Sunday, January 31, 2016

last day of january

some of the garlic in the basement was looking a bit unhappy...not exactly pot bound...the root systems still had some room in the peat pots...but not flourishing i took the unhappy campers out of the peat pots and transplanted them to a larger container and watered them adequately to help them settle in with, hopefully, not too much shock...the huaycu in the fifth photo is coming along and the ollala in the sixth still looks robust...the basement season is moving along...the back yard is uncertain of season...yesterday my thermometer said we hit sixty degrees ( fahrenheit ) and at 8:32 this morning it was forty-seven degrees with a hint of rain...there is clover turning back up ( eighth photo ) as well as winter vetch coming back to the light ( ninth )...the winter rye never hunkered down and even the unmulched garlic in containers is shoeing signs of chlorophyll ( bottom photo )...the highs and lows are supposed to oscillate above and below freezing so there could be a return to hiding...or spring could just arrive has happened before...seems like there have been some direct transitions from winter to summer as well...things are uncertain.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

a rhizome and a sprout

i am inclined to think that the rhizome coming off the stem of the early blue in the top two photos is a new one...i believe it is one of those that i hilled-over six days ago that has broken the surface no new rhizome there...but there is new growth which tells me the environment suits the plant even though it is artificial...i covered it over with compost and i am looking forward to early blue seed tubers sometime in april...i harvested three rhizomes from the yacon plants in the basement and replanted them on christmas day...thirty-seven days later i find one or them has, if all goes well, we( meaning the plant and i...with the plant getting the lion's share of the credit...i supplied the needs...they did all the work )have succeeded in propagating a second generation of yacon from live plants i got from oregon last spring...not a native plant, but a plant that is native born...i will be watching this one closely and, if you continue checking in, so will you.

Friday, January 29, 2016

an iuncg update

i met parker! out at the garden this morning to have a look around and talk over plans for the near future ( specifically the unmulchuing of the garlic and asparagus as well as cleaning out some of the beds ) somewhere in the first few weeks of in the garden will have to wait since the update is: still dormant...not much to speak going on out there at the moment...the clover in the top two photos is in an exposed position in that a particular box and won't be recovering until said mid-march at the earliest...the same is true of the alfalfa in the next two...they may look like goners but they are both cold hardy perennials ( both legumes as well...nitrogen setting is a family trait ) and will spring back to life with warmer weather and longer a distance the arborvitae looks all goo but there is some die-back around the base that will need to be pruned next trip out...there has been a snow drought here this el nino winter and as soon as the ground thaws i will be beginning an aggressive watering schedule to insure this goes no further...cold it has been but i still find a hint of chlorophyll in the leaves of the brussels sprout plant in the seventh photo ...and though the cauliflower plant in the eighth has fallen over there is still chlorophyll there too...not that i expect any sort of recovery...but it does indicate that the winter here, despite some cold, has been, overall, mild...dry too...more on unmulching day if not before.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

resilient clover

my grossly expensive thermometer says it was thirty0eight degrees ( fahrenheit ) in my back yard about fifteen minutes i went looking at the clover...naturally...there is still ice on the ground left over form the melt and refreeze of the dusting of snow we got early last week...and there is still a lot of clover that's beaten down ( third and fourth photos ) from the snow and the sub-freezing temperatures we have had recently...however next thursday through a week from tomorrow are forecast to have temperatures from the mid forties to just at freezing for those five consecutive best bet is that the clover in the fifth ans sixth photos that has begun to return to an upright position will be joined by many more plants as well as the winter can recover quickly and if the soil thaws enough for the rhizobia bacteria to reanimate there will be nitrogen production...which is goo...spring is in fifty-six days and this patch will be mowed and turned under to feed the spuds beginning in april...they need to get to work.

anyone for more rhizomes?

if you aren't a potato fanatic you might want to skip this one...the robust ollala down in the basement isn't the only spud putting out rhizomes above ground...potato tubers always grow neat the surface and i have always hilled potatoes to stimulate rhizome growth but obviously there are some varieties that aren't going to wait to be hilled to do so..the top three photos are of recently planted huaycu potatoes...a "primitive cultivar" meaning the breeders haven't gotten hold of it to "improve" it...these plants produce lots of small tubers and that may explain why they are both already showing nascent rhizomes above the surface...the early blue in the last three photos is doing the same...left to their own in a bed the early blues will turn rather vine-like and trail across the surface of the soil...where stem nodes come into contact with the soil they will set roots ( something like a strawberry stolon producing a daughter plant...potato vines grown from seed do the same thing ) and produce more tubers...they seem to be prolific fruit producers as well...they certainly seem comfortable in the basement...needles to say i covered all these rhizomes with compost and hope to see more rhizomes above the soil soon...the only issue si that i will be running out of depth in the containers to hill the spuds...there may need to be container extensions...more on that as it develops.

Saturday, January 23, 2016


there is frost on the winter rye this morning and the recent cold has beaten down the new zealand white clover and the alfalfa to the point you'd think it couldn't recover...but they're just playing possum and with temperatures forecast to be back into the mid forties ( fahrenheit ) by next weekend we may see some late january recovery in them...recover would seem beyond the powers of the brussels sprouts however...they look thoroughly done in ( despite a hint of green in there )and there's nothing unnatural in that...things are looking quiet in the garden this morning...but it's only fifty-seven days to spring and my best surmise is the mulch on the garlic will be off before then and since good friday ( traditional spud planting index ) is five days later i may jump the gun on planting day and put in some cold hardy potato other words the new season is closer than the conditions in the garden today may growth is not far off.

Friday, January 22, 2016

leaves and a rhizome

the robust ollala in the top photo that was occupied in putting out rhizomes just at the soil surface twelve days ago ( second photo ) is at it again ( third )...i back-filled the container to cover this one too and this could be an improbably productive plant be fore it is all done is evincing a peculiar ( in my experience ) growth at the top...not sure what to make of it yet but i don't doubt that the passage of time will unfold what it is..the early blue in the fifth photo is coming along well and the elmer's blue in the sixth seem at home in the even temperature and humidity of the plant room...finally, one of the huaycu plants i put in twelve days ago has begun to leaf...good news for me...good news for the spring garden..good news for potato salad next summer...there's sure to be more this weekend...hang's high time for a visit to the garden.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

almost moving day

the one in the second photo may be difficult to see but all four garlic plants i brought in from outside just before christmas have now deployed a second leaf and have begun to look truly like garlic...the time is approaching when they will need to be transplanted to larger quarters...all four will fit in a largish container...light space will be the issue until the yacon plants finish the rhizomes they are working on...then they can be harvested ( with some plants propagated from cuttings )and some needed space far indoor garlic is a go...the ollala in the fourth photo is showing robust new growth still as are the elmer's blur in the fifth...the huaycu in the sixth still hasn't produced any leaves, however the stem is growing by leaps and bounds so they should be along the meantime the shcizo winter has returned to bury ( sort of ) th3e green manures under some far there has been rather a dearth of winter precipitation here...the palmer drought severity index has us ahead in december...which fell mostly as rain, but flat in january...the new map should be released tomorrow so we'll wonders about water tables come sporing if we're dry now...there is more snow in the forecast but it has been a spotty winter for snowfall.