the top two photos are an ollala potato on christmas eve and today...same goes for the yema de huevos in the second set and the red pontiac in the third...now numbering nineteen plants in various stages...the early blue are winding down while these are just getting started...success isn't guaranteed but things are well underway...time and a little patience ( and not much water ) should pay off.
when i looked into the paper bag that held the last potato fruit from this year's crop i noticed it had begun to shrivel ( top photo ) which announced the time had come to extract the seeds..so i took it out to the kitchen and cut it open ( second photo ) to reveal the seeds...i cleaned them out and rinsed them in water...this one yielded about fifty seeds ( third photo ) which i dumped into paper toweling in a bowl to dry ( fourth photo ) the last husk is empty ( fifth photo ) and i would estimate somewhere between four hundred and five hundred seeds have been harvested ( no i have not counted them all )..by coincidence the gibberellic acid i ordered...in powder form, to be mixed with distilled water to the proper solution per usda guidelines, showed up in my mailbox today...an augury, perhaps, that the time has come to break some dormancy and start some potato vines...there will be more on this soon.
it seems to have been a day for shriveling...the two mashua tubers that i managed to produce this past season have been doing okay in a paper bag...until now (first photo )...they are showing signs of going south so i took them into the basement and put them into peat pots filled with a potting soil/compost mix and put them under the light with the rest of the denizens ( second and third photos )...it's getting crowded down there ( fourth photo )...some of those teosinte plants are pushing a foot in height and will have to find more spacious quarters soon...so i ordered another grow light fixture and prepared two large ( two feet in diameter at the top and eighteen inches deep ) containers...as soon as the fixture arrives there will be a transplanting post.
this may not be the only cornfield around with curbs, storm sewers, street lighting, and a fire hydrant but it's the only one i have found this close to home...and the harvest has been in for a bit...even the field across the street ( that could qualify as actually rural...this is the nexus after all ) has been brought in...i went for a stroll down the rows...i found multitudes of cobs and empty husks...but very little in the way of actual corn kernels...either the combine was spectacularly efficient or the deer have been...either way the field seems picked clean for the most part..now we sit back and see if there is a crop or field stakes out there come spring...something will be going into that field...but what? a gauge for "economic recovery"? more retail space or industrial feedstock? either way we won't see anything especially healthy...and nothing gets me going in a corn field like a well-turned set of support roots.
it was on the cold side for most of november but late december here has turned rainy and warmer than normal...i knew i had a few teosinte ears out back ( aside from the ones i left to shatter...just to see what happens in the spring ) and i did not want the seeds to begin to soften and rot in the moisture so i went out this morning to bring them in...and i i discovered i had fewer than expected...you can see in the top two photos that something has been grazing them...i say grazing because the ears are not opened and stripped of seeds as they would be if birds had been the culprits...something bit the seed ears off clean...so i brought in what was left to dry before i wrap them up...it seemed a good time to make some comparisons so i got out an ear of apache red maize that came from the community garden and set i on the counter to compare with some open seeds and some ears...the maize kernels are much larger than the single row of teosinte seeds but the family resemblance is still clear...from the husks on the unopened seed ears to the silks on both sets of seeds they have zea written all over them...i will be letting these seeds dry...open or in the husks...and i will be sowing some come march...the parent plant for these seeds was one i grew from seed i harvested out back in 2013..a third generation may be too much to ask but i am willing to try anyway.
the seed potato project is moving along...the craigs snowwhite has reached two feet in height ( top photo )and the growth should be moderating a bit...the early blue in the second pot back ( second photo ) should begin setting tubers any tine now and should be done by the end of january...the purple valley in the third photo has easily topped the container but wont begin setting until the end of next month...there are spuds all along the life cycle down there...there is a yema de huevos just coming up in the fifth photo and an ollala in the bottom one...as of today there are seventeen plants up and running and more chitting away...it's almost the end of the year and late chitters may well be just planted in march rather than put under the lights...they move to their schedule, not mine and frankly it is getting crowded down there...another light fixture is on the way but space is limited.
you can see the root radiating out from the base of the ollala in the top photo...they sprout form the top of the tuber, not the bottom ( still lots to learn about spuds )...which is, for me, a bit counterintuitive ...but they are what they are...this one is about half an inch tall this morning ( second photo ) but will go vertical quickly after the roots take a good hold...the alien looking critter in the third photo is a red pontiac ans is the one on the bottom...if all goes well there will be no need to buy seed potatoes for any garden next spring...there is a local source and i do believe there are a few varieties coming from the potato introduction station...so no sending across the country ( washington state ) for certified organic potatoes...these varieties are all organic heirlooms and there are no chemicals down there in the soil.
on the left in the top photo are some wild potato seeds from bolivia...and on the right are some seeds from one of the potato fruits i harvested in september...the potato fruit in the photo has been in a paper since november fourth and is closing in on being ripe enough to remove the seeds...the domesticated seeds seem to be marginally larger than their wild ancestors and i am told there may be dormancy issues with them because they are fresh...they have been in the freezer for several weeks so we will be seeing...if they don't take i will go in search of gibberellic acid and do laboratory somersaults to get some going...i put the seeds in peat pots, marking the wild ones...another ancestor/domesticate morphology project with the added feature of ( hopefully ) a spring outdoor transplantation and ( even more hopefully ) tubers..and...down under the lights where the action never seems to stop...but that's the next post.
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.