Saturday, April 30, 2016

mashua, nasturtiums, and yacon

mother's day is next weekend and there are no frost producing lows forecast for th enext week so i decided it was time ot move past spuds and plant some other andean tubers...the last time i cracked open the vegetable crisper i had lost some mashua...not so today ...the bogota market and peru white were solid as could be and the mashua tubers i harvested from my garden last autumn have held up even better ( they have also been in there longer )so i prepared some containers and markers for the bogota market and peru white and planted the all along with a handful of nasturtium seeds in each container...the flowers and the tubers are cousins and should get on just fine and i will enjoy peppery flowers and tubers as the season goes on...the yacon in the crisper molded rather badly and some of the fruit was soft and slimy...i washed the tubers and cut out the bad parts and planted them as well...i have one yacon plant already outside and four more in the basement waiting, however i would like to see these produce as well since i am trying to expand my population...if they fail it won't be a ruined season...i won't be especially happy either...more as they all come up ( or don't )

critter net

the wheat bed looks a bit beaten down recently and while i am not entirely sure of why i decided to take some defensive with about twenty bucks worth of materials and a bit of time i installed a critter net around the bed...not so much to stop something from eating the grass...nothing much will evince any interest until seed heads form and ripen and then starlings will be the bigger problem...but to stop critters from walking across it or, worse yet, the cat deciding it would make a comfy bed for her while she is out oh one of her feral killing i pounded some tomato stakes int the ground around the bed and and anchored the to screws i put in the frame with garden twine...then i zip-tied some netting around the is a bit more than three feet high and should discourage critters while leaving me access to the bed and the tops of the ,stakes will do to festoon bird tape from as the wheat ripens..minimal work and temporary...nothing is permanent out there...not even the trees...we'll get to that in a later post...for now i think we're good on the wheat.

the nexus shifts

i live in a borderland that is ill defined and shifting...true the shift has slowed in recent years but there are some signs of change out there...the utility power sub-station encroaching on the grain bin's turf s one...and, while the road to nowhere still leads to a dead end, across the street there is movement...the banks have involved themselves and there is building afoot...just beyond the skeleton of the chiropractic practice's new home you can clearly see a farm field...and, if you look closely, in the distance the farm house and out buildings under the cell phone tower...the last photo strikes me as the most telling sign of invasive suburbia...there is nothing like television to isolate us form nature and one another...and there it is...more news from the front as it develops...that road to nowhere behind the big box stores has to lead to somewhere eventually

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

spud news

the first of the potato tubers i planted ten days ago is up...i did not mark all of them because 1) i was really only concerned about the locations of the blues and the new varieties from the usda, and 2) they will all be identified ( and eaten ) at harvest the top photo could be of a red pontiac , or a german butterball, or an all red...choose your favorite...ot os surely a can tell by the leaves...the wheat has topped the frame of the bed...eight inches tall or so in thirty-three far it is fine and, gratifyingly, the plants continue to tiller...the bed will fill in nicely if all continues to go well...the second year ramps are booming along as well...hoping for both blooms and bunching...and seeds if something doesn't browse them again...finally the green manure bed is also liking the spring zealand white cover, winter vetch, and winter rye all coming along...they will be blooming and going to seed soon enough...a local source of green manures to spread around...more spuds goin gin this coming weekend and tesointe as well probably...then on to may and another stab at feeding maize to the squirrels and in june...bees! we have barely started.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

wheat and potatoes

i have a few potato plants under the lights that are seriously pot bound and desperately unhappy...they have been down there for a number of weeks, and while there is still a chance of frost to be faced, it had become a matter of plant of i planted...a couple of german butterballs ( top two photos ) an early blue ( third and fourth )...and the smaller huaycu that was hardening off on the deck...i wouldn't call it desperate...not yet anyway...just necessary...there is good progress over in the wheat bed...beyond the coleoptile tillers, the wheat has begun to develop tillers growing from auxiliary buds along the main stems now that many of the plants have four has obviously been cool enough to stimulate tiller growth ( something i was concerned about...i am at the southern end of the area in the state where spring wheat is a viable corp ( the other wheat crops i have grown for actual use have been winter wheat and that is where we will be going in the autumn with this bed ) and so it is something of a relief to see tillers popping out in such far so good but there is along way to go before blue potatoes to ship off, cottage fries, and bread from scratch for Jean and me...stay tuned.

Saturday, April 23, 2016


after i went to the community garden and ran some errands and cleaned the gutters, i went out back and took down the bamboos and wire cages i used to protect last season's teosinte and did the first dig on the bed for this season...i turned under dandelions and creeping charley and broke up the root balls with the warren hoe...this is only the first dig and hoeing...i will be doing at least four more and amending the soil with some compost before i plant the plants that are hardening off on the deck ( last photo )...when i pulled up the cages i pulled up last season's stalks as well...they had some well formed tiers of support know how i feel about support roots...planting after the last average frost date...more on the "wild and weedy" maize ancestor as it grows

green manures and perennials

from the looks of things the winter rye and the green manures in the beds at the community garden are going to have to be mowed and turned under in the next few weeks, irregardless of when planting day is...they will be developing seed heads soon and if i wait too long all that i will do is reseed the bed with rye...if you didn't know better you'd think that rye was all there was in these beds...but it is just a reservoir for the excess nitrogen the winter vetch in the second photo and the alfalfa in the third are putting into the soil...all that will be turned under to provide nutrients for the crops and organic matter to keep the earthworms happy...there are crops already in..the garlic that managed to overwinter is fine ( fourth photo ) and, as usual, the jerusalem artichokes in the fifth photo are already out of control...there will be extensive excavations there soon enough...i was pleased to find all the third year asparagus up ( photos six through nine ) and more than a bit relieved to find the second year perennials up as well ( photos ten through twelve )...we need some perennials...they are beneficial in many ways to the garden, the climate, and to us...don't let the filled in look of the garden in the last photo deceive you ...much of that will be gone shortly...mowed and turned under to make way for food worries will fill in again.