Saturday, March 15, 2014

Seed Vaults

I was a little bit worried earlier today.  Perhaps frustrated would be a more accurate word.

I wanted to start my onion seeds.  I bought two types for my project:  Trailblazer and Newburg.

I keep most of my seeds in a metal trash container in the basement, under the steps.  That trash container is the official Eaton Rapids Joe seed vault.  The onion seeds were not there.

Then I looked in the drawer in the refrigerator that Mrs ERJ sublets to me.  No onion seeds there.

Then I looked in the downstairs freezer...and there they were.

Plasticity


Plasticity is the concept that organisms can adapt to environments without changing genetically.  Identical twins can be separated at birth, one to grow up in Bolivia the other in New Jersey.  The twin in Bolivia will have measurable greater lung capacity and hemoglobin density.

Plasticity is highest in our youth.  That is why aerobic exercise (or actual, physical work) is most beneficial to growing kids.  Their larger, healthier hearts and larger diameter arteries will serve them a lifetime.

One of my pet theories is that "multiplier" onions are genetically no different than regular onions.  Onions are typically considered biennials.  That is, they put on much growth the first year, store their excess production in the bulb over the winter. Then they put on a final sprint early the next year and produce seeds. 

But what happens if the organism's attempts to procreate are stymied?  Suppose that there is not enough light or if the flower/seed shoot is pinched out each time it pushes out.  Might the organism lose plasticity over time and lose the urgency...the need to breed?

I intend to find out.  Trailblazer is a modern hybrid selected for storage ability, bolting resistance (resistance to prematurely producing seeds) and disease resistance.  It also tends to produce multiple (mutiplier) centers.  Producing a new strain of virus free, disease resistant multiplier onions would be a fine legacy.

The key to contentment is to to have humble dreams.  I am a humble guy.  It comes easily to me.

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