Sunday, March 24, 2013

Raised Beds. Kitchen garden and irises.

Vegetable bed.  I temporarily added a couple of irises, I didn't want in the one iris bed so far.  Also some raspberries from home.  If I can build another bed in a couple of months, they will move to that.

The black wooley-looking stuff  is fur trimmed from Charlie.  Purpose is to deter rabbits and deer.  Might help.  Might not.  Bok Choy,  chinese cabbage, radishes, turnips, spinach, have all sprouted.

Allium vegetable bed.  Looking great.  We are getting lots of scallions.  Garlic chives are growing the thickest and sturdiest I've ever seen them grow.  They will be ready to harvest in 2 weeks.

Iris bed.  Some wooleys on here too.  Even though deer are said not to like irises.  The locations for the heritage iris  order are laid out and labeled, in case they come in the next couple of weeks.

I won't be posting for a week or two.  Maybe something on fig cuttings tomorrow.  Likely wont do much in the garden for a month or two.  We will see.  Having these progress reports to look at, will help.

Beehive. Feeders in place.

Thebee feeders are in place. Ruhl-Bee states they will arrive first or 2nd week of April. I hope 2nd week. It may be difficult, earlier. Counting the days....

Charlie and Baigou

Almost unrecognizable after haircut. They stay closer together after their haircuts. Warmer. Much more lively now without the heavy coats.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Kitchen Garden. Scallions

Fantastic! The first vegetable from the raised beds at Battleground. These were Egyptian Walking Onions, planted Sept 27th.  Not only did they survive the winter, they flourished.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Bearded Irises. Progress Report.

Spring growth is sturdy. Stout leaves and firm rhizomes. No evidence for animal damage.All rhizomes took hold, survived the winter, and are growing.

These were last minute mail order. I had doubts they would survive the winter. Planted too late to take hold, too dried out. November I think. They are growing nicely.

This is Red Zinger. Worse condition than the others, later, drier, deader looking rhizome. It's growing very nicely too.

Beekeeping. Progress Notes. Top Bar Hive

I decided to paint the hive. Will last longer. Less likely to mold mildew rot. Used white primer and a white outdoor latex. Decided on a different location. This location is in full sun but also secluded, for safety. Near Ning's planned wildflower meadow. There is a sizable bramble patch behind, for near by nectar. I want to plant lemon balm around the hive.

Open, with some bars removed. Now it depends on when the bees arrive. Someone has offered to help in case I am indisposed, which I might be. Bad timing but it is what it is. Been so looking forward to this....

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Laburnum Cuttings

Brought the cuttings home to pot in potting soil, and some mycorrhizal inoculantIt's a delicate stage for them. New growth is all white - needs light to make chlorophyll. But not too bright - could burn. And could dry out. Interesting to see what happens.

Front Yard

Rhubarb not quite ready for pie. Maybe 2 weeks. The pink tree is "Hollywood Plum". There may yet be some frosts / freezes, in which case maybe no plums. I always think about that, this time of year. Side/Front yard. Spring is here.   I'm impressed with the amount of diversity in this small space.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Hardwood Cuttings from Trees. Progress Report.

I'm starting to think this propagation method is very good. Not just for figs. Fig cuttings root easily by almost any method. These were prunings I had lying around this winter. I did what I've been doing to jump start fig cuttings. Use cuttings about 6-8 inches long. As thick as practical - pencil thickness seems good.  Thinner or thicker seems to work. Make incision through bark and cambium layer using sharp pocket or kitchen knife. Dip in rooting hormone dip-and-grow at 1:10 dilution 1 to 2 minutes. Wrap in moist paper towel. Place into plastic bag and close. Keep in warm place.
These cuttings are from ornamental plum.  They have calloused well.  There is some top growth.  Not sure if roots are developing yet.  I think I see root initials.  So these are still in the "maybe" category as to whether they will develop into little trees.

Laburnum (golden chain tree) cuttings. These are also a few weeks old. Same method. The top cutting is a "mallet" cutting. It is a small branch. The base is trimmed with some remaining stem from the 2-year growth, trimmed.  The bottom cutting is similar, pruned just below the junction with the previous years' growth.  The middle cutting is just new wood.  All have calloused and are forming roots.  Some previous years' growth seems to work best.  Small sample size of course.  With these, some previous years' cambium seems to help.

Redmond American Linden. These have some callous. They leaked a jelly-like sap for a while. Not much. The root initials look promising.  They are also in the "maybe" category, as to whether I'll get trees from them.  If the tops grow too fast, they might overwhelm the almost embryonic roots.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ning with Tiller

Here's Ning rototilling an area of lawn. If all goes by plan, this will be a wildflower meadow. There will still be grass in the meadow. THe tilling opens up sod to give the seeds a chance. We've never done this before so it will be interesting to see how it turns out.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Pear Grafts

After taking the Home Orchard Society grafting class, I was anxious to try. These are the attempts. This is a russeted Asian pear, Chojuro. I've grafted a nonrusseted variety, unsure cultivar. Purpose is for pollination. Mostly I think it's just cool. This is the nonrusseted Asian pear. Unknown variety, had one pear last year. Grafted another unknown onto it from my home tree, plus 2 Euro pears, Orcas Island and Rescue. I tried to graft near the trunk.  Not the best grafts I've seen.  We did bench grafting in the class.  Learned whip and tongue graft, which took more finesse than I have on the bench.  On the tree it would likely have meant a blood sacrifice to the tree god.  So I tried the less hazardous but possibly less successful cleft grafting.  No loss if they don't take.  Pears have a reputation for easy grafting, so maybe.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

New Plants. Anemones, Ixia,

This is sold as "Pink Forsythia". It's not a forsythia.  Some varieties are white, not pink. It's Abeliophyllum distichum 'Roseum'. The flowers are blooming now which is cool. The plant seems to have a forsythia-like shape, and pseudoforsthian flowers. The name is OK. These plants originate in Korea. I guess that's considered exotic.  Forsythias all originate in China, Korea, and Japan. I'll try to take a better pic net time. The plant is not as fuzzy as my pic. Anemone coronaria De Caen. This pic from Amazon, although I bought them at Fred Meyer. These are new to me but not to horticulture. It's hard to find pics of the whole plant, so it's hard to predict what it will look like. From wikipedia, Anemones are called "poppy anemone, Spanish marigold, "dağ lalesi" in Turkish, "Calanit" in Hebrew, "Shaqa'iq An-Nu'man" in Arabic". Also from wikipedia, the Arabic name is thought to originate from "the Sumerian god of food and vegetation, Tammuz, whose Phoenician epithet was "Nea'man". Tammuz is generally considered to have been drawn into the Greek pantheon as "Adonis". Adonis died of his wounds while hunting wild boar... [Adonis] transformed into a flower, stained by the blood of Adonis. Tammuz's Phoenician epithet "Nea'man" is believed to be both the source of "An-Nu'man" in Arabic which came through Syriac, and of "Anemone" which came through Greek. They go on to say, "Another possible source of the name is An-Nu'man III Bin Al-Munthir, the last Lakhmid king of Al-Hirah (582-c.609 AD) and a Christian Arab. An-Nu'man is known to have protected the flowers during his reign. According to myth, the flower thrived on An-Nu'man's grave, paralleling the death and rebirth of Adonis.  That last version seems unlikely.  Whatever the history, they look interesting.  The plants that survived the winter are growing nicely.  The leaves are finely cut and ruffled, thick and green.  Multiple web sites state all parts of the plant are toxic, and deer and rabbits leave them alone.
Also new to me, but not to horticulture, Ixia. This pic from but I bought them at Fred Meyer. Most web sites state they cant handle cold wet conditions, but the row I planted last fall appears to have survived. The plants are about an inch tall.  Again, it's difficult to find pics of the plants in bloom.  Just the flowers.  I became interested in these when I saw what I think were Ixia at a house we looked at and almost bought.  The yard was full of them, hundreds.  All one color, yellow.  If they were Ixia, that variety seemed must do fine here.   From  IXIA Hybrids...Cream, purple, rose, yellow or yellow flowers)...very late spring (May/June)...~16 inches tall...Injured at temperatures below 28 degrees F (-2C) when planted...warm (75 to 80F) - cool (35 to 45F) - warm (50 to 65F) annual thermoperiodic cycle...Climatic zone habit: 1990 USDA Climatic Zones 6 ot 7 with mulch, Zones 8 to 9 without mulch...Full sunlight only. Some sites emphasize the need for dry season when dormant. Here, summers are dry but winter is wet. That the row I planted last fall survive is encouraging.

Irises. Progress Report.

This is the iris clump, I uncovered and weeded to rejunenate.  That was a few weeks ago. Southeast side of the house, raised area. Growing fast now. From the size, if grown from one rhizome, my guess is 15 or 20 years old.  Soil must be depleted of nutrients. I might give it some organic fertilizer. But doing well for a supposedly malnourished colony.  It should be dug up, divided, and replanted to rejuvenate. First, I want to see what the color is and what the appearance is.This is the iris raised bed. All rhizomes are now growing. That includes the one I was sure was dead, a variety called "Red Zinger" bought during the winter. It has a side shoot.  I've been trying to get a Red Zinger growing for 5 years, but lost the last start.  Literally, it may be in there somewhere but never bloomed.  Which is odd because only some of the photos look good to me.  Iris colors photograph strange, often not like the actual plant.  So only if it blooms do I know if I want it.   The winter-mailed rhizomes have also put on sturdy appearing growth. Anemones, planted as one edge for animal repellent (poisonous plants) are mostly growing well but it looks like I lost 4 or 5 to winter. Planted replacements today. I never grew anemones before.

Raised Beds. Progress report.

Here are the raised beds now. I added another this weekend. Planted the new bed with Snow Peas Oregon Giant, Bok Choy, Spinach, Radishes, Lettuce, Onion sets, between the onion sets planted Evergreen Bunching Onion seeds - packaged for 2011, might not grow. Also Swiss Chard 5-color Silverbeet, Beets Detroit Red, and Chinese Cabbage, Napa variety. Most of the rows are short, 2 foot rows. The Snow Peas and onions are full 4 foot rows. Also a row of mixed color Ixia. For color. The allium raised beds, planted last fall. Growing by leaps and bounds. Amazing to this small town Illinois boy, a garden with rapidly growing plants before March first. Garlics are about 1 ft tall. Shallots about 6 inches, White Potato Onions about a foot, and Egyptian walking onions about 6 inches. Illinois Chinese chive is about 2 inches and Changchun Chinese Chive is about 1 inch but thicker and sturdier and growing faster now. The Chinese Chive seedlings from last fall have reappeared, I think, although those might be seeds I planted last month.