Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Apple Blossom Time. 4.25.17

Gravenstein.  4.25.17
 Apples have a wide range of blooming times, and there are a lot of triploid apples that not only require a pollinating variety, but do not pollinate others in return.   Only the diploid ones can provide pollen.  So if there is a triploid, you need two pollinating (diploid) varieties that overlap bloom time with the triploid.

Here is how my varieties look so far this year.  The numbers are my guess, and the designations are (triploid) for triploid and (d) for diploid, based on my memory.  I might be assuming some as diploid for lack of better information.  I spell out "triploid" to make it stand out better.  I might be missing some.

Full bloom.
Gravenstein (triploid).
North Pole (d)
Golden Sentinel (d)

Many open flowers, 25% to 50%.
Pristine (d)
Queen Cox (d)
Liberty (triploid)
Priscilla (d)

Golden Sentinel.  4.27.17
Some open flowers, less than 10%
Ornamental Crab Prairie Fire (d?)
Rubinette (d)
Airlie Red Flesh (d)
Sutton's Beauty (d)
Jonagold (triploid)

Buds present but none open yet.
Baldwin (triploid)
Chehalis (d)
Summerred (d)
Akane (d)
North Pole.  4.27.17

Prairie Fire Ornamental Crab.  4.27.17

Airlie Red Flesh.  4.27.17

Priscilla.  4.27.17

Jonared.  4.27.17

Pristine.  4.27.17

Queen Cox.  4.27.17

Rubinette.  4.27.17

Liberty.  4.27.17

Liberty on M27.  4.27.17

I don't know if Prairie Fire can serve as a pollinator.  The tiny crab apples are worthless, but it's a beautiful tree when in full bloom.

Some of these are 1-year old growth from grafts, such as Airlie Red Flesh - covered with flower clusters (also sold under trademark name "Hidden Rose"), Baldwin with lots of flowers, and one flower cluster at end of stem on Newtown Pippin (not open yet).

With daily rain and chill, I feel some concern that none of them will pollinate.  Considering how early Gravenstein was, I cut off a stem of flowers from North Pole and left it in the Gravenstein tree.  I don't know if that will help. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Garden Blackberries. 4.21.17

As a reward to myself for hauling 7 loads of brush to the yard waste recycler / composter, I stopped in Lowes and found these Arapaho blackberry plants on sale half price.

Cultivated blackberry varieties have much better garden characteristics and better flavor, compared to the invasive wild ones.  The plants are much smaller, often thornless, and the berrys sweeter.

Of the varieties that I have tried so far, there hasn't been much chance to evaluate fully.  Last year I bought 6 Prime Ark Freedom® plants, which bear on first year canes as well as second year canes.  Being fully thornless, the deer and rabbits liked them, but the main thing was  the plants did not survive the freeze.  The berries were big juicy berries last year, but only 2 plants survived the winter.  The tops did not survive, so the berries this year will be primocane berries.  Ebony King plants survived the winter and have nice starts of floricanes now, so I'm optimistic to have a taste this year.  The only Columbia Star plant survived, and has starts of floricanes, so again maybe there will be a taste this year.  These Arapaho plants will need a year for evaluation.  Plants from big box store have the advantage of no postage, and you get to inspect the plant, but the disadvantage of limited selection of varieties,and they are often no in great shape.  Shipped plants may also not be in great shape, so I appreciate being able to inspect the store bought plants.  Plus they were on sale.
Ebony King Blackberries, 1 year old.  4.21.17
Of the others, 3 of 3

So of the ones I planted last year, I got a taste of Prime Ark Freedom, they were good but most did not survive the winter.  Ebony King and Columbia Star survived, and we  will see how they do and how they taste, if this year if good.  Ebony King is nearly thornless and needs protection from deer.    Ditto for Columbia Star.  Columbia Star is trailing, so needs support.  I think the same is true for Ebony King, but not Arapaho.   Arapaho is thornless too.
Columbia Star Blackberry, 1 year old.  4.25.17

Prime Ark Freedom Blackberry, 1 year old.  4.25.17
 The new growth on these looks pretty lush.  I think there is promise there for some nice blackberries, at least a taste, in 2017.

(Photos updated 4.25.17 for better pics with more clarity)

Here is some descriptive info about Ebony King.  It's hard to find info about this variety, even though it's on many nursery catalog websites.  The info is from USDA/ARS at Corvallis, website:

"Place of origin and originator unknown. Introd. about 1940 by Krieger's Wholesale Nursery, Bridgman, Mich. Parentage unknown. Fruit: large as Eldorado, which it resembles; skin black, glossy; flavor sweet, tangy, good; ripens early. Bush: upright; hardy; resistant to orange rust"

From various websites, Ebony King is cold tolerant,  disease resistant, vigorous, nearly thornless or reduced amount of thorns.

.This old variety is not patented or trademarked as far as I can tell.  It is way past any possible patent expiration date.

Here is some info about Arapaho.
Summarizing from Edible Landscaping website, "earliest ripening thornless variety... ripens its fruit in a 4 week period...Plant Patent # 8510... thornless, erect, self supporting canes, good fruit quality, earliness of ripening and its ability to establish a full fruiting row quickly. Zone 6-8"

From Texas A and M University website: "released in 1993 by the University of Arkansas, is an erect growing, thornless variety that produces a medium sized, firm, high quality fruit over a four week season. Arapaho is very productive, has no thorns, and is resistant to both Double Blossom and Orange Rust. Arapaho is a lower chill variety suitable for zones 8-9 and above."  So Arapaho looks like a pretty good choice.  According to the US Patent Office, "A plant patent expires 20 years from the filing date of the patent application."  I'm no lawyer but to me that means the patent for Arapaho expired in 2013.

Info about  Prime Ark Freedom®:   Primocane ("Prime"), from University of Arkansas ("Ark") free of thorns ("Freedom?") released in 2013 although I don't have the patent date - I assume this one is patented and therefore can't be reproduced.  I thought this one sounded good because it is primocane as well as floricane bearing, so potentially early and late crops each year.  According to University of Arkansas, "the world’s first primocane-fruiting and thornless commercial blackberry introduction. It is intended primarily as a home garden or local market plant. It has very large fruits with good flavor, and is very early ripening on floricanes, the earliest of all Arkansas blackberry varieties."  Since universities now patent, trademark, and license their releases, I don't have a lot more faith in their release descriptions than I have for commercial nurseries - interesting to read, but they have a profit motive so take with a grain of salt.

Information about Columbia Star Blackberry - this time from Oregon State University - "very high- quality, high-yielding, machine-harvestable,thornless trailing blackberry with firm, sweet fruit that when processed are similar in quality to or better than fruit from the industry standards ‘Marion’ and ‘Black Diamond’."A patent was applied for and granted in 2013 so still under patent #US PP25532 P2 .
Arapaho Blackberry, New Planting.  4.25.17

Friday, April 21, 2017

Apple Blossom Log. Plum Blossoms. 4.19.17

Of the apple trees, the first to bloom, is Gravenstein.  About 10% to 20% of blossoms are open. 

Gravenstein is the first apple to bloom.  4.19.17
Of other varieties, the next are North Pole and Golden Sentinel, each of which has a few open flowers.

None of the others in my yard are open, although there are some buds that look close.

Of the plums, virtually all of the Asian and Asian x American hybrids are done blooming.  Ember is winding down.  I have what I think is Prunus americana, but might not be, grown from seeds.  That one is just starting.  I don't think it will do much good as a pollen source if it waits until the others are done blooming, before it starts.

Green Gage Plum is a little past peak bloom, and Stanley Plum is at peak bloom.  They may boost each other by cross pollinating, although both is considered self pollinating. My other European plums probably wont bloom for a couple of years, so time will tell.  Or not.

Male Ginkgo Flowers Open. 4.21.17

Male Ginkgo Flowers.  4.21.17

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Dawn Redwood Leaves Unfurling. 4.17.17

Dawn Redwood Leaves Unfurling.  4.17.17

Dawn Redwood.  4.17.17
This is the Dawn Redwood Metasequoia glyptostroboides that I planted last October.  At the time, the tree was newly shipped to the local nursery.  I washed all of the soil from the roots, which were minimal, and cut off potentially girding roots, which were few.  Still, I wonder if it will put out a few leaves then die due to so few roots.  So far it looks very nice.

Potatoes Are Growing. Planted Onion Starts.

Potatoes, planted in feb.  4.17.17
 With the chill and rain, I wondered if the potatos that I planted in February rotted.  Almost all of them have emerged, now, so they are fine.  Last week I planted the russets, which were very slow to chit.  So they are not up yet.  There were some old sprouted potatoes in the garage.  I panted a few that had the shortest - about 6 inch - and stoutest sprouts, and sent the rest to the compost pile.

Collards are starting to bold.  They had a good run.  Still some leaves to pick and cook.

Onions that I planted last month are beginning to look darker green and stouter.  I had enough unplanted seedlings in containers for 4 more 8-foot rows.  They look really puny in the rows but maybe they will perk up soon.

Garlic is about a foot tall.  This year I grew it in the open beds.  I don't think deer or rabbits usually eat garlic plants.  They ate some when they first sprouted last fall but all look good now.  Weeds are harder to hoe out in those beds, it rained too much for me to hoe and the weeds got out of control.  I weeded them yesterday.  Looks like we can get a big crop of good garlic this summer.

Overwintered Collards.  4.17.17

Onion Plants after One Month.  4.17.17

Onion Seedlings.  Ailsa Craig and Patterson.  4.17.17

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Fruit Tree Blooming Notes. 4.16.17

Gage Plum.  4.16.17

Stanley Plum.  4.16.17

LaCrescent Plum.  4.16.17

Hanska Plum.  4.16.17

Ember Plum.  4.16.17

Sweetheart Cherry.  4.16.17

Vandalay Cherry.  4.16.17

Ranier Cherry.  4.16.17

Hamese Asian Pear.  4.16.17

Hosui Asian Pear.  4.16.17

Maxie Asian Pear.  Front white flower is graft of unknown Asian Pear.  4.16.17

Multigraft Asian Pear, Branches Tied Down for Better Bearing.  4.16.17

Shinseiki Asian Pear.  4.16.17
More documentation of fruit tree blooming, for pollination matching.

By now, the earliest have dropped almost all of their petals, and can be considered done blooming.  Those are:
Ornamental Plum Crimson Pointe.
Hollywood Plum.
Sweet Treat Pluerry.
Nadia Plum Cherry Hybrid.

Methley Plum looks done or nearly so.

At peak or slightly past peak:
All of the hybrid Asian/American species plums.  These include Toka, Hanska, Ember, Lacrescent.
The unknown Asian plum is also past peak.
Shiro is past peak.

At peak bloom:
Stanley European plum
Green Gage (European) plum.
Vandalay Sweet Cherry.
Sweetheart Sweet Cherry.
Ranier Sweet Cherry.
Asian Pears including Hamese, Shinseiki, Hosui, Mishirasu, and unknown that might be Shinseiki but appears slightly different.
Maxie Hybrid pear is not quite to peak.
I have a graft of Rescue pear on the Maxie tree, which is at peak, but the original Rescue pear has barely begun blooming.

Apples are not blooming yet, but Gravenstein will be the first, with the first pink flowers now almost open.  It looks like Liberty and Pristine will be close behind, and maybe Jonared.  I don't know which of those I'm anticipating more.

Pawpaws have swelling buds, but I think it will still be a month or so.

Among the peaches, Charlotte is almost done blooming.  Same for Mary JaneQ-1-8 is at peak bloom.

The bottom 3 photos are my main orchard, although I have about as many other trees spread around the 2 acres in various groups.  It's nice seeing so many trees blooming, and thinking about watching the potential fruits develop.

a month.

Tulips. 4.16.17

Container Grown Tulips Second Bloom Season.  4.16.17
 These containers contain tulip bulbs, planted deep, and daylilies planted more shallowly.  Last year, deer ate the tulips.  So far this year they have missed them.  So we get to enjoy the tulips.
Container Grown Tulips Second Bloom Season.  4.16.17

Graft Progress Report. New Grafts and Some Old Ones. 4.16.17

European Plum Yakima, Whip/Tongue. One Month.  4.16.27
Here are some of my grafts from late winter and from years before.  There are too many to picture them all.

The European pears here are on what was a new bare-root multigraft.  That may not give them the best start, but at least the buds remain viable after one month and are swelling.  Yellow Egg already had swelling buds, which may be why the new growths appear damaged.  It's wait and see to see if they grow.
European Plum Yellow Egg, Whip/Tongue. One Month.  4.16.27

Asian Pear Chojuro One Month.  4.16.17
 I think Asian and European pears are really easy  The grafts here are added to a tree of the Asian x European pear hybrid, "Maxie".  All but the Chojuro are from my own trees.  The Chojuro was from Home Orchard Society scion exchange last month.  The wrapping is different because I experimented with melted candle wax.  I think plastic strips or parafilm are probably easier to work with but they are all OK for the graft.

The Nijiseiki was from last year and is on a Hosui Asian pear.  It took and grew nicely.

The older grafts are examples of how they look after a few years.  With my plum and apple grafts, most of the graft sites are no longer easy to identify.  They merged together almost seamlessly.

Asian Pear Hosui.  Two Month.  4.16.17
Asian Pear Hamese.  Two Month.  4.16.17

Asian Pear Nijiseiki.  One Year.  4.16.17
 Chocolate persimmon grew about 3 inches last year.  Some species grow rapidly and long, and others take their time.  This year, I suspect it will grow the same as the stock tree, a Saijo persimmon.
Asian Pear Shinseiki.  Cleft Graft.  4 years.  4.16.17

The ginkgo grafts barely grew last year when I grafted them, but the buds remained healthy looking.  The understock did grow new branches.  This winter, I pruned off those new branches.  The first one has bud damage - slugs?  rabbits? voles? but the second one is looking OK.  These are as exciting as any, because they mean that I can keep the ginkgo tree, in a sense, that I grew from seeds that my Dad collected almost 20 years ago.  That tree is around 25 feet tall, so obviously I can't transplant it.  
Unknown European Pear on Asian Pear.  4 Years.  Whip/Tongue.  4.16.17

Chocolate Persimmon.  Whip Tongue.  One Year.  4.16.17
Male Ginkgo on Ginkgo Seedling.  One Year.  4.16.17

Male Ginkgo on Ginkgo Seedling.  One Year.  4.16.17