Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Planting Seeds. Planting Fruit Trees.

Planted these today.

The Catnip and Lemon Balm are listed in companion planting books as beneficial to various vegetables. I don't know that I believe that, but no harm either.  I could have just divided more of the volunteer lemon balm from the yard.  Wanted to see if the seedlings are different.  Somewhere I read, Malva zebrina is a Korean vegetable.  Better find that before eating it. Seedaholic.com states they are edible and have a mild flavor.  pfaf.org states the leaves can be used in salads and soups, and the flowers are an edible and tasty garnish.    Planted in old plant 6-packs I had in the garage. Reuse / recycle. Once they are growing I can put them in the protected raised bed to acclimate.

Also planted the Orca pear and Rescue pear that I had buried in compost on Sunday.   Glad they are in the ground.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Home Orchard. New Trees.

Order came from Raintree Nursery late last week. I kept them in the box in chilly shaded sheltered north location for 2 days. Planted some today. I expect this to be the last "big order". No doubt there will be small additions. This pretty much completes the mini orchard I planned. Nicely packaged. Most are sizable trees. Raintree also had nice bonus plants, gave me a choice.  Nice job. I read not to be alarmed that persimmon roots are black. Sure enough, they are black. I read that the heartwood is also black. I won't live long enough to see that. This is Nikita's Gift. A Ukranian hybrid between American and Asian Persimmons. I think it's 3/4 Asian and 1/4 American, not sure about that.  Nikita does not require pollination.  This was the smallest tree in the bundle.  Saijo Persimmon. Pic from Raintree.  According to the catalog, this is the only Asian persimmon that can be relied on to fruit at the Raintree Nursery.  I think they are higher altitude than here, and a little cooler.  This variety is astringent until ripe.  Saijo does not require pollination.   Nice size whip - 5 ft tall, as thick as my ring finger.  Sweetheart Sweet Cherry. Pic from Raintree.  Self pollinating sweet cherry.  There may be flower buds on the tree.  Would be nice, and quite unusual, to get a taste the first year.Vandalay Sweet Cherry. Pic from Raintree.  Also self pollinating.  Also appears to have flower buds on the tree. Most other sources don't show it looking so black - more wine red.  If so that's OK.

There were also other items - grapes and a raspberry.  Two pears.  I heeled them in, in potting soil for the smaller items, and in my pile of leaf compost for the pears.  They should do OK for a few days.  Too tired to plant more.

Some small trees needed rearranging to plant these.  I dug out my Petite Negri small tree and moved it up the hill, south of the house.  It's now is a chicken wire root basket.  I think the tunnelling animals ate a lot of the roots.  I have some concern about that.  Maybe the basket will help.  Also, dug out a near dead or dead apple tree, unidentified size and type.  In its place is one of the little jujubes.  That made it possible to have the 2 new cherries next to 2 tart cherries in a 2X2 format.  Even though none of them are said to require pollination, it's there if needed or helpful.  The 2 persimmons are north and east of the rest of the trees, since they may grow larger.  That way they wont shade other trees.

I planted volunteer lemon balm from the Vancouver house, next to these new trees.  For honey bees, and beneficial insects, and maybe the flavor will deter some pest animals.  Maybe.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Planting a Redmond American Linden

Rounding out the Lindens a little, bought this Redmond Linden through mail order from Southern Oregon.  Expected bare root, my mistake but not a problem.  Came in 5 gallon container.

It's about 6 foot tall. Not bad. Out of container. Hard tell if there are deep winding roots. On the outside, there are a few. This is the main reason I like bare root trees. Easy to tell if there is a potential girdling root. In containers, it can be disruptive to take out the soil, and a lot of work. So I just cut off the winding roots at bottom edges, and top edge, then sliced down about 6 times in the sides to cut any winding roots, and teased out some of the roots. After trimming the roots. Not much taken off. This should encouraged roots to seek out soil further from the tree. Rather than winding around in circles. Planted, soil. Soil/sod levee surrounding tree. No amendments added. I've learned that lesson. Planted with top of pot soil at soil level. A few inches of compost mulch added. Also learned to put the stake in before planting. Easier. Almost every tree I've bought has had 2 leaders. Pruned off the less effective-looking one. No other pruning. Saved the pruning to see if I can root it. fig style.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Potatoes. Container Gardening.

Pontiac Red potatoes. Bought seed potatoes at Fred Meyer garden section. Cut them apart for separate eyes. Let them dry out for 2 days.  This potting soil contained beans last year. Smaller diameter container. These are "White gourmet" potatoes. I obtained the starts 2 or 3 years ago, also Fred Meyer. They grow well in containers. These starts were in the basement, already grew 3 or 4 inches.  I just cut them apart today.They don't look like much. Covered with a few inches of potting soil.  When the leaves are a foot high, I'll add 6 inches of potting soil, and again when another 6 inches higher, until mid summer.  I could have planted in raised beds but no room.  No ground prepared either.  This method is very easy and productive.  The wider green container is a better choice, more room.

Raised Bed. Progress Report.

I pulled the soil thermometer out of the soil.  The air temp outside was 50F. The temp of the soil was 60F inside the row cover tunnel. This row of radishes has germinated. The snow peas seem to be germinating.  At the front are some cuttings I stuck into the soil.  Buddleia, a rose. And German Camomile plants. This is the first raised bed.  I started itlast fall. Garlic and Multiplier onions have perked up nicely. Chinese Chives starting to grow.  Looking nice for Feb.  On the right, the "Illinois" heritage Chinese Chives have put on 2 incesh of growth, thick and lush. The bigger growing, less delicate Changchun Chinese chives are on the left.  Very hard to see. They are starting to grow.  They will catch up and pass the Illinois Chives, growing much larger by mid Spring.  I also planted more seeds of the Changchun Chives. If they germinate I'll have a big stand of them.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Today I bought starts of a few herbs. These are hardy enough to plant now. They'll have head starts on any I grow later, from seeds. German chamomile. Grows larger than Roman chamomile. I planted 2 of these in the end of the vegetable bed. Annual. Roman Chamomile. More prostrate habit. I planted these in the iris bed. Perennial. Thyme. In this case, a variety called "Lime Thyme", with a lime fragrance. I planted 2 of these in the iris bed. Ning likes using thyme in roasted root vegetable. Also rosemary, which I already have in a different area and will transplant to the iris bed. Lemon balm. I bought these to plant under the beehive. I read that lemon balm is attractive to honey bees, and lemon grass oil is used to attract bees to a hive. I could have dug up plants from home for the Battleground place, and still might. These are already nicely packaged in containers, so will be easy to plant.

Filbert in bloom

Filberts are blooming. The long, pendulous catkins are the male flowers. The tiny female flowers can be seen by their rich red stigma and style. Filbert and Hazelnut are the same thing.  These are trees I moved last fall. Guess I didn't kill them.  They look quite healthy.  With a fall, winter, and early Spring to settle in and grow roots, I imagine they will be fully established this year.  Maybe some nuts.  Probably for the squirrels.

Tree Planting Feb 16, 2013

One more tree. This is a Flowering Cherry.  Marked down to $20 from $59.99, a nursery left-over from last year.  I wasn't going to add more ornamental trees this year.  I gave in to temptation.  The price is what got me.  This is "Amanogawa" which is listed as fragrant pink single to semi-double flowers, growing to 20 ft tall and 4 to 5 feet wide with columnar habit.  It must be 12 ft tall already.  Maybe it will give more pollen and nectar to either the honey bees or the mason bees.   As a left over from last year, I expected it to be root bound which it sort of was.

Not too bad.  A few big roots at the sides.  I cut the ones against the edge.  I did not dig into the root ball.

 I used secateurs to make about 6 slices down the sides, cut off all winding roots, and cut off the bottom roots.  Not perfect but I think good enough

Planted.  I added some Plant Success, mycorhizzal inoculant, while planting.  This tree has many flower buds.  I think it will be very pretty this Spring.  By planting now, it will have a chance to acclimate and settle in long before Summer.  There is a competing leader with a narrow crotch.  I will cut it off after bloom.  Might as well get as much flower as possible, this Spring.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Winter Planting. Grape Vine and Anemones.

I saw this grape variety at the local "Everything Store". Remembering, Buffalo is considered a Concord-like grape that bears in this cool summer area, unlike Concord. The plant looked OK, so I bought it and planted it today. Other plants in the grape / kiwi row have been harassed by moles, so I planted in a chicken wire basket. WA State extension lists these grapes as potential table grapes for this area:

Buffalo – midseason Concord type, blue
Canadice – early pinkish red (I have Canadice, the grapes are small and I'm not crazy about the taste) Interlaken Seedless – early white, vigorous (I have Interlaken, I like this one)
Jupiter – early, blue, large berries
Lynden Blue – very early blue, seeded
Mars – medium early, blue
Neptune – medium early, white
Reliance – early, red, table and juice
Saturn – medium early, red
Van Buren – blue Concord type, early
Vanessa – early red
Venus – early red (I think this is wrong. I have Venus, it's good but they are blue. I like Concord-type grapes better)
NY 78.836.06 – selection from Geneva, NY breeding program
I also planted these Anemones. I've read that anemones are both deer and rabbit resistant. After reading that Muscari are deer resistant, I planted quite a few this winter. Rabbits have eaten them all off. I'm guessing it's rabbits. We'll see what they think of Anemones. Soaked for 2 hours per label instructions, and planted in the tree circles.

Beehive Kit. Top Bar Hive.

This is the top bar beehive kit from Beethinking.com. I bought the kit at their shop in Portland a few weeks ago.
Nicely made. Much easier to put together than I thought.  Halfway there.
Not in it's final spot. I might apply a finish to the legs, to protect from rot. Otherwise it's all together and ready to go.  Front has a plastic window.  Open the shutter to view the bees and honeycomb.
Open top.  The to bars just sit in the frame, no assembly needed.
Charlie helped throughout.  He's very proud.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Winter Gardening, continued

Planted some seeds in the first "Conastoga" bed. That includes spinach, icicicle radish, napa cabbage, bak choy, seeds from garlic chives.  Pic from Bok Choy, ink and color painting on paper by Wu Changshuo (1844-1927)
I found some unplanted sets for egyptian onions.  I don't need more, but not wanting them to go to waste, so planted them.
Also, in unprotected bed, Laburnum seeds collected last week from Laburnum tree. So those seeds were exposed for winter, and stratified in situ. Those are along one edge of iris bed. Along another edge, Chinese chive, my Illinois strain.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Fig cuttings

These are started 2 to 4 weeks ago.  Depends on the cutting.  The Lattarula is covered on 3 sides with the start of roots.  What fig hobbyists call "root initials".  The Marseille black is not there yet.  I check every other day.  If the paper towel is looking moldy, I rinse the cutting and soak a fresh piece of paper towel to replace the fouled one.  Seems to be working.
Here are 4 cuttings in containers.  The Atreano was making top sprouts, so I potted it up.  It has initials but no roots.  It will need careful nurturing. The Sal's fig was a branch below soil level, that had tiny roots before I pruned it off, and when I removed it from seed starting medium I knocked off most of the roots.  Now it has tiny green buds swelling, so I think it is surviving despite my efforts.  The LSU Tiger cutting had roots about 2mm long, so time to plant that one in seed starting medium.

Today I scratched Plant Success (that again) into the top inch of each of these containers.  I don't think it will hurt.  It might help.

Of these, the Atreano, the LSU Tiger, and the Atreano were sent by generous Fig Forum members.  Response to my sending out cuttings last month.  Nice gardener neighborliness, from a distance..

Winter Gardening for Spring Vegetables

This is a start for gardening for the year.  The raised bed is the standard 4ft by 8ft raised bed that I've been building.  This is the 4th one so far.  The difference now is, I wanted a cover, to warm it up a few degrees.  Pus, protection from deer and rabbits once the cover is in place.

The cover consisted of:
6 2ft rebars.
12 copper brackets with nails
3 10ft long vinyl pipes
2 sections of 4 ft wide chicken wire
row cover.

All but the row cover came from the big orange home improvement store.  The row cover is from Johnny's Selected Seeds.  The chicken wire is held in place by plastic bale twine, recycled.

With row cover in place.  It looks like a conastoga wagon without the wheels.  The row cover wasn't quite wide enough, but I'll get some clothes pins to hold it to the chicken wire.
The rebar is easily removed, in case I don't want to keep this arrangement in place.
The tallest portion of the hoops is about 4 feet tall.  That height will be plenty tall enough for most vegetables, including tomatoes and okra.  But those are for May or June planting.  Here, I planted Oregon Giant snow peas, which grow 3  or 3 1/2 feet tall.  The packet states sow as soon as ground can be worked, so here we are.  Before planting, I sprinkled Plant Success mycorrhyzal inoculant on the surface and worked it in.  Probably more important, I used legume Rhizobium inoculant from Territorial Seeds - made a slurry in water, swirled the seeds around in the slurry, let them soak 10 minutes, then planted and watered in with the rest of the slurry.

Also planted, after adding Plant Success as sort of a "good wishes":
Boston Red Beets 1/2 row
Mini Bok Choy, from New Dimension seeds. 1/2 row
German Giant radish, 1/2 row.
French Breakfast radish, 1/2 row.

There is room for a row of spinach and a row of mesclun.  Room fills up fast.  May need to build a second raised bed for more winter vegetables.

As always this is an experiment.  I don't think it's too early.  I planted radishes and other cold tolerant vegetables in late January, 2011, and they grew nicely.