Expedition: October 2010

Winter Wheat Harvest

October 2010 IMG_3075
October 2010 IMG_3058
Winter wheat

October 2010 IMG_3094October 2010 IMG_3093We knew that mid-October is kind of late to come up here, and that we were playing chicken with the weather. But, this was the only three-day weekend the students had this fall, besides Labor Day. We don’t like to drive on Labor Day. We needed to see how our plants did and to turn off the irrigation system. We also hoped to place some artificial hypoliths in the field.
The winter wheat we planted 13 months ago (!) looked great. We harvested it. Some of the seed heads had no grains inside them, but many did. Wheat is pollinated by the wind. Maybe it was too still inside the chamber. The next time we grow wheat, we’ll make sure the chamber has more air circulation.

The other plants had not done well. We started them late this year, because of the weather trouble we had in June. We planted some more winter wheat. The irrigation system had run dry. We turned it off and took the pump home with us to see if it needs replacement.
We hiked up the mountain to work on our hypolith project, but the spot we selected in July was covered in snow. We could see snow squalls across the valley in the Sierras. The WMRS staff were bringing the sheep down from Barcroft. A few flakes even floated down on us. We were cold. Time to get off the mountain!

We’ll be back in June – LATE June.

What we learned:

  • Winter wheat works. The plants sprouted last fall, over-wintered, and finished growing this season.
  • We need more ventilation.
  • October is really too late to work here. It’s better to come in September, even if it means a three-day, two-night trip.