Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Potting a Peach Tree and Some Tree Volunteers. 10.29.14

El Dorado Peach Tree, Uprooted.  10.29.14
 I have been meaning to dig up the smallest of the genetic dwarf peach trees - this is El Dorado - and pot it up.  The main reason is peach leaf curl.  If I can keep it in shelter, out of the rain, in theory, PLC should not be a problem.  I have larger Honey Babe and Garden Sun, too big to dig up and treat this way.

I love peaches but it's been quite difficult growing them here.  The main problem is devastating peach lead curl disease.

This El Dorado Genetic Dwarf Peach tree is really too big to dig up.  It a robust, 6 foot tall tree, well branched.  I started digging yesterday, and finished today.  I dug a trench in a wide circle around the tree, then tried to slice under the tree with a shovel.  I was surprised there was a large thick tap-root.  I had to cut  through it to release the tree.  I pruned to even up the somewhat rough cut, trying to minimize removal of any more feeder roots.

Most of the other roots look ok.  Even though the root pruning was drastic, I've seen worse and the tree survived.  It does look  very drastic to me.  Being fall, there is a chance the tree will re-root itself with feeder roots despite removal of the anchor root.

Reasons it might not live -
*Too drastic removal of roots.
*Residual leaf curl disease on the stems.
*Root mass may freeze.  I plan to keep the tree outside because it needs chill time in order to bloom.

If the tree survives, it will make a nice ornamental.  Genetic dwarf peaches bloom beautifully.

Based on the tree planting info from Linda Chalker-Scott debunking horticultural myths, I did not top the tree or prune top to compensate for loss of root mass.  I did remove dead twigs.  There were a lot of those.

For this winter, I intend to keep the tree under house overhang, on the North side of the house.  That location may also keep it cooler, and delay bloom, which would be good.  But it it does bloom, and frost threatens, I can move it inside on chilly nights.  Next Spring and Summer I can keep it on the deck, for TLC. 

El Dorado Peach Tree, Potted.  10.29.14
 Doubtless, it will need a larger container by early summer.

There are also the peach seedlings at battleground.  They survived potting up and look nice and healthy.

I want at least 2 cherry seedlings in order to create Japanese cherry trees.  I think sweet cherry seedlings should be very robust and make a nice tree.  This was a volunteer sweet cherry from the yard.  At Battleground I also have a few sweet cherry seedlings.  By growing them in containers for a season, I can protect them and give TLC, as I do with figs, for maximal growth.    It would be nice to be able to bud graft at least one, next year.

While I was at it, I also potted up the volunteer fig tree from the front of the house.  It had nice roots.  Based on inspection, it was a stem or cutting, I just don't know from which variety or why it was there.

El Dorado Peach before moving.  10.28.14

Volunteer Fig Bare Root.  10.29.14

Sweet Cherry Seedling.  10.29.14

"Volunteer" Fig and Cherry Seedlings, Potted.  10.29.14

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Volunteer Fig and Hazelnut. 10.26.14

Volunteer Fig Tree.  10.26.14

Volunteer Hazelnut and Columbine.  10.26.14
No way to know which type of fig this is.  None of my fig trees should have any seeds, because there are no caprifigs and no Blastophaga wasps.  That leaves, a wayward cutting, or a seed from a dried fig.

I don't know which it is.  These are adjacent to the deck.  I've been nurturing fig cuttings there.  If one looked dead, it's possible I threw it there.  Or, a pruning.

I want to keep it and see how it does.  Not that I need more fig trees.

The hazelnut could go to the Battleground place to replace one that someone cut off.  Not saying who.  It looks pretty vigorous.  Could serve as pollinator for the others, or could be a good hazelnut. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Planting more bulbs. 10.25.14

Replete Daffodil and Gladiator Allium.

Amaryllis.  I placed it in the sunroom, as an experiment. 

I am pleased that Replete wasn't displayed as a pink daffodil, on the label.  It's more of an apricot color.  I need to plant the rest of the bulbs in a different location.  Now when I dig holes for bulbs, I discover other bulbs, planted earlier.

Final bulb count for new plantings this fall, Battleground:

Red Devon Daffodil / Narcissus = 18 X 2 = 36
Anemone blanda Mix = 20 X 2 packages = 40
Nectaroscordum siculum = 15
Allium gladiator = 2
Replete Daffodil / Narcissus = 12
Allium Ivory Queen = 4
Quamash Cammasia = 8
Tulip Estella Rijnveld = 15 X 2 = 30 in containers
Tulip Purple Pink Mix = 18 in container
Fritillaria rubra "Crown Imperial" = 1
Fritillaria persica = "Persian lily" = 2

If all of these flowers bloom, that will mean 164 flowers from bulbs next Spring.  Plus the bulbs that I moved from Vancouver late summer.  Those I did not do a good job and they sat outside, a few getting moldy, so who knows.  Last Spring, I also moved multiple clumps of Narcissus/Daffodils and Hyacinthoides from Vancouver, wild guess 10 bulbs per clump, 10 clumps  = very roughly another 100 flowers.  Other than the tulips, most are proven deer and rabbit resistant here, and most are varieties that should proliferate once established.

What to do with squashes? 10.24.14

Two squashes for roasting.  Butternut and Verte et Blanc

Butternut.  Sliced and seeds/soft contents removed.

Did the same with the Verte

Ready to roast.  On parchment paper.

Baked 375 for 75 min.  Butternut is easily pierced with fork, but not Verte.

Blurry pic.  Butternut contents scooped out.  Pureed in food processor.

Same with Verte.  This one I froze for future use.

I used the butternut puree in the same amount as I would use canned pumpkin, for a pumpkin pie.  Flavor was excellent, richer than my usual pumpkin pie.  I might do the same with the Verte, for a blond pumpkin pie.  Or find a different recipe.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Garlic Planting. 10.19.14

Garlic Planting.  10.19.14
Today I planted garlic.  I used last year's garlic bed, which is not the best garden practice but it's what I have.

I added an inch of well aged home-made compost and raked it in.  This compost was in a plastic garbage can for a few years.  So it's really well aged.

4 rows are the biggest cloves from last year's Inchelium Red.  Huge cloves.  Well adapted to local conditions - I've been growing this one for about 14 years.

3 rows are either Inchelium Red or German Porcelain.  I had a mix up.

2 rows are some new German Red that I bought locally.  To try something different.  Smaller cloves but my grow bigger in my bed, or not.

These are 8 cloves per 4 feet, and there are 9 rows per 8 feet.  I use bamboo sticks between the rows to mark the space.

Tree Autopsy. 10.19.14

Roots of dead dogwood.  10.19.14

Roots of dead dogwood.  10.19.14
 This year I had 3 dead trees.  Two, a Satsuma plum and a Kousa dogwood, were planted summer 2012, did well in 2013, and died mid summer 2014.  The first summer I watered frequently, the second summer I watered rarely.

The 3rd, a Madrone, died without any growth at all.  From what I read, madrones transplant so poorly and die so quickly after planting, I should not have bothered.

I did an autopsy on the plum and dogwood.  It looks like the roots did not grow beyond the original root ball. 

I don't remember if I planted these without cutting away the surrounding roots.  Now I do.  From the book, The Informed Gardener by Linda Chalker-Scott - paraphrased -

The gardener should disturb the root ball, aggressively.  Nursery-grown trees, especially those bought in containers, often have roots that wind around the pot, creating a "root pot" that new roots can't escape.  Roots cross each other and strangle each other.  The roots don't grow into surrounding soil. 

The result is a tree basically growing in a pot, even though there is no pot and it's in the ground. 

The author washes away all soil with a hose, bare-roots the tree, and prunes all winding roots, then replants entirely in native soil, carefully spreading the roots. 

It looks like these trees were victims of my own poor planting technique.   As far as I can see, the roots never extended beyond were the original root ball had been.
Roots of dead plum.  10.19.14

The trees are now replaced with home-started trees.  No issues with recovering from nursery abuse, although there's still the forces of nature, and my own learning process.

Gardening is not about what you have, it's about what you create, and grow, and do.

It's not about what you know, it's about what you learn.

I'm glad it's fall. 10.19.14

I'm glad it's fall.  I can clean up what's become messy, and not have it become messy before I can clean it up again.  I can plant trees and shrubs, or transplant them, and not have to water them every few days or every week.  The grass is green again.  It's cool enough to be outside without becoming winded.  I can harvest pine needles for mulch.  And leaves.  I love planting Spring bulbs in the fall, to have something to look forward to.  I love having a fire in the fireplace in the morning when I'm up, alone.

I've quoted this before....

"My creed is that:
Happiness is the only good.
The place to be happy is here.
The time to be happy is now.
The way to be happy is to make others so.
Robert Green Ingersoll

Sourwood tree at one year after planting.  10.19.14

This is the Sourwood after a year.  The madrone that I planted at the same time died quickly.  I read that would happen, so shouldn't be surprised.  I wondered if the sourwood would live.  It did.  There is still a "Dr. Suessian" look.  That may take a few years to fill in.  Leaves will be pretty in a week or two.  Having survived a historic freeze it's first winter, and the nursery abuse / removal of most roots, with a chance to recover for a year, it has a good start for the future.

Varmints already chewing. Tree protection 10.19.14

Chewing damage.  Asian Pear.  10.20.14

Hardware Cloth Tree Protection.  10.20.14
 This is the first time I've seen chewing damage at the base of pear trees.    I suspect voles.  Could be rabbit.  Deer don't chew so low.  Fortunately it doesn't surround the tree, and pears heal quickly. 

This protection is a central part of winterizing.

I've learned it's just best to have a roll of hardware cloth on hand, and some zip ties.

The  zip ties make it very easy to put on a sleeve without a helper.  When it's time to remove the sleeve, the zip tie is easily cut with a scissors.  The extra tail can be trimmed off if the appearance is an issue.

The pear now has a protective sleeve of hardware cloth.  Usually I have more overlap where it joins, just didn't here.  I don't think the varmint will squeeze through the seam, anyway.

I try to make the sleeve loose enough for several years of growth.  That way I don't have to put it on every fall.

There are hardware cloth sleeves on, probably, most of my young trees.

I don't think the mesh size is too important.  I've used 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch.

It's time to get them protected.  Tender fig bark is a critter favorite.  Apparently they like Asian Pear bark. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Moving a Japanese maple. 10.18.14

Japanese Maple before moving.  10.18.14
This Japanese Maple started out as a volunteer seedling in the front border in Vancouver.  When I moved a big Camelia, this seedling came out with it.  I lost most of the roots.  I planted it in a container for a few months, then Ning planted it in his flower bed.

It grew too well there.  Now it's time to find a better place.  As it happens, a dogwood died, and the location needs a small to medium size tree.  If I am correct about the parentage of this maple, it should be in that range.  It seems to have a semi-weeping shape, which is nice.

I dug it out.  Nice root mass.  No winding or crossing roots.  That's a good aspect of growing it myself.  It is not subjected to tree nursery abuses.

I planted at the same depth as it was.  Since it's fall, this is a good time to plant.  It can grow some more roots before winter and again in early spring before the top starts growing again.

I read that it's not appropriate to top prune on transplanting, so I didn't.  I did remove a few wide ranging branches that were in the way.  Next Spring, it may need some corrective pruning due to closely crossing branches.  Mostly it's OK the way it is.

I like that this is a home - grown, own-root, seedling tree.  Not just because it's free, but because it feels more like it's my doing.
Japanese Maple Root Mass.  10.18.14
Transplanted Japanese Maple.  10.18.14

Transplanting ginkgo seedling. 10.18.14

Ginkgo seedling.  10.18.14
 This was one of the ginkgo seedlings growing in a raised bed for irises.  Because of the mesh bottom of the beds, I was unable to get some of the roots.  Maybe most of the roots.   This is almost at the stage of being a rooted cutting.  Fall is a good time to plant, because it will not be hot, it will stay moist, and have a chance to grow some roots during the fall and spring.

It may not survive.  That's OK.  I have other, smaller seedlings.

I tried to prune off the slightly ragged base, but I think I caused more harm than good.

Ginkgo seedling roots.  10.18.14

It's planted in the location where the dead madrone was.  The madrone never took off, I left it in the ground but it has been a dead stick all year.

Ginkgo seedling.  10.18.14

Transplanting Fruit Tree and Vine Starts. 10.18.14

Hollywood Plum after 1 season of growth. 10.18.14
 I replanted some of the fruit trees and a grape vine that I started in the raised beds. 

The Hollywood Plum was from cutting late winter this year, so one season of growth.  Pretty good.   Some of the others were eaten by deer.  I know they need protection but someone else left the gate open  :-).

This was one of the better cuttings.   It did not need any pruning.  I planted it in the location of the dead Satsuma plum.  That might not be wise, but my tree autopsy suggested the problem was, the tree was root bound in its original container, and I had failed to correct that. 

It's useless planting a little plum tree without protection, so I protected it.

The peach seedlings were volunteers.  I think they are from one of the genetic dwarf trees.  They have short internodes, so I think that is correct.  I dug them out, bare-rooted them - easy - and replanted in potting soil in containers.  Rationale - leaf curl disease is carried by rain during the winter.  If I keep them in the garage, I may be able to avoid that frustrating problem.    Depending on how they grow, I could either see what the peaches are like, or use them as a rootstock and graft scion from the other genetic dwarf peaches.  The plan - keep them out of the rain until dormant, then place them in a shed along with containerized fig trees, for the winter.  That may also have the advantage of delayed bloom.

Roots of Hollywood Plum, one season after starting cutting.  10.18.14

Transplanted Hollywood Plum.  10.18.14

Protected from rabbits, voles, deer.  10.18.14
 The grape was from cutting of Price grape, about 2 years old now.  The roots grew down through the screening underlying the raised bed, so I was unable to salvage most of the roots.  I think it will still be OK.  I pruned off the bottom node, which I had badly damaged in digging it out.   Now it's planted in the row with the other grapevines.  I like that I grew my own from a cutting, and Price is one of my favorites.
Peach seedlings and Price Grape Cutting.  10.18.14
Replanted peaches.  10.18.14

Pruned grape cutting.  10.18.14

Replanted grape.  10.18.14

Planting Bulbs. 10.18.14

Bulbs to plant.  10.18.14

Before cleanup 10.18.14
 Bought some bulbs.  Except for the tulips, all are regarded as deer and rabbit resistant.  Daffodils and the Fritillaria Crown Imperial were not touched last year.  The Fritillaria has a smell a bit like sewer gas, which may be why.   Alliums were also untouched.  So now for this bed -

Some clumps of narcissus, remaining Jetfire from some that were still not planted, and Red Devon. 

Nectaroscordum siculum.

Camassia quamash.

One Fritillaria persica.  I do't know if it will grow, so just trying one.

One red Crown Imperial Fritillaria rubra.  The ones I planted last year grew well, so I hope this one does too.

A package of Allium karataviense "Ivory Queen".  I haven't tried this one yet

The last package of Anemone blanda went around a replanted Japanese maple.

Layout.  10.18.14

Front bed planted.  10.18.14
I dug up and divided some Chinese chives for this bed too.  They are delicious, beautiful, and the bees love them.

I didn't label where each bulb or group of bulbs was planted.  That will be to discover when they come up in the Spring.

The tulips will need to be planted in containers.  Keep them away from deer.

When these bulbs start coming up, they will be a very welcome sight.  This is one of the first signs of Spring, and they renew my spirit.

The edging needs to be completed.  Winter project.  Also a walkway.

I added a layer of cardboard mulch.  The cardboard was wet.  It's fragile when wet, tears very easily.  So I think the bulbs should grow through it easily.  Plus, I tore the cardboard into irregular pieces about 1 foot diameter.  That allows water to soak through, and bulb growth.  But weed seedlings should not grow.

Planted, mulched with pine needles.  10.19.14
The cardboard is unsightly.  So I raked up pine needles from the driveway and mulched with those, on top of the cardboard.  That looks pretty nice.  The bulbs should grow easily through the pine needles, too.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Smith Fig. 1.16.14

Smith Fig Tree.  10.16.14
 The containerized Smith Fig has been ripening a fig every few days.  They are small.  The flavor is in the "excellent" range.  I also have one in-ground.  It was killed to ground last winter in the historic freeze.  I should keep this one in container for another year.

The figs might be smaller or later due to the young age of the tree.  It is in it 2nd year.  Or because of container.  Or climate.  Or maybe they are small figs.  But they have been delicious.

Smith Fig.  10.16.14

Smith Fig.  10.16.14

Sunday, October 12, 2014

October Tomatoes & Okra. 10.12.14

Tomatoes, Okra, and a Fig.  10.12.14
Not bad for almost mid October.

The tomatoes are Better Boy. 

The Okra is Burgundy, Dwarf Green Long Pod, and Baby Bubba.

The fig is a lone fig from Brunswick.

There may be a few more.  We had vegetarian BLT today.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Back from Vacation. 10.11.14

At the Acropolis.  Oct 2014

Mosques, Istanbul.  Oct 2014.
 Ning and I went on a cruise vacation for 2 weeks.  Now returned safely.

I almost canceled - recovering from pneumonia and bronchitis, and side effects of work and Gleevec.  I thought the cruise would be healing, and it was.  Very worthwhile.

There were a lot of places - Venice, Athens, Ephesus, Istanbul, Naples/Pompeii, Rome, Florence, Toulon/Marseilles, and Barcelona.

I took more than 1,000 pics - easy to to with electronic camera with good memory card.  Very selective with pics to post - respecting the volume of memory needed, and this blog is really my gardening log.

When I was late teens / early 20s, I was a young soldier stationed in Turkey.  Getting to visit again was a bit of a bucket-list item.  That and Ephesus, and Rome, and Pompeii, and Barcelona.  I could not ask for more.

Four O'clocks, Ephesus Turkey, Oct 2014
In front if Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Oct 2014
 Since this was my year of the 4:00's, I liked seeing some in Ephesus.  Similar to some I grew here.

I tasted figs in Athens - larger but not as flavorful as the ones I grow.  I imagine that is because they need to travel from the countryside, so are not fully ripe.

Observing city and countryside trees and plants, there were lots of Sycamores, lots of olive trees, scattered fig trees, vineyards.

I-pad panorama views are pretty interesting.  They pull a lot into the photo.

As an autodidact student of religion and social history, I loved some of the places.  Example, Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, built in the Christian Roman Empire, started in the year 537 possibly on older Christian and possible prior Roman or Greek Polytheistic temple site, some of the materials taken from the Ephesus temple of Artemis; with mosaics of religious figures, destroyed in the iconoclast period, sacked by the crusaders sent by the Catholic pope, rebuilt, then remade into a mosque by Ottoman Turks, victorious over Constantinople, becoming Istanbul, and finally, Ataturk, fed up with the intrigues and politics of the Caliphate, expelled the Caliphate and secularized the Mosque.  There has been some restoration, while still respecting the interplay of Christian and Muslim aspects.

Palms, Toulon France.  Oct 2014.

Sycamore, Topkapi Palace Compound.  Istanbul, Oct, 2014
 I am probably unusual in spending as much time admiring an ancient sycamore, as admiring paintings or sculptures, but that's how it is.

The Vatican / San Pietro piazza looks to me a lot like ancient Greek and Roman temples.

The Pantheon of Rome, built close to 2000 years ago and in continuous use, first polytheistic, then Roman Catholic, beautiful stone work, soaring spaces, and natural light via ostium at the summit.  Amazing place.

Inside Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Oct 2014

Pompei, with Vesuvius.  Oct, 2014.

Panarama inside Pantheon.  Rome, Oct, 2014

Panarama, St. Peter's Square, Oct 2014.