least irrigation, what survives the cold years best, what survives the hot, dry years best, what tastes best in good years, what tastes OK in stressed years, what resists pest #1 best, what survives disease #7 best ...

Every possible breeding goal can be in the melting pot of a landrace, and each grower's situation and concerns define what goals matter most to that grower.

With enough genetic diversity to draw on, all those goals can contribute to the population of genes most sought after.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jun 16, 2015 5:48 PM CST
Whoa - I should live so long. :)

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