Saturday, December 31, 2016

the last day of the year... unseasonably warm and a trip around the back yard provides some varied examples of hardy green...the wild strawberries so recently muffled in snow ( second photo ) are up and sunning themselves all over the yard today ( third through sixth )...and if i pull back the straw mulch ( much lighter than last year...lesson learned ) i can find green garlic waiting fro march to pop up...the egyptian walking onions in the ninth photo have shrugged off the cold an snow without mulch as has the seemingly ineradicable winter vetch in the last..garlic doesn't like competition and the vetch almost choked out the onions last year...nitrogen or not i am afraid it will have to go come's life at the end of the year..there will be more cold and snow before winter ends...there will be green again too.

Monday, December 26, 2016

back yard thaw

a week ago it was almost -9F in my back yard...this morning it is about 60 degrees warmer and the snow and ice are melting ( it was raining at 4 a.m. )...there is quite a bit of brown foliage out there is warm but it is not spring...still...the kohlrabi in the third photo is more green than are the brussels sprouts in the next photo...and the egyptian walking onions poking up through the straw seems a layer of insulating snow has protected more than the winter wheat that's planted ( and still snow covered ) out there...there will be more snow..i am skeptical about these plants ( except the onions ) overwintering...but stranger things have happened...stay tuned.

nascent erosion

temperatures are in the 50s (fahrenheit ) so there is a thaw going on and there is quite a bit of water standing in the fields..what these photos do not readily show is the movement in the is flowing and it is carrying topsoil with it...there will be more cold weather and snow yet this winter ( it has just started after all ) and there another thaw...i will make another trip out to these fields ( these are not the pones by the supermarket or the big box stores...they are a few miles south...still in danger of being subsumed by suburbia ) in early spring to see if i can document the erosion before the fields are tilled.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

basement census

there is movement in the basement...the gaggle of spuds in the first container are doing clone from a plant grown from true seed ( second photo ) continues to behave like a clone and grow upright...the other ( fourth photo ) still seems undecided as to whether it should adopt clonish behavior or vine...we will wait fro its decision...the "leggy" potato that toppled over is upright again and still reaching for the light..the bigger news however is that the yacon rhizome i planted three weeks ago had sprouted and broken the surface ( fifth and sixth photos )...last christmas i discovered rhizomes on indoor plants...this year new growth...they must like the season.

Friday, December 23, 2016


...seems unlikely to me...however that is what we are looking into is just below freezing here this morning but the temperature has been as low as -9 fahrenheit ( -22.5 celsius ) this past week so the seeds i left outdoors have been cold shocked...i brought two ears in and they yielded 57 seeds which ( as a precaution ) i soaked in hydrogen peroxide for 20 minutes just in case sub zero temperatures were not enough...i was discouraged to see that none of the seeds sank in the hydrogen peroxide which tells me the endosperm in them is not very dense...not an especially good sign...we will proceed however just to see...after 20 minutes i put the seeds in some unbleached paper towels i had dampened with distilled water ( from the need to purchase gallons of it at the supermarket anymore...only need to reuse containers to store it )...i put the paper towel wrapped seeds in a couple f baggies and have them sitting in a warm, dark place...we will look in on them in a week or so to check or movement..perhaps th enew year will some new members of the zea family under the lights.

Thursday, December 15, 2016


...but undamaged...the fifty-two day old spud had grown "leggy" under the lights...going vertical to reach the light has mad it too weak to support the weight...nothing tremendously odd in that in my i put a support post in and used some jute twine to affix the plant back upright...the top had curled up in search of light after it toppled and is now pointed will be upright again in a day or two...the rest of the spud population is doing well however the plant grown from a tuber derived from a plant grown from true seed that i thought was going to vine like the original parent plant has thrown me a curve and started to grow upright like any other clone...devil genetics.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

more snow...more teosinte...and industrial leavings

the industrial filed in the top three photos looks a lot different than it did two weeks ago...the seasons have changed however and ther is no evident gleaning going on today...
the teosinte in my back yard, meanwhile, goes mostly unharvested...i did bring in a few of the seeds from ears that had split their husks and i will be working on trying to germinate some to see if there is any viability at all...this variety had such a long season i am not sanguine about the maturity of any of the seed but an attempt is in the offing....more as that comes along.