a deeper presagement of autumn has taken hold in the garden even since my last visit friday...the sweet corn'ss season was terminated by squirrels ( prove me wrong here if you can...but some critter nailed it ) and it is in nearly full fall mode..it will be around a bit longer as a motif for the season...the hopi blue has joined in and created a leitmotif of zea autumn...the cucumber wall, while still producing has seen lusher days and a longer view of the garden shows the effects of shortening days...the strawberries are still bearing fruit but if you look closely you will find a dearth of new blooms...a sure sign that their season is winding down as well...there's still a lot to do by way of fa;ll planting and preparing the garden for winter...more on that as it evolves.
while the rest of the garden slows the green manures are digging in before dormancy ( if there will be dormancy...that is still unresolved...the last few years' experience says "no" )...the ex-potato bed is alive with nitrogen fixing plants returning nutrients to he soil with the help of the rhizobia bacteria they were inoculated with when they were planted...the winter rye will act a s a reservoir as it overwinters and the hairy vetch will resume nitrogen production in the spring until we turn them under to replant the bed...this will return the nutrients we mined from the soil with the potatoes and insure a fair start for whatever goes in next season...the hairy vetch in the second photo is blooming but i am doubtful of its ability to go to seed before the frost...the yellow peas are a different matter..they have produced pods and the continuing blooms promise more...i would really like to be able to collect some mature seed form them to replant nest year to continue the green manure project and institute some seed saving in the garden as well...generations of our own green manures would be a good step towards sustainability in the community garden...perhaps we could devote a whole bed to them in the spring and assure seed production.
the teosinte season in the back yard ( no ears on campus...yet ) is coming along well...that nine footer in the top photo is actually two plants very close together but thriving never the less...and i count forty-two ears on four plants around the yard in various stages of development...i am encouraged by the sighting of actual seeds in one ear on the large plant and, at least, can hope for mature seeds in the outdoors and not in the basement...that would be an accomplishment since the season is around one hundred and fifty-five days from germination until the ears first appear...then they have to mature...it's a sub-tropical grass so it has a long season and is somewhat sensitive to day length but obviously not enough to stop it form going to seed...so far so good...hope the good fortune holds.
despite regular attention with the garden hose the jerusalem artichoke bed that was lush at the beginning of august has withered by the end of september...so i decided to dig some tubers ( and i have to say the harvest hasn't been that encouraging either...bumper crops in 2010 and 2011 and duds in 2012 and [so far] in 2013...there will be enough to give some away and replant some beds but i am not happy with the turn of behavior this native plant has taken recently )...i got some sunchokes and some yukon gold potatoes out of the yard...washed them...peeled the jerusalem artichokes...and fried them in oil and added a bit of garlic sea salt...lunch was a victory for the backyard since everything i ate hailed from my own soil and it tasted good too.
just a short stroll through a still very active community garden to link up blooms and produce because there's always something ot learn in this microcosm of the wider environment...true there's a lot of human intervention here...but show me somewhere there isn't a human impact these days...top pair...eggplant bloom and fruit...second pair cucumbers bloom and a cuke or two...bottom pair tomato flowers and a freshly watered tomato.
the season may be a bit diminished but it soldiers on none the less...that final aria hasn't been sung yet...top pair green pepper bloom and some nascent peppers...a bit further down the family tree, banana pepper flower and the result...and the yellow peas in the green manure continue to flower and bear pods..stop by...still lots to see
the yema de huevos that i planted in the bushel basket last weekend are really beginning to green up now and will be leafing out soon enough...i have another ( and a bit unexpected ) indoor project for the late fall and i am thinking there will be a second grow light added to the basement plant room...there's room so it should not be an issue and what's a bit more work? the ollala potatoes ( including the twins ) are solid and insect free in the basement storage box..no sign of softness, shriveling, or sprouts...the early blue are holding up as well ( fourth photo ) and the fifth photo is of two more ollala tubers i harvested this evening and will be adding to he storage box a soon as they are thoroughly dry...the bottom photo is of some winter wheat that has begun to tiller...indicating a well established root system that will allow some plant growth before dormancy ( or not...that remains to be seen...dormancy has been a rare commodity in overwintering perennials here...in my recent experience anyway...we will be watching for winter growth ) still more time to go but the season is drawing to a close ( for the annuals anyway )...lots of planning to do and the community garden promises to be a challenge this coming season...plans are in the works for another perennial and the roster of ancestors will be expanding...geeked is a good word to describe outlook on things...and i don't doubt that the gardens on campus and the stuff out back will feed into one another with all sorts of new ideas and connections.
the winter wheat cover crop is coming along and the teosinte ears are becoming more pronounced...the hairy vetch in the green manure mix is blooming...and yellow peas still have an alien cast in my eyes...the garden provides some respite on an otherwise tough day.
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.