Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Methley Plums. 6.28.16

Methley Plum.  6.28.16
I thought this year there would be no plums.  There are not massive numbers, but there are enough for some bursts of orchard flavor.  This is Methley.  I think it's 1/2 Prunus cerasifera, so similar to Hollywood.  The same tree has a graft of Shiro, starting to color up, and a graft of Hollywood, no plums on that this year.

What's Blooming. 6.28.16




Potato Onion


Classic Red Rose

Potato Onion

Chinese Chives

Overwintered Pelargoniums from Cuttings

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Walking around. Kitchen Garden, Progress Report.. 6.26.16

Jerusalem Artichoke.  6.26.16

Bulb Onions.  6.26.16
 Jerusalem artichokes are growing the best in 3 years.  I have no idea why.  The first year, they barely grew, then were eaten by deer.  The second year, I did not see any growth.  This year there are 2 gigantic plants.  I did not plant them, so they were either dormant for a year, or I missed them last year.

2nd Scion Take, Chocolate Persimmon.  6.26.16
 The bulb onions are bulbing up nicely.  I have never grown them before.  These are a yellow variety, bought and planted the sets late winter.

The second graft of the Chocolate Persimmon looks like it took.  I don't expect much growth this year.   Maybe next year both grafts will take off and grow.
Collard Greens.  6.26.16

Deer Fencing.  6.26.16
 I think the limiting factor on Collard Greens, is slugs.  Since I put down slug bait, some are growing like crazy, others more slowly.  This is my first try for Collard Greens.

I've been worried that deer will take after the Carini fig and others in the row, that are looking so good.  They ate leaves of a fig tree about 6 feet away.  I finally added a strip of fencing.  This is a fairly protected spot.  The cost of deer fencing can be exhorbitant.  One of the most expensive parts of gardening.  This time, I bought plastic fencing.  Price is about 1/2 the metal fencing, it won't scratch me like 1,000 thorns, like chicken wire, and I think it should deter the deer.  They are not aggressive, just persistant to consume anything they can easily reach.

Methley plums are almost ripe.  We ate a few today.
Methley Plums.  6.26.16

Chinese Beans.  6.26.16
 The resurrected Chinese Beans look pretty good in general.  I hope they continue to grow.

The White Potato Onions, that I started last fall from sets from Territorial Seeds, are blooming.  Apparently, that is a rare event and should be treasured.  In Utah, Kelly Winterton has been trying to resurrect (another ressurection) the variety by taking opportunity of potato onion rare bloom events to collect true seeds.  There are several reasons-
Vegetative propagation of a variety over the decades - possily centuries - may weaken the strain due to somatic mutations ande viruses.  Apparently, growing from seeds can restore the genetic potential and eliminate some, if not all, viruses that do not cross the seed barrier.   The seed-grown onions may be much larger and more vigorous, than the division-grown onions.  Seed grown potato onions have potential to develop new varieties.    Since mine are blooming, I will see if they set seeds and if so, that will be a fun project.  At the very least, I hope I get nice big potato onions from the seedlings. 

Winterton speculates that potato onions are a natural hybrid from centuries ago, which have been maintaned ever since, by vegetatice propagation.  If so, he considers seedlings from this variety to be F2 generation, with a lot of diversity and unpredictablity.  It is also possible, they could be pollinated by other onions around the yard.  I have garlic chives in bloom - don't know of those can cross with potato onions.  I removed all flowers from other onions.

Nikita's Gift Persimmon is looking great!  Fruit are swelling nicely.  I did some thinning but not too aggressive, because there are so many leaves and so few fruits.  Still, it's possible there will be a dozen, maybe more, persimmons this year.  If the persimmon gods smile upon us.  This variety is vigorous, stout growth, very healthy appearing.  Saijo has a few potential fruits as well. 

The first wave of Sweet Corn, Trinity, is as high as my eyeballs.  The secone wave, Bilicious, is waist high.  The 3rd wave, also Trinity, is almost knee high.  Subsequent waves are smaller but growing.  The last ones, seeds planted last week, Bodaceous, have not emerged from the soil yet.

I tried to be creative with a tomato cage, made from bamboo and jute string.  I don't know if that will deter the damn deer.  The pictured tomato plant is a grafted Supersweet 1000.
Flowers on White Potato Onions.  6.26.16
Swelling fuit on Nikita's Gift Persimmons.  6.26.16
First Three Waves of Sweet Corn.  #1 = Trinity, #2=Bilicious, #3=Trinity.

Tomato Cage, maded from bamboo and jute string.  6.26.16

New Potatoes. 6.26.16

These are the first potatoes.  The red ones are a pink flesh potato.  I think - forgot to take notes - this is Red Thumb Fingerling.  The brown ones are Burbank Russets.  I harvested about 2 plants of each.  Estimating the yeild here as 5 pounds.  We should be past the rainy season now, so I think I can dig them as I need them.  Tomorrow:  pink flesh potato salad.

Pie Cherries / Cherry Pie. 6.23.16

Montmorency Cherries.  6.26.16

Wild Bird-Planted Cherries.  6.26.16

Cherry Pie Filling Ingredients.  6.26.16
This is my first crop of Montmorency pie cherries.  We also have a massive, bird-planted cherry tree that bears small red/yellow cherries.  All went into two pies.  The first pie was last week, and was all from the wild bird-planted cherry tree.  The montmorency cherries were too small for cherry pitter, so I pitted them by hand.  There were enough for 1/2 of the pie filling, so the 2nd pie also got wild cherries.  These pies were the most cherry-tasting pies I've had in many, many years.  These cherries have clear juice - the filling will not be red without coloring, and I don't need chemical-red to taste cherry.  It was so good.

Cherry Pie.  6.26.16

The pie filling is 4 cups of pitted cherries, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup flour, pinch of salt, mix together and let it extract the cherry juice while making the pie crusts.  After filling with the cherry filling, I add dabs of butter before covering with the top crust.  This pie is baked at 375 F for 50 minutes.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Last corn planted. First Zucchini harvested. Beans planted. 6.19.16

Today I planted another row of bean seedlings.  These are the Chinese bean seeds that are in the range of 10 to 15 years old.  Some of the seedlings had distorted leaves, and two were missing their first set of true leaves.  Most look OK.

I planted the final block of sweet corn.  I don't know if the season will be long enough, or warm enough for long enough, for a harvest of such a late planting.  But if I don't plant it, I could miss out on some sweet corn.  This is the first yellow variety that I planted, for variety sake.  This is a sugary enhancer (se) type, NOT GMO, 75 days to maturity so fairly early compared to some that are 100 days.

I take my I-pad to the store and research varieties that I'm curious about.  This is info on the sweet corn variety, "Bodaceous" via ufseeds.com:
 Beautiful, uniform, well-filled ear.
High quality yellow sweet corn that has large, mouth-watering kernels. Bodacious has 18 rows and 8" ears. Kernels are delicious, sugary and very tender. Bodacious is great for fresh eating, freezing and canning. A popular yellow market variety that holds well once picked. Tolerates cold weather conditions better than most.

Product Details
Breed: F1 Hybrid
Zones: 3-9
Germination: 5-7 days
Days to Maturity: 80-90 days
Ear Length: 8" inches

Ear Diameter: 2" inches
Plant Height: 84" inches
Ear Height: 28" inches
Color: Yellow
Genotype: Sugar Enhanced (SE)
Resistance: MS, MR
First Zucchini picked today.  Not bad, June 21.  

Beans from old seeds.  6.21.16
Corn Seeds Planted 6.21.16
Corn Seeds Planted.  6.21.16
First Zucchinin of the Year.  6.21.16

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Seeds on sale. 6.15.16

Seeds are on sale at Fred Meyer for 40% off.   This is a big savings, and no postage and shipping for mail order.  So, it's a good time to get seeds for next year. One year old seeds of these varieties should grow fine. I chose types that have been successful for me, or look interesting.

They will go into the seed collection for next year. There were also a Fava bean variety with no variety name. I usually do well with Hume seeds.

Harvest. 6.15.16

Today's Harvest.  6.15.16

Nice harvest. Favas, snowpeas, Chinese chives for dummpling filler, peppers, eggs, and some flowers.

Recovering Old Bean Seeds. 6.15.16

Germinating 10 year old bean seeds.

Rinsed Germinating Bean Seeds.  6.15.16
Ning had some old bean seeds.  I've been keeping them in the basement in plastic containers.  These are a Chinese variety, wide bean similar to Romas but with thicker pods.  They are not squeaky like most green beans.

The seeds are 3 types.  There is a dark brown seed, a light brown seed with darker markings, and a white seed. 

I have tried to locate new seeds, but can't find the variety.  At the saturday market, we did buy some once at a Chinese vegetable stand.

I decided to try to germinate the seeds.  There might be 400 seeds.  I did not count.  I used the wet paper towel method.

None grew the first week.  The second week there were some sprouts, and some seeds rotted.  I rinsed all of the seeds in a sieve, planted the sprouted seeds, and incubated the remainder for additional several days using fresh wet paper towel and fresh zipper plastic bag.  Then I repeated the sorting, rinsing, planting, and incubate for additional time.  Now, about 2 weeks having passed, about 40 seeds have sprouted.  It's possible they won't all get to the green leaf stage, since there was some rotting of dead seads.  The purpose of the rinsing is to remove as much detrimental bacterial life, as possible.
Bean Seedlings.  6.15.16

These will get special planting and treatment when they have their first true leaves.  I intend to save a few dozen seeds, so we have fresh seeds next year. 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Milkweeds and Lindens. 6.8.16

Asclepias syriaca, approx one year after panting seeds.  6.8.16

Asclepias syriaca at one year.  6.8.16
I planted the milkweed seeds last year.  These are the common milkweed, "Asclepius syriaca". They have a tropical appearance, beautiful fragrant flower, and I think if not native / considered a weed, they would be a nursery plant.  I planted for bees and butterflies.  They were late, coming out of dormancy.  I thought they were dead.  Then they grew with a burst of vigor.

The American Linden is blooming very nicely.  There are pollinating bees, although I have not seen honeybees.  The flowers are fragrant.  I planted this tree February, 2013.

Deer damage has occurred, but minimal.  I'm a bit surprised, since Linden leaves are considered edible.

American Linden Tilia americana "Redmond".  6.9.16

Tilia americana "Redmond" with wasp.  6.8.16
American Linden "Redmond"  about 3 years after planting.  6.8.16

Some flowers. 6.9.16

Buddleia "Miss Ruby"  6.9.16

Buddleia "Miss Ruby".  6.9.16

Daylily, unknown variety.  6.9.16

Potatoes in bloom.  6.9.16

Roses.  6.9.16

Daylily, unknown variety.  6.9.16

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Fava Harvest. 6.9 16

Favas Ready To Harvest.  6.9.16
 Every now and then I discover something that has been around forever but I never tried.  Favas are the next item.  I planted favas 2.13.16

They grew great.  These were amazing plants, growing before almost I could plant most other kitchen garden seeds or plants.  They were vigorous and problem-free.

I didn't know when to harvest.  The beans have grown large, so I cut a batch today.  After shelling them, I boiled for one minute, poured them into cold water, then peeled the beans.

I've never tasted favas before.  They were delicious.

Harvested Fresh Favas.  6.9.16

Shelled Favas.  6.9.16
 There are several more harvests on the plants.  Something to look forward to.

Since I"m just now planting regular beans, this is a chance to to grow and harvest legumes long before the usual bean.  The prep is a little tedious, as noted by others, but they are so delicious, they are worth the effort.

I ate a fair amount with no further prep.  Others, we had on salad with lettuce, fresh snow peas, and sliced tomatoes, with a Ceasar dressing.  Very good.
Parboiled, Peeled Favas.  6.9.16