Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Asian Pear Grafts. 4.16.14

Cleft Graft Asian Pear, 1 year later
 The cleft grafted asian pears from last year are growing nicely.  The callous tissue is irregular in these grafts,  but that doesn't seem to affect the growth.  The new growth is vigorous and healthy appearing.  It's a vigorous as the growth of the stock variety.

Unfortunately I didn't tag with variety name.  Once they fruit I can figure it out.

All of the new Asian pear grafts have new growth.  Some as swelling green buds.  Some with new leaves and stems.

I've been reading up on when to remove the tape.  Leave on too long and stem is girdled.  Take off too soon and they might come apart.  Looks like I should remove in May, with about 2 months of growth.

Note for next year:  take only scion with no flower buds.  Blooming seems to set back the vegetative growth, significantly.
Cleft Graft Asian Pear, 1 year later

Whip/Tongue Mishirasu,  6 weeks later.

First Irises. 4.16.14

Miniature iris Cherry Garden

Miniature iris Leprechaun's Delight
The first bearded iris are blooming.  Miniatures bloom weeks before most of the tall bearded.  Even though tiny, they are nice to look at.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Apple blossoms. 4.16.14

At Vancouver, North Pole and Liberty are in beautiful full bloom.

Apple "Scarlet Sentinel"

Crabapple "Prairie Fire"

Apple "Karmijn de Sonneville"

At battleground, there are the first blossoms open today for Golden Sentinel, Scarlet Sentinel, Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Karmijn de Sonneville, and the Prairie Fire Crabapple.  So all of the diploids should be able to pollinate all of the others of these varieties.   That just leaves the grafts and newly planted trees.

The Jonared I planted last month is starting to leaf out.  The triple graft I planted in jan is leafing out too.
Honeycrisp with 1st growth of Liberty graft

The new grafts are slower to leaf out.  They need to establish full connection into the stock vascular supply.

Seed Starting. 4.16.14

Okra.  all of the seeds have germinated.  The first were Burgundy.  They germinated in one day.  North + South hybrid were 2nd, even though the seeds were about 5 years old.  Every container now has germinated okra seedlings.

Four O'Clocks.  All but one of the containers have seedlings.  I think the germination rate was around 30%.  Some have 2 sets of true leaves, some are at cotyledon stage.  If more than one germinate per container I separate them.  They seem fairly durable for seedlings.  Acclimating the larger ones to outdoors, north side of house out of full sun, during the day.

Tomatoes.  The rootstock seedlings have yet to germinate.  Those are one year old.  The Lemon Boy container has one seedling.  Age of seeds - maybe 6 years?  Guessing.

I'm becoming more conservative with tomato varieties.  Thinking mainly grow the proven ones. Today I started  Lemon Boy, Better Boy, and Supersweet 100 will be this year's mainstays.  If I can find seeds or plants, Sungold.  Then a plant or two to experiment with, Cherokee Black - I always try, they are good, but now I'm back to liking the big red ones better.  Also, Italian Heirloom, Mexican Midget, and a few others but mostly the mainstays.  Tomato seeds are in 4 inch pots on the heating mat.

Peppers.  Winding down from the "starting" phase.  I putted up some plants into larger containers.  Maybe keep them containerized and keep one or two in containers I can keep in the sunroom next winter.  Setting larger ones outside as for the four o'clocks to acclimate.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Seedlings and Progress Report. 4.12.14

Culinary Ginger Plant 4.12.14
 The ginger is growing rapidly.  Not enough room in the light stand.  Moved to south window.

Fig plants from south window are transitioning to outside.

Seedlings went into ground -
Phacelia, oregano, snowpeas, bunching onions.  The Phacelia was at cotyledon stage so delicate.  I was careful.

Will leave kitchen garden open starting tomorrow but with screening for rabbits and deer.

Two more buddlea starts went into the ground.

Harvested a row of radishes and planted 2 new rows of radish seeds.

Played the bee with Asian pears, Tart and Sweet Cherries.

Montmorency and North Star cherries about in full bloom.  Almaden Duke and the two sweet cherries are almost done.

Seedlings 4.12.14

Buds are opening. 4.11.14

Brunswick Fig Bud with Brebas

My Dad's Gingko tree at Battleground

"Sunflower" Pawpaw buds
Nice to see more buds opening

Of the figs atr Battleground, the established Brunswick and Sal's fig trees are alive.  I don't know yet about any of the others I planted last year.

If I remember correctly about last year, the Brunswick fig tree too a long time to develop green buds.  That was the first Spring after I moved it here.  Maybe the same will be true for the others.

The Gingko biloba tree I moved here summer 2012 is budding out nicely.  This tree is about 15 years from seed that my dad collected in Quincy IL.  This was the smallest of the 3 trees, the only one small enough for me to move when I did.

Two of the pawpaws are making flower buds.  Sunflower is ahead of NC-1.  If the timing works out, I will pollinate by hand.  Pawpaw flowers are self-infertile.  The stigma (female part) is receptive before the anthers (male part) produce viable pollen.  When the pollen is produces, the stigma is no longer receptive.  In addition, even when flowers open at different times on the same tree, most varieties are self-infertile.  I hope I can pollinate one with the other, if flower timing works out.  These are small trees.  Ideally, I should not try to make them produce fruit this year.  But life is short and I would like a taste.  If possible.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Grafts. 4.9.14

Asian Pear Graft.  Starting to grow.
The Asian Pear grafts are starting to grow.

If I was smarter, I would not have used potentially blooming scion.  The flower buds sap more energy via the developing joined vascular system, and the leaf buds lag behind.  The scions that do not have flower buds are leafing out.

Potatoes. 4.9.14

Red Potatoes

White Potatoes

Red and White Mixed.  Planted ?2 weeks later
Potatoes are looking good.  I hope there's no frost this time.  Growing fast.

The red potatoes are Pontiac.  The white potatoes are White Superior except the middle one with pale green leaves.  That one is Gourmet White, saved starts.

Inside poly tunnel. 4.9.14

Peppers and Chives inside poly tunnel.
Based on the pepper plants looking great so far, I think the poly tunnel makes it possible to plant peppers a month earlier than planting out in the garden.  They look great.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Puttering. 4.8.14

Mostly today I rested and did take-home work.

As for puttering -

I planted 6 pepper plants in the poly-tunnel,  raised bed that I set up for them during the winter.  Temp in that bed, before I opened the polyethylene top, was 80 F.  That opens up room in the fluorescent light stand for other plants.  Given the warmth and shelter, I think they will be fine, even though this is too early to plant in-ground without protection.  These are experimental.  I don't intend to grow as many types next year.

I planted a row of Phacelia tanacetifolia (Bee Friend) at the end of one of the raised beds.  Purpose is to feed bees some organic bee forage, and keep them attracted to my garden and yard.  I've never seen this plant in person.

I planted okra seeds that I had soaked overnight.  The varieties were Baby Bubba Hybrid, Burgundy, North + South Hybrid, Dwarf Green Long Pod, and Jambalaya.  All were chosen based on reported early bearing and smaller stature, compared to other selections.  Of the plants I tried indoors, Babby Bubba hybrid is the most compact and robust, followed by Burgundy.  Dwarf Green Long Pod was weaker and more leggy.  These were all new seeds, except North + South hybrid, which were 5 years old.

One lesson I learned last year.  Many garden resources say you can't start okra indoors and the plant outside.  The reason given is the roots are too delicate.  The ones that I started indoors last year did much better than the ones I direct seeded in the same ground.  The only ones to bear, although minimally, were the transplanted ones.  Some resources say you can transplant okra.  I'm glad I did the experiment.  It gets me ahead this year.

I cut a handful of small flower bunches from pears at home, took to Battleground, and played the bee using a paintbrush to pollinate the Asian pear there.  I noted, the smaller Asian pear I have been trying to salvage, is in bloom too, so I cross pollinated that one with the larger one.

I pollinated cherries with each other.  Sweet cherries and Almaden Duke cherry.

I noted, all potatoes are up now.  All plums are dropping flowers.  No apples are blooming yet.