My Landrace Projects in France

[From Thinkific Community]

I’ve been intrigued by landraces before i knew the word. My first gardening expériences led to dissapointments. My friends told me i had to enhance the soil. I wondered why they don’t sell seeds that do well on shitty soils.

Fast forward twelve years. I try landracing. Try i say, because i have limited time, but happily community is of equal importance and here i fiund it.
Forever Grateful to Joseph Lofthouse for writing his extraordinairy book. Which i recommend everywhere. But nobody seems to have the vaguest idea what on earth i am speaking of. Sad sad.

But anyway. Here is one of my projects.
I call thèm that because Moschata and stuff confuse me. I have gathered they rarely cross. And if son. It’s a lucky strike. I keep the climbing zones, pepitos i believe, out of the way(ish). The terrain i work on is twentyfive by eighty mètres. Lets say seventy five by twohundred fourty feet.
I try to get selfsustainable(ish) and it’s not going bad. Especially since i’ve only had crazy record drought and heat and cold and wet years since the big project started in coopération with my neighboring dairy farmer friend Jean-Luc.

I grow my pumpkins in composted manure. My previous expérience without compost led to small thin fleshed not very sweet pumpkins with a great amount of very big and healthy looking seeds.

I have started anew after a seed swap two years ago, people gave me seeds which all were the best ever they all said. I mixed this with seeds i got from the local bio store and friends et voilà.

I’ve selected the best ones suitable for me.
The very best where a type small ,yellowish/ orange zoned with a characteristic white stripe on the side.
They had bas seeds the guy at the seed swap promised me but the best taste.
It was all true. Non i planted popped up to my big dissapointment.
But strangely enough they have fathered most of the succesful pumpkins i have managed to grow in this extremely hot and dry summer without almost any rain for a whole of three month period in which i hardly watered.
They look the same only more yellowish and a lot bigger.
I’ve not opened one up so far, so i don’t know about thickness juiciness and colour of flesh, taste or sweetness. Nor if they have viable seeds, but it can’t possibly be any worse than their father flower’s sister pumpkins. If i say that right if you even get what i mean.

They look like this.

Others look like this.



Butternut landrace second generation

Butternuts never worked for me. Until last year.
People had given me seeds at a local seed swap.
And i had seeds from people who bought thèm but never came around to planting them.
So three kinds came up, i mixed them.Two kinds gave fruits. One was bigger and better tasting.
These last forever!
The yellow small one is the last one left of last years.
I hope people van send me seeds to enter more genetics into this butternut, i will sens thèse if people are interested.
They’re a bit bigger and plumper than last years.


Ray S
That’s great, and very encouragjng. I’ve not had much success with moschata pumpkins but I’m confident that a landrace approach will change that.

Thomas P
Hi Hugo, these look good :slight_smile: . We will share genetics! Actually I haven’t had any problems with moschata those two last years (maybe it’s due to the fact that it is hotter in here than in your place: I have from 5 to 7 months without freezing. Or it’s due to the fact I made transplants, transplanted around the 20th of may) : this year about 20 varietes jumbled up and I had at least 1 fruit per variety. I will start selecting for taste only from next year.
Moschata have a wider range of expression than I thought : from very small to huge (0,3 to 8kilogrammes this year!). I look forward to taste them all :slight_smile:

you will see the huge one on the left side here, it is white

hugo m
Looking super! What a variety. Did they come of the plant this color? Or was that after a while?
I have pumpkins with wilder variety and picked the best tasting one, and made sure about half of the next generation are seeds of those. My reasoning was that most will have that taste and thickness, and the other genetics will mix in too, but to lesser extend.
Is your reasoning more like they have to mix for all sorts of environ mental traits and they all taste more or less great?

julie d
I like that idea
@hugo morvan
. It can help direct the grex/landrace in the right direction, especially useful if you don’t have room for 100s of plants.

Thomas P
yes, I have place for 100 plants for each of my main grexes, for example 102 moschata this year, etc… so I tend to favor genetic diversity first, with no actual test (apart from verifying it is edible), and from next year select for taste.
within a few years I want to go to direct seeding in the cover crops so I tend to think that big genetic diversity is best to start: I’ll ask these plants to do things they are not used to: germinate, settle under and then go through the thick layer of vegetable.
It is kind of a challenge!
So I will select first for vegetation (I want them to “jump”!), then for taste and, as I can cultivate a lot of them (during the summer I can use from 8 to 10 pieces of lans of 100square meter each) , I don’t want to be to harsh selecting for taste first

hugo m
Hmmm, i like your thinking Thomas. I guess i’ll have to join your ways. It makes a lot of sense! Tomorrow i am off. Let’s see if i van dedicate a piece of land to trying your methods.

julie d
They look great! I’ve been thinking about my moschata mix for next year. I have a mix of butternuts (trying to get some locally grown seeds), black futsu and musquée de Provence seeds to start with. I think most of them will fail to thrive as they require a longer season… but I have been growing tromboncino courgette (aka trombetta d’Albenga/trompette de Nice/rampicante) and it’s very prolific and can grow to maturity very early. Plus it’s my own seeds so locally adapted bonus. The strain I have isn’t overly tasty as a winter squash but I’m hoping all of that could change with some good genetics added in the mix!

hugo m
Most of the seeds that made viable seeds of plants that i found difficult to really get going i got locally.
People always crave thèse exotics from far away. Which i totally get, but it might bcheaper just to start locally. Get something going and then start adding exotic genes.
Because the exotics might not thrive as much as to mother seeds, but if they father them that will do the job.
I’ve given a lady t’en différent kind of winterseeds today.
I hope she will plant them. And if she just doesn’t weed as well as i do, she will select for weed pression résistant seeds for me if nothing else.
I love that about sharing natures abondance. Even giving you always get back. Seeds have really taught me that lesson.

Randy S
Love the shapes! Squash have been difficult in our new location. This year was the first year of my moschata landrace. Three squash survived. Lofthouse, Bulam, and Canada Crookneck.