the zea mays is moving along and soon it will be time to plant the pole beans...second of the three sisters...there may be some interesting plans coming about involving that planting but they are in the formative stages and not ready for public scrutiny just yet...all the variables may not come into line...we have forty of them up and running so there will be lots of support for beans in the garden and, by extension, lots of beans...ten geraniums were planted in beds to day ( there will be a few more yet ) to act as a trap crop for japanese beetles ( the are more of a repellant than a trap in my experience...plant them and the little invaders flee )...they will add color all season and help the garden too...the bottom photo is looking west at the garden from the washington street side...greening up and filling in...in another month is will be a vegetable jungle...stay tuned...or stop by even better.
the jerusalem artichokes have reached and surpassed my one foot by the end of may prediction...imagine my relief...all nine plants are in the second photo and they are doing just fine...how else? they are home...the potato bed next door is doing well..and so is the mashua and the asparagus in there...the other beds in the garden aren't slouching along...the plants in there aren't slackers...just young...soon enough they will be filling in and when the cucumber, bean, and squash vines kick in verdancy will be the order of the day all around...there is much more to come.
if the jerusalem artichokes on campus have topped a foot in height that's great...the ones in my back yard are nearing two-and-a-half feet and the stand ( second photo ) is looking impressive ( if not frightening )...wherever i grow jerusalem artichokes lamb's quarters are not far behind... i do not know what the mechanism is that brings the seed to the sunchoke beds...just the wind..some critter...birds...no real idea but they always appear and it cannot be spontaneous...it may just be because they are native and abundant...prolific seeders, like purslane...they are in the bed at the south side of the house whatever the methodology employed and they will thrive there...that bottom photo is of a chinese yam vine erupting form the lemon balm at the west end of that same bed...jerusalem artichokes, chinese yams, and lemon balm are all aggressive colonizers...the jerusalem artichokes will shade out the lemon balm ( but not the lamb's quarters ) so it won't be an issue...and the chinese yams are rooted much more deeply than the lemon balm so there should be little competition there...so...tuber and an herb all in one bed along with a leafy green...i see some culinary experimentation come harvest.
the winter rye in the top two photos has been flowering for a bit and some of the seed heads are at my eye level now...their season is closing in on maturity and i will be saving the seed to use a s a cover crop here and in the community garden ( seed from the hairy vetch and dixie clover as well )...it has been joined out there by some spring wheat...it has long awns just like the rye but the seeds are shorter and rounder than those of the rye...there are some plans to use the wheat more as ornamentation than a crop...it won't overwinter and so is an unlikely candidate for soil conservation in the off season...there will be more as the rye is threshed and winnowed and some research into the best methodology for preserving seed is unearthed...only a few more months until winter preparations kick into gear ( really...i was planting fall green manures and cover crops in august last year..august starts in sixty-two days...a blink of the eye )..gardening season never ends.
things are moving along in the community garden..the sun has come out after nearly an inch of rain over two days and the plants are responding...one of the cherry tomato plants is flowering ( top photo ) nine days after planting...there are forty maize plants up and soon it will be time to plant the beans...second c=act of the three sisters' guild...the potato in the third photo brings the spud population up to thirty plants ( we are really running heavily towards staple food crops form the new world...throw in the jerusalem artichokes and i believe we have the immigrants evenly matched )...let's not forget root crops...the turnips are producing as well...moving towards june the season is heating up...stop by sometime, there's quite a bit of planting yet to do and then there's the harvest ( not to mention maintenance ) it is an interesting place to be.
a bit of maize morphology for th ezea fans out there...perennial teosinte in the top photo and some zea mays in the second...the third photo is of one of five asparagus seedlings up and running and the last photo is looking west across the beds as they green up.
one large, rounded leaf and a narrow pointed one are emblematic of the zea mays seedling...as the seedling grows the leaves separate and the rounded one begins to elongate until it too is narrow and pointed...these nark the bottom of the stem and , soon enough, more leaves will appear in succession up the central stalk...then support roots will emerge...we have thirty-five seedlings in various stages of emergence today in every bed they were planted in...i know where the sweet corn is because i planted it...cynthia ( she is the one smiling up form the bed she's planting in the planting day post ) handled the apache red , dakota black ,and hopi blue so i am unsure exactly where each variety is...however the should be at least a representative of each out there...the hopi blue was planted in seed form an ear we grew last season in the old garden so the old mixes with the new..continuity is an important facet of gardening...persistence too...we are chock full of that...things are booming on 35th avenue...tough as it is why don't you set aside the books and stroll over form the library sometime...maize loves visitors.
plants are popping up all over and there's a lot of new growth going on...i thinned out some clusters of cucumber plants ( top photo ) today and we have fifteen in several beds...that's a lot of cucumbers down the road...the asparagus seems to have found its roots in its first season ( and the german butterball behind it for that matter...i am still seriously concerned about the harvest of that potato plant )...if all goes well there will be another perennial in the garden...but no harvesting of the spears until 2018 ( that's right...not until the fifth season...the roots have to be allowed to develop until then )...the new zealand white clover is up and running in the clusters they were planted in...clumsy gardener fingers and clumping seeds due to the innoculant made them so...there may be thinning...there may not...there may just be a new planting...the andean tuber mashua is gaining height and the leaves are growing...we will be learning about mashua together...first season for me with this plant...we have plants...there will be more...they will grow..can't wait.
i have an affinity for root crops...i like to eat them but even if i didn't i'd want to grow them...and there is a special place for tubers...and there will be tubers this season in abundance...from the bewildering number and variety of andean tubers ( there are potatoes and mashua in this garden ) to the relentless native sunchokes they are a perennial favorite..the jeruasalem artichokes have vindicated my prediction with four day to spare...a burst of rainfall and warm weather saved me from the embarrassment of a public misstep...they are green, leafy, and growing daily...can't wait for the blooms...even more impatient for the tubers.
container gardening is not the normal mo around here but two evils (?) have collided to force me to take this step...1) i overbought seed potatoes ( and got some from the usda as well ) and, 2) i flat ran out of space...whether it wwas here, the community garden, the pgp, or a daughter's back yard space became suddenly unavailable...so i bought two shiny new containers ( to go with some that were already lying about )...drilled drainage holes...added compost and potatoes ( these are yukon gold ) and put hem out in phalanx on the south side of the house with some yema de huevos and ollalas that are already up and running in containers from the basement experimentation...they will compliment the patch of red pontiacs in the ground and will make suitable gifts if the need arises...they will succeed and they will produce...i just find it a bit unnatural.
the winter rye in my back yard has joined the plants on campus in flowering and continues the trend started by the dixie clover (second photo ) and taken up by the increasing number of blooms on the hitchhiking hairy vetch...as these blooms die back they will be replaced by flowering potato plants and the ever relentless jerusalem artichokes...( scroll down to the next post see the latest on them )...blooms all summer and into the fall after the geraniums recover and fight off the japanese beetles...colorful and produce to eat...win/win.
that "this" is what happens when you overlook a cache pit of jerusalem artichoke tubers you buried last autumn...this is what you get folks...looks like a sunchoke bush...looks like a reproductive crisis in the making too...we'll see...perhaps the density will curb their enthusiasm...perhaps they will send rhizomes all over hell's half acre...either way we will find the answer in a few months...stay tuned further tuber adventures...there are bound to be more.
...is all it took for seeds we planted on planting day to find their way into the sunshine...thirteen sweetcorn ( two of them in the top two photos...unmistakably zea ) and five cucumber plants ( one in the third photo ) have arrived to keep the jerusalem artichokes, potatoes, garlic, mashua,tomatoes, peppers, and turnips that are already up and running company...good news...soon enough there will be abundant green in all seven of the beds and colorful flowers on the corners...this season is growing more inviting all the time and it's barely underway...stop by ...the plants will be happy to see you.
it has been less than a week since the last significant rainfall here and temperatures have been ( much to the disgust of many ) on the coolish side hereabouts...so compare the top two photos of the wheat field by the supermarket...the top one was taken six says ago, on the eighteenth of the month and the second one this morning...it startled me when i pulled into the parking lot and a closer look leaves me even more uncertain...the plant leaves in the third photo are curled up and reminiscent of members of the zea family when they are suffering water loss through transpiration...when i see sweet corn, maize, or teosinte with leaves curled like this i know it's time to water asap...my winter wheat out back is all green and happy...so what's up? are those brown and yellow spots on the leave in the bottom photo a sign of some sort of pathogen? wheat rust? don't know but i will be looking at it to try to find out...need to wash my shoes after traipsing around that field too...don't need to infect my yard if that's what's 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.