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Team Echinacea does Neil Young

Harvest

Today, we began the harvest season — cultivating the heads of Echinacea that are soon to drop their achenes. These heads are harvested so their achenes (which may house seeds) can be counted, a way to quantify the reproductive output of individual plants. These can be used in an aster analysis to estimate fitness of individuals, but there are plenty of other ecological and morphologically interesting questions that the seeds can help answer, such as how effectively flowers have been pollinated. We harvested this morning in P1 and the 99 south garden, clipping and storing a modest total of 48 heads. But first — we spent a little bit of time herding the goats between paddocks in the backyard. For what it’s worth, we lost zero goats and endured zero shocks.

Jame is a miner for a heart of gold...

Jame is a miner for a heart of gold…

Everybody Knows This is Nowhere

We came dancing across the highway, with our clippers and our boards… This brought us to P2, where we spent most of the afternoon, and maybe a little bit of the evening. Here, like in P1, we checked the status of every single head in the plot for the signs (dead cauline leaves, brown involucral bracts) or for loose achenes. However, P2 had over four times as many heads to check as P1, making for a long afternoon. It seems like P2 was on a slightly earlier flowering schedule than P1, for we think that we had to harvest nearly half of the heads we came across. Amy and I worked for about four hours and only managed to move through 13 rows of plants, some of which we enlisted Lea to help with. I don’t remember what exactly we said, but I remember laughter — perhaps at this macabre reminder of our own mortality, or perhaps because we were carrying around a shopping bag with more than 100 crisp flower heads in it.

Old man, take a look at my life, I'm a lot like you

Old man, take a look at my life, I’m a lot like you

After the Gold Rush

Lea made excellent pesto tonight with some of our leftover fennel and sunflower seeds, while Amy and I went to Morris to pick up the CSA. At dinner we went on a journey through the past, talking about Team Echinaceas from past and present, then finished off our evening with ice cream. Our aching bones and weary fingertips required rest, so we retired early and will sleep ’til the morning comes.

 

Regards,

Scott “Southern Man” Nordstrom

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