Friday, May 31, 2013

out back on the last day of may

not only are the yema de huevos potatoes filling the half barrel, they are working on blooming ( top two photos )...purplish looking buds that will be more thoroughly photographed this weekend...hope there's a good number to tubers about to be set...i have four hopi blue maize plants out there ( i will garner no maize...the squirrels will ) and they are doing well even if they are a bit battered by recent storms ( third photo )...the turnips are doing nicely and will be ready in june ( forth photo ) while the shadow cast by the jerusalem artichokes is deepening to the detriment of all the other plants in the bed...except, seemingly, the lamb's quarters that are dead center in the bottom photo...still haven't found the time to look into this with any depth so will continue to document the relationship as the other plants succumb to the relentless tubers...lots of teosinte up and running...some asparagus...bur=t still no sign of the shang i planted late last summer...i have ordered stratified seed that will arrive in august and i have a spot picked out that may prove more amenable tot he touchy plants...they are native so if i provide the proper conditions perhaps i can coax some into lake county...more s it comes up

more back yard photos

top to bottom: transplanted teosinte doing attempt at producing mature seeds under the grow light later this fall may be taking shape, kansas intermediate wheat grass working on seed heads...and another robust stand of jerusalem artichokes.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

a maize thing

most of the hopi blue maize i planted in the garden earlier this month looks well (top photo ) but two haven't come up and one has failed ( second photo ) i soaked half a dozen seeds ( there have been unresponsive seeds in the pgp as well ) and went out to campus after work to do some replanting...i removed the failed plant and buried it in the bed to close the nutrient cycle that what growth it managed ( there will be lots of talk about closing nutrient cycles, composting, and green manures as the season progresses and harvests begin to come in...we will be preparing beds for next season before this one is done enlisting nature as an ally ) then i planted three more seeds...hopi blue matures in eighty-five to one hundred and five days so we still have plenty of time for a full a couple of week we hope to see three healthy plants...the bottom two photos are a comparison of zea family morphology...the fourth photo id=s of northern tepehuan teosinte ( zea mays mexicana ) and the fifth is of sweet corn (zea mays )...from the shape of the leaves to the coloration at the base of the main stem the relationship is plain to see...if all goes well as the season progresses the similarities between the annual teosinte and the hopi blue maize will become even more apparent...more as it comes up.

more spuds

i said a couple of days ago that successes usually outweigh failures in the garden and there is more evidence of that tonight at the community garden...the red nordlands in the top photo are still running strong...but there's more...all six of the yukon golds i planted in the sweet corn bed ( second and third photos ) are up as well so there are twenty-one potato plants in all which could make for a good harvest in july and back yard has forty-five potatoes up so spuds will be ( i hope ) plentiful when the season culminates...last year's harvest was a disappointment and i would like to be able to share some organic goodies this summer...more strawberry plants are blooming and the larger picture of the garden looks good thirty-three days in from the official planting.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

a mixed result

failure is a constant in gardening...there have already been failures this season and there will be more...but these are tempered by the successes which generally outweigh the losses and that is the case at the iu northwest community garden tonight..there are now ten sweet corn plants up and running ( top photo ) and the hopi blue maize is topping out around four inches with the largest plants ( second photo )...five of the six yukon gold potatoes i planted are up in the sweet corn bed ( third photo ) and the fifteen red nordlands have already been hilled once and look strong and healthy ( fourth photo )...on the down side one of the hopi blue plant had seriously yellowed ( usually a sign of entirely too much is drowning ) and seems on its way to i will be soaking more hopi blue seeds tomorrow to replant wednesday both at the community garden and at the pgp which has seen maize setbacks as well...despite these disappointments the season has gone well so far , even with the changes of direction that have been dictated by nature...the next building project will be a trellis for the cucumbers...i knew we would be going vertical with the vines so i deliberately placed them on the north side of the bed so they would not shade the peppers ( where are they? ) and the kohlrabi...placing the taller plants on the north side of a bed is an old design dating back to at least the first world war and reinforced by the victory gardens that were part of the home-based food economy that allowed the u s to feed its military, its allies during the second world war, and a good part of europe after the war...a part of the history of the war that gets little air time but may be a harbinger of a home-based economy to come.

iuncg photo appendix

top to bottom: two flowering strawberry plants, a cucumber hill with the requisite three plants, and some northern tepehuan teosinte by the hopi blue maize...ancestor/domesticate and if i am lucky some tesointe ears this year.

Monday, May 27, 2013

peri-urban? nexus? i call it home

the curbs, pavement, storm sewers, and street lights are still there along with the sign that says it is available for some fearless developer to turn into to tract housing, mcmansions, or another assisted living center...there don't seem to be many takers though...not even a lease from a farmer seemingly...a good portion of the season's industrial dense yellow number two is already in fields south of this one and it is getting a bit late for was a corn field last season though and may become a bean field yet...june tenth is pretty much the latest date for soybeans ( this according to the purdue univeristy extension ) so there's still time for that if they get off their duffs and do some tilling and planting...if not it will be a fallow field...t is already filling with weeds and while i found some kernels out there that could turn into voluntary liberty link corn what i mostly found was rows of empty cobs rotting back into the ground ( one wonders just how much there is in the way of nutrients for the soil there is n those industrial leftovers...might be worth researching ) all those birds i saw out here in the early spring have derived what nutrition they could from the gleanings and they were pretty efficient by the looks of the big box stores may not have feedstock for some of their products growing out back this season...perhaps the supply chain just got that much longer.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


i skip one day at the garden and rebecca scoops me with photos of the sweet corn seedlings on the garden facebook page...that's gardening...there are six of the sixteen i planted up and there will be more later this coming week when the weather warms up and the maize is happy again...the true reason for my trip out to campus was to tend to the potatoes...they are getting taller and it was time to hill them...they set tubers close to the surface and hilling serves a couple of purposes...first, exposure to sunlight causes alkaloids to form in the spuds turning them green and toxic...hilling eliminates the also stimulates the plants to set more tubers so as they grow i will continue to pile compost around the plants ( a dressing of compost doesn't hurt nutritionally either )...while i was at it i put a dressing of compost around the hopi blue maizes well...corn likes a rich soil and i will continue to feed them and the sweet corn as the season goes along...the community garden is doing every bit as well as the pgp and my's hoping that good fortune holds...the more experience i gain the more i can share...that's what community, and ultimately culture, are...we need more of both ( okay, i'm putting the soapbox away...back to the how-to and results )...more as it comes up.

iwg at the pgp

three intermediate whet grass plants from kansas are forming seed heads...two plants from accession C3-2627 have been joined by one from 3-3486...the plant that began first now has twenty-two proaxes forming seed heads and the others aren't far behind,,,i am reminded of the gamagrass explosion last season...the zea family ( that's zea diploperennis in the fourth photo )is all dong well with the annual and perennial teosinte up and running as well as some hopi blue maize...the chinese yams are robust in their production of vines...lots of rouge yams turning up as the bulbs i missed last autumn continue to sprout...on the whole things are good here...the weather has cooled a bit but that will change and things will kick back into gear...more on all the grasses later

Friday, May 24, 2013

a garden? my garden? backyard?

all the other places covered in this blog have "official" names and are, in one way or another, connected to the university ( hence, i suppose. the "official" )...there's enough "official" out there so i believe i will continue to call this collection of odd plants "the back yard" or "out in back" or some other generic nameless sort of thing that comes to mind whenever i am dealing with what goes on at home...and stuff is going the top photo you can see the shade from the jerusalem artichokes is deepening and soon all the other growth is going to be starved of photosynthesis...except, it seems, the lamb's quarters in the second photo...they have always grown in conjunction with sunchokes no matter where i have planted them...they do not spontaneously erupt so there must be some mechanism depositing seed there... i am trying to research what critters are attracted to jerusalem artichokes ( besides mosquitoes ) that might be the lamb's quarters mo of dispersal...thirty-five red nordland plants in a sunny patch have me hoping for a fair harvest in a few months...then it is green manure time at home as well as on campus...both annual and perennial teosinte are up and running out there...the fourth photo is northern tepehuan...lots of maize ancestor growing all over this season...the bottom photo is of one of the developing turnips in the row i planted in april...they will be done next the back yard is greening up and doing as well as the campus gardens...there are more natives here than there are on campus this if only the shang would put in a appearance.

back yard photo appendix

top to bottom" yema de huevos filling a half barrel, early blue potato trying to match them, one of several stands of jerusalem artichokes ( with a rhyzome barrier in the background ), daisy on the raised beds between more sunchokes and some teosinte seedlings, and one of the control group of intermediate wheat grass plants form kansas in my back yard.