Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Package Bees Arrive. 4.23.14

Two Packages of Bees
Today the packaged bees arrived.  Italian honeybees.  I installed them in the two beehives.  To each colony, I provided a quart of 1:1 cane sugar:water, and a patty of pollen substitute from Ruhl Bee Supply in Gladstone.

Now it's time to leave them alone, except checking on the queen in a few days and checking on the food supply.

At the bee supply store they had large packets of bee flower seeds.  From those, I think I'm on the right track.  Borage, Phaselia, and others.  I picked up a packet of Limnanthes douglasii.  Give it a try.  Yesterday at Lowes for deer fencing, I picked up a couple of Veronica plants in bloom, also for the honeybees.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Puttering. 4.20.14

Redmond Linden Sapling.  2nd Spring.  

Amanagawa Cherry.  2nd. Spring.
Here is the rest of the weekend.

The Redmond Linden I planted late fall / early winter 2012 has lush rapid growth.  So far deer have not munched on it.  So far.  I can't tell yet if it will have flowers this year.

The Redmond is at least a week, maybe 2, ahead of the Greenspire lindens.

Amanagawa cherry, which wound up in the chicken yard, is blooming nicely.  This is its 2nd year in ground here.  The chickens like to dig under it.  The roots must be deep enough that it's not a problem.

Prairie Fire Crabapple.  Blooming nicely.  I think it will be in peak bloom on wed when the honeybees arrive.  Meanwhile I used paintbrush to transfer pollen from Prairie Fire to the fruiting apples.  This is the 1st Spring, I planted it last fall.

Canary Weigela.  I planted this last summer.  Deer or rabbits munched on it.  It made a nice comeback.

The lilac grafts are difficult to photograph under the larger bush.  Some seem to have taken and are pushing growth.  Not as fast as the parent bush.  Which I guess is expected.  As long as they grow, it's a success.  This one I accidentally stepped on while doing chores and managed to bury it.  Then discovered it later.  It looks broken, but OK.

Peppers are ahead of expectation.  The poly tunnel is the way to go.   I uncovered them today so they get some air.  The Red Portugal has peppers.  Those seeds were planted late December and raised under lights.  The others were started later.  I watered them today and re-covered.  Soon they can stay outside.

The tunnel is not so good for garlic chives.  The tips of the leaves are burned.

Prairie Fire Crabapple.  1st Spring.

Canary Weigela.  1st Spring.  2.20.14

Lilac Graft at 5 weeks.

Pepper Red Portugal in Poly Tunnel.

Peppers in Poly Tunnel.

Bearded Irises. Bacterial Rot. New Order. 4.20.14

Iris Bed.  Bacterial Blight Takes a Toll.

The Last Shipment of Historic Iris Rhizomes.
That Package held a lot of rhizomes.
Disappointed.  All 3 beds of bearded iris are affected by bacterial blight.  Every plant.  A few have died, completely.  This follows another week of rain.  The photo doesn't look as bad as they do in reality.

The irises in the front border were not affected.  That must indicate, the TLC these got was detrimental.  I can't think of any other reason

Since every iris was affected, it's no use removing them and trying to isolate the diseased ones.  I'll continue weeding and pulling out dead fans.  Im guessing about 1/4 of the fans have rotted.  Maybe more.  Most of the leaves are at least a little affected.

Interesting timing for the order to arrive from Old House Gardens.  But they did.  I did not want to plant them on top of rotting iris rhizomes, so gave them a temporary place in what I planned to have as a vegetable bed.  After things dry out, if it looks like the disease rhizomes survive and come out of it, I'll plant them together again.

This is the first time this has happened..  It must be the combination of feeding them too well, plus the rainy chilly weather after a burst of growth.

Asian Pear Grafts and Pollination Effect. 4.20.14

Pollinated Asian Pears.  4.20.14

~6wk Mishirasu Graft.  4.20.14
 I am hopeful this will be the year of a bumper crop of Asian pears on the tree I pollinated by hand.  The petals have fallen.  So far the embryonic pears look viable.  If they continue to swell, in a few weeks they may need thinning.   Excellent.

The 6 week Asian pear grafts are flourishing.  I think I'll choose May 1 as the date to remove grafting tape.  Maybe.  Mishirasu and Shinseiki look as good as the stock's own growth.

The stock, Hosui, was planted in summer 2012.   It was on sale at
2013 Graft on Hosui, one year later.
Home Depot.   I noticed last year it was susceptible to fire blight.  The varieties that I grafted onto Hosui appear resistant.  Now that I know how to graft, I can continue to rework the Hosui into a tree with disease resistant varieties.  And leave a couple of Hosui branches so I can sample that variety, as long as it makes a comeback from fireblight.

This is great.  The tree is nearly established.  By reworking it, I can have a self pollinating, multivariety, disease resistant tree that I otherwise would have had to wait 2 or 3 or 4 years to bear.
~6wk Shinseiki Graft.  4.20.14

Lilacs. 4.20.14

Despite a rough winter that killed a lot of the lilac buds, we got some flowers.  I don't think much about lilacs, but when they bloom they are very nice.  The rest of the time, they make a nice calm green shrub, which is nice too.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Seedlings. Progress report. 4.19.14

Okra 4 months indoors from seed
Seedlings under lights.  Peppers, Mirabilis, and Okra

Seedlings under lights.  Okra and Mirabilis

Seedlings under lights.  Okra and Mirabilis
 Indoor seedlings are at a point where I don't have enough room.  Soon most will be outdoors.

The first of the okra plants continues to be a bit anemic, but now has the 2nd flower.  The first fell off.  I speculate it needed pollinating.  This time I used a q-tip as the bee.  This variety is the more compact growing "Baby Bubba".  I think outside it would be much much larger.

The figs are all outside now.  Next, the pepper plants.  Under lights, the current phase is the last of the peppers, the last of the four o'clocks (Mirabilis), and then new okras.  Easier to type, "Mirabilis".  All of the new okras are germinated, still at the cotyledon stage.   These are on the north side of the house.  They get potential east and west sun, if the sun is shining.  Day by day, they'll move closer to full sun.  Today is raining.

When the rest of the tomato seedlings germinate, there will be room for those, too.

The larger pepper seedlings are moved to the south window, or outside on the North side of the house.  That's the ones that are not in the poly low tunnel.

Pepper seedlings in South window.  Also a ginger plant.
The larger Mirabilis are also moving outside during the day.  Those and the peppers are inside for night, and outside for day.  The figs are outside now 24/7.

This is a nice start for this year.  Making up for losing 2013 for being ill. 

I think that ginger needs repotting.  I will look for a container now.

Outdoor plant starts.  Figs, Peppers, Mirabilis.

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.