Sunday, April 26, 2015

Colors today. 4.26.15

Meadowfoam.  Limnanthes douglasii  4.26.15

Mountain Ash.  Sorbus aucuparia.  4.26.15

Ning's flowers.   4.26.15

Shan Xha.  Crataegus pinnatifida.  4.27.15

Ning's Tree Peony.  4.27.15

Crimson Maple.  4.27.15

Viburnum opulus "Sterile".  4.27.15

Lilac "Bloomerang"

Meadowfoam.  Limnanthes douglasii

Mulberry "Illinois Everbearing"

Persimmon "Saijo"

Annual flowers. 4.26.15

Image source:

I planted seedlings outside, from the starts I began a few weeks ago.  Nasturtiums and French Marigolds.

Looked for some public domain photos to use, but they seem to be more scarce.  Will need to photograph when they are blooming.

It might still be too cool for these.  The only way to know is to try.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Honeybee swarm. 4.25.15

Honeybee swarm.  4.25.15
 Ning got excited when the honeybees were swarming.  Neither of us had ever seen that phenomenon before.

The swarm settled in a horsechestnut tree.  I don't know how to entice them into hives.  I sat a Warre hive and a top bar hive near the tree to see if they would be interested.  I added some crushed lemon balm leaves.  I read they are attracted to lemon grass, but I don't have any around.  A also sat a small dish of sugar water in the hive and another one near the hive.

As of this post, a few have buzzed around the hive entrance, but none have ventured inside.

Thinning and Zipper Bagging Fruits. 4.25.15

Aubique Petite fig with zipper bags.  4.25.15

Apple cluster before thinning / bagging.  4.25.15
 Today I started bagging fruits, apples and some pears and figs.  The apples are the most important. In my yard, I lose most apples to coddling moth.  Bagging early should prevent that.  Some pears are lost, but not as bad.  Figs do well.  With figs, this is an experiment to see if the bags will deter birds or hasten ripening.  Protecting them in fall would be more important than now, due to shorter rainy fall days that slow ripening, reduce flavor, and encourage mold.

Prior posts about bagging fruits.  Summary -  Easy.  Greatly reduces disease and insect damage.  May be beneficial for some bird damage.  May hasten ripening.  Very few negatives, some report mold on peaches but not so much for other fruits.

I thinned apple clusters to one fruit per cluster, and removed all flowers within 6 inches.  That is pretty severe, but most years my apples are smaller than I would like.  Thinning can help them ripen faster, grow larger, and maybe more flavor. 

This was not much trouble at all.  Puttering meditation.  Puttering medication.  Kind of disappointed when ran out of bags.

Most articles recommend bagging when fruit is dime size.  These are smaller.  I don't think that's a negative.  If they all rot and fall off, I'll know what I did wrong.
Apple singlet after bagging.  4.25.15

Zipper bagged apple bush.  4.25.15

Grafting Progress Report. 4.25.15

Ember whip/tongue @ 6 weeks.   4.25.15

Columnar apple multigraft.  8 weeks.  4.25.15

Sketch for columnar apple multigraft.
Redfield apple whip/tongue.  6 weeks.  4.25.15
 This is my little tree nursery as of today.  It's been chilly and raining, so growth is slower.  I expect it to take of with warmer sunny days next week.

Ember on Hollywood - nice growth.

2nd multigraft on columnar apple - nice growth.  The sketch shows the general idea.  These are columnar, so I am grafting one on top of the other.  Reason is for novelty and pollination.  In-ground is on old rootstock sucker that persisted from a Yellow Delicious semidwarf that I cut down 2 years ago for never bearing.  In-container is from the same, moved into container last winter, very few roots.  Doing OK and I assume rooting well, in container.

Redfield from Fedco at 6 weeks.  The rootstock seemed to be doing poorly, with result that the graft was doing poorly, but now looking better.

Deck wall tree nursery.  Some are cuttings or seedlings in 3rd or 4th year, I forget.  I moved them back into containers for TLC.  I get better young tree growth in containers with extra warmth, nutrients, and attention on the deck.
Deck Tree nursery.  4.25.15

Columnar apple multigraft, container.  4.25.15

This is a terminal whip/tongue yellow columnar apple graft,  onto potted columnar red apple graft.  The bare-rooted specimen is how it looked Nov 2014 when I removed it from the tree roots that had produced the sucker that I grafted it on to.  Apples can regenerate roots from minimal source, quite well.  I hoped that as long as there were root primordia, this would grow.  I don't think the top would be doing so well if it has not generated adequate roots by now, much more than it had in November.  This one is also meant to be like the sketch. 
Bare rooted columnar apple graft Nov 2014

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Starting Seeds. 4.22.15

 I've been starting seeds for s few weeks.  Currently using 6-packs in a plastic tray with clear cover.  For germination, they are on a seed starting warming mat.  Once they germinate, I move them under the CFL grow-light system that I made in March 2014.  I have the seedlings as close to the lights as I can place them.  The two boxes of larger seedlings were just under the lights, the others are next to get the CFL light spa treatment.  The larger seedlings will go into the sunroom to grow them a bit larger before placing outside.  The sunroom is acting now as a greenhouse.

Seedlings already in the sunroom:  tomatoes, morning glories, nasturtiums, marigolds.

Seedlings heading to the sun room:  Four o'clocks, nasturtiums, many varieties of peppers.

Seedlings under the CFL system:  milkweed, joe pye weed, morning glories, French marigolds, swiss chard.  The swiss chard germinated in 2 days.

On the heating mat:  more of the flowers.

Too early for beans, zucchinis, and squashes.

I didn't have it in me to start early vegetables outside this year.  Other than snowpeas, which are germinating.

I had stratified the Joe Pye Weed and Milkweed seeds in zipper plastic bags, on moist paper towels, for 6 weeks.  Then placed on warming mat.  As the seeds germinated, I moved them into 6-packs with seed starting medium.  The milkweeds did very well with this method.  The Joe Pye weed seems too delicate.  However, there are 2 plants.  Considering this is an experiment and they grow very large, 2 plants is enough. 

The milkweed is Asclepias syriaca,  which I started for bee forage and nostalgia and novelty.  Does not grow here like it did in the midwest.  The balls of flowers are unusual. 

"Asclepiascommon" by Original uploader was Hardyplants at en.wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia; transferred to Commons using CommonsHelper.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Unintended Cuttings. 4.19.15

This winter I used rods cut from tree trimmings to hold edging in place.  These are plums that started growing from the rods.  I don't know if they will continue.  The one on the right was eaten by rabbits.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Pawpaws and Persimmons. Progress Report. 4.18.15

Pawpaw blossom.  Sunflower pawpaw.  4.18.15

Saijo Persimmon with frost damage.  4.18.15

Yates Persimmon with frost damage.  4.18.15
There was a small frost.  Some damage occurred for new shoots and new leaves of grapes, some figs, Saijo persimmon, Yates persimmon sapling, Illinois Everbearing mulberry.  The plums and apples do not appear affected.  I'm not sure about the peaches, might be some peach leaf curl or other condition.  For the most part, I think the effects look minor and the plants should recover without problems.

Nikita's Gist Persimmon has nicely greened swelling buds, but they still look too tight to have been affected by the frost.

The first flower on the first pawpaw has opened and begun to color.   This is on Sunflower.  Too early to collect pollen and there are no other pawpaw flowers open to pollinate, yet.

Apple Grafts. Progress Report. 4.18.15

Keepsake Apple whip.tongue onto Jonared stock tree.  4 weeks.  4.19.15

Apple varieties whip/tongue onto Jonared stock tree.  4 weeks.  4.19.15
 The apple Fedco whip and tongue grafts from last month look good.  Most have swelling buds with leaves still smaller than a mouse ear.  Redfield, Porter, Priscilla, and Keepsake all have evidence of growth.  Granite Beauty is not there yet but is also not dehydrated so there is still a good chance.  This will be my sampling  / experiment tree, with a branch of each variety.  Very pleased so far.

I looked at the Fedco scion list again.  They are not selling more this year.  There are a couple of apple varieties that look interesting for next year - a long way away, and who knows what will happen.  The ones that I liked this time were King David and Sweet Sixteen, for interesting sounding flavors and disease resistance, and for the stories.
Jonared Apple with 4 whip and tongue grafts.  4.18.15

Jonagold W+T graft on M27 at one year.  4.18.15
The Jonagold that I whip and tongue grafted last year on M27, and planted in ground late winter, has bloomed nicely.  I've played the honeybee and pollinated with other varieties, especially Prairie Fire.

The unkown apple from the neighbor, on M27, shows no evidence of growth so far.  The Redfield on M27 has leaves the size of a baby mouse ear, but I'm not sure the rootstock is viable so it may be lost.

Plum Grafts. Progress Report for T-buds and Whip and Tongue Grafts. 4.18.15

The plum whip and tongue grafts that I did last month are looking good.   Buds are swelling for most of the grafts.

Of the Fedco grafts, Ember on Hollywood rootstock is almost leafing out.  Ember top-worked onto unknown plum, buds are swelling nicely.  Both Hanska top-worked onto unknown plum are greening and swelling.  One LaCrescent is doing so, the other one does not look dehydrated, so still has a chance.

Ember whip/tongue onto 1-year Hollywood rootstock.  4 weeks.  4.19.15

Of bud grafts from last summer, they were worth the wait.  Most are growing nicely.  Hollywood top-worked onto  several other trees, is growing.  One of the Prunus cerasifera buds bloomed and set fruit.   The other is growing leaves and stem.  I think I'll leave the fruit there, curious to see how they turn out.  I want only one branch of P. cerasifera, so if the fruiting bud-graft does not grow further, that's fine.  Shiro top-worked onto various trees is also growing on all, with some vigor.

I read several references recommending bud grafting for plums.  Clearly  bud grafting works for plums, but it looks like whip and tongue can also be successful.  There is still some growing to be done before I know for certain.  The advantage of whip and tongue is that budstock can be obtained as I did, in late winter/early Spring, and it does not take the long wait to see if they take.  That is also true in some cases for June budding, such as the Shiro and P. cerasifera buds that grew several foot after I June grafted them last year.

So far this looks like this year has great potential for plums and for grafting plums.
Hollywood Plum bud graft, approx 10 months.  4.18.15

Prunus cerasifera bud graft at 10 months.  4.18.15

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P. cerasifera plum T-budded onto unknown stock.  8 months..  4.19.15

La Crescent Plum whip/tongue top worked onto unknown plum  4 weeks.  4.19.15

Hanska whip/tongue onto unknown plum.  4 weeks.  4.19.15

Shiro T-bud onto unknown plum.  8 months.  4.19.15

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Crimson Pointe Plum Fruit Set. 4.11.15

Crimson Pointe Plum Fruit Set.  4.11.15

Crimson Pointe Fruit Set.  4.11.15
 Crimson Pointe plum has impressive fruit set this year.  Last year there were none at all.  The year before, about 3 or 4 plums.

I'm not sure what changed.  I did hand pollinate with flowers from Hollywood plum and Shiro.   I left those branches in the tree for insect pollination, too.   Maybe that was it, or temperature / rain difference.

Looks like potential for a great crop.

There is Charlie, always nearby.