Sunday, October 19, 2014

Garlic Planting. 10.19.14

Garlic Planting.  10.19.14
Today I planted garlic.  I used last year's garlic bed, which is not the best garden practice but it's what I have.

I added an inch of well aged home-made compost and raked it in.  This compost was in a plastic garbage can for a few years.  So it's really well aged.

5 row are the biggest cloves from last year's Inchelium Red.  Huge cloves.  Well adapted to local conditions - I've been growing this one for about 14 years.

4 rows are either Inchelium Red or German Porcelain.  I had a mix up.

2 rows are some new German Red that I bought locally.  To try something different.  Smaller cloves but my grow bigger in my bed, or not.

These are 8 cloves per 4 feet, and there are 9 rows per 8 feet.  I use bamboo sticks between the rows to mark the space.

Tree Autopsy. 10.19.14

Roots of dead dogwood.  10.19.14

Roots of dead dogwood.  10.19.14
 This year I had 3 dead trees.  Two, a Satsuma plum and a Kousa dogwood, were planted summer 2012, did well in 2013, and died mid summer 2014.  The first summer I watered frequently, the second summer I watered rarely.

The 3rd, a Madrone, died without any growth at all.  From what I read, madrones transplant so poorly and die so quickly after planting, I should not have bothered.

I did an autopsy on the plum and dogwood.  It looks like the roots did not grow beyond the original root ball. 

I don't remember if I planted these without cutting away the surrounding roots.  Now I do.  From the book, The Informed Gardener by Linda Chalker-Scott - paraphrased -

The gardener should disturb the root ball, aggressively.  Nursery-grown trees, especially those bought in containers, often have roots that wind around the pot, creating a "root pot" that new roots can't escape.  Roots cross each other and strangle each other.  The roots don't grow into surrounding soil. 

The result is a tree basically growing in a pot, even though there is no pot and it's in the ground. 

The author washes away all soil with a hose, bare-roots the tree, and prunes all winding roots, then replants entirely in native soil, carefully spreading the roots. 

It looks like these trees were victims of my own poor planting technique.   As far as I can see, the roots never extended beyond were the original root ball had been.
Roots of dead plum.  10.19.14

The trees are now replaced with home-started trees.  No issues with recovering from nursery abuse, although there's still the forces of nature, and my own learning process.

Gardening is not about what you have, it's about what you create, and grow, and do.

It's not about what you know, it's about what you learn.

I'm glad it's fall. 10.19.14

I'm glad it's fall.  I can clean up what's become messy, and not have it become messy before I can clean it up again.  I can plant trees and shrubs, or transplant them, and not have to water them every few days or every week.  The grass is green again.  It's cool enough to be outside without becoming winded.  I can harvest pine needles for mulch.  And leaves.  I love planting Spring bulbs in the fall, to have something to look forward to.  I love having a fire in the fireplace in the morning when I'm up, alone.

I've quoted this before....

"My creed is that:
Happiness is the only good.
The place to be happy is here.
The time to be happy is now.
The way to be happy is to make others so.
Robert Green Ingersoll

Sourwood tree at one year after planting.  10.19.14

This is the Sourwood after a year.  The madrone that I planted at the same time died quickly.  I read that would happen, so shouldn't be surprised.  I wondered if the sourwood would live.  It did.  There is still a "Dr. Suessian" look.  That may take a few years to fill in.  Leaves will be pretty in a week or two.  Having survived a historic freeze it's first winter, and the nursery abuse / removal of most roots, with a chance to recover for a year, it has a good start for the future.

Varmints already chewing. Tree protection 10.19.14

Chewing damage.  Asian Pear.  10.20.14

Hardware Cloth Tree Protection.  10.20.14
 This is the first time I've seen chewing damage at the base of pear trees.    I suspect voles.  Could be rabbit.  Deer don't chew so low.  Fortunately it doesn't surround the tree, and pears heal quickly. 

This protection is a central part of winterizing.

I've learned it's just best to have a roll of hardware cloth on hand, and some zip ties.

The  zip ties make it very easy to put on a sleeve without a helper.  When it's time to remove the sleeve, the zip tie is easily cut with a scissors.  The extra tail can be trimmed off if the appearance is an issue.

The pear now has a protective sleeve of hardware cloth.  Usually I have more overlap where it joins, just didn't here.  I don't think the varmint will squeeze through the seam, anyway.

I try to make the sleeve loose enough for several years of growth.  That way I don't have to put it on every fall.

There are hardware cloth sleeves on, probably, most of my young trees.

I don't think the mesh size is too important.  I've used 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch.

It's time to get them protected.  Tender fig bark is a critter favorite.  Apparently they like Asian Pear bark. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Moving a Japanese maple. 10.18.14

Japanese Maple before moving.  10.18.14
This Japanese Maple started out as a volunteer seedling in the front border in Vancouver.  When I moved a big Camelia, this seedling came out with it.  I lost most of the roots.  I planted it in a container for a few months, then Ning planted it in his flower bed.

It grew too well there.  Now it's time to find a better place.  As it happens, a dogwood died, and the location needs a small to medium size tree.  If I am correct about the parentage of this maple, it should be in that range.  It seems to have a semi-weeping shape, which is nice.

I dug it out.  Nice root mass.  No winding or crossing roots.  That's a good aspect of growing it myself.  It is not subjected to tree nursery abuses.

I planted at the same depth as it was.  Since it's fall, this is a good time to plant.  It can grow some more roots before winter and again in early spring before the top starts growing again.

I read that it's not appropriate to top prune on transplanting, so I didn't.  I did remove a few wide ranging branches that were in the way.  Next Spring, it may need some corrective pruning due to closely crossing branches.  Mostly it's OK the way it is.

I like that this is a home - grown, own-root, seedling tree.  Not just because it's free, but because it feels more like it's my doing.
Japanese Maple Root Mass.  10.18.14
Transplanted Japanese Maple.  10.18.14

Transplanting ginkgo seedling. 10.18.14

Ginkgo seedling.  10.18.14
 This was one of the ginkgo seedlings growing in a raised bed for irises.  Because of the mesh bottom of the beds, I was unable to get some of the roots.  Maybe most of the roots.   This is almost at the stage of being a rooted cutting.  Fall is a good time to plant, because it will not be hot, it will stay moist, and have a chance to grow some roots during the fall and spring.

It may not survive.  That's OK.  I have other, smaller seedlings.

I tried to prune off the slightly ragged base, but I think I caused more harm than good.

Ginkgo seedling roots.  10.18.14

It's planted in the location where the dead madrone was.  The madrone never took off, I left it in the ground but it has been a dead stick all year.

Ginkgo seedling.  10.18.14

Transplanting Fruit Tree and Vine Starts. 10.18.14

Hollywood Plum after 1 season of growth. 10.18.14
 I replanted some of the fruit trees and a grape vine that I started in the raised beds. 

The Hollywood Plum was from cutting late winter this year, so one season of growth.  Pretty good.   Some of the others were eaten by deer.  I know they need protection but someone else left the gate open  :-).

This was one of the better cuttings.   It did not need any pruning.  I planted it in the location of the dead Satsuma plum.  That might not be wise, but my tree autopsy suggested the problem was, the tree was root bound in its original container, and I had failed to correct that. 

It's useless planting a little plum tree without protection, so I protected it.

The peach seedlings were volunteers.  I think they are from one of the genetic dwarf trees.  They have short internodes, so I think that is correct.  I dug them out, bare-rooted them - easy - and replanted in potting soil in containers.  Rationale - leaf curl disease is carried by rain during the winter.  If I keep them in the garage, I may be able to avoid that frustrating problem.    Depending on how they grow, I could either see what the peaches are like, or use them as a rootstock and graft scion from the other genetic dwarf peaches.  The plan - keep them out of the rain until dormant, then place them in a shed along with containerized fig trees, for the winter.  That may also have the advantage of delayed bloom.

Roots of Hollywood Plum, one season after starting cutting.  10.18.14

Transplanted Hollywood Plum.  10.18.14

Protected from rabbits, voles, deer.  10.18.14
 The grape was from cutting of Price grape, about 2 years old now.  The roots grew down through the screening underlying the raised bed, so I was unable to salvage most of the roots.  I think it will still be OK.  I pruned off the bottom node, which I had badly damaged in digging it out.   Now it's planted in the row with the other grapevines.  I like that I grew my own from a cutting, and Price is one of my favorites.
Peach seedlings and Price Grape Cutting.  10.18.14
Replanted peaches.  10.18.14

Pruned grape cutting.  10.18.14

Replanted grape.  10.18.14

Planting Bulbs. 10.18.14

Bulbs to plant.  10.18.14

Before cleanup 10.18.14
 Bought some bulbs.  Except for the tulips, all are regarded as deer and rabbit resistant.  Daffodils and the Fritillaria Crown Imperial were not touched last year.  The Fritillaria has a smell a bit like sewer gas, which may be why.   Alliums were also untouched.  So now for this bed -

Some clumps of narcissus, remaining Jetfire from some that were still not planted, and Red Devon. 

Nectaroscordum siculum.

Camassia quamash.

One Fritillaria persica.  I do't know if it will grow, so just trying one.

One red Crown Imperial Fritillaria rubra.  The ones I planted last year grew well, so I hope this one does too.

A package of Allium karataviense "Ivory Queen".  I haven't tried this one yet

The last package of Anemone blanda went around a replanted Japanese maple.

Layout.  10.18.14

Front bed planted.  10.18.14
I dug up and divided some Chinese chives for this bed too.  They are delicious, beautiful, and the bees love them.

I didn't label where each bulb or group of bulbs was planted.  That will be to discover when they come up in the Spring.

The tulips will need to be planted in containers.  Keep them away from deer.

When these bulbs start coming up, they will be a very welcome sight.  This is one of the first signs of Spring, and they renew my spirit.

The edging needs to be completed.  Winter project.  Also a walkway.

I added a layer of cardboard mulch.  The cardboard was wet.  It's fragile when wet, tears very easily.  So I think the bulbs should grow through it easily.  Plus, I tore the cardboard into irregular pieces about 1 foot diameter.  That allows water to soak through, and bulb growth.  But weed seedlings should not grow.

Planted, mulched with pine needles.  10.19.14
The cardboard is unsightly.  So I raked up pine needles from the driveway and mulched with those, on top of the cardboard.  That looks pretty nice.  The bulbs should grow easily through the pine needles, too.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Smith Fig. 1.16.14

Smith Fig Tree.  10.16.14
 The containerized Smith Fig has been ripening a fig every few days.  They are small.  The flavor is in the "excellent" range.  I also have one in-ground.  It was killed to ground last winter in the historic freeze.  I should keep this one in container for another year.

The figs might be smaller or later due to the young age of the tree.  It is in it 2nd year.  Or because of container.  Or climate.  Or maybe they are small figs.  But they have been delicious.

Smith Fig.  10.16.14

Smith Fig.  10.16.14

Sunday, October 12, 2014

October Tomatoes & Okra. 10.12.14

Tomatoes, Okra, and a Fig.  10.12.14
Not bad for almost mid October.

The tomatoes are Better Boy. 

The Okra is Burgundy, Dwarf Green Long Pod, and Baby Bubba.

The fig is a lone fig from Brunswick.

There may be a few more.  We had vegetarian BLT today.