Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Grapevines. 4.29.14

Himrod Grape

Lynden Blue Grape
The grape vines are in their second spring, just over a year post planting at the Battleground place.  They all survived the hard freeze.  They are all in deer/rabbit cages.

One of these days I'll need to extend the deer protection so they can be grown along the support lines.  This year I expect at least a couple of the varieties to do that.  The others will grow up to the top of their respective poles.

I gave them some home-made nitrogen boost last week.  According to the grape book, they won't bear fruit if there is too much nitrogen.  I expect that will be depleted in a year or two, so not an issue.

The fastest growing vine was Buffalo grape, not pictured.  It appears to have a couple of embryonic flower clusters.

Peach Leaf Curl. 4.29.14

Charlotte Peach
 This is Peach Leaf Curl Disease season in my area.  I have enough resistant peach varieties to make a comparison.

As of now, they all have peach leaf curl.  Charlotte seems to have the least, and looks like it will have a small bowl of peaches this year.  Oregon Curl Free has a bit more, and also looks like it will have some peaches.

Indian Free peach has a moderate amount of curl.  It didn't bloom, except for one flower that fell off.  I think
Charlotte Peach

Oregon Curl Free Peach
 As for the Genetic Dwarf peaches...  anyone who sells them in the Pacific NW is doing their customers a big disservice.  Photos are the varieties Garden Sun, Honeybabe, and Ponderosa.  They may make a comeback.  The peaches will need a lot of thinning.  It's too difficult to cover them to keep out rain, and spraying in the fall is difficult to time.  Rainy season starts before the leaves fall.  So they are going to get leaf curl each year, they look terrible and it has a big effect on peach production.  The only solution I can think of is treat them the way hobbyists treat fig trees.  Grow small, in containers, keeping them pruned small, root prune, and put them in garage or shed for the winter.  Bring them outside when they start to grow.  I might try that, maybe starting my own variety with seedlings.  I have 2 seedlings in the garden beds, so that is a start.  For what it's worth, one was in a covered bed, and has no curl.  The other was exposed, and does have curl.

The seedlings might take a long time to bear.  I don't know.  But, being on genetic dwarf rootstock, they might also stay smaller than if grafted on regular peach rootstock.

Not pictured, the Tri-lite Peach-Plum hybrid has as bad leaf curl as any of the others.  The susceptibility of the peaches dominates the resistance of the plums.  So it's not worth buying that one either.

Indian Free Peach
Garden Sun Dwarf Peach
 I suspect that none of the Zaiger hybrids will be curl resistant.  They are bred in California where the disease is not an issue.
Ponderosa Dwarf Peach

Honey Babe Dwarf Peach

Less susceptible to peach leaf curl, but not immune:

Oregon Curl Free
Indian Free

Q-1-8 is in its first year.  There is no curl, but as a bare root tree it was probably stored in a barn, and not exposed to winter rains which are responsible for spreading the fungal spores.

Highly susceptible to peach leaf curl:
Tri-lite Peach-plum
Honey Babe Genetic Dwarf
Garden Sun Genetic Dwarf
Ponderosa Genetic Dwarf.

Potential alternative:
Raise in container, keep small by pruning and root pruning, and move container into shed for winter, similar to fig hobbyists in cold climates.  Or similar to my brugmansias and geraniums that I overwinter.

Next year, buy one for the container treatment.
This year, try to pot up the two seedling trees so I can get them started, but it may be a long path and who knows if I will live that long.

One additional thought.  Deer seem to stay away from most of the peach trees.  They do take some bites out of Indian Free.

Container Plants. Flowers and Kitchen Garden. 4.29.14

Dianthus in container

Overwintered geraniums.
 Today was warm, into the 80s.  Nights are still in the 40s.  Prediction for tomorrow is 90.  Wow.

Of the container plants, I cleaned up the dianthus that overwintered outside in a sheltered location.  I sheared it to a compact shape.  There was an agapanthus that did not survive the big freeze.

Of the geraniums that I overwintered in the garage, all appear to have survived.  They have been sitting on the deck a couple weeks.  I cleaned them up, just using scissors to remove dead parts.  I did not attempt to make them into compact looking garden department plants.  I'm going for the "these are old geraniums like grandma had" look.

I planted some of the Mirabilis seedlings into another container.  They are a little floppy.  Sunday I planted several at Battleground, and there was a hailstorm that tore holes in some leaves.  Still, they look ok today - 2 days later.

Overwintered geraniums.  After cleanup.

Mirabilis starts in container.
 I've been shuttling peppers and Mirabilis inside/outside.  Now they are outside to stay.  Now I am moving them into more full sun.

Tomato and okra seedlings are still under lights.  Except the 2 Sungold plants I bought.  They are in containers and in the sun.

The two largest, oldest okra plants are now in a larger container, along with a seedling.  There are early pods on the two oldest plants.  Okra here is a total experiment, there is almost nothing saying they can be grown this way and a fair amount of info saying they cannot be grown this way.  All I want is a few pods now and then for soups or fry.  If I'm getting the starts of pods now, then maybe this summer there will be a lot more.  The two larger plants are Burgundy and Baby Bubba Hybrid.  The smaller one is "Dwarf Green Long Pod".  It may be a stretch to have 3 plants in one container.
Starts of tomatoes, Mirabilis, peppers.  First day in full sun.

At Battleground, I uncovered the peppers that were in the poly tunnel.  I replaced the polyethylene sheeting with deer mesh.  They look good, nice and green and ready to grow.
More plant starts in the sun.
Okra plants moved into larger container.

Figs so far this year. 2.29.14

Smith Fig in Container.  Year #2.
The fig situation so far this year.

Smith fig in container was growing so I took it outside.  It spent the winter in the garage.  It's been outside a few weeks.  Looking good.  I think I'll keep it in container.  Long term plan:  Make a moveable container with removable sides, so I can maintain and move the trees when I am less able.

Smith fig in ground.  Looks dead.  That hard freeze did it in.

Champagne and LSU Tiger in ground are growing from the lower part of the trunk.  Champagne and LSU Tiger that were stored in shed are growing nicely, although not as fast as Smith.

Carini in ground looks dead.  I'll leave it in place a while to see if it sprouts from ground.  Same for Atreano.  The new Carini starts and Dominic look good, although the hail storm saturday tore holes in the leaves.  Plan this time is keep one of each in container, plus one of each to plant in ground next Spring so they have a full season to adapt to the local conditions as a more mature plant.  Vancouver Brunswick is growing nicely.  No freeze damage, and it was one of the most exposed.  Battleground is a bit colder than Vancouver, so I would expect more freezez damage to the Battleground fig trees.

At home in Vancouver, Petite negri had almost no frost damage.  Hardy Chicago had a number of dead branches.  Both are growing and have brebas.  Lattarula and King had no frost damage, but they are close to the house, on the south side, so may not have had full brunt of the killer freeze.

So there's a good chance for figs from all of the mature fig trees, and some chance for a few from the younger trees.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Mirabilis jalapa (Four O'Clocks). Progress Report. 4.25.14

Mirabilis among other plants.  4.25.14
 I planted 4 of the Mirabilis plants into front flowerbeds.  I don't know if it's too early.  I have about a dozen plants so if these don't make it, it's OK.

This is continued work on deer-resistant, rabbit-resistant flower bed.  The Hyacinthoides, violets, and daffodils, were not eaten. They bloomed nicely.  There is a nice progression, with the Hyacinthoides blooming now.

My hope is that by having a lot of plants that deer and rabbits don't like, the more susceptible plants, like daylilies, will be left alone.  That might be totally wrong.

I read that Mirabilis are deer and rabbit resistant , so maybe they will be a good summer blooming choice.
Mirabilis among other plants.  4.25.14
The Spring bulb foliage will die off as the Mirabilis grows and fills in, so it won't look empty.  That's the plan.

Peppers. 4.25.14

Peppers in raised bed with poly cover.  4.25.14
I removed the Chinese chives from the pepper bed, and replanted them with another bunch of Chinese chives.  That opened up room for 10 more of my pepper starts.  Most of the ones I planted earler are starting to make good growth.  I gave them a dose of diluted home made nitrogen boost.  Tonight looks like rain and chilly so I re-covered with the poly tunnel.  I think I will remove it for next week.  Expected daytime temps in 60s to 80.

I've been carrying pepper plants outside in the am, back inside in the pm.  Also running out of room under the fluorescent lights.  It helps to have these outside now.

Puttering. 4.25.14

Honeybees settling in.

Vancouver Brunswick Fig.  Spring growth.
 Honeybees are lying around the hives.  It look like they are starting to settle in.  Not much going on with foraging.

Vancouver Brunswick fig is making nice growth with little brebas.  This tree spent 2013 recovering from having been moved Dec 2012.  Then new growth was frost killed early 2013.  Then hard freeze late 2013.  But looking good now.  Of the older trees I moved to Battleground, Brunswick and Sal's fig are looking the best.  Petite negri may be dead.  Of the new starts from last year, all were top-killed.  Tiger and Champagne are making new growth from the base.  These may not be as freeze-tolerant as the others, or it might be they were young and I grew them too lush.  So no fertilizing this year.  I will give them more time, but so far AtreanoSmith and Carini look dead.  I have replacements for all of them.

Camassia looking nice.  Why don't more people grow it?  I bought this as one potted plant last spring.  When the  foliage died down, I divided it and replanted.  Now each has 4 new growths.

Potatoes growing lush in the tree-ring wishing wells.   Soon will need to add more soil.

Strawberries in bloom.  Protected from deer and rabbits.  I hope.  Last year they were all eaten off when blooming.

Snowpeas growing fast too.  If not caged, they would also be eaten off.


Potatoes in tree ring wishing well.

Strawberries in bloom.

Champagne fig.  Sprouts from base.


Grafting Followup. 4.25.14

Apple Graft at 2 months.
 Following up on grafts from late Ferbruary.

Deer browsed one of the Asian pear trees, including a nicely growing graft.  *#&$^%$ Deer.

The apple graft is Jonagold.  The rootstock is a sucker that sprouted from roots of an apple  tree that I cut down.  That tree never bore and was susceptible to fireblight, and too vigorous.  I thought it was dead, but now a few years later there are sprouts from the rootstock.  So I grafted a couple.  I removed the wrap today.  It's not clear when to remove.  Too late and the wrap girdles the tree.  Too early and it might not be healed.

This was growing nicely so I thought it might be healed.  Lucky guess, it is.  Nicely healed whip and tongue graft.  Happy.

This is much better than a cleft graft, which leaves exposed open wounds.

Lilac Graft at 2 months.
Not all of the lilacs took.  This one did.  They are in a hard to reach spot.  This is the best photo I could make.  At least this one is growing.  A couple others are in the "maybe" category.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Package Bees Arrive. 4.23.14

Two Packages of Bees
Today the packaged bees arrived.  Italian honeybees.  I installed them in the two beehives.  To each colony, I provided a quart of 1:1 cane sugar:water, and a patty of pollen substitute from Ruhl Bee Supply in Gladstone.

Now it's time to leave them alone, except checking on the queen in a few days and checking on the food supply.

At the bee supply store they had large packets of bee flower seeds.  From those, I think I'm on the right track.  Borage, Phaselia, and others.  I picked up a packet of Limnanthes douglasii.  Give it a try.  Yesterday at Lowes for deer fencing, I picked up a couple of Veronica plants in bloom, also for the honeybees.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Puttering. 4.20.14

Redmond Linden Sapling.  2nd Spring.  

Amanagawa Cherry.  2nd. Spring.
Here is the rest of the weekend.

The Redmond Linden I planted late fall / early winter 2012 has lush rapid growth.  So far deer have not munched on it.  So far.  I can't tell yet if it will have flowers this year.

The Redmond is at least a week, maybe 2, ahead of the Greenspire lindens.

Amanagawa cherry, which wound up in the chicken yard, is blooming nicely.  This is its 2nd year in ground here.  The chickens like to dig under it.  The roots must be deep enough that it's not a problem.

Prairie Fire Crabapple.  Blooming nicely.  I think it will be in peak bloom on wed when the honeybees arrive.  Meanwhile I used paintbrush to transfer pollen from Prairie Fire to the fruiting apples.  This is the 1st Spring, I planted it last fall.

Canary Weigela.  I planted this last summer.  Deer or rabbits munched on it.  It made a nice comeback.

The lilac grafts are difficult to photograph under the larger bush.  Some seem to have taken and are pushing growth.  Not as fast as the parent bush.  Which I guess is expected.  As long as they grow, it's a success.  This one I accidentally stepped on while doing chores and managed to bury it.  Then discovered it later.  It looks broken, but OK.

Peppers are ahead of expectation.  The poly tunnel is the way to go.   I uncovered them today so they get some air.  The Red Portugal has peppers.  Those seeds were planted late December and raised under lights.  The others were started later.  I watered them today and re-covered.  Soon they can stay outside.

The tunnel is not so good for garlic chives.  The tips of the leaves are burned.

Prairie Fire Crabapple.  1st Spring.

Canary Weigela.  1st Spring.  2.20.14

Lilac Graft at 5 weeks.

Pepper Red Portugal in Poly Tunnel.

Peppers in Poly Tunnel.

Bearded Irises. Bacterial Rot. New Order. 4.20.14

Iris Bed.  Bacterial Blight Takes a Toll.

The Last Shipment of Historic Iris Rhizomes.
That Package held a lot of rhizomes.
Disappointed.  All 3 beds of bearded iris are affected by bacterial blight.  Every plant.  A few have died, completely.  This follows another week of rain.  The photo doesn't look as bad as they do in reality.

The irises in the front border were not affected.  That must indicate, the TLC these got was detrimental.  I can't think of any other reason

Since every iris was affected, it's no use removing them and trying to isolate the diseased ones.  I'll continue weeding and pulling out dead fans.  Im guessing about 1/4 of the fans have rotted.  Maybe more.  Most of the leaves are at least a little affected.

Interesting timing for the order to arrive from Old House Gardens.  But they did.  I did not want to plant them on top of rotting iris rhizomes, so gave them a temporary place in what I planned to have as a vegetable bed.  After things dry out, if it looks like the disease rhizomes survive and come out of it, I'll plant them together again.

This is the first time this has happened..  It must be the combination of feeding them too well, plus the rainy chilly weather after a burst of growth.

Asian Pear Grafts and Pollination Effect. 4.20.14

Pollinated Asian Pears.  4.20.14

~6wk Mishirasu Graft.  4.20.14
 I am hopeful this will be the year of a bumper crop of Asian pears on the tree I pollinated by hand.  The petals have fallen.  So far the embryonic pears look viable.  If they continue to swell, in a few weeks they may need thinning.   Excellent.

The 6 week Asian pear grafts are flourishing.  I think I'll choose May 1 as the date to remove grafting tape.  Maybe.  Mishirasu and Shinseiki look as good as the stock's own growth.

The stock, Hosui, was planted in summer 2012.   It was on sale at
2013 Graft on Hosui, one year later.
Home Depot.   I noticed last year it was susceptible to fire blight.  The varieties that I grafted onto Hosui appear resistant.  Now that I know how to graft, I can continue to rework the Hosui into a tree with disease resistant varieties.  And leave a couple of Hosui branches so I can sample that variety, as long as it makes a comeback from fireblight.

This is great.  The tree is nearly established.  By reworking it, I can have a self pollinating, multivariety, disease resistant tree that I otherwise would have had to wait 2 or 3 or 4 years to bear.
~6wk Shinseiki Graft.  4.20.14

Lilacs. 4.20.14

Despite a rough winter that killed a lot of the lilac buds, we got some flowers.  I don't think much about lilacs, but when they bloom they are very nice.  The rest of the time, they make a nice calm green shrub, which is nice too.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Seedlings. Progress report. 4.19.14

Okra 4 months indoors from seed
Seedlings under lights.  Peppers, Mirabilis, and Okra

Seedlings under lights.  Okra and Mirabilis

Seedlings under lights.  Okra and Mirabilis
 Indoor seedlings are at a point where I don't have enough room.  Soon most will be outdoors.

The first of the okra plants continues to be a bit anemic, but now has the 2nd flower.  The first fell off.  I speculate it needed pollinating.  This time I used a q-tip as the bee.  This variety is the more compact growing "Baby Bubba".  I think outside it would be much much larger.

The figs are all outside now.  Next, the pepper plants.  Under lights, the current phase is the last of the peppers, the last of the four o'clocks (Mirabilis), and then new okras.  Easier to type, "Mirabilis".  All of the new okras are germinated, still at the cotyledon stage.   These are on the north side of the house.  They get potential east and west sun, if the sun is shining.  Day by day, they'll move closer to full sun.  Today is raining.

When the rest of the tomato seedlings germinate, there will be room for those, too.

The larger pepper seedlings are moved to the south window, or outside on the North side of the house.  That's the ones that are not in the poly low tunnel.

Pepper seedlings in South window.  Also a ginger plant.
The larger Mirabilis are also moving outside during the day.  Those and the peppers are inside for night, and outside for day.  The figs are outside now 24/7.

This is a nice start for this year.  Making up for losing 2013 for being ill. 

I think that ginger needs repotting.  I will look for a container now.

Outdoor plant starts.  Figs, Peppers, Mirabilis.