Saturday, February 27, 2016

Visit to Alkira Organics, Glass gem corn, Ulluco and lots more - Wow

I'm back again - sorry for the delay in posting.

Well, I am tired from driving a long way to Lake Boga for a farm visit to Alkira Organics which is a large organic property near the Murray River - five hours drive up there on Friday and back again. I got back this morning after spending the night at a town called Donald.

The people at the farm were very friendly and willing to discuss some sort of future seed business arrangement and I took a few vegetable samples up there to show them. Some they seemed impressed with and some they didn't. I was embarrassed when I showed them a melon that I thought was the bees knees after it was cut open and the flesh was terrible in taste as well as broken down. I was impressed with this melon as it tasted so good and this particular fruit had been left in the fridge for over two weeks without any marks or soft spots. I thought that with some tweaking on selection it might make a good commercial true cantaloupe as most cantaloupes are bad at storage and shipping.
Unfortunately the rind might store well but the flesh doesn't, oops.

There was also a hiccup with the Italian root cabbage when I tasted the leaf and instead of tasting like cabbage, it was a strong mustard flavour. I thought that I had accidentily picked the only mustard tasting vegetable in the bed but on the drive home I realised that they were being attacked my white butterflies right now and it might well have a response to attack by releasing mustard oils in the leaves. it has not happened before as I have always tasted the leaves when they were healthy. That is my hypothesis anyway.

Ok, well I learned a heap and even if nothing else comes of the visit I am very pleased I went.

Well my Ulluco plants finally started sprouting last month and they are looking very healthy. I hope they make a lot of tubers this autumn so I can put them in field testing next season.
I have three or four varieties ( a couple of tubers looked the same) and a number of plants of two of the varieties. The heat is not affecting them surprisingly but we will see how they go with less care next spring.

A new cabbage for me this year is Kalibos. It is a small one or two person cabbage that comes in at about 800g to one kg.
I will be eating this one tomorrow night and I hope it is more tender than most reds.

Unlike most red cabbages I have grown this one gets seriously attacked by white cabbage butterflies so maybe that shows that it is sweet and tender :) I hope they are nice as I have two double rows of them in and will be collecting a good amount of seed for my first trial of them.

My only other complaint is that mine really don't look as cone shaped and dainty as other pictures I have seen.

Some of you might remember that I tried growing bearded iris from seeds last year and had a heap of fun with them, so I have put in a handful more seed from those seedlings into this pot to see what they turn out like.
They are coming up like hairs on a dogs back. I can't wait to see what colours I get in a couple of years.

Work has begun on mulching the small beds on my experimental block. This block is where I try out new and experimental varieties before they go into field trials.
The beds are only 1m x 4m but that is usually enough to grow to see what they are like.

I have finally moved all the shallot varieties out of this block so I will have more room for some more new stuff - and boy I will have some good stuff to trial and offer next year. I returned home this morning to find a parcel of seeds that I have been waiting on for a while - they are amazing but I won't tell you about them right now.

My two experimental beds of true seed grown potatoes are starting to flower now. they are all from the same variety but I can already see differences in stem and leaf colours.
I will do a lot more seed grow potatoes next spring as I want to see what can be done with the small tubered diploides as novelty coloured boiling potatoes. They might be good for the restaurant trade.

And lastly - I have been picking the cobs of my Glass Gem corn. I have to tell you that the more I pick the less impressed I am. They are really not as impressive in real life as the pictures all over the internet show. I suppose that outside in sunlight they do look glassy and colourful but who is going to look at them that way.

I am not sure if I will grow them again.

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