Wednesday, July 31, 2013


the photos don't really provide an accurate comparison because the perspectives are different...but the largest potato in the top photo is about as big as the smallest in the second...sol is part of the root for the taxonomy for the potato family and there is probably some solid reasoning in that...the top photo is of potatoes that grew in the bed in the southwest corner of the garden...shaded for part of the day by the tree back there...the potatoes in the second photo ( along with a cuke and some unpictured goodies i left for a friend ) are from a plant ( a yukon gold ) grown in the sweet corn bed which got more the plant spent less energy providing itself with enough leaf surface for photosynthesis and put more work into tubers...more sun = more produce...we can't grow potatoes in that back bed again next year anyway so there will be a more shade adapted plant there next season...the rest of the garden is good...sweet corn, egg plant, and tomatoes all doing well..we are fortunate in all of this...we have also worked at it...perhaps producing our own good fortune...more as it comes up.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

brassica, helianthus, zea

all twelve of the cauliflower seeds i stared for the community garden have erupted from the peat pellets...twenty days to transplant in the cucumber bed...then purple cauliflower this autumn...the jerusalem artichokes in the bed on the south side of the house continue to bloom...easy to see that they are part of the sunflower family....and the two sturdy northern tepehuan teosinte plants in the bottom photo are beginning to flower which bodes well for seeds if the weather holds long enough...any number of teosinte plants on campus to cross pollinate with...the hopi blue is flowering as well...gene flow from ancestor to domesticate? traditional agriculturalusts in mexico and peru who grow "wild and weedy ancestors" around the margins of thier potato and maize fields say the plants make their crops "stronger" [brush]...perhaps they will be allies here as well.

Monday, July 29, 2013

high summer produce

not quite half way through summer and the produce is beginning to fill in...i stopped counting cukes in the wall at around thirty...there are eight tasseled ears of sweet corn and more forming ( while the hopi blue is just starting to flower a few beds away )...tomatoes have grown out of their cage and found the white eggplant while one bed east the strawberries are burgeoning...and the bottom photo is of the southwest corner of the garden about five-thirty this evening...there is more to do in the garden and more produce on the way ( when i got home i found four of the twelve cauliflower plants i started have germinated...fall cauliflower is on the way if i have anything to do with it )...we have started but we aren't finished...and ideas for next season have been suggesting themselves...we missed some significant landraces such as beans and pulses...we need to fix that...stop by when you get the chance...chime in with your thoughts...this is a join in.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

they're great!

"we allowed ourselves to become so numerous that we could not really grow the food we needed without enormous 'energy subsidies,' augmenting sunlight and muscle power in agriculture with industrially produced chemical fertilizers and fuel burning machinery for planting, harvesting, shipping, and processing. americans thus were farming not only the great plains of iowa and nebraska but also the gas wells of texas and alaska and the oil wells of the continental shelf offshore. even agriculture, the ultimate achievement in man's development of the takeover method of carrying capacity expansion, had become converted to drawdown methods. the most 'prosperous' nations were living on phantom carrying capacity but had not learned the concept." from "overshoot: the ecological basis for revolutionary change " by william r. catton, jr.___________________and industrial agriculture is how we live since there is " no post-agricultural society" [weiskel]...there is considerable irony in an industrial cornfield next to a supermarket and that irony has grown some since my last visit...not so much so in height...that seems to have topped out...but the ears are bigger and they are packed into a dense growth of cornstalks...some of these stalks are producing two ears instead of the usual one and that is new to me...and some of these plants are situated much closer than the usual one foot spacing ( and it could be two if the mechanical planter skipped, that was where i would traditionally see a stalk with two ears...more space = more corn in those days )...not so in this field...some of these plants seem to be about four inches wonder it looks like a jungle...a lot of the genetic engineering in corn has been aimed at getting it to tolerate being grown closer together ( even the recommended spacing for the sweet corn in the community garden was one foot...not so the heirloom hopi blue which doesn't like to have its leaves touch another plant ) and this stuff is crammed into this field and will produce a lot of feedstock for the an added bit of irony i found an abandoned portrait of tony the tiger at the margins of the parking lot so i took a photo of, if not a mother and child reunion, then a generational week an update on the no till bean field ( still haven't located a farmer to talk to yet ) behind the big box production takes some odd turns.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


the hopi blue maize plant in the top photo had its leaves and flower ravaged by starlings who were using it a perch as they ravaged the intermediate wheat grass from kansas ( which the powers that be there told me would not be an issue...but they are in kansas and this is indiana...hoosier rules apply )...still it soldiers on....producing at least two ears of corn...determined dna adapting to conditions...the third photo is of perennial teosinte because this is my blog and i think it's the bottom two photos you can see that those weird spherical blooms on the yam vines are giving way to yam bulbs as the plant prepares to become invasive...i have been hacking back unwanted yams all season and they are still popping up even after i recovered hundreds of them from the garden last autumn...all perennials seem to be invasive to a greater or lesser degree...this one is nearly as aggressive as jerusalem artichokes.

a few more from the comunity garden

i was on campus early to take care of a few unfinished chores from yesterday and took more photos...the cucumber wall looks like it is lining up for a prolific season which is pleasing...the strawberries have settled in to produce as well...these are still a bit green...i harvested all the ripe ones i found yesterday but there will be more ready tomorrow...the bottom photo is for me really...northern tepehuan teosinte in the front roe backed up by hopi blue maize...ancestor/domesticate...two generations in one image so to speak.

Friday, July 26, 2013

more corn and cucumbers

not only is the sweet corn in the garden in full flower, in the two days that have elapsed since my last visit tasseled ears have developed...i am encouraged by the continued existence of undisturbed eggplants in one of the beds to think that predation may have abated in a non drought year where there are more food choices for the critters out there and to hope we may actually harvest some corn...this may be foolish thinking but i am probably no more a stranger to that than anyone else so hope i will...the cucumber wall is producing cukes and is filling in the trellis admirably ( this , of course, from the one working the bed...take salt as needed ) and another ray of harvest is good in the garden again this evening...hope your evening is too.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

backyard I ( zea )

the northern tepehuan teosinte in the top photo is over five feet tall and is working on has also produced several tiers of support roots along the way..there are some areas of thickening along the main stem and one of the branches...year before last i got forty-four ears from one plant...hoping to do better this year...the hopi blue aiaze in the fourth photo is taller than i am and so is pushing seven feet in is in full flower and i am looking for ear formation although i don't see any has a set characteristic zea support roots as well...although they don't have the array of tiers the teosinte plant does they are much larger and , i imagine, do as effective reason i can see for the multiple rows of roots on the teosinte is that it will tend to lean down as the wight of the branches grow and the roots help keep the stems off the ground...i will post photos of the suport t=roots on the zea diploperennis on campus later...those grow all along the underside of the stem as that plant splays out along the ground in an even more pronounced fashion as it's hoping for green and blue ears soon.

backyard II ( helianthus and solanum )

the jerusalem artichoke blooms are increasing in number and the aggressive plants in the bed on the south side of the house are topping out at around ten feet tall ( and having a much better season than they did in last year's drought when a five footer was a giant )...there are several other stands out in the back jungle that are not as tall but are much denser in population and will produce a prolific number of tubers as the autumn approaches...the potatoes have already started the tuber season...the one in the fourth photo was pretty well along so i popped it up it the spading fork. dragged the tubers inside to the sink, washed them, and...dinner with a bit of butter and backyard's carrying capacity played a part in tonight's dinner...that is gratifying...and a utilitarian return on a moderate amount of work...and, since the seed potatoes were bought locally about a mile and a half down the road there are fewer food miles involved than if i had bought the spuds at the supermarket by the corn field where i got the cheese and butter...a small ( very ) step in learning to be a bit more self-sufficient and much more to learn

backyard III

like the tag says...cucumbers along the fence and kohlrabi coming along in one of the back beds.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

there are many beds in the garden...

...and they have a host of robust plants growing in them...the sweet corn ears are becoming more pronounced wit every visit...the plants are in full flower and i would expect tassels soon...the cucumber wall is blooming and producing some not so nascent cucumbers...salad anyone? the purple kohlrabi has me thinking of the purple cauliflower i planted and am still waiting on...the seed pack said the test germination yielded only 89%...did i plant the 11% that are duds? i see a replant in the very near future...the eggplants in the bottom two photos are deep in production and some seem to be nearing maturity...perhaps the squirrels have had their fill this year...i can is good in the garden this july ( far better than last ) and i think we can look forward to good production into autumn...then a lesson ( for me anyway ) in mulching strawberries for winter...several years experience mulching asparagus should come in handy as a start point, no? green manures and rhizobia bacteria on tap for the end of the month...stay tuned for that...ellen tells me she has found a new friend for the garden today who will help spread the word about our efforts...i say cool beans to that...stop by and visit when you have a moment...join in if you can.