Tuesday, April 30, 2013

campus 4-30-2013

stopped off at campus after work to do some watering and see what was up...my only perennial teosinte so far this season is doing okay...i am hoping for more is some of the other spots i have it planted in bit it is fickle stuff...the eastern gamagrass is greening up in earnest now and will be dominating the east end of the garden again this season while the wheat grass form kansas is just booming along...there are more rouge jerusalem artichokes to cull when i have a bit more time and a trowel..since there are now sixteen up and running in the bed at my house i don't think there will be more transplanting...anyone interested in one or two of the vicious beasts? the pgp is coming alive and soon the hopi blue will be going in to add some height to the garden as well as an annual...over at the iu northwest community garden the cherry tree is in full blossom and is doing well given its travails last season...the neighbors came out while i was watering over there and we had a chat about what was up...the community part of the community garden.

Monday, April 29, 2013

wheat, wheatgrass, and jerusalem artichokes

the snow is gone from the industrial field by the supermarket...at least until next winter...and the winter wheat is booming along just fine...waiting to be turned under ( although wheat prices last season saw me fooled as some local farmers let the wheat grow to maturity, harvested it, and put in a late planting of alfalfa ) to make way for corn or beans ( it was a bean field last season with volunteer corn...inverse this year? )...it bears a strong family resemblance tot he intermediate wheat grass in the pgp and i am curious to see the seed heads on the grasses from kansas and whether they resemble wheat grass seed heads or wheat ( http://gardenengineer.blogspot.com/2011/07/intermediate-wheat-grass-and-wheat.html ) i am curious about yields as well...meanwhile in the back yard, the aggressive, invasive, and pretty much all consuming jerusalem artichokes that i was so concerned about have begun to crop up in disturbing numbers in the bed i planted last autumn...difficult to control and disdainful of much of anything in the way of predators or competitors ( you can probably see some sort of competing plants coming up [as well as a failed seed] if you magnify the images...i'd weed them out but the sunchokes will cast so much shade soon enough that they don't stand a chance...there is some of the equally invasive lemon balm making an incursion on the west end of the bed and it will be instructive to see if two powerhouse species can coexist ) my concern was misplaced...now if only the potatoes would show...as rebecca said at the community garden saturday, "you'll grow in my pantry, why not when i plant you?"...these too shall sprout...the sooner the better for me.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

planting at the community garden

it was a community outreach day at the iu northwest community garden and ellen szarleta kindly invited me out to help...as a result i got to spend a few pleasant hours in the garden working with some high school students as they planted strawberries, turnips, jalepeno peppers, green peppers, and cucumbers out behind lindenwood hall...they did a great job of cleaning up the beds and preparing them for planting while i was pretty much relegated to the role of an interested bystander...got to catch up a bit with some folks i hadn't seen in a while ( too long actually ) and see more progress on the season...i believe i liked it much more than being out there alone...certainly things got done much more quickly...there is, i believe, a evening soiree on the tenth of next month when we will be planting maize ( jackpot hybrid and hopi blue ) and enjoying the garden...it will be the place to be that friday.

Friday, April 26, 2013

asparagus II

made a stop at campus to day to do a few things and see what was up...to start with three more asparagus spears...so there are four that have appeared in the last few days...one less concern in the gardens...the teosinte that's up from seed weathered the cold overnight and is doing fine..at least one more maize ancestor on campus...the wheat grass continues to thrive and spread so there is movement...just not enough to suit the gardener...nature is having me work on my patience and on the whole things are greening up...the community garden is quiet except for the cherry tree which is beginning to leaf...the red nordlands haven't made an appearance yet...either in the community garden or in my backyard...temperatures are due to warm a bit over the next few days...that may get things going a bit more quickly...i will watch and wait.

more rouges find a home

while i was at the pgp i found three more rouge jerusalem artichokes which i unearthed and wrapped up to take to my back yard..where, disturbingly enough, the only sunchokes that are up are ones i have brought home and planted...the fifteen odd ones i planted last autumn are taking their sweet time...but then most things seem to be...perhaps my memory is simply being selective because of my disruptive impatience...there are thirty-five turnip plants up out there though which is a step closer to where i'd like to be in the garden...and finally the yema de huevos potatoes are recovering well form last weeks frostbite...new growth will soon replace the blackened leaves and they will be on their way again

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

government potataoes

i pulled the box of government potatoes out of the basement, intending to cut and callus the larger of the early blue potatoes ( a strain developed here in the u s ) and was a bit surprised to find them already sprouted...so i took them over to the house and planted them whole...creating fewer plants...but using less of the finite space available as well...i planted a couple of huaca corotas in another barrel ( from bolivia ) and one of the smallish olalla potatoes ( from spain ) had begun to sprout as well so i found a home for it in a deep urn that had house some teosinte a couple of years back...the rest of this batch will need to go in soon and i am wondering just how many tubers i will get...the early blue should be no problem and i am hoping that since parts of spain and indiana are at nearly the same latitude that the olalla will do well also...the bolivian potatoes are from an area nearer the equator and i worry about day-length issues impacting the setting of tubers...the closer the plant's point of origin is to the equator the more equal it likes its days and nights to be...fifteen or sixteen hours of daylight will certainly let the plant grow but it won't reproduce...and since i need the tuber for the storage experiment that won't help much...you take your chances in gardening and i have had some spectacular public failures ( recently too )...the whole south american tuber idea may come to nothing ( one remembers the ojosa negra from last season for instance ) but i am still inclined to try...failure teaches as well as success, even if it isn't as gratifying, and i am here to learn...about the rationale behind the neolithic revolution and about what it means to be native to a place...failure has its place in that as well as success.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

asparagus at last

gardening is an all weather sport and today was another wet, chilly one out there...the big news of the day is that there is finally an asparagus plant up...i was reasonably concerned about it because, no matter what the weather, the have always put in an appearance by mid april and these were running late...true it is only the beginning of a single spear but once one crops up the others aren't usually far behind...the fledgling zea diploperennis is doing well and is unmistakable as it gears up for the season...still no growth out of the beds from last year so i planted a few more seeds around just to play it safe...i can feature a lot of changes in the pgp as time goes on but i will always want to grow teosinte...hopi blue maize is too cool to pass up as well...the intermediate wheat grass is booming along...ignoring the chill as it has all winter and spreading out like a good perennial...three more rouge jerusalem artichokes have popped out of the garden and are destined for my backyard soon...doubtlessly there will be more of the invasive little critters...as i recall there were upwards of eighty after the first season...last year's poor production may cut that back a bit but more of these stubborn critters are lurking about...there is green in the garden...and now purple too...now if the red nordlands in the community garden show up... i will be a bit less impatient...still more to do.

Monday, April 22, 2013

earth day...still impatient

the zea diploperennis beds that pulled through the winter of 2011-2012 to have a second season in the garden appear to be inert...i haven't given up on them yet but i am concerned about them ( and my asparagus...where is it? should be up by now and isn't...getting a bit edgy there )...but that is definitely zea diplopersnnis up form seed...one seedling is clearly identifiable and there is a second on the way...the "wild an weedy ancestor" of maize is up and running and i am always geeked by that...meanwhile in my back yard several dozen turnip plants have cropped up and so there will be root crops this spring...the yema de huevos government potatoes got a bit blackened by the frost of the past weekend but they are resilient and are already showing new green growth beneath the frostbitten leaves...no worries there...still no potatoes up anywhere..or beets...and the only jerusalem artichokes are rouges in the pgp and the one i transplanted home...i am grinding my teeth and wandering in circles waiting for movement on a garden-wide scale in at least three places and the mixed bag of results so far has me somewhat disquieted...a couple of spuds and a spear of asparagus would do me good.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

impatience rewarded?

...perhaps because there is movement...am i mistaken or is that a shoot of zea diploperennis i see coming up form one of the seeds i planted a few weeks ago> i believe it is so chalk up a reward...the kansas wheat grass is booming along already and will soon be spreading out into the garden...i will need to bag the seedheads when the emerge to deter the starlings and allow a reasonable assessment of yield for lee de haan at the land institute...i found anither rouge jerusalem artichoke and will be removing it to the safety of my backyard this coming week...the pgp is greening up and i am geeked at the thought of teosinte growing with maize again this year...a quick trip to the community garden shows me that it is still early days...no potatoes up yet, but that will change soon...need to get out there with some tools to do some clearing in the beds soon...the asparagus is a total failure...not to worry...we will be growing more maize there this season than i had originally planned and i will "naturalize" some asparagus berries form the hawthorn garden in the autumn...perennials are on their way to the community.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


there has been quite a bit of rain in the area over the past few days ( clear today though ) and a lot of flooding as well...it was a rather large system that spread across a number of states causing problems everywhere it went...i got an email yesterday from dr. tim crews an ecologist at the land institute asking me 9 and, i'm sure any number of others ) to send along any photos of soil erosion in farm fields around the area...so i took my camera and went out exploring the suburban/rural nexus i live in yesterday evening and again this after noon...i found erosion...but i have been finding it for years...which is worrisome if you stop to think about it because farmland isn't just being lost to the expansion of the doomed suburbs ( read upon the "urban revolution"...brugman is a place to start even if i don't agree with everything jeb says...and wendell berry would disapprove...perhaps heatedly )it's washing away every time there's enough rain to overcome the berm of a field ( and there is a lot of that out there today )...so if the climate is going to produce more intense "weather events" like this slow-moving system that dumped months of rainfall in a couple of days on fields across the midwest how well prepared are the erosion defenses?