Wednesday, July 26, 2017


all sorts of flowers around the eyed susans, marigolds, geraniums, and showy nasturtiums among others...i am a bit less focused on showy ( although i will be gathering all the nasturtium seeds i can find since they are mashua cousins ) and inclined to pay attention to somewhat less attention getting reproductive mechanisms...the top four photos are potato flowers in various stages from buds ( first ) to open blooms ( second and third ) and , what i hope are, fertilized fruits ( fourth )...i found these yesterday evening during an outing devoted to nightshade reproduction...tonight my attention has been grabbed by teosinte...both northeren tepehuan plants ( fifth and seventh ) have begun to deploy flowers ( sixth and eighth ) on their main stems ( the tillers remain sterile for now )...grass flowers are weird critters for those attuned to the showy blooms in landscaping...we have, i believe looked at wheat and rye flowers so now we will have a shufti at zea as the flowers develop...the corn in a bucket ( ninth ) shows no sign of a flower will be instructive to have a look at the industrial field by the supermarket this coming weekend to see how the feedstock is doing flower-wise...finally we all know my partiality for a well turned support root and the northern tepehuan teosinte in the last photo is not disappointing....with a bonus tiller growing out of it....we are full of surprises.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

nightshade morphology

we are, i believe, familiar with my discovery of carolina horse nettle in the community garden last season and its subsequent identification as a member of the solanum family...and we are familiar with its continued presence in the garden this year as well ( and my efforts to import it, in a controlled fashion, into my attempt which may have been given even better prospects today )..the identification came about because of the remarkable similarity of the blooms...potato blooms ( first photo ) and horse nettle blooms ( second ) have very similar ( though not exactly identical ) structures and shapes...the potatoes bear fruits ( third, fifth, and seventh photos if the weather conditions ( cool and wet ) favor it ( and my experience so far has been that the blue varieties tend to produce far more fruits than any others i have planted ) i discovered the fruits i had hoped for on the horse nettle ( fourth, sixth, and eighth photos ) in this as well the family similarities continue...i brought a few in ( tenth ) to put in a paper bag to see if they will ripen as potato fruits will...if they do i will render the seed, freeze some, and fall plant some in the back yard...i do see signs of possible fruits on the blue shetlands in my yard ( eleventh )...that would be an even better comparison ( the potato fruit photos here are from the 2015 season ) and i might be able to render seed side by side.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

corn sweat III

despite torrential rains the last few days, the corn in a bucket is suffering in the heat ( upper eighties fahrenheit ) and the humidity...all that airborne moisture doesn't seem to be helping the plants ( first through sixth photos ) as they exhibit considerable leaf curl ( perhaps the "bucket" part provides some area = limited water ) i dumped some water on them and went around the corner of the house to have a look at the ancestors...i could not detect any leaf curl in the northern tepehuan teosinte ( seventh through ninth ) or the zea mays parvaglumis ( tenth through twelfth )...they seemed content to bask in the sun and grow...could stem from the fact that they are in ground and not conatainerized..or it could be a micro-climate issue...i think not however...i am inclined to a genetic explanation...despite corns well known preference for warm, wet weather ( takes two acre feet of water to raise a corn crop )the ancestors are even better suited for the heat...the kids lost something along the way.


alternating from top to bottom, dense yellow #2 in the field and northern tepehuan teosinte in the back yard...both the similarities ( flowering, tasseling, leaf structure ) and the dissimilarities ( ear structure, tillering ) will become more pronounced as the teosinte is not "improved" and so keeps to its own timetable.

industrial growth

there has been growth in the field by the supermarket...last week the corn was about up to my waist ( first photo )...a week of torrential rains and hot weather have spurred the plants on to about eye level in some places ( second )...there are still differences in height in the rows ( third ) however the leaves are beginning to close the arches over the space between the rows ( fourth )... while there has been growth in the shade ( fifth ) it hasn't been much ( sixth ) fact the entire row along the berm of the field is stunted by comparison with the rest of the field ( seventh )...and while we are talking berm, it is more heavily populated by wild grapes ( eighth ) than i had suspected...and they are taking some hits from japanese beetles ( ninth and tenth )...still looking for them to produce fruit...the season is moving along...the time has come and they are running late...or i am just not looking in the right places...more as it irrupts.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

ancient wheat

emmer wheat is the focus here but we are starting with winter rye...the small crop was ready so i brought it in today as well...i imagine i will seed another stand in september however i left a few ears ( first and second photo s ) to shatter and seed themselves just to see what happens...the emmer crop was in two small containers...i had less than an ounce ( probably more like a quarter ounce ) of seed which didn't need much was a small sheaf of grain ( third ) which, after i left some for display purposes and mailed some off to a good friend, left me with eighty-one ears of wheat...they are small ( fourth ) with very long awns...they are significantly smaller than dwarf syrian wheat ears ( fifth ) and do, in fact, produce the smallest ears of any of the grain i have grown this season ( sixth )...first domesticated somewhere between 9500 and 10000 years ago it has not been "improved" artificial selection for larger ears or less tough and difficult husks...more a relict than a commercial crop, it is still around because it can produce a yield in poor soils ( not that the rich mixture of soil and compost i provided made much difference seemingly )...i will still use this seed to grow a larger crop next season and just today i found and purchased einkorn wheat seed so next spring will see the yard doubly ancient...personally i am all march will see the planting..stay tuned.