My projects: 1st organizational attempt

Hello and welcome to the shifting sands.

Please bear with me as I try to organize myself using this thread as a tool. Most activity will be me presenting whatever I might have in mind or what I am working on so I can reference it in another time, so if I catch anyones’ interest thats great. Having said that remember it if something seems confusing along the way.

I usually do not keep notes and eventually everything just ends up scrambled inside my head. I have never used a blog or a forum for keeping any kind of growlog so I may try different approaches to the format.

Things may change abruptly and without notice.

I’ll start with corn.

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Corn (Zea mays)

I dont know if I chose corn or if corn chose me, all I know is that corn needs to grow. Having dug deep into the cornhole I am commited by now. The maya still have ceremonial traditions centered around corn, they are in reality “la gente del maiz” and in the few creation stories I have read or heard there is a recurrent theme of how man and corn are one and inseparable. I think this relates to the fact that corn as we know it cannot grow without man and mesoamerican man grew out of the uncertainty of being hunter gatherers thanks to corn. Corn gave birth to mesoamerican civilization. Pablo Neruda called this island the “maize crown of the americas” (En la corona de maiz de america…) So yea. Corn.

I had a few attempt at sweet corn last year. The approach I was following was a Lofthouse’s style landrace attempt. One of them consisted of a mix of F1 hybrid seeds from Harris Seeds. They were to grow and freely cross pollinate. This failed because I tried growing them in an unfertilized plot of land that had been leveled with a digger and the plants grew severely stunted and were unable to produce seed.

The second attempt was to buy many different sweet corns from the supermarket and grow them. This one was actually succesful. I had a varied population of F2s from different supermarkets. It is possible that the sweet corns being sold at the supermarket were locally grown, though not certain. They were left in the plant to mature and gather for seeds. Unfortunately they were completely devastated by rats one night, they didnt leave a single viable seed.

So that was then.


2022 Corn #1 : Ornamental Indian Corn (Milpa style)

Indian Corn from ebay.


s-l1600 (1)
Seller’s pictures

Companion plantings : Calabaza squash “cascara amarillenta, dulce” (C. Moschata), frijol “Mercado de San Sebastian” (V. unguiculata)f2@, unknown tomatoes but possibly decendants of a super productive excellent quality F2 from mixed store bought cherry tomatoes. They were not planted there, they just sprouted everywhere so, ok. Tomatoes are our ‘Quelites’, which I think translates roughly to weedy plant.

I have no idea whats the plan with this corn. Its the first one I planted, I need to check the date. They are looking great,

(24 mar)

1 seems to have a mutation for some sort of double leaf

(24 mar)

2022 Corn #2 : SE Sweet Corn (Milpa style)


Companion planting: Unknown cucurbits, kentucky pole beans.

It took me a while to get my head around the sweet corn mutations, I’m not sure I undestand it fully still, but I believe I want a SE sweet corn. Both of those hybrids were planted in a thick bed of aged manure. They are looking good.

Work in progress
(24 mar)

2022 Corn : Roter Tessirnermais Polenta/Flint? Corn (Milpa Style)




Companion planting: Calabaza squash “chiquita y bajita” C. moshcata, frijol “Mercado de San Sebastian” (V. unguiculata) f2@


2022 Corn #4 : Cave Corn (flint) “Ducan Idaho Corn” (intensive monocrop°)


I like the name Duncan Idaho Corn for this guy. CAVE CORN, may be, maybe not, who knows? I dont. This is pure autism, RELIC FROM THE PAST, just imagine the possibilities jaja! Its a pretty small grain, might pop. Seller did not answer questions.

°I planted 36 seedling :joy:, but they are pretty close with no intercropping.

*How es marzo 24, se transplantaron hace 2 dias. Germinaron rapido, 2-3 dias. Estos se pueden monitorear bien.

We went to the ‘Mercado de San Sebastian’ today, we had not been there in a while and we came back with a few goodies. Soon we will enough Yuca (Manihot esculenta) germoplasm to play around.


Top is ‘de casa de Pepin’ → ‘Lares 2’ , next one we got today at San Sebastian ‘MSS2’ the tubers had pink skin, the next bundle was also bought from a different vendor at San Sebastian ‘MSS1’, las one is from our terrain ‘Trinacea’ → ‘Lares 1’ (I believe to have seen 2 different phenotypes growing, one similar looking to ‘Lares 2’ with red petioles. May have been the same. Only green petioles in population now so far)

We found one particular vendor that had a few goodies, all seem to come from his recurrent seleccion from who knows where. I need to try and get his name next time cause all these are probably keepers and we need to give them a reference.


Everything is really nice looking. The cowpeas are a different cowpea from the one we got there last time as the first ones (‘Mercado de San Sebastian 1’→ MSS1 now, currently growing with the corn) have a small light brown spot in the eye and these ones (‘Mercado de San Sebastian 2’ → MSS2 until we get the dons’ name) are completely white. And what about those amazing beans? They are quite a find.

The corn was an interesting find too, he says he had been growing it for years. Its a dent corn with a few scattered ears being more flinty. The color ranged from light yellow to bright orange. The both the size, rows and forms of the ears varied from plumper to thinner and some ears had irregular scattered grains. Sure why not?

The real gravy was the sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas), while all of the other vendors had roughly the same kinds (some of which we bought), most likely because they buy them all for the same company, this vendor had a unique sweet potato. In fact all of his products were distinct from the other sellers. This sweet potato he said was called ‘Lolita’, he said is was scarce now (more common in the past?). The skin was a deep burgundy? color, almost purple looking but I think its a different color from purple sweet potatos from the Pacific and the flesh inside was white, “speckled” with color said the vendor.


This is the other sweet potato we got there(and a chayote), we did not ask the name but all the vegetable sellers had it all clean and nice so I suppose I will able to find the cultivars name as it seems to be of commercial production.


I also received this one in the mail today. This one can be called ‘Floridamaican’

I will be creating individual tabs for both Yuca and Batata(sweet potato) as their projects develop.

The real reason we went to San Sebastian was to visit the supermarket where they sometimes sell the arracacha or apio. They only had leftover and I think perhaps that may work in my favor.


At least one of those arracacha crowns looks like it should sprout.


On domestication, tecnology, agricultural practices and selection

I try to submerge myself in whatever information is available on a given topic when I am interested in. So I have spent a number of hours reading and watching videos about maize. In one of those someone mentioned something along this lines: “Maize is a crop that evolved withing cultures that did not have iron tools or beasts of burden”. I am sorry I dont remember the specific video nor the specific quote and surely it was more elaborate and eloquent than that.

It is easy to overlook this, it is not something that we may need to think about often. At least not in our modern lives, yet it is important to us because it determines what makes it to the shelf. We relate to our food as it is proper for our time and our tecnology. Certainly a man living 2000 years ago related to his food as was proper for the tools of his time. Therefore a man living in the tropics, without metal tools, without the massive aid that a cow or a goat provides clearing the land, without the abundant fertilizer from those same animals, has to select for very different qualities than the man that does have those things, us included.

I sent some Calabaza squash (C. moschata) seeds to a brother of mine in the states, he was barely able to grow it. I am growing zucchinis (C. Pepo) from seed I got from ebay of Russian and Belarussian origin (good timing :joy:) and another of unknown origin. They are growing close to my Calabazas. Obviously the zucchinis have been bred to be short and compact and early flowering, a product of modern selection, while the moschatas, which are a natural landrace here, are 10 feet long and not a single flower in sight. By modern agricultural standarts and practices this is without doubt an unruly plant, but for a man 2,000 years ago this was most likely a trait selected for, either intentionally or unitentionally. Even modern men that do not use machinery or herbicides may benefit from it from time to time. It suppresses weeds, it forms long vines that are able to scavenge fertility and moisture in the surrounding areas, etc.

Seed bearing plants are easier to steer in this or that direction. Plants that are propagated vegetatively give rise to cultural practices as we must adapt to the plant rather than adapt the plant to ourselves, to a certain degree. I wonder at the marvels of domestication. Certainly when youre stuck in a place you have to make do with whats available and its hard for me to put myself in the position of a person I know nothing of, except the stories I have heard. Lets take achira as an example. I have seen this plant a million times, I even had a notion of its edibility, but I have neved had a need to go dig out an achira root in order to eat. Therefore my relation to it has been marginal, now I am relating to it, but from the perspective of a man that knows about Mendel and has a refrigerator and an iron stove.

This is the second year we are farming, we are neophytes at this, and last year as I cleared the areas for growing I skipped over certain weeds for whatever reasons. This year the proportion of this plant to that plant is different than last year. Through a process of passive selection I am changing my surroundings. I am a modern man, I own a car and a cell phone, my life does not depend on my corn or manioc crop, I spend a fraction of the time looking and weeding my garden as a “primitive” man would have spent. I dont need to have all the weeds in my garden designed or combined because I own a machete, a few in fact. Do you see where I’m going?

Domestication is survival. We are simbiots, its a two way relationship. It must never stop. The moment we forget we start to devalue. Its a paradox, now that we can and we know how to we dont need to.


Are we developing seeds?


Will we self?





I dont remember precisely which is which but I believe the one with Belarussian origin is the one closer to the camara.

Found this video interesting. I believe the language spoken is Guarani, not sure though. In the translation one of the farmers is telling the other that his grandfather used to say that when you grow potatoes and mashua together the plants make a bet to see who grows faster and produces more, to which the other farmer replies that since he plants mashua alone sometimes the deers destroy his crops.

I want to start a yam collection, Discorea spp. Another plant I am on the lookout for is Maranta arundinacea. Lets see how many yams I can get, I believe they all are separate species.

In another video according to “the grandathers” maize seed should be planted 4 days before a full moon and yuca should be planted in first quarter moon.



There are both long fruit and scalloped fruits in the russian zucchinis. No wonder they were the cheapest seeds in ebay ja! The double female flower trait could be usefull.

It is a common practice to grow mashua and potatoes together to deter pests. As a member of the Brassica family, mashua has many of the mustard compounds that deter feeding. Deer will happily eat mashua down to the ground though and I haven’t noticed that growing them with potatoes has any effect on that. Of course, the deer here will also eat potatoes. Maybe the deer there are choosier.

Ive been pretty busy planting and have a lot to catch up on the writting. Its ok, I have until the end of April to put seeds and plants on the ground, then I can take a brief break, surely I’ll catch on then. I have a lot of yuca (Manihot esculenta) that is getting ready to go to the ground along with a bunch of field corn (Zea mayz). I am going to try to plant them in a ‘conuco’ style, a typical planting setup in the caribbean and still in practice in some parts. It consists of a very diverse planting. I am integrating the achiras (Canna indica) with them. I think they should be ready to harvest around the same time as the yuca, from christmas all the way to summer.

A friend has another population of achiras that I am getting some seeds from. The flowers have slight differences. His grandfather was telling him that they used to eat then regularly, “just like a potato”. They are going to build a structure over the achiras so we’ll keep the sapline alive here.


These are my friends. Tomorrow I’ll take a picture of the one here to see the difference. I think germinating the seeds is the way to go for now. I think I can produce a lot more material, even for planting, from true seed rather than rhizome. Lets see how the actual rhizomes turn out and how diverse they are.

Corn is doing great. Definetly the ‘milpa’ setup is very productive. I am going to try different combinations now, not only with corn. As an example, the volunteer tomatoes are growing beautifully along with the corn and the pumpking but the cowpeas, although ok, has a habit more trailing like the squash than climbing like a bean, its just a matter of fine tuning now. I wonder if growing same sapline of one plant and another will improve upon the performance of the combination.

Corn #1 Indian Corn (apr2)

Corn #2 SE Sweet Corn (apr5)

I planted 2 seeds of the beans I got at San Sebastian, they have already sprouted.

Corn #3 Swiss Polenta Flint Corn (apr5)

I scattered some daikon radish and some bell pepper seeds here these days.

Corn #4 Cave Corn (apr5)

This one is the weakest of the bunch, they also had the poorest germination, I even suspect that some didnt have the strenght to push through the dirt, even though I sprouted and transplanted. Its ok as long as I get some seed.

This generation is mainly for seed production, only culls may be eaten or fed. The Indian Corn is starting to tassle, I may resort to hand pollination with paper bags if they all start to silk and tassle at the same time.


Before I discovered this site I had an itch. I had developed an addiction. It all started with one video, then the curiosity, and then there she came, the potato lady from Europe. Video after video of hardcore potato porn. Nothing more intriguing than a potato reveal.

Started searching for someone selling TPS online, ordered some just to have my heart broken by cancelled orders. I then tried growing potatoes to get my own seeds but I have only gotten potatoes so far. Ohh! the irony. Eventually I did manage to buy some seeds online, these


That grew out to be these.


And this is the great potato cabin.



They have been under a massive spider mite attack that seems to cause havoc among the american nightshades(Solanum americanum) that grow in diffucult spots, it also attacks tomatoes, I have not seen it in the wild eggplants (Solanum torvun) (those two are in my bucket list to graft upon them). I have a chinese cinnamon tree (Cinnamomun cassia) and what is supposed to be cardamom (Elettaria cardamomun) so I am trying a homemade repellent with alcohol, oil and some of the aromatics that I have. I was told today to grow what I guess are marygolds. Insect control garden coming soon, I need a Neem tree.

Anyways, back to TPS, were waiting for the grown ups Santa Claus aka the mailmain, to bring us some goodies. Any day now…

I am getting a flower from what I am guessing are diploid potatoes (the red fingerlings in the Green Giant blue, red and yellow potato mix). The other plants that are flowering are all clones of itself so I am not terribly hopefull but lets see.

Potatoes are very picky here. The usually start strong and then get a million different ailments. They melt in the heavy rains outside. Its true that they are all supermarket potatoes. The leftovers from the leftovers that get shipped here and on top of that they are pure bargain potatoes, usually because they are sprouting in the bags from being shipped from Canada or Idaho. I sometimes go driving around to unknown places to buy potatoes in random supermarkets. Again, before cultivariable this was my safest bet to get some seeds without breaking the bank. They are all going to have to be sacrificed when we start sprouting the tps, any day now :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:. They have all been grown in bags, I think I can erradicate any virus that may be floating around and have a clean population.

Ok so the flower opened and it does not shed pollen so yeah, not a diploid I guess.

A new attempt at growing arracachas from supermarket corms. These ones were in a much better shape and I am starting to get scientific with them. They were washed with water and soap, scrubbed, sprayed with bleach solution, soaked again in soapy water with a copper solution and left to dry without rinsing.

I buried a few around in different spots, an anthill, a normal hill, an aged manure pile, etc. These ones are in perlite with some rainwater and a night light. I plan on keeping them mostly airtight during the day to prevent gnats that seem to love the smell of them. In order to have air circulation I will be uncovering them at night and setting up the light. Lets hope they grow a bud, they were imported from the Dominican Republic.

We’re going to have unintentioned hybrids of the cucurbits. Three times the C. moschata have produced female flowers and no male flowers. These flowers have all been polinized with assorted russian, belarusian and a random green zucchini.

I found at least one reference to the cross actually producing viable seeds.

Achiras and Manioc are on the ground. I still have another sapline of Manioc that needs to be planted, one of mines.

There are also jicamas (?/?) planted between the yuca (manioc) plants, while the achiras are between the rows, there is also a row of sweet multi color corn ( only 13 seed) and another row of triticale.


Also we found 3 carrot plants (So far) that survived from 2 packets of seeds that I scattered around. Im hopefull I’ll get some seeds. I scattered 2 packets more of rainbow blend carrots in another part.