Saturday, April 30, 2011
the top photo is one i pulled off the web of some mature teosinte which doesn't do me a lot of good really because i don't have mature teosinte...what i do have is four plants up in the row i planted in northern tepehuan and they are tillering and the one that has been up for a few weeks has actual branches that have broken through the ground ( second photo) which convinces me it's not a bunch grass and could actuially be teosinte...this is in my backyard...nothing is up ( as of yesterday) in the bed i planted in northern tepehuan on campus...there is grass up in the bed i planted Zea dipoloperennis in on campus...but that's still too young to even begin to make a call on...so i am optimistic that we may actually have some this year...even if it is only an annual variety...the bottom two photos are of the gamagrass that's up in the grass bed in the back here...if things pan aout the way i hope they will ( and if it ever dries up enough for my trusty field down county line road to be planted in dense yellow number two) we will have a photo essay on grass morphology this year...from seedling ( i have been taking pictures all along) to mature plant...why? well because it's all about maize ancestry and it will include all the plants embroiled in the debate...somethign to ponder with the limited knowledge i have in an effort to perjaps understand more...that and i have the space and time to indulge myself...there will be more on this as the season moves along, whatever happens.
Friday, April 29, 2011
....but i didn't let that stand in my way did i? planted jerusalem artichokes to see if a perennial tuber other than potatoes could be a staple...and as far as i can see they certainly have the ability to fill those shoes...but they are virtually impossible to control...a trade-off for sure...last fall i consciously planted six tubers in the campus garden ( which are all finally up)...so far this season i have removed an additional nineteen plants and my campus population is still a dozen...so twenty-five rouges have appeared...on top of that i dug up another thirty tubers that i missed in last fall's harvest...they hadn't broken the surface yet, but were on their way...there's more i am sure...no idea what ot do with them...they'd just colonize the compost pile and i've given away as many as i believe i can...i have seventeen in my back yard and will spend the rest of my days trying to keep them at bay...it's a good thing they're tasty...it's been really wet this spring and the gamagrass is a bit yellow...it is dry and sunny today and tomorrow is supposed to be even warmer...the green will return...fourteen asparagus spears up from eight plants...another year of growth before we start to harvest...who wants to claim a share early? finally theres a photo of the garden at about ten this morning...eighteen turnips and twenty three spinach plants keeping the wheat and sunchokes company...there is grass up where i planted Zea diploperennis seeds, but it's too early for me to make a call...it just looks like grass...the whaet is grass too and the look alot alike...i'll wait for tillering and actual branches before i call it...we've shifted up a gear...the season is moving on and i am geeked to see the growth.
Friday, April 22, 2011
i suppose there is some value in calling attention to environmental issues once a year...if only to remind an anesthetized broader public, wrapped up in 4G networks, i-pads, smart phones, nascar, baseball, and untold other consumerist activities, that we are actually part of and a product of an ecosystem that is definitely unhappy and about to get ugly over the issue of human intervention in natural cycles...then again, on another level it's alot like new year's resolutions that people stick to for a week or two and conveniently forget...dealing with the fact the we are about to be overwhelmed in unpleasant ways with changes or that we have industrialized food production by making it reliant on the mining of finite resources and eating oil and natural gas or that the economic base we rely in is unsustainable in its current form requires more than a once a year payment of lip service...new year's resolutions are pointless, and in that respect so is earth day...you have to live these changes, not think about them occasionally...decide what you're going to be and then be that...every day...it's work, and sometimes it's a royal pain...it's also the only way anything substantive will be accomplished, especially in the face of resistance from those who have a vested interest in keeping things they way they are...they will fail in that...but they won't believe it until it happens.
the gamagrass in the top photo is looking a bit yellow from all the rain...no worries...it will green up when it warms a bit...the spring wheat is doing fine and will be on schedule for a late summer finish...if the starlings leave any...the winter wheat in the middle photo is cooking along just fine too...another starling banquet in a couple of months...the fourth photo is of one of two rouge jerusalem artichokes i dug out of the university lawn ( that's three so far) and the two would have been numbers fifteen and sixteen on campus ( where i planted six) but i transplanted them to my back yard ( see the entry below)....the bottom photo is of a soggy garden on earth day 2011...a miniscule contribution to alternate thought about the way things are that is the result of quite a bit of thought, planning, and anthropological reading...i'll send you my reading list if you like.
the rouge jerusalem artichokes have found a home along my back fence in a bed prepared with forty pounds of manure...they will be happy there i hope...hardy souls that they are i don't doubt they'll prosper...the bottom photo is asparagus on campus (marram hall in the background) seven of eight plants have spears up now, including last years runt that i overshadowed with cowpeas ( not this year...there will be more organization to our green manure) and the one on the southwest corner that sustained considerable mole damage...one left to come up...i hope the mole damaged yam fares as well.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
over the past week i have been moving apple trees upstairs into natural light and looking for signs of shock...none so far...i am still obsessing...a dozen of the sixteen i had did well under the light...now i need at least two to adjust to the real world...more would be good but i'm willing to settle....how many apple seeds actually get to be trees?
Friday, April 15, 2011
another maintenance day on campus and things are still moving...the spring wheat has grown enough that it actually shows up in a photo...the winter wheat should be done by mid-summer and the spring wheat won't finish until fall ( or the starlings won't finish it until fall)...a slow moving grain that takes forty to fifty days from he time either type starts to develop a seed head...okay..we have time...there ar enow eight asparagus spears up and stilla couple of plants haven't put in an appearance...neither has the mole damaged yam...that concerns me a bit...but not as much as if it hasn't shown up in a month will...i left plenty of starch on the end of the root when i harvested the yams so hopefully it has enough stored energy to ovecome any damage...the second photo is a nacent jerusalem artichoke that is running well ( and that is spinach in the upper left)...the next is a photo of another rouge i found while hacking the lawn back from the garden ( the garden is the most organic plot of land around hawthorn hall and the lawn covets it) and transplanted to the garden proper...that makes a lucky thirteen where i planted six...and that's it...i culled a fourteenth one today and there will be no others...there is no room...leave a message if you'd like me to save you any more that i come across...they will be movable for a few weeks yet...if not they're compost...as soon as things warm up a bit and the dense yellow number two maize starts to go in around county line road we'll start to look at morphology a bit earlier this year...new wheat grass and gamagrass up and running to provide a comparison among grasses...i see some sprouts in the teosinte bed here at home....but i don't trust it to be anything yet...no jumping the gun...i am hoping to get some comparison with another bona fide maize ancestor (i have gamagrass and i am on mary eubank's side in the corn war...as if that matters)but i'm not promising anything just yet...and perhaps a photo essay on erosion and just how much bare earth there is in a field of dense yellow number two or soy beans...or both.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
spring on campus and things are moving along pretty much as expected...the spinach and turnips have benn up for a while and the spring wheat has put in an appearance...it isn't terribly photogenic yet because it is small so a clear image will have to wait for a few days, if not weeks ( it's up here at home as well)...no beets yer, but it's been less than a week...they will be along soon... the top photo is the gamagrass greening up nicely... all three clumps are looking well and i hope for good growth this season and look forward to seeds in 2012...the second photo is a couple of jerusalem artichokes...there are seven up so far...i found and relocated another volunteer that was outside the bed that i planted in november...only one has come up where i planted so far...nothing surprising about that...but this means if they do all appear i'll have a dozen of them which is twice as many as i deliberately planted...all perennials are invasive...if any more crop up i'm afarid i will be doing them in...there are five purple asparagus spears up so far...that's encouraging...three more and all the plants will have successfully wintered over...no sign of the mole damaged yam yet...still thinking positive thoughts but there is a plan b if necessary...the winter wheaty in the fourth photo is just chugging along and promises to be starling food by june ( you didn't think there'd be a harvest did you? i didn't...i'll try bird tape...but i am willing to wager it won't work...i am hoping for photos of seed heads...but no promises...starlings are tenacious)the bottom photo is the watered and weeded ( mostly grass from the university lawn again) perennial garden project as it was a bit before five in the evening today...so far the good fortune of the first season seems to be holding...still no teosinte though...keep a good thought
Sunday, April 10, 2011
when i cut the seed potaoes day before yesterday i knew there wouldn't be enough room in the bed for all of them....fortunately when i cleared the area for the beds of trees and assorted vines, russian olives, and those vicious wild raspbeeries i left enough room for some plants outside the bed, so there is an annex to the potato bed with what i hope will be seventeen plants in addition to the twenty-one in the bed...lots of ogranic matter and worms in the soil around the bed so we should be all set...i planted red nordlands on the tenth of april last year as well...as i recall it took about ten days before the first plants broke cover and by the second week of july i had harvested them all...i would expect that to be nearly the schedule i can look forward to this season as well...more stuff as it comes up.
spent about half an hour on campus this morning ( 6:55-7:30) just to do some watering...there's a fifty percent chance of rain today in the last forecast i saw...that's not good enough and just looking around to see what's up...literally...the big news today is there is asparagus up ( top photo )...the first of the eight out there to show up...so the mulch worked or one anyway...the middle two photos are of new growth and greening in the gamagrass clumps...they made it to around three feet tall last season...this season the runt will not be overshadowed by jerusalem artichokes and the others will not be competeing with a forest of cowpeas (there will be cowpeas again...but in a much more organized fashion...i still want to work with green manures) so, perhaps, the will reach the four feet mark this year...spinach, turnips and a single yam plant ( the other yam bed has significant mole damage and may be late or may not be at all...i am hopeful but i am also planning to use some of the aerial bulbs from last year if necessary) are going...no sign of spring wheat or beets yet...i wasn't really expecting any yet...the jerusalem artichokes will be along soon if the rouge i found is any indication...more later today as i plant potatoes here at home.
Friday, April 8, 2011
just some photos that wouldn't fit with the last post...top one is the rouge jeruasalem artichoke....roots and all...i put it with the others...so not one of the jerusalem artichokes i dug up thirteen days ago when i called an official end tot he first storage experiment had anything remotely resembling roots...the were still crisp and they cooked up nicely...the ones i left in the ground, either accidently or prurposefully, haven't wasted any time after being signaled that the time was here to begin the reproductive imperative...i'd wish them luck but they are relentless...no need...that stick by my left ring finger is the beginning of the second year of growth of that particular chinese yam...more aerial bulbs! i still have over 400 from last year...i am the chinese yam baron of n w indiana...i took a picture of the Zea diploperennis seed package just to document my optimism...and the bottom photo is the garden on campus as i left it at 10:00 a m...i'll be back to check on things sunday
spent some time working on campus this morning which was entirely enjoyable, if a bit muddy...accomplished a few things i wanted to get done on what promises to be a busy weekend and saw a few familiar faces as i was working which helped things along as well...the top photo is a fist full of beet seeds..i planted nineteen of them in a bed i prepared with composted manure ( bottom photo)...we will see how many germinate as the temperature range for the next few days and the rainfall we've had and are expected to get are making the conditions just about right...the second photo is spring wheat which i broadcast into the bed in the second to last photo ( more manure)...the middle photo is for all of you who think i am an unrelenting pessimist who cannot broach a positive thought ( you know who you are)...it is eight Zea diploperennis seeds which i planted directly into the ground...period...no soaking in hydrogen peroxide to break dormancy...no tricks of the trade...just a perennial tropical parked right in the northwest indiana ground to await its fate...we'll see about that too...especially since i can discern no movement in the northern tepehuan teosinte yet...there is movement however...nine turnip plants are up...thirteen spinach plants are cooking along....and one of the chinese yams is up...this pleases me no end since i have a different plan for a vine trellis this year and now i get to use it...as i was aerating the soil around the garden i turned up a volunteer jerusalem artichoke...i knew this would happen, and i know i said i would cull the herd as it happened...but i couldn't do it...i just moved it to an empty spot...my resolve to have only six jerusalem artichokes destroyed by a rooting tuber...so be it...if they turn up in other beds and i run out of room i will have to harden my resolve...past that it was an ordianry day...i have more photos i will be posting in an appendix...just because i want to.
the two pounds of organic red nordland seed potatoes that i received last friday will provide me with ( hopefully...but you never know for sure) with thirty-eight potato plants...if they all are successful i can look forward to a harvest of around ninety potatoes...provided i can escape the vagaries of disease and the potato beetle...i plan to use only one of the raised beds for potatoes, but thirty-eight plants in thirty-two square feet doesn't really add up...so i will be looking for likely spots around the back jungle since i don't want to use more than one bed and foul up my planned three-year potato bed rotaion...if can predict a backyard with more raised beds next season...my vegetable population is already outgrowing its space and, unfortunately, a sort of organic sprawl is the only solution i have...well...the project here at home is to move towards more self-sufficiency ( that defies the "i before e except after c" rule...i just looked it up in the oxford reference dictionary...argue with them if you like.) and control over food supply...that means using resources as efficiently and as renewably as possible...i have more room but it is finite...the more difficult work of planning will have to come before expansion...especially with apple trees on the horizon...i will let them callus for a couple of days and plant on sunday...off to campus ( in the rain) to plant spring wheat and beets...more on that mudfest later.