Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Apple Propagation. Some Experiments. 11.24.15

Apple graft removed from trunk of rootstock. 11.25.14

Apple sucker removed from trunk of rootstock.  11.25.14
 In March, I grafted a NOID apple from my yard, onto sprouts that had emanated from a culled Golden Delicious apple tree.  I don't know the rootstock - the tree was in the semidwarf range.  In 7 years, it gave no apples, and it had recurrent blight problems.  So I cut it down. 

This Spring, I saw sprouts that had grown up from the old rootstock.  I chose 2, and grafted a NOID columnar apple onto them.  The were 6 inches apart.  I thought, if only one grew, that was OK.  If both grew, I could cut off the smaller one.

Today, I dug out the smaller one.  These sprouts turned out to be attacked to the trunk, not more distant roots.  It was difficult to remove the grafted sprout with any intact roots.

It will be interesting to see if, in removing this one, I killed the other one.  It was more distal, so the taller one may have lost its main roots.  I did not dig further to find out.  It seems fairly attached to something in the soil.

There was also a small sprout.  I was not gentle, did not mean to keep it.  It looks viable, so I'll give it a try.

I have seen apples and peaches with this few roots survive and grow.  They are almost like a big cutting, but with a few roots already growing.  The most difficult part with cuttings is getting through the stage of initiating roots.  Once the first roots grow, they serve as the start for many roots.
Apple experiments, potted up.  11.25.14
These are now potted up.  I'll try not to expose them to too severe of a freeze.  They may take a while to grow.  If the rootstock heals and grows, I can use it for future grafting.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

More Winter Protection for Little Fig Trees. 11.16.14

Protection for small fig trees.  11.16.14

Rodenticidal Creature.  11.16.14
Very easy.  I upended some unused garbage cans over the little fig trees.  Held in place using concrete blocks.  That will give a little added protection from cold and wind and solar dessication.

The plastic sheets between the trees are there to kill grass.  They will remain in place until late winter / early Spring.  Then I can plant borage, phacelia, hyssop, or wildflowers, for bee forage.  Borage forage works especially well. 

Then, I can mow up and down the sides of the fig row, instead of around each tree.  Much easier.

The little cat appeared out of nowhere.  I think he / she lives under the deck.  Our cat disappeared a month ago, and now a new kitten has appeared.  I don't believe in reincarnation - but here we are. 

With so many mice and voles and baby rabbits, the little cat should have plenty of prey.  I've been giving her left over food from kitty cat.  She avoids me, but is letting me closer each visit.

I know cats are considered bad for wildlife, but there are so many little invasive mammals, I think it's OK to have her.  In the countryside, redators are needed to keep rodent populations in check.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Horseradish. 11.16.14

Horseradish.  11.16.14
There are 4 plants I know of that are said to be better after a freeze.  One is American persimmon.  The others are Brussels Sprouts, Jerusalem Artichokes, and Horseradish.

I dug up one of the Jerusalem Artichokes - barely any to bother with.  I don't know why.  Might be the nitrogen boost I gave them.  I don't have any Brussels Sprouts or American Persimmon.

I planted the horseradish 3 years ago next to one of the little Cherry trees, to discourage moles.  Unless the mole likes piquant meals.  Now it's too close, and horseradish is difficult to get rid of once it starts.  Which is OK, I'll leave it there.

Here is what I dug out.  Nice and spicy hot.  Now to figure out how to make some horseradish sauce.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Frosted Fig Trees. 11.13.14

Frosted Fig Trees.  L=Hardy Chicago.  R=Petite Aubique.  11.13.14

Frosted King Fig.  11.13.14
Last night there was a hard frost at 28° F.    The fig trees in Vancouver still had leaves which have not turned yellow or fallen.  I don't know the effect on the tree.  Some trees, if not dormant when they frees, can die.

Interesting to look at the difference.  Hardy Chicago, no damage.  Petite Aubique, leaves are frost killed.

It isn't the end of the world if there is freeze kill.  Just interested in the differences, and whether there is.

In the (South) back yard, King had some freeze killed leaves, while Lattarula, a few feet away, did not.

The one - year - old starts, Carini and Dominick, already went dormant and I placed them in the garage a few days ago.

Same with Smith, which has been dormant for a few weeks.

Carini is Sicilian.  Dominick is an Italian variety, otherwise not known what part of Italy.  Both were maintained by Italian Immigrants and their children/grandchildren for many decades.  Cuttings were via their proud families or friends in N. Jersey.

Hardy Chicago is also Sicilian.  Via New York, then Chicago. 

King is a California hybrid.  I suppose Petite Aubique is French, although it was mis-named and who knows.

Smith is a Louisiana fig, kept by family, reportedly introduced by the Becnel Nursery near New Orleans.   A Louisiana fig blogger reports that Smith was sold by the Becnel Nursery in Bell Chase, LA, and was a Croatian variety, while others thought it Italian.    Smith is not  on the LSU Ag Center fig pamphlet , or in an article in the Times-Picayune from last year, - apparently not widely grown.  According to Durio Nursery in Opelousas, LA, " Smith - A superior, old fig cultivar that has been in the Becnel family for over 100 years.  It is a big, flattened, yellow fig with brown shading.  The color of the flesh is a deep red and it has a drop of honey at the eye.  The quality of this exceptionally sweet fig is outstanding...considered "the best fig" by those who know and grow it in the parishes close to the mouth of the Mississippi river."  Coming from an area that is so much warmer than here - I still remember boot camp at Ft. Polk, LA, standing outside in formation in short sleeves, in January - Smith is unproven, probably untested here.  So I have one in the ground, and the other in container.
Frosted Lattarula Fig.  11.13.14
 I've kept fig trees in garage for the winter, many times.  It's an attached, but otherwise unheated garage.

Lattarula is more difficult to figure out the provenance.  It is the same fig, grown by Thomas Jefferson at Marseilles, as "White Marseilles".    It's also called "Blanche", "Italian Honey Fig", and "Lemon Fig".    This tree is well known for this area (as is King), so I imagine the frost won't bother it this year either.  It's been through worse.

Fig Starts in Garage.  Dominick, Carini.  11.13.14

2 year old Smith Fig in Garage.  12.11.14

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Some Images from Vintage Printable.com. 11.11.14

Botanical - Flower - Daffodils - Advertisement 1913
Vintage images of Daffodils.  source: vintageprintable.com

Browsing vintageprintable.com, online source of vintage, public domain images that are free to use.

I enjoy these old images.  They involve much more effort, artistry, skills of observation, talent, than any photo.

These images relate to recent plantings.  They demonstrate the continuity of gardening through the ages.

Botanical - Flower - Fritillaria - Italian (1)
Fritillaria rubrum "Crown Imperial"  source vintageprintable.com

Fig Row. Final Fall Cleanup. 11.12.14

Fig Row.  11.11.14
Today I took a little time to clean up the row of fig starts.  Most have wire screens.  There has been no rain for  days, so grass was mowable. 

All mowed grass went into mulch.

Plastic covered areas will be used for bee forage next year.  Killing the grass with plastic cover for the winter.  Late winter I can plant the bee plants.  Most likely annual herbs such as I grew this year in other locations.

The end result will be a row.  Then I dont have to mow circles around the trees.  Much easier and faster, low maintenance.

They have all hardened off.  Not as soft as last year.  Most are about knee high to waist high.  Most are multiple trunk.

If there is super-cold predicted, I'll protect better.  Otherwise, the main protection is screening for herbivores.

Containerized fig trees are in shed now.  No need to panic when there is a hard freeze.  That method worked last year down to 8° F.

Prediction for tonight is 27° F.  I also moved containerized figs at home, into the garage.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Orchard Cleanup. 11.9.14

Orchard Cleanup.  11.9.14
Not much to clean up.  I'm changing approach to soil surface.  Previously, I planted various herbs around each tree.  Now I wonder of the more aggressive of those - peppermint, spearmint, lemon balm - competed with the tree growth.  The soil is very soft and moist today.  So for the first row - Saijo persimmon and the 3 paw paws, I pulled out the herbs and covered with collected maple leaves.  That's the end of the leaves, so something else will have to serve the rest.

Previous mulches have done a good job.  Soil was very soft and crumbly - not soggy clay.

Reading some permaculture, I wonder if this is what some hobbyists call the start of a "food forest".

Propagation Progress Report. Trees and Shrubs. 11.9.14

Forsythia Cutting at about 10 months.  11.9.14

Ginkgo biloba seedlings at about 2 years.  11.9 .14

Laburnum Cutting at about 2 years.  11.9.14
Today I dug up some of the starts I had around the yard  Some were in a vegetable bed that I want to re-orient to vegetables next spring.  Some were in a hedge row and had been chewed by herbivores (Laburnums).  The gingkos needed to come out of the iris raised bed before the roots extended past the chicken wire bottom.

I planted one forsythia start where I dug out the laburnums.  The other is shown here.  I repotted with intent to give more TLC next year for faster growth.

Similar for the ginkgo seedlings.  These have good root systems.

One laburnum was especially chewed up.  So much for them being toxic and repelling herbivores.  The other had more roots than expected for size.

Not bad for not trying all that hard.  Especially the forsythias - all I did with those was stick dormant prunings into the ground, late winter.

Laburnum Cutting at about 2 years.  11.9.14

Repotted Plant Starts.  11.9.14

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Raintree Order. 11.8.14

I placed the following order.  Raintree usually delivers in Feb, around here.

4 variety semidwarf apple.  Replaces my graft that died.  Given the deer, I wanted something bigger than the minidwarfs.  Less trouble even though taller.  This one is Akane, Chehalis, Honeycrisp, Beni Shogun.  All with some disease resistance.  Big enough for me to graft more down the road.   

Pixi Cot miniature apricot.  For container since in ground ones always die in late freeze.

Arbiquina Olive.  For container.  We saw lots of containerized olives in the Mediterranian last month.  I can bring it inside for hard freeze weather.

Early to order. Gives me something to look forward to.

Fall Chores. Leaf Harvest. Mulch. Perennial Border. Tree Progress Report. 11.8.14

Tree Row.  11.8.14

Tree Row.  11.8.14
 Leaves are collected from the big maple.  It took some effort.  It's our tree, but near the neighbor yard.  If I don't get them, they collect and burn.   I don't want to argue.  So I collected when I could.  This was a lot of leaves, none the less. 

Instead of a large leaf pile for compost, I piled them around trees and shrubs for mulch.  Seedlings of weeds were beginning to grow in the grass clipping mulch I applied early summer, now wet.  The leaves will kill those weeds and add more nutrients to soil.  The worms will like them.  Once I mow, it will look neat.

Tree row - most look good, becoming established nicely.  Linden, laburnum, Crimson maple, Mountain Ash, all excellent growth.
Front Perennial Border, West  11.8.18

Front Perennial Border, East.  11.8.18
The only tree in this row that didn't make it was Kousa Dogwood.  My fault for not being aggressive about root pruning when I planted it.  Now replaced by Japanese maple, a volunteer from Vancouver yard, has a lot or promise and surprisingly large in its 3rd year.  Will need some formative pruning winter, no problem.  That one has nice green stems and reddish fall leaf color, weeping branches.  Nice.

Front border, the big western end is done.  Added cedar chips on top of the pine needles.  The pine needles were too sparse, would have allowed weed seedlings.  I hope this is low maintenance for a long time. 

The eastern end hasn't been started.  I have to pace myself.  Want to today but it's 1:00 and a ton of homework to do. 

I love the fog in the fall mornings.  Peaceful, soothing, mellow.