Sunday, July 31, 2016


the beans in the field by the supermarket have topped the native other places the legumes seem to have been seriously out competed by plants from bermuda thistle to rapidly maturing ( and tall ) poke weed...obviously an untreated round-up, atrazine based carcinogen here...there is lots of competition down the no-til rows and if you closely to the right of the building in the last photo you can just make out some volunteer corn...the seed patent holders will not be happy with that...unfortunately it is nowhere near enough to the edge of the field to wade out to...they say there's no suicide gene ion that stuff...and hybrid corn does have issues with sterility in a second generation...but the volunteer corn i have been able to observe has never produced ears...perhaps i will look for another bean field...doubtlessly it would have been corn last season..there may be volunteers closer to the berm.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

new wheat

both the pacific blue stem wheat ( first two photos ) and the rarer baart wheat ( last two ), which arrived from south africa via australia in the 19th century and is an heirloom variety, have begun to produce seed ears...the pacific blue stem may find its way into the grain ground for flour, however my thoughts are to keep the baart seed to sow a larger crop ( i received only 25 seeds when i purchased it because it is uncommon ) next spring and try to preserve it in , at least, this corner of the state...which is actually on the southern end of the range for spring wheat...with hardiness zones creeping northward we may soon be out of the spring wheat range altogether...remains to be seen.

genetic diversity

last season i grew northern tepehuan teosinte out back (first photo ) was tall, slender, and rather than sprouting tillers it actually branched from the stem and produced ears ( second and third )...this season there is bear paw maize out there ( fourth photo) until the squirrels find it ...and, as you'd expect, it is producing ears ( fifth ) is producing tillers as well ( sixth photo ) ...this season i am growing a different variety of teosinte as a "wild and weedy ancestor" contrast...i have never grown zea mays parvaglumis before..some of it has a distinctively "corny" look ( seventh and eighth )...some does not ( ninth )...this plant looks more like a bush and is reminiscent more of the perennial zea dipoloperennis than an annual has a dozen tillers around the central stalk and i'm thinking bunch grass every time i look at it...i have no idea if theis will flower and produce ears ( it is far too early in its season the even think about that ) s i will simply have to exercise some patience and wait until september or so...if you hear shouting it means i found some.

Friday, July 29, 2016

wet july

another 1.7" of rain since last sunday to add to the 7" from the previous week is turning this in to a moist july here...not unheard of...not usually this much precipitation has cooled a bit in the back yard but things are still moving along...the bear paw maize is getting on to being as tall as me and the ears re becoming more pronounced...waiting for the squirrels...the bush beans are coming in well which is fine and the leaf cutter bees have capped off six tubes in the nesting block...perhaps not a population explosion but it will be cocoons i can add to the ones i purchase for release next year...some home grown leafcutters will be a good addition...the containerized jerusalem artichokes are beginning to bloom...tubers soon enough...lots of tubers...yacon, mashua, and many potatoes will (hopefully ) a tuber bonanza...the cukes, cherry tomatoes, and beans in the last photo was harvested in about ten minutes in the rain ( the beans being the most time consuming )..there are peppers and roma and beef steak tomatoes out there too...there will be more reports as the season progresses... there is still threshing and winnowing going on preparatory to the beginning of bread making....there is still a lot to do.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


if the maize on campus is beginning to flower the maize in my back yard is advancing even farther...the plant in the top photo has a blooming corn flower and has three ears forming down the stalk and the uppermost has sprouted a tuft of silks signaling the beginning of kernel fertilization...another plant just down the row has two ears, some silks, and an earwig that has taken up residence...the gardener is not pleased...they have interfered with the bees and now the maize...they also seem ubiquitous and unavoidable...there is always a price to pay..and the squirrels may exacta much higher toll...i will be on the lookout but they are wily little critters and i am not sanguine an bout any real maize thoughts are they will beat me to i will take as many photos as possible..we may get lucky.

the usual suspects

even so there's almost always something new to see each trip...such as much larger cucumbers ready to harvest...they are hiding in the vines but they are there...i found five new asparagus spears on two plants which must be feeding very large root systems by now...these plants will be around for years to come...the bear paw maize is beginning to flower ( fourth and fifth photos ) and should be producing an ear or two soon enough...the roma tomatoes are still there but much riper than my last trip out...and finally the last photo is of some robust peppers on the plants...there's produce out there and more to come...the beans are beginning to sprout and the jerusalem artichokes are blooming..a sure sign tubers are in the offing..the season rolls along.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

devil gluten...devil climate

when i planted the bed of black eagle wheat back in march i simply broadcast the seed ( first photo ) into the bed and raked it in without any attempt at some sort of "row" orientation...nothing unusual in that...the seeds germinated according to rheir own timetable..some earlier than others...and the early plants had an advantage in finding sunlight when the bed became packed with tillering plants ( second )...they spent the first couple of months building root systems to feed the seed ear and the ears did not appear until late may/early june ( third )...the taller plants that germinated first got more light, developed deeper roots, grew tall, and produce bigger seed heads ( fourth and fifth )...the plants that grew outside the bed, either as volunteers or because i had spilled seed (!) grew to a more uniform height because they were spaced farther apart and developed seed ears of approximately the same size ( sixth and seventh )a mater of energy acquisition...the rain gauge in my back yard is topped pout this morning after last night's rains...six inches is its maximum measuring capability and the floating plastic marker is at the top...i emptied this last sunday and will do so again today...six inches of rain in my back yard in a really hot july is not natural people...something is going on...a lot of people who should be paying attention are not...or are deep in denial..if they don't wise up soon nature will apply therapy for that will be a struggle.