those things that look like chunks of wood in the top photo are eastern gamagrass seeds...i collected them from the stand of grass in the pgp before i did them in in an effort to try to re-establish some here at home...they are of notorious low fertility ( can't imagine why )...the three plants i had on campus represented the germination of exactly ten percent of the thirty seeds i planted in november of 2009...so i am somewhat skeptical about what sort of success this experiment will encounter...they usually have to winter over to break dormancy, however amongst all the information mary eubanks form duke has sent me over the years is the little nugget telling me that , like teosinte, a soak in hydrogen peroxide will break dormancy as well as a winter in the ground...it takes a bit longer though..two hours instead of twenty minutes...it has always worked on teosinte, so i am giving it a try here mostly to see if the seed has any viability at all...one seed germinating will be an unqualified success...how long? who knows...there is no sign of the burdock i planted last month ( perhaps time for another shot at that...i am told that tow weeks is the outside for germinating burdock...may have been a dud seed )so who knows how long something as recalcitrant as gamagrass will take...if anything happens you will be among the first to know.
is there anything more forlorn than an unadorned fir tree during the holidays? possibly, perhaps even probably...but it ranks near the top end of the list...the arborvitae in the garden was looking very seasonal yesterday and this morning ( top photo ) so the decision was taken to decorate ( the next four photos, from garland through icicle ornaments ) and the deed is done...we would encourage anyone who would care to add to the ornamentation to do so as they please so long as it is in keeping with the holiday tradition...the decorations will come down after orthodox christmas ( because my grandmother was orthodox and that was the tradition in my family )...if you want to preserve anything you add please remove it by then, otherwise it will be stowed away for 2015...thanks.
stopped by the garden to see how things are going and found just about what you'd expect for the end of november...which isn't to say there's nothing going on...we aren't under feet of snow...yet...so there's till some movement going on out there even if it isn't in a vernal direction...the new zealand white clover is definitely down for winter ( top photo ) and the hope is that it will provide an adequate mulch for the asparagus...with the clover down it is a bit easier to pick out the year old asparagus and see that it is shutting down for winter as well ( second photo )...the alfalfa has joined in the supine ( or, perhaps, the prone ) movement ( third photo ) but it should regenerate in the spring as should the clover...in opposition to these seemingly lackadaisical behaviors, the winter rye in the fourth photo is standing up and as green as it was in september and probably will do so until it is pushed down by snow...it and the garlic will be among the very first to recover in spring...the cherry tomatoes in the fifth photo are all the evidence i need to believe we will never have to plant them consciously again in the garden...critters will doubtlessly glean these and the ones in the corner box by washington street...but they will never get all the seeds and those seeds will generate so many volunteers we will be culling them...the reality is that the tomatoes in the corner box were not planted...the seeds from the cherry tomato plants in the old garden hitchhiked over when we closed out the old garden and moved the soil...they did not erupt spontaneously but no one put them there either...finally the arborvitae is looking robust and very seasonal with about a foot of new growth added since it was planted last spring...clearly it has adapted to its new home and that doesn't make us anything but happy...we are in good shape in the garden...everything is preparing for winter a sit should and spring officially starts in about four mo9nths ...barely enough time to get ready.
we are only a few weeks into the indoor season and the advantages of growing several strains of the same plant family are beginning to show up...at least from a morphological viewpoint...the zea mexicana annual teosinte in the top two photos is clearly tillering...it's on the left side of the plant growing from the base...lots of grasses tiller...wheat and rye do...and so does maize as the third photo shows...maize is a grass and a member of the zea family and so there is no surprise that cousins should share traits...the northern tepehuan teosinte in the fourth photo is not tillering...and it won't...that variety doesn't tiller...it branches as you can see in the fifth photo of the plant out in the yard...two different strategies for producing more ears and seeds...and mentioning ears and seeds gives me an opportunity to post a photo of some opened ears and shattered seeds...so i will.
the crops are mostly in and the corn stalks and roots are still in the soil...but that doesn't seem to have lessened some of the erosion going on out there...a short trip into the nexus has turned up several cuts in the berms and if i had had more time i probably could have discovered more...that break in the third photo feeds into what i have to calla ditch in the fourth...that bisects a field and i am wondering how long it has taken it to become that deep...that big pile of cut trees and brush in the bottom photo ( probably shrubs growing on the periphery of the fields ) tells me the farmer is getting bigger by bringing some marginal land under production next season and that the rate of soil erosion isn't going to abate.
the individual fork dates from the sixteenth century; it spread from venice and italy in general, though not very quickly. a german preacher condemned it as a diabolical luxury: god would not have given us fingers if he had wished us to use such an instrument. we know that montaigne did not use a fork, since he accuses himself of to quickly so that,'i sometimes bite my fingers in my haste.' " fernand braudel. "the structures of everyday life: civilization and capitalism 15th-18th century volume 1"
civilized behavior and a photographic reminder that like life, winter is transitory...happy thanksgiving people...mind the fingers.
went out back to have a look at the teosinte ears...some were a beige color last time i checked but most were still green...no more..the cold has precipitated the loss of chlorophyll and all but a few ears are an autumn shade of brown...the ears are turning down towards the ground and splitting open in preparation for the seed heads to shatter...so it is time to harvest seed if i am going to...i took in a few ears but plan on leaving a fair number to shatter naturally and seed the ground around the plants just to see if anything comes up in the spring...my plans are for a much larger stand of plants in a different location from the plant site from this past season...but i will take anything that comes up as a volunteer too...now...are these seeds viable? we will be seeing shortly as there will be more peroxide soaking.
i brought in five ears and put a nickle with them in the first photo for an idea of scale...that done i did the twenty minute soak in a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide and put eight seeds in a brown paper towel moistened with distilled water into a baggie...now we wait...same old drill...unknown results.
it's verging on winter outside...but the indoor season is booming along...the early blue in the top photo have topped the container and then some...i have been filling the plot as the plants grow and hope to stimulate some serious tuber production before spring...the plants produced well last winter but i would like to expand the seed potato population for next spring and grow a truly local crop of tubers of as many varieties as i can muster...which is why, difficult as it may be to see, the all red up and running in the second photo is good news...the bigger the variety the better...the cactus looking affair in the third photo is actually a third variety of potato...it is the craigs snowwhite i planted ten days ago...nicely green, there should be leaves soon...finally, the bottom photo isn't a spud at all...it is the scorzonera and it seems fine...the third leaf continues to grow...but...i have zero experience with this plant so i have a steep learning curve..it may not be well at all...time and experience will reveal that story...so far so good indoors...more fixtures for lights on the way...more potato varieties chitting away and preparing for planting...there will be more to this story later.
the indoor teosinte is looking robust in aggregate ( top photo )...and individual plants are looking just fine as well..the second photo is of a plant grown from seed harvested in my back yard last autumn ( there is seed out there now but i haven't brought it in yet...more on that a bit later )...the third photo is of one derived from 2012 native seed search seed supplies...and the bottom photo is of a very pleasing specimen of zea mexicana derived from usda seed from 2010...there was fairly low germination of this in the test germinations but obviously there is still viable seed in the batch...i "naturalized' quite a bit f it in my back yard earlier this month in hopes that wintering over will aid germination outdoors in the spring...a new variety of teosinte out there would be fairly cool...perhaps lessons learned concenring watering and photo period from past failures are beginning to pay off here...this si a much healthier indoor season so far than any past one...there is room for disaster yet but there's room for hope as well.
the harvest is in so you can see the big box stores again...you can see how actually small the field is as well ( top photo ) farmers' existences are economically sketchy so any and all production is a plus ( "get big or get out" earl butz...the nixon administration viewed food as a weapon and they used it to undermine traditional local agriculture...we verge on a political rant )...there was spewage from the combine ( second photo )...but that spewage serves as a mulch over much of the field ( third photo ) and the stalks are intact so the roots are holding soil together as well...they will also leave me a marker to use to ascertain whether the beans that go in here next spring ( if there isn't some sort of strip mall going in instead...the land is still "available for development" )are no-till...can't argue with the conservation or the markers...the combine was fairly thorough in stripping the kernel off the cobs ( fourth photo ) but like all anthropogenic technology it wasn't 100% efficient...some got away ( fifth photo ) the deer will be much more efficient in gleaning the field...right fern?...i believe i will be looking in on the field and the mulch and the left-overs as winter progresses...i have an idea for a spring project as well...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.