Sunday, April 6, 2014

Backyard Wheat

Mark Stambler sent pictures of grain plots thriving in his back yard.


And some interesting progress in our front yard, across town.  Some of the Sonora, planted on New Year's day, is more than four feet tall, with heads that seem quite large. 

The kernels are in four rows, each of which has ten or twelve berries. The plants which lodged (tipped over) in the February downpour have recovered and are now standing on their own.

       















Three different small test plots of India-Jammu are showing off.   Shorter and less verdant than the Sonora, the plots seemed thin and rather spindly.  But recently we have seen significant enlargement of the seed heads after blossoming.
India Jammu in blossom
India Jammu three weeks ago, approaching boot stage.



Impression is that the plants are focusing on the seed, rather than lush leaf development. 

Multiple India Jammu seed heads in soft/medium dough stage.

     
Complex seed rows










They have not shown any vulnerability to lodging.  Most of the heads are approaching maturity and are now in hard dough stage.   It is possible that their shorter growth and less lush foliage gives this variety improved drought resistance.

While the India Jammu is mostly headed out, two areas of Red Fife are in boot stage, just beginning to emerge.  Where the two varieties were planted in partial shade, the India Jammu is past the blossom stage, while the Red Fife is less than half as tall and not yet in boot.



 A plot of Kamut, planted in January, is setting heads which are remarkable for having extremely long awns.  Some of the awns, or beards, are significantly longer than the seed heads.  This variety seems vigorous and is almost as tall as the Sonora.  The wide, lush foliage does not suggest this is a drought tolerant strain.
Test plots of Red Fife           Kamut           Emmer       (Durum in foreground)
Awns emerging




Kamut heads with very long awns






















 A test plot of Emmer (Farro) is three feet tall, but not yet in boot stage.  And recently planted Durum only a few inches high, with three or four leaves so far.
Four week old Durum, with 10  week Emmer behind
Two very small test plots of soft white spring wheat are showing heads.  Louise was released by Washington State University in 2005.  It has a quite unique head shape.  Surprise was developed in the 1870s by Cyrus Pringle of Charlotte Vermont.  In 1919 USDA records show more than 60,000 acres of Surprise were planted in the U.S.   In this test plot, both varieties are quite short, but that may be the result of shallow soil conditions.
Surprise
Louise



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