Saturday, May 31, 2014

Red Portugal Chili Pepper. 5.31.14

 The first chili peppers from my seedlings.  This is Red Portugal.   I'm happy with the result.  The container is kept on the deck now in full sun.
Red Portugal Chili Pepper.  5.31.14

Monday, May 26, 2014

Rootcrops. Snowpeas. Kitchen Garden. 5.26.14

This is the standard Turnip variety.  And some Cincinnati Red radishes, and some White Icicle radishes.   

That's the season end for root crops.

After cleaning up the root crop bed, I planted some of the squash seedlings and bush cucumbers.

Then harvested snowpeas, and cleaned up the strawberry bed.
Snowpeas and 3 strawberries.

Cloudroom. 5.26.14

Cloudroom.  Almost done.  5.26.14
This is marketed as a "sunroom" but here in the maritime NW, the term "Rainroom" is more appropriate.  "Cloudroom" sounds better.  Not quite done - the tiles are just sitting there to be installed.  It's wonderful sitting here in the rain, listening to the rain fall on the glass, and the birds singing.  As I am now.

Cloudroom.  Almost done.  5.26.14
The plan is to extend the front border a little.  That's the reason for plastic covering some of the grass.  Removing sod is too hard.  The plastic takes longer, but will leave nice moist soil without grass or weeds, in 2 months.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Puttering. 5.25.14

Ning's wildflower meadow.  5.25.14

Redmond Linden growth.  5.25.14

The first of Ning's wildflower meadow gardens is blooming with the first of its flowers.  Pretty nice.  There are a few bees - bumblebees and honeybees - harvesting nectar.

Redmond American Linden is growing nicely.  I gave it some organic nitrogen this winter.  I tried not to overdo it.  There are flower buds on this, but not on the Greenspire European Lindens, even though they are much bigger.  The Redmond Linden has much bigger leaves, compared to the Greenspire Lindens.  The flowers, for honey, were why I planted these.

Deer have not eaten any of the lindens.  I have protected the bark from rabbits and gnawing rodents, using hardware cloth.

Redmond Linden.  5.25.14
Sourwood new growth.  5.25.14

Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum) has taken off and growing. I wondered.  The lower branches died during the hard freeze.  During Spring rainy season, the new growth developed what looks like the fireblight that appears on pears.  Now it's coming out of it and growing nicely.  Sourwood is not native here, and there aren't a lot of them.  So it's an experiment.

Tamara rose, grown from cutting.  Moved to Battleground in 2012.  Eaten by deer, and now surrounded by some sort of yellow flowering weed.  It's actually doing well.

Most of the top-killed fig trees are coming up from the roots.  I'm debating whether to give them some organic nitrogen.  I don't want them to grow to vigorously, and be winter killed next year.  I would like some decent growth.

I planted 2 new palms.  The first, Trachycarpus fortunei (Windmill palm), is a species I've had in my front yard in Vancouver for 15 years.  It's pretty hardy.  The label states hardy to 20 to 10F.  Last winter the tree in my yard survived 8F.    The second, Chamaerops humilis (European fan palm), is labeled as hardy to 6 degrees.  "Extremely slow grower".  This palm is more a bush, than a tree, with clusters of palms.  I read deer and rabbits don't eat them.  Battleground is a bit less gentle climate, compared to Vancouver.  If they don't survive, that's OK.  If they do survive, that's even better.  They will also provide something green to look at when the grass turns brown, and in the winter.

Sourwood new growth and some leaf damage.  5.25.14
I planted the Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash, and Scallop Squash, seedlings that I grew from seeds a couple of weeks ago.  There are some additional seedlings still to plant.

I mulched around the new apple trees, using newspaper and food package cardboard as the bottom layer - to kill grass - then covering with grass mowings deep enough that you can't see the bottom layer.  I cut fencing to complete the deer cages, but it started raining so I did not fasten in place. 
Smith fig regenerating from roots.  5.25.15

Trachycarpus fortunei planted 5.25.14 

Chamaerops humilis planted 5.25.14

Tamara rose amid irises and weeds

Sunroom nearing completion.  5.25.14

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Update. Fruit trees. 5.24.14

Q-1-8 Peach

Jonared apple
 Some of the fruit trees, especially ones planted this winter.

Q-1-8 peach growing nicely. Deer didn't eat it.  No leaf curl.  I expected that - most likely stored inside as a bare root tree, and rains in late winter didn't inoculate it with leaf curl.  My speculation.

Jonared apple.  Growing nicely.  Today I mulched.  Tomorrow I should install a wider deer cage.  The new shoots have almost reached the openings in this cage.

3-graft dwarf apple.  Growing nicely.  Not as fast as Jonared.  I spread the branches for a wide base.

Sugar Cane Jujube.  I thought this was dead.  No sign of life, no buds, until last week.  Now growing  Li Jujube.  Also looked dead, now growing fast.  Jujubes seem to make a late start.
3-graft dwarf apple

Jujube Sugar Cane new growth.

Jujube Li new growth

Update. Tree and shrub propagation and grafting. 5.24.14

Asian pear graft.  Recovery from deer chewing.

Hamese Asian Pear Graft.

Euro Pear graft on Asian Pear
 Plant propagation and grafting efforts.  Many of them did well.  A few did not grow.

All of the pear grafts took.  One was chewed by deer but is recovering.  Some bloomed.  That resulted in a delay of growth, but ultimately they all grew.  That includes the 3 varieties of Asian pear, on an Asian pear tree. and 2 varieties of European pear on a different Asian pear tree.

Learnings -

1.  Don't leave a long tail on the whip.  The graft still takes, but the tail doesn't always callous onto the stock, leaving an appendage.

2.  Best to take scion wood that doesn't look like it will bloom.
Close-up Healing Whip and Tongue, Pear

Liberty Apple Graft on Honeycrisp
 All of the apple grafts also took.  The learnings were the same as for pear.

I should probably remove the liberty apple from the newly grafted scion from this spring, but it looks ok and I think I will leave it to see what happens.  The scion is growing rapidly despite also making an apple.

I unwrapped most of the rest today.  They have finished formation of callous, so no benefit to leaving them longer.  The wrapping did not strangle the new growth.  So this was a good time.

Of the grafted lilacs, it looks like only one of the approximately 6 grafts took.  I don't know why.  It might be timing, or lilacs might be more difficult to graft.  Or there may have been compatibility issues.

Still I am excited that one did take and is growing vigorously.

All three of the lilac offsets that I separated from mature bushes, grew.  One was eaten by deer or rabbits, but is recovering.

Laburnums, grown from cuttings late Winter 2013, are growing.  They were eaten by deer or rabbits, but are recovering.  I had to move them again, because of an easement issue.

Ning started pussy willows from cuttings.  He started a hedge.  These were just pencil thick, or thicker, and about 18 inches to 2 feet long, taken from a big pussy willow at the Vancouver place.  He simply pushed the cuttings into the moist ground, about half way, in Feb.  All are growing.  Willows are very easy.

I updated on plum cuttings already.  All approx 8 Hollywood plum cuttings struck.  None of the approx 8 Shiro plum cuttings struck.  About 1/2 of the approx 8 flowering quince cuttings struck, but they are not growing vigorously.  The forsythia cuttings are touch and go.  2 still seem alive.
Lilac Growth on Separated Offset

Shinseiki Asian Pear Graft

Laburnum from Cutting.  Year 2.

Pussy Willow from Cutting.  Year 1.

Jonagold dwarf apple graft.

Peony. 5.24.14

Nice flowers this year.  I don't know the variety name.  The plant is 15 years old, and has been moved once.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Four O'clocks. 5.20.14

Four O'clock Seedlings.  5.20.14
 Four O'clock / Mirabilis jalapa seedlings are growing nicely.

The seedlings in planters are growing fastest.  I don't know why expanding the root space helps so much, but there seems to be a rapid burst of growth, after transferring plants to larger container.  Even though the seedlings were not root bound.

The container is on North side of house.  It gets am and pm sun, and in summer will get full day sun.

I have planted several in containers and several in the ground at the Battleground place.

They are not anywhere close to blooming but with the current growth I am optimistic.

I think starting them ahead is helpful.    So far the Four O'clock experiment is looking good.
Four O'clock Seedlings.  5.20.14

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Puttering. 5.17.14

Early bloom on wildflowers

Early bloom on wildflowers

Tomato seedlings planted.
 Ning's wildflower meadows are starting to bloom.  He seeded these in March.  The mix is from, NW wildflower mix.  Plus I added in some agastache  for bees and domesticated California poppies to be different.  There may be some snapdragons in there too.  The wild type poppies are blooming but not the domesticated ones yet.

This mix contains annuals for the first year, and perennials for subsequent years.  The annuals may also self seed.

The flowers are minimal now, but they are just beginning.

The seedling tomatoes have settled in.  I have a couple of plants left over.  Not sure what to do with those.

The store bought tomato plants are growing fast, sturdy and dark green.  The Sungold have their first flowers.  I gave them a dilute dose of organic nitrogen boost.

The peppers are growing nicely.

I planted the last batch of potatoes.  Those were fingerling potatoes from Tsugawa.  They are in the 4th tree-ring potato well.  The earlier potatoes have nice leaves.  Something is eating some.  Maybe slugs.  I sprinkled around organic slug bait.  The late potato planting should mean we get a few months of fresh potatoes.

Radishes continue to produce.

Deer and rabbits continue to be a challenge.  I need more fencing.
Store bought tomato plants in place.

Pepper bed

Snow Peas
Raised bed garden

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Puttering. 5.15.14

Egyptian Walking Onions.  5.15.14

Meadow, first flowers.  5.15.14

Rhododendron.  5.15.14
Planted most of the tomato starts.  Gave them a dose of diluted natures plant food.

Ning's first meadow is just beginning to bloom.  Those seeds were planted in march.  Others are just germinating, planted a couple of weeks ago.  There were bumblebees on the flowers, no honeybees yet.

The rhododendron is one of the few nice plantings from the original owners.  Nice size and nice flowers.  This is the first year we've had a good bloom on this one.

Bearded Irises, Better Photos. 5.15.14

Alcazar  1910
 I think Alcazar is generally larger.  This is the first year.  I'm surprised it bloomed at all.

Bumblebee Deelite 1985
 In 2012 I dug out the overgrown bundle of Bumblebee Deelite and replanted at various locations around the Battleground yard.  There were too many rhizomes, so I planted left-overs in the fence row.  They look nice there.

Caprice 1898
 While planting Tomato plants 2 beds over, I smelled the fragrance of Caprice wafting in the wind.  The writers are right, it's like Grape Koolaid.  But better.
Red Hawk  1995
 This is an excellent depiction.   The  color is richer than most photos.
Edith Wolford 1986
 The Walking Onions add a nice appearance to Edith Wolford bearded iris.
Mislabeled Pink Fragrant
 This was sold as Whole Cloth, which is blue and white.  Whatever it is, the fragrance is very sweet and floral.  The downside, it is less vigorous and more disease susceptible compared to some of the others.

Bearded Iris Bed.  5.15.14

Gay Parasol.  1974.
 Smaller flower than some modern tall beardeds, but very nice and very fragrant.  Gay Parasol.

Indian Chief.  1929.
 Really wanted this Indian Chief bearded iris to bloom this year.  And it did.  Also a nice fragrance, mild.

Gracchus.  1884.
 Gracchus bearded iris was one of the most disease resistant.  And all of these flowers from one rhizome.  Small but vigorous.

Unknown from Tennessee.
 Must be an early plicata, or an unnamed seedling.  Sold by a Tennessee company via mail order.

Red Zinger.  1985.
 Miniature.  I grew Red Zinger from a dried out sale rhizome late 2012.  It didn't bloom last year.  I'm surprised, now it's vigorous.  You almost have to be on  your knees to smell them.  It's worth it.  A candy fragrance.

Loreley.  1909.
 Loreley historic bearded iris.  Almost like Japanese irises.  Some are fully open, some partially.  The white outline on the falls makes them stand out nicely in photos.   Sweet fragrance.  Same Tennessee company as the unknown.  Slow start, but this year very nice.  Seems to be disease resistant.

Bearded Irises.  5.15.14
I'm happy with the bearded irises, both modern and historic / heritage irises.  I thought they might all die off this late winter, but they are blooming nicely.  Some varieties have the most and largest flowers I've seen.

Some of the leaves don't look great.  As long as they grow out of it, I'm OK.