Thursday, June 22, 2017

what is this? the second day of summer?

and the wheat continues its ripening...the hard red spring ( first photo ) is moving along and i found a surprisingly ripe ear of emmer ( second ) while the pacific blue stem is turning amber ( third )...they syrian dwarf is still so green it is blending into the background and resisting clear photography...maybe later...the zea mays parvaglumis ( fourth ) continues to show its relation to its descendant maize ( fifth ) of the twelve imported wild strawberries have survived and are showing good growth (sixth )..the chines yams have all sorts of new growth ( seventh )...and remember those brussels sprouts ( eighth )i planted as a fall crop last season and which surprisingly ( to me ) overwintered and took off again this spring and have already produced seed pods? well now they have very small sprouts going on ( ninth )...i am pleased...finally a ramp flower has achieved enough photographic definition that i can show you one in the early stages of deployment ( tenth )...a member of the allium family it should be producing round, black seeds soon.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

corn sweat, asparagus, and an onion on the last day of spring

transpiration ( first photo ) was going on when i got tot he garden...corn sweat...the leaves on the teosinte had curled ( second ) because the stomata on the underside of the leaves had opened to allow water vapor to evaporate and cool the leaves..a sure sign the plant neded a drink of despite the rain ( more like a drizzle ) i dumped most of a gallon of water around the base and about fifteen minutes later the curl at the top of the leaf had relaxed and there was a gap opening in the curl lower down the leaf as the plant rehydrated ( third )...along the other side of the bed the jerusalem artichokes ( fourth ) are thriving and will be reaching the three foot mark very soon,...down the beds the asparagus is robust and there is further new growth ( fifth and sixth )...finally, the onion ( seventh and eighth ) has exploded into bloom...seeds next...onion seeds...wondering if they will be as black as ramp seeds...those are working on blooming in the bed out back...more on that in a later post

first spuds

when i got to the garden after work today the yukon golds in the first photo still looked as if they had a way to go in their season...the red potatoes i planted on april ninth in the second photo were all but finished so i decided to harvest them...the root balls ( third ) told me they had been busy and when i rooted around the area what i found was thirty-eight tubers of varying sizes ( fourth )...i took them home and cleaned them up ( fifth )...the smallest of them didn't even register a weight on my kitchen scale ( sixth )..the largest weighs four ounces ( seventh ) and the whole bunch weighs a shade over two pounds...they will be a fin lunch soon...more when the yukon golds are done

Monday, June 19, 2017


just a very quick trip around a couple of places in the yard after a brief rain shower...the first two photos are a morphological study of maize ( first ) and teosinte ( second )...they are related and there is a strong family resemblance...the third photo is of emmer wheat and the husks seem to be growing lighter...and thickening and hardening as well i imagine...they were planted in may be that the season is reaching the certainly seems so for the pacific blue stem ( fourth )...that is ripening wheat and no mistake...they are volunteer plants growing from seed that hit the ground last summer at harvest so they are by far the oldest spring wheat out there...only makes sense they'd be the first to ripen...time to find the sickle and make sure it's sharp.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

dense yellow #2 2017 season

a trip to the supermarket took me by the ironically placed industrial field so i stopped by to have a has been planted in dense yellow #2 which is no looks like standard thirty inch rows ( second photo ) and you can tell it was no til by all the detritus on the surface ( third )including old cobs from 2015 that are still decomposing ( twelve pounds of nitrogen per ton of cobs...they are adding something )..the spacing between plants is erratic at best...ranging from something around two inches to over a foot apart ( fourth through seventh )...purposeful? i doubt it...probably more like mechanical...planter skipping...this was a bean field last can tell that because of the volunteer beans coming up ( eighth and ninth )...another clue to no til as well...i have started some corn in my yard ( tenth )...mostly to compare morphology with the teosinte...these are spaced about three inches apart and, like the corn in the field, will grow quickly...the last two photos are of the same plant yesterday and today...teosinte starts slowly, building a root system to support a large plant and then gains verticality...this stuff hits the ground running...i know which i prefer...
teosinte...hands down.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

primitive cultivar?

the yema de huevos potatoes i got from the usda are classified as a "primitive cultivar" which means they are "unimproved"...domesticated, however the artificial selection that domesticated them had been pursued too deeply into domestication so that once they were harvested they quickly began to you ate them or replanted them...the ones i received ( which are doing well right now ) arrived already sprouted ( first photo ) and i planted them immediately...working from that i began to wonder about the wheat in my yard...the second photo is of hard red winter wheat and the next two are pacific blue stem...and the last is emmer
the hulls ion the emmer wheat are exceptionally thick compared to the other wheat i am growing and threshing the grain ( which i had to do before i planted it ) is a pain..and if you take a reasonably close look you'll see that the other wheat's ears contain more grain than the smaller emmer ears...thougher hulls...more work per calorie of food...emer is an old wheat, domesticated around ten thousand years ago and i wonder how much is actually grown each year...i got them as "heirloom" seed and i wonder if they would be classified as a "primitive cultivar"'s easy enough to see why early agriculturalists would move on from emmer as other varieties of wheat we "improved" by artificial the grain ripens we'll see if fresher grain is easier to thresh than what i received as seed and we will compare it with the other varieties in terms of the amount of work threshing takes ( winnowing will always be a pain no matter what variety )