the weather has cooled a bit but not the growth...the winter wheat that had me so concerned last october is filling in and thriving...there no such thing as a post-agricultural society ( that quote came from somewhere but i cannot recall whom to attribute it to...i will clarify when i run across it again ) and there is something attractive about a thriving staple that may or may not be genetic but certainly is cultural...i'm far less immune to the impression than a lot of folks and it's gratifying to see it do well...speaking of doing well the next two photos are of zea diploperennis...there are three up from seeds and last year's roots have put out a total ( so far ) of thirty-six shoots...eight more since my last visit...there are now six asparagus spears up if you count the one the ground crew mowed ( again this year )...i hacked back the university lawn from that corner so hopefully we can avoid this sort of pointless misunderstanding in the future...there are now twenty-eight jerusalem artichokes up..no more room is available in that particular plot...rouge will be culled...more on that as spring progresses...one of the chinese yams is up and i will be cutting and callousing potatoes for the campus garden soon...i will have to turn under some wheat ( but that was the whole point of the nitrogen fixing program ) but i will be intercropping potatoes and wheat where there is room..the wheat will be done before the potatoes so there will be no harvesting conflicts..i am not so sure about growth disputes though...well..this is an experimental garden
the top three photos are of some of the twenty-eight shoots the roots form last year's zrea diploperennis have put out so far this month...my hopes are that the weather stays moderate just enough for the shoot to mature throughout the season...they are improbable as it it is...to see them through the season would be gratifying...the ottom photo is of teosinte that has come up from seed...there are several more deposits around the garden of both zea diploperennis and northern tepehuan teosinte...hoping for a large population and ...possibly...mature seeds
the end of the workday saw me off to campus to do a bit more work and see how things are going...everything seems fine...the winter wheat is growing but much of it will be turned under soon (although i will leave some to grow seed for the autumn ) as my seed potatoes have arrived from oregon and they will be taking the wheat's place since it is part of the nitrogen fixing scheme and organic matter for the garden...the top photo is of the gamagrass continuing to green...i expect a bi year from those plants...the second photo is one of twenty-two jerusalem artichokes already up...there will be the annual culling of rouges as spring progresses...anyone who would like some of the hardy colonizers ( coach? ) should let me know soon...doubtlessly there will be ample candidates available for transplant...there are now four asparagus spears up and running at different stages of growth...i will have to harvest the fist growth soon but tit will not be a huge harvest until all the twenty-four ( i hope they all return ) i had last year are a going concern...the bottom photo is the perennial garden project as it looked around five this afternoon.
things are moving along on campus...the top photo is intermediate wheat grass which is an ancestor to the winter wheat in the bottom photo and which the land institute is working to breed into a perennial strain of wheat...both grasses are flourishing and will probably be fine with the cooler weather ahead ( but i am still concerned about the teosinte )...another asparagus spear is up and they will soon be ready to harvest...coach had first call on it... she's been supportive and kind so i need to engender some reciprocity to match...organic veggies are a start...the purple butes will turn green when boiled or steamed...the fourth photo is a phalanx of the basically defiant jerusalem artichoke, which "native american food plants: an ethnobotanical dictionary" by daniel e. moerman says are a food crop for the dakota but a famine food for the lakota...the cultural differences in the perception of what is or is not food are facinating...you will no doubt be treated to all sorts of tidbits of information from this one as i search for food crops native to the area and try to ( please pardon my arrogance here ) reconstruct a truly local food culture. the weather is variable but plants are adaptive...the whole season is pretty much before us..i am geeked agian.
the second photo is of a ladybug that has adopted on my apple trees under the grow light as home... s(he) has been there since yesterday patrolling for aphids and whatever else in the way of lunch presents itself... a few spiders have moved in amongst the snow peas and scarlet runner beans ( and, appropriately, spider plants ) down there as well...those sorts of predators suit me fine...the rest of the photos are of teosinte in my back yard...they are coming along well but we aren't out of the woods as far as weather goes...they are up more than a month earlier than last year due to the unnatural weather and i'm unsure of how cold sensitive they are...true last spring was a cold one so perhaps it will be fine...i have a lot of frost cloth...one of the teosinte plants in sheltering in a half barrel planted with winter wheat...cousins of an extended family cohabiting...potato and legume cousins on the way as well as some form the sunflower family...a busy backyard this season.
teosinte isn't the only thing up in the garden...the top photo is the winter wheat flourishing even though it likes it a bit cooler...the gamagrass continues to green up as well as develop new growth...it is headed into its third season and the bigger one ( that wasn't stunted by all the jerusalem artichokes in 2010 ) should reach its full size this year with the possibility of a crown four feet in diameter...speaking of jerusalem artichokes, four are up( that's one in the third photo ) and the rouges should be popping up as well...on campus and in my back yard where there ares till multitudes in storage pits...an invasion i'll have to head off...finally the asparagus is making an appearance as well...the weather is due to cool a bit and, with luck, there will be some rain as well...if not we run the risk of a short asparagus season with some woody vegetables...the perennial garden project's third season is underway...soon the potatoes ( including a primitive cultivar and wild and weedy ancestors ) will be going in...so much to do...finally.
improbably the zea diploperennis roots that i mulched last autumn have survived the winter and have begun to put out new growth...four shoots so far with, i hope, as big a stand as i had last year in the offing...i have plant from seeds up in my backyard as well...if all goes well there will be another year of trying to produce mature seeds.
some days can go from pure evil to great in the matter of the time it takes to stop and ponder something enjoyable...and i am geeked tonight...despite all the time pressure that life is delivering at the moment i snuck n a visit to the campus garden this evening after work...about ten minutes worth...it's coming along eerily early for the end of winter...the winter wheat is filling in and in the second photo you can see how the gamagrass is greening up ( it is weird to see chlorophyll coming up in what you would have taken for dead grass a couple of weeks ago )..all good things...but what geeked me was when i took a second look at the old zea diploperennis roots to see if i was imagining the green i saw saturday...nope folks i'm not hallucinating...new growth...cool...so i came home after a couple of more stops and what awaits me in the back? three more teosinte plants up and running..geek city..i have frost cloth...cold is now the enemy...and the kicker of the day is that jesse schartner form the potato introduction station in sturgeon bay wisconsin sent me an email saying all the germplasm i requested is available...including the primitive cultivar..this is just too cool.
the current climate change driven weather...which may have become tiresome old news to the more jaded deniers out there...is of intense interest to me from a number of perspectives...but the one that is germane to this blog is the impact it has on plants and gardening in general...and there is more disturbing ( and, at the same time, heartening ) news from the back yard to go along with the discovery of surviving sub-tropical teosinte on campus yesterday...i unwrapped one of my apple trees a few minutes ago thinking that the trees at the local orchard aren't in leaf yet and so the ones out back should be dormant as well...that's not what i found however...all three of my apple trees made it though their first ( albeit exceptionally mild ) winter wrapped in straw and burlap and all three are up and running with a healthy shock of leaves at the top...not something i was expecting to see on the eighteenth of march in northwest indiana...but there they are... i have ample amounts of frost cloth in case the weather decides to take a turn for the seasonably "normal" so i am confident of their survival but the whole business till strikes me as passing odd...i had intended to plant snow peas before the end of the month but i have to wonder if the weather will be cool enough for them...or the scarlet runner beans for that matter...planting schedules may be turned into a shambles if this keeps up...the winter wheat that i don't think ever went dormant is growing like weeds as well...the batch on campus is filling in and the stuff in the back yard is around then inches tall ( i neglected to photograph it this evening because i was deeply distracted by the apple trees...i will try to remember to include it in the next post ) it is usually ready to harvest in june...we'll see if it's early this year.
last spring was so cold everything got a late start...this spring ( and that's only meteorological spring...calendar wise it's still winter ) i have already been watering...i opened the campus garden this afternoon mostly out of necessity and i am a bit concerned that it will turn cold again...not that the yams or the asparagus will be impacted, but when i unmulched the zea diploprennis ( third photo )i covered up last fall i found green shoots...they are sub-tropical and doubtlessly made it this far because of the mulch, the extensive root system they developed, and a really mild winter but a frost could do them in.. i hedged my bets and planted more seeds as well...but those need a cycle of cold to break dormancy so odds are that something isn't going to make it...the winter wheat is filling in nicely and the eastern gamagrass continues to "green up"...had a look at some jerusalem artichoke tubers and they are putting out roots and shoots...should be asserting themselves soon...how many rouges this year i wonder...pulled out over eighty last spring...no doubt they'll be all over this year as well...whatever surprises are out there the perennial garden project's third season is under way...more as it comes up.
i drove over to campus after i got off work this afternoon just to see what ( if anything ) was up in the garden...the winter wheat is a green as i expected it to be...just like the wheat in the back yard it never really went dormant ( i believe ) because this has been a peculiar winter hereabouts...so i shouldn't be surprised that the eastern gamagrass is greening ( middle two photos ) nearly a month earlier than last year...i do believe it was a post on april fifth last year that saw the beginnings of greening...so we are a ways ahead of last spring...but last spring was a cold one...everything was late in getting started...i remember being concerned about he chinese yams ( and they did not vine a vigorously as they did in 2010 ) and even the jerusalem artichokes took their time...i am inclined to think there will be no such concerns this year...the intermediate wheat grass is greening up too (top and bottom photos )...so i will be going back to campus ( probably tomorrow ) to put in some teosinte seeds...i have to wonder about when to un-mulch the asparagus too...decisions decisons...
an industrial worker and university student (everyone needs a hobby...my hobbies have evolved and, to keep things straight, i have left my formal student career behind for reasons that are too detailed to delve into here...continuing to be a student of life however and not adverse to learning...stasis is death ) sliding down the back side of middle age...a social loner with collectivist leanings...explain that.