in an email to ellen i said i thought poor drainage was the cause of the cherry tree's misery...she did some research and said based on the appearance of the leaves it could be a phytophthora fungal infection and that exposing the crown and main root might help stop the infection...ellen's smart and two heads are better than one, so i went to the garden this morning and exposed the root down to the top of the root ball...while i was at it i took a ph reading to see if there was a soil issue going on...nope...the reading was 6.5 which is in the optimum range for cherry trees...i did find a number of retiring beetles while i was in there and i captured one so i can give it to someone who knows more about insects than i do to find out if that could be a problem as well...i will be visiting the garden a bit more often in the near future to see if this is having a positive impact on the tree...i certainly hope it will...if anyone has any ideas or can identify that beetle feel free to chime in here...personally i will take all the help i can get._____it's 8:18 pm now and the beetle has been identified as an asiatic garden beetle...an invasive pest that likes to eat leaves after dark...but nothing like the threat japanese beetles would pose to the tree...the geraniums are as likely a target.
the first two daughter plants i pinned down in the strawberry bed have taken root well enough that i could cut the umbilical stolon and set them off on their own...we have eight daughter plants now and room for four more which will give us twenty-four plants in the bed...any more just won't fit so it is time for human intervention in the garden...again... i had five daughter plants pinned in pots for eventual removal and one was ready to go out on its own today...it's on my front porch right now and if anyone wants to start a strawberry bed let me know...like all perennials they are aggressive about colonizing space so one plant will doubtlessly lead to others ( as the bottom photo so graphically shows )...it isn't about growing the plants so much as controlling them.
we have a few issues ( who doesn't? ) but the garden is doing fine...the beds are flourishing and produce is coming in with bunches more on the way...i caught the yukon golds flowering with a slight variation on the potato bloom's general theme( check out the differences and similarities of the early blue, yema de huevos, red nordalnd, and yukon golds in the photos on the blog )...the red nordlands should be done in july and the yukons in august...the cucumber plants are doing well and will themselves ( i hope ) begin to bloom soon...i need to see vines...the tillering on the hopi blue maize is becoming more pronounced and it looks like some sort of big bunch grass...if things go well ( and we can keep the squirrels at bay...something i am skeptical about ) each of those tillers should produce ears of blue flint flour corn...saw a photo of it in a book titled " corn among the indians of the upper missouri" that mik stokely gave me ( thanks again coach ) that looked so much like northern tepehuan teosinte that i had to grow some...despite some concerns we are in pretty good shape...here's hoping it continues.
more reproduction than you can shake a stick at around the gardens these days...and it's no coincidence that food crops are the ones whose reproductive bits are edible...it is , after all, where dna expends the most energy...like potatoes, strawberries are notoriously difficult to grow form seed...the runners all over the bed at the iuncg are a graphic display of the plants preferred method of reproduction...there are seeds in the fruit the blooms ( top photo ) produce, but how many germinate? at some point the seeds became secondary to the evolution of runners just like the tubers replacing seeds as the primary reproductive process in potatoes...the tomatoes in the second photo still rely on seeds that come in the fruit those little yellow flowers give birth to...the chinese yam vines in the pgp have turned the corner on the trellis, stalled, and begun to produce those weird little spherical blooms( third photo )...hundreds ( literally hundreds...i recovered over seven hundred last year and i am still finding rouges ) of aerial bulbs will be the result...by comparison the underground yams don't receive nearly the attention from the processes of growth the bulbs do...the gamagrass is flowering ( fourth photo ) and the plants have exploded in terminal spears and seed heads...another huge amount of plant energy expended...completely inedible for humans ( the seeds end up looking and feeling like nothing so much as little chunks of wood ) deer feast on them i am told...none has found the pgp yet...the bottom photo is of an early blue potato bloom putting the plant into direct competition wit the yema de hevos as the most intense spud bloom...red nordlands have a much plainer and less lasting bloom...haven't caught a yukon gold flowering yet...and may not...they are sneaky in their flowering...perhaps another sign of the plants' reliance on tubers for reproduction...seeds are secondary...stay tuned...the jerusalem artichokes have yet to flower.
taken as a complete picture the community garden is having a good season so far...the yukon gold potatoes and sweet corn are looking resilient after a couple of storms...the peppers are coming in nicely and the kohlrabi is nearing harvest...the strawberries are determined to reproduce beyond the capacity of the bed and the blooms point the way to future fruit...there will be an abundance of tomatoes in several beds well into october and there isn't enough room to post photos of the zucchini or the cucumber plants or the eggplants...next post will give them some air-time in the blog...stop by sometime, it's a good little garden that will improve with time
the cherry tree is looking a bit worse for wear this evening...which isn't to spread doom and gloom since i am no expert but those curled, yellow leaves are indicative of way too much water for the tree's health and i am still inclined to tag the debris in the ground for causing a drainage problem that wasn't apparent during last summer's drought...we can hope that if the weather dries out the tree will recover...at this point i am not sure if i would even water the geraniums that are around the base of the tree...i am trying to find answers and if anyone out there has ideas feel free to chime in...in contrast the rest of the garden is flourishing as the above post and the bottom two photos here highlight...here's hoping the tree can join in the general well-being soon.
mark millard is the maize curator at the usda ( he sends me my zea diploperennis seeds ) and a wise man who told me that the best way to grow something was to put the seeds in the ground because they know what to do...as you will recall i germinated asparagus last winter and nursed it under a grow light until april when i transplanted it into the community garden where it all keeled over in a matter of days...so i planted hopi blue maize and beets in the bed that was intended for asparagus and planned to naturalize some asparagus "berries" this coming autumn in hopes of generating a more naturally grown bed...events have pretty well set that idea in my mind as a solid plan...there is a lot of plant matter hauled around in the bed of my pick up over the course of a season and since i am not that fastidious about cleaning every last bit out some collects in corners and composting occurs...seeds get left behind as well...and i honestly had noticed the growth in my truck before tonight.but as i was moving some things about i noticed asparagus plants growing...temperatures, moisture, and soil conditions in the truck must be optimal because i count nine plants in there among the grasses and the lone maple tree seedling...the seeds know what to do when the conditions are right...i will be transplanting these guys and we will see how they do...more as it develops.
i counted fifty terminal spears on three gamgrass plants ( it looks like two but two have rather merged as they have expanded ) at the pgp yesterday...some just emerging, some flowering, and one really peculiarly shaped one that must've hit a combination of recessive genes...it might be interesting to grow a plant or two from those seeds if i can manage to harvest some before the seed head shatters...and if i can get the notoriously difficult seed to germinate ( those three plants represent ten percent of the seed si planted in the fall of 2009 )...last year saw an explosion of seed production and this year seems well on the way...the seed i harvested last year was destroyed by the fire...with luck this year i will be starting a new generation.
this storm didn't do much in the way of damage...but there was a bit...still more good news than bad...the yukon gold in the top photo was bashed about by a fallen maple branch, but not broken...the same branch, however, did in a sweet corn plant next to the potato...the third photo is of some cherry tree leaves and the tree is not happy...that yellowish cast is indicative of too much water ( same in any plant ) and it may be that the drainage under the tree is poor and water is pooling around the roots...as i recall from digging the hole to plant it in 2012 there was a lot of debris there from the house that used to stand in the lot that is now the garden and the tree's placement may have affected it's root health...hope it dries out soon and anyone watering the garden should leave the tree be for a bit...more water will not help this...on the plus side the hopi blue plant in the fourth photo has begun to tiller...it will look like no corn plant you have seen before soon enough...but it is maize none the less...and as a remedy to losing a sweet corn plant the replants all came though just fine and look happy to be there...more good news in the appendix...more later.
way more good news than bad...the beets are coming along after a slow start...so are the cucumbers in the second photo...the third photo is of the runner madness in the strawberry bed...we will have a packed house come autumn...the last two photos document a peculiar event...the sixteenth red nordland potato i planted in april and gave up on has emerged in late june...the last photo is a graphic display of the size difference between a potato plant that came up two-and-a-half months ago and one that just got here
things are getting complicated in the strawberry bed...i harvested the last of the turnips this morning ( they ave been done for a while and have been disappearing bit by bit...thank whoever for gently replacing the critter net when they were done ) and found several runners ( top photo ) with some growing in awkward directions ( second photo ) so...i began to be the human interventionist...the center leaves in the runner destined to be another plant were just in the wrong spot for any sort of rational bed so i buried a pot and pinned it down, destined to become a plant in my nascent nursery ( third photo ) ...actually there are now five stolons pinned into pots because the soon to be plants just won't fit...and there are seven runners pinned into place to become part of the bed's population which leaves one runner ( so far ) that has yet to be pinned down into a pot because it is still too short...the bottom photo will give you an idea of the exuberant reproductive work the plants are exerting...plants that have produced a runner are now blooming and i am inclined to think those that are producing berries now will be reproducing later...all of which adds up to a lot of intervention on the gardener's part...it will sort itself out before the season is through and the plants are mulched for winter...perennials have come to the community garden and the seem to be planning to stay...more as it comes up.
an industrial worker and university student (everyone needs a hobby...my hobbies have evolved and, to keep things straight, i have left my formal student career behind for reasons that are too detailed to delve into here...continuing to be a student of life however and not adverse to learning...stasis is death ) sliding down the back side of middle age...a social loner with collectivist leanings...explain that.