Friday, November 17, 2017

Rosie's New Harness

My illustrated children's book about Team Anarchy was published this week!  Look for it at the website, or Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

It's finally up!

The winter wheat on Spring Street is finally looking like a crop!  Thank goodness.  I saw a few green blades on the 18th, but these pics from the 21st are the first day that the wheat was up uniformly.  That makes it a little more than a month since planting on September 18.

The view from the Southwest corner.  It's a two acre planting this year.

Spring Street on October 21.  The patch on the right is Vavilov, and on the left is Wisconsin No. 2.

Wisconsin No. 2

Vavilov Turkey Red

Ehmke Turkey

Had a great two days plowing in the garden (10/20 & 10/21).  We are plowing up the corn ground at the East end and the squash/fallow area on the West end.  The West side was not fallow on purpose--it was so wet I could never get in there this year.  As a result it's a weedy sod and it's not turning over very well.  I hope I can get it worked up.  My plan is to make it a tiny hay field.

The plow and the new (third try) disengage mechanism worked very well.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Germination Comparison of Turkey Red Strains

The germination comparison that I planted on October 7 is up well enough to get a good comparison now.  The first bits could be seen two days ago.

Wisconsin No. 2.  This strain has the most pronounced red color.

The Vavilov Turkey Red still has the red stem, but it's less brilliant.

The Ehmke Turkey does not have any red color, and the leaf blades are wider.

The Stephens is taking a little longer to germinate and does not have any red color, either.

The Spring Street field is still not up!  It was planted on September 18, almost a month ago.  There has been rain now so it should be coming up in a matter of days.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Backup plot of WN2 germinates

The backup plot of Wisconsin No. 2 germinated overnight.  I have been keeping this ground moist with irrigation since planting it on October 1.  Six days to germinate seems a bit long to me, and I'm beginning to think that Wisconsin No. 2 and Vavilov both take longer to germinate than modern "Turkeys."

I'm also intrigued by the red stems that are showing in the WN2.  I've never noticed it before.  From observing the regular test plot, I can see that the stem does go away after a few days.  But it's very apparent today.

I want to get a good comparison, so I drilled in a four-row test plot just to the South of the backup WN2 plot.  From North to South, there is a single 8' row of Wisconsin No. 2, Vavilov Turkey Red, Ehmke Turkey, and Stephens Turkey.

The Wisconsin No. 2 on October 7, after six days in warm, moist soil.  I've never noticed the red stems before.  I expect it will disappear after a few days, but now I want to know if other wheat shows this color in the first days of germination.
Here's a shot a day later, on October 8, around 7 am.  I think the red appears out of the ground when the wheat plant shoots up overnight, but is then covered over by the green of photosynthesis after a day or two in the sun.  The color comes from anthocyanin, the same substance that makes leaves turn color in the Fall.  The color is there throughout the growing season, but it only can be seen shortly before harvest when the culms cease photosynthesizing.  At least that is how I understand it!

This is the same spot on October 10.  Now the color has been almost covered up by chlorophyll.

Here is the germination test plot, just South of the backup WN2 plot.  This is former basil ground that I worked up with a wheel hoe this morning.  From North to South, WN2, VTR, ETR, and STR.

Here's the germination test plot in a wider view.  Rows run East-West.
Here's a view of the main test plot right now, October 8.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Corn Harvest

This year was my most ambitious corn planting to date.  I grew two varieties of sweet corn, planted four full rows of popcorn, and also had two plots of composite flint corn.  I probably had 75 distinct varieties this year!

Here is the composite flint corn from Bill Davison at the University of Illinois.  I believe he said there were 50 varieties represented in the colored seed stock.  He also sent me a smaller sample labeled "white composite."  The white was planted last and it's still growing.  The colored flint is spectacular.  I have no idea yet what I will use for seed.

Cassie on one of the first days harvesting popcorn.  I was disappointed with the yield--there were a lot of stalks with nothing on them.

My seed stock.  I look for full ears on stalks that are strong and still standing.  If there is any mold or rot I definitely don't use it for seed.

Cassie working the flint corn.  Some ears were 7' in the air--wow!  Cassie did pretty well.  The new cart is not as handy as the old one in tight spaces.

Another view of some of the flint corn.

Wheat Update

The lack of rain since planting winter wheat has been unnerving.  The soil is completely dry and there has been no measurable precipitation in almost three weeks.  I checked the Spring Street field today and I was relieved to find that the seed is in good condition below the surface.  However, I'll feel a lot better once we get normal rainfall again and seasonal conditions.

Spring Street on October 2, two weeks after drilling. I've never had to wait this long!

I have watered the test plot a couple of times now.  Germination is normal for these archived seed samples.  It's interesting to see that both Wisconsin No 2 and Vavilov Turkey Red are germinating slower than the Ehmke Turkey.  The difference is hard to see in a photo but it's clear to see in person.
This is a backup Wisconsin No. 2 planting.  Since I did not put all of my seed in the ground at Spring Street, and because the lack of rain is unnerving me, I drilled another 6.8 oz into this area 8.5' x 19'.  If for some reason the Spring Street planting is a failure, I can at least expect to harvest 4-8 lbs of seed from here to plant in 2018.  I will water this as needed.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Wisconsin Wheat Listing from 1919

Classification of American Wheat Varieties, USDA Bulletin 1074, (JA Clark et al) has a survey list in the back of wheat varieties being grown at that time in each state.  The survey year was 1919.  Over the course of my wheat project, I have distilled my project down to one simple idea: it's about Wisconsin's heritage wheat.  If a variety was grown in Wisconsin in the past, I'm interested.

Wheat varieties from the 19th Century and earlier are the most intriguing.  Crosses from the late 19th and early 20th Century are not as interesting to me anymore.  I want to grow out, eat, and sell a true wheat from the past.

Here is JA Clark, et al, list of Wisconsin wheat for the year 1919.  The habit, aka market class, is gleaned from reading JA Clark and checking the USDA GRIN database.

Variety Acreage Percent Habit My Comments
Bacska 900 0.2% HRWW Grown out for two years, winter kill in second season
Dawson 1,400 0.3% SWWW Selection from 1881, not working on currently.
0.0% HRSW JA Clark declares it to be a poor milling wheat.
Durum 12,100 2.3%
Durum is a class, not a variety. Pasta wheat.
Fultz 2,100 0.4% RWW Looks interesting in JA Clark, but not available to test
Goldcoin 400 0.1% SWWW In 2017 test plot
Haynes Bluestem 40,600 7.7% HRSW Two years growing out so far. Research suggests it may be the only remaining bluestem, of which there were once many
Humpback 1,600 0.3% HRSW Developed wheat from 1905
Iowa No. 404 100 0.0% HRWW Pure line selection of Turkey Red released in 1913. Can't find it in the GRIN db.
0.0% HRSW One season growing out. Looks promising. Very fast growing.
Marquis 313,400 59.2% HRSW Seed source from the Loiselle farm in Canada. Amazing how dominant this wheat was.
Odessa 200 0.0% SRWW Said to be very winter hardy
Prelude 2,700 0.5% HRSW Grown out for two years. Will probably not continue.
Preston 26,800 5.1% HRSW A Red Fife cross
Red Clawson 900 0.2% SRWW In 2017 test plot
Red Fife 13,300 2.5% HRSW This is growing fantastic wheat for us!
Red May 3,500 0.7% SRWW In 2017 test plot
Red Wave 600 0.1% SRWW Cross released in 1906
Turkey 39,600 7.5% HRWW This name covers a lot of different wheat, I'm learning
Ped. No. 2 6,900 1.3% HRWW Grown out for two years, 7 lbs planted in Fall 2017. I believe it's the oldest, most authentic Turkey extant.
Other 62,645 11.6%
Wish I could find some of the other bluestem varieties I saw referred to in “Wheat Growing in Wisconsin.” (1919)

TOTAL 527,445 99.5%