Monday, February 4, 2013

perennial populations

"perennial plants reduce erosion risks, sequester more carbon, and require less fuel, fertilizer, and pesticides to grow than their annual counterparts...perennials have greater access to more resources over a longer growing season...perennials have greater ability to maintain the health and fertility of a landscape over longer periods of time..." towards sustainable agricultural systems in the 21st century. national research council of the national academies. 2010.__________________________________________________ there is a reason this is called the perennial garden project...there have always been annuals in the garden because there are annuals in every ecosystem...the focus has always been perennials and they have always outnumbered the annuals...the, for me at least, represent a step towards those " more sustainable agricultural systems" all crops they have their issues but under the proper circumstances they are easily as robust a group of producers as any annuals...research indicates that they may be more adaptable to climate change and that is a direction this project is going to explore ( albeit more in my back yard than on campus ) through a long term look at the behavior of native perennial species...asparagus is not's also not in my back yard...but it is booing in the basement...i came home from work today and discovered three new additions to my seedling population which now totals eight plants...all eight were sown on the twelfth of last december so these three are somewhere around forty-two or forty-three days into the germination period...more than half of the seventy day possible term...they transplant at ten to fourteen weeks of age which puts me right about tax day...which, incidentally, has been the historic average last frost date,,so i will be in the iu northwest community garden around the middle of april introducing some perennials ( they grew potatoes last season so this will actually be the second perennial...or third if you count the cherry tree )...asparagus has a large root system that can reach twelve feet in depth and grow in a conical shape to a diameter of eight feet...that's what sustains the above ground plant growth that can reach seven or eight feet and makes them such heavy will also hold a lot of soil together and keep some carbon out of the air all year round instead of just seasonally...a well prepared and tended bed can produce for a quarter century and, with rotation of new plants into the beds can be continuous as long as it is properly maintained...a reasonably sound investment from an ecological viewpoint...there are more seeds in the basement and under the acacia tree so i have a potential of at least thirty-two plants and room for only a third of that number...if the seeds germinate and anyone is interested in the spares let me need sandy or loamy soil for them to thrive...good drainage is a must...past that they are a hardy bunch and well fed plants produce quite a bit...on more caution...plants grown from seed should not be harvested until their fifth season or their productivity will be adversely affected...more as it comes up.

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