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Developing alder as a grain crop

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  • michael_graham_bell
    Seeking varieties of Alder which could be used to breed Alder as a grain crop. I have embarked on a project to develop Alder (Alnus) as a grain crop. If you
    Message 1 of 16 , Jun 15, 2009
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      Seeking varieties of Alder which could be used to breed Alder as a grain crop.

      I have embarked on a project to develop Alder (Alnus) as a grain crop. If you look at an Alder tree and imagine that each cone was replaced by an ear of wheat of the same size, you can see it would be a good crop. Alders fix nitrogen, they do not need to be resown every year, they do not cast a heavy shade, grass grows beneath them, and animals could be pastured on the land. My original aim was to make use of the uplands of Britain, but I see now that it could also be grown on lower land and elsewhere in the world.

      I have provisionally chosen Alnus incana because it grows higher and further north than Alnus glutinosa, and it is less dependent on water than A. glutinosa. But the two species hybridise and I may change my choice.

      I foresee that the trees will be grown in rows to form a hedge. The cones will be pulled off using a mechanical comb and threshed in something like a combine harvester. I already have a variety which allows the cones to be pulled off easily.

      Some alder trees carry huge numbers of catkins and very few cones, that is the opposite of what I want. I want trees which carry large numbers of cones, I have found one such not far from where I live, but I would like to find others.

      Wild wheat was no use when the jerk of cutting the stem shook out the seeds; it became a useful crop when selection stopped that happening. The problem with alder is the opposite; the cones have a rubbery texture, they are hard to break open to release the seeds, I want cones which are strong enough not to break open when they are pulled off the tree, but fragile enough to break open in the harvester. Seeds are usually 3 - 4mm across and very thin. I want seeds which are bigger or plumper.

      If all the seeds in a come are bigger, then the cone should be visibly bigger, if just one seed is bigger it might be shown up as a change in the overlapping pattern of the scales of the cone. I would be interested in any variation in the cones, such variation might be visible before the cone is ripe.

      I am not asking you to make the search for alder variations the main thing you do, I am just asking you to be aware of this programme, and to keep an eye open for variations which might be of interest to me. I would be very grateful for living material.

      Cuttings keep together the gene combination which may have produced the feature of interest. Seeds can be used for breeding. If the place can be described, I can go and get it myself. GPS coordinates would be useful.

      There are about 30 species of alder in the world, and you may see one or two in and around current or former gentlemens' gardens, but the only ones you are really like to see in Britain are:-

      Alnus glutinosa, alder. Bark dark purple-blue or brown, leaf tips blunt or notched, 4 - 7 pairs of veins. Native, widespread on riversides and in other wet places. Grows on the uplands and hybridises with A. incana and therefore of interest to me.

      Alnus incana, Grey alder. Grey bark, leaves with pointed tips 10 - 15 pairs of veins on the leaves. Originally from central Europe, but introduced to this country in the 18th century and in places run wild. Widely planted on reclaimed land, not limited to wet places. Grows on the uplands, hybridises with A. glutinosa, and therefore of interest to me.

      Alnus cordata, Italian alder. Dark-green heart-shaped leaves and cones stay pointing upward when ripe. Often planted on roadsides, parks and similar "municipal" places. Not hardy on the uplands and therefore of no interest to me.

      The plan is to copy the "Open Source" ideas of Linux and similar computer systems. All those who contribute material will be offered the results of my work.

      Michael Bell
      10 Cambridge Avenue, Forest Hall, Newcastle -upon - Tyne, NE12 8AR, United Kingdom
      michael@... +44 (0) 191 266 6435
    • Liz Turner
      hi there, I d be very interested in hearing about the progress of this project. I run Trees for Health in Devon & we re interested in food from trees, mostly
      Message 2 of 16 , Jun 15, 2009
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        hi there, I'd be very interested in hearing about the progress of this project. I run Trees for Health in Devon & we're interested in food from trees, mostly focusing on native species but not exclusively. As Alnus glutinosa has very small seeds I've never thought about this or come accross anyone doing it. Does Alnus incana have larger seeds? I'll keep an eye out for any but mostly see glutinosa growing around here. Best wishes, Liz
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: michael_graham_bell
        To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Monday, June 15, 2009 9:13 AM
        Subject: [pfaf] Developing alder as a grain crop





        Seeking varieties of Alder which could be used to breed Alder as a grain crop.

        I have embarked on a project to develop Alder (Alnus) as a grain crop. If you look at an Alder tree and imagine that each cone was replaced by an ear of wheat of the same size, you can see it would be a good crop. Alders fix nitrogen, they do not need to be resown every year, they do not cast a heavy shade, grass grows beneath them, and animals could be pastured on the land. My original aim was to make use of the uplands of Britain, but I see now that it could also be grown on lower land and elsewhere in the world.

        I have provisionally chosen Alnus incana because it grows higher and further north than Alnus glutinosa, and it is less dependent on water than A. glutinosa. But the two species hybridise and I may change my choice.

        I foresee that the trees will be grown in rows to form a hedge. The cones will be pulled off using a mechanical comb and threshed in something like a combine harvester. I already have a variety which allows the cones to be pulled off easily.

        Some alder trees carry huge numbers of catkins and very few cones, that is the opposite of what I want. I want trees which carry large numbers of cones, I have found one such not far from where I live, but I would like to find others.

        Wild wheat was no use when the jerk of cutting the stem shook out the seeds; it became a useful crop when selection stopped that happening. The problem with alder is the opposite; the cones have a rubbery texture, they are hard to break open to release the seeds, I want cones which are strong enough not to break open when they are pulled off the tree, but fragile enough to break open in the harvester. Seeds are usually 3 - 4mm across and very thin. I want seeds which are bigger or plumper.

        If all the seeds in a come are bigger, then the cone should be visibly bigger, if just one seed is bigger it might be shown up as a change in the overlapping pattern of the scales of the cone. I would be interested in any variation in the cones, such variation might be visible before the cone is ripe.

        I am not asking you to make the search for alder variations the main thing you do, I am just asking you to be aware of this programme, and to keep an eye open for variations which might be of interest to me. I would be very grateful for living material.

        Cuttings keep together the gene combination which may have produced the feature of interest. Seeds can be used for breeding. If the place can be described, I can go and get it myself. GPS coordinates would be useful.

        There are about 30 species of alder in the world, and you may see one or two in and around current or former gentlemens' gardens, but the only ones you are really like to see in Britain are:-

        Alnus glutinosa, alder. Bark dark purple-blue or brown, leaf tips blunt or notched, 4 - 7 pairs of veins. Native, widespread on riversides and in other wet places. Grows on the uplands and hybridises with A. incana and therefore of interest to me.

        Alnus incana, Grey alder. Grey bark, leaves with pointed tips 10 - 15 pairs of veins on the leaves. Originally from central Europe, but introduced to this country in the 18th century and in places run wild. Widely planted on reclaimed land, not limited to wet places. Grows on the uplands, hybridises with A. glutinosa, and therefore of interest to me.

        Alnus cordata, Italian alder. Dark-green heart-shaped leaves and cones stay pointing upward when ripe. Often planted on roadsides, parks and similar "municipal" places. Not hardy on the uplands and therefore of no interest to me.

        The plan is to copy the "Open Source" ideas of Linux and similar computer systems. All those who contribute material will be offered the results of my work.

        Michael Bell
        10 Cambridge Avenue, Forest Hall, Newcastle -upon - Tyne, NE12 8AR, United Kingdom
        michael@... +44 (0) 191 266 6435






        __________ Information from ESET Smart Security, version of virus signature database 4156 (20090615) __________

        The message was checked by ESET Smart Security.

        http://www.eset.com


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Michael Bell
        Hi Liz Both Alnus glutinosa and incana have very small seeds. But I am hoping to find variations in that; All species have variations. For example there are
        Message 3 of 16 , Jun 15, 2009
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          Hi Liz

          Both Alnus glutinosa and incana have very small seeds. But I am hoping
          to find variations in that; All species have variations. For example
          there are large variations in tendency to have catkins against cones.
          Some trees are covered in catkins, with very few cones, but some
          others are t'other way round, with few catkins but lots of cones.
          Obviously those are the ones I am interested in. I have collected them
          and will cross-breed them next year. It is too early so far to see
          seeds in this year's crop, but I am going to look. I am developing a
          sifter which will use air-currents to separate the one or two big
          seeds I am looking for from the others. You really couldn't find one
          in 10 00 by eye! As I say, I am also interested in A. glutinosa, they
          hybridise and I have found a few naturally-occuring hybrids.

          I'll let you know how it's coming on, it will obviously be a long job.

          Thank you for your interest.

          Michael

          In message <08D92371864947438D012618CAD86B2E@lizcomp>
          "Liz Turner" <liz@...> wrote:

          > hi there, I'd be very interested in hearing about the progress of this
          > project. I run Trees for Health in Devon & we're interested in food
          > from trees, mostly focusing on native species but not exclusively. As
          > Alnus glutinosa has very small seeds I've never thought about this or
          > come accross anyone doing it. Does Alnus incana have larger seeds?
          > I'll keep an eye out for any but mostly see glutinosa growing around
          > here. Best wishes, Liz
          > ----- Original Message -----
          > From: michael_graham_bell
          > To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
          > Sent: Monday, June 15, 2009 9:13 AM
          > Subject: [pfaf] Developing alder as a grain crop





          > Seeking varieties of Alder which could be used to breed Alder as a
          > grain crop.

          > I have embarked on a project to develop Alder (Alnus) as a grain
          > crop. If you look at an Alder tree and imagine that each cone was
          > replaced by an ear of wheat of the same size, you can see it would be
          > a good crop. Alders fix nitrogen, they do not need to be resown every
          > year, they do not cast a heavy shade, grass grows beneath them, and
          > animals could be pastured on the land. My original aim was to make use
          > of the uplands of Britain, but I see now that it could also be grown
          > on lower land and elsewhere in the world.

          > I have provisionally chosen Alnus incana because it grows higher and
          > further north than Alnus glutinosa, and it is less dependent on water
          > than A. glutinosa. But the two species hybridise and I may change my
          > choice.

          > I foresee that the trees will be grown in rows to form a hedge. The
          > cones will be pulled off using a mechanical comb and threshed in
          > something like a combine harvester. I already have a variety which
          > allows the cones to be pulled off easily.

          > Some alder trees carry huge numbers of catkins and very few cones,
          > that is the opposite of what I want. I want trees which carry large
          > numbers of cones, I have found one such not far from where I live, but
          > I would like to find others.

          > Wild wheat was no use when the jerk of cutting the stem shook out
          > the seeds; it became a useful crop when selection stopped that
          > happening. The problem with alder is the opposite; the cones have a
          > rubbery texture, they are hard to break open to release the seeds, I
          > want cones which are strong enough not to break open when they are
          > pulled off the tree, but fragile enough to break open in the
          > harvester. Seeds are usually 3 - 4mm across and very thin. I want
          > seeds which are bigger or plumper.

          > If all the seeds in a come are bigger, then the cone should be
          > visibly bigger, if just one seed is bigger it might be shown up as a
          > change in the overlapping pattern of the scales of the cone. I would
          > be interested in any variation in the cones, such variation might be
          > visible before the cone is ripe.

          > I am not asking you to make the search for alder variations the main
          > thing you do, I am just asking you to be aware of this programme, and
          > to keep an eye open for variations which might be of interest to me. I
          > would be very grateful for living material.

          > Cuttings keep together the gene combination which may have produced
          > the feature of interest. Seeds can be used for breeding. If the place
          > can be described, I can go and get it myself. GPS coordinates would be
          > useful.

          > There are about 30 species of alder in the world, and you may see
          > one or two in and around current or former gentlemens' gardens, but
          > the only ones you are really like to see in Britain are:-

          > Alnus glutinosa, alder. Bark dark purple-blue or brown, leaf tips
          > blunt or notched, 4 - 7 pairs of veins. Native, widespread on
          > riversides and in other wet places. Grows on the uplands and
          > hybridises with A. incana and therefore of interest to me.

          > Alnus incana, Grey alder. Grey bark, leaves with pointed tips 10 -
          > 15 pairs of veins on the leaves. Originally from central Europe, but
          > introduced to this country in the 18th century and in places run wild.
          > Widely planted on reclaimed land, not limited to wet places. Grows on
          > the uplands, hybridises with A. glutinosa, and therefore of interest
          > to me.

          > Alnus cordata, Italian alder. Dark-green heart-shaped leaves and
          > cones stay pointing upward when ripe. Often planted on roadsides,
          > parks and similar "municipal" places. Not hardy on the uplands and
          > therefore of no interest to me.

          > The plan is to copy the "Open Source" ideas of Linux and similar
          > computer systems. All those who contribute material will be offered
          > the results of my work.

          > Michael Bell
          > 10 Cambridge Avenue, Forest Hall, Newcastle -upon - Tyne, NE12 8AR,
          > United Kingdom
          > michael@... +44 (0) 191 266 6435






          > __________ Information from ESET Smart Security, version of virus
          > signature database 4156 (20090615) __________

          > The message was checked by ESET Smart Security.

          > http://www.eset.com


          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



          > ------------------------------------

          > Yahoo! Groups Links





          --
        • Dee Harris
          And if I m not mistaken, alder can be grown in zones 3 - 5. Good idea. I ve been talking to my brother about the farm we re going to start next year and I want
          Message 4 of 16 , Jun 15, 2009
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            And if I"m not mistaken, alder can be grown in zones 3 - 5. Good idea. I've been talking to my brother about the farm we're going to start next year and I want to go totally organic in every way possible. We're even going to set up solar panels and get off of the grid. Plus I"ve been talking to my brother about wind and water power as well. I want to make this farm the best possible.
            Wolf


             




            --- On Mon, 6/15/09, michael_graham_bell <michael@...> wrote:


            From: michael_graham_bell <michael@...>
            Subject: [pfaf] Developing alder as a grain crop
            To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Monday, June 15, 2009, 3:13 AM








            Seeking varieties of Alder which could be used to breed Alder as a grain crop.

            I have embarked on a project to develop Alder (Alnus) as a grain crop. If you look at an Alder tree and imagine that each cone was replaced by an ear of wheat of the same size, you can see it would be a good crop. Alders fix nitrogen, they do not need to be resown every year, they do not cast a heavy shade, grass grows beneath them, and animals could be pastured on the land. My original aim was to make use of the uplands of Britain, but I see now that it could also be grown on lower land and elsewhere in the world.

            I have provisionally chosen Alnus incana because it grows higher and further north than Alnus glutinosa, and it is less dependent on water than A. glutinosa. But the two species hybridise and I may change my choice.

            I foresee that the trees will be grown in rows to form a hedge. The cones will be pulled off using a mechanical comb and threshed in something like a combine harvester. I already have a variety which allows the cones to be pulled off easily.

            Some alder trees carry huge numbers of catkins and very few cones, that is the opposite of what I want. I want trees which carry large numbers of cones, I have found one such not far from where I live, but I would like to find others.

            Wild wheat was no use when the jerk of cutting the stem shook out the seeds; it became a useful crop when selection stopped that happening. The problem with alder is the opposite; the cones have a rubbery texture, they are hard to break open to release the seeds, I want cones which are strong enough not to break open when they are pulled off the tree, but fragile enough to break open in the harvester. Seeds are usually 3 - 4mm across and very thin. I want seeds which are bigger or plumper.

            If all the seeds in a come are bigger, then the cone should be visibly bigger, if just one seed is bigger it might be shown up as a change in the overlapping pattern of the scales of the cone. I would be interested in any variation in the cones, such variation might be visible before the cone is ripe.

            I am not asking you to make the search for alder variations the main thing you do, I am just asking you to be aware of this programme, and to keep an eye open for variations which might be of interest to me. I would be very grateful for living material.

            Cuttings keep together the gene combination which may have produced the feature of interest. Seeds can be used for breeding. If the place can be described, I can go and get it myself. GPS coordinates would be useful.

            There are about 30 species of alder in the world, and you may see one or two in and around current or former gentlemens' gardens, but the only ones you are really like to see in Britain are:-

            Alnus glutinosa, alder. Bark dark purple-blue or brown, leaf tips blunt or notched, 4 - 7 pairs of veins. Native, widespread on riversides and in other wet places. Grows on the uplands and hybridises with A. incana and therefore of interest to me.

            Alnus incana, Grey alder. Grey bark, leaves with pointed tips 10 - 15 pairs of veins on the leaves. Originally from central Europe, but introduced to this country in the 18th century and in places run wild. Widely planted on reclaimed land, not limited to wet places. Grows on the uplands, hybridises with A. glutinosa, and therefore of interest to me.

            Alnus cordata, Italian alder. Dark-green heart-shaped leaves and cones stay pointing upward when ripe. Often planted on roadsides, parks and similar "municipal" places. Not hardy on the uplands and therefore of no interest to me.

            The plan is to copy the "Open Source" ideas of Linux and similar computer systems. All those who contribute material will be offered the results of my work.

            Michael Bell
            10 Cambridge Avenue, Forest Hall, Newcastle -upon - Tyne, NE12 8AR, United Kingdom
            michael@beaverbell. co.uk +44 (0) 191 266 6435



















            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Geir Flatabø
            But you have told nothing about how to use the seeds ?? Do you know anything about the edibility ?? How much cellulose, how much resins etc in the seed crop
            Message 5 of 16 , Jun 16, 2009
            • 0 Attachment
              But you have told nothing about
              how to use the seeds ??

              Do you know anything about the edibility ??
              How much cellulose, how much resins etc in the seed crop ??
              Taste, fat etc ???

              Geir Flatabø

              2009/6/16 Michael Bell <michael@...>

              > Hi Liz
              >
              > Both Alnus glutinosa and incana have very small seeds. But I am hoping
              > to find variations in that; All species have variations. For example
              > there are large variations in tendency to have catkins against cones.
              > Some trees are covered in catkins, with very few cones, but some
              > others are t'other way round, with few catkins but lots of cones.
              > Obviously those are the ones I am interested in. I have collected them
              > and will cross-breed them next year. It is too early so far to see
              > seeds in this year's crop, but I am going to look. I am developing a
              > sifter which will use air-currents to separate the one or two big
              > seeds I am looking for from the others. You really couldn't find one
              > in 10 00 by eye! As I say, I am also interested in A. glutinosa, they
              > hybridise and I have found a few naturally-occuring hybrids.
              >
              > I'll let you know how it's coming on, it will obviously be a long job.
              >
              > Thank you for your interest.
              >
              > Michael
              >
              > In message <08D92371864947438D012618CAD86B2E@lizcomp>
              > "Liz Turner" <liz@...> wrote:
              >
              > > hi there, I'd be very interested in hearing about the progress of this
              > > project. I run Trees for Health in Devon & we're interested in food
              > > from trees, mostly focusing on native species but not exclusively. As
              > > Alnus glutinosa has very small seeds I've never thought about this or
              > > come accross anyone doing it. Does Alnus incana have larger seeds?
              > > I'll keep an eye out for any but mostly see glutinosa growing around
              > > here. Best wishes, Liz
              > > ----- Original Message -----
              > > From: michael_graham_bell
              > > To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
              > > Sent: Monday, June 15, 2009 9:13 AM
              > > Subject: [pfaf] Developing alder as a grain crop
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > > Seeking varieties of Alder which could be used to breed Alder as a
              > > grain crop.
              >
              > > I have embarked on a project to develop Alder (Alnus) as a grain
              > > crop. If you look at an Alder tree and imagine that each cone was
              > > replaced by an ear of wheat of the same size, you can see it would be
              > > a good crop. Alders fix nitrogen, they do not need to be resown every
              > > year, they do not cast a heavy shade, grass grows beneath them, and
              > > animals could be pastured on the land. My original aim was to make use
              > > of the uplands of Britain, but I see now that it could also be grown
              > > on lower land and elsewhere in the world.
              >
              > > I have provisionally chosen Alnus incana because it grows higher and
              > > further north than Alnus glutinosa, and it is less dependent on water
              > > than A. glutinosa. But the two species hybridise and I may change my
              > > choice.
              >
              > > I foresee that the trees will be grown in rows to form a hedge. The
              > > cones will be pulled off using a mechanical comb and threshed in
              > > something like a combine harvester. I already have a variety which
              > > allows the cones to be pulled off easily.
              >
              > > Some alder trees carry huge numbers of catkins and very few cones,
              > > that is the opposite of what I want. I want trees which carry large
              > > numbers of cones, I have found one such not far from where I live, but
              > > I would like to find others.
              >
              > > Wild wheat was no use when the jerk of cutting the stem shook out
              > > the seeds; it became a useful crop when selection stopped that
              > > happening. The problem with alder is the opposite; the cones have a
              > > rubbery texture, they are hard to break open to release the seeds, I
              > > want cones which are strong enough not to break open when they are
              > > pulled off the tree, but fragile enough to break open in the
              > > harvester. Seeds are usually 3 - 4mm across and very thin. I want
              > > seeds which are bigger or plumper.
              >
              > > If all the seeds in a come are bigger, then the cone should be
              > > visibly bigger, if just one seed is bigger it might be shown up as a
              > > change in the overlapping pattern of the scales of the cone. I would
              > > be interested in any variation in the cones, such variation might be
              > > visible before the cone is ripe.
              >
              > > I am not asking you to make the search for alder variations the main
              > > thing you do, I am just asking you to be aware of this programme, and
              > > to keep an eye open for variations which might be of interest to me. I
              > > would be very grateful for living material.
              >
              > > Cuttings keep together the gene combination which may have produced
              > > the feature of interest. Seeds can be used for breeding. If the place
              > > can be described, I can go and get it myself. GPS coordinates would be
              > > useful.
              >
              > > There are about 30 species of alder in the world, and you may see
              > > one or two in and around current or former gentlemens' gardens, but
              > > the only ones you are really like to see in Britain are:-
              >
              > > Alnus glutinosa, alder. Bark dark purple-blue or brown, leaf tips
              > > blunt or notched, 4 - 7 pairs of veins. Native, widespread on
              > > riversides and in other wet places. Grows on the uplands and
              > > hybridises with A. incana and therefore of interest to me.
              >
              > > Alnus incana, Grey alder. Grey bark, leaves with pointed tips 10 -
              > > 15 pairs of veins on the leaves. Originally from central Europe, but
              > > introduced to this country in the 18th century and in places run wild.
              > > Widely planted on reclaimed land, not limited to wet places. Grows on
              > > the uplands, hybridises with A. glutinosa, and therefore of interest
              > > to me.
              >
              > > Alnus cordata, Italian alder. Dark-green heart-shaped leaves and
              > > cones stay pointing upward when ripe. Often planted on roadsides,
              > > parks and similar "municipal" places. Not hardy on the uplands and
              > > therefore of no interest to me.
              >
              > > The plan is to copy the "Open Source" ideas of Linux and similar
              > > computer systems. All those who contribute material will be offered
              > > the results of my work.
              >
              > > Michael Bell
              > > 10 Cambridge Avenue, Forest Hall, Newcastle -upon - Tyne, NE12 8AR,
              > > United Kingdom
              > > michael@... +44 (0) 191 266 6435
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > > __________ Information from ESET Smart Security, version of virus
              > > signature database 4156 (20090615) __________
              >
              > > The message was checked by ESET Smart Security.
              >
              > > http://www.eset.com
              >
              >
              > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
              >
              >
              > > ------------------------------------
              >
              > > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > --
              >
              >
              > ------------------------------------
              >
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Michael Bell
              Geir The birds like it. I have gathered enough seeds to make a small loaf, but I have not done so yet because I want to use it to test my airflow sifting
              Message 6 of 16 , Jun 16, 2009
              • 0 Attachment
                Geir

                The birds like it. I have gathered enough seeds to make a small loaf,
                but I have not done so yet because I want to use it to test my airflow
                sifting machine.

                Michael Bell

                In message <4d7faa5f0906160453g1bd80709j423a137d7bae733f@...
                m>
                Geir Flatabø <geirf@...> wrote:

                > But you have told nothing about
                > how to use the seeds ??

                > Do you know anything about the edibility ??
                > How much cellulose, how much resins etc in the seed crop ??
                > Taste, fat etc ???

                > Geir Flatabø

                > 2009/6/16 Michael Bell <michael@...>

                >> Hi Liz
                >>
                >> Both Alnus glutinosa and incana have very small seeds. But I am hoping
                >> to find variations in that; All species have variations. For example
                >> there are large variations in tendency to have catkins against cones.
                >> Some trees are covered in catkins, with very few cones, but some
                >> others are t'other way round, with few catkins but lots of cones.
                >> Obviously those are the ones I am interested in. I have collected them
                >> and will cross-breed them next year. It is too early so far to see
                >> seeds in this year's crop, but I am going to look. I am developing a
                >> sifter which will use air-currents to separate the one or two big
                >> seeds I am looking for from the others. You really couldn't find one
                >> in 10 00 by eye! As I say, I am also interested in A. glutinosa, they
                >> hybridise and I have found a few naturally-occuring hybrids.
                >>
                >> I'll let you know how it's coming on, it will obviously be a long job.
                >>
                >> Thank you for your interest.
                >>
                >> Michael
                >>
                >> In message <08D92371864947438D012618CAD86B2E@lizcomp>
                >> "Liz Turner" <liz@...> wrote:
                >>
                >>> hi there, I'd be very interested in hearing about the progress of this
                >>> project. I run Trees for Health in Devon & we're interested in food
                >>> from trees, mostly focusing on native species but not exclusively. As
                >>> Alnus glutinosa has very small seeds I've never thought about this or
                >>> come accross anyone doing it. Does Alnus incana have larger seeds?
                >>> I'll keep an eye out for any but mostly see glutinosa growing around
                >>> here. Best wishes, Liz
                >>> ----- Original Message -----
                >>> From: michael_graham_bell
                >>> To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
                >>> Sent: Monday, June 15, 2009 9:13 AM
                >>> Subject: [pfaf] Developing alder as a grain crop
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >>> Seeking varieties of Alder which could be used to breed Alder as a
                >>> grain crop.
                >>
                >>> I have embarked on a project to develop Alder (Alnus) as a grain
                >>> crop. If you look at an Alder tree and imagine that each cone was
                >>> replaced by an ear of wheat of the same size, you can see it would be
                >>> a good crop. Alders fix nitrogen, they do not need to be resown every
                >>> year, they do not cast a heavy shade, grass grows beneath them, and
                >>> animals could be pastured on the land. My original aim was to make use
                >>> of the uplands of Britain, but I see now that it could also be grown
                >>> on lower land and elsewhere in the world.
                >>
                >>> I have provisionally chosen Alnus incana because it grows higher and
                >>> further north than Alnus glutinosa, and it is less dependent on water
                >>> than A. glutinosa. But the two species hybridise and I may change my
                >>> choice.
                >>
                >>> I foresee that the trees will be grown in rows to form a hedge. The
                >>> cones will be pulled off using a mechanical comb and threshed in
                >>> something like a combine harvester. I already have a variety which
                >>> allows the cones to be pulled off easily.
                >>
                >>> Some alder trees carry huge numbers of catkins and very few cones,
                >>> that is the opposite of what I want. I want trees which carry large
                >>> numbers of cones, I have found one such not far from where I live, but
                >>> I would like to find others.
                >>
                >>> Wild wheat was no use when the jerk of cutting the stem shook out
                >>> the seeds; it became a useful crop when selection stopped that
                >>> happening. The problem with alder is the opposite; the cones have a
                >>> rubbery texture, they are hard to break open to release the seeds, I
                >>> want cones which are strong enough not to break open when they are
                >>> pulled off the tree, but fragile enough to break open in the
                >>> harvester. Seeds are usually 3 - 4mm across and very thin. I want
                >>> seeds which are bigger or plumper.
                >>
                >>> If all the seeds in a come are bigger, then the cone should be
                >>> visibly bigger, if just one seed is bigger it might be shown up as a
                >>> change in the overlapping pattern of the scales of the cone. I would
                >>> be interested in any variation in the cones, such variation might be
                >>> visible before the cone is ripe.
                >>
                >>> I am not asking you to make the search for alder variations the main
                >>> thing you do, I am just asking you to be aware of this programme, and
                >>> to keep an eye open for variations which might be of interest to me. I
                >>> would be very grateful for living material.
                >>
                >>> Cuttings keep together the gene combination which may have produced
                >>> the feature of interest. Seeds can be used for breeding. If the place
                >>> can be described, I can go and get it myself. GPS coordinates would be
                >>> useful.
                >>
                >>> There are about 30 species of alder in the world, and you may see
                >>> one or two in and around current or former gentlemens' gardens, but
                >>> the only ones you are really like to see in Britain are:-
                >>
                >>> Alnus glutinosa, alder. Bark dark purple-blue or brown, leaf tips
                >>> blunt or notched, 4 - 7 pairs of veins. Native, widespread on
                >>> riversides and in other wet places. Grows on the uplands and
                >>> hybridises with A. incana and therefore of interest to me.
                >>
                >>> Alnus incana, Grey alder. Grey bark, leaves with pointed tips 10 -
                >>> 15 pairs of veins on the leaves. Originally from central Europe, but
                >>> introduced to this country in the 18th century and in places run wild.
                >>> Widely planted on reclaimed land, not limited to wet places. Grows on
                >>> the uplands, hybridises with A. glutinosa, and therefore of interest
                >>> to me.
                >>
                >>> Alnus cordata, Italian alder. Dark-green heart-shaped leaves and
                >>> cones stay pointing upward when ripe. Often planted on roadsides,
                >>> parks and similar "municipal" places. Not hardy on the uplands and
                >>> therefore of no interest to me.
                >>
                >>> The plan is to copy the "Open Source" ideas of Linux and similar
                >>> computer systems. All those who contribute material will be offered
                >>> the results of my work.
                >>
                >>> Michael Bell
                >>> 10 Cambridge Avenue, Forest Hall, Newcastle -upon - Tyne, NE12 8AR,
                >>> United Kingdom
                >>> michael@... +44 (0) 191 266 6435
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >>> __________ Information from ESET Smart Security, version of virus
                >>> signature database 4156 (20090615) __________
                >>
                >>> The message was checked by ESET Smart Security.
                >>
                >>> http://www.eset.com
                >>
                >>
                >>> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >>> ------------------------------------
                >>
                >>> Yahoo! Groups Links
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >> --
                >>
                >>
                >> ------------------------------------
                >>
                >> Yahoo! Groups Links
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >>


                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



                > ------------------------------------

                > Yahoo! Groups Links





                --
              • Sara Elbrai
                What an interesting post. Thanks, Michael. Sara
                Message 7 of 16 , Jun 19, 2009
                • 0 Attachment
                  What an interesting post.

                  Thanks, Michael.

                  Sara

                  --- On Mon, 6/15/09, michael_graham_bell <michael@...> wrote:

                  > From: michael_graham_bell <michael@...>
                  > Subject: [pfaf] Developing alder as a grain crop
                  > To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
                  > Date: Monday, June 15, 2009, 4:13 AM
                  > Seeking varieties of Alder which
                  > could be used to breed Alder as a grain crop.
                  >
                  > I have embarked on a project to develop Alder (Alnus) as a
                  > grain crop.  If you look at an Alder tree and imagine
                  > that each cone was replaced by an ear of wheat of the same
                  > size, you can see it would be a good crop. Alders fix
                  > nitrogen, they do not need to be resown every year, they do
                  > not cast a heavy shade, grass grows beneath them, and
                  > animals could be pastured on the land. My original aim was
                  > to make use of the uplands of Britain, but I see now that it
                  > could also be grown on lower land and elsewhere in the
                  > world. 
                  >
                  > I have provisionally chosen Alnus incana because it grows
                  > higher and further north than Alnus glutinosa, and it is
                  > less dependent on water than A. glutinosa. But the two
                  > species hybridise and I may change my choice.
                  >
                  > I foresee that the trees will be grown in rows to form a
                  > hedge. The cones will be pulled off using a mechanical comb
                  > and threshed in something like a combine harvester.  I
                  > already have a variety which allows the cones to be pulled
                  > off easily.
                  >
                  > Some alder trees carry huge numbers of catkins and very few
                  > cones, that is the opposite of what I want. I want trees
                  > which carry large numbers of cones, I have found one such
                  > not far from where I live, but I would like to find others.
                  >
                  > Wild wheat was no use when the jerk of cutting the stem
                  > shook out the seeds; it became a useful crop when selection
                  > stopped that happening. The problem with alder is the
                  > opposite; the cones have a rubbery texture, they are hard to
                  > break open to release the seeds, I want cones which are
                  > strong enough not to break open when they are pulled off the
                  > tree, but fragile enough to break open in the harvester.
                  > Seeds are usually 3 - 4mm across and very thin. I want seeds
                  > which are bigger or plumper.
                  >
                  > If all the seeds in a come are bigger, then the cone should
                  > be visibly bigger, if just one seed is bigger it might be
                  > shown up as a change in the overlapping pattern of the
                  > scales of the cone. I would be interested in any variation
                  > in the cones, such variation might be visible before the
                  > cone is ripe.
                  >
                  > I am not asking you to make the search for alder variations
                  > the main thing you do, I am just asking you to be aware of
                  > this programme, and to keep an eye open for variations which
                  > might be of interest to me. I would be very grateful for
                  > living material.
                  >
                  > Cuttings keep together the gene combination which may have
                  > produced the feature of interest. Seeds can be used for
                  > breeding. If the place can be described, I can go and get it
                  > myself. GPS coordinates would be useful.
                  >
                  > There are about 30 species of alder in the world, and you
                  > may see one or two in and around current or former
                  > gentlemens' gardens, but the only ones you are really like
                  > to see in Britain are:-
                  >
                  > Alnus glutinosa, alder. Bark dark purple-blue or brown,
                  > leaf tips blunt or notched,  4 - 7 pairs of veins.
                  > Native, widespread on riversides and in other wet places.
                  > Grows on the uplands and hybridises with A. incana and
                  > therefore of interest to me.
                  >
                  > Alnus incana, Grey alder. Grey bark, leaves with pointed
                  > tips 10 - 15 pairs of veins on the leaves. Originally from
                  > central Europe, but introduced to this country in the 18th
                  > century and in places run wild. Widely planted on reclaimed
                  > land, not limited to wet places. Grows on the uplands,
                  > hybridises with A. glutinosa, and therefore of interest to
                  > me.
                  >
                  > Alnus cordata, Italian alder. Dark-green heart-shaped
                  > leaves and cones stay pointing upward when ripe. Often
                  > planted on roadsides, parks and similar "municipal" places.
                  > Not hardy on the uplands and therefore of no interest to me.
                  >
                  >
                  > The plan is to copy the "Open Source" ideas of Linux and
                  > similar computer systems. All those  who contribute
                  > material will be offered the results of my work.
                  >
                  > Michael Bell
                  > 10 Cambridge Avenue, Forest Hall,  Newcastle -upon -
                  > Tyne,  NE12 8AR, United Kingdom   
                  > michael@... 
                  >      +44 (0) 191 266 6435
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > ------------------------------------
                  >
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >     mailto:pfaf-fullfeatured@yahoogroups.com
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • Michael Bell
                  (This is a little changed from my earlier posting. All things change - Buddha) 10 Cambridge Avenue Forest Hall Newcastle -upon - Tyne NE12 8AR
                  Message 8 of 16 , Aug 5, 2009
                  • 0 Attachment
                    (This is a little changed from my earlier posting. "All things change"
                    - Buddha)

                    10 Cambridge Avenue
                    Forest Hall
                    Newcastle -upon - Tyne
                    NE12 8AR
                    michael@...
                    0191 266 6435


                    I have embarked on a project to develop Alder (Alnus) as a grain crop.

                    In my meaning of the word, a "grain" is a hard dry food-thing with
                    good keeping qualities, no matter what the exact botanical
                    description.

                    If you look at some Alder trees and imagine that each cone was
                    replaced by an ear of wheat of the same size, you can see it would be
                    a good crop. Alders fix nitrogen, they do not need to be resown every
                    year, they do not cast a heavy shade, grass grows beneath them, and
                    animals could be pastured on the land. My original aim was to make
                    profitable use of the uplands of Britain, and Britain cannot feed
                    itself, but I see now that it could also be grown on lower land and
                    elsewhere in the world.

                    So, I am looking for trees, cuttings or seeds, which have the traits I
                    want.

                    I am undecided between Alnus incana and A. glutinosa. Alnus incana
                    grows higher and further north than A. glutinosa, and it is less
                    dependent on water than A. glutinosa, but A. glutinosa is more
                    plentiful. But the two species hybridise so I am interested in both.

                    I foresee that the trees will be grown in rows to form a hedge. The
                    cones will be pulled off using a mechanical comb and threshed in
                    something like a combine harvester. The cones can easily be pulled off
                    many varieties.

                    By timing harvesting correctly it will probably be possible to pull
                    off the cones without losing seeds and then break them open in the
                    harvester.

                    That said, I want the finished breed to have cones which don't open on
                    the tree, are strong enough not break when pulled off the tree, but
                    are easy to break open in the harvester. Any steps toward that will be
                    welcome.

                    Some alder trees carry no cones (!), others carry huge numbers of
                    catkins and very few cones: the opposite of what I want. Walking many
                    miles and looking at the alders as I passed I have found a few trees
                    which carry vast numbers of cones on special cone-only branches,
                    unlike "normal" alders where the cones are carried on the
                    leaf-carrying branches. I would attach photos if the list allowed it,
                    but I can send pictures off-list to anybody who asks.

                    It is too early in the season to tell, but the seeds in these cones
                    will probably be the usual wretchedly small size. I want bigger.

                    It was easy to walk past lots of trees and from many yards away see
                    how many cones they were carrying. I can see no such easy way of
                    searching for bigger seeds, and this is where I am asking for help.

                    How can you search for bigger seeds?

                    One possibility is that if a single seed is bigger, the regular
                    pattern of scales will be broken by a bigger seed inside. Is this a
                    workable search method?

                    Another possibility is to sift the seeds after they have been got out
                    of the cones. How easy is it going to be do this by looking for
                    big-uns by spreading the seeds out on white paper? I have built a
                    seed-sifter which uses an air current from a computer cooling fan to
                    sort seeds by size/weight ratio. It shows promise. Have you got some
                    seeds which I could sort through? I can come and do it, I can bring
                    the sifter in my car.

                    Are there any better ideas?

                    To spread my net wide, I would be interested in any tree you know of
                    which has cones which are unusual in any way.

                    I would be very grateful for any help with any part of this. I would
                    be grateful for cuttings (which preserve the gene combination which
                    gave rise to feature of interest) or seeds (especially if they are
                    big) or an invitation to see a tree of interest.

                    The plan is to copy the "Open Source" ideas of Linux and similar
                    computer systems. All those who contribute material will be offered
                    the results of my work.

                    Unfortunately I have to be away at the busiest time for this, 18 Sept
                    - 19 Oct, to attend the wedding of my nephew to a Nepali girl in
                    Kathmandu. It will be a Hindu ceremony, with "heroic eating and
                    drinking", followed by a walk in "the hills" - the Himalayas!

                    Michael Bell

                    --
                  • Ossi Kakko
                    Greetings from fennoscandia, we have both a. incana and a. glutinosa as native. occasionally i gather alnus seeds to eat by spreading blankets under the tree
                    Message 9 of 16 , Aug 5, 2009
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Greetings from fennoscandia,

                      we have both a. incana and a. glutinosa as native.

                      occasionally i gather alnus seeds to eat by spreading
                      blankets under the tree (on snow) and by rocking the trunk
                      on a day which is not too windy, so the loss of seeds is minimal.

                      suitable timing here comes usually in february-march,
                      when the seeds drop naturally as cones open up. then seeds can
                      be ground with stones with or without roasting, in soups or
                      in bread or as a spread.... anyway one can prefer.

                      i would say there's already quite sufficient yield from
                      a single tree, so breeding sounds pretty weird,
                      but will anyway have a look next season
                      in case i see what you search for.

                      ossi kakko





                      > (This is a little changed from my earlier posting. "All things change"
                      > - Buddha)
                      >
                      > 10 Cambridge Avenue
                      > Forest Hall
                      > Newcastle -upon - Tyne
                      > NE12 8AR
                      > michael@...
                      > 0191 266 6435
                      >
                      >
                      > I have embarked on a project to develop Alder (Alnus) as a grain crop.
                      >
                      > In my meaning of the word, a "grain" is a hard dry food-thing with
                      > good keeping qualities, no matter what the exact botanical
                      > description.
                      >
                      > If you look at some Alder trees and imagine that each cone was
                      > replaced by an ear of wheat of the same size, you can see it would be
                      > a good crop. Alders fix nitrogen, they do not need to be resown every
                      > year, they do not cast a heavy shade, grass grows beneath them, and
                      > animals could be pastured on the land. My original aim was to make
                      > profitable use of the uplands of Britain, and Britain cannot feed
                      > itself, but I see now that it could also be grown on lower land and
                      > elsewhere in the world.
                      >
                      > So, I am looking for trees, cuttings or seeds, which have the traits I
                      > want.
                      >
                      > I am undecided between Alnus incana and A. glutinosa. Alnus incana
                      > grows higher and further north than A. glutinosa, and it is less
                      > dependent on water than A. glutinosa, but A. glutinosa is more
                      > plentiful. But the two species hybridise so I am interested in both.
                      >
                      > I foresee that the trees will be grown in rows to form a hedge. The
                      > cones will be pulled off using a mechanical comb and threshed in
                      > something like a combine harvester. The cones can easily be pulled off
                      > many varieties.
                      >
                      > By timing harvesting correctly it will probably be possible to pull
                      > off the cones without losing seeds and then break them open in the
                      > harvester.
                      >
                      > That said, I want the finished breed to have cones which don't open on
                      > the tree, are strong enough not break when pulled off the tree, but
                      > are easy to break open in the harvester. Any steps toward that will be
                      > welcome.
                      >
                      > Some alder trees carry no cones (!), others carry huge numbers of
                      > catkins and very few cones: the opposite of what I want. Walking many
                      > miles and looking at the alders as I passed I have found a few trees
                      > which carry vast numbers of cones on special cone-only branches,
                      > unlike "normal" alders where the cones are carried on the
                      > leaf-carrying branches. I would attach photos if the list allowed it,
                      > but I can send pictures off-list to anybody who asks.
                      >
                      > It is too early in the season to tell, but the seeds in these cones
                      > will probably be the usual wretchedly small size. I want bigger.
                      >
                      > It was easy to walk past lots of trees and from many yards away see
                      > how many cones they were carrying. I can see no such easy way of
                      > searching for bigger seeds, and this is where I am asking for help.
                      >
                      > How can you search for bigger seeds?
                      >
                      > One possibility is that if a single seed is bigger, the regular
                      > pattern of scales will be broken by a bigger seed inside. Is this a
                      > workable search method?
                      >
                      > Another possibility is to sift the seeds after they have been got out
                      > of the cones. How easy is it going to be do this by looking for
                      > big-uns by spreading the seeds out on white paper? I have built a
                      > seed-sifter which uses an air current from a computer cooling fan to
                      > sort seeds by size/weight ratio. It shows promise. Have you got some
                      > seeds which I could sort through? I can come and do it, I can bring
                      > the sifter in my car.
                      >
                      > Are there any better ideas?
                      >
                      > To spread my net wide, I would be interested in any tree you know of
                      > which has cones which are unusual in any way.
                      >
                      > I would be very grateful for any help with any part of this. I would
                      > be grateful for cuttings (which preserve the gene combination which
                      > gave rise to feature of interest) or seeds (especially if they are
                      > big) or an invitation to see a tree of interest.
                      >
                      > The plan is to copy the "Open Source" ideas of Linux and similar
                      > computer systems. All those who contribute material will be offered
                      > the results of my work.
                      >
                      > Unfortunately I have to be away at the busiest time for this, 18 Sept
                      > - 19 Oct, to attend the wedding of my nephew to a Nepali girl in
                      > Kathmandu. It will be a Hindu ceremony, with "heroic eating and
                      > drinking", followed by a walk in "the hills" - the Himalayas!
                      >
                      > Michael Bell
                      >
                      > --
                      >
                    • Michael Bell
                      ossi Wonderful. Thank you for giving me something to answer those who say but can people eat it ? In Britain the cones start opening in October with a gap
                      Message 10 of 16 , Aug 13, 2009
                      • 0 Attachment
                        ossi

                        Wonderful. Thank you for giving me something to answer those who say
                        "but can people eat it"?

                        In Britain the cones start opening in October with a gap opening
                        around the middle and those seeds fall out then, and gaps open towards
                        the ends over the winter, so seed-fall is spread over the winter.
                        Rather different to your alders.

                        A glutinosa is native to Britain, A incana was brought here in the
                        1780s and has become wild. A cordata is much planted in parks and
                        along road sides, it is a very recent import and is probably not hardy
                        on the uplands.

                        I have looked "Ossi Kakko" on the web, and there is lot of interesting
                        stuff, I don't read Finnish, though I have tried to learn a little,
                        Google translates it for you.

                        Best wishes

                        Michael Bell



                        In message <55946.84.248.237.202.1249538128.squirrel@...>
                        "Ossi Kakko" <ossi@...> wrote:

                        > Greetings from fennoscandia,

                        > we have both a. incana and a. glutinosa as native.

                        > occasionally i gather alnus seeds to eat by spreading
                        > blankets under the tree (on snow) and by rocking the trunk
                        > on a day which is not too windy, so the loss of seeds is minimal.

                        > suitable timing here comes usually in february-march,
                        > when the seeds drop naturally as cones open up. then seeds can
                        > be ground with stones with or without roasting, in soups or
                        > in bread or as a spread.... anyway one can prefer.

                        > i would say there's already quite sufficient yield from
                        > a single tree, so breeding sounds pretty weird,
                        > but will anyway have a look next season
                        > in case i see what you search for.

                        > ossi kakko





                        >> (This is a little changed from my earlier posting. "All things change"
                        >> - Buddha)
                        >>
                        >> 10 Cambridge Avenue
                        >> Forest Hall
                        >> Newcastle -upon - Tyne
                        >> NE12 8AR
                        >> michael@...
                        >> 0191 266 6435
                        >>
                        >>
                        >> I have embarked on a project to develop Alder (Alnus) as a grain crop.
                        >>
                        >> In my meaning of the word, a "grain" is a hard dry food-thing with
                        >> good keeping qualities, no matter what the exact botanical
                        >> description.
                        >>
                        >> If you look at some Alder trees and imagine that each cone was
                        >> replaced by an ear of wheat of the same size, you can see it would be
                        >> a good crop. Alders fix nitrogen, they do not need to be resown every
                        >> year, they do not cast a heavy shade, grass grows beneath them, and
                        >> animals could be pastured on the land. My original aim was to make
                        >> profitable use of the uplands of Britain, and Britain cannot feed
                        >> itself, but I see now that it could also be grown on lower land and
                        >> elsewhere in the world.
                        >>
                        >> So, I am looking for trees, cuttings or seeds, which have the traits I
                        >> want.
                        >>
                        >> I am undecided between Alnus incana and A. glutinosa. Alnus incana
                        >> grows higher and further north than A. glutinosa, and it is less
                        >> dependent on water than A. glutinosa, but A. glutinosa is more
                        >> plentiful. But the two species hybridise so I am interested in both.
                        >>
                        >> I foresee that the trees will be grown in rows to form a hedge. The
                        >> cones will be pulled off using a mechanical comb and threshed in
                        >> something like a combine harvester. The cones can easily be pulled off
                        >> many varieties.
                        >>
                        >> By timing harvesting correctly it will probably be possible to pull
                        >> off the cones without losing seeds and then break them open in the
                        >> harvester.
                        >>
                        >> That said, I want the finished breed to have cones which don't open on
                        >> the tree, are strong enough not break when pulled off the tree, but
                        >> are easy to break open in the harvester. Any steps toward that will be
                        >> welcome.
                        >>
                        >> Some alder trees carry no cones (!), others carry huge numbers of
                        >> catkins and very few cones: the opposite of what I want. Walking many
                        >> miles and looking at the alders as I passed I have found a few trees
                        >> which carry vast numbers of cones on special cone-only branches,
                        >> unlike "normal" alders where the cones are carried on the
                        >> leaf-carrying branches. I would attach photos if the list allowed it,
                        >> but I can send pictures off-list to anybody who asks.
                        >>
                        >> It is too early in the season to tell, but the seeds in these cones
                        >> will probably be the usual wretchedly small size. I want bigger.
                        >>
                        >> It was easy to walk past lots of trees and from many yards away see
                        >> how many cones they were carrying. I can see no such easy way of
                        >> searching for bigger seeds, and this is where I am asking for help.
                        >>
                        >> How can you search for bigger seeds?
                        >>
                        >> One possibility is that if a single seed is bigger, the regular
                        >> pattern of scales will be broken by a bigger seed inside. Is this a
                        >> workable search method?
                        >>
                        >> Another possibility is to sift the seeds after they have been got out
                        >> of the cones. How easy is it going to be do this by looking for
                        >> big-uns by spreading the seeds out on white paper? I have built a
                        >> seed-sifter which uses an air current from a computer cooling fan to
                        >> sort seeds by size/weight ratio. It shows promise. Have you got some
                        >> seeds which I could sort through? I can come and do it, I can bring
                        >> the sifter in my car.
                        >>
                        >> Are there any better ideas?
                        >>
                        >> To spread my net wide, I would be interested in any tree you know of
                        >> which has cones which are unusual in any way.
                        >>
                        >> I would be very grateful for any help with any part of this. I would
                        >> be grateful for cuttings (which preserve the gene combination which
                        >> gave rise to feature of interest) or seeds (especially if they are
                        >> big) or an invitation to see a tree of interest.
                        >>
                        >> The plan is to copy the "Open Source" ideas of Linux and similar
                        >> computer systems. All those who contribute material will be offered
                        >> the results of my work.
                        >>
                        >> Unfortunately I have to be away at the busiest time for this, 18 Sept
                        >> - 19 Oct, to attend the wedding of my nephew to a Nepali girl in
                        >> Kathmandu. It will be a Hindu ceremony, with "heroic eating and
                        >> drinking", followed by a walk in "the hills" - the Himalayas!
                        >>
                        >> Michael Bell
                        >>
                        >> --
                        >>




                        > ------------------------------------

                        > Yahoo! Groups Links





                        --
                      • Michael Bell
                        In message ... Dear Sara Here is my circular and progress report for Autumn 2011 Dear Melissa Now is the time of
                        Message 11 of 16 , Sep 29 12:46 AM
                        • 0 Attachment
                          In message <985951.71979.qm@...>
                          Sara Elbrai <selbrai@...> wrote:


                          > What an interesting post.

                          > Thanks, Michael.

                          > Sara

                          Dear Sara

                          Here is my circular and progress report for Autumn 2011

                          Dear Melissa

                          Now is the time of mists and mellow fruitfulness and I wonder if you
                          could make people aware of this project, and if they happen upon an
                          interesting variant I would be grateful to know of it. Or if you have
                          a pressed specimen with less robust cones or different growth habit,
                          then I could go to that place and see if I can find living specimens.

                          I have a project to develop alder (Alnus glutinosa) as a grain crop.
                          My reasons for this are:-

                          Britain cannot feed itself because half its land is too high and cold
                          for grain production. This is not because this land is infertile, the
                          tree-line is much higher than the crop line. It is because the main
                          grain crops originated in the Mediterranean and they are at the limit
                          of their range in Britain. To make use of this land we need to take a
                          plant which grows well in British upland conditions and breed it into
                          a suitable grain crop. There are many possible plants, and some sedges
                          show potential, but it would be a huge task to even evaluate them all.



                          Instead I have seized on the idea of alder because:-

                          * It is a tree; it can be more productive than a herb crop.
                          * Birds and small animals eat alder seeds and I know from many reports
                          and personal test that they are not harmful to man. Like other seed
                          crops, wheat, rice, oats, the taste lies in the preparation.
                          * It fixes nitrogen. Nitrate fertilisers are expensive and a big
                          source of CO2 production.
                          * It is a tree, once established it is insensitive to weather
                          variations.
                          * It is a tree, it does not need weeding and chemical weedkilling.
                          * The harvesting waste, chiefly cones, but also twigs, may be a useful
                          fuel, it comes in handy-sized pieces. The fallen leaves may also be
                          used as a fuel, they are plentiful.
                          * It is a tree, ground does not have to prepared for it every year
                          nor seed sown. This saves on the CO2 output of ploughing with heavy
                          machinery.
                          * Over its commercial life (50 years?) a tree will store a lot of
                          carbon.
                          * Alnus glutinosa grows in Tunisia and Algeria, the latitude of China
                          and Northern India. It could be useful there in holding back erosion
                          on steep slopes.

                          But alder needs to be improved to become a grain crop. In particular
                          it needs bigger seeds. I spent the whole of last autumn going round
                          alders on Tyneside (You can't do it in the rain, it is pleasant
                          work.), pulling cones off trees, breaking them open by rolling and
                          crushing them between two plates and sieving them. I found six trees
                          with SIGNIFICANTLY bigger seeds. They obviously weren't the top end of
                          a bell-curve, they were a STEP bigger. I germinated these bigger
                          seeds, germination was poor, partly because of my inexperience with
                          this species, but partly also because many bigger seeds are
                          deformities or are stuffed with "cork". Nevertheless, some germinated
                          and produced cotyledons which were noticeably bigger than standard,
                          showing that they contained more food.

                          I grafted these seedlings onto "adult" trees on places on the branches
                          which should produce catkins and cones this year for fruiting next
                          year, but my grafting technique was poor and none of them took. I have
                          taken advice and I now know how to do better next year.

                          (To hold such small stems together I found it best to use
                          Hellermann sleeves, put over the stock end with a Hellermann
                          tool. These are normally used in electronic wiring. I came
                          to the belief that the usual grafting sealers contain
                          fungicides and alcohol which actually kill such small green
                          pieces. Vaseline seems to be the right stuff, we put it on
                          baby's bottoms!)

                          Grafting the products of hybridisation will shorten the breeding cycle
                          from 7 years to 2 years.

                          I went to the trees which had produced the bigger seeds, covered their
                          cones with plastic bags to stop their neighbours from fertilising
                          them, and fertilised them from the other big-seed producers. I will
                          collect the results in the next few weeks.

                          Bigger seeds are one thing I want, but also I look at the cones and
                          think "They are too big. The tree wastes too much on them. I want less

                          robust cones. Although rolling and crushing the cones is fairly
                          efficient, I would like harvesting to be even easier." And so I would
                          like less robust cones, something which can be seen just walking past.

                          I would also like trees with different growth habits. This could make
                          a big difference to harvesting methods. In this I have been lucky, I
                          have already found :-

                          * Varieties with all-cone branches, producing very many more cones.
                          * Varieties with almost all cones and no or very few catkins.
                          * A dwarf variety. What might be the harvesting use of this?
                          * A variety which has grown to 2.7 metres in 3 years.

                          It would be asking too much to ask people to break open cones and
                          sieve the seeds to find the biggest, though I would be grateful and
                          provide equipment and help to anybody who does want to do this.

                          What I feel I can ask is for people who walk past trees to look at
                          them with my needs in mind;-

                          CONES - Do they look different to usual?

                          GROWTH HABIT - Does this tree have a different shape and branch
                          layout?

                          You could tell me by phone - 0191 266 6435
                          You could tell me by e-mail - michael@...
                          You could write to me -
                          20 Cambridge Avenue
                          Forest Hall
                          Newcastle upon Tyne
                          NE12 8AR
                          UK.

                          We could meet at an agreed place and you could take me to the tree you
                          have found and go to a pub after.

                          You could send the Ordnance Grid reference.

                          Thank you for reading all this!

                          Michael Bell


                          --







                          --
                        • Michael Bell
                          In message ... Ossi What have you found? Here is my circular and progress report for Autumn 2011 Now is
                          Message 12 of 16 , Sep 29 1:13 AM
                          • 0 Attachment
                            In message <55946.84.248.237.202.1249538128.squirrel@...>
                            "Ossi Kakko" <ossi@...> wrote:

                            > Greetings from fennoscandia,

                            > we have both a. incana and a. glutinosa as native.

                            > occasionally i gather alnus seeds to eat by spreading
                            > blankets under the tree (on snow) and by rocking the trunk
                            > on a day which is not too windy, so the loss of seeds is minimal.

                            > suitable timing here comes usually in february-march,
                            > when the seeds drop naturally as cones open up. then seeds can
                            > be ground with stones with or without roasting, in soups or
                            > in bread or as a spread.... anyway one can prefer.

                            > i would say there's already quite sufficient yield from
                            > a single tree, so breeding sounds pretty weird,
                            > but will anyway have a look next season
                            > in case i see what you search for.

                            > ossi kakko

                            Ossi

                            What have you found?

                            Here is my circular and progress report for Autumn 2011


                            Now is the time of mists and mellow fruitfulness and I wonder if you
                            could make people aware of this project, and if they happen upon an
                            interesting variant I would be grateful to know of it. Or if you have
                            a pressed specimen with less robust cones or different growth habit,
                            then I could go to that place and see if I can find living specimens.

                            I have a project to develop alder (Alnus glutinosa) as a grain crop.
                            My reasons for this are:-

                            Britain cannot feed itself because half its land is too high and cold
                            for grain production. This is not because this land is infertile, the
                            tree-line is much higher than the crop line. It is because the main
                            grain crops originated in the Mediterranean and they are at the limit
                            of their range in Britain. To make use of this land we need to take a
                            plant which grows well in British upland conditions and breed it into
                            a suitable grain crop. There are many possible plants, and some sedges
                            show potential, but it would be a huge task to even evaluate them all.




                            Instead I have seized on the idea of alder because:-

                            * It is a tree; it can be more productive than a herb crop.
                            * Birds and small animals eat alder seeds and I know from many reports
                            and personal test that they are not harmful to man. Like other seed
                            crops, wheat, rice, oats, the taste lies in the preparation.
                            * It fixes nitrogen. Nitrate fertilisers are expensive and a big
                            source of CO2 production.
                            * It is a tree, once established it is insensitive to weather
                            variations.
                            * It is a tree, it does not need weeding and chemical weedkilling.
                            * The harvesting waste, chiefly cones, but also twigs, may be a useful
                            fuel, it comes in handy-sized pieces. The fallen leaves may also be
                            used as a fuel, they are plentiful.
                            * It is a tree, ground does not have to prepared for it every year
                            nor seed sown. This saves on the CO2 output of ploughing with heavy
                            machinery.
                            * Over its commercial life (50 years?) a tree will store a lot of
                            carbon.
                            * Alnus glutinosa grows in Tunisia and Algeria, the latitude of China
                            and Northern India. It could be useful there in holding back erosion
                            on steep slopes.

                            But alder needs to be improved to become a grain crop. In particular
                            it needs bigger seeds. I spent the whole of last autumn going round
                            alders on Tyneside (You can't do it in the rain, it is pleasant
                            work.), pulling cones off trees, breaking them open by rolling and
                            crushing them between two plates and sieving them. I found six trees
                            with SIGNIFICANTLY bigger seeds. They obviously weren't the top end of
                            a bell-curve, they were a STEP bigger. I germinated these bigger
                            seeds, germination was poor, partly because of my inexperience with
                            this species, but partly also because many bigger seeds are
                            deformities or are stuffed with "cork". Nevertheless, some germinated
                            and produced cotyledons which were noticeably bigger than standard,
                            showing that they contained more food.

                            I grafted these seedlings onto "adult" trees on places on the branches
                            which should produce catkins and cones this year for fruiting next
                            year, but my grafting technique was poor and none of them took. I have
                            taken advice and I now know how to do better next year.

                            (To hold such small stems together I found it best to use
                            Hellermann sleeves, put over the stock end with a Hellermann
                            tool. These are normally used in electronic wiring. I came
                            to the belief that the usual grafting sealers contain
                            fungicides and alcohol which actually kill such small green
                            pieces. Vaseline seems to be the right stuff, we put it on
                            baby's bottoms!)

                            Grafting the products of hybridisation will shorten the breeding cycle
                            from 7 years to 2 years.

                            I went to the trees which had produced the bigger seeds, covered their
                            cones with plastic bags to stop their neighbours from fertilising
                            them, and fertilised them from the other big-seed producers. I will
                            collect the results in the next few weeks.

                            Bigger seeds are one thing I want, but also I look at the cones and
                            think "They are too big. The tree wastes too much on them. I want less


                            robust cones. Although rolling and crushing the cones is fairly
                            efficient, I would like harvesting to be even easier." And so I would
                            like less robust cones, something which can be seen just walking past.

                            I would also like trees with different growth habits. This could make
                            a big difference to harvesting methods. In this I have been lucky, I
                            have already found :-

                            * Varieties with all-cone branches, producing very many more cones.
                            * Varieties with almost all cones and no or very few catkins.
                            * A dwarf variety. What might be the harvesting use of this?
                            * A variety which has grown to 2.7 metres in 3 years.

                            It would be asking too much to ask people to break open cones and
                            sieve the seeds to find the biggest, though I would be grateful and
                            provide equipment and help to anybody who does want to do this.

                            What I feel I can ask is for people who walk past trees to look at
                            them with my needs in mind;-

                            CONES - Do they look different to usual?

                            GROWTH HABIT - Does this tree have a different shape and branch
                            layout?

                            You could tell me by phone - 0191 266 6435
                            You could tell me by e-mail - michael@...
                            You could write to me -
                            20 Cambridge Avenue
                            Forest Hall
                            Newcastle upon Tyne
                            NE12 8AR
                            UK.

                            We could meet at an agreed place and you could take me to the tree you
                            have found and go to a pub after.

                            You could send the Ordnance Grid reference.

                            Thank you for reading all this!

                            Michael Bell


                            --









                            --



                            --
                          • inverse
                            ... if I happen to pass by an interesting alder specimen with ripe cones I ll make sure to mail you the seeds I m in northern Italy and relatively close to the
                            Message 13 of 16 , Sep 29 12:34 PM
                            • 0 Attachment
                              On Thu, Sep 29, 2011 at 9:46 AM, Michael Bell <michael@...> wrote:

                              You could write to me -


                               
                              if I happen to pass by an interesting alder specimen with ripe cones I'll make sure to mail you the seeds

                              I'm in northern Italy and relatively close to the Alps (15Km from the nearest mountains and 3Km from the nearest hills) 


                              Bye,
                              Inverse

                               

                            • Michael Bell
                              Ossi Please do have a look-out for better yielding alders. I have found trees with significantly bigger seeds, I am now cross-breeding them and I I ll see what
                              Message 14 of 16 , Oct 2, 2014
                              • 0 Attachment
                                Ossi

                                Please do have a look-out for better yielding alders. I have found
                                trees with significantly bigger seeds, I am now cross-breeding them
                                and I I'll see what results I have got in a month or so. Bigger seeds
                                are my main objective at this stage, but I also want cones which are
                                less strong, so I can get the seeds out!

                                It took 50 years to develop sugar beet from a weed of no importance to
                                the main crop we know today. 6 of those years have already passed for
                                aldergrain.

                                Michael Bell


                                In message <55946.84.248.237.202.1249538128.squirrel@...>
                                "Ossi Kakko" <ossi@...> wrote:

                                > Greetings from fennoscandia,

                                > we have both a. incana and a. glutinosa as native.

                                > occasionally i gather alnus seeds to eat by spreading
                                > blankets under the tree (on snow) and by rocking the trunk
                                > on a day which is not too windy, so the loss of seeds is minimal.

                                > suitable timing here comes usually in february-march,
                                > when the seeds drop naturally as cones open up. then seeds can
                                > be ground with stones with or without roasting, in soups or
                                > in bread or as a spread.... anyway one can prefer.

                                > i would say there's already quite sufficient yield from
                                > a single tree, so breeding sounds pretty weird,
                                > but will anyway have a look next season
                                > in case i see what you search for.

                                > ossi kakko





                                >> (This is a little changed from my earlier posting. "All things change"
                                >> - Buddha)
                                >>
                                >> 10 Cambridge Avenue
                                >> Forest Hall
                                >> Newcastle -upon - Tyne
                                >> NE12 8AR
                                >> michael@...
                                >> 0191 266 6435
                                >>
                                >>
                                >> I have embarked on a project to develop Alder (Alnus) as a grain crop.
                                >>
                                >> In my meaning of the word, a "grain" is a hard dry food-thing with
                                >> good keeping qualities, no matter what the exact botanical
                                >> description.
                                >>
                                >> If you look at some Alder trees and imagine that each cone was
                                >> replaced by an ear of wheat of the same size, you can see it would be
                                >> a good crop. Alders fix nitrogen, they do not need to be resown every
                                >> year, they do not cast a heavy shade, grass grows beneath them, and
                                >> animals could be pastured on the land. My original aim was to make
                                >> profitable use of the uplands of Britain, and Britain cannot feed
                                >> itself, but I see now that it could also be grown on lower land and
                                >> elsewhere in the world.
                                >>
                                >> So, I am looking for trees, cuttings or seeds, which have the traits I
                                >> want.
                                >>
                                >> I am undecided between Alnus incana and A. glutinosa. Alnus incana
                                >> grows higher and further north than A. glutinosa, and it is less
                                >> dependent on water than A. glutinosa, but A. glutinosa is more
                                >> plentiful. But the two species hybridise so I am interested in both.
                                >>
                                >> I foresee that the trees will be grown in rows to form a hedge. The
                                >> cones will be pulled off using a mechanical comb and threshed in
                                >> something like a combine harvester. The cones can easily be pulled off
                                >> many varieties.
                                >>
                                >> By timing harvesting correctly it will probably be possible to pull
                                >> off the cones without losing seeds and then break them open in the
                                >> harvester.
                                >>
                                >> That said, I want the finished breed to have cones which don't open on
                                >> the tree, are strong enough not break when pulled off the tree, but
                                >> are easy to break open in the harvester. Any steps toward that will be
                                >> welcome.
                                >>
                                >> Some alder trees carry no cones (!), others carry huge numbers of
                                >> catkins and very few cones: the opposite of what I want. Walking many
                                >> miles and looking at the alders as I passed I have found a few trees
                                >> which carry vast numbers of cones on special cone-only branches,
                                >> unlike "normal" alders where the cones are carried on the
                                >> leaf-carrying branches. I would attach photos if the list allowed it,
                                >> but I can send pictures off-list to anybody who asks.
                                >>
                                >> It is too early in the season to tell, but the seeds in these cones
                                >> will probably be the usual wretchedly small size. I want bigger.
                                >>
                                >> It was easy to walk past lots of trees and from many yards away see
                                >> how many cones they were carrying. I can see no such easy way of
                                >> searching for bigger seeds, and this is where I am asking for help.
                                >>
                                >> How can you search for bigger seeds?
                                >>
                                >> One possibility is that if a single seed is bigger, the regular
                                >> pattern of scales will be broken by a bigger seed inside. Is this a
                                >> workable search method?
                                >>
                                >> Another possibility is to sift the seeds after they have been got out
                                >> of the cones. How easy is it going to be do this by looking for
                                >> big-uns by spreading the seeds out on white paper? I have built a
                                >> seed-sifter which uses an air current from a computer cooling fan to
                                >> sort seeds by size/weight ratio. It shows promise. Have you got some
                                >> seeds which I could sort through? I can come and do it, I can bring
                                >> the sifter in my car.
                                >>
                                >> Are there any better ideas?
                                >>
                                >> To spread my net wide, I would be interested in any tree you know of
                                >> which has cones which are unusual in any way.
                                >>
                                >> I would be very grateful for any help with any part of this. I would
                                >> be grateful for cuttings (which preserve the gene combination which
                                >> gave rise to feature of interest) or seeds (especially if they are
                                >> big) or an invitation to see a tree of interest.
                                >>
                                >> The plan is to copy the "Open Source" ideas of Linux and similar
                                >> computer systems. All those who contribute material will be offered
                                >> the results of my work.
                                >>
                                >> Unfortunately I have to be away at the busiest time for this, 18 Sept
                                >> - 19 Oct, to attend the wedding of my nephew to a Nepali girl in
                                >> Kathmandu. It will be a Hindu ceremony, with "heroic eating and
                                >> drinking", followed by a walk in "the hills" - the Himalayas!
                                >>
                                >> Michael Bell
                                >>
                                >> --
                                >>




                                > ------------------------------------

                                > Yahoo! Groups Links





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                              • Geir Flatabø
                                How is the taste from the grains ??? Geir Flatabø 2014-10-03 7:12 GMT+02:00 Michael Bell michael@beaverbell.co.uk [pfaf]
                                Message 15 of 16 , Oct 3, 2014
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  How is the taste from the grains ???

                                  Geir Flatabø

                                  2014-10-03 7:12 GMT+02:00 Michael Bell michael@... [pfaf] <pfaf@yahoogroups.com>:
                                  Ossi

                                  Please do have a look-out for better yielding alders. I have found
                                  trees with significantly bigger seeds, I am now cross-breeding them
                                  and I I'll see what results I have got in a month or so. Bigger seeds
                                  are my main objective at this stage, but I also want cones which are
                                  less strong, so I can get the seeds out!

                                  It took 50 years to develop sugar beet from a weed of no importance to
                                  the main crop we know today. 6 of those years have already passed for
                                  aldergrain.

                                  Michael Bell


                                  In message <55946.84.248.237.202.1249538128.squirrel@...>
                                            "Ossi Kakko" <ossi@...> wrote:

                                  > Greetings from fennoscandia,

                                  > we have both a. incana and a. glutinosa as native.

                                  > occasionally i gather alnus seeds to eat by spreading
                                  > blankets under the tree (on snow) and by rocking the trunk
                                  > on a day which is not too windy, so the loss of seeds is minimal.

                                  > suitable timing here comes usually in february-march,
                                  > when the seeds drop naturally as cones open up. then seeds can
                                  > be ground with stones with or without roasting, in soups or
                                  > in bread or as a spread.... anyway one can prefer.

                                  > i would say there's already quite sufficient yield from
                                  > a single tree, so breeding sounds pretty weird,
                                  > but will anyway have a look next season
                                  > in case i see what you search for.

                                  > ossi kakko





                                  >> (This is a little changed from my earlier posting. "All things change"
                                  >> - Buddha)
                                  >>
                                  >>                                            10 Cambridge Avenue
                                  >>                                            Forest Hall
                                  >>                                            Newcastle -upon - Tyne
                                  >>                                            NE12 8AR
                                  >>                                            michael@...
                                  >>                                            0191 266 6435
                                  >>
                                  >>
                                  >> I have embarked on a project to develop Alder (Alnus) as a grain crop.
                                  >>
                                  >> In my meaning of the word, a "grain" is a hard dry food-thing with
                                  >> good keeping qualities, no matter what the exact botanical
                                  >> description.
                                  >>
                                  >> If you look at some Alder trees and imagine that each cone was
                                  >> replaced by an ear of wheat of the same size, you can see it would be
                                  >> a good crop. Alders fix nitrogen, they do not need to be resown every
                                  >> year, they do not cast a heavy shade, grass grows beneath them, and
                                  >> animals could be pastured on the land. My original aim was to make
                                  >> profitable use of the uplands of Britain, and Britain cannot feed
                                  >> itself, but I see now that it could also be grown on lower land and
                                  >> elsewhere in the world.
                                  >>
                                  >> So, I am looking for trees, cuttings or seeds, which have the traits I
                                  >> want.
                                  >>
                                  >> I am undecided between Alnus incana and A. glutinosa. Alnus incana
                                  >> grows higher and further north than A. glutinosa, and it is less
                                  >> dependent on water than A. glutinosa, but A. glutinosa is more
                                  >> plentiful. But the two species hybridise so I am interested in both.
                                  >>
                                  >> I foresee that the trees will be grown in rows to form a hedge. The
                                  >> cones will be pulled off using a mechanical comb and threshed in
                                  >> something like a combine harvester. The cones can easily be pulled off
                                  >> many varieties.
                                  >>
                                  >> By timing harvesting correctly it will probably be possible to pull
                                  >> off the cones without losing seeds and then break them open in the
                                  >> harvester.
                                  >>
                                  >> That said, I want the finished breed to have cones which don't open on
                                  >> the tree, are strong enough not break when pulled off the tree, but
                                  >> are easy to break open in the harvester. Any steps toward that will be
                                  >> welcome.
                                  >>
                                  >> Some alder trees carry no cones (!), others carry huge numbers of
                                  >> catkins and very few cones: the opposite of what I want. Walking many
                                  >> miles and looking at the alders as I passed I have found a few trees
                                  >> which carry vast numbers of cones on special cone-only branches,
                                  >> unlike "normal" alders where the cones are carried on the
                                  >> leaf-carrying branches. I would attach photos if the list allowed it,
                                  >> but I can send pictures off-list to anybody who asks.
                                  >>
                                  >> It is too early in the season to tell, but the seeds in these cones
                                  >> will probably be the usual wretchedly small size. I want bigger.
                                  >>
                                  >> It was easy to walk past lots of trees and from many yards away see
                                  >> how many cones they were carrying. I can see no such easy way of
                                  >> searching for bigger seeds, and this is where I am asking for help.
                                  >>
                                  >> How can you search for bigger seeds?
                                  >>
                                  >> One possibility is that if a single seed is bigger, the regular
                                  >> pattern of scales will be broken by a bigger seed inside. Is this a
                                  >> workable search method?
                                  >>
                                  >> Another possibility is to sift the seeds after they have been got out
                                  >> of the cones. How easy is it going to be do this by looking for
                                  >> big-uns by spreading the seeds out on white paper? I have built a
                                  >> seed-sifter which uses an air current from a computer cooling fan to
                                  >> sort seeds by size/weight ratio. It shows promise. Have you got some
                                  >> seeds which I could sort through? I can come and do it, I can bring
                                  >> the sifter in my car.
                                  >>
                                  >> Are there any better ideas?
                                  >>
                                  >> To spread my net wide, I would be interested in any tree you know of
                                  >> which has cones which are unusual in any way.
                                  >>
                                  >> I would be very grateful for any help with any part of this. I would
                                  >> be grateful for cuttings (which preserve the gene combination which
                                  >> gave rise to feature of interest) or seeds (especially if they are
                                  >> big) or an invitation to see a tree of interest.
                                  >>
                                  >> The plan is to copy the "Open Source" ideas of Linux and similar
                                  >> computer systems. All those who contribute material will be offered
                                  >> the results of my work.
                                  >>
                                  >> Unfortunately I have to be away at the busiest time for this, 18 Sept
                                  >> - 19 Oct, to attend the wedding of my nephew to a Nepali girl in
                                  >> Kathmandu. It will be a Hindu ceremony, with "heroic eating and
                                  >> drinking", followed by a walk in "the hills" - the Himalayas!
                                  >>
                                  >> Michael Bell
                                  >>
                                  >> --
                                  >>




                                  > ------------------------------------

                                  > Yahoo! Groups Links





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                                  Posted by: Michael Bell <michael@...>
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                                • Michael Bell
                                  The seeds don t taste of anything, and that s to be expected because the seeds are spread by wind and water and don t have to taste of anything to make
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Oct 3, 2014
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    The seeds don't taste of anything, and that's to be expected because
                                    the seeds are spread by wind and water and don't have to taste of
                                    anything to make themselves attractive to birds or animals to spread
                                    them around.

                                    Most grain crops, wheat, rice, maize, etc have been developed from
                                    wild ancestors whose seeds were likewise spread by wind and water, not
                                    by animals or birds, and they also taste of nothing in particular,
                                    taste is created by the cooking or brewing process.


                                    Michael Bell

                                    In message <CAMPY7b3F7T5vgi8CczCMrePSu8qCmG+pwVLXm7HARDqw17hbkg@mail.g
                                    mail.com>
                                    "Geir Flatabø geirf@... [pfaf]" <pfaf@yahoogroups.com>
                                    wrote:

                                    > How is the taste from the grains ???

                                    > Geir Flatabø

                                    > 2014-10-03 7:12 GMT+02:00 Michael Bell michael@... [pfaf] <
                                    > pfaf@yahoogroups.com>:

                                    >> Ossi
                                    >>
                                    >> Please do have a look-out for better yielding alders. I have found
                                    >> trees with significantly bigger seeds, I am now cross-breeding them
                                    >> and I I'll see what results I have got in a month or so. Bigger seeds
                                    >> are my main objective at this stage, but I also want cones which are
                                    >> less strong, so I can get the seeds out!
                                    >>
                                    >> It took 50 years to develop sugar beet from a weed of no importance to
                                    >> the main crop we know today. 6 of those years have already passed for
                                    >> aldergrain.
                                    >>
                                    >> Michael Bell
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >> In message <55946.84.248.237.202.1249538128.squirrel@...>
                                    >> "Ossi Kakko" <ossi@...> wrote:
                                    >>
                                    >>> Greetings from fennoscandia,
                                    >>
                                    >>> we have both a. incana and a. glutinosa as native.
                                    >>
                                    >>> occasionally i gather alnus seeds to eat by spreading
                                    >>> blankets under the tree (on snow) and by rocking the trunk
                                    >>> on a day which is not too windy, so the loss of seeds is minimal.
                                    >>
                                    >>> suitable timing here comes usually in february-march,
                                    >>> when the seeds drop naturally as cones open up. then seeds can
                                    >>> be ground with stones with or without roasting, in soups or
                                    >>> in bread or as a spread.... anyway one can prefer.
                                    >>
                                    >>> i would say there's already quite sufficient yield from
                                    >>> a single tree, so breeding sounds pretty weird,
                                    >>> but will anyway have a look next season
                                    >>> in case i see what you search for.
                                    >>
                                    >>> ossi kakko
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >>>> (This is a little changed from my earlier posting. "All things change"
                                    >>>> - Buddha)
                                    >>>>
                                    >>>> 10 Cambridge Avenue
                                    >>>> Forest Hall
                                    >>>> Newcastle -upon - Tyne
                                    >>>> NE12 8AR
                                    >>>> michael@...
                                    >>>> 0191 266 6435
                                    >>>>
                                    >>>>
                                    >>>> I have embarked on a project to develop Alder (Alnus) as a grain crop.
                                    >>>>
                                    >>>> In my meaning of the word, a "grain" is a hard dry food-thing with
                                    >>>> good keeping qualities, no matter what the exact botanical
                                    >>>> description.
                                    >>>>
                                    >>>> If you look at some Alder trees and imagine that each cone was
                                    >>>> replaced by an ear of wheat of the same size, you can see it would be
                                    >>>> a good crop. Alders fix nitrogen, they do not need to be resown every
                                    >>>> year, they do not cast a heavy shade, grass grows beneath them, and
                                    >>>> animals could be pastured on the land. My original aim was to make
                                    >>>> profitable use of the uplands of Britain, and Britain cannot feed
                                    >>>> itself, but I see now that it could also be grown on lower land and
                                    >>>> elsewhere in the world.
                                    >>>>
                                    >>>> So, I am looking for trees, cuttings or seeds, which have the traits I
                                    >>>> want.
                                    >>>>
                                    >>>> I am undecided between Alnus incana and A. glutinosa. Alnus incana
                                    >>>> grows higher and further north than A. glutinosa, and it is less
                                    >>>> dependent on water than A. glutinosa, but A. glutinosa is more
                                    >>>> plentiful. But the two species hybridise so I am interested in both.
                                    >>>>
                                    >>>> I foresee that the trees will be grown in rows to form a hedge. The
                                    >>>> cones will be pulled off using a mechanical comb and threshed in
                                    >>>> something like a combine harvester. The cones can easily be pulled off
                                    >>>> many varieties.
                                    >>>>
                                    >>>> By timing harvesting correctly it will probably be possible to pull
                                    >>>> off the cones without losing seeds and then break them open in the
                                    >>>> harvester.
                                    >>>>
                                    >>>> That said, I want the finished breed to have cones which don't open on
                                    >>>> the tree, are strong enough not break when pulled off the tree, but
                                    >>>> are easy to break open in the harvester. Any steps toward that will be
                                    >>>> welcome.
                                    >>>>
                                    >>>> Some alder trees carry no cones (!), others carry huge numbers of
                                    >>>> catkins and very few cones: the opposite of what I want. Walking many
                                    >>>> miles and looking at the alders as I passed I have found a few trees
                                    >>>> which carry vast numbers of cones on special cone-only branches,
                                    >>>> unlike "normal" alders where the cones are carried on the
                                    >>>> leaf-carrying branches. I would attach photos if the list allowed it,
                                    >>>> but I can send pictures off-list to anybody who asks.
                                    >>>>
                                    >>>> It is too early in the season to tell, but the seeds in these cones
                                    >>>> will probably be the usual wretchedly small size. I want bigger.
                                    >>>>
                                    >>>> It was easy to walk past lots of trees and from many yards away see
                                    >>>> how many cones they were carrying. I can see no such easy way of
                                    >>>> searching for bigger seeds, and this is where I am asking for help.
                                    >>>>
                                    >>>> How can you search for bigger seeds?
                                    >>>>
                                    >>>> One possibility is that if a single seed is bigger, the regular
                                    >>>> pattern of scales will be broken by a bigger seed inside. Is this a
                                    >>>> workable search method?
                                    >>>>
                                    >>>> Another possibility is to sift the seeds after they have been got out
                                    >>>> of the cones. How easy is it going to be do this by looking for
                                    >>>> big-uns by spreading the seeds out on white paper? I have built a
                                    >>>> seed-sifter which uses an air current from a computer cooling fan to
                                    >>>> sort seeds by size/weight ratio. It shows promise. Have you got some
                                    >>>> seeds which I could sort through? I can come and do it, I can bring
                                    >>>> the sifter in my car.
                                    >>>>
                                    >>>> Are there any better ideas?
                                    >>>>
                                    >>>> To spread my net wide, I would be interested in any tree you know of
                                    >>>> which has cones which are unusual in any way.
                                    >>>>
                                    >>>> I would be very grateful for any help with any part of this. I would
                                    >>>> be grateful for cuttings (which preserve the gene combination which
                                    >>>> gave rise to feature of interest) or seeds (especially if they are
                                    >>>> big) or an invitation to see a tree of interest.
                                    >>>>
                                    >>>> The plan is to copy the "Open Source" ideas of Linux and similar
                                    >>>> computer systems. All those who contribute material will be offered
                                    >>>> the results of my work.
                                    >>>>
                                    >>>> Unfortunately I have to be away at the busiest time for this, 18 Sept
                                    >>>> - 19 Oct, to attend the wedding of my nephew to a Nepali girl in
                                    >>>> Kathmandu. It will be a Hindu ceremony, with "heroic eating and
                                    >>>> drinking", followed by a walk in "the hills" - the Himalayas!
                                    >>>>
                                    >>>> Michael Bell
                                    >>>>
                                    >>>> --
                                    >>>>
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >>> ------------------------------------
                                    >>
                                    >>> Yahoo! Groups Links
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >>
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                                    >>
                                    >> ------------------------------------
                                    >> Posted by: Michael Bell <michael@...>
                                    >> ------------------------------------
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >> ------------------------------------
                                    >>
                                    >> Yahoo Groups Links
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >>


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