Sunday, September 21, 2014

Today's Kitchen Garden Yield. 9.21.14

Kitchen Garden Yield.  9.21.14
Fingerling potatoes, Asian Pears, more Tomatoes, various winter squash, a yellow summer squash, okra, various peppers, containerized Thai and Tabasco peppers, and probably some things I forgot.

This is one of our best garden yields ever, for this time of year.  Very happy with the result.

Fall Planting Spring Bulbs. 9.21.14

Bulbs planted 9.21.14
I always plant bulbs this time of year.  Some have persisted and multiplied for a decade.  Some others seem to fade away with time.

At Battleground, deer eat tulips, muscari, and some of the others.  So none of those planted.

These "Joy of Gardening" bulbs from Fred Meyer are not reliable as far as color - last year the Anemone mix was all blue, and the daffodil mix was all the same.  But they grew well and it's OK.  These are the ones I planted this year.

Jetfire is early and very bright.  I have some that have multiplied for more than 10 years.  Ice Follies is also a nice variety.  I was going to move some, but it's easier to start over with new ones.  The double mix, we'll see what happens.

I usually plant narcissus in clumps of 3 to 6.  Instead of a single hole for each bulb, I did a "group hole" with shovel, place the bulbs, and cover.  The anemones, I pulled out the hard-scape tree edging around a ginkgo, planted the anemones, and filled in with soil.  The mulched area under the trees needs to be wider, so the edging is not needed or helpful.  It made for easy planting.

I have more to move when they sprout in Spring. This is enough for now.  I don't want to buy more than I can plant.  This was about 100 bulbs.  They will brighten Spring a little more.

Epiphyllum in bloom. Bunga bakawali / Tan hua. 9.21.14

Epiphyllum oxypetallum.  9.21.14

Epiphyllum oxypetallum.  9.21.14 
 The annual blooming of the "bunga bakawali".  This year was the first time at the Battleground place.  I've been keeping it on the east side of the house, watering about every other week.

Unlike past bloom seasons, this time the flowers have opened one at a time.  Which is nice, because I missed some of them, so I had opportunity to catch this one.  The flower was fully open at 10:30pm, and starting to close by 5am.

Prior posts describe this plant, known in Southeast Asia as Bunga bakawali and in China as Tuan hua.  It's very beautiful.  The fleeting moment of beauty is a lot like life in general.

Adding to the other info I posted, is this from wikipedia:  "
In India it is called Brahma Kamalam, named after the Hindu god of creation, Lord Brahma. It is also believed that the wishes of People who pray to God while the flower is blooming will be fulfilled....

The Chinese chengyu (four character idiom) 曇花一現 (tan hua yi xian) uses this flower (tan-hua; 曇花) to describe someone who has an impressive but very brief moment of glory, like a "flash in a pan", since the flower can take a year to bloom and only blooms over a single night. Therefore someone described as "曇花一現" is generally understood to be a person who shows off or unexpectedly gains some achievement and is thought to be an exception or only lucky. The flower also has a rich history in Japan, where it is known as the 月下美人 (Gekka Bijin) or "Beauty under the Moon".
Epiphyllum oxypetallum. 9.21.14

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Figs. 9.20.14

Champagne Fig.  2nd year in container.  9.20.14
Carini Fig.  9.20.14
 The first-year Carini fig has produced a few figs.  Burgundy-red.  Big juicy figs, pronounced fig flavor.  Last year this variety also produced same-year from cutting, but I lost the tree due to freeze.  This fall I will store the new trees in a shed, which worked well for the ones I treated that way last winter.

This Champagne fig is 2nd year from cutting, stored in container in shed last winter.  The figs are smaller, glowing yellow, and very very sweet.  I like them a lot.

Tomatoes. 9.20.14

Better Boy Tomatoes.  9.20.14
This year was the best tomato crop ever for me.  The main difference, the only difference I can think of, is the pee-cycling.   Tons of big tomatoes, tons of cherry tomatoes.

Better Boy is one of my favorites.  Nice Midwest flavor.

Bud Grafting Update. 9.20.14

Tart Cherry.  9.20.14
Apple 1.  9.20.14

Apple 2.  9.20.14
 I've been very ill for 2 weeks, starting to recover.  No fever and back to work.  Still a lot of fatigue.

So gardening has lapsed.  Not much is lost, some wilting due to not watering.

The grafts mostly look pretty good, going into fall.   Now they should be uncovered.

Most of the tart cherry grafts appear to have taken.

Most if not all of the plums took.   The Satsuma tree died, so that doesn't count.

I only budded two apple buds, onto the 3-way grafted tree.  So if they take, it will be a 4-way tree.  These are un-named, from neighbor tree.  Small, McIntosh type, maybe small due to lack of care.  One looks more viable than the other.

A couple of the Sweet Cherry bud grafts did not take.  Most look like they did.

At least one lilac didn't take.  The others, I don't know.  The one that didn't take looked plump, but it fell off.
Asian Plum.  9.20.14

Sweet Cherry.  9.20.14
Grafting was one of the most fun parts of gardening this year.  I learned a lot, it's really easy, and kind of an adventure.

Okra. Ginger. 9.20.14

Okra.  9.20.14

Okra and Ginger.  9.20.14
The okra has been producing a few pods at a time, on the deck.  We get enough for stir fries and soups/stews.  This seems to be the key to growing okra in the Pacific NW - grow in containers indoors until really warm outside, continue in containers in sunniest, warmest place.  One 1 or 2 gallon container holds one okra plant, a 3-5 gallon can hold 3.  Different varieties do differently.  The best of the types I tried, so far, are Burgundy and Baby Bubba hybrid.

I'm very pleased to have fresh okra.  So good.

The ginger plants are also poking along.  It may just be too cool, even in the warmest spot.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Moving a few bearded iris clumps. 9.3.14

Transported Iris Clumps.  9.3.14

Immortality, settled into place  9.3.14
 I moved 3 bearded iris clumps to the Battleground beds.  Two replace clumps that were lost this spring.  Immortality - which wasn't immortal, but is a nice white iris - and Accent.

I moved the clumps as intact as possible.  The soil was very dry.  In their locations, somewhat crumbly, not like a brick.

Into bags, then to the new location.

Again, I used unamended soil to replace soil where the prior clumps had died, or were moved out.

Then cleaned out the weeds, cut off dead leaves, watered them in carefully, and sprayed the leaves with neem.

This is the one watering until nature provides.

I think it helps a lot to write the name on a couple of leaves, via sharpie.   Less chance for mix-up.

Now they have copper labels too.

I also moved "Spiced Custard", which is not a historic iris, but I like.  It did not have enough room.  Now it does.

Accent, trimmed, cleaned up, neemed.
These irises from the Vancouver yard did not have any fungal spot at all.  They had less care than  the ones in the Battleground yard, drier and no TLC.  Which supports my contention that over-nurtured the Battleground irises.

Immortality, replanted, cleaned up, and neemed

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Historic Iris Beds. 9.2.14

Historic - mostly - Iris Beds.  9.1.14

Recovering Iris Plants.  9.1.14

Recovering Iris Plants.  9.1.14
 This is the state of the historic iris beds.  Historic irises, not historic beds.  They have nice growth, coming into fall.  I have sprayed with neem oil weekly.  The neem does not damage the leaves.  I don't know if it helps.  Fungus spot remains on the older leaves.  Expected - fungicide does not heal old spots, it prevents new ones.  I don't mind a few, expected in an organic garden.

Established vs. New Iris Plant.  Honorabile.  9.1.14
I thought I would lose Owyhee Desert - not historic - and Gay Geisha - historic.  Both are growing.  I doubt bloom next year.  Gracchus took a big hit too, and is growing again.  All 3 of these got replacement soil earlier this year, not enriched or amended.

Flavescens is poking along.  This may not be a good variety for this area.  I bought a replacement but the  original regrew.  The replacement is smaller than the original.

Alcazar is growing again.   It's almost as big as it was last year.  I thought it might be near-dead.  I suspect it will need at least another year to get viorous growth.  Assuming the plant disease issues are not a problem.  These also got new, unamended, unenriched, replacement soil.  The same for Shannopen, not shown.  That one, formerly big stout fans, reduced to nothing, but a tiny shoot grew so I kept it.

The final photo shows the difference between 1st year and 2nd year growth, for spring planted rhizomes.  This is sold as Honorabile but may be Sans Souci.  I bought a replacement because the growth last year was so minimal.  Despite the fungal issues with other plants, the overwintered cluster has much bigger leaves and better growth, compared to the rhizome I planted this Spring.  I think this indicates the Spring planted rhizomes, even if they might bloom the first year, are more stressed and take longer to establish, compared to summer - dormant -rhizomes.  This seems more true for the ones that are allowed to bloom the first year - makes sense, but the point of the Spring planting is to get same-year flowers.

New tags for all.  These are copper, which is embossed with ball point pen.  The steel markers with laundry marker faded too fast and will be reused elsewhere.

Maples. Tree Wounds. Volunteers. 9.2.14

Maple 9.20.12

Ning liked this maple cultivar that he found at a local odds-and-ends nursery on discount. 

Maple 9.1.14

Wounded Tree.  9.20.12
I was concerned about the wound - the owner stated that was a "growth crack" due to the tree growing faster than the bark could handle.  Not true - clearly damage, but the price was very low.  O forget - $16?  So we bought it.  Planted with the wound on south side to encourage keeping it dry.  I was interested in how such a large tree with such small root mass would survive.It's doing pretty  nicely. 

The growth is gradual.  Large trees without much root can't be expected to grow fast.  But it survived, and this year is looking nice.

Wounded tree.  9.1.14

Volunteer Maple.  10.20.12
 This photo underestimates the length of the wound - it extends up to the crack just below the lower branch.

The top portion has sealed together.  The narrower part of the lower portion of the wound looks like it will seal together next year, and the bottom, wider portion may take another year or two.

Maple is very hard wood.  Maple furniture is difficult to stain due to it's hardness, and is very resilient.  Planting with the wound to the south, gave it less chance for fungal or bacterial rot.  It is considered harmful, now, to pain wounds, so I left it bare.

With the small original root mass, I watered but did not fertilize last year.  I did not want to encourage top growth that the roots could not handle.

I did shave off the outside winding roots, so the tree would not be root-bound in the soil.

This year, I gave the tree a small amount of organic nitrogen (pee-cycle).  About 1 quart in 2 gallons of water, watered into the soil around the tree in Spring.  It received 2 waterings through the summer.  It seems well established now.
Volunteer Maple.  9.1.14

The other maple, a small volunteer maple, was from the yard in Vancouver.  It is not a big-leaf maple - may be a mixed heritage descendent of local cultivars.  I moved it from Vancouver, Oct 7, 2012.  Last year I kept it well watered, but not this year.  No fertilizer - it's in the middle of the chicken yard.

As an ungrafted tree on unpruned roots, I expect it will grow roots deep into the soil.  Growth has been amazing.  Not much branching, but quite tall.

Monday, September 01, 2014