Saturday, July 14, 2018

Hay days

I have been cutting and stacking as much hay as I can on the farm.  This is the first year that I am building unprotected outdoor haystacks.  I'm very curious to find out how the hay quality holds up this winter.

I also put up around 110 small square bales in the hayloft.  These are last year's (and older) bales that a friend was wanting to clear out.  Looks like nice stuff.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Begin Test Plot Harvest

I harvested and shocked the Vavilov Turkey Red, Ehmke Turkey Red, and Red Clawson from the test plot today.  The wheat is not quite ripe but I needed to move the bird netting slightly to protect the Java spring wheat at the South end of the plot.  So I peeled off the three plots of winter wheat at the north end, so that the net could be pulled down to cover the Java.  I noticed yesterday that the birds had already started to attack the Java.

These three are not real critical to me.  The Vavilov and Ehmke are just there as controls, and Red Clawson I will probably not grow out.  It's a cross from the late 19th Century, and my focus is on wheat that was not artificially crossed.

That said, the Red Clawson is beautiful!  The red and purple stems are quite stunning.  Maybe I will grow it out another season.

Left to right, Vavilov Turkey Red, Ehmke Turkey Red, Red Clawson

Red Clawson up close

View of the test plot from the North end.  In the center closest to the camera is the Krymka.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

One More Flint planting

It's still terribly hot and humid.  It's been like this for a few days.  Due to the rain and moisture, the mosquitoes are as bad as they get!  However, I've managed to get out every day and the garden is mostly under control.  The main issue is an extraordinary bloom of purslane.  Even though Mother Earth News says it's a great source of nutrition, for me it's a nasty nasty weed.  And it really took hold this year!

Anyhow, I had wanted to put more flint corn in the West end, but that area is so wet that it is still not worked up yet.  So I stuck a little more flint on the high ground.  It's on ground that had sweet corn last year, which is not a very good idea.  But I'd like to have more corn at harvest time, so it will have to do.  This planting will be very interesting, since the rain I was expecting today never came.  There is dry weather forecast for a week or more now.

Four rows of flint, about 30' long I'd say.  In the Southeast corner of the garden.

Not sure why these onions matured so early.  The two other varieties are still growing strong, but these guys are telling me they need to be dug up.

The Marquis field on Newman Rd looks good.  Great, actually, which is nice since the rest of that field has been such a challenge.

Here is the Newman field looking south from the Marquis planting.  The field is still (STILL!) very wet, but it should dry out next week.  I'll finally get to finish discing it, three months after I started.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Amazing Observations in the Test Plot

Haynes Bluestem heads.

Culms of Haynes Bluestem in the test plot.  The stand of Haynes is perfect right now.  It was never knocked down, and there is zero wildlife damage.  I will be covering it with bird netting shortly.

Purplestraw is in the foreground here.

This is the Early Red Fife.

Dakota spring wheat.  This is a selection of Haynes Bluestem was released in 1898.  Although it looks very similar to the Haynes Bluestem, it's maturing later than the stand of Haynes.

The Wisconsin Pedigree No. 2 is showing it's red-colored stems just beautifully.  The stand in the test plot is 60% knocked down, but doing well.  There is some wildlife damage but I think it will be OK.  It's very well bird netted now.

The Goldcoin winter wheat has the thickest, reddest stalk I have ever seen.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Turkey Red Differences

It's very impressive to observe the Vavilov Turkey Red, Ehmke Turkey Red, and Wisconsin No. 2 in the Spring Street field.  They all share the same 2 acre parcel.  The Ehmke surrounds the two smaller plots, which are both in their third year of being grown out from USDA samples.

Seeing the Vavilov Turkey Red, which is basically the USDA's archival example of Turkey Red, diverging from the Ehmke so significantly makes me feel even more strongly that Ehmke (and Heartland, and Stephens Turkey) are not representative of 19th Century Turkey.  My hypothesis is that Wisconsin No. 2, being the oldest extant collection of Turkey (it was collected in 1905 and improved by simple selection), is the most authentic.  Now I just want to bake with it!

The Ehmke Turkey on Spring Street.  Although it looks great in the photo, in reality there is a lot of stuff knocked down.  The downpours have been pretty hard on the field, although it does tend to get up when it dries out.  We had one event of 1.25" in little more than an hour.  This particular field still had standing water on July 2.

All the low areas of Ehmke are pretty well down.  But it's still growing and looks healthy.  Ron is confident we can get it in the combine.

Here is where it gets interesting.  Both the Wisconsin Pedigree No. 2 and Vavilov Turkey are still green.  I'd say they are both 10 days behind the Ehmke.  To me, this is yet more evidence that Ehmke is not "the real Turkey."

More knocked down Ehmke!

Here is Pedigree No. 2 in the pizza plot at home.  It's starting to turn and show the red stems again!

The Wisconsin Pedigree oats in the test plot.

Haynes Bluestem.

This is the Haynes up close.

The Haynes stems are faintly bluish.

The Java was knocked down by the rain, unlike the Haynes which is fully standing up.