Sunday, September 29, 2013

Grafting fruit trees. Progress Report.

Pear Graft #1
 All of the pear grafts and apple grafts took and grew this year.

I did not keep track of varieties.  The pear grafts were on the 2 Asian pear trees.  The intent is to have pollinating varieties, on the same tree.  And novelty.

The pollinating varieties were, two from a multigraft Asian pear in the Vancouver yard, plus 2 prunings from newly planted pear trees.  Those were European pears, Rescue and Orca.
Pear Graft #2

Pear Graft #3
 Some of the grafts grew very fast.  Others barely grew.

I grafted the apples on Feb 23rd at the Home Orchard Society grafting class.  Spitzenberg and Suttons Beauty.  Each has 2 strong growths.  Late winter, I want to graft each with an additional variety.  Or with 2 additional varieties, allowing a bud to form a branch below the graft for the originals.  These would be very low branching trees, which is what I want.  I want to get them planted in-ground this fall, so the roots have a chance to grow.  That means I will need deer protection, too, which is more of a chore.  Not too difficult.

The regenerated Honeycrisp broke off near the ground, but above the graft, last year.  I debated re-grafting it.  Instead, I pruned short, and allowed the tree to grow from below the cut.  It has 2 strong growths.  Again, I would like to graft an additional variety onto one or both of the growths.

In the Vancouver yard, I have the Honeycrisp start, Jonagold, Liberty, and Karmijn de Sonneville.  At Battleground, there are the columnar varieties Golden Sentinel and Red Sentinel.  GS had one apple this year.  It's only about 2 feet tall.  That's enough varieties for my test garden.

There is also Prairie Fire crabapple, now, which I hope serves as a pollinator.
Pear Graft #4

Regenerated Honeycrisp Apple

New Dwarf Apple Grafts
Broken Honeycrisp tree Sept 2012

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fall planting bulbs for Spring flowers.

Daffodil hill.  via
Today it's raining and raining and raining.  Pacific Northwet.  I love rainy season.  Fire in the heating stove.  Dogs napping in front of the fire.

I planted 100 generic daffodils in Ning's border, clusters of 4,5,6.  Plus big Allium gigantum which I grew last year in the onion bed.  Moved catnip and 2 small raspberry starts out of bearded iris bed#3, and into the bee garden.   Both grow too large to remain among the bearded irises.   Tidied up a little more of that raised bed, and planted grape hyacinth and smaller types of narcissus.  Planted some bunches of daffodils in the bee garden.

That's about all.  Too wet, and I'm tired.   It sounds like a lot, but was only about 2 hours, split into slow 1 hour sessions, one in am and one in pm.

Daffodils - and possibly all narcissus - are considered deer resistant and rabbit resistant.  Last year something ate a few, but left most alone.  Must taste bad.  Grape hyacinths / Muscari are also considered deer and rabbit resistant,  but most were eaten down to the ground. 

Alliums are also considered animal resistant.  Some varieties did well last year, some were sparse.  I planted a few more purple alliums.

A few more small bags and half of a big bag of bulbs, left to plant.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Buddleia progress report.

Buddleia globosa hybrid

Buddleia X Peach Cobbler
 The hybrid Buddleias grew rapidly this year, from small <1ft and="" bushes.="" clipping="" compost="" each="" grass="" mulch.="" mulched="" nbsp="" nursery="" of="" on="" p="" plan.="" starts="" straw="" summer.="" tall="" that="" the="" they="" through="" to="" top="" waist-high="" was="" watered="" were="" with="">
The B. globosa hybrid blooms in Spring.  It was purchased as a 6 inch start.  Lots of growth.  Not as much as the others, but it was smaller.  Expect flowers next Spring.

The Flutterby series Buddleias grew fastest.  The flowers were the largest, but also the messiest.  Bumblebees liked them  There were also a few butterflies.  Those were "Peach Cobbler" and "Blueberry cobbler".
Buddleia X "Blue Chip"

Buddleia X "Blue Chip"
Another Flutterby series hybrid, but dwarf, was "Blue Chip".  I had that in a weedy iris bed that went unwatered until fall.  It did remain small.  The flowers were very nice.  I sort of regret not taking better care of it, but it bloomed and should be fine next year.

Buddleia X "Miss Ruby".  The remaining Buddleia hybrids were "Miss Ruby" and "Miss Molly".  Those were neater.  Growth was not as rampant.  The flowers lasted longer and were more vivid, compared to the Flutterby series.  The flowers were smaller, which is beneficial.  The much larger flower panicles of "Peach Cobbler" and "Blueberry Cobbler" start turning brown at the base before the tips open.  So with those, I either have to tolerate brown dried out flowers, or deadhead before they are done.  Bumblebees and a rare honeybee foraged "Miss Molly" and "Miss Ruby".

From the State of Oregon Department of Agriculture site, the following Buddleia varieties have been tested for non-invasiveness and are allowed.  It costs the grower $10,000 to have a variety tested at OSU, and takes 18 months.  If the grower already has data proving their variety is noninvasive or proving it is an interspecific hybrid, the cost is $150.00 per hour for the state to evaluate the data.  So, it seems wrong for anyone to grow these by cuttings.

A few weeks ago I say one local nursery carried "Black Knight" - a pretty but invasive and illegal variety.  I did not buy it.

ODA Approved Sterile Buddleja Cultivars - this info direct from ODA -

The listed Buddleja cultivars produce 2% or less viable seeds and meet Oregon's standards for sterility. The transport, propagation, and sale of the listed cultivars is approved.
Buddleja 'Blue Chip'
Buddleja 'Asian Moon'
Buddleja 'Purple Haze'
Buddleja 'Ice Chip' (Formerly 'White Icing')
FLUTTERBY GRANDÉ™ Blueberry Cobbler Nectar Bush
FLUTTERBY GRANDÉ™ Peach Cobbler Nectar Bush
FLUTTERBY GRANDÉ™ Sweet Marmalade Nectar Bush
FLUTTERBY GRANDÉ™ Tangerine Dream Nectar Bush
FLUTTERBY GRANDÉ™ Vanilla Nectar Bush
FLUTTERBY PETITE™ Snow White Nectar Bush
FLUTTERBY™ Pink Nectar Bush

Non-Regulated Interspecific Cultivars

These listed cultivars have been proven to be interspecific hybrids through testing and laboratory analysis. They are not regulated under Oregon's noxious weed quarantine and can be transported, propagated, and sold within Oregon. The fertility of these cultivars has not been assessed, though interspecific hybrids generally exhibit low fertility.
Buddleja 'Lilac Chip'
Buddleja 'Miss Molly'
Buddleja 'Miss Ruby

File:Buddleja matico recht.JPGThis is Buddleia globosa, pic via wikipedia.orgB globosa is not regulated, because it is not invasive.  B. globosa may be more attractive to bees, but blooms in spring or early summer.  The B. davidii and interspecific hybrids bloom later summer and fall.

Kitchen Garden. Garlic and Onions.

Multiplier Onions

Kitchen Garden
Over the past month, I put together 2 more raised beds.  That brings it to 10 of the 112 planned. For the final 2, I have all winter to complete them.

Last weekend, I planted the Multiplier onions.  The first 4 rows are Egyptian Walking Onions.  Then 7 rows of Yellow Potato Onions.  Enough for scallions and cooking or slicing onions.

During the past week, I finished filling the 10th bed.  Same mole-hill / compost mix, 50/50.  Today I planted the completed bed with garlic.  12 rows, 8 rose of Inchelium Red and 4 rows of random varieties.  The Inchelium Red is all I need.

The photo is from last weekend, before completing the filling of bed #10.

In the background, a cleaned-up bed for Ning's cabbages.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Where's that hawk when we need her?

More Figs

Sal's Fig (left) and LSU Tiger Fig

Eyes of LSU Tiger (top) and Sal's
 First fig of the year for Sal's fig.  Not much on the tree this year.  During the Spring, new growth was damaged by a late frost.  So it had a set back and late start.

The LSU Tiger fig was started from cutting in Jan or Feb.  Nice to get a fig the first year.  This is the second fig.  The first was eaten by an animal.

I haven't been posing photos of the fig "eyes".  These are small, open eyes.  Potential for ants to enter, or rain if they point upwards.  But these pointed downwards.

Sal's was smaller, darker, sweeter, and more flavorful, of the two.  Both were good. 

I read, it takes a year or two for trees to produce full flavored figs.  So next year they may be sweeter or more richly flavored.

I'm pleased to have figs the same calendar year that I started the cuttings.  Even if it's only for a taste.
Sal's (left) and LSU Tiger

Gardening for the Winter. Multiplier onions, Flower Bulbs, Tree Protection.

Multiplier Onions about to be planted.

More Daffodils for the yard.
 The Yellow Potato Onions are now planted for their winter "incubation".  The roots and tops grow during the remainder of fall, then settle in for winter.  Most were the very big size this year, leaving fewer small starts to plant.   I planted about 25 sets, with half being large - to make multiple small sets, and half being small - to make large onion bulbs.  They grew very well last year, with the September - planted ones growing better than later - planted.

One also made topsets.  I planted those as well.

The Egyptian Walking Onions are growing roots and tops.  Fast start.

This Daffodil mix brings the # of bulbs planted this fall to about a hundred.  There are about 150 more to plant.  It sounds like a lot, but they are quite easy to plant.

I made 5 tree - guards so far.  This year I am experimenting with hardware cloth.  These are /12 inch mesh.  I think I'll buy 1/4 inch mesh once I've used up this roll.  Based on the web sites I've read, 1/4 is superior for vole exclusion. 

The ginkgo may not need protection.  Ginkgo trees are considered deer and rabbit resistant.  But no harm in a little protection.

I also have tree wrap saved from last year.  Tree wrap may seal in moisture, which could encourage fungal infection.  So I am not as enthusiastic about that.  On the other hand, tree wrap is easier to apply, compared to hardware cloth.
Varmint Screening for Crabapple Tree

Varmint Screening for Ginkgo Tree
The websites often state the hardware cloth should be partly buried.  However, that would mean damage to shallow roots.  So far, animals have not under-mined trunk protection.  If they do, I'll have to consider more secure options.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Bearded Iris Beds. Cleanup and getting ready for Winter.

Historic Bearded Iris Bed #2
 Iris Bed #2, mostly historic irises, almost set up for winter.  I'll harvest the big basil plant, and remove a ground cover catmint that is growing too well, and it's ready.

I had grown marigolds and sweet alyssum from seeds, along the front and back edges.  Those overgrew.  Nice for a few months.  Now with rains starting, they shaded the irises to much, and competed. So I pulled out the marigolds and sweet alyssum.  I fed them to the hens.  The hens seemed to like them.  Those flowers, then, will be eaten second hand, as eggs and 4th hand, as composted chicken poop used for vegetable garden.  Nothing goes to waste, if I can avoid it.

Bulbs for the Iris beds
Iris Bed #3
 All of these bulbs were labeled as deer resistant.  Checking the internet, they are also listed as rabbit resistant.  I planted them in clusters among the irises, in beds #1 and #2, and in rows along the edges.  The hyacinths are "Sunrise Mix", the Daffodil / Narcissus varieties are "Thalia", "Jetfire", and "Minnow".  The Allium is "Purple Sensation"  That might be too big, but there are only a few.

I also planted some bulbs I think might be Camassia - not sure.  I dug them up and left them sitting under a tree.  Or they could be a big Allium.  If they grow next year, I'll know.

I don't think these will compete much with the bearded irises.  They will add color in later winter / early spring, when I need it.  Before the irises bloom.
iris Bed #3

Pepper Based "Critter Ridder"
 As for Bearded Iris Bed #3, that is mainly established clumps of modern varieties, I moved from the Vancouver yard.  There are still chili pepper plants from the bed's previous life as a vegetable bed.  Those can stay until they are killed by frost.

I dug out one of the catnip plants, and moved it to the bee garden.  Two or 3 others to go.  Also the chives.  The chives were much more vigorous than I expected.  Both big and competing with the irises.  I think the borage will only last until frost, too.  Not sure.

Along the western edge, are scallions I planted from seeds, this spring.  I think.  They might be multiplier onions.  I filled in, between them, with more multiplier onions.  They will be pulled for cooking, this fall / winter / spring.

A few more plants to remove, then it will be all about the bearded irises, with a few  other plants in between.

Then there's the mole problem.

Bearded Iris bed #3 has been troubled by mole digging for a couple of months.  A few weeks ago I added "Critter Ridder" to the soil, and on top the soil.  I thought that worked.  But today there was a new mole hill.  So I added more.  "Critter Ridder" has a pungent, peppery smell, both black pepper and capsaicin pepper. 

For the newest raised bed, I'm using 1/2 inch steel hardware cloth, instead of chicken wire, bottom.  Maybe that will be better.  Or maybe, the mole climbs over the side.

I don't know if it's the moles.  Several of the iris rhizomes, planted at the soil surface, are now fully buried.  I dug a few out and replanted higher.  It's possible the rhizomes pull themselves deeper.  Or the moles undermine them, and they sink.

Apiary garden / Bee garden

Bee garden

Pink sedum

Pink sedum
Today I added a few plants to the bee garden.  I bought some a couple of weeks ago - some coreopsis starts, and a Caryopteris plant.  I think those were from the marked-down table at Home Depot.  I've been watering them so they don't die.  Now they are planted.

I also moved some very large chive bunches.  I think the bees should like the chive flowers.

I moved the first of several catnip plants.  They, and the chive plants, are much too big for the iris beds.  The bees seem lukewarm about the catnip flowers, but they did forage them a little.

Not much foraging going on today, as far as I can see.

The pink sedum was a stray plant in a border at home.  I don't recall buying it.  It's probably a volunteer.  Maybe a seedling from Autumn Joy.  The flowers are white with pink center.  Nice.  The plants were very lanky  and floppy.  I suspect that is due to the shady / north exposure.  Next year, in full sun, maybe it will be more compact.

Thinking about next year.  I'll put down some sort of underlayment to cover the grass.  Newspaper or brown paper.  Cover with straw, or chopped tree trimmings if I can get them.

Also want to move more Hyacinthoides hispanica from the yard at home.  They naturalized there.  Fairly easy to dig up and move, if caught at about 2 to 4 inches tall.  Once in place, they don't appear to miss a beat.


Brugmansia and Charlie

Kitchen Garden


I picked a bowl of ripe figs.  Most were Petite Negri and Hardy Chicago.  Two Lattarula.

I picked a big yellow bell pepper.

And a few Thai peppers.
Minnesota Midget Cantaloupe
 The first cantaloupe.  I've been watching for ripeness.  Today when I picked it up gently, the stem detached itself from the vine.  So it's ripe.

The flavor was good.  Tasted just like a cantaloupe.

This is a convenient size.  Like a grapefruit.  It ripened soon enough for us to get a taste.  There are a few more on the fine.  None went to waste.  The chickens like the seeds.
Minnesota Midget Cantaloupe

Butternut Squash
 One of the watermelons developed a big hole in the size.  Then spoiled.  So the chickens got it.  They liked it

Another watermelon is looking almost ripe.  Maybe tomorrow.

The butternut squash is my first attempt at Winter squash.  Nice size for the two of us.

These were I-phone pics.  I misplaced my camera.  The colors are a little off. My hand is not that pink.  But the melon looks right.

Some of the harvest 9/21/13

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Carini Fig

This was the first ripe Carini fig.  A fig forum member in the East Coast sent me cuttings from his family's heirloom variety.  I started the cuttings in Jan or Feb.

This tree is one of only 2 that produced main crop figs in their first year from cuttings.  The other was LSU Tiger.  That one was half eaten by some animal, and spoiled before I could taste it.

This is not a known variety for the Pacific NW.  That it grew in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, which become colder than here, gives me some confidence.

I intend to protect the tree from some of the winter weather this year.  The new growth is greener than growth on older fig trees, so might be more frost tender.  Plus, there are animals that eat the bark, during the winter.

Nice, big, juice fig.  Mild sweeet flavor, somewhat like Lattarula.  I like this fig, and have big hopes for it next year.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Planting a Crabapple Tree. "Prairie Fire."

I saw this tree in the sale section at Home Depot.  Not wanting to do the work to plant another tree right now, but it's a good kind of fatigue.  Given that the tree fruited this year, maybe it will have viable spurs to bloom next Spring.   Plus, apples are pretty rugged so it has a good chance to survive.  So I bought this tree.

Crabapple "Prairie Fire" before unpotting.
 I'm not crazy about buying tall trees at the nursery.  I think small trees have a better chance to establish.  However, there's the issue of browsing deer.  So I selected the tallest specimen.  Around 8 feet or 9 feet tall.  A bit lanky.  It will fill in.

Unpotted, hole prepared, added "Plant Success" inoculant.
 I expected this to be a ball-and-burlap tree with compost added to the container, and it was.  Not excessive root growth.

Added some "Plant Success" mycorrhizal inoculant.   This soil has not had chemical treatment for 2 years.  I don't know about prior to that.  Reasonable to try to add back some beneficial microbes. 

The lower branches were sharply bend downwards.  I suspect trauma in shipping and handling.  I removed the worst. left the rest.  Expect to prune branch tips when leaves have fallen.
I researched this variety online.  It is multi - disease resistant.   It has pink flowers in the Spring.  If the flowering time is right, it can serve as a pollen source for other apples.  As a type of apple, it will add to the bee forage.

This variety has small fruits that birds eat during the winter.  Another plus.
Planted, mulched, minor pruning.

Fall Blooming Bearded Iris

This was an interesting find. Last summer I moved some bearded irises from the Vancouver place to the Battleground place.  I haven't kept up with weeding or watering them.  Today I noted one is blooming.  The variety is "Liaison".  Behind it is Buddleia "Lilac Haze" and Sedum "Autumn Joy"
Bearded Iris "Liaison"
The leaves look a bit unhappy.  It's an unusual time to bloom.  We are at the start of rainy season.
Bearded Iris "Liaison"


LSU "Tiger" Fig
 This is the first fig from the LSU "Tiger" fig that I started from cutting earlier this year.  There is a red tinge.  The fig was near ground level.  An animal had removed it from the tree and ate out the other side.  As a result of exposure, the inside was somewhat moldy and did not appear edible, so I did not taste it.

This is the first fig of the year from the Battleground place.  The situation for this tree - just a start - is so unnatural, I won't predict what that means for next year.  By "unnatural", I mean the tree was started from cutting in January, given TLC on the deck all summer long, and planted in the ground in late summer.  The big test now - will this Louisiana - bred fig survive a Pacific NW winter?

"Petite negri" Fig tree
 Petite negri fig tree.  from fig forum, properly named "Aubique petite".   Lots of ripening figs now.  Tree is about 13 years from a small twig-sized start.
"Hardy Chicago" fig tree.

Fig harvest today
 Hardy Chicago fig tree.  Fair production now.  I missed some, overripe.  About 10 years from a cutting start.

Also harvesting Lattarula figs.  Those are the sweetest of the bunch.  The fig harvest photo includes a few figs - I had a much larger bowl of figs not included.

Not pictured, yet, is a ripening fig on Carini.  Like the Tiger fig, also on a tree started from cutting this year, and at ground level.  I placed some plastic mesh around the fig last night.  Check today for whether the fig is still there and intact.