Sunday, July 05, 2015

Sweet Corn and Squash Progress Report. 7.5.15

Sweet Corn "Trinity Hybrid".  7.5.15

Sweet Corn on Hillside Showing Micro-Terracing.  7.5.15
 The sweet corn and squashes are growing rampantly.  I got to a late start, wondered how they would do.

The first batch of sweet corn is starting to form tassles.  No silks so far.

When I planted on this hillside, I didn't think ahead.  After planting, I saw the water run downhill when irrigating.  So I made micro-terraces, using a hoe.  Each row has a slight terrace, so water pools just above the plants.  Working nicely.

The squashes are blooming nicely.  Most of the flowers are male.   Enough female flowers to get some big zucchinis already, and heirloom yellow summer squash.
Summer Squash.  7.5.15

Squash Growing Rampantly  7.5.15

Varbascum. 7.5.15

Varbasscum.  7.5.15

Daylily "Fooled Me".  7.5.15
 Too hot to do anything.  Mostly watered, then stayed indoors.

This verbascum is elegant.  Silver-blue furry leaves, strong distinctive stature, and yellow flowers that poke out from the top.   This plant was a volunteer that I rescued from the orchard.

Another photo of Daylily "Fooled Me".  I will need that to look back on, come winter.

A pink version of the Tigridias.  The mix really is a mix.  Again, I pollinated with its own pollen.
Pink Tigridia.  7.5.15

Fig Progress Report. 7.5.15

Brunswick main crop figs.  7.5.15

Container Carini with small main crop figs.  7.5.15
 This progress report is for fig trees at the Battleground place.  The 4 in-ground and 3 potted at the Vancouver place will follow if I have the energy.

Brunswick - started from cutting 2001, moved to Battleground 2012.  Big main crop figs.  I hope they continue.

Sal's - started uncertain date, slow start.  Planted small tree, 1 foot, Battleground, summer 2012.   Growth continues to be slow, which might be why there was no frost damage when other fast growing trees died to the ground.  Many figs, further ahead than most of the other varieties, even though growth is minimal.

Carini - I have both in-ground and container.  If the in-ground survives next winter, I want to find a good home for the container tree.   Two good size brebas, and a number of new main crop.  In-ground was grown from cutting 2013, winter killed to ground, that winter, grew back 2014 - slower - and survived winter with protection.  This winter is the big test, no protection.

Atreano - I have both in-ground and container.  Both are promising.  I would like to find a good home for the container tree, after I get to eat the figs.  I have not tried Atreano yet.  Similar story as Carini.

Hardy Chicago - Growth was slow.  Grew from cutting 2014.  Planted in-ground late last winter.  Some main-crop figs have begun, but very tiny so far.  

LSU Tiger - similar story as Atreano and Carini.  If in-ground survives this winter, the container tree will need a new home.  No protection for this winter.  I'm a bit interested to see what happens - growth was faster than I wanted.  My hypothesis is that fast growth will be less hardy during a cold winter or early cold snap.

Lattarula - same story as Hardy Chicago.  Also growing fast.  Big juicy stems.   Will they harden off in time for winter?

Dominick - growth is slow and steady.  Stems already look woody.  Might be good for a marginal climate.   Have not had a chance to taste them yet.  Two in-ground specimens.

Mystery - found near deck in Vancouver.  Leaves similar to Brunswick, but I doubt that.  Growing well.

King - growth not that vigorous, which portends well for winter.  But, with so little growth, not confident there will be brebas next year.  King is breba-only.

In-Ground Carini with 2 brebas and small main crop figs.  7.5.15
Basically, this is my Battleground fig research project.  It makes sense that if a variety does well in Vancouver, it would do will in Battleground, which is not a lot different.  Winter might be a couple of degrees colder, and there might be a few days earlier frost, and slightly cooler Spring.  For cultivars that are marginal in Vancouver, they might not thrive or produce in Battleground.

Still, it's really to early to say.  None have been there more than 3 years.  Some are in their first year.  Several years of growth are needed before a fig tree really comes into production.  
In-ground Atreano.  7.5.15

Hardy Chicago.  7.5.15

Lattarula.  7.5.15

LSU Tiger.  7.5.15

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Tigridia. 7.2.15

Tigridia.  7.2.15
 I don't know why Tigridias are not as popular as cannas and gladiolas.  They are striking to look at and have about the same growth requirements.  These are Tigridia pavonia.

I bought these corms at Fred Meyer or Home Depot in one of those mixed bulb packs.   The corms were small so I planted 2 packs in a large container in regular organic potting soil.  I don't remember how many per pack, maybe about a dozen.  That was late winter.  I kept the container, unwatered, in the unheated garage until warmer weather  then started watering.

There are various color combinations, variations on a theme.

The flowers last one day, like a daylily.  There are several per stem.

I think these were smaller than previous corms I have bought, so some may need a year to bloom, and the rest may bloom better in a year.

The colors are the same orange / yellow / cinnamon to red that are seen in marigolds, nasturtiums, and some daylilies.

I cut off the first flower after blooming, thinking that would encourage future blooming.  After reading the seed info below, I think I will encourage seed formation.  For the flower today, I cut off a stamen and used it to paint pollen onto the pistols.

According to this web site, fast to grow from seed, and grown by Aztecs 1000 years ago.  According to Wikipedia, native from Mexico to Argentina, and"its roots are edible and were eaten by the Aztecs of Mexico who called it cacomitl and its flower ocēlōxōchitl "Jaguar flower".  I can see the Jaguar name better than the Tiger name.  According to, "native to Central and South America, and there is evidence that the plants were cultivated by Aztecs around 1,000 years ago. Mexican tribes have roasted and eaten its corms for centuries, which taste a bit like chestnuts. The plant was relatively unknown to Europeans, until its arrival in 1796. Aztecs called the plant cacomitl, and the flower was called oceloxochitl."    For future reference, the same sigte describes growing tigridia from seeds as follows:   seeds... are quite large and may require soaking at first. Sow indoors under a bell cap or in a propagator... [or] in a seed tray, which has a lid to preserve moisture. When seedlings are about two to three inches high, they can be moved to larger pots and put in a cold frame to harden. The plants can remain until May, when they should be transplanted into the garden soil."    From a PBS forum, "The ancient name in Nahuatl (the language of the Aztecs and other indigenous Mexicans) for Tigridia pavonia is : "Ocelotlxochitl". This name means "ocelot-flower". ("Xochitl" is the generic term for flower, and is pronounced, "zo-sheel".) ...the plant gets its name from ocelots (spotted) and not tigers (striped). ".  In Dave's Garden website, it is stated the seeds can be planted outdoors in fall.  Maybe in California, I guess not here.  According to Pacific Bulb Society, Tigridia pavonia need a dry winter dormancy, but survive in British Columbia in a rainy winter - here too but not thriving.   Some have flowered 2 years after starting from seeds.  And, actively growing plants benefit from fertilizers. 

Tigridia.  7.2.15

Tigridia.  6.28.15

More Dalilies. 7.2.15

Chicago Apache.  7.2.15

Daring Deception.  7.2.15
 I think this is the main Daylily season.  There are lots blooming in the neighborhood, mainly the old Hemerocallis fulva, the common wild daylily seen on farmsteads, a lot of Stella d'Oro in commercial plantings, and some nice big yellow ones.

If you keep your eyes open, there are others that add a lot of interest and color.  The colors may be different than marketed, but there are still a lot of good colors.

Since I like to look back, and look at them later, some of these are repeat photos taken a few days later.

"Chicago Apache" - very impressive.  I can't describe the red.  There are tones of blue or lavender, under substance of dark, cinnamon red, with fine stripes of orange light shining through and black anthers. 

"Daring Deception" - growing on me.  I actually like the lavender flowers.  There is high bud count, so they should be blooming for a while.

"Ice Carnival" - looks like it's at its  peak.  Almost white.  Shows up very nice in the evening.

The rescued, "Mystery" daylily is one of the more refined looking flowers.  I think this was one I ordered from Van Bourgendien one summer, and grew frustrated at the order not being filled until November; then the bulbs and roots were near-dead looking.  I planted them in odd places around the yard and forgot them.  In the case of this one, it was north of the house in a bulb border that I leave dry in the summer.  I saw it was about to bloom, and rescued the puny plant by potting it in potting soil.  The flower is worthwhile, subtle colors and shades, wide petals, heavy substance.  I will keep in in container for a while, then find a more prime spot for it to multiply and show off.  Very very nice.

Mystery "Vigaro" daylily was at hoe depot.  I suspect these could be no-name seedling grown varieties, but I'm not certain.  They just state the fertilizer company, "Vigaro" on the label, and "Daylily".  This one was interesting, so I added it to the group.  The flower may change as it adapts to local soil conditions, nutrients, pH, temperature.  Another kind of cinnamon color, but very different from Chicago Apache.

"Fooled Me" - exactly as labeled and pictured!  From Lowes a couple of weeks ago.   I bought in bud, for longer bloom time.  I knew I was risking incorrect label, without having flowers on the plant at time of purchase.  It's also a very nice flower.
Ice Carnival.  7.2.15

Rescued mystery daylily.  7.2.15

Mystery "Vigaro" Daylily.  7.2.15
 This makes for a nice mix in the same border as Spring bulbs.  They are dried out and gone, hopefully to bloom again in early spring.   I plan to add 3 more - ordered via internet, taking a chance but entirely different company - which may need TLC in containers for a while.

Unfortunately bees are not interested in daylilies.
"Fooled Me".  7.2.15

First Ripe Plums. 7.2First methley P.15

Mystery Plums.  7.2.15

First Methley Plum.  7.2.15

First Methley Plum.  7.2.15
Today was the first plum tasting for me at the Battleground place.  The "Mystery" plum was a small tree that, initially, was half eaten and repeatedly eaten by deer.  I applied varios deer deterrents, with mixed success.   The tree survived the rest of 2012, and grew taller 2013 and 2014.  I added grafts of other varieties last year and this year. for pollination and because for all I knew, the plums would not be good.

They are good.  They have a great flavor with the spiciness of red-flesh plums.  They are not large.  I don't water or fertilize this tree, which might result in smaller plums but also more flavorful.

Coincidentally, the Methley bore its first and only plum of the year.  This is its first plum ever.  The tree grew rapidly this year.  Based on this one plum, Methley is similar size, internal and external color and bloom, as Mystery plum.  Maybe a little more blue.  The inside might be a little more red.  The flavor might be a bit richer, sweeter, more spicey.  For all I know, it's the same plum, but this one Methley plum seemed more delicious.

Regardless, these were delicious plums.  I ate them all within 10 minutes of this photo.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

El Dorado Peaches. First Taste. 6.28.15

El Dorado Peaches.  6.28.15

Ed Dorado Peaches.  6.28.15
I thought it was too early but these are absolutely delicious.

Daylilies. 6.28.15

Chicago Apache.  6.28.15
 Some of the larger daylilies are coming into their own now.  They bloom a few flowers at a time, so they last a long time.

I bought Chicago Apache in 2012.  The cluster has enlarged nicely and is growing strong.  The flowers have sgtong substance and the color is great.

Somehow I've accumulated a number of varieties.

Ice Carnival has been in that spot for 2 years.  I blooms a long time, and looks like the label.  A pale, lemonade yellow.   Those flowers also have a nice strong substance.

Ice Carnival.   6.28.15
Daring Deception does not look like its label.  I was at Lowes this week, and their rack of this variety was in bloom.  They were all purple, not pink.  I saw a few images on the internet in the purple, although most are pink.  I wonder if, as it's in the location longer, the purple color will concentrate more in the center eye, and the petals will be pink.  The effect could be soil nutrition, pH, sun, hot day, cool night, or the pink on the label is just marketing.  I probably would have bought the purple version, but it's not what I thought I was getting.
Daring Deception.  6.28.15

Frans Hals.  6.28.15
Frans Hals is looking kind of nice, even if it's not even similar to the label and internet images.  The center eye effect is nice.  I also wonder what will happen to this one as it settles in.

More to follow.  Some older ones, unlabeled, or rescues, are also doing nicely.

Walking Around. 6.28.15

Kniphofia.  6.28.15

First Zucchini of the Year.  6.28.15

Squash Vines Growing Huge.  6.28.15
 Lots of flowers blooming.   This Kniphofia is a named variety but I forget the name.   This is a one year old plant.  Bees are not going after the flowers.  The web info says they do, but my honeybees do not have internet access to read that.

This is the time of year when squash and corn grow really fast.  That zucchini must be one week after blooming.  It's always amazing how fast they develop.  I pollinated with a different squash variety, because the zucchini does not have male flowers yet.

First Tomatoes of the Year.   Sungold.  6.28.15
 Back when I planted the squash seeds I didn't have much energy and neglected to label them.  I am guessing the most vigorous is Pink Banana but it could easily be another type.  The vigor must be in part, due to the nitrogen boost I gave them, pee-cycling.  Ditto for the corn.  It's been 1:4 dilution, about every 3 weeks, over a 100 sq foot are.

Sungold is the first tomato this year.  They are so sweet.  Others have their first tomatoes growing rapidly.

I'm glad I planted nasturtium seeds this year.  They are very rewarding.  The leaves are very distinctive and tasty in salads, peppery flavor.  No pests.  All of the types are nice, this one is from a mix.   In full sun, some varieties get a little sunburn on the leaves.  That does not seem  to hurt anything.  When seeds start to set, I intend to save seeds for next year.

Nasturtiums.  6.28.15
Trinity Sweet Corn, started in containers on  5.12.15.  6.28/15

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Walking Around. 6.20.15

Monarda.  6.20.15
 Another walk around the yard.   Some nice stuff blooming.  The Monarda was planted in 2012.  Becoming a nice clump.  I found one tiny daylily from a group of roots I planted early this year.  I thought they were dead.  It's either Playground or Strawberry Candy, if labeled correctly.   It has a tiny flower bud.  Kniphofia is cool just for the name.  Planted this one last year.  Starting to come into its own.  According to Wikipedia, they produce large amounts of nectar and attract bees.  My bees are yet to discover it.

This was the year of heritage flower seedlings.  The marigolds have the typical marigold pungent smell. 

The Callistemon critinus was at Lowes a couple of months ago.  I bought it on impulse.  Hummingbirds liked the flowers, a lot.  Now it seems to be growing.  I don't know what to expect - just new growth, or flowers. 
Tiny Daylily Start.  6.20.15

Various plants in front bed.  Featuring Kniphofia.  6.20.15

Front walk with marigolds and nasturtiums.  6.20.15

Calistemon citrinus / bottlebrush.  6.20.15