Sunday, December 4, 2016

teosinte and snow

today's snow started out as small flakes...as the storm has progressed they have become larger and wetter creating a heavy cover of snow...the teosinte has taken a few hits over it all...some stalks are bent over...others have snapped and fallen over...flowers are no longer upright and the snow continues to fall...they would have fallen eventually anyway..one of the selective advantages of height, beyond better access to more sunlight during the growing season, is that when the plants die back they fall over spreading seed along a ten to twelve foot line from the position of the parent plant...more area...more chance of more seeds germinating in the next generation...looking out for the little ones...the seventh photo is of an ear that is preparing to shatter i posted yesterday...the eighth is of another that is opening and the ninth is of ears whose husks have become so thin you can see the seeds in them...preparing to shatter...more as they open.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

seeds

it's december and the stand of teosinte out back is showing it...it still looks awfully corny, however it is doing something most un-cornlike...the husks on the seed ears are peeling back as the temperature drops, exposing the seeds ( with silk s til attached )...sweet corn or dense yellow #2 would not...the husks on "corn" are so thick and tough that the plant cannot reseed itself in the wild..it is wholly dependent on human intervention to grow..if humans become extinct so does corn...i am doubtful that these seeds are viable...the plant's season is far too long and has been cut short by the coming winter...i am inclined to let he seed fall ( or, at least, some...i have brought plants indoors to preserve ) despite my skepticism and see if anything develops in the spring..if not i have frozen seed and fresh seed i recently purchased...the "wild and weedy" ancestor will reappear in the spring.

yacon rhizomes

i went out back early this morning to harvest some yacon to send to a dear friend...the yacon has done well this year and the plant in the container yielded about two pounds of fresh yacon tubers...along with the tubers there came a number of rhizomes that speak to me of another generation in the next year...i left some on the tubers i sent just in case my friend would like to experiment with growing yacon since they readily grow in containers...there were multiple rhizomes on the root balls and some that popped off during harvest...those i took downstairs and planted about three inches deep under the lights...the yacon rhizomes i planted last christmas day took thirty-seven days to sprout so we won't be looking for any of these until next year.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

potatoes' progress

the indoor season is taking hold in the plant room...thirty-eight days ago the potato plant in the top photo was just a sprout on a tuber...in something like twenty two more days it will begin to set tubers itself...and sometime in january they will be ready to harvest...in eleven days the plant in the fourth photo has become the one in the third and the one one in the sixth has changed into the one in the fifth...movement in spuds...indoor winter crops...no sign of yacon yet...more as it comes up.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

gleaning support roots

rounding up stuff to prepare the physical plant for winter took me by the filed behind the big box stores...there were geese out there gleaning the field however i spooked them when i drove up and failed to get a photo to add some life to the field...and i am thinking more critters have been at work...i did find grain ( if you can call industrial feedstock grain )out there in some quantity, including full ears, however i had to cover a lot more of the field to find it today than i did last week..its disappearance may not bode well for my hopes for volunteer corn next season...we will see...it's an iffy sort of crap shoot anyway...there almost always is some in the bean fields however it is usually so deep in the field that wading out to it without causing significant crop damage is difficult and i am not out to damage farmer brown's crop...i will not make circles...the bottom eight photos are juxtapositions of support roots...the top photo of each successive pair is of the roots of the domesticate corn and the bottom one in each set is the "wild and weedy ancestor" teosinte...i will leave it to you to make morphological comparisons...the two below this are teosinte in my yard...you have to admit it looks corny.

Friday, November 25, 2016

zea

the season is as finished for the teosinte as it is for its descendants in the field behind the big box stores so i cut down a stalk and propped it up by the house to provide another scale for its size..much larger than northern tepehuan teosinte with ears alternating down the main stalk...these are fairly large...about three inches in length and they resemble the ears on dense yellow #2 ( sixth photo )...unlike the single stalk field corn however, the teosinte has branches ( last two photos )...there are four coming off this stalk and each of the branches has ears aligned along it end to end ( like smaller northern tepehuan plants in shadier spots produce ) all told this plant had thirty-one ears and my experience of this variety so far has been that each husk contains two or three spikes of seeds wrapped in their own interior husks...could those separate spikes have mutated into rows around a cob...seems likely.