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Landrace Gardening


I read a bunch of articles on this topic some time ago. Apparently, it involves not maintaining strict and inbred lines and cultivars, but rather maintaining a genetically diverse blend from a given species across generations (letting them mix freely). Over time, the plants should adapt well to your tastes and your growing conditions, while staying diverse and non-homogeneous. There's selection involved, but unlike line-breeding and inbreeding, you're not looking for a hyper-homogeneous population. Rather than strongly selecting in favor of specific traits, it looks more like a moderate selection pressure against overtly negative traits. Positive traits are selected for, but neutral ones aren't selected against just for being un-ideal. Poorly growing plants are eliminated, and poorly-flavored produce is not re-planted. Positive types are favored, but not isolated (the difference from line-breeding). So it's like selective breeding, but without isolating the result ('cause new genetic material could improve it further, and maintain its adaptability and health).

Here's the link to the collection of articles: http://www.motherearthnews.com/search?tags=%22landrace%20gardening%22

It sounds like a good way to grow strong, vigorous, tasty produce. Basically, mix it all, let genetics take over, then pick a variety from the best. The author seems to get great results with it.

Thanks for this interesting topic and the links. This has been a strategy to breed optimum crops for their localities for many farmers over generations and is really the way that our food crops have evolved to be so desirable and productive.
It may be a challenge for large producers who need reliable, predictable crops but is probably something that smaller concerns and hobbyists like many here should be encouraged to be aware of with an eye to crop improvements, New varieties and even new crops.
Successful "zone pushing" is no doubt contributing as is the interest in rare and even newly discovered/hybridized crops.

I think it's commercially viable, but like you said, for smaller farms. I'd like to see more of that, and I plan on doing the same when I get my own farm. Perhaps we'll get some good stuff to trade on the forum, some robust and tasty landraces.

Where I grow in Cape Coral FL there are a lot of farmers utilizing their once grass covered lawns to grow anything possible. It seems there is more acceptance, as they are not following Bonnie plant, miracle grow guidelines, but jus winging it, and using some passed on traditions from past generations and neighbor growers.
I think about the benefit of stuff like this, and I'm glad there was some notes made in an article like that.. Thanks a lot, great topic, and I will always share!


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