Sunday, July 26, 2009

Planting Day - 16 Weeks in

I’ve been very bad about posting but the summer has been very busy -- in a non-medieval way. Real life, I’m afraid, has reared its ugly head and kept me away from reading and medieval projects. Hopefully that will change soon.

The big news is the wheat. Thanks to either a good deal of rain (it’s been a dry summer here) or some more time to grow (probably some of both, really) the field is doing much better.

Three weeks ago I reported that there were 31 ears of corn on the stalks of wheat. A week later, there were 74. A week after that there were 111. After being away at the Oregon Shakespearean Festival for most of the following week, I returned to find an explosion of wheat seeds. There are currently over 200 stalks with sheaves of wheat atop them (that’s where I lost count).

Last year’s very experimental winter wheat is now dry as a bone and the kernels are hard. I couldn’t crush the one I tried to in my teeth. I’ll give them a few more days to make sure, then I’ll try harvesting. More on that to come.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Planting Day - 12 Weeks In

I went out the other day and weeded again. It took 90 minutes or so. I made several interesting discoveries.

First off, there was a patch where no wheat was growing. Since I weeded at a different time than I usually do (in the late afternoon), I noticed that this bare patch matches almost exactly the shadow cast by one of my big maple trees. So, one mystery solved.

Secondly, I didn’t bury the seeds very deep. In fact, I just sprinkled the wheat seeds across the topsoil. The roots have not penetrated the newspaper or spread out horizontally very much. Now that the stalks are growing, some of them have very little connection to the earth. Some have fallen over and others I have accidentally pulled out while weeding. So next time, I will bury them.

The good news is that 31 stalks have ears of grain on them. We finally got some rain about a week and a half ago, and it looks like more could still be ready to produce some grain.

My pot of winter wheat seems to be done growing and is turning brown. The wheat kernels are still soft and green on the inside. I pinched one off and squeezed it between my fingers and it gushed a white paste.