Thursday, November 24, 2011
the potted teosinte i brought in last month and put under the grow light continues to tiller up new growth and seems to be well adapted to indoor life...however i have developed an issue with mold...about a week ago i noticed that some of the leaves were wet and sticking together...when i pulled them apart i found mold growing between them...i separated them and wiped them dry and set up a fan to keep air moving over the plants...i also began to bring them up into natural light for part of the day hoping the uv light would attack the mold...i continue to dry wipe mold off the affected leaves and the mold does not appear to be spreading...hopefully i found and contained it...if it begins to spread i will need to do some pruning which is contrary to my nature but may be necessary to preserve the plants..that or perhaps a move to a corner somewhere upstairs...more later as things develop.
i was just out in the back yard checking up on things and the winter wheat in the beds is coming along ( top two and bottom photos) there is tillering going on and the wheat continues to grow and fill in...the weather simply hasn't been cold enough to send it into dormancy yet...the wheat on campus (photos three and four) continues to develop tillers as well and there are now more than five hundred plants up out there...i have a much thicker crop at home than on campus and i am a bit dis appointed by that...the wheat on campus will fill in in the spring and i will be leaving a stand to mature and ripen, but the other part of the plan was to create a cover crop for the soil and in that respect i have had much more success in the backyard than on campus...i used two different batches of seed to begin with and then re-sowed the campus garden with the other seed, but i am not sure if the differing results are from some seed viability issue or if the beds in back afford the wheat a more protected environment for germination...next fall will see the campus garden sown with seed from the summer harvest exclusively...i believe i will grind the remaining grain form this year and make some bread...that will take care of any old seed issues.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
it's getting on to thanksgiving ( dinner at mom's) and the harvest of feedstock for the food system is pretty much complete down county line road ( although there is still some work to do)...the field of beans and corn i photographed at the beginning of october( middle photo, as if you needed me to help you figure that out) was brought in last week..beans first, corn last...perhaps because soy beans are a hot commodity this year...you can see the corn stubble left in the field and that will help hold the soil together, but the bean field is bare as could be...it had been plowed and i thought perhaps there was a cover crop going in, but it's a bit on thr late side for that...i've had winter wheat in for a month or better and it is just started to tiller...anything going in that field wouldn't have enough time to establish itself before dormancy so it's going to winter over as it is...you can see water starting to collect in the low spots and this is where the erosion i photographed last spring took place...the plowing for this past season has obliterated the trench the water wore through the field but if i keep my wits i believe we sill see more erosion photos after the next spring thaw...the national corn growers propagandize about "no-till" corn a lot but that doesn't seem to have translated into action in the northwest corner of the hoosier state...more soil erosion as i find it.
Friday, November 18, 2011
it's been dry and windy in these parts recently so i went out to campus this morning to water the winter wheat because it hasn't gotten cold enough yet to send the wheat into dormancy and the wind is drying the garden out...the wheat in my backyard is better sheltered by the raised beds but i watered it as well...the good news is that the wheat is taking advantage of the mild weather we've had so far this month and has begun to tiller which means it's pretty well established and a good number of plants should survive the winter ( top and bottom photos)...the zea diploperennis that i moved indoors last month seems to be fine as well...both of those plants are tillering up new growth as well so the grow light seems to be providing an adequate environment...it's early days though and there are many things that could go wrong still..i will be moving them up and down the stairs so they can grab some natural light throughout the winter and get a break from the basement.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
the bottom photo is from about eleven days ago....the fourth photo is from may...the top three are august , july, and june in descending order...just a few photos of the changes in the perennial garden project over the course of the season.
Friday, November 11, 2011
the time had come to cut back and mulch the asparagus and yams and today seemed as likely a day as any so i went to campus to put the garden to bed for winter....about two and a half hours of work took care of it ( a bit more work this year since i mulched the zea diploperennis in an act of pure optimism )...i took out the trellises...cut back the plants and had at it...once again i laid down a layer of organic matter ( actually humus i picked up at lowes...i never seem to be able to produce enough compost at home to cover my needs...i may have to convert a larger portion of the yard to compost production...this is one of the reasons i have started working with green manures and winter wheat [ and i may look into rye next year] to create organic matter without the ordeal of composting...more on that as i fill my raised bed in the back yard ) and covered it with straw and fastened down landscaping fabric to hold it in place...it has worked well the last two winters and it keeps thing neat...which seems to count on campus...mulching here at home is a different story...it' where all the stuff i dragged home from campus goes....so it's time to do some serious reading for both new ideas for direction and for a second independent study paper...there's still the indoor zea diploperennis project ( new growth on both plants under the grow light and some serious work on a watering schedule ) and the apple trees ( which still haven't shed their leaves) to bed down for winter...more posts as things develop.
it really pained me to cut down the zea diploperennis...i mulched it but i am not sanguine about the root system of a sub-tropical plant wintering over here...i am still geeked that i managed to produce plants on campus and at home and i have more seeds for planting in the spring...hopefully with the same success...i had a more limited success with northern tepehuan teosinte that i planted at the same time last spring so this year i decided to try to treat the seeds more like they would be in a natural process and put them in now to overwinter...i will still plant in the spring and hope for a longer season so the seeds can fully mature.
Monday, November 7, 2011
well...the photos of the winter wheat are in inverse order but they still show growth...the top photo is from today...the second from the fourth of this month and the third photo is from the twenty-ninth of last month...there are a shade over five hundred plants up and running on campus...several thousand out in the back yard...i planted approximately ten thousand seeds ( about a pound )so that's a fair return...the weather is set to turn towards winter later this week , however the plants are easily the same size or bigger than the ones i planted last fall and that crop has become this one...hopefully that bodes well for the future...one of the two northern tepehuan teosinte plants on campus has snapped off just below a node of support roots...wind, critters ( squirrels have been very active around here the past week) human intervention...don't know and it really doesn't matter...its season is pretty much done and it served the purpose of morphological comparison with maize very well...the asparagus is dying back as well and i believe there will be a mulching expedition on an early morning this coming weekend...i have the necessary components...i will look for a comparatively windless day ( i loathe chasing rouge straw around the grounds )
Thursday, November 3, 2011
i went out back and planted some blueberry bushes in an effort to expand the fruit crop out there that the birds and i can compete for ( i see the yard festooned in bird tape next spring...perhaps even a scarecrow)...they are not self-pollinating so you need at least two to have any fruit...lots of varieties, i planted bluecrop because they can deal with being in partial shade rather than full sunlight...one of my autumn and winter projects this year is pruning back more of the jungle out there including some feral ornamental grasses i plan to replace with potatoes, tomatoes, beans and peppers...that will also get my apple trees out form under their shadow part of the day...they need sun all day...if i have hundreds of winter wheat plants up on campus, i have thousands here at home...i used two different batches of seeds for the plantings and i have to question the viability of some of the seed i used on campus...i plan to leave the bed in the photo as a crop so i will have a multitude of seed for fall 2012 to use and share wherever...even my half-barrels are filling in with sprouts...it promises to be a grassy spring all around.
stopped off on campus just to check up on things...more winter wheat sprouts have appeared so there are well over four hundred plants in various stages of development...those that make it through the winter will fill in the stand i leave up by spreading rhizomes...the rest will return nitrogen to the soil for the crop of potatoes and wild potatoes that i'm putting in ( and, perhaps, some turnips as well )...most of the asparagus is still green so the mulching will wait at least another week, i believe it was november seventh when i mulched last year...we'll be a bit later this year but seasons are never the same anyway...if you look closely enough ( or magnify the photo) you can see the winter wheat coming up in the long shot of the garden in november.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
but clearly the teosinte finds it acceptable as well...the northern tepehuan on campus is evincing what must be a last spurt of growth as it produces more leaves and even flowers...no seeds unfortunately...the winter wheat is filling in nicely...there are newly germinated sprouts and many of the plants have developed a second leaf...the chlorophyll is gearing up before the plants go dormant...over four hundred up ( in a really unscientific census...there may be an unacceptable margin of error for academic work...but the anthropology is elsewhere in the garden....the wheat is sustainability...the again...trying to develop a culture of sustainability makes it anthropology anyway...win/win...except for the unscientific count business) and the beds and half barrels at home are sprouting prolifically as well...all we need now is some snow for insulation...but not til after the yam/asparagus mulch please...more on that as the asparagus dies back.