so i was tramping around the yard when i ran across this jerusalem artichoke bloom...nothing odd in that in my yard...except i had no real memory of planting any there...it is basically a sand pile covered with landscaping fabric used as a base for containers and thoroughly unsuited to sustaining any plants in and of itself...it isn't a huge plant as sunchokes go...only about three feet tall...i traced the stems down and discovered that they were growing out of a cardboard box ( a container, no? ) that seem to have a bit of potting soil/compost in it...i must have had the tubers in the box and some soil ended up on top of them when i filled the containers for spuds, tomatoes, and the like...relentless tubers...dna has universal will to be...i am all curiosity about what sort of tubers i will be harvesting from this box...more later.
if you squint you just might be able to make out some corn flowers behind the tops of the biomass in the berm...there really is a cornfield back there and the path i blazed to it still is evident...that path takes me by the crop that has organically established itself along side the domesticated grass...the poke weed berries in the third photo are beginning to ripen and they can render a durable vegetable dye...the poke weed on the whole is robust and since it is edible and can be a commercial product it isn't really a "weed" per se...it simply isn't readily recognized as food in mid-western culture...it was a simple matter to locate the two closely spaced corn plants and they both still have ears ( sixth photo ) although the runt of the bunch on the left is't looking overly productive ( unlike the poke weed )...and if you compare them both to a neighbor ( seventh photo ) neither is an especial example of the industrial breed...the last photo is one of several i took down the middle of the row ( you can see the beige colored cornstalks on the right...the rest is biomass ) they are absolutely choked with plants that would not be there in a rural industrial field that had been sprayed to sterility with round-up or liberty herbicides...one wonders how much herbicide technology sprang from the war in viet nam...how closely related to agent orange are round-up or liberty? ah...research.
it was raining when i got to the garden this morning which obviated the need to water...for a bit, at least...the season goes on though and there may yet be need of the hose...the potato beds in the top two photos simply refuse to finish...my best guess is they are dominated by early blues which are indeterminate and have a very long season...certainly the number of blossoms speak of and intention to be around a bit longer yet..the cauliflower in the third photo continues to be browsed by something while the brussels sprouts in the fourth seem to be faring somewhat better in the gnawing department...still hoping for some decent production into october from these...the asparagus plant in the fifth photo still has some delicate blooms on the "ferns"...but farther down the plant we can see signs of autumn...over in the spea bed there be cantaloupes coming along nicely...a few more weeks and they will be ripe...if they aren't critter harvested first...there's still a lot of green out in the garden and there are cucumbers and peppers, collards and kale still producing as well as tomatoes..the fall harvest is a bit away but if the spuds come in we may still achieve an unbroken cyclical harvest for the season with the jerusalem artichokes coming in last.
the pioneer plants continue to colonize the bush hogged field behind the big box stores....there is a lot of thistle going on out there and there is some in the berm that was unmowed and is moving towards going to seed ( second photo )...the appearance of the fecund and ubiquitous dandelion is yet another sign that once a file is disrupted the succession of plant communities begins again...dna is relentless...on the other end of the field the heavy equipment has changed...a second wave of colonizers there as well...from the looks of things the installation of the underground apparatuses is complete and my best guess is that some sort of pavement is due soon enough...that's a manhole cover perched on top of that concrete structure...so is this a parking lot in utero? or some sort of industrial drainage system...and for what? we will be finding out soon enough.
the potato vine in the top photo is one i started from seed a few months ago and it is doing well...it has produced two more "shoots", one form the base of the plant and one that is clearly from a rhizome ( second photo )...the plants i started in the basement under the lights last winter exhibited the same sorts of behavior but not in quite so robust a fashion ( third and fourth photos )...the season for these plants is a longish one so i am inclined to think these will be finishing up in the basement...the ramp seeds in the fifth photo are darkening and will turn black as they mature...only one went to seed but i have more "bulbs" on the way...i will have beds of wild leeks in my yard yet...the weather has turned cool here with hints of autumn and the grapes in the catalpa tree are ripening...jam and jelly on the horizon..finally the obligatory teosinte photo is here to remind me that there are nos signs of ears out there yet...it is still early...i am still impatient...gardening will see to that.
from a distance there is a definite autumnal cast to the cucumber vines that signals shortening days...a closer look tells me that there are still bloom and still cucumbers coming along...however, that broader vista isn't lying...soon enough we will be planting garlic and clearing beds to plant fall green manures and the attendant cover crops ( mostly winter rye ) to recondition the soil for next season...that is a ways off yet though and there is still activity in the garden...i found a bee on the jerudsalem artichoke blooms this evening so there is insect life in the garden, and important insect life at that...something continues to browse the cauliflower ( fourth photo ) and i am uncertain of its future and its productivity...the brussels sprouts in the next photo are faring somewhat better in the browsing department...they and the cauliflower are cousins but the familial difference may be in the flavor...the critters may be more discerning that i imagine...the peppers continue to bloom and produce and there are tomatoes yet and the potatoes are grinding on...i foresee a couple more months of active work and production out there...then some down time for planning and procuring seed and plants...still time for a visit.
a northern tepehuan teosinte plant in my yard and something to give some scale...no ears yet...sometime in the next month they should emerge in profusion...you may see more of them than you care to...i will refrain from beindg self-inclusive...except, perhaps, for the occasional hand or finger.
recent rains have enhanced the energy of the biomass in the berm of the corn field by the supermarket...the path i have beaten through it is still visible but even when you get to the edge of the crop it is difficult to tell it's there...on the plus side the poke weed in the third photo is very robust...i found the two closely spaced plants readily and, in the intervening week, the bulge on the second plant has evolved into an official ear of dense yellow #2 and the industrial food feed stock is so increased...but not by all that much...have a look at the sixth photo and you can easily see that, compared to the "normally" spaced neighbor s, the ears on the misspaced plants are considerably smaller...i keep coming back to the idea that the planter malfunctioned and those two are not engineered enough to produce well that close together...it is pretty much impossible to go between the rows from this entry point without damaging the crop so i just stuck the camera into the next row over and took some photos in each direction...hard to tell what is corn and what isn't in those last two photos...certainly those are not the usual thirty inch industrial rows of bare ground sterilized by anhydrous ammonia, pesticides, and herbicides...i would like to see this field as it is harvested...i am wondering what the combine is going to do with all those extra plants...my best bet is they are designed for the above mentioned thirty inch sterile ( and erosive ) rows...i can see clogging issues and deep frustration...i wonder if the profit margin on this stuff has improved to the point it's worthwhile
went out to the garden to do some watering and weeding...maintenance stuff..and to have a look around at what's going on...it has been ninety-three days since planting day and some of the plants are slowing down, like the beans, and showing signs of autumn foliage...the cucumber plants are doing the same but the first two photos show there are still blooms on the vines so i gave them a healthy dose of water to work with...the pepper plants are still producing as well...jalepeno, bell, and banana peppers all coming along...still blooming...still producing...most likey until a hard frost...the cauliflower i planted for autumn harvest ( sixth photo ) hasn't bolted in the heat and the brussels sprouts ( in the photo with the leek ) the next row over are doing okay as well...something ( one? ) is browsing them however...my inclination would be to blame rabbits but that is pretty much supposition...hopefully they will persevere and we will have some produce...nature may have other ideas...the cantaloupes were planted on planting day and the ninety-three days since then puts them on schedule as they start to produce...three to four weeks should see ripe melons...if nature doesn't have other ideas about those as well...the last photo is of a number of beds out there...production is still going on and from the looks of things the native tubers down in the jerusalem artichoke bed should bring in a bumper crop of irregularly shaped tubers...there will be more on them and the spuds as they come in...we have reached near the end of august...the season goes on.
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.