the strawberry plants continue to put on fall colors as the days shorten and the solstice looms...they also continue to produce fruit in a season that has gone on longer than i expected...when i researched strawberries prior to planting day the information i got told me there would be a crop, then a lay-off for a month or so , and then another crop...these plants have been producing non-stop...but then we have seventeen more than we started with...and either it has been a banner week for stolon production or my runner detection skills took a hike last saturday..as i recall i found one last week...well there were ten this week and a couple were trying to take root...so reproduction hasn't really slowed any more than fruit production...the bottom photo is today's take...my granddaughter, being genetically akin to the gardener, is not a true strawberry fan...if you want a share you need to be in the garden on saturday morning ( early ) or remove ( and replace !! ) the bird netting and pick your own...either way they will be around a while longer.
there was a late germinating maple tree hiding in a geranium in the strawberry bed ( those guys did yeoman service this season without asking much beyond some compost and water...i saw absolutely no leaf damage from japanese beetles this year...research calls them a "trap crop" but my experience is they are more of a repellant )...some yellow broccoli flowers...the hopi blue probably isn't getting any bluer...and a freshly weeded strawberry bed.
but they both have peculiar leaves and bear a resemblance to on another, particularly when the asparagus first starts to "fern"...the asparagus in the pgp is throwing up yet another late season spear...this one too is from a plant that has had one lonely stalk all season...feeding the roots before winter...the broccoli has successfully flowered and been pollinated as seed pods are emerging...i will be saving seed for next season...the gardens are winding down but still producing...all anticipation for a new season...after a bit of rest.
there is always movement in the gardens and today is no exception...the smallest hopi blue is in the pgp and it is serious about reproducing before the season ends...the teosinte there was curling its leaves in protest of the heat and arid conditions...( i don't know what it's like where you are but the current "storm" outside is a dud here...i will be watering again this holiday weekend )...i posted some signs along the green manure project in the community garden in case someone in the community got overzealous...the hopi blue is bluer today and the eggplants soldier on blooming and sprouting...the cucumbers are still flowering and growing well but those leaves along the right side of that cuke say the season is shortening...still ots to do and see if you care to stop in.
the exposed ear of hopi blue maize is giving us an insight into the progression of its season...a much longer season than sweet corn, it has another month to run...from top to bottom these photo were taken on the twentieth, twenty-second, twenty-sixth of this month and the last one was taken this evening...two days has made a colorful difference...more on this as it progresses.
more asparagus "berries" are beginning to ripen and it looks like a bumper crop of seeds if there are any readers nearby who are seed savers...it would seem that a couple of the plants have devoted all the reproductive energy they care to to this season and they have begun to throw up late summer spears...nothing unusual in this in my experience...it has happened every season so far for, at least, a few plants...the one in the second photo has flown solo all season and now it has decided a companion is in order...the one in the third photo is from a plant that has produced a cluster of seven spears already...it is on the southwest corner of the garden and has always been the happiest of the asparagi being the most productive plant all season...the eastern gamagrass has dropped its terminal spears low to the ground and extended outward at almost their full height to drop the shattered seed heads as far from the established clumps as possible...a slow way to move but effective...and if the grounds crew didn't mow regularly the forage grass would eventually ( a matter of many years ) colonize the area around hawthorn hall as far as it could...and since it is native to lake county my best guess is it would be relentless...the bottom photo is of an extravagant lamb's quarters plant growing up through an aspparagus plant...another native, it is edible but commonly classified as a weed...but it attracts beneficial insects that help control flea beetle and cabbage loopers that infest cauliflower
so we may have to rethink "weed" and do some serious research into what native, non-food plants may provide a habitat for helpful insects and critters ( there are always toads around my jerusalem artichokes for instance...it's damp and shady down under there and they are nectaries for all sorts of insects...some of which i am sure the toads feed on...dragon flies collect there as well so the mosquito populations are controlled...so much to learn ) and be reprieved from the onus of being just a "weed"
status quo in the community garden tonight...eggplant dna still defying the squirrels...some fine cucumbers and the everbearing strawberries are still producing...tomatoes in abundance continue to ripen ( left to itself that bed will probably never need to be replanted...i see voluminous numbers of volunteer tomato plants )...And the yellow peas in the green manure mix still look alien to me...escapees form area 51? the garden status will be changing as the season moves along...more as it evolves.
i brought in the last of the russets from the potato patch in my yard today...some are going to my daughter and son-in-law...and a few are going to be lunch...fried maybe...too bad the sunchokes aren't done yet...but that will have to wait...i harvested just shy of forty pounds of spuds from these plants and i have yukon golds out there to dig yet...a fair season for a limited space...after i dug the tubers i mixed up another slurry of green manures and rhizobia inoculant and planted the other half of the patch to recharge the soil...not too sure yet what is going in this space next season...won't be spuds, but i am thinking pole beans and snow peas in a bed in the community garden so there may be some additional plants on the south side of the house...maybe something more exotic
i checked on the storage project this morning...the early blue tubers are rock solid and dormant seemingly...not so the yema de huevos...some are softening and sprouting despite my best efforts and the english lavender...when i got the original three ( yep...lots of little spuds from three potatoes ) they were sprouting in the box from sturgeon's bay and i planted them directly upon receipt, frost danger and all ( and they were frost bitten, but recovered very well )...has anyone done indoor winter potatoes under a grow light? that may be the only alternative i have...we'll see...the olalla and roja narion plants are still flowering and showing no signs of being done yet...they hail form more southerly latitudes and i am wondering if some sort of day length issue stalled them and that now that autumn is nearing they are happier and moving again...there may be frost cloth involved before this is over...if that's what it takes...more as it ( literaly ) comes up.
i read in a gardening forum recently that everbearing strawberries do not produce as many runners as june bearing ones do because they use more energy producing fruit...well...june bearers may produce more stolons but the one i trimmed today ( a marked slowdown, admittedly )makes eighteen in the last three weeks alone that i have taken out...add to that the fact that there are at least eight runners in the second photo and that the bed in the third started the season with twelve plants and now is home to twenty-nine ( no more! please! ) and i get the impression that everbearers are not slouches at reproduction...we will be thinning out the population in the spring but the addition of seventeen plants does not seem to have had an impact on production...i promised the haul in the bottom photo to my granddaughter ( well, actually to my daughter for her daughter...lots of daughters in this post ) but there will certainly be more as there are at least twice as many green berries on the plants right now...the garden is having a good season.
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.