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The Cultivariable Podcast

The Cultivariable Podcast

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The Cultivariable Podcast

The Cultivariable Podcast

The Cultivariable Podcast

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About Us

The freelance plant breeding world encompasses most of the activity that takes place outside of academic and corporate plant breeding. Lone researchers specializing in unusual species, farmers working on adaptation to their specific climate conditions, small seed companies breeding for Organic systems, backyard hobbyists, and many others work to develop new plant varieties, often in obscurity. The Cultivariable podcast highlights freelance plant breeders and also the work of the greater community that makes their work possible, including the plant explorers, collectors, and researchers who provide the raw materials and information so critical to plant breeding.

Latest Episodes

Podcast #9: Telsing Andrews of Aster Lane Edibles

In this episode of the Cultivariable podcast, I talk with Telsing Andrews, a nursery owner and plant breeder based in Ontario, Canada. We talk about the struggles of running a small nursery, sweet potato breeding, chufa, cabbage, chickpeas, sea kale, carrots, multiplier onions, and many of her other favorite plants. You can contact Telsing and buy seeds at Aster Lane Edibles. If you want to buy seeds, don’t delay, because she is closing down the business in March! ​

126 MIN2019 FEB 19
Comments
Podcast #9: Telsing Andrews of Aster Lane Edibles

Podcast #8: Chris Homanics

In this episode of the Cultivariable podcast, I talk with Chris Homanics, a plant preservationist, breeder, and farmer in the Willamette Valley. Chris is well known for his work with perennial kales and chestnut preservation and breeding. He also does a lot of work with fruit trees, particularly apples, pears, and persimmons, and is very active in regional efforts to preserve and expand agricultural biodiversity. As is often the case, this interview was done over cell phone and outdoors, so the noise gets a bit thick in places. You can find Chris on Facebook and you can alsodonate to help with his preservation work. ​

124 MIN2019 FEB 16
Comments
Podcast #8: Chris Homanics

Podcast #7: Doug Strong of Windmill Hill Farm

In this episode of the Cultivariable podcast, I talk with potato breeder Doug Strong. Doug specializes in breeding diploid potatoes and has produced a bunch of really interesting varieties that are well known by Andean potato enthusiasts, such as Big Dog, Black Hornet, Yellow Dog, and Strawberry Timepiece. Due to background noise, I had to chop this recording up a little more than usual and some cuts forced me to rearrange sections so that they would make more sense. In a few places, this leads to weird transitions like asking questions that have just been answered. I did my best to keep as much as possible. You can follow Doug’s work at the Kenosha Potato Project on Facebook: Doug Strong @ Kenosha Potato Project ​

-1 s2018 JUL 21
Comments
Podcast #7: Doug Strong of Windmill Hill Farm

Podcast #6: Joseph Lofthouse

In this episode of the Cultivariable podcast, I talk with farmer and freelance plant breeder Joseph Lofthouse. Joseph is well known for his landrace plant breeding, a method that he has popularized and applies to an astounding 100 species of food plants. We talk about his breeding philosophy and how he has used it to improve crops such as squash, cantaloupe, potatoes, and tomatoes for his short season climate. Joseph collaborates widely on his projects and also sells seed. You can read more about Joseph and his work at the following links: Joseph’s Garden Mother Earth News Landrace Gardening Blog Homegrown Goodness Forum

-1 s2018 JUL 6
Comments
Podcast #6: Joseph Lofthouse

Podcast #5: Q&A

In this episode of the Cultivariable podcast, I answer listener questions: * 00:57 Which tuber crops are best for permaculture? * 05:14 Are there any tuber crops that fix nitrogen? * 08:35 Might arracacha be a dynamic accumulator? * 10:35 Can you explain the process that you use for collecting plants from the wild? * 14:35 Why should all gardeners also be plant breeders? * 16:58 How could GMOs make all plants sterile? * 21:11 Can you explain how GMOs lead to super weeds? * 23:37 Can you pronounce the scientific names of the Andean crops? * 25:46 What happened to your rhubarb information? * 27:20 Do you select for vertical or horizontal resistance in potatoes? * 32:01 Can you explain the relationship between guard cells and chromosomes? * 39:59 What kind of microscope do you recommend? * 43:16 Do you have tips on how to be a profitable freelance plant breeder? * 50:23 About naming unnamed breeding lines. * 52:18 What is your method for tagging and tracking plants? * 55:23 Details abo...

-1 s2018 JUN 29
Comments
Podcast #5: Q&A

Podcast #4: Q&A

In this episode of the Cultivariable podcast, I answer listener questions: * 00:52 – Why don’t you grow sweet potatoes and yams? * 05:52 – Can you explain what a tetraploid is? * 12:39 – How would you recommend that someone in high school become a plant breeder? * 19:05 – What plant breeding books do you recommend? * 21:51 – What breeding project are you most proud of? * 25:26 – Is there a breeding project that continuously eludes you? * 32:08 – What is your current favorite breeding project? * 37:34 – Is it really safe to eat mashua? * 43:47 – Why can’t you go to South America and bring back more varieties? * 48:45 – How do you decide when to release a new variety? * 55:06 – Why don’t you offer achira? * 58:17 – It seems like you only breed clones. Is that because it is easier? * 01:05:14 – How can I get my potatoes to fruit in Texas? * 01:09:08 – How do you get seeds from the USDA NPGS? If you would like to have your questions answered in a future episode, just se...

74 MIN2018 MAY 11
Comments
Podcast #4: Q&A

Podcast #3: Tom Wagner of Tater Mater Seeds

In this episode of the Cultivariable podcast, I talk with Tom Wagner of Tater Mater Seeds. Tom is a well known public domain breeder, based in Everett, WA, who has worked with tomatoes, potatoes, and corn for more than sixty years. We discuss potato and tomato breeding, the history of some of his varieties like the Green Zebra tomato and the Skagit Valley Gold potato, and about the future direction of his work. Many of the links that I am listing are not very active, but Tom is planning to do more online, including starting his own podcast, so bookmark these links and stay tuned. Tater Mater Seeds is not currently open for sales. Tom’s forum is open and he is hoping for more people to post there. There is a huge wealth of information there, so it is well worth signing up. Tater Mater Seeds Forum Tater Mater Seeds Tater Mater Blog

100 MIN2018 APR 18
Comments
Podcast #3: Tom Wagner of Tater Mater Seeds

Podcast #2: Curzio Caravati and the Kenosha Potato Project

In this episode of the Cultivariable podcast, I talk with Curzio Caravati of the Kenosha Potato Project and Kenosha Urban Farm Institute about collecting potatoes, growing potatoes in an urban farm environment, and growing potatoes from true potato seeds (TPS). Along the way, we discuss farmers markets, how potatoes can be classified by their agronomic and edible characteristics, working with the USDA Potato Introduction Station at Sturgeon Bay, how basketball hoops are like growing bags, the similarities between plant breeding and honeybee breeding, and why you should eat more dirt. Some of the potato varieties that are mentioned include White Peachblow, Raudar Islenskar, Bintje, and Blue Victor. Unfortunately, this episode was a particular challenge to edit. We had some audio quality problems with the recording and there were parts that I just couldn’t salvage, creating some odd jumps. Hopefully, I will get better at this as I gain more experience. Kenosha Potato Project Website ...

105 MIN2018 APR 10
Comments
Podcast #2: Curzio Caravati and the Kenosha Potato Project

Podcast #1: Nathan Kleinman and the Experimental Farm Network

In this first episode of the Cultivariable podcast, I talk with Nathan Kleinman of the Experimental Farm Network about participatory plant breeding, sustainable agriculture, and some favorite plants like sorghum, chinquapin chestnuts, and perennial kales. The Experimental Farm Network connects breeders with trial growers all over the country, making it possible to speed up variety development. Experimental Farm Network

67 MIN2018 APR 6
Comments
Podcast #1: Nathan Kleinman and the Experimental Farm Network
the END

Latest Episodes

Podcast #9: Telsing Andrews of Aster Lane Edibles

In this episode of the Cultivariable podcast, I talk with Telsing Andrews, a nursery owner and plant breeder based in Ontario, Canada. We talk about the struggles of running a small nursery, sweet potato breeding, chufa, cabbage, chickpeas, sea kale, carrots, multiplier onions, and many of her other favorite plants. You can contact Telsing and buy seeds at Aster Lane Edibles. If you want to buy seeds, don’t delay, because she is closing down the business in March! ​

126 MIN2019 FEB 19
Comments
Podcast #9: Telsing Andrews of Aster Lane Edibles

Podcast #8: Chris Homanics

In this episode of the Cultivariable podcast, I talk with Chris Homanics, a plant preservationist, breeder, and farmer in the Willamette Valley. Chris is well known for his work with perennial kales and chestnut preservation and breeding. He also does a lot of work with fruit trees, particularly apples, pears, and persimmons, and is very active in regional efforts to preserve and expand agricultural biodiversity. As is often the case, this interview was done over cell phone and outdoors, so the noise gets a bit thick in places. You can find Chris on Facebook and you can alsodonate to help with his preservation work. ​

124 MIN2019 FEB 16
Comments
Podcast #8: Chris Homanics

Podcast #7: Doug Strong of Windmill Hill Farm

In this episode of the Cultivariable podcast, I talk with potato breeder Doug Strong. Doug specializes in breeding diploid potatoes and has produced a bunch of really interesting varieties that are well known by Andean potato enthusiasts, such as Big Dog, Black Hornet, Yellow Dog, and Strawberry Timepiece. Due to background noise, I had to chop this recording up a little more than usual and some cuts forced me to rearrange sections so that they would make more sense. In a few places, this leads to weird transitions like asking questions that have just been answered. I did my best to keep as much as possible. You can follow Doug’s work at the Kenosha Potato Project on Facebook: Doug Strong @ Kenosha Potato Project ​

-1 s2018 JUL 21
Comments
Podcast #7: Doug Strong of Windmill Hill Farm

Podcast #6: Joseph Lofthouse

In this episode of the Cultivariable podcast, I talk with farmer and freelance plant breeder Joseph Lofthouse. Joseph is well known for his landrace plant breeding, a method that he has popularized and applies to an astounding 100 species of food plants. We talk about his breeding philosophy and how he has used it to improve crops such as squash, cantaloupe, potatoes, and tomatoes for his short season climate. Joseph collaborates widely on his projects and also sells seed. You can read more about Joseph and his work at the following links: Joseph’s Garden Mother Earth News Landrace Gardening Blog Homegrown Goodness Forum

-1 s2018 JUL 6
Comments
Podcast #6: Joseph Lofthouse

Podcast #5: Q&A

In this episode of the Cultivariable podcast, I answer listener questions: * 00:57 Which tuber crops are best for permaculture? * 05:14 Are there any tuber crops that fix nitrogen? * 08:35 Might arracacha be a dynamic accumulator? * 10:35 Can you explain the process that you use for collecting plants from the wild? * 14:35 Why should all gardeners also be plant breeders? * 16:58 How could GMOs make all plants sterile? * 21:11 Can you explain how GMOs lead to super weeds? * 23:37 Can you pronounce the scientific names of the Andean crops? * 25:46 What happened to your rhubarb information? * 27:20 Do you select for vertical or horizontal resistance in potatoes? * 32:01 Can you explain the relationship between guard cells and chromosomes? * 39:59 What kind of microscope do you recommend? * 43:16 Do you have tips on how to be a profitable freelance plant breeder? * 50:23 About naming unnamed breeding lines. * 52:18 What is your method for tagging and tracking plants? * 55:23 Details abo...

-1 s2018 JUN 29
Comments
Podcast #5: Q&A

Podcast #4: Q&A

In this episode of the Cultivariable podcast, I answer listener questions: * 00:52 – Why don’t you grow sweet potatoes and yams? * 05:52 – Can you explain what a tetraploid is? * 12:39 – How would you recommend that someone in high school become a plant breeder? * 19:05 – What plant breeding books do you recommend? * 21:51 – What breeding project are you most proud of? * 25:26 – Is there a breeding project that continuously eludes you? * 32:08 – What is your current favorite breeding project? * 37:34 – Is it really safe to eat mashua? * 43:47 – Why can’t you go to South America and bring back more varieties? * 48:45 – How do you decide when to release a new variety? * 55:06 – Why don’t you offer achira? * 58:17 – It seems like you only breed clones. Is that because it is easier? * 01:05:14 – How can I get my potatoes to fruit in Texas? * 01:09:08 – How do you get seeds from the USDA NPGS? If you would like to have your questions answered in a future episode, just se...

74 MIN2018 MAY 11
Comments
Podcast #4: Q&A

Podcast #3: Tom Wagner of Tater Mater Seeds

In this episode of the Cultivariable podcast, I talk with Tom Wagner of Tater Mater Seeds. Tom is a well known public domain breeder, based in Everett, WA, who has worked with tomatoes, potatoes, and corn for more than sixty years. We discuss potato and tomato breeding, the history of some of his varieties like the Green Zebra tomato and the Skagit Valley Gold potato, and about the future direction of his work. Many of the links that I am listing are not very active, but Tom is planning to do more online, including starting his own podcast, so bookmark these links and stay tuned. Tater Mater Seeds is not currently open for sales. Tom’s forum is open and he is hoping for more people to post there. There is a huge wealth of information there, so it is well worth signing up. Tater Mater Seeds Forum Tater Mater Seeds Tater Mater Blog

100 MIN2018 APR 18
Comments
Podcast #3: Tom Wagner of Tater Mater Seeds

Podcast #2: Curzio Caravati and the Kenosha Potato Project

In this episode of the Cultivariable podcast, I talk with Curzio Caravati of the Kenosha Potato Project and Kenosha Urban Farm Institute about collecting potatoes, growing potatoes in an urban farm environment, and growing potatoes from true potato seeds (TPS). Along the way, we discuss farmers markets, how potatoes can be classified by their agronomic and edible characteristics, working with the USDA Potato Introduction Station at Sturgeon Bay, how basketball hoops are like growing bags, the similarities between plant breeding and honeybee breeding, and why you should eat more dirt. Some of the potato varieties that are mentioned include White Peachblow, Raudar Islenskar, Bintje, and Blue Victor. Unfortunately, this episode was a particular challenge to edit. We had some audio quality problems with the recording and there were parts that I just couldn’t salvage, creating some odd jumps. Hopefully, I will get better at this as I gain more experience. Kenosha Potato Project Website ...

105 MIN2018 APR 10
Comments
Podcast #2: Curzio Caravati and the Kenosha Potato Project

Podcast #1: Nathan Kleinman and the Experimental Farm Network

In this first episode of the Cultivariable podcast, I talk with Nathan Kleinman of the Experimental Farm Network about participatory plant breeding, sustainable agriculture, and some favorite plants like sorghum, chinquapin chestnuts, and perennial kales. The Experimental Farm Network connects breeders with trial growers all over the country, making it possible to speed up variety development. Experimental Farm Network

67 MIN2018 APR 6
Comments
Podcast #1: Nathan Kleinman and the Experimental Farm Network
the END
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