Sunday, May 31, 2015

Progress Report. Hardy Palms in Battleground, WA. 5.30.15

Trachycarpus fortunei palm, in ground one year.  5.30.15

Chamaerops humilis palm, in ground one year.  5.30.15
The two palms that I planted last summer, survived the hard freeze and the rest of the winter.

I'm not surprised that Trachycarpus fortunei survived.  I have one of the same species in Vancouver, that is about 25 foot tall in 14 years.    I bit more than one foot per year, with no plant food, no watering, no treatment other than cutting off drooping leaves.

Chamaerops humulis was looking worn, but survived the winter.  Despite the small size, the largest stem has a flower bud.  Good to watch for bee activity.  I don't know when the flowers will open.

Both have new leaves.  Both got the pee-cycling treatment, a thick layer of grass clipping mulch, and extra water today.

Neither needs deer protection.  They are too spiky.  Trachycarpus leaves rattle and quiver in the wind, sounding like rattlesnakes and looking like wild dancers.  Chamaerops carries inconspicuous sharp spines, that readily draw blood and curses when I attempt to weed it.

Here they are when planted, one year ago.  It takes looking at last year's photo to appreciate that there has been growth.  Especially the Chamaerops, the difference is subtle.

The same Trachycarpus, 5.25.14

The same Chamaerops.  5.25.14

Fig, Persimmon,Progress Report. 5.30.15

Container Figs.  5.130.15
 Container figs all have thick mulch of chopped fir tree.  Some are doing better than others.  I've snapped off the growing tips, for branches of 4 or more leaves, to stimulate fig development.  For in-ground fig row south of house, I've done the same for side branches but allowed the central leaders to continue.

Persimmons.  The 2 trees in 3rd leaf, and the American Persimmon in 1st leaf, are all growing vigorously.  Nikita's Gift and Yates' flower buds persist. Chances are they will fall off, but I watch anyway.   All have protection from deer and rodents, and all have thick grass clipping mulch.  All have been given pee-cycling fertilizer, and all have been given extra water.

American Persimmon "Yates".  5.30.15

Hybrid Persimmon "Nikita's Gift"  5.30.15
 Pawpaws.   The three in 3rd leaf are growing well. "Sunflower" 3 fruit embryo / one flower, persists.  All have had doses of pee-cycling fertilizer, diluted 1:10, and all have been given extra water.  All have thick layers of grass clipping mulch, and nearby grass/weeds are removed.

Pawpaw "Mango", in first leaf, looks great.  That too, has been given the spa treatment, with  diluted pee, grass clipping mulch, protective fencing, and weed/grass clearance.
Kaki Persimmon "Saijo".  5.30.15
Pawpaw trees @ 3rd Leaf.  5.30 15

Squash and Corn Bed. 5.30.15

Fig, corn, and squash bed.  5.30.15
The original plan for this bed was to plant bee forage.  I have plenty of those.  I needed a place for squash and corn.  This is the warmest, sunniest part of the  yard, south of the house.

I also planted two rows of Asclepias syriaca, Common milkweed / Butterfly flower.  Those are for honeybees and local bees.  As perennials, they may not bloom until next year.

The fig trees on the left look healthy.  They do not need the space yet.  The small fig trees will not shade the annual crops, which are on the south side of the fig trees.

Gardening this area saves some mowing.  This has always been a difficult spot.  A fence, to the neighbor's field, is directly adjacent.

Chamomile for tea (tisane). 5.30.15

German Chamomile in garden bed.  5.30.15

Harvested chamomile flowers.  5.30.15
In 2012 I bough 2 plants of German chamomile and planted in a vegetable bed.   They grew too large, so I moved them to another location.  New plants self-seeded last year and this year.  I left them in place, thinking I could eventually dry the flowers for chamomile tea.  Since chamomile tea does not contain tea leaves, it is technically a tisane.  I drink chamomile / ginger almost every evening, with some honey, to settle my stomach.  Since I already use it, I might as well dry my own, fresh, local, free, organic chamomile flowers for that purpose.

I cut the flowers.   They will go into the food drier for a day or two.  I think that should do it.

Geranium (Pelargonium) shrubs. 5.31.15

Overwintered Geraniums.  5.31.15
These are the geraniums (Pelargoniums) that I overwintered for the 2nd or 3rd winter.  The front (right) box was overwintered in sun-room, and stayed green much of winter with blooming.  The back (left) box, less visible, was overwintered dry, in the garage.  Those geraniums have filled in and starting to bloom.  Nice big, full, Pelargonium shrubs.

The center box contains new plants.  Two are purchases, and one is a cutting from the back box, rooted in water after I cleaned up and pruned the plants when brought outside from their winter dormancy.

Overwintered Geraniums.  5.31.15

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Growing Degree Days, Battleground WA

This information is from Western Regional Climate Center.

Trinity SE Sweetcorn need 1,190 heat units  Based on the info below, if I understand correctly, adding to May (now) 559 growing degree days, +1,190 = 1759 which occurs in August.  But I don't know that I understand this table correctly.

Pawpaws require 150 frost free days and 2200 growing degree days, which I am thinking we get here in Sept or Oct. Might be OK.

Station:(450482) BATTLE GROUND
From Year=1928 To Year=2012
Growing Degree Days for Selected Base Temperature (F)
40 M6296168275456584747756607375153694348
40 S62159326602105716412388314437514126427943484348
45 M16276314230243459260145722659182938
45 S16431062495519851577217826352861292029382938
50 M2416571652854374463081051321840
50 S262278243528965141117191824183718401840
55 M002177215028429217133101023
55 S00219912415258179881021102310231023
60 M0003266214815271600468
60 S00032991239391462468468468468
Corn Growing Degree Days
50 M16448815325833445646537321561162479
50 S16601483005598921349181421872402246324792479

I bolded the bottom line.   That seems the most relevant.

Interpretation of the table:
"M = Monthly Data
S - Running sum of monthly data. 

Growing Degree Day units =  (Daily Ave. Temp. - Base Temp.) 

One unit is accumulated for each degree Fahrenheit the average temperature is above the base temperature. Negative numbers are discarded. 

Example: If the days high temperature was 95 and the low temperature was 51, the base 60 heating degree day units is ((95 + 51) / 2) - 60 = 13. This is done for each day of the month and summed.

Corn Growing Degree Day units have the limitations that the maximum daily temperatures greater than 86 F are set to 86 F and minimums less than 50 F are set to 50 F. "

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Persimmon and Pawpaw Progress Report. 5.19.15

Flower Buds on Nikita's Gift Persimmon.  5.19.15

Last Remaining Flower on Sunflower Pawpaw.  5.19.15
All but one of the pawpaw flowers fell  off.  The one that remains is on Sunflower.  It takes a close look to see the developing ovary.  I don't know.  It might give a couple of pawpaws.  This one flower is the last chance for this year.

Saijo Persimmon had some flower buds but they fell off without opening.  Nikita's gift started growth much later, compared to Saijo, the growth is much thicker and stronger, and there are a few flower buds.  The tree is only about 3 feet tall.

Yates American Persimmon is also growing strong, and has some flower buds.  This is first leaf for that one.
Ember Plum on Hollywood Rootstock.  5.19.15
 The grafts are growing like crazy.  A couple of container apples on salvaged rootstock are not growing, but everything else is really growing.

Most of the bud grafts from last summer have about the same amount of growth as whip / tongue grafts from this late winter.
Hanska Plum, Top Grafted Onto Unknown Plum.  5.19.15

I've started removing some of the wrappings.  It doesn't seem to be girdling anything yet.  From the couple that I removed, doing so does not appear to have caused harm.
LaCrescent Plum Top-grafted Onto Unknown Plum.  5.19.15

Hollywood Plum Grafted Onto Toka.  Bud graft from 2014.  5.19.15

Fedco Apple Grafts.  5.19.15

Corn and Squash Seedlings. 5.19.15

The corn seedlings and many of the squashes were ready to be planted outside. 

I planted next to the fig row where I had covered with black plastic for 2 or 3 months.  The grass was dead, there were no significant remaining roots, and the soil was moist and easy to work.

I watered with diluted fish emulsion, and sprinkled some old blood meal / hot pepper powder around each to repel rabbits.  I don't know if that will work.   It's too much to fence each plant.

Effect of trimming tree seedling roots, ginkgo biloba. 5.19.15

The ginkgo seedling on the left, is the same age as the other two.  I was unable to dig it up with intact roots, last fall.  It had almost no roots.  I kept it potted, and did not prune the top.  The other two were smaller, and I was able to dig the roots intact.

The two with intact roots are growing fast, with elongating main stem and large leaves.  The one with almost no roots, survived, but growth is very limited.  The limitation of roots has resulted in limitation of leaf size and stem elongation.  It will be interesting to see if it catches up, this year or next year.

Bearded Irises. 5.19.15

Mixed Irises, mostly historic.

Mixed Irises, mostly historic.

Mixed Irises, mostly historic.



Edith Wolford

Bearded Irises were not a total loss this year.   I think the change that I need to make, is keep them mulched with a loose wood chip mulch. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Presprouting Beans. 5.17.15

Ning wants some Chinese beans. He has old packages of seeds.  I dont know the age.  Some packages are unopened.  They are made with a plastic-impregnated paper, and have bern in a cool place.

To give them the best chance I can, I am pre-sprouting them on moist paper towels, in zipper bags, on the seed sprouting warming mat.  I used seeds from 6 different packets.  I also did the same with some 1-year old corn seeds, to test before actually planting them.

Vegetable Seed Planting and Germination. 5.17.15

Image via
Sweet corn seeds are germinating.   Almost all of the containers have at least one sprout.  I still need to prep the garden bed for the sweet corn.

About half of the squash and pumpkin seeds have germinated.  I moved them from peat pots into slightly larger containers for root room.  Same as sweet corn, I need to prep the garden bed.

Today I planted melon seeds:

Petite Yellow  Watermelon 65-80 days

Blacktail Mountain  Watermelon 65-75 days

Minnesota Midget Cantaloupe - 60 - 75 days

Sakata Sweet Asian Melon - 85-95 days

Edens Gem Cantaloupe - 65-80 days

So far only one outdoor bush bean has germinated.

It's still early to on-time for all of the squashes, beans, and corn.  Corn was planted 5.12.15, beans 5.11.15, and squashes/pumpkins 5.11.15

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

More Seeds Planted. 5.12.15

Seed starting stand, sunroom.  5.12.15
This weekend and today I planted more seeds.  Now into the more warm-requiring types.

I'm not accustomed to planting squashes and corn indoors in containers.  That may be needed here due to cool spring season soil and temps.  Yesterday and today are cool and rainy.

I have planted most of the winter squash seeds, the summer squashes, green and yellow zucchinis.

Today I planted sweet corn, Trinity Hybrid, sold as a cool tolerant, early bearing variety that may work here.

LaCrosse Seed lists Trinity as "Trinity is a homozygous sugary enhancer bicolor with a clean compact plant, refined ear and good husk protection."  Purdue states, Sugar enhancer sweet corn "has a higher sugar content and is more tender than standard sweet corn" also "Isolation Requirements All sweet corn types should be isolated from field corn pollen by a distance of 250 ft. or by a tasseling date of 14 days. Supersweet (sh2 ) varieties must be isolated from standard (su) and sugar-enhanced (se) types by a distance of 250 ft. or by a tasseling date of 14 days. If not isolated, kernels of both varieties will be starchy instead of sweet.".  There is no nearby field corn.  I also have seed for Early Sunglow Hybrid which is an su type.  Continuing, "It is not essential to isolate sugar-enhanced (se) sweet corn from standard sweet corn: cross-pollination will not result in starchy kernels. However, isolation will permit the full expression of the sugar-enhanced traits. To maintain purity of color, white corn should be isolated from yellow or bi-color corn. Pollen from yellow or bi-color corn will cause some yellow kernels in white varieties. Pollen from yellow corn will lead to extra yellow kernels in bi-color varieties. Pollen from white corn will not affect yellow or bi-color varieties"  So I may decide to either plant the Early Sunglow 2 weeks later, or distant from the Trinity.  Complicated.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mushroom box. 5.11.15

 Last week I bought a mushroom growing box at Home Depot.  Impulse.  Followed the directions.  Simple.

Today I noted the mushrooms are starting to grow.  The label states ready to harvest in 10 days.

Vegetable Gardening in Raised Beds. 5.11.15

Raised bed planted with bean seeds and protected with fencing.  5.11.15
 The former strawberry bed was weedy and the soil level sunken lower than I wanted.  I pulled what weeds I could, turned the rest over, and moved a few wheelbarrows of soil from a pile we keep for that purpose.  The pile consists especially of sod removed for other planting around the 2 acres.   Decomposition of the sod makes the soil a little better than it was.

In this bed, I planted Roma and Yellow Wax beans.  Also a small row of cilantro and some onion sets that were laying around already sprouted.

The cover is meant to deter deer and rabbits.
Tomato plants ready to set outside.  5.11.15
The fencing is not perfectly sealed and  birds may also get in.  Better than nothing.

Tomato plants in the sunroom were ready for planting.  That meant removing weeds from a second raised bed.  I had prepped it during winter but failed to cover to prevent weed growth.  The grasses were over 3 feet tall.  I pulled, then used weed eater, turned the soil over and raked somewhat smooth.  Planted tomatoes.  Mulched with thin cardboard food packaging.  Not pretty.  that gets covered with straw or grass clippings later and will no longer show.
Tomatoes started in raised bed, cardboard mulch.  5.11.15

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Set up Warré beehive. 5.9.15

Warré beehive set up 5.9.15
Earlier I set up this Warré beehive see if it would attract a swarm.  It did not.  Today I picked up a shipment of honeybees and installed them into the Warré hive.

The Warre hive was developed by Gustave Emile Warre (1857-1951) which he referred to  as "Ruche Populaire " or  "The People's Hive".  

These hives look very easy to build from scratch.  The only part I can't easily do at the moment is the rabbet.  Maybe I can give myself a router as a retirement present next year, with a rabbet bit.

I lost the info, but I think these new bees are Russian:Carniolan hybrids.  That was on the Beethinking website last year.

Strawberry Bed. 5.8.15

Start of Strawberry bed.  5.8.15
I renovated 1/2 of a vegetable raised bed, and planted strawberries.  Three of the plants were "Pine-berries", a small white strawberry advertised as having a pineapple flavor.  The rest, I forget the varieties.

The prior strawberry bed developed too many weeds.  Most of the strawberry plants died.  I had not been able to maintain it.

This is in an area not visible from the street or neighbor.  For the moment, I mulched with newspaper.  The boards are there to prevent wind from blowing the newspaper away.  The cage is there for deer.

I added a couple of wheelbarrows of yard soil to the previous strawberry bed.  The soil is from a pile we make from planting and removing sod.   I mixed it into the compost amended soil and planted Roma and Yellow Wax bush beans, and a row of cilantro.  I did not plant strawberries, not knowing if the strawberry plants died due to viral disease.  Viral disease has been described as an issue with older strawberries, best to start a new bed.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Pollinating Pawpaw flowers. 5.4.15

3-year-old NC-1 Pawpaw.  5.4.15

3-year-old Sunflower Pawpaw.  5.4.15

NC-1 Pawpaw flower shedding pollen.  5.4.15

Collecting pawpaw pollen.  5.4.15
 Today I pollenated pawpaw flowers.  I've been watching closely for flowers at the pollen shedding stage. 

The NC-1 is the largest of the 3 pawpaw plants that I planted summer 2012.  My goal has been to transfer pollen from Sunflower, which is smaller, to NC-1 stigmas.  However, each has only a few flowers, and what I do depends on the stage of each flower.

As it happened, 2, of the NC-1 pawpaw flowers were shedding pollen today.  When the entire flower is a dark burgundy, that's when it starts to shed pollen.  When the flower is almost all dark burgundy, it is not shedding pollen yet.  That is when I'm hoping the stigmas are receptive

The pawpaw flower makes a lot of pollen.  Much more than most of my other fruits

I pollinated 2 flowers of Sunflower with pollen from NC-1.  I also pollinated a flower of NC-1 with pollen from a different NC-1 flower.   That is not considered an option, but maybe this tree has not read that book.  If the flowers on Sunflower start producing pollen when flowers on NC-1 appear receptive, I will transfer pollen in that direction. 
Pawpaw flower prior to shedding pollen.  5.4.15

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Plum Grafting. Progress Report. 5.3.15

Ember Plum.  Whip Tongue Graft at 43 days.  5.3.15
Ember grafted onto Hollywood at 41 days.   Growing rapidly.  The rootstock was bent, so this tree will need staking to grow more vertically.  Not a problem.

I have not removed the wrapping yet.  Probably could.  I the growth is this advanced, I'm convinced the graft has fully merged and healed.  Leaving the wrapping in place for strength.   Remove at about 6 inches of growth.  We are close to that.

All I read about the need to bud graft plums was wrong.   I did 6 whip / tongue, using 3 varieties, and all took.  This is good.  Many of the bud grafts need more than 1/2 year to start growing.  The whip / tongue grafts are growing fast, a few weeks after grafting.

Apple Grafting Progress Report. 5.3.15

Whip / Tongue with Parafilm.  Columnar Apple.   Two months after grafting.   5.3.15

Whip / Tongue Graft on Columnar Apple.  Two months after grafting.   4.3.15
I grafted a 2nd columnar apple onto 1-year-old growth of another variety of columnar apple, at end of February. 

Not being familiar with Parafilm, I have tried a couple of methods.  For this graft, I used Parafilm and no other material, to wrap the graft.  It was a good fit, and I did not need a tighter material.

Now, 2 months later, the graft has taken, and the join has expanded to the point where the Parafilm wrapping is torn wide open.

At the lower end, a stock bud grew through the parafilm.  That also happened at the terminal aspect of the wrapping.

Since the graft has taken, is strong, and the wrap is no longer holding anything together, I removed the rest of the Parafilm.  That is probably not necessary, since it looks like the tree can stretch it to breakage, by itself.

This graft took very well.  The scion is growing nicely.  There is no open wound.

Apply Tanglefoot to Fruit Tree Trunks for Ant and Crawling Insect Control. 5.3.15

Tanglefoot and polyethylene strips.  5.3.15
 This is a good time of year to apply Tanglefoot to fruit tree trunks.  It's  well in advance of fruit ripening, but after most of the Spring rains.

For figs, the Tanglefoot prevents ants from climbing the trunk and entering ripe figs.  Without the Tanglefoot, my figs invariably have some added crunch, that seems to move around on the tongue.  In addition to being odd, infection by ants also seems to cause mold spoilage of the figs before they fully ripen.  I suspect the ants carry mold spores.

For cherries, Tanglefoot prevents black aphids.  My theory there is ants farm the aphids.  Either that or, the black aphids climb the trunk themselves.  Whatever the case, the Tanglefoot prevents them.

I also apply to apples, pears, and peaches.  The treatment does not stop problems caused by flying insects, but does stop problems caused by tree-climbing insects.

I don't know that tanglefoot applied directly to the trunk is harmful.  It is messy, sticky, and next to impossible to remove.  I wrap tightly with 6-inch-wide strips of light-weight polyethylene.  The strips are cut from disposable grocery store bags.  They are too flimsy to girdle the trunk.  I wrap twice, then tie with a square knot.  Then apply Tanglefoot, squeezing a strip from the tube like toothpaste, and spread on the plastic wrapping using a disposable plastic spoon. 

Being very cheap, I save the plastic spoons from my work place lunch.  I usually take my own flatware, but sometimes forget.
Wrapping fig tree trunk.  5.3.15

During the winter, I remove the Tanglefoot.   By then, it is covered with dust, dirt, plant material, and ineffective at stopping insects.   The polyethylene bags are flimsy enough, to simply pull off the tree trunks.

Alternatively, one could apply sticky plastic tape, sticky-side out.  I would not use duct-tape, which is too tough and might girdle the tree.

Tree protected with Tanglefoot.  5.3.15