the yema de huevos potatoes i harvested on christmas eve have begun to sprout in just six days...antsy tubers...they have been in the basement at a temperature of sixty degrees fahrenheit since i pulled them out and you can see the one in the third photo is greening a bit and so is producing the alkaloid solanine...it can be toxic if eaten but since it is going back into the soil there are no worries...so, in preparation for replanting, i cleaned out the second bushel basket to allow it to dry and in doing so i gleaned another eighteen tubers i missed in the first run through... there are now far too many for the remaining basket so i need to acquire another sizable container before the next week is through...no real problem but do i want ( or can i find ) another bushel basket? or, perhaps, a half barrel? whatever comes to hand first is the most likely...still geeked about this...if it all goes well there will be yema de huevos in the community garden, the pgp, and my back yard...a possible bumper crop of small yellow potatoes to sample...never one to turn up my nose at a root or a tuber, it sounds just fine to me...more as this devlops.
for better or worse the 2014 iu northwest community garden strawberry bed critter net is finished...it will work...but whether it will make access to the berries any easier remains to be seen...more on this sometime in may.
for a day at the end of december it has been busy garden-wise...my calendar was ( and is ) a vast emptiness when i got back from campus so rather than veg out i decided to be moderately constructive... so , reusing some lumber i saved from last year's contraption with some shiny new stuff i bought yesterday and a couple of hours i knocked together a frame to attach the net to...this will sit inside the bed with the stakes at the corners and sides pushed down into the soil so the bottom 1 X 4 rests on the surface...i am attaching handles on top to facilitate its removal ( no more nylon rope although i may stretch a couple of bungees across each end for added security )...this was the easy part...tomorrow i start attaching the net...don't trouble yourself about those far-off howls you hear...it's only me venting...more tomorrow if i survive.
the campus is, i believe, officially closed until the second of january...being who i am i pretty much ignored that ( and, conversely, i was pretty much ignored ) and went out there to have a look around...at first glance both gardens present a fairly dormant prospect but things never really stop out there...there still a limited amount of photosynthesis going on in the gamamgrass at the pgp ( third photo ) and while the annual rye in the green manure mix has died back the winter rye and dixie clover in the fourth photo aren't showing any signs of incipient dormancy...there are still a few intermediate wheat grass seed heads that have not shattered and the broccoli in the community garden still displays a multiplicity of whole seed pods ( and a bit of green yet )...the mulch cover are all intact and i don't see any signs of rodents burrowing into the tubers that are planted there...things look fine...two-and-a-half months until the annual tesointe goes in.
after four days in a box the smaller yema de huevos potatoes i harvested on christmas eve had begun to turn soft so, despite the early hour, i decided it was time to replant the first wave ( the larger ones are still chitting in the box and i will try to wait for sprouts before planting...they are greening which will help defend them against any virus or fungus they encounter while sprouting...green is good in this case )...the empty bushel baskets have been drying ( i dumped the soil in the compost bin out back )for four days so they should be okay...i took one and put a layer of charcoal in the bottom to absorb excess moisture...i bought a bag of "all natural" charcoal at a local home improvement store ( the only place i have found it so far ) because it does not have the chemicals producers like kingsford put in their charcoal to facilitate lighting and so will not damage the tubers...then i mixed compost and potting soil in the basket...compost alone is a bit too heavy and compacts a bit too readily for sprouts...i poked my right index finger in the mix up to the second joint ( about two inches) and dropped the tubers in and covered them...the compost and potting soil had been outside and were frozen when i brought them in..thawing produced a lot of condensation both inside and outside the bags ( wet floor in the plant room ) so the soil is moist enough that i did not have to water...i will be sparing in that until i see green emerging...don't want to rot the tubers...so now the hard part...we wait...the thermometer in the plant room has been reading a steady temperature around sixty degrees fahrenheit...forty degrees is the minimum germinating soil temperature and they really don't like it hot...we should be okay... more as ( hopefully ) it comes up____________as an afterthought, i forgot to mention that i did not completely fill the basket which was done to a purpose...no tuber will grow below the depth that i planted these at so when the emerge these guys are going to be hilled mercilessly to generate as many tubers for spring planting outdoors as i can manage...i am spud greedy.
this may be of interest mostly to me but this is my blog so here we go...the wild potato plant ( salanum acule ) in the top three photos is twenty-three days old and the fifth leaf it has developed ( with a nascent sixth one )finally begins to look like like an ancestor of the nordland red plant that is pushing its way out of the bed in the community garden last may...about three weeks after it was planted...certainly the wild potato has a more vine-like appearance but it was grown form seed, not a tuber...if it were just emerging form the soil i wonder what it would look like...perhaps another reason to hope for successful tuber production...if there is a definite zea family resemblance between teosinte and maize ( odd how the annual teosinte produces the ears and the perennial looks so much more like maize in its leaf structure )one can hope for an at least passing resemblance in the solanum family...and i wonder how closely quinoa and lambs quarters will look alike...stay tuned...we may find out
the wild potatoes have been up and running for twenty-three days now and i have taken ( with no small amount of trepidation ) the first step in moving them on...i will need the germinating tray they are living in right now soon enough to start some more wild potatoes among other things so i took the two larger ones down to the plant room, put some compost and potting soil in peat pots, peeled back the netting on the peat pellets, set the pellets in the pots, and filled in with more potting soil and compost "hilling" it up around the base of the somewhat leggy plants...then i took them back upstairs and into natural light to see if i have jumped the gun an done more damage than i wanted to...the roots are still safely encased in the peat pellets so i am hoping there wasn't much in the way of root disturbance...the aim is tuber to work with in a few months because i have had zero results with direct seeding in the past few years...more on this success ( or disaster ) as it develops...there are still three more wild potatoes up and i have more than one hundred seeds left...i will start again if necessary...some of the failed kinua seeds had begun to mold in the pellets with the seedlings so i began to clear them out as well...i was going to remove the stunted plants as well but discovered their roots were hopelessly intertwined with those of the larger plants...so the runts stayed...the mold did not.
the yellow peas in the green manure mix out back have completely died back ( top photo ) as havs the annual rye that is mixed in with the winter rye ( second photo )...i had been somewhat surprised to see dixie clover emerging from the snow in a green condition but i am perplexed no more...further research has shown me that it is an annual that overwinters like winter wheat and winter rye only to reseed the next season...except i will be turning it under next season...the lambs quarters plant in the fourth photo has died back as well but the seed heads have not shattered...the quinoa ( fifth photo ) should closely resemble its relative when it reaches the end of the season...in fact i am told it also closely resembles its relative in the early going making it difficult to tell what is what...since lambs quarters is native and a prolific seeder..just like kiuna ...we may have cousins in the same bed come may...the intermediate wheat grass in the sixth photo isn't nay more dormant than the green manures despite the cold and snow...it is even farther outside its native range than the teosinte but its western asian and souitheast european ancestry seems to have inured it to the cold...so there is still photosynthesis going on outside as well as inside...when you are dealing with perennials the garden never fully sleeps
i am unsure of how much teosinte sees of snow and sub-zero temperatures in its native range but it is up to its branches in it here...there are quite a few more opened and shattered seed ears today than there were last time i checked...lots of scattered seeds and they are surely getting the dormancy breaking cold they need...as long as it isn't seed killing cold...and as long as the seeds had a long enough season to mature and be viable we may get some spring shoots...i continue to collect seeds form the indoor plants and will be test germinating some of those next year ( next week? lets see what's up with the yema de huevos first )i have purchased more seed so we will be having annual teosinte no matter what...here, in the pgp, and in the community garden...it will " make the corn stronger" as traditional farmers say.
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.