the german butterballs that i cut yesterday had callused over well by the time i got home from work today so into pots they went...four more potato plants coming up...i am already the chinese yam and jerusalem artichoke baron of indiana...i do not need a third title...hope the weather turns a bit more spring-like soon...these plants need to go out.
went rummaging around in the basement potato bin and found that some of the spuds are still wintering over just fine ( top photo )...on closer inspection i found that some are not ( second photo ) the ollala in the third photo is indicative of the state i found some in...the early blue in the fourth photo too...sprouts and roots everywhere you care to look...so...off to the garden center for peat pots and potting soil to preserve the tubers that are shriveling...i separated them by varieties, six in all, early blue, all red, red pontiac, german butterball, ollala, and yukon gold...made plant markers for each and took them downstairs to pot them...more on that in the next post down.
the two german butterballs in the top photo were too large to plant as drop so i cut them to callus and will be planting them in a day or two...so what's the upshot of all this spud activity? a basement full of plants just about everywhere you look...waiting for the damned weather to break so they can get outside and be natural plants...thirty-two five inch diameter peat pots with four more to go before this batch is potted...and then there's the ones that aren't quite ready yet but may be before the weather is suitable for planting...getting crowded down there...could be more so before long.
tesointe is moving right along...the the flower is approaching full bloom ( top photo ) as the top ear continues to emerge from the stem and the seeds are becoming more prominent ( second and third photos ) the bottom ear ( fourth photo ) continues to deploy silks to capture the flowers pollen and, though they are not readily visible in the photo, it too has distinct seeds forming...still a bit to go before the plant reaches maturity...hopefully the indirect sunlight won't interfere with seed development...if the plant begins to read too much daylight it may become confused and stall...hope not.
i drove over to the community garden after work this morning just to have a look...i did not expect to find much in the way of movement...as i sit here typing my backyard thermometer says it is forty degrees ( fahrenheit ) and that is about as warm as it has been since parker! and i planted the first bed last sunday...the soil temperature needs to be about forty-five degrees before most of these seeds will start to germinate...admittedly they are planted only a quarter to half an inch deep and it won't take that long for the soil to warm even if the ambient air temperature is lower than that...as long as it is sunny...and that has been lacking...the garlic however is ignoring the cold an exhibiting good new growth so there is some progress...the last two photos are of the garden on march fourteenth and today...the changes are subtle but they are there.
a potato plant in the plant room has reached the end of its season today...there is no more production left in it...but it did produce, yielding three thin-skinned yukon gold tubers to be planted outdoors in the next month or so...as it stands there will be ample local seed potatoes for the community garden and any number of others...into its second year the seed potato project is beginning to pay off...there are well established plants from last seasons tubers growing in the basement that will provide an early harvest as these tubers sprout and mature...started in february those plants should harvest in late may or early june setting the stage for a cyclical harvest into september and october.
the flower on the basement teosinte continues to bloom ( top photo) and the silks on the top ear are soaking up the pollen (second photo )...seeds have appeared as the top ear emerges form the stem ( third photo ) and the gardener is geeked...meanwhile the second ear is emerging and deploying more silks ( fourth and fifth photos )..all this started out as test germinations to determine seed viability for this spring...i wasn't going to toss the sprouts but i didn't expect to see an indoor plant get this far along...a bonus for the past winter's basement work...smiles all round.
different seasons in different places...the top photo is of two big rainbow heirloom tomatoes up form seed my friend fern sent along...i planted eight altogether...hoping for more soon...this is an all solanum posy as the second photo is of the jungle of vines that the potatoes from seed have become...is this their outdoor appearance as well or is it the environment? i plant to germinate some and plant them outdoors as soon as the weather breaks ( it snowed here yesterday ) ...so we will find out...the red pontiac in the third photo is chitting away and it too needs the weather to break soon so it can get grounded outside...finally, the potted ollalas in the bottom photo are reaching the end of their season...a hopeful harvest of seed potatoes soon ...mpor eon that in a few days.
it's past the middle of march and time for cool weather crops to go in...so Parker! ( Cynthia ) and i went out to the garden this morning to do some work...the first thing to do was to turn the alfalfa and winter rye that was planted late last season ( top photo ) under to become more organic matter for the bed...they had done the job of setting and storing nitrogen as well as holding the soil together over the winter and now it was time to put their work to use...the second photo is the bed after it had been dug and worked with a hoe...we then added about ninety pounds of compost from cow manure ( third photo ), turned that in, worked the bed with the hoe again, and marked out some furrows ( fourth photo ) then Parker! ( fifth photo ) and i planted beets, dill, parsnips, turnips, and spinach and watered the bed ( bottom photo )...give them a week or two and the first spring plants will be up in the garden and ready to harvest by mid may...the season started with the garlic a few weeks ago...that is pretty low maintenance ( although while we were there we mulched the garlic a bit more heavily with straw and compost to keep the weeds down...even this early they are there )...germinating seeds take a bit more care...there will be regular reports here from now until autumn...stay tuned.
...and it has a more than passing connection to domestication so it is germane tot he blog's topic...and i am geeked...so sue me...the silks on the second ear ( top photo ) are coming along well and the silks on the ear at the top leaf node are fully developed and soaking up pollen ( second photo )...the third photo has a bit better angle on the very top of the ear...just under where the silks meet it...emerging from the stem..it should be external tot he stem in the coming week or two and then we should see seeds...you think the gardener is geeked now? just wait...you will all be on teosinte overload...so sue me.
the flower on the basement teosinte continues to deploy and the silks from the top leaf node are looking for pollen...i see an ear soon if it all goes well...but wait...there's more...the second photo is of another silk emerging from the next leaf node down the stalk yesterday and the third is the same node tonight...a second ear in the making..i am pleased more than i can say...i planted more seed in the bed outside i seeded last autumn so there is hope the teosinte growth will continue throughout the summer...if none germinates naturally in the next month i can always do the hydrogen peroxide soak and transplant them outdoors...the fourth photo is of the mashua tubers that arrived today...they are looking very healthy and i will be storing them indoors until the last frost date passes...these nasturtium family members are not frost tolerant...they will be container grown and we will see what we do about over-wintering when the time comes.
a portion of that sinkload of jerusalem artichoke i harvested out of the community garden yesterday have become part of today's lunch...actually last season's gardens provided two of the main ingredients..the red pontiac potatoes i used came from my back yard last autumn and have been stored in the basement ( separate from the seed potatoes )...i diced up the potatoes and peeled the sunchokes ( i used a technique i learned form "america's test kitchen"...when they were peeling ginger they used the edge of the concave side of a spoon to scrape the peel off rather than paring it off..jerusalem artichoke peels are reasonably thin and this worked really well...quicker and not nearly as much waste of tuber...i'm sold ) and precooked them...i boiled pasta to serve as a bed and added some reasonably fresh mushrooms and fresh parmesan cheese as well as a taste of cream of mushroom soup to help hold it together...thoroughly mixed and baked in a 400 degree ( fahrenheit ) oven for about 35 minutes...i foresee a tossed salad as a side and leftovers to pick over as the day goes on...so even march isn't off limits as far as cooking fresh from the garden if you grow a mixture of vegetables and root crops...i an strongly biased towards intercropping and a health mix of plants in any given bed...the one the sunchokes came out of had potatoes and tomatoes in it all through the season...that sort of mixing can extend the season almost to year round.
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.