it's been a fairly busy day for a day off work and after i returned home from discharging some responsibilities it got a bit busier...i have a couple of small stands of alfalfa growing out back ( top two photos )...i had a bit more but i turned it under when i planted some spuds back there...alfalfa is a legume and it acts as a "green manure" setting nitrogen in the soil in conjunction with soil bacteria...that's the original intent i had when i planted it...then, to complicate things, i ordered mason bees as pollinators...all fine and good but their season ends in july leaving late blooming crops out in the cold relative to my back yard...so the solution was to purchase some summer bees ( which i did but hey have not arrived yet ) to fill the gap...those summer bees just happen to be alfalfa leaf cutter bees who prefer alfalfa leaves to use to construct their nests...so i left the two remaining stands go and ordered some more alfalfa seed...it came today ( third photo ) and so i took a handful ( fourth photo ) and started several (3) more stands of the plants in anticipation of bees...having finished that up i went downstairs to find another seed potato plant had died back and rendered a couple of yukon gold drops ( fifth photo )...so far the basement project has yielded eighteen tubers and there are still more plants going strong under the lights so there is a possibility of more soon enough...i had wanted to get to the community garden today for a number of reason but time was not on my side in this...so...saturday is the new target...time to turn those green manures under in anticipation of planting day...there may be rain...it does not matter...gardening is an all-weather sport.
a chilly last day of april on the south end of the lake but things are coming along anyway...from top to bottom: jerusalem artichokes were never in doubt...there's the evidence...numerous sugar snap peas up...the intermediate wheat grass is green as could be...there are spuds in the ground as well as containers...the bed of ramps is doing fine in the cool..another native along with the sunchokes...and there is a fairly lush stand of winter vetch setting nitrogen and winter rye storing it...we are doing fine so far...oops! captioned the bottom photo incorrectly since i obviously uploaded a photo of garlic not winter rye/vetch...these things happen.
what else should i have expected? rummaging around in a corner of my room i found four spuds ( three german butterballs and an all red top photo ) seriously chitting away...one had sprouts five inches long ( second photo ) and the tuber was seriously shriveled...the others were still in fair shape but the one demanded immediate action ( actually so did the all red in the fifth photo...i wasn't developing all those stolons because it wasn't ready to go into some soil )...so i planted them in containers and that is what then next post is all about.
4:34 p.m. 4-26-2015
i just had a closer look at the photo of that all red and i do believe i see a couple of nascent tubers on the stolons on the left side...planted just in time.
so i mixed a bit of top soil, sphagnum moss, vermiculite, and compost together to fill two containers about half way ( top two photos )...i planted the lone all red in a container by itself taking care to bury all those stolons ( third photo ) growing off the stem and leaving only about the top inch and a half exposed ( fourth photo )..i want those stolons to grow tubers, not leaves...i spaced the three german butterballs at equal distances from one another about two inches in from the edge of the pot to give them about ten inches of space between them ( fifth photo ) i planted them, taking care to bury as many of the stolons on that over-chitted spud as i could for the same reason as the all red...want tubers, not leaves..as these plants grow i will be filling in the pot around the base of the stems ( hilling )to stimulate more stolon and tuber production...the season never really stops...there are still potatoes growing under the lights in the basement hopefully producing more seed tubers..it's just that when spring rolls around things get a bit busier...more on all the gardens as things come up.
not that the teosinte in the basement is out in the rain today, however it is noteworthy because so much has been going on that it took me until today to discover another seed ear at yet another leaf node further down the stem...so six ears on a three foot plant grown completely indoors...not a record for anyone but me...but this is my blog...more stuff outside as the grandfatherly grape vine ( second photo ) out back has returned for another season and is putting out buds ( third and fourth photos )...it will be leafing soon enough...and then blooming...do i hear the buzzing of mason bees? not yet...soon enough though...further back under the locust trees the ramps are coming along nicely so far and seem to be enjoying the gloom and the rain...as i clear out mulch in beds i will be providing them with more leaf litter to help them feel at home....fresh season is moving along...there will be more soon enough.
when i left home this morning a bit before four to go to work there was no frost on the ground or the windows of my vehicle...people at work were talking of heavy frost in their areas so after work i motored over to campus and i found some rather frost damaged spuds ( top two photos)...they will recover since it was not a hard freeze but the setback will take time to overcome...sill no great problem...when i got home i wandered into the back yard and found spuds completely untouched by frost damage in any way ( bottom three photos )...this has me wondering about the intricacies of microclimate...i know altitude provides a variety of climates as you go up hills and mountains but the garden and my back yard are pretty much lead level and only about six or so miles apart as the crow flies...i see more research and reading ahead.
some denizens of the garden laugh at frost...jerusalem artichokes for instance...more rouges have appeared ( top photo ) so i set about digging them out..this is the third cull and these forty-six ( second photo ) bring the total of rooting sunchokes removed from the bed to one hundred and fifty-two...not a worlds record, but some indication of how prolific these plants are and how difficult it is to find all the tubers at harvest...this is why they are classified as invasive...the third photo is of the cold hardy garlic backed by winter rye ( and, if you look closely, winter vetch )...the fourth photo is of winter rye and new zealand white clover and the last is of some young turnips that brushed off the frost and carried on
there are tubes of mason bee larvae hibernating in my refrigerator tonight pending clarification of what i can only call sketchy release instructions from the supplier ( specifically, whether the temperature they quoted was daytime high, nighttime low, or an average )...the bee house looks sturdy enough and i have already chosen a southeast facing location in one of the trees as its site...as soon as things are clearer than mud there will be more on this project.
my yacon showed up today..i had expected tubers not live plants..so...out of the tiny growing tubes ( they were profoundly pot-bound ) and into potting mix/compost in peat pots under the grow lights with the jungle of potato vines grown form seed when things warm a bit they will sun out on the deck in the day and come in at night...sensitive to frost they will go out in may...seems the tubers are not how they are propagated...eat the tubers, save the crowns ( the are a perennial in frost free areas ) to plant again next spring...sounds simple...may not be so...more as they develop...it will be a tubery season...fine by me.
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.