Last Two Weeks at the Institute — Jun. 3–16, 2018


Recent 90°F temperatures are unseasonable for us in June, but the warm-weather crops are loving the extra heat: tomatoes, corn, beans, and others have taken off. Unfortunately the weeds have also used the abundant sunlight to take over any unmulched space. Even the managed spaces are difficult to manage, but the goals here are not to manicure a lawn, but to create circular systems and lawns are a one-way enterprise, absorbing time, money, and energy while providing little practical returns. The research projects are in place: data are coming in from the potato study participants and the bee hives will be ready for dividing into more colonies soon.

Research Projects

Participants in our potato study are sending in data for their individual plots. My own potato plantings were the first to get in the ground and they just needed their first hilling and weeding.

Experimental potato plots.

Two weeks ago we installed bees for our mite-resistance-breeding project. The colonies have doubled in size in just two weeks and will need to be split into four colonies soon. This way, they will have a good amount of time to build up resources before the winter sets in.


The garden area is becoming overgrown with the heavy rains and sunny days, but overall, it is starting to bear fruit. The peas have edible pods and the greens have been overabundant. The first potatoes planted are beginning to flower, which signals the start of tuber production down below.

We had a raccoon attach on our chicken coop at the beginning of this last fortnight. Our hen Phillip “Philly” Seymour Hoffman was nearly drug out of the coop and eaten, but thanks to the valiant efforts of our neighbors (who were watching our flock while we were out of town), she was saved. Her side was plucked and lacerated, but it has healed and Philly, who had been kept in isolation to convalesce, is now back in the coop with her sisters. I also discovered the possibility of small-scale silage production, which turns lawn clippings and other vegetative trimmings into a wintertime snack for our chickens. A full post will be coming this week.


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