Tuesday, November 30, 2021
This was the last of the three seedlings from the Calypso™ x Golden Sentinel™ cross that I grew out this spring. It is the least promising of the three - leaves are green, although petioles are red. The tree had more vigor and more widely separated internodes, so I strongly suspect not columnar. The branchlets are long and spiky, not short and stubby, so I suspect they are branches, not spurs, so I suspect not columnar. There is also no red color to the roots, another indication that the appkes will either not have red flesh, or not much of that. Still, it's hard to throw away a tree I grew from seed, without giving it a chance to prove itself. So I planted it in a sheltered (fenced) although not ideal spot. Here it can grow and not be in the way or too much work, and maybe we'll see what it can do in a couple of years. This was the most vigorous of the three. It also had the heaviest root mass. Not root bound but headed there. I bare rooted it using the garden hose as usual.
Monday, November 29, 2021
This Spring, I protected some flowers of Redlove™ Era™ and Urban Apple™ Blushing Delight™. I pollinated the Era™ with pollen from the Blushing Delight™. Actually, the Urban Apple™ was mislabled, the one I bought was Tasty Red™ but the apple is clearly Blushing Delight™. One ripe apple resulted from that cross. I kept it in the garage for 2 months and just got around to cutting it today. The long keeping didn't hurt it a bit. I think the flavor is better. Still pretty tart, almost lemony with berry flavor.
I wanted to get the apple seedlings into the ground. These are the hybrids I made by crossing the red flesh, red leaf,pink flowered "RedLove™ Calypso™ with the columnar, yellow skin Golden Sentinel™. My hope is a red flesh, red leaf apple tree with columnar growth habit. Golden Sentinel™ has some great flavored, nice size sweet apples as ancestors. Of the three seedlings that resulted, two were red leaf, so probably red flesh if they make apples. Also, the internodes seem close together, which might suggest columnar form, I don't know but I think maybe. Also, there are tiny branches that look like fruiting spurs - a bit much to hope for the first year, but you never know. That also suggests to me possible columnar form. The third had red leaf petioles but green leaves, more vigor, and the little branches are longer, so it probably wont be as red flesh if at all, and probably not columnar. Anyway, I planted the other, shorter red leaf seedling in the garden a while ago, and today planted the shorter one.
My Hardy Chicago fig tree here in Battle Ground was destroyed by voles. Voles are cute looking little mouse-like creatures with cute looking little perky ears, that are really Satanic demons They chew through tender trees at the base, killing them. They also sometimes gnaw at potatoes underground. Yes, voles are pure evil. In this case, the tree fell over. I thought if I propped it up, it might survive. But no, it's now a dead stick. The parent tree, source of the start for this one, is still thriving in Vancouver. It needs a major pruning. It also had three big, six foor tall shoots growing out of the base. Yesterday I tried to remove those shoots, thinking if I can get one with roots, that's a head start at replacing my dead Hardy Chicago fig tree. It's a good, solid, hardworking and hardy tree, and makes a good reliable fig crop every year. Reminds me of me. Back to the shoots, this was the best I could do. I could not get the others with roots. If I was smart, I would have air layered them, say, starting last March. Then I would already have nice size, well rooted Hardy Chicago fig trees. We wont go there. Anyway, it's not much root for such a long stick.
Raised Beds #1 and #2 are the two biggest and new ones, already all done for the winter. Raised Bed #3 was the onion bed in 2021, then cleaned up and planted with garlic back in Sept and Oct. This is Raised Bed #4. It was mostly peppers, but also lettuce, radishes and odds and ends that got messy. Today I cleaned it up, got rid of the weeds, loosened the soil a little. At one end, I replanted shallots and some potato onions that I had stuck into there among the other plants. The shallot was grown last winter from a grocery store shallot, and made four jumbo bulbs I separated and replanted them. The potato onions are much smaller and I'm growing them out of curiosity. The other end of the bed is two rows of garlic. Except for the garlic end, I added a layer of tree leaves, then seven big buckets of the new top soil, then a thicker layer of tree leaves on top. The additional top soil makes up for this year's settling.
Wednesday, November 24, 2021
Well, this one is done. On top of the purchased top soil, I added a layer of leaves, then a layer of compost. Not a lot, but maybe enough to provide some humus and inoculum for the leaves. It will get more mixed up when it's time to plant. Then I finished emptying out the former garlic-then-bush beans raised bed that needs rehab, transferring that soil to the new bed. One nice thing, there were lots of earthworms in that soil. Of note - none of the green bean plants had rhizobium nodules. So, when I plant the late winter legume, they will need an inoculum. Anyway, then I added the soil from that former garlic / green bean bed, added a little horticultural lime, mixed it up, and smoothed it a bit. It was notable, how much easier it was to work a bed at this height. Very nice! I think the soil was not crumbly enough. It will get lots more leaf mulch and compost to help with that. It grew great crops thus year, however, so may be perfectly fine as is.
Monday, November 22, 2021
This sounds like work but isn't bad. Plus it will save a lot of labor, plastic, and garden food. Here are where the second and third truckloads of leaves went - Half of the bed where I raised sweet corn this year, will be squash next year -
Here is the second raised bed so far. I leveled the ground, placed wire fencing and plastic mesh on the ground to frustrate moles, built the sides, and filled most of the way, 2/3 full with the new top soil.
Friday, November 19, 2021
Some of these started blooming a few weeks ago, others just started. I repotted these last winter. They are about three years old, maybe four.
Saturday, November 13, 2021
Today I topped off the first raised bed with a layer of tree leaves. During the winter, earthworms should pull some of those underground and start their composting. I thought about buying a soil inoculum, since the topsoil was processed by the recycler and probably devoid of much life. Instead, I've added my own compost, and added a top layer of soil from my existing garden bed. That should give it life. Also, I collected mushrooms of various sorts and added those on top of the soil, prior to the leaf layer. To an organic gardener, soil is a living community of microorganisms. Whenever I happen to see an earthworm, usually a result of digging, I re-home them in the new raised bed. Earthworms are nature's tiny farmers. They tunnel through the soil, aerating it. Their mucous binds soil particles together. Their castings make minerals available to plant roots. They till organic matter from leaves and roots, into the soil. Meanwhile, the other raised bed is about 20% built now. Not bad. Rain is expected tomorrow.