My Going To Seed Crops 2023 [Reckless Pepo Mix, Corn Sweet Mix] No fertilizer, No water, No Sprays, Wood Chip Mulch System

Serendipity Grow 2023

Seems a good enough title. My order of the rest of the Going to Seed seeds this past weekend was going to have the seeds arrive this Saturday. But being near the Dallas area which is a major shipping and logistics hub for a lot of the country the USPS decided not to sit on my Going to Seed seed order and delivered it today (Thursday, June 15th.)

Looking at the planting calendar they use down in Dallas Texas as a guide, I saw this

DATE
March 15 – June 15

PLANT BY SEED
Outdoors: Corn, Squash, Zucchini, Cucumbers, Melons

TRANSPLANT
Cucumbers, Peppers, Squash, Watermelon, Zucchini

Well it looks like my gain means I am on the last day for a late planting of both Corn and Squash by seed.

So time to remove those packets from the envelope and put the rest in my seed storage containers in the refrigerator.

I should have taken photos before planting, the corn colors were pretty. But there is tornadoes and hail storms north of me and darkness is coming on fast so no time to lose. Out to prepare some quick and dirty rows moving aside the top layer of wood chip mulch exposing dark moist soil/mulch mixtures below to plan the corn in.

I had a large area of unused space from the asparagus plot and the back fence in front of the fruit trees being established, the Highlander collard providing this years seed for my ultra mix, and the hugelkulture mound that started as my front yard tree that I cut down to the ground when building my new flower garden out front. By law we have to replace the tree, so I selected an ornamental flowering peppermint flower peach tree that won’t grow gigantic, stick branches through my windows and roof like the one I cut down was starting to do!

What tool did I use? Nothing but a garden trowel, just scrape lines down the wood chip mulch to damp layer. I have not grown corn in this newly established wood chip system yet, but I have a lot of other plants growing in it. It took just as much time to quickly scratch the lines in as it did planting the corn itself. So no time at all.

Once planted (I tried to make sure a different seed shape and color was planted next while doing down each row to mix up the neighboring corn), I manually watered the rows once with a watering can. This is to get the seeds up and germinating. This may be the only water the Going To Seed - Corn Sweet Mix will ever get from me. Once they are tall enough I will move the wood chip mulch on each side of the rows back over the rows. That’s it. Time to see what happens, time to grow or die!

With my girls helping I decided to have them make fun little squares five feet apart. I had to remove the wild self seeded sunflower I had been talking about removing with @UnicornEmily just a day earlier. It was chopped, roots left underground and a square put on top.

I have one of three okra’s I am growing to replenish all my seed stock (I won’t be eating them this season). This is my shorter growing, longer harvest season, pods can grow longer than most and still remain tender, ribbed variety for breading and general eating okra (Burmese).

I also have the last strawberry plant I have under a hardware cloth cage and a Celosia plant I am growing out to replenish my seed stock. And a true yam, either Chinese or the purple one they use in the Philippines, I forget which, but its just started to meet the tendrils of one clump of red fruited watermelon that is starting my watermelon grex so it is soon going to be a fight! Grow or die. When I can get orange and yellow watermelons I will start adding them to the mix but to start I have 5 or 6 red varieties I will allow to intermix.

The squares got each corner planted with a seed from the Reckless Pepo seed packet then their one and perhaps only watering by hand from the watering can. This area is in part shade from the house, but anyone who has experienced the power of the Texas sun can attest that part shade in Texas is just about the same as full sun in the rest of the country.

The backyard food garden was ignored this year because of the extra round of flowers I had to grow out because the rabbits ate half the first grow out of flowers I transplanted out front. I normally have this space in rows of plants but the wood chip system will keep developing and getting better even while I wait for next Spring.

I think I have already detailed the tote compost-in-place-wicking-design elsewhere, but for those that are curious what is inside them. They are impossible to over water or flood from rain as they have holes on each side a couple inches above the ground drilled in them. This is the water reservoir plus overflow gate system.

Strawberry nursery for seed germinating from the last strawberry plant I have.

And a nursery for the Walking Onion bulbils that grow on top of those onions where they can start to grow out and put down their first roots.

2 Likes

I completely ignore seed dates for my area. I continue to plant seeds all year long, even in winter. I live in zone 8 a/b, ignore those recommendations as well.

I germinated and had a successful cover crop of clover in December 2 years ago. I planted squash and pumpkin on July last year and harvested in November.

As long as there is a chance of success I go for it. Even when I predict zero chance of success, sometimes I’ll still try just for fun and the learning experience.

3 Likes

That makes sense, there is a fall garden sowing date range that goes out to August. I have no idea how early the GTS Corn Sweet Mix will be, but that would be an interesting to push it out as far as I can in succession planting once I have some seed stock built up and on hand. I also have GTS Grain Corn Mix that goes in next round. Commercial corn growing fields start just 600 feet from my house so I am expecting to introduce all sorts of pest pressures a corn plant can encounter in this are to the GTS mix.

Nice selection that’s built in for you. You probably will get occasional pollen drifting in? I might worry about GMO. Never grown corn or anything that can cross with cotton which is grown commercially all around me.

I don’t remember the pollen fall distance but I think Joseph has a video, in the course maybe?, That talked to how most pollen falls straight down with little spread. Some distance separation guides I read was 100 yards or 300 feet between sweet and dent corn plantings. The commercial corn fields are growing yellow dent. I am thinking they will share the pests more than the pollen but I will see in any of the kernels that develop if there are any dent types. I’m pretty sure there is also a lot of teosinte, or teosinte-like plants growing on the edges of the fields that join up against the farm roads where the harvesters don’t seem to reach. I’ve not stopped and pulled over for a look though as there is no real shoulder to these farm roads to safely pull over.

It has been 5 days since planting the two GTS seed crops. I did not go outside yesterday as it was “supposed” to be one of the hottest days of the year so far with high heat + high humidity combining to create record feels like temperatures.

But the GTS seeds did not care. They may have pushed through yesterday (4 days since planting) but I only saw them today when I went outside to the garden (5 days since planting).

GTS Reckless Pepe Mix 2023 - Square #1

3 out of 4 seeds have germinated. I place plastic cups with the bottoms cut off as physical barriers against any pill bugs.

GTS Reckless Pepe Mix 2023 - Square #2

3 out of 4 seeds have germinated. I place plastic cups with the bottoms cut off as physical barriers against any pill bugs.

GTS Reckless Pepe Mix 2023 - Square #3

1 out of 4 seeds have germinated. I place plastic cups with the bottoms cut off as physical barriers against any pill bugs.

GTS Reckless Pepe Mix 2023 - Square #4

0 our out of 4 seeds have germinated.

Total seeds planted - 16
Total seeds germinated (day 5) - 7
Total seeds germinated (day 5 percent) - 43.75%

Moving over to the GTS Sweet Corn Mix 2023

Rain and strong winds had made some wood chips fall back down into the rows I scratched out. I did not bother in the heat to go out and clean them back out so we will see how they do.

I have not provided any pill bug protection for the corn. They will have to adapt to the pressure when germinating.

I have not counted how many seeds came in the packet and I did not count or photograph all the corn that has so far germinated. I would guess it is in a range in-between 10-18%

1 Like

I did sneak out for a minute during the hottest day and took a photo of my Kajari Melons. They are doing fantastic in the heat, no sign of drooping.

3 Likes

They look so beautiful!

What I have I observed is that corn pollen never goes straight down. I have tried pollinating corn with it’s own pollen, but it always seemed to go sideways before it got down. It’s heavy when it comes to pollen that maybe it doesn’t spread that far and has more downward trajectory, but it is still affected be even little airflow. As for those planting dates, I don’t know your climate, but you could try to find out what’s the reasoning for those dates. Some barriers like really heavy frosts are just too much for many species, but sometimes those dates might be just for those that wait for ideal conditions.

Day 6 on the Reckless Pepo

Gained one

Lost one

Maybe lost two?

Massive storm hit last night. It was very short but very violent. High winds, horizontal rain and hail stones the size of peas or larger. The same storm was producing softball sized hail for some areas so I am actually happy I only got the pea size and slightly larger hail.

But a lot of damage still.

Celosia took a major hit, split in half. Same fate for my Begonia’s along the side of the house. I went out and dug holes and planted all the broken pieces so maybe I will now have a Forrest of Begonia plants. :upside_down_face:

The Tule material screens on the two totes took a hit. There are multiple holes form hail stones crashing through them. The strawberry and walking green onion starts are still looking good.

The year-long bean accession rows got pounded with wind rain and hail and have filled in. I was going to do a quick look for any beans that got surfaced but did not see any.

The Reckless Pepo squash. All seeds planted that did not germinate and grow since the past update post have not germinated save one seed. That seed immediately got the cotyledons decapitated by I assume pillbugs. However I had the prior noted new germinated Reckless Pepo that needed a protective cup and I decided not to add the physical barrier to that plant as a test and that plant has not been attacked by pillbugs so far. I also removed three physical barrier cups from three other early germinating Reckless Pepo as they started growing the first true leaf and none of those have any signs of pillbug attack.

The Kajari Melons looked a sight with all the leaves either pressed down flat or facing upside down. Half way through the next day (by lunch time) they had mostly self righted and are looking like the champions they are again in the garden. The watermelons showed little impact from the storm save having a few tendrils blown into a new direction by the storm.

The GTS Sweet Corn Mix is growing with a few more germination signs. I would still rate the overall germination rate of the GTS Sweet Corn mix below 50% at this time.

The Kajari and Watermelons that decided to fight are now starting to touch each other so that survival of the fittest dance is about to begin.

2 Likes

Hee hee, I’m excited to see what happens when the melons and the watermelons meet. Maybe they’ll both thrive, and share!

1 Like

I appreciate this post and all the details. Really dig your woodchip planting strategy!

1 Like

Today’s temperature

image

We don’t really have a USDA GRIN bean photo post so I’ll put them in here as well.

We have germination!

This is the 1951 accession PI 195336. I will have to ask @Lowell_McCampbell if these look like his 1951 beans, these in the original paper report were listed as Snail bean and in the modern USDA database list as year long bean so what will they become?

3 planted and so far, 1 germination sign.

Another angle

And PI 307778 I believe is a 1965 collection of year long bean. This is from accession row 1 shared with PI 195336.

From the second accession row shared with PI 311194

and

4 were planted and 3 are up.

For PI 311194 I believe is a 1966 collection of year long bean.

4 were planted an 0 germination sign so far.

Now for @UnicornEmily the Melons

We have contact and crossing.

The melons are making a nice thick mat of vines behind this.

I think I even have a sweet potato (grocery store) I planted last year start to grow underneath the mat.

And the last patch that commingled with what I think is a purple sweet potato from the Asian store I planted last year. I had to pull the vines back from the first row of year long bean accessions so they get a chance to grow up and I get a chance to drop some form of trellis in before the bottoms become a sea of melons and sweet potato vines.

Now back to the GTS Reckless Pepo mix for @UnicornEmily and other seed contributors.

No additional germination signs. Lets see how what did germinate early is doing.

Top square above the Celosia. 4 reckless pepo seeds planted. 1 germination sign late that immediately had cotyledons decapitated, presumed pillbugs.

Below the Celosia. 4 reckless pepo seeds planted. 2 germination sign. Potentially a 3rd but a hole was all that was found in the soil and no plant seedling was ever observed.

Patch 3 next to the second year long bean accession row and at the top end. 4 reckless pepo planted. 3 germination signs. 1 plant disappeared even when using a physical barrier for presumed potential pillbugs. The other two are growing fine even with the physical barriers removed.

And the final GTS reckless pepo planting at the bottom near the second accession year long bean row is the one with something interesting. The top right plant is exhibiting a different leaf pattern to all the other reckless pepo that germinated.

On to the GTS Sweet Corn Mix

Overall germination still rather poor. 10-20% estimated. For some reason the rows on the left hand side have much more germination than the rows on the right hand side.

The bottom right corn in this second photo is having some commingling with mushroom mycelium underground.

and

The rest of the rows just start to taper off into nothingness as far as germination sign.

All up I think I have counted 26 seeds from the GTS Sweet Corn mix that have shown any germination signs. The remainder either no germination or we will have to wait and see what they decide to do if anything.

While I am here a quick look at the okra I planted to generate a bunch of new seed to start growing to eat next year.

This particular variety seems to have pest damage on the leaves I did not see growing my other variety last year.

I even see a bit on the leaves of the other seedling I have out in the garden.

Strawberry seedlings doing good.

New Egyptian walking onions doing good.

1 Like

Wow that’s even hotter than over here. That is surprising. We are a few degrees lower right now. And yesterday was punishing outside in the garden.

1 Like

Excellent! They all look great!

I have to admit, it’s really heartening to see that you have patchy germination and bug holes on a lot of leaves, because I do, too. (Wry grin.) It’s a good reminder that this is a sign that something’s going right – we’re letting the environment show us which plants are suitable for our growing conditions without coddling!

1 Like

During this week garden time is mostly early AM. It was already 80 F by 8 AM. And it’s just carrying some pruners mostly to dead head the front garden flowers after walking through the backyard for a quick sticky beak at the plants.

I had worse from farm seed corn. I did a quick grow out test last year in the poorest large wood chip size patch of the garden. I must have ended up with only three plants making it by the end. So many corn seeds looking for pampering of high input watering and fertilizing and pesticide and herbicide sprays was my gut feel after watching it perform.

“Plough deep, while sluggards sleep, and you shall have corn to sell and to keep.” - Benjamin Franklin

This is a quote that’s been in my collection for some time. I am a slow learner and finally it has sunken in. I got beat up yesterday finishing up my okra beds.

More updates.

The intense days of endless heat have the very fringe of the Kajari melon vines showing some wilting in the leaves. Will I water? No. Grow or Die.

The 1951 USDA Accession Bean is looking good so far.

However, I had what looked like the second germination appear but no / malformed cotyledons or leaves, hard to tell, it was malformed. And today it just looks like it gave up the ghost on living.

here with the cup removed

If that was 1951 bean #2, then that leaves bean #3 either not germinated or _________.

Some of the 1965 USDA Accession Beans show some malformations to the leaves. Let’s hope they can grow past and through it and it is not some form of genetic damage from long term storage.

The walking onions are growing really well especially where they have some partial shade or close root and or endophytic microbiome to the volunteer Tobacco or coverage from Kajari melon vines.

Tobacco is showing signs of hornworm damage, a few leaves have been completely consumed and these are very large, as long as your forearm or longer. So It looks like I will have some tobacco or tomato hornworm moths soon.

image

I found another cluster of walking onion bulbils growing from a stem in an onion covered by Kajari melon leaves. I cut the stem off and buried it in the onion nursery for now. You can see it laying flat against the surface and as it adjusts to its new orientation the leaves will reach straight up towards the sunlight.

Watermelons are going gang busters, no sign of heat stress or slowing down. They now seem to be about a foot thick above the ground surface.

And that sweet potato vine seems to be clinging on the best it can above the watermelon layer for dear life and sunlight. No sign of heat stress. It might be cool and moist under that mat of watermelon vines.

Very bad news for my Passionfruit Flower vine project. Something ate a perfectly healthy vine down to nothing overnight. I would rank these as some of the more difficult seeds to germinate with a lengthy germination time. But now that I have finally succeeded at it, I intend to try again.

Oh my, I should have checked the camera before doing what I did to this second Passionfruit vine. The only other one I had growing up against the back fence.

I found the culprit, small dark brown/orange caterpillars with lots of spikey tufts on their backs. They completely stripped the second passionfruit vine completely. I had my garden secateurs with me for working the front garden after touring the back. So I decided to turn the three caterpillars into six and left them to feed any future plants.

For the GTS Sweet Corn Mix 2023 experiement, the corn that wants to grow is growing and thriving.

Here with the third planting of Okra I have for my seed regeneration project for my second Okra variety.

But there still remains a lot of row space with no germination sign.

And where there has been germination the growth shows sign of fantastic adaptation and vigor all the way to these poor examples of corn seedlings.

The test planting was every 10-12 inches spacing since the pack of seeds was small. But you can still see there is a lot of row space with nothing that came up at all.

Being grow #1 in the new environment, climate + soil + soil microbiome / endophytes I am not too worried for the first grow. Second and third regrows of any seed I may collect from this lot will tell me how well the method will work.

On the way out to the front. I passed by the end of the blackberry plantings along the side fence and the watermelons have gone further still and decided it now wants to also grow up the fence and escape into the neighbors yard.

A quick look at the GTS 2023 Reckless Pepo Mix

No new germination signs

What has remained before still remains

But I do have sign that one seedling may decide to not grow and just remain forever stunted and small. If it does not show signs of growth I will manually rogue it out of the garden.

Edit: One thing I am noticing for the first time is my thick initial application of wood chips is for the first time starting to show signs of thinning, especially in this area around where I planted the GTS Reckless Pepo Mix seeds. I may have to ask the tree trimming services to drop off another truck load of chipped up tree branches and leaves next Spring. Nothing huge like the establishment year. This time I only want a few inches, 3 to 4, on the ground as a refresher layer.

I have fig trees that have been planted in the orchard system and never watered. This is one that has frozen back completely to the ground in both late freezes this year. It is now growing back with vigor. It has only been in the ground since just before the freezes so this is looking healthy for so little ground time.

Out front and I see some of my sneaky hidden strawberries are still growing.

and

as well as spotting some butterflies enjoying some nectar from flowers in the front garden.

None of the various flower plants out in the front garden are showing any heat stress from the high pressure dome locked above the south from no winds to blow it away from the area. That is a good sign. The only sign so far of anything close is the edge of Kajari melons but I sometimes wonder if I stepped on any vines when leaning over and shifting from foot to foot trying to peer through the maze and tangle of Kajari leaves trying to spot any melons that may be turning color beneath as a sign they are getting close to being ripe. Not knowing I’ll just give it to the intense heat we are experiencing every day and night this week as a reason.

2 Likes