Sunday, July 29, 2018

Nebraska No. 6

I threshed out the Nebraska No. 6 wheat from the test plot today.  This is another selection of Turkey Red, created in Nebraska during the early 20th Century.  I did not see anything too interesting and will not be growing it out.

Nice berries.  I got a yield of 206 grams.

Montana No 36

I threshed out the Montana #36 today.  This is a strain of Turkey Red developed for Montana, presumably by the University there.  I grew it out to compare to my other strains of Turkey.  It was not too interesting and I will not be growing it out.  However, I did put a small row in the Newman Rd test plot next to every Turkey that I have.

Nice looking berries, some good plump ones with nice color.  Not as nice as WN2, but nice. Yield was 325 grams, which is good for seed from the archive.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Haynes Bluestem Harvest

The Haynes Bluestem was a real pleasure.  It's the first wheat I harvested this year that was standing up 100%!  Very interesting stalks.  They are arrow-straight and a foot shorter than the winter wheat or even the Red Fifes in the test plot.  The heads, culms, and straw just make a really neat package.  The harvest overall looks a bit "thin" but I'm very impressed with how the berries look and taste.  I also measured the plot and will do a yield calculation after threshing.  Anyhow, I really want to continue growing it out now!

The blue color is long gone by now, but the overall impression is still very distinct.  It's the strongest stalk I've ever worked with, and the heads are heavy and compact.  This is the third year of growing it out.  It should be further along, except that last year the birds really hit it hard.  This year the entire test plot was well covered with hooped bird netting.  What a pleasure to harvest undamaged wheat!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Java Wheat Harvest

The entire test plot harvest has gone quickly without much drama.  Everything is being harvested in the old style, meaning I need to wait a couple weeks before threshing.  This means I have labeled sheaves of wheat stuffed everywhere this week!  I hope to get it threshed soon and have my storage space back.

The Java was productive and healthy.  Unlike the Haynes, it lodged a bit.  The stalk is not as strong as Haynes.  In fact, it feels weak and thin.  The heads are healthy and the berries look and taste great.  I will definitely continue to grow it out.

These are the sheaves from the Winter wheat germination test.  Although it's a pain, I plan on threshing them down and doing a side-by-side comparison of the berries.  It will be very educational.  

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Goldcoin Wheat

I have been harvesting in the test plot off and on for a week or so, as conditions permit.  Today I threshed the Goldcoin.  This is a striking wheat.  The lower straw is thick, strong, and yellow.  The culms are light purple, even after drying down.  The heads are large and awnless.  It's a white wheat, which I have not worked with before.  I definitely want to continue growing it out.

I measured the longest stalks at 5.5'!

The net was 350 grams, which is quite good I think.  The starting seed was 5 grams, planted last September.  It measured 15% humidity, meaning I should have waited a little longer before threshing.  However, I'm short on storage and will probably do more threshing this week.  This will be planted in two months so it's not absolutely necessary to get the moisture down low.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Spring Street

The Spring Street field did not go down the way I expected.  I had planned on combining the two small seed plots (Vavilov and WN2), but as things ripened it became clear that the two Turkeys from the USDA seed bank were maturing slower than the Ehmke.  There was no way to harvest the two small plots first.

So I decided to cut all the Vavilov and WN2 by hand while Ron combined the two acres around these plots.  The hand cutting turned out to be much harder than I thought it would be.  About 30% of the wheat was down, hard, and the remaining wheat was not standing well.  This meant that most of it had to be cut with the sickle.  I had friends come and help, but I still think there was 12-14 hour of difficult work to clear out just 1/10 acre of wheat.  Aaargh.

Julie came out twice and really helped the project.  It didn't help that I still had a regular class schedule at the Y, and other obligations this week.  Tough week!

The last two shocks, which I finally got out of the field more than a week after starting the harvest.

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.