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.