there's usually movement in the basement...sometimes it's barely perceptible and sometimes you can't help but notice...the top photo is an ollala potato i planted on the sixth of this month..the second photo is its portrait on christmas eve and the third was taken about ten minutes ago...it's moving right along...if you look carefully towards the bottom of the fourth photo you may be able to see that a spider has spun a web and taken up residence in the container...it will make back-filling and watering a challenge...i am not averse to spiders and am inclined to live and let live...not at the expense of the plant though...we will be seeing how this plays out..the next six photos are of the garlic i brought in last sunday with the first, third and fifth photos being of the plants that day and the second, fourth, and sixth of how they looked a few minutes ago...they seem content under the light by the furnace and are greening up nicely...indoor garlic is a first for me...bringing these in was pretty much a matter of necessity since there isn't a lot of room outside...it wouldn't have necessarily been my first choice but here we are anyway...we'll see about this as well...there are elmer's blue spuds and yacon rhizomes in containers down there too but that movement is completely imperceptible...in other words, none as far as i can see...there will be news if i do though...more as the indoor season and the outdoor quasi-winter unfold.
so i went out back to have a look at the rain gauge to see how much rain has fallen in my yard since tuesday and to dump it before it freezes...while i was pout there i happened to look down and found another of the aerial garlic bulbs i planted last september had sprouted ( from that mass of disintigrated peat pots you can see to the right og my hand in the second photo )...a closer look found two more...there's a chill coming with temperatures forecast to be below freezing from wednesday through next sunday...cold hardy garlic may be but these were not going to survive that...so i brought them in and replanted them under the light...and this confirms that the plant that i found last week and brought in ins garlic...i go from 99% to 100% today...i also seem to be growing indoor garlic this winter.
took a run out to the community garden this morning to check on things and, as usual, found some surprises...the alfalfa, and clover that was turned down by the frost last saturday ( the 19th ) was turned back skyward this morning...unseasonably warm temperatures ( a recurring theme recently ) revived the already cold hardy plants and they will be fine..warm temperatures mean more brussels sprout production...small but recognizable...the stalk in the fifth photo which has either been cut or gnawed off has even started new leaf growth from auxiliary buds...things are confused...there is a significant cool down forecast though and i wanted to be sure the garlic mulches were intact...they are an i couldn't see any garlic leaves poking through the straw...not the case in my yard where stubborn garlic continues to defy mulching ( seventh and eighth photos )...so i pulled back the wire mesh, spread some more straw and compost ( using compost as a sort of glue...as it precipitates the compost will break apart and spread to help hold the straw...in spring it will facilitate the breakdown [ you can call it rotting if you like ] of the straw...since i plan to leaves at least some of the straw as a weed suppressant it can break down and help fed the garlic ) and put the wire mash back over the top..for, hopefully, the last time...either that or there will be very early garlic this season.
the yacon is flourishing under the lights and i have already harvested some of the tubers that were growing near the surface...there are more down deeper but those can wait until the plants expire...but tubers wasn't what i was after to day...i was looking for rhizomes that grow out of the root crown at the base of the plant..i was not disappointed ( second photo )...all the plants had each produced one and so it was time to propagate plants for next season...they are fair sized...three were a handful...and if the knobby and somewhat irregular shape looks vaguely familiar from other photos on this blog it may be because yacon is yet another member of the sunflower family and its rhizomes bear family resemblance to jerusalem artichokes...i made up three containers with a mix of compost, potting soil, and vermiculite...allowing room to back fill as they grow...planted the rhizomes a couple of inches deep...and put them under the lights...now it's time to wait..it's almost time for christmas dinner too...i will be attempting to propagate yacon from cuttings as well...to see if i can succeed and to try to further expand the 2016 yacon population...if all this pans out there will be more tubers and rhizomes come sometime in july...more as it comes up
the climate outside continues to be volatile with see-sawing temperatures and sporadic but abundant precipitation...the basement however offers a fairly consistent temperature and humidity...not necessarily a homogeneous environment, but more stable than the outdoor climate at the moment...the two ollalas are still doing well and i continue to back-fill the container in an effort to stimulate more tuber growth...even though they are nowhere near ready to set tubers, the more rhizomes i can induce the more seed potatoes i stand to harvest somewhere in march...the yacon is robust...overly so...it was due to finish last month and still is producing new growth...the indoor climate seems to be prolonging its season...i may harvest soon and experiment with propagating new plants from cuttings...i have tubers in the vegetable crisper to plant in spring but more yacon wouldn't be a bad thing...the ollala i planted on the sixth ( fourth photo ) had progressed a fair way in eleven days ( fifth photo ) and on christmas eve it is leafing out nicely ( bottom photo )...i have five more spuds planted down there...no sign of any of them yet...no worries..we have time and the environment's good.
volatility extends well beyond the market and oil prices ( which are, wiser heads than mine say, "unsustainable at current price levels"...inclined to agree...it isn't an unlimited commodity...finite supply + continued consumption = higher prices...simple free market math...but that's another post...and, probably, a different blog )...it is present in the climate in my back yard which, after short dip in temperatures, has returned to unseasonably high temperatures and rain...plants are confused ( although many respond to day length and not temperature...those have died back or are dormant ) the curly kale is booming along....i found a garlic bulb hanging pout of a deteriorating peat pot...it was one of the red inchelium aerial bulb i planted in september...the weather has it chugging along towards sprouting...i found it a new home...the garlic is being obdurate elsewhere as well as it continues to insist on poking up through the mulch...if there ever is winter i will add more straw...if winter fails to materialize there will be finished garlic in april...hard to call this one so far...there are still unshattered teosinte seeds out there...hanging around the ears..even if they are viable ( and i have my doubts )they need some cycles of cold to break dormancy...which the ramps i planted last autumn need as well...and the eastern gamagrass seed i am trying to "naturalize" out there...this "el nino" will be disruptive of more than a white christmas...drought next summer?...don't count it out
in september i planted aerial bulbs for the soft neck garlic red inchelium in peat pots and left them outside to see what, if anything, would come up...on the twelfth of this month i found the plant in the top photo growing and brought it in ( second photo ) assuming it was garlic...i am still 99% sure it is garlic ( no absolutes ) but that dark band around the base of the stem bothers me...the third photo is of a northern tepehuan teosinte seedling in the back yard last april...it has a dark band around the base as well...the fourth photo is of some garlic that sprouted after i planted it last september...it is not red inchelium and does not have a dark band either...so...the "red" part of red inchelium is probably responsible for the dark band...the mature garlic bulbs were adorned with reddish streaks as were the aerial bulbs...just a note on the tricky business of plant identification...not always that simple a task...be sure before you eat.
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.