Friday, June 30, 2017

Blackberry Update. 6.29.17

Fenced Apples and Blackberries.  6.29.17

Ebony King Blackberries.  Year 2.  6.29.17
 I think I have enough blackberry cultivars for trial.  It will take 2 or 3 years to see how they really produce, and that will also give me a chance to see how they survive the weather.  Three of the cultivars were planted last year in the winter and spring, and two are planted this year in spring and early summer.  Triple Crown was a container plant from a nursery, that was planted within the past month.  Despite hot weather, it's growing nicely.
Blackberry Columbia Star.  One year.  6.29.17

The varieties are:
Ebony King - old variety, probably diploid, some thorns.
Prime Ark Freedom - new variety, tetraploid, thornless.
Columbia Star - trailing, thornless.  I'm guessing this is tetraploid but I don't know yet.
Arapaho - tetraploid, thornless.
Triple Crown - I think tetraploid, thornless.

Blackberry Prime Ark Freedom.  6.29.17
So far the biggest challenge is deer and rabbit browsing.  Deer browse the tops, eating a significant part of the new growth.  That was a major set back last year, resulting in some complete loss of Prime Ark Freedom - half of the plants that I bought - plus they pulled Columbia Star out of the ground and destroyed most of the top, and ate half of the growth of the Ebony King.    Deer even ate the somewhat thorny Ebony King.  I notice they eat the tops of the brutally thorny local invasive Himalayan blackberries, but only the succulent tops with soft thorns.  All are in enclosures or cages now.  Rabbits ate off the emerging canes, up to one foot - thornless Prime Ark Freedom and somewhat thorny Ebony King.   That means, enclosures must also protect to the ground, Chicken Wire works for that.

I expect to taste some Ebony King in a few weeks, from the one plant, of three, that is producing this year.  All of the Ebony King are producing primocanes now, more vigorous than last year, and I hope my enclosure prevent loss of growth this time.  There may be a taste of a couple of Columbia Star blackberries, although only a couple from canes that survived the trauma and winter.  Prime Ark Freedom is primocane bearing, so there is a chance to sample those in a few months.

Blackberry "Arapaho" .  Two Months.  6.29.17

Blackberry Triple Crown.  One Month.   6.29.17
Only two of the Prime Ark Freedom survived the winter with strong growth emerging this spring, one stronger than the other - very vigorous.  However, I see tiny plants emerging from the roots of what I think are the plants that appeared to die off completely.

Of the new plants that I started this spring, Arapaho is getting off to a good start, and both plants have nice primocanes emerging.  They are in protected cages.  I may rearrange the beds this summer or fall, for better access and neatness.  The Triple Crown was blooming in the nursery pot, at only a foot tall.  There is a nice primocane emerging from that one as well.   I will leave the berries on the plant, to get a taste, if they develop.

If all goes well, there should be a taste of 4 varieties this year, maybe a few bowls of berries in 2018, and a good sized crop in 2019.  That is a big "if", but life makes no promises.  Gardening is always a bit of a guess, a bit of a gamble, some promises, some science and information, some work and some luck.

Hot weather. Ginkgo. Persimmons. Watering with bucket / hole method. 6.30.17

Ginkgo Tree, 19 years from seed.  6.29.17

Persimmon "Nikita's Gift".   Planted 2013.  6.29.17
 I just learned about the "hole in the bucket" watering method last year.  It's probably been around for a while.  Drill one or two quarter-inch holes in the bottom of a 5-gallon bucket.  Sit the bucket by a tree, fill with water, let it drain, move the bucket to the other side, do it again.  This method ensures about 10 gallons with each watering, avoids overwatering or underwatering.  Smaller trees, I fill once and water every few days.  Medium size trees, I fill twice and water once weekly, while somewhat larger trees I fill twice and water once weekly.  If it isn't hot, I space it out further. 

I found that with my water pressure, two quarter-inch holes work OK.

Top photo is a ginkgo tree that I moved here in 2012 from the seedlings that I started in 1998.  It had a slow start due to initial bad location but has taken off and is becoming handsome.

The rest are persimmons.  Saijo is done blooming.  I can see the start of fruits forming in the flowers.  Nikita's gift is just a little behind Saijo.  With a few 100 degree, dry, days, the flowers are brown.  I don't know if that matters for parthenocarpic (bear fruit without pollination) persimmons.   Yates is the third to bloom, and is an American Persimmon.  Yates was smaller and I planted a year or two later compared to the others, but has caught up in size.  There are a few flowers, just blooming, also petals looking singed from the heat.  Yates is sold as parthenocarpic as well.  

At this time of year, new persimmon branches are very droopy.  That puts them in range of deer browsing.  I widened the deer cages.  The ultimate goal is, trees tall enough that I can eliminate the cages for easier care and mowing.  Picking might need a ladder and good health insurance,  or a fruit picking device on a pole, but maintenance will be easier.
Persimmon "Saijo".   Planted 2013.  6.29.17

Deer browsing has been significant this year, but so far these persimmon cages are helping.  I expect to see a little damage at some point, but hoping it's minimal.
Yates Persimmon Flower.  6.29.17

Yates American Persimmon.  Planted 2014?   6.29.17

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) Transplanting Update. 6.28.17

Last fall, in September, I transplanted two milkweed plants to the front border.  At the time, these had just finished their second summer, and had bloomed for the first time, after I started them from seeds.  I had read that Asclepius syriaca cannot be transplanted, but I had also read that they are hard to kill.  These had nice rhizomes and roots, and soil fell readily from them, without much apparent damage.  I transplanted, watered them in, and tiied to a stake to prevent wind from uprooting them.

This milkweed species is very slow to emerge from dormancy in the Spring.  I tried not to disturb them, and weeds more or less took over that spot.  I gave up on them, thinking they died.  This week I cleaned up the area, and noted new growth for both plants.  That's nice, since I did want them to grow there.  They are behind the others in size, and a bit scrawny due to weed competition, but now I think they will establish and mature nicely in their new home.
Regenerating Milkweed Plants.  6.28.17
This is the root mass for the transplanted milkweed, Sept, 2016.

Daylily Update. 6.28.17

Daylily "Carefree Peach"  6.28.17

Home made Daylily Hybrid, 1st Blossom.  6.28.17
 Dayliliies have started blooming.  The first in my yard is "Luxury Lace", an old variety developed by an amateur in her back yard.  The seccond is "Carefree Peach", which hasn't bloomed much for me before.  I don't recall this varety having green striped tepals (outer petals), but the effect is nice.

Another hybrid daylily, that I made by transferring pollen from one variety, to a flower of a different variety, has bloomed for the first time.  This one is a nice apricot color.  Small plant, somewhat ruffled petals.  Since the labels got messed up last year, I don't know the parents.  Guessing, one mislabeled but floriforous yellow with similar size and shape, crossed with pink Luxury Lace.  Then again, it could be any of them.

The first of my hybrids to bloom, was a very pale pink.  Almost white.  This one is quite different.

I may move this new one into the flower border.  Nice flower, and I'm not as  likely to miss watering them in the border.
Daylily "Luxury Lace".  6.28.17

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Apple Grafting Update. 6.17.17

Jonathan on Jonared.  6.17.17
 Here is a grafting update.  Most of the grafts are doing well.  I accidentally broke off the Honeycrisp graft that I added to Winecrisp.  Firecracker red flesh crab did not take, but Grenadine red flesh apple did.  Apple grafts doing well:  Opalescent, Jonathan, Airlie Red Flesh, Fameuse, Dolgo Crab, King David, Sweet 16, Grenadine.  Last year's Airlie Red Flesh has 5 apples, Newtown Pippin has one, and Baldwin about 6. Milo Gibson and Sweet 16 that were very slow, have taken off and growing like gangbusters.  
Dolgo Crab on Jonared.  6.17.17

Grafts on Winecrisp.  6.17.17

Grenadine on multigraft.  6.17.17

Persimmons are Blooming. 6.19.17

Saijo Flowers.  6.19.17

Saijo Flowers.  6.19.17
Saijo persimmon flowers have opened.  So have the grafts of Chocolate persimmon.

The leaves on Saijo are much greener this year.  I'm attributing that to correcting a soil, magnesium deficiency, via dose of Epsom salts.  That was 1/4 cup in 2-gallon watering can, late winter.  I did add 1/8 cup Epsom salts in 2 gallon water, last weekend as well.

 Nikita's Gift Persimmon flowers are swelling but not open yet.  Yates American Persimmon flowers are even smaller, possibly because they are smaller anyway, as an American persimmon.  Speculation on my part.  I am watching them with interest.  Since American Persimmons are smaller, compared to Asian Persimmons, maybe they don't need as long to develop in the warm summer weather.

The last one is Prairie Star (Or Prairie Sun?) American Persimmon, which I planted 3 years ago.  First year, it was eaten off by rabbits.  This year, most of the leaves were destroyed by hail.   It has a little regrowth now.   It's only about 18 inches tall.  Maybe growth on the remaining stems will be good this year and give it a better boost for the future.  Of course, no flower buds at this small size.

Edit:  Earlier version of this post stated "coffee cake persimmon".  I should have stated "chocolate".   

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Snake. 6.17.17

I'm guessing this is a garter snake, and feeds off moles and voles, bugs, slugs, and snails.   We saw 4 snakes today while planting beans.  They are not particularly afraid of us. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Indian Runner Ducks. 6.13.17They

Indian Runner Ducks.  Now they have their full adult plumage.  Shy, but healthy looking.  6.13.17

Grafted Ginkgo Tree. 6.13.17

Here is the growth of my dad's ginkgo tree, grafted onto a rootstock from locally obtained ginkgo seeds.  I grafted last year.  Then, the scion grew only a small tuft of leaves.  This year, it is growing by leaps and bounds.

I think ginkgo is more difficult to graft compared to apples and plums.  Of the three that I grafted, one did not take at all, and one fell off this spring, after one year.  But this one is clearly thriving.  This was a whip-and-tongue graft.

More Kitchen Garden. 6.13.17

Garlic, potatoes, some small blackberry plants, and collard greens.  6.13.17

The first planting of onions and potatoes.  6.13.17

One of the hot pepper beds.  6.13.17

One of the tomato beds.  6.13.17

Germinating Sweet Corn.  6.13.17

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Kitchen Garden. 6.11.17

Tomato Plants.  6.10.17
Today I planted the 4th batch, probably final batch, of sweet corn seeds.  The variety was Bodaceous, which I bought last fall at Fred Meyer on close out.  I don't think I will try to keep sweet corn seeds any more, they are less able to remain viable with time.  Still, one year old should be OK.

Bodaceous is a yellow sweet corn, SE type (sugary enhanced) - not the supersweet type, but remains sweet longer on the plant - matures in about 75 days, has improved disease resistance, and is well adapted to the Northwest.  Since I'm not planning to save the seeds another year, I planted the entire packet in 4 rows, and will thin to a foot apart if germination turns out to be good.

I noted that a blackberry plant - Arapaho - had purple leaves.  Researching that, it appears to be caused by phosphorus deficiency.  I will need to find a supplement for that.  In some cases, I read that plants with deficient magnesium in the soil, are not able to take up phosphorus.  Since I know from soil test that my soil is magnesium, and probably not phosphorus, deficient, I will apply some Epsom Salts, 2 tablespoons per 2 gallons of water, for more of my kitchen garden plants.  When I did that for Saijo Persimmon, the result was dark green leaves, instead of the usual pale green / yellow leaves.  So I think it helped.  I applied that amount of Epsom salts solution for the tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn, and chestnut tree saplings, then ran out.  That kind of gets away from the concept of phosphorus deficiency, but phosphate was normal to high in my soil.  Other side of yard, but that I what I have to go on for the time being.

I don't know if I blogged on this - I added another horticultural blackberry, Triple Crown.  My readings pointed me to this variety, tetraploid - as is Prime Ark Freedom but I don't know about Ebony King.  Triple Crown is described as disease resistant, highly productive, and a delicious fruit that works well in Pacific NW.  I bought the plant at a local nursery, already green and growing; bare-rooted it carefully, removed planting compost, and planted in the native soil of my garden.  I protected from deer and rabbits, with chicken wire.

I read that primocanes should have the growing tip removed, with both primocane-bearing and  floricane-bearing, varieties of blackberry, at around 3 feet tall.  My brambles are young, and only two have primocanes that tall, so I tipped them.  Tipping means the growing tip is snapped off by bending.  That promotes growth of branches, resulting in much higher yield and stronger plants. 

Monday, June 05, 2017

Daylily Seedling in Bloom. Kitchen Garden. 6.5.17

Daylily flower, seedling started in early 2015.  6.5.17
The daylily that I pictured previously, has it's second flower, and many buds.  Now the tepals open too, making for a more conventional daylily flower.  The petals have nice substance, fairly wide and a little ruffled.  The pale pink is very nice, I think.  There was nothing in any of my daylilies that would make me expect such a pale pink.  Very happy with the result.  Thinking further about this result, I think it came from a wide petaled yellow, maybe Happy Returns? and a narrower petaled pink, maybe Luxury Lace.  But I'm not certain, the labels didn't make it over time.

Currently, this daylily is in a container with other daylilies and lilies.  I may keep it there for a while, seems like a good spot.

In the kitchen garden:
-Tomatoes are growing nicely.
-Two days ago I planted the 3rd set of sweet corn.  I transplanted the few plants that germinated from the 2st set, to a grouping of 6.  The second set had better germination, and I think I will have 4 rows of 5 plants each, when they are bigger.   The first batch was Trinity, the second was Bodaceous, and the third was something from Territorial Seeds, but I forget the variety. 
-Peppers are growing nicely.
-I planted the Chinese wide beans that I pre-started in wet paper towel / ziplock, last week.  Some had the first root, or the beginning of the first root.  These beans were seeds that I saved from last year, which I grew for very old seeds, I think more than 10 years - seeds that were in the closet.  They are a traditional wide bean, used as green beans, originating from Northeast China. Germination of those old seeds was less than 10%, but I'm expecting something close to full germination from this batch now.
I expect to plant one more batch of Chinese wide beans, and one  more batch of sweet corn, in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Thinned "Jonared" apples.  5.30.17
This year looks like a good year for the young apple trees.  This Jonared Apple is 3 years old, and had good bloom and fruit set for the first time this Spring.  I thinned the developing apples to at least 6 inches apart, for better fruit development and to avoid alternate year bearing.  Jonathan is a nostalgia variety for me, but the red Jonared sport was as close as I could come when ordering on line.  I have since found some true Jonathan scion, and grafted them to this tree, this year, to see if I can see any difference.

This is the time to thin fruits, if it's not already done.  The developed the most cells per fruit at the early stage, so thinning them results in better development.  Many of my grafts from the past 3 years will have their first taste this year, including Porter (one), Newtown Pippin (one), Baldwin (5), Arlie Red Flesh (6), Goldrush (6), Priscilla (4).  For best graft development, better to remove the first fruits, but I'm not getting younger so I am leaving them as if they are understock branches, so I get to taste them.  Since I thinned aggressively, they still have a chance for more fruit next year.

Flowers in Bloom. 5.30.17

Purple Globe Allium.  5.30.17

Tamara Rose.  5.30.17

Unknown Hybrid Tea Rose, cutting grown.  5.30.17

Unknown White English Rose.  5.30.17  I believe this is "Fair Bianca™"

Flavescens Iris.  5.30.17

First Flower on Daylily Seedling. 5.30.17

First Flower on Daylily Seedling.  5.30.17
For the past 2 years,  I play mad scientist and transfer pollen from stamens of daylily flowers of one color, to pistols of daylily flowers of another color.  I try to stick to diploid with diploid, and tetraploid with tetraploid, which is basically the stouter more hefty looking daylilies tend to be tetraploid, and the more delicate ones tend to be diploid, although that is not a hard and fast rule.  Regardless, if seeds develop, and they usually do, I save them, stratify them using the damp paper towel in ziplock in refrigerator method, then germinate them using the damp paper towel in ziplock on windowsill method, then grow them as seedlings.  Usually, slugs, rabbits, and deer eat most of the plants, which I don't like.

This one was protected by growing with other daylilies in a barrel planter, and today it was the first of all of my daylilies to bloom.  It's not an idea spot - shady - but there it is.  Nice pinkish color.  The tepals are pointed.  That might change in future flowers, or not.  I didn't bother to label, but I think this is an offspring of a yellow that was incorrectly labeled, or more likely a correctly labeled tetraploid that reverted to diploid.  I actually like the unusual appearance and the subtle pink color, with green throat, and shape that makes me think of trilliums.   Another is making buds, so this is my year to see some results from daylily hybridizing.

Meanwhile, the first batch of daylily seedlings that I planted out from last year's hybridizing, were all eaten by slugs, except for one that somehow survived.  I left the second batch in containers that dried out, noticed this week that they started to re-grow, and planted among peppers and tomatoes in the vegetable garden.  If they grow, we'll see what happens.