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.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Spring Wheat Planting

Spring 2018 was setting up differently than last year.  There was less moisture in the ground, although weather was cold.  When it did rain, it did not rain much.  (or snow, either)  So I could see an early planting window was possible.  I got out yesterday, and i was not disappointed!

Last year's planting was April 24-25.  It's nice to get in a full two weeks earlier.  Spring wheat does better the earlier it goes in.

The Windhaven field was basically perfect.  I disced it before noon, and it got some sun before I disced it again.  After that it was perfect.  I had two flat tires with the 330, which was a pain, but I got everything planted by Wednesday morning (today).  If things had gone better I would have dragged the field after planting, but I just picked up and ran to the Newman field.

Windhaven field.  This is about 2.3 acres.  I had the drill on notch 27 to start, then went to 26, and finished on 27.  Seven bags total of Red Fife.  152 lbs per acre.  This is exactly what I wanted!

The Newman field was very roughly plowed and the first pass with the disc was pretty miserable going.  I spent about two hours working up one acre for the Marquis.   Some spots probably got six passes with the disc/drag combo.  There are clumps of quackgrass but overall I was pretty happy.  There are close to 4 bags of Marquis seed in this field of around 1.15 acres.  Hopefully this is enough to compete with the weeds.

This is how I look on the 330 pulling the drill.  I ran the drill on notch 27, which may be heavier than what I want.  I put about 4 bags onto this plot.  This works out to 166 lbs/acre.  A tad heavy, but I think I need it to crowd out the old hay that is sure to grow up with the crop.

This is how the Marquis looked when finished.  

The remaining 6 or so acres of the Newman field will have to be disced and planted to a summer cover crop.  However, rain is coming so I won't be back for a couple of weeks.  I want to plant oats and peas, and maybe hay some of it.  The primary goal is to prepare the field for the Vavilov Turkey Red and Wisconsin No. 2, for September planting.  This field is only a mile from my house, which I really appreciate.  It's also surrounded by trees and houses on four sides, completely protecting it from pesticide and herbicide drift.  That will make the wheat coming off this field very unusual.  Most organic wheat sufferers from chemical contamination due to drift, regardless of certification.  It will be very interesting to get the wheat tested after harvest.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Oats added to the test plot

I added some historic oat varieties to the test plot today.  Wisconsin Wonder, aka Wisconsin Pedigree No. 1, was released in 1900 by the University.  I hope to grow this out and see how it tastes.

Wisconsin No 5 was selected from a variety called Swedish Select.  The University began its work on this oat variety in 1898.

Both oat plots are three rows only.  The Eastern one is Wisconsin Wonder, and the Western one is Pedigree No. 5.  They are sandwiched between the remaining spring wheat tests, the winter wheat test plot, and two rows of vegetables.

Monday, April 2, 2018


It's freezing here!  I haven't checked closely but it's been in the low 20's for recent overnights.  Despite this, the garden still has that nice dry spot in the middle and I figured something should go in.  So I put in two modest rows to the West of the winter wheat test plot.  The east row is half beets and half spinach.  The second row is all sugar snap peas.  There is more cold and rain for the next week.  We'll see how it goes!

Snowstorm on the night of April 3.  Later that week, overnight lows were in the 'teens.

The chicks are growing up nicely.  This year I got five Dominiques to add to the flock.