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master stewards:
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  • r ranson
  • Nicole Alderman
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stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • James Freyr
master gardeners:
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gardeners:
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  • Greg Martin
  • Leigh Tate

Photos of Joseph Lofthouse's Garden

 
steward
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Not many garden photos for a farmer to post in snow country during the winter. How about a short description of transformative changes in my farm and lifestyle?

A year ago, Dan Barber, got me to thinking about what is my life purpose.... Therefore, I started evaluating everything I was doing and I've been discarding those parts of my life that weren't in harmony with what I do best and value most.

A couple of months ago, I planted my second largest field into grass. My annual garden is now the smallest that it's been since the 2009 growing season, and I'm planning on planting about 1/3 of the remaining fields into grass in the spring.

I sold the bees and most of the equipment, then burned the left-over bits and pieces.

I stopped selling fresh produce, and quit my long-term farmer's market. (I'm only selling processed food now.) That freed up two days a week.

The rabbits had to go!

I'm not selling seeds this winter. I sent the seed to friends at The Experimental Farm Network. They will be distributing them.

These changes free up my time to do more traveling to teach at seed conferences, and to do more writing about plant breeding. I expect to spend more time managing The Beautifully Promiscuous and Tasty Tomato Project, and less time actually growing tomatoes.

I have become a World Tomato Society ambassador, and am writing a lot of fascinating articles for them.  

With the freed up time, I have been able to learn to play the guitar, which is bringing a lot of joy to me and my loved ones.

And also, this winter, I am taking yoga teacher training to become a certified yoga instructor. I never expected when Dan asked me about my life mission, that his question would take me off the farm and into other areas that I knew nothing about at the time.


joseph-shanti.jpg
[Thumbnail for joseph-shanti.jpg]
Joseph, yoga teacher training at Shanti Yoga Roots:
 
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Joseph, if your new endeavors are even half as successful as your gardening, seed development and landrace work, you will be at the top of your class.

I really enjoyed your gardening work and photos, and will miss them.

But I think it is awesome that you took time to pause, take stock and reinvent yourself.  That’s the real meaning of life ~ finding what you love, which, by the way, may change over time!  

A corny analogy, but a season for everything.
 
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Interesting travels, Joseph!  Namaste!
 
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Sounds like a nice plan Joseph. I'll ask you a question on the promiscuously pollinated tomato thread.
 
William Schlegel
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Joseph, with your new plan. Do you need help stewarding any of your creations or do you think enough people kind of have the idea and are running with it?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Passing my time in quarantine by doodling...
regret-lawn.jpg
grow a victory garden
Victory Gardens for all.
quarantine.jpg
bored with quarantine? Plant a garden.
What to do when you are bored with quarantine....
quarantine.png
coronavirus gardens
Grow a garden
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I started spring planting about a week ago.

planting-1st-2020.jpg
lofthouse planting
First planting day of 2020.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I'm so stir crazy today!
victory-garden-market-permies.jpg
coronavirus victory garden
Your victory garden counts more than ever!
 
William Schlegel
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:I started spring planting about a week ago.



Hi Joseph, what all do you plant this early?

All I have planted so far is parsnips and fava beans. It's nice and dry here so I rototilled the existing garden today and started on some expansion. Might finish the expansion tomorrow.

I do have more parsnips, onions, garlic, and Siberia kale that I planted late last fall.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Corona Victory Gardens
fbi-all-those-lawns-into-food.png
corona victory garden commission, joseph lofthouse
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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In order to do early spring planting, I prepare the beds in the fall, a few days before snowcover arrives.

Anything that survives the winter under the snow is a good candidate for early spring planting:

Spinach, cilantro, lettuce, turnip, bok choi, mustard spice, onions, garlic, parsnip, wheat, rhubarb

Any crop that thrives is cold weather but is not reliably winter hardy is great to plant now.

peas, lentils, favas, kale, poppies, barley, oats,

I typically wait till the apple trees flower to plant carrots, because while they may survive the winter, the super cold weather causes them to bolt without making edible roots.


 
William Schlegel
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
In order to do early spring planting, I prepare the beds in the fall, a few days before snowcover arrives.

Anything that survives the winter under the snow is a good candidate for early spring planting:

Spinach, cilantro, lettuce, turnip, bok choi, mustard spice, onions, garlic, parsnip, wheat, rhubarb

Any crop that thrives is cold weather but is not reliably winter hardy is great to plant now.

peas, lentils, favas, kale, poppies, barley, oats,

I typically wait till the apple trees flower to plant carrots, because while they may survive the winter, the super cold weather causes them to bolt without making edible roots.




My fenced garden meets that requirement as I've rototilled it now both fall and spring. I have to think on it but may decide to devote say one bed of it to things on this list. Probably just as seed increase. I should go through my seed stash and figure out what I have. Have at least nine of the things you listed. Have had all of them in past, many of thrm from your strains, but may have failed to get seed back from some.

Cilantro- may return as volunteer
Spinach- locally extinct (need more seed)
Lettuce (uncertain status)
Turnip (new seed from a trade) plus probable volunteers
Bok Choi (uncertain status) might not have
Mustard Spice (I was too casual with and think it went extinct)
Onions (fall planted them)
Garlic (fall planted some)
Parsnip (returning volunteers evident, new seed already casually planted both fall and spring)
Wheat (really should grow out some but have plenty of seed)
Rhubarb (saved some seed, not sure what I did with it)
Peas, volunteers survived the winter, have plenty of diverse seed
Lentils have some seed on hand
Garbanzos also have some seed
Favas seed is already planted
Siberian Kale is already growing
Have a fancy new packet of poppies to plant
Barley have seed
Oats, think I have seed.

Inventorying my seed stash would tell me more.

I also have california chia which I could plant now though may have some volunteers. Miners lettuce, red maids, and corn salad are all growing already.

Have to save room for tomatoes, corn, squash, beans, and such which are all planted after spring frosts.
Fenced-garden-is-ready-to-plant.jpg
Fenced garden is ready to plant
Fenced garden is ready to plant
The-big-tomato-garden-isn-t.jpg
The big tomato garden isn't
The big tomato garden isn't
 
William Schlegel
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Got some early spring things planted. I do seem to be out of cilantro, and garbanzos. Unless the cilantro comes back from volunteers. Planted some radish, arugula, turnip, peas, lofthouse lentils, made a wheat grex, some purple spring wheat, some California chia. Planted some random homegrown carrot seed even though it might bolt early. Found the rhubarb seed I saved and mixed it in with some other stuff.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I did my frost-emergency harvest today. Didn't take photos of the tomatoes.

Some of the beans were ready to pick, some weren't. Would have been a pain to pick and choose. Perhaps the seed will get frost damaged. Perhaps not.

I'm leaving on a trip tomorrow to visit collaborators in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. I'll check the beans when I get back.
IMG_20200907_175900.jpg
Acorn/Delicata Grex
Acorn/Delicata Grex
lofthouse-flour-corn.jpg
Landrace Crookneck
Landrace Crookneck
IMG_20200907_104438.jpg
Lofthouse Flour Corn
Lofthouse Flour Corn
lofthouse-high-carotene-sweet-corn.jpg
High carotene sweet corn. Mmm. Mmmm. Mmmm.
High carotene sweet corn. Mmm. Mmmm. Mmmm.
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Tentative Itinerary
Tentative Itinerary
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Place I'm scheduled to stay the first night!!!!
Place I'm scheduled to stay the first night!!!!
 
Phil Gardener
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Be safe, Joseph!  

No need for a hot time on the old town tonight :<o
 
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WOW That's so great, all food is fresh from your own farm. What a blessing. I should do the same too
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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A fierce wind storm came up the night before I left on my trip. At 3:30 AM I was awakened by a crashing sound. A tree crushed my greenhouse to smitherines. Power lines were downed all over town.   At 4:00 AM, I moved my truck out from under other trees. By morning, several trees had fallen where it was parked. We lost about 15 trees on a small city lot. Thousands of trees fell in the village.

Family and community chopped up the tree while I was gone, and hauled it away. We are leaving the crushed greenhouse until the insurance adjuster has a look.
IMG_20200908_064923.jpg
Crushed greenhouse
Crushed greenhouse
IMG_20200916_163102.jpg
Tree removed
Tree removed
 
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Sorry to hear that Joseph, stress before a trip is typical. I hope the insurance advisor will hand out enough money to rebuild an even better one. Good luck
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Some recent photos.
IMG_20200925_153029.jpg
Saving watermelon seeds. Tasted 60 melons in a melon tasting extravaganza.
Saving watermelon seeds. Tasted 60 melons in a melon tasting extravaganza.
IMG_20200925_130946.jpg
Harvested Glass Gem corn grown by a collaborator
Harvested Glass Gem corn grown by a collaborator
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A melon grex grown by a collaborator.
A melon grex grown by a collaborator.
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The best of the promiscuous tomatoes this year.
The best of the promiscuous tomatoes this year.
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Harvested Lofthouse Landrace popcorn grown by a collaborator.
Harvested Lofthouse Landrace popcorn grown by a collaborator.
IMG_20200919_171216.jpg
Dry bush beans.
Dry bush beans.
 
Phil Gardener
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Sorry to see the damage to your greenhouse, but glad to hear the truck fared better!

My those crops do look great!  Seems like one of those watermelons in particular was a hit over the others!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Dismantling the greenhouse to recycle the aluminum.
IMG_20200927_184710.jpg
razing greenhouse
razing greenhouse
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Some recent photos.
IMG_20201016_155306.jpg
Main field ready for winter. Might plant some things within a week.
Main field ready for winter. Might plant some things within a week.
IMG_20201014_151140.jpg
harvested beans
harvested beans
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enjoying the end of the summer bounty
enjoying the end of the summer bounty
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The chickens love high carotene corn
The chickens love high carotene corn
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The third generation nuts of a walnut breeding program
Winter is nigh
IMG_20201009_204716.jpg
Lofthouse Landrace flour corn
Lofthouse Landrace flour corn
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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The greenhouse is gone down to bare dirt.
IMG_20201008_100105.jpg
Greenhouse razed
Greenhouse razed
 
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There in the muskmelon picture a little right of center toward the bottom. The one with very pronounced lobes. I have some that look similar (may have originated from your seeds). They are longer season than I really like, they just lay there seemingly forever looking the same then all of a sudden, within a day or two turn orange. Once orange they have to be eaten right away or they spoil and are actually very good while still green.  The stems and even the fruits have an unpleasant fuzz but it wipes off easily with a cloth. The flesh is firm, almost like an apple and the flavor is beyond compare.  Does any of that match with that one in the picture?  
 
William Schlegel
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Reed,

I worked for a little while for a guy who was way into older heirlooms. He had us grow a french heirloom with deep ribbing and color change. Story was it was once a important market type. I can't remember the name. It got ripe for me, I saved but have since expended the little seed. I think I got one like it and like the picture in with Joseph's this year.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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These are the second generation of a new green-fleshed melon. Still very much a grex. Previously, I have only grown orange-fleshed melons, therefore none of these are like my landrace. Ribbing is uncommon in my orange-fleshed landrace, though some of the ancestors may have had the trait, but it doesn't stick around.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I love this tomato. I just mailed seed to Experimental Farm Network for distribution this winter.

Big Hill was the first open pollinated tomato that I developed on my farm. It originated as part of the Beautifully Promiscuous and Tasty Tomato Project. It combines earliness with fantastic flavor.
Big-Hill-tomato.jpg
Big Hill tomato
Big Hill tomato
 
Mark Reed
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I have some very similar to that from a mix of your seeds a few years ago. Looks like that one may have undergone a little more selection or refinement as mine have a bit of a green core but easily overlooked because of the flavor.

I have another one from your seeds, I call it Captain Crunch. Ping ball sized fruits, very pale yellow and sort of translucent. First I saw it I thought yuck, that thing looks like plastic but I tell you it doesn't taste like plastic, nor much like a tomato either, it tastes like some kind of exotic fruit. In fact I don't even consider it tomato. I put in the category I call summertime treat, along with watermelons and sweet corn.  

Now if you want a real live, tomato flavor, tomato to drop a slice on a fried egg sandwich or to fill up your canning  jars what you need is Utah Heart, also from that same original mix of your seeds.
UtahHeart.jpg
Utah Heart (Lofthouse) Juice and Sauce Tomato
Utah Heart (Lofthouse) Juice and Sauce Tomato
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I graduated from yoga teacher training today!

Sorted and cleaned the tepary beans a few days ago. I love that so many new phenotypes have arisen and choose to call my garden home.

tepary-2020.jpg
landrace tepary beans
Yoga-Teacher-Joseph-Lofthouse.png
Yoga Teacher Joseph Lofthouse
Yoga Teacher Joseph Lofthouse
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Mark Reed: Thanks for the grow report. I've been loving the tropical fruity flavors that are showing up in my tomato breeding projects.
 
Mark Reed
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Joseph, I love growing your seeds. Some don't do all that well cause our climates are so different but hidden in them is some real treasure! The tomatoes in particular helped inspire my "survivor garden" technique on initial selection. That's where I just plant stuff in the back garden and leave it to fend for itself with out any care from me.

The first year I did that wasn't on purpose. I had planted your "early all kinds" tomatoes in the new back garden and things happened in life that caused me to leave that garden abandoned. Weeds were waist high and I just figured all was lost.  It was late fall before I got around to cleaning it up and found something red. It was Utah Heart. I'd never seen a large fruited tomato that could hold big fruits up off the ground without stakes but it did and they were great. It has stayed true over the years but do need staked now cause with care in the primary garden they get really big.

Captain Crunch wasn't there but a couple of smaller fruited yellowish plants, not really notable for flavor were and I just tossed those vines in pile against the fence. The next year a bunch of volunteers came up and that's when I found Captain Crunch. It has stayed basically stable but still varies a little mostly in size of the fruits and number of fruits in a cluster.  I reckon I could pay attention and save just one kind or another but as long as they have that flavor I just mix them up.

I know you denied it at the time but I still suspect your seeds of being origin of the melon(s) I call Green Meany. I've learned since that they actually turn gold if you leave them long enough but texture and flavor is really better if picked green. I've raved about this melon before but I can't imagine a better musk melon. I call it Meany cause of the nasty fuzz that covers the whole plant, mostly on the stems but it easily wipes off of the fruits. I don't try to keep it (or them) stable, just when ever one shows up I make sure it's seeds are included as a high percent of my mix. They are different size and shape but most all my melons are getting green and mean now.


Green-Meany.jpg
Mean Green Melon
Mean Green Melon
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I did swale maintenance today. Mowed. Tilled. Raked the loose soil onto the berm. The swale was originally surveyed with an a-frame level.





earth-berm-swale.jpg
earth berm swale
bund-swale.jpg
[Thumbnail for bund-swale.jpg]
 
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Mark Reed wrote:

Now if you want a real live, tomato flavor, tomato to drop a slice on a fried egg sandwich or to fill up your canning  jars what you need is Utah Heart, also from that same original mix of your seeds.



I would be interested in growing Utah Heart. Do you plan on selling seeds?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I'm saving squash seeds. As is my custom, I taste every fruit before saving seeds from it. That way, the population becomes more attuned to my taste buds with each generation. Mmm. Mmm. Mmm.

These are descended from an interspecies hybrid. Combining the great taste of maxima with the bug resistance of moschata.
testing-squash.jpg
interspecies squash
Cutting the squash open. Nice color on some of them.
taste-testing-squash.jpg
taste testing squash
Frying them up.
baked-squash.jpg
Baking the best of the best. Yum.
Baking the best of the best. Yum.
moschamax.jpg
moschamax moschata crossed to maxima
combining the orange skin and great flavor of maxima with the bug resistance of moschata.
moschata-x-maxima.jpg
interspecies squash hybrid: moschata x maxima
Saved three as extra special for planting in higher numbers next year.
 
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Joseph, have they demonstrated any ability to cross with each other or do they still require pollination from one of the parent species?  Very excited to watch how this evolves.  Thank you.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Greg: I didn't pay specific attention to whether or not these plants had normal male flowers. In this population, in the F2 and beyond, the male-sterility trait undergoes normal Mendelian segregation. Seed set is abundant, indicating that the plants are happy about the new genetics.

 
Phil Gardener
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Location: Near Philadelphia, PA
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Those look great, @joseph !
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