17 August 2014

Coloured Pea Progress

Been a while since I posted - winter has been a bit cruel at Casa Templetonia, not so much weather wise, but the depredations of mites and disease.
I had intended to do a big grow out of all the commercially available snows and snaps on hand, some 20 varieties, in an attempt to discern the best tasting ones to cross back to my emerging purple and yellow snows and snaps, which seem to be stabilising a bit (more of this later).
So at garden no 2 (G2) 5 kilometres from home, I pre soaked all the varieties from the shoebox, then did a big sowing of 10 seeds each of every variety, including dwarfs, talls, snows and snaps. I even delved into the research material, and sowed two Chinese snows from the gene bank.
I was tardy in my attention, and when I finally went back to check prior to my month in the Kimberley for work, redlegged mites had emerged from the surrounding pasture, and decimated the seedlings. Three treatments with pyrethrum spray controlled the beasts, but not before they had hammered the parsnips and peas.

The hammered purple snows

The purple snow survivors

Most of the varieties totally succumbed, but in my trial of four siblings of one of my purple lines, two lines seemed mostly unaffected. And one of the two Chinese snows, that had not impressed when I first grew them several years ago, had put up staunch resistance, and were happily speeding ahead of everything else.
The Chinese Snows
So the taste trial is severely compromised, but I have learned that two of my purple lines are pest resistant, and that the Chinese snows also carry this characteristic.
On the home front, on my return from the north, I found my yellow snows, which had been growing so strongly on my departure had been infected with a dark spot disease, and were unlikely to produce anything of substance. The purple snows were somewhat affected, but are still putting on pods. But in the greenhouse, the dwarf resistant snow lines were excelling.
I had sown 4 sibling lines from my Chaber of Death purple lines, and not only were they all growing strongly, they were all deep purple. And not only were they all deep purple, suggesting that they are homozygous for all the purple genes, but at least two of the sibling lines are homozygous for double flowering. At least some of each sibling line are highly disease resistant, and all seem to have a determinate habit - clustered pods at the top of the plant. This might not be true determinancy in the sense that some tomatoes are determinate, but offers hope for a good commercial line.
The double flowered disease resistant snows from Chamber of Death

One of the Mammoth Purple Snows

Home gardeners like a spread of cropping over time, but some market gardeners prefer something that they only have to harvest once or twice. These lines seem to have that.
In addition they all seem to be fibre free, tho further taste tests are required.

The red snow project is also proceeding - I planted all the coloured seed from a speculative purple X yellow cross a few years ago, and collected every red and purple plant. This seed was autumn sown along my espalier trellis, hoping to get pods for assessment before the apricots leafed up. So far, the plan is on track, with many of the plans in bud.
More reports soon.