Potential Domesticates: Three Australian Natives

A quick reminder- I am moving my blogging exclusively to my substack starting in June, so head over there to sign up if you want to continue getting notifications. Expect weekly posts for the foreseeable future. I am just one person, with one set of hands and eyes and limited hours in the day, andContinue reading “Potential Domesticates: Three Australian Natives”

The Genie in the Bottleneck

Although the scale of the contraction that lies ahead for the human race is unprecedented, our ancestors have passed through many critical periods where the effective population size decreased dramatically.  On many previous occasions the total population size shrank, while in others a small group with some competitive innovation replaced the previous population. Either wayContinue reading “The Genie in the Bottleneck”

Book Review- “Energy and Civilisation: A History.” by Vaclav Smil

Note- After May I will discontinue blogging here on WordPress and shift my writing to substack. You can select the free option to subscribe or throw me a few dollars to keep my experimental farm going. Expect a revived online seed and plant shop in the future. This book was written in 2017 as anContinue reading “Book Review- “Energy and Civilisation: A History.” by Vaclav Smil”

Plant Profile- Sword Beans (The Beanogenesis Chronicles)

Staple legumes appear in the majority of agricultural systems. They produce only modest amounts of carbohydrate (a role dominated by grains or tubers that give higher total calorie yields). Their most valuable role is as a form of storable protein (to complement variable flows of animal protein). Protein from legume seeds is usually inferior toContinue reading “Plant Profile- Sword Beans (The Beanogenesis Chronicles)”

Mining the Midden

Lately I’ve been contemplating the core of the ecological niche for human cultivated crops. Let’s explore one of the key factors that started before the official origins of agriculture. In the majority of terrestrial habitats plant growth is limited by access to nitrogen or phosphorus. Only in arid zones does water become the limiting factor.Continue reading “Mining the Midden”

Plant Breeding Logistics

A helpful reader requested a post about the strategies and techniques I have found useful when undertaking plant breeding projects. I learnt some useful habits from my time in research laboratories which can increase your chances of getting satisfying results from your hard work. The first step is to decide which species are worth focusingContinue reading “Plant Breeding Logistics”

The Staple Crop to Vegetable Pipeline

Few people realise that many of our vegetable species have origins as staple crops. For example snow-peas are merely specialised lineage of field peas, which were cultivated for millennia as a staple dry legume (for dishes such as peas porridge mentioned in the old nursery rhyme). The creation of snap beans from kidney beans andContinue reading “The Staple Crop to Vegetable Pipeline”

A Summertime Update in Four Parts

Thank you for being patient over summer while finished my series of science fiction novellas while I took a break from regular posting here. I am pleased to say that “Our Vitreous Womb”, a story set in a distant future society built purely off biotechnology, is on track for eBook release in April 2023. IfContinue reading “A Summertime Update in Four Parts”

Brisk Fiction- Green Cancer

A piece of microfiction this week (which is anything under 1000 words. This one is under 600). It explores a likely consequence of increasing carbon dioxide levels which I rarely see discussed. In related news, the final rewrites and editing are proceeding smoothly with my novella series (Our Vitreous Womb) which imagines a distant postContinue reading “Brisk Fiction- Green Cancer”