when i got to the industrial field by the supermarket it was wet and dark...but i didn't take long to see that the poke berries were still shriveled on the plant and that there was a lot less biomass in the field...looking down the rows this morning i could see they were a lot less cluttered...they are also well mulched with a layer of husks, cobs, and shredded stalks...the rain will mat them down and help, along with the roots of the still standing portions of the stalks, reduce erosion of the soil...the combine did a remarkably good job of stripping the kernels off the cobs...i didn't see any missed ears which i usually do...but there were quite a few loose kernels laying on the ground...critters will glean those...so...even with falling commodity prices ( and dense yellow #2 is nothing if not a commodity...utterly fungible )the harvest rolls on and , by all accounts, it is a big one...grain elevators bulging and grain stored outside...look for beans in this field next may or june...we will be watching for that...expecting a no til field...we will see.
when i got to the community garden it was just wet...and it looked like no one had been there for a while...perhaps they are laboring under the misapprehension that the garden is done and over in september...not so...there are now four cauliflowers out there and there's still blooms on the roma tomato plant...and an bed with potatoes just chugging away...i pulled up an early blue and found a packed root ball...the collards are still producing and there's a bit of kale and a few peppers till as well as jerusalem artichokes...there's still stuff out there for the hardy souls who are willing to brave the elements... i took some of th egreen manures i started in peat pots out today...their roots are coming through the bottoms of the pots...time to plant...the winter rye will spread rhizomatically, especially in the spring, providing more organic matter for the soil...i threw in some seed as well...if it doesn't germinate now some will in spring...i also put a couple in the biology club bed ( hope that's okay harold! )...we're working on next season as well...i counted thirty-eight garlic plants up and running...it will be time to mulch those and the asparagus fairly soon...next weekend perhaps...you can join parker! and i if you like.
while i was doing a routine inspection of tubers i had harvested over the summer and earmarked for seed i cam across...well...the title sort of gives it away...chitting potatoes...some seriously so...thes were harvested in late june and early july and at least some are ready to go now...it would seem the indoor season is beginning much sooner this year and i am going to have to do some rearranging in the plant room since there is yacon and some potato plants grown from seed down there ( as well as some grown from tubers produced by plants grown from seed down there last winter ) and there needs to be light for every one...container gardening basment style on tap...always something to do in the garden.
while i was out back taking my daily dose of teosinte photos ( there must be thousands taken over the last four years ) i noticed that one of the branches on a plant had broken...it has been a bit windy over the past few days and this one seems to have given way...it had a well developed flower and two nascent ears past the break...if the stem had just folded over i would have left it since that probably wouldn't have had much impact...teosinte wants to lean down to disperse seeds anyway..but this branch had broken so i brought it in to have a look...the smaller of the ears had a single spike with silks still attached while the larger ear had two spikes...some of the ears outside are exploding into more spikes than that and i have to wonder just how much coaxing it took to get these spikes to align themselves around a cob...how many generations of artificial selection and dead ends before there was maize? i know beadle and the iltus crowd say that tesointe was the ONLY ancestor of maize..i wonder...surely they have grown teosinte and seen this rather unruly behavior...did ancient farmers splice in some genes by cross pollinating this plant with something else? the experts say they KNOW...they also disagree...i am content to wonder...perhaps why i am not an expert...that and the fact that i have no desire to be one..so..i will plant teosinte and watch it grow for a s long as i can...bound to learn something, right?
the fallow, bush hogged field behind the big box stores is once again teeming with pioneer plants and they are working well into autumn to insure there is another round of plants in a few months...that plant in the second photo is not a thistle and if it weren't so tall i'd call it a variety of clover...which it may be...or may not...identification will take some research...starting with the usda's guide to native plants...the third photo is the ubiquitous dandelion going to seed and the fourth photo is a thistle...there are lots of those out there...the fifth photo is of some skeletal reminders that this was a cornfield at one time...and the cracks in the soil indicate that october has been an exceedingly dry month on the south end of the inland sea...just down the road is the road to nowhere..it would seem complete...it has painted lines and a sidewalk and its end is clearly demarcated by the crash barriers...that it leads exactly nowhere is, perhaps, a reflection of the zeitgeist...there is a framework for a sign out in the distance...it may provide some information as to what to expect when the process is complete...it may also say only "available" or "commercial space for rent"...as if there isn't enough already.
there has been no harvest and almost all of the ears have rotated one hundred and eighty degrees and are pointing downward...quite a few have flimsy husks as well...many kernels are exposed...and some look the worse for wear...or, perhaps, the modified industrial genes are not functioning up to par in the crowded biosphere of the field...some are as much cob as kernel and that leaves me wondering just how much impact all those other plants in the rows had...they are dying back...but so is the corn...if they were a negative presence the damage is done for this season...so when's the harvest?
not the sort of litter you may be imagining however...leaf litter...i spent a few minutes this morning raking up some fallen leaves in my back yard...not out of adherence to some suburban ritual my neighbors subscribe to ( in all honesty i do practice some of those suburban rituals...but only when my neighbors drop a dime to local code enforcement..the municipality and i don't always see eye to eye...they can be coercive...i cannot...yet ) but rather in order to further fool the ramps in the beds under the locust trees into thinking my yard is forest...so i covered the beds in leaf litter and will add more as the autumn progresses...those ramp seeds from the one plant that bloomed have not shattered yet...still only one gone...wondering why the are waiting...or for what...perhaps it needs to be colder...and you didn't think there would be no mention of teosite did you? mor seeds popping out of husks on ears and more silks and ears emerging...they will hold on until the first really hard frost...then i will be bringing ears in for propagation and decoration..garlic mulch fairly soon as well as harvesting mason bee cocoons and stratifying grape seeds...and did i mention eastern gamagrass? purchased some seed...that's a november project too.
robust alfalfa interspersed with winter rye is a staple in the green manure population this fall...and the garlic in this bed ( thirty plants up in toe beds ) is cohabiting with a fair stand of new zealand white clover...while i was out there i noticed the elmer's blue plant in my bed was finishing up so i popped up the root ball and fished around the bed a bit...found three decent sized tubers in return for the one i planted last spring that i do believe will be seed for next season...the bottom photo is of the garden about one this afternoon as autumn moves into a deeper transition.
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.