Monday, July 31, 2017

out back on the last day of july

a short tramp around the yard on the last day of the month includes jerusalem artichokes blooming away ( first photo ) along with some spuds that are just as showy in a smaller fashion ( second )...the corn in a bucket is sweating away ( third through fifth ) while the "wild and weedy" ( and also blooming ) ancestor is not ( sixth through eighth )...probably because the teosinte is in ground and the corn is in buckets...more access to worries...i doused the corn...the brussels sprouts ( ninth ) are coming along in the heat and the ramp seeds ( tenth ) are darkening as they mature...the grapes in the catalpa tree ( eleventh ) are doing only so-so...the mulberries ( twelfth ) are continuing their season long...we'll see...there's more going on...perhaps we will stroll again on mid summer's day...coning up next weekend.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

two varieties of grass flowers

there is still a disparity of growth in the corn field by the supermarket....the plants in the deep shade have finally made it to knee high in july ( first photo ) while the plants deeper in are over my head ( second )...the field is a sea of cornflowers ( third ) which all have a structure akin to the flower in the fourth photo...ears have irrupted ( fifth and sixth ) complete with tassels...( i have made a serious effort to put across the difference between corn flowers and tassels to an individual i know with little success...they are definitely in symbiosis and can probably be easily confused...they serve distinct purposes in the growth of field corn though ) which bodes well for the corn crop...there are also structures that telegraph the formation of more ears ( seventh ) so the process is in its early contrast the northern tepehuan teosinte in my back yard is, perhaps, pushing four feet in height ( eighth ) too has flowered ( ninth ) with a significantly different male flower head ( the tenth photo is the filed corn flower again as a is far too early to go looking for silks and ears on the the next month or so perhaps...still there is a lot of morphology to observe...we will get into leaf structure as the teosinte matures...the ancestor and domesticate are as alike as they are different.

Saturday, July 29, 2017


the blooms on the jerusalem artichokes act as a nectary for mosquitoes ( and so provide a feeding ground for dragonflies...they are are around too ) and here they are providing pollen and nectar for a honey bee...diverse plants mean divers insect life...there's a mantis in my corn in a
bucket. well disguised but head down dead center in the photo .

more nightshades

i was out at the community garden today looking at carolina horse nettle and then i came home and had a look at their cousins the spuds...the first photo is of horse nettle buds and the second is of buds on the potatoes in my back yard......the third is a horse nettle bloom and the fourth is potatoes...the similarities are obvious to see...while i was out at the garden i put on gloves ( a word of caution...gloves really are not proof against these thorns...grasp lightly...they will come though if you do not ) and harvested a few more fruits ( sixth through eighth )...the rest i will leave to "ripen on the vine" so to speak and see how large they may get.

unless invited, stay out of my bed

imagine, if you are able, my irritation on finding the zea mays parvaglumis in my bed at the community garden seriously uprooted...teosinte is a direct ancestor of maize and it is a hardy plant that can withstand a lot...i have had storm damage to both teosinte and has been flattened by the wind...and you can stand them both back up and they will be issue with falling over...the can stand insects and drought ( although. like all plants, not indefinitely ) and in the years i have grown this plant i have never had a critter look twice at it even when the seed ears were in season my conclusion is that someone..whether ins a spirit of helpful weeding or malicious vindictiveness, has ripped this plant up by the roots...broken it in half, and left it to die...either way it was utterly uncalled for...don't monkey around with what you don't understand...especially on my turf...some of the roots were actually still in ground so i watered the exposed roots and the surrounding area thoroughly and replanted the roots and stem to see if there is something salvageable from the whole experience...a chance to show resilience.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


all sorts of flowers around the eyed susans, marigolds, geraniums, and showy nasturtiums among others...i am a bit less focused on showy ( although i will be gathering all the nasturtium seeds i can find since they are mashua cousins ) and inclined to pay attention to somewhat less attention getting reproductive mechanisms...the top four photos are potato flowers in various stages from buds ( first ) to open blooms ( second and third ) and , what i hope are, fertilized fruits ( fourth )...i found these yesterday evening during an outing devoted to nightshade reproduction...tonight my attention has been grabbed by teosinte...both northeren tepehuan plants ( fifth and seventh ) have begun to deploy flowers ( sixth and eighth ) on their main stems ( the tillers remain sterile for now )...grass flowers are weird critters for those attuned to the showy blooms in landscaping...we have, i believe looked at wheat and rye flowers so now we will have a shufti at zea as the flowers develop...the corn in a bucket ( ninth ) shows no sign of a flower will be instructive to have a look at the industrial field by the supermarket this coming weekend to see how the feedstock is doing flower-wise...finally we all know my partiality for a well turned support root and the northern tepehuan teosinte in the last photo is not disappointing....with a bonus tiller growing out of it....we are full of surprises.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

nightshade morphology

we are, i believe, familiar with my discovery of carolina horse nettle in the community garden last season and its subsequent identification as a member of the solanum family...and we are familiar with its continued presence in the garden this year as well ( and my efforts to import it, in a controlled fashion, into my attempt which may have been given even better prospects today )..the identification came about because of the remarkable similarity of the blooms...potato blooms ( first photo ) and horse nettle blooms ( second ) have very similar ( though not exactly identical ) structures and shapes...the potatoes bear fruits ( third, fifth, and seventh photos if the weather conditions ( cool and wet ) favor it ( and my experience so far has been that the blue varieties tend to produce far more fruits than any others i have planted ) i discovered the fruits i had hoped for on the horse nettle ( fourth, sixth, and eighth photos ) in this as well the family similarities continue...i brought a few in ( tenth ) to put in a paper bag to see if they will ripen as potato fruits will...if they do i will render the seed, freeze some, and fall plant some in the back yard...i do see signs of possible fruits on the blue shetlands in my yard ( eleventh )...that would be an even better comparison ( the potato fruit photos here are from the 2015 season ) and i might be able to render seed side by side.