Tag Archive | Solanum melogena

Bye, Bye Mr. Ichiban: The Discontinuation of Ichiban Hybrid Eggplant


“Dear Sir,

I’m an avid reader of your blog and I would like to know the answer to why I can’t buy ichiban eggplant this year. It’s the best.  Was it a crop failure?

Joe”

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Hi Joe,

I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, but it is most likely that we will have to have a funeral for your dear friend, Ichiban Hybrid Eggplant.  He is no more.

If you have heard any rumblings through the gardening community in the last five years, then it was without a doubt about how Monsanto had tapped into the home gardening market by acquisitioning Seminis Seeds (to read more on this, click here).  This buyout has resulted in a number of changes, including the correction of varietial names that were illegally sold by Seminis to increase their offerings and desireability (see here) and the discontinuation of many varieties that were only offered to home gardeners.

Ichiban Hybrid is a casualty of this process, as it was not versatile enough to be offered for commercial growers.  The fruits are more prone to scarring and the plants are not as disease resistant as other types.

For now, many companies have replaced Ichiban Hybrid with Millionaire Hybrid (offered by American Takii Seeds and distributed through many seed catalogs like Jung and Burpee).  I have tried it in my trial gardens in 2010, but found that it lacked the flavor of the Ichiban and didn’t seem to produce as well in a side-by-side comparison.

The only hope of Ichiban Hybrid coming back from the ‘dead’ is if Monsanto/Seminis sell the breeding rights to another seed producer, or if  they bring it back themselves.  The likelihood of this occurring is about as good as pigs flying.

 

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Vicars of Vegetables, 12/18/10


For those of you that have been following my blog for a number of years, you have undoubtedly seen various posts about the ‘Vicars of Vegetables’, Drs. Jim Nienhuis and Irwin Goldman of the University of Wisconsin – Madison Horticulture Department.  Jim and Irwin are good friends of mine — heh, I’m the one that got Jim to ‘love’ eggplant dishes — and their time spent on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Garden Talk with Larry Mueller” is always a good program to listen to.  With the business of my last few weeks, I had not had a chance to visit the Wisconsin Public Radio website to catch their latest episode.  However, I was in luck!

You, too, can listen to the Vicars of Vegetables spread their knowledge and occasional gardening haikus.  Simple click on the link below to download the most recent Garden Talk episode from December 18, 2010.

http://wpr.org/wcast/download-mp3-request.cfm?mp3file=mlr101217f.mp3&iNoteID=94436

And for more episodes from Larry Mueller, please follow the link the his Wisconsin Public Radio website:

http://wpr.org/webcasting/audioarchives_display.cfm?Code=mlr

 

 

 

 

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

A Veggie by Any Other Name: Name Changes Hit the Home Gardener Market


“Dear Horticulture Talk,

Last year you wrote that certain varieties were getting different names.  Are there any that will have different names for 2011?

Thanks,

George”

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Yes, indeed, there will be changes for 2011.  For these varieties, you can thank the formerly questionable naming practices of Seminis seed (pre-Monsanto).

As discussed in my previous entry on Fat ‘n Sassy Peppers, the naming scheme developed under the Seminis was that the home garden market is totally different than the commercial market in that people want ‘cute’ names.  The cuter the name, the easier it is to sell.  So, Seminis ‘dumbed down’ their names so gardeners like you and I could feel warm fuzzies inside when we had our little ‘sweeties’ growing in the garden.

*gag*

Essentially, plant breeders at Seminis were encouraged to market seed under different names.  The true name was the commercial name and was marketed at a premium because a new disease resistant or long shelf life variety for a commercial growers could mean thousands of dollars per pound prices.  Home garden markets are not able to accept such high prices, so the names new name was given and it sold under the new name to the home garden seed companies (and thus their customers).  As you may have caught on, that is a HUGE!!! no-no in the various laws developed by the Federal Seed Act (FSA) and the USDA.

Here are the many varieties that are getting a ‘makeover:

–Eggplant Epic (formerly Dusky)

–Pepper Mitla (formerly Jalapa)

–Pepper Balada (formerly Kung Pao)

–Pepper King Arthur (formerly Fat and Sassy)

–Pepper Biscayne (formerly Sweet Cubanella)

–Squash Commander (formerly Aristocrat)

–Baron Hybrid (formerly Red Beauty Hybrid)

–Italico (formerly Spanish Spice)

As always, I’m sure more will be coming for 2012, but this is at least enough to keep you going this next year.

 

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.