Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Corn planted

I put in four ~40 foot rows of Who Gets Kissed? OP sweet corn.  This is ground where winter wheat and potatoes grew last year.  I'm using the plot in a much more contoured way this year.  The rows are still N-S, but I'm leaving the low areas for later plantings.

The West end, as usual, is the hardest area.  I hope to get way over there this year and dig out the grass. Then I can put in a nice hay and just stay out of there.  The problem is that it stays wet, and if it stays wet, it can't be worked very well.  During the time that it's wet, the sod keeps growing.  Catch 22.

Elliot thinks the extremely rare wheat in the test plot is his own personal cat grass.

The flock loves tearing into the compost pile!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Big fields up

The two spring wheat fields have been slow to germinate, but now they are showing good growth.  They were planted on a Tuesday and Wednesday, April 10 & 11.

The Windhaven field.
A railroad maintenance truck decided to get stuck in the field.  I don't think it will bother much.  They were working on the tracks behind the field and decided to get off using Kathy's drive.

The Newman Field.

There are still at least 6 acres on Newman that need to be disced.  Here I planted the tractor pretty good.  I came back a couple days later and managed to get it out.  Although the field is not really a low field, it sure is holding it's moisture.  I hate that all that poorly-buried sod is getting a chance to grow.  Hopefully I will get it under control soon and I can get a summer cover crop planted.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Onions and Cilantro planted

I planted three bunches of onions, in the far Southeast corner of the garden.  I had to work it up by hand as there are still too many wet spots to get the team in yet.  This is around 300 onions and it will be more than enough to feed me next winter.

The spring planted Wisconsin No 2 is not showing very much color.  I only planted it to get a picture of the color that some heritage variety wheat showed, but so far the Java and Haynes Bluestem have shown color much more dramatically.

This is the Haynes Blustem, coming up nicely.  Like most of the spring wheat in the test plot, it's a month old today.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Spring Wheat Notes

I have been checking the test plot at least twice a day recently.  I'm interested in the appearance of the wheat plants after germination.  Here are my notes from today.  It's been over a week since the first Java wheat emerged.

Winter wheat test plot:

  • Beloturka 100% dead
  • Kharkof  100% dead
  • Red May from 2017 100% dead
  • Nebraska No 60 100% dead
Everything except the Red May is something of a puzzle.  The Red May is no unexpected because it grew so poorly as a Spring wheat, and I have doubts about the seed's authenticity.  But the other wheats are bona fide winter crops, and it's strange that they died.

Spring wheat test plot:

  • Haynes Bluestem is basically all up, and it looks great.  There has been some nice red coloring on some of the stems.
  • Dakota is all up, and it's all green.  This is supposedly a selection of bluestem
  • Early Red Fife is up, with some red tips.
  • Purplestraw is a little behind the other plantings.  It's just starting to emerge.
  • The Red Fife planted as a control next to the Java is all up now.
Today was a beautiful day, sunshine and clear.  The soil is still quite wet but the standing water on the farm has basically disappeared.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Haynes Bluestem Germinated

The snow rapidly melted yesterday and more wheat is coming up in the test plot.  Some of the small plots are coming up, but it was too wet for me to get close enough to photograph.  The Haynes Bluestem made it's first appearance, and it looks good.  More interesting is the appearance of red color in the Java.  This wheat was previously solid green.  I want to keep checking the color every morning to understand better this phenomenon.
The Haynes Bluestem is just barely up.  The tips are showing signs of color.

The Java, which was not showing any color in it's first few days, now shows some brilliant color.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Java has Germinated

I've been watching the wheat from the March 26 planting obsessively, for a couple of reasons.  First, it's been unusually cold, so I'm wondering if wheat can do anything when the soil is that cold.  We had at least one or two mornings in the 'teens here on the farm, and it's barely been out of the 30's.  However, there have been a few days with sun.

Secondly, after watching the red stem color appear on the Vavilov and Pedigree No. 2 for just the first few days after germination, and then disappear, I want to record the stem color of all the wheat I'm growing.  To get good observations, I need to see it the day it comes out of the ground.

Here is what the Java looked like today, April 14.  I saw the first blades yesterday, and there is quite a bit that has not come up yet.  But there was enough additional germination overnight that I feel confident that it will all come up well.  I did not see any signs of red--it was all bright green like these guys.
Below are the temperature graphs for March and April.  The 19 day period of germination was mostly dry, btw.  But it was not very warm, and I'm impressed that wheat can do anything in such cold soil.  I'm not surprised that Java was the first out of the ground, either.  It grew amazingly fast last year as well.  The Red Fife (put into the test plot as a control), Early Red Fife, Haynes Bluestem, Dakota, and Purplestraw are not showing any growth above ground yet.

Two days after germinating, a truly awful spring blizzard came through.  Over the next few days the overnight lows were in the 20's, and several inches of snow, sleet, and rain fell.  It will be interesting to see how everything looks when this stuff finally thaws out!
Here is the view from the house on Monday, April 16.

This is what the mighty test plot looked like on April 18!

The chicks have been outside in the old coop for two weeks now.  They're doing well but I feel bad that it's been so cold.  They have a heat lamp on and are growing nicely.