This time of year I keep replaying that song in my head… It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Did you just sing that? Me too. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. But there’s something about right now that is just magical on the prairies of North Dakota.
Crops are growing and changing so much day by day, the sun shines and ends its day in a glorious sunset every evening, the temperature is comfortable.. not too hot and not too cold. It doesn’t get much better. These are the weeks, the nights, the weekends that we spend checking crops. I wrote about checking crops two weeks ago but I figured I’d give you all an update because THE FLAX IS BLOOMING!
I’ve been covering all about the flax on my Women in Agriculture page. In case you’ve missed it, you can check it out HERE. Flax is a crop that my husband’s grandpa used to grow here in North Dakota. They have since discontinued flax, but this year we needed something different to put in our crop rotation. Flax was the answer and Grandpa was so delighted to see a crop of the past coming back to the farm.
Every time we stop to see Grandpa, he asks me how the flax is doing and if it is blooming. I get to hear the stories about his flax and how tough it was to keep it free of weeds in his day. He told me when it blooms, it looks like an ocean. He told me I will get to stand in the ocean. And this week, I stood in the ocean!
The sunflowers are also growing like crazy. For the few days we were gone, it seems like they grew a foot or better! I always love taking lots of photos during this time of the year because week by week we can compare how much things grew.. Like these were the sunflowers just a week ago…
And here’s what they look like now!! They still have quite a ways to go, but the buds are just starting to show up. You know what that means? Blooming in no time! I cannot WAIT for them to bloom. This field is going to be gorgeous!
Soon there will be plenty of bees hard at work to pollinate the flowers. Unlike a crop like corn, sunflowers require an outside pollinator to help them. Works out for both the sunflowers and the bees because you get pollinated sunflowers AND the bees produce honey.
The corn, too, has come a long way. Some of it is starting to tassel. For those of you who live outside of Agriculture, this means it is getting ready to pollinate. The tassel grows up and out of the top of the plant and exposes pods of pollen. The pollen drops from the tassel onto the silk and grows cobs. The pollen from the top of the plant must reach the silk in order for the cobs to form. In the fields, this is done solely by wind and pretty much sheer luck.
Did you know that each strand will become a kernel of corn? Which is why good pollination in our corn crop is important! Bad pollination means fewer corn kernels which equals a lower yield come harvest time. Isn’t agriculture fascinating?
Here was the corn a week ago while the tassels were still growing inside the plant…
The soybeans still have quite a ways to go. But they are slowly but surely making progress. They are starting to branch out a little more and fill. They have also started making their own nitrogen through the soybean’s root nodules. These nodules contain a bacteria that produces nitrogen which is essential to the plant growing and competing against other plants. This is fairly common in the plant family known as legumes (also including clovers, alfalfa, and peanuts). Fun fact of today: you can check to make sure the plant is making its’ own nitrogen by squeezing the root nodules and looking for a red liquid to come out. It looks like blood because of the iron in it.
You learn something new every day.. At least I do!
The wheat is coming towards the end of its’ growing cycle. It is looking pretty nice and we hope that it will finish out well for harvest. August around here means wheat harvest. It has just started to dry out so it will be a while before we combine. But the men have plans to pull out the combine this weekend to ensure it is ready when the time comes! 😉
And there you have it my friends… the most wonderful time of the year!