Thursday, September 04, 2014

Moving a few bearded iris clumps. 9.3.14

Transported Iris Clumps.  9.3.14

Immortality, settled into place  9.3.14
 I moved 3 bearded iris clumps to the Battleground beds.  Two replace clumps that were lost this spring.  Immortality - which wasn't immortal, but is a nice white iris - and Accent.

I moved the clumps as intact as possible.  The soil was very dry.  In their locations, somewhat crumbly, not like a brick.

Into bags, then to the new location.

Again, I used unamended soil to replace soil where the prior clumps had died, or were moved out.

Then cleaned out the weeds, cut off dead leaves, watered them in carefully, and sprayed the leaves with neem.

This is the one watering until nature provides.

I think it helps a lot to write the name on a couple of leaves, via sharpie.   Less chance for mix-up.

Now they have copper labels too.

I also moved "Spiced Custard", which is not a historic iris, but I like.  It did not have enough room.  Now it does.

Accent, trimmed, cleaned up, neemed.
These irises from the Vancouver yard did not have any fungal spot at all.  They had less care than  the ones in the Battleground yard, drier and no TLC.  Which supports my contention that over-nurtured the Battleground irises.

Immortality, replanted, cleaned up, and neemed

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Historic Iris Beds. 9.2.14

Historic - mostly - Iris Beds.  9.1.14

Recovering Iris Plants.  9.1.14

Recovering Iris Plants.  9.1.14
 This is the state of the historic iris beds.  Historic irises, not historic beds.  They have nice growth, coming into fall.  I have sprayed with neem oil weekly.  The neem does not damage the leaves.  I don't know if it helps.  Fungus spot remains on the older leaves.  Expected - fungicide does not heal old spots, it prevents new ones.  I don't mind a few, expected in an organic garden.

Established vs. New Iris Plant.  Honorabile.  9.1.14
I thought I would lose Owyhee Desert - not historic - and Gay Geisha - historic.  Both are growing.  I doubt bloom next year.  Gracchus took a big hit too, and is growing again.  All 3 of these got replacement soil earlier this year, not enriched or amended.

Flavescens is poking along.  This may not be a good variety for this area.  I bought a replacement but the  original regrew.  The replacement is smaller than the original.

Alcazar is growing again.   It's almost as big as it was last year.  I thought it might be near-dead.  I suspect it will need at least another year to get viorous growth.  Assuming the plant disease issues are not a problem.  These also got new, unamended, unenriched, replacement soil.  The same for Shannopen, not shown.  That one, formerly big stout fans, reduced to nothing, but a tiny shoot grew so I kept it.

The final photo shows the difference between 1st year and 2nd year growth, for spring planted rhizomes.  This is sold as Honorabile but may be Sans Souci.  I bought a replacement because the growth last year was so minimal.  Despite the fungal issues with other plants, the overwintered cluster has much bigger leaves and better growth, compared to the rhizome I planted this Spring.  I think this indicates the Spring planted rhizomes, even if they might bloom the first year, are more stressed and take longer to establish, compared to summer - dormant -rhizomes.  This seems more true for the ones that are allowed to bloom the first year - makes sense, but the point of the Spring planting is to get same-year flowers.

New tags for all.  These are copper, which is embossed with ball point pen.  The steel markers with laundry marker faded too fast and will be reused elsewhere.

Maples. Tree Wounds. Volunteers. 9.2.14

Maple 9.20.12

Ning liked this maple cultivar that he found at a local odds-and-ends nursery on discount. 

Maple 9.1.14

Wounded Tree.  9.20.12
I was concerned about the wound - the owner stated that was a "growth crack" due to the tree growing faster than the bark could handle.  Not true - clearly damage, but the price was very low.  O forget - $16?  So we bought it.  Planted with the wound on south side to encourage keeping it dry.  I was interested in how such a large tree with such small root mass would survive.It's doing pretty  nicely. 

The growth is gradual.  Large trees without much root can't be expected to grow fast.  But it survived, and this year is looking nice.

Wounded tree.  9.1.14

Volunteer Maple.  10.20.12
 This photo underestimates the length of the wound - it extends up to the crack just below the lower branch.

The top portion has sealed together.  The narrower part of the lower portion of the wound looks like it will seal together next year, and the bottom, wider portion may take another year or two.

Maple is very hard wood.  Maple furniture is difficult to stain due to it's hardness, and is very resilient.  Planting with the wound to the south, gave it less chance for fungal or bacterial rot.  It is considered harmful, now, to pain wounds, so I left it bare.

With the small original root mass, I watered but did not fertilize last year.  I did not want to encourage top growth that the roots could not handle.

I did shave off the outside winding roots, so the tree would not be root-bound in the soil.

This year, I gave the tree a small amount of organic nitrogen (pee-cycle).  About 1 quart in 2 gallons of water, watered into the soil around the tree in Spring.  It received 2 waterings through the summer.  It seems well established now.
Volunteer Maple.  9.1.14

The other maple, a small volunteer maple, was from the yard in Vancouver.  It is not a big-leaf maple - may be a mixed heritage descendent of local cultivars.  I moved it from Vancouver, Oct 7, 2012.  Last year I kept it well watered, but not this year.  No fertilizer - it's in the middle of the chicken yard.

As an ungrafted tree on unpruned roots, I expect it will grow roots deep into the soil.  Growth has been amazing.  Not much branching, but quite tall.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Second Potato Harvest. 8.31.14

Potato Harvest, Wishing Well #1.  8.31.14

Potato Harvest.  Wishing Well #2.  8.31.14

Planting potatoes.  Wishing Well #1.  3.7.14
 Here is today's potato harvest, from wishing well #1 and #2.  I already harvested wishing well #3 maybe a month ago, and one more remains.

Pretty good yield.  I wondered if I could do better.  One is a mix of red and white, the other is all red.

I'm happy with the yield, and quality.  A few small ones might be good for next year's seed potatoes, or I could buy  new ones.

The wishing wells tended to dry out on hot days.  They might do better if I paint the outside white, or add reflective material, or have deeper soil.  I think the deeper soil will be a good start.
Potato Wishing Well #1.  4.27.14

Potato Wishing Well #1.  6.21.14
These are Pontiac Red and White Superior.

Toka Plum-Apricot Hybrid. 8.31.14

Toka Plum/Apricot.  8.31.14

Toka Plum/Apricot 8.31.14

Toka Plum/Apricot  8.31.14
This is the 3rd fruit from the Toka Plum/Apricot.  I planted this tree 2 years ago, a potted tree on close-out from Home Depot.  This is the 1st year it has borne any fruit - not bad, nice to have a taste - and there were 3 fruits.

It took some time to identify the origin of Toka.  It is listed most places as a plum, sometimes described as "bubblegum plum" due to the complex, very sweet flavor.  I wouldn't call it "bubblegum", but the flavor is delightful.

According to

Growing Fruit in the Upper Midwest (Google eBook)

Front Cover
by Don Gordon, copyright 1991, this plum was developed in 1911 at the University of South Dakota.   Toka is the Sioux Indian word for "Adversity".  I imagine that is because of the tree's hardiness.  Other plums with the same lineage are Kanga and Hanska.  The book describes this fruit as a cross of 'native plum' and 'Chinese apricot' - which makes it a distant relative of both European and Asian plums, in a category all its own.  Toka, on the other hand, was designed with more adverse climates in mind, has a much longer period of experience in the US, and is way beyond patent so can be used in grafting.
I happened on this fruit completely by accident.  I suppose I should refer to it as a plum, but based on the flavor and the lineage, American plum/Chinese apricot hybrid would be a better description.
Wow, it's good. 
Toka is considered an excellent pollenizer for Euro and Asian plums.  I wonder, then, if hybridization would result in other interesting, hardy fruit.

Fig tree Update. 8.31.14

South of house, fig tree row.  8.31.14

Plastic to eliminate sod and weeds.  8.31.14
I thought much of this row of fig trees was killed in the big frost winter 2013/14.  Sal's was intact, but all of the others were dead above the ground.  They all grew back from roots.  They all look pretty good.  Not as large as last year.  I hope that means, better lignification and better survival this upcoming winter.

Some of the fig tree / bushes have small figs.  I don't know if we'll get ripe ones this fall.

Earlier this month, I mowed down the weeds and weedy grass,  and used the cuttings for mulch around the trees.  I have been adding spiny juniper trimmings to reduce small herbivore browsing.  Sort of a wreath around the trees.  Not near the trees, but in a row on each side, I treated the lawn with nitrogen / pee-cycle.  I don't want to stimulate fig plant growth, but I do want sod that can be mowed and walked on for better access.

At the rear of the photo, not showing well and fore-shortened due to distance, is the first of the black plastic mulches to heat/exclude water/ exclude light.  That can be left until Spring.  Then, broadcast bee forage seeds - borage or others, and I have a nice bee-foraging area.  Plan to do the same between the fig trees, which will ease mowing and feed bees.

Better view of plastic weed eliminator.  9.1.14

Grafting follow up. Cleft, Whip and Tongue, Bud Grafting. 8.31.14

Sweet Cherry Bud Graft.  Grafted mid-July 2014.  9.1.14
Lilac Bud Grafts.  Grafted June 2014.  8.31.14

Hollywood Plum Bud Graft.  Grafted late May 2014.   8.31.14 

Cerasifolia Plum graft.  Grafted late May 2014.  8.31.14
 This is a follow up on a few of the grafts I've done.  The lilac bud grafts all appear to have taken.  The buds are plump and green and look similar to the "native" buds on the stock.  They have a good start for winter.

Most of the earlier bud grafts, from late May, healed and merged with the stock, and did not grow.  That is pretty much as I expected.  They look ready for winter.  For late winter pruning, the plan is to cut the stock above the buds, so that there is no auxin - inhibition and they take off and grow next Spring.

Two of the May plum bud grafts took off and grew like crazy.  The cerasifolia graft shows up nicely against the green foliage of the stock tree.  Hollywood would do the same.  i wonder if these rapidly grown grafts will bloom next year.  If they do, that will be awesome.
Cerasifolia Plum Bud Graft.  Grafted late May 2014.  8.31.14

Sour Cherry Bud Graft.  Grafted July 2014.  8.31.14

Sweet Cherry Bud Grafts.  Grafted July 2014.  8.31.14
 The sour cherry and sweet cherry bud grafts mostly appear to have taken.  Possibly, all of them.  Most look about the same as the native buds on the stock trees.  The sides of the T-slice tend to curl back as the bud and tree callous and merge.  The top of the T seems to callous and merge without peeling back.

Last year's cleft graft on the Asian Pears, have almost completely healed over.  I was interested to see if the expose wood, would be a problem.  It looks like there is not problem.  At this rate, next year they will be completely filled in, leaving a visible graft but no open wood.

This year's Whip/Tongue grafts on the Asian pears, both the Asian pears I grafted and the European pears, have all healed over completely.  Growth surprised me - most had 2 to 3 feet of growth.  That is faster than the cleft grafts, in general.  Not a good test, but with no exposed wood, and instant, full cambium connection, whip/tongue in theory could give a faster start.

This is only a few of the many grafts I did this year.  All plum grafts took, all pear and apple grafts took.  Only one of the whip/tongue grafts on lilacs took.  It looks like all of the bud grafts on lilac took, so maybe that's the best method for them.

Grafting is amazing.  I can't believe it works.  It should - it's been done for thousands of years.  But it's still amazing.

Asian Pear Cleft Graft. Grafted March 2013.  8.31.14

Pear Whip and Tongue Graft.  Grafted March 2014.  8.31.14

Another Lilac bud graft, about 3 weeks.  9.1.14

Four O'clocks, Morning Glories. 9.1.14

Four O'clock "Marvel of Peru" 8.31.14

Four O'Clock "Marvel of Peru".  8.31.14
The container Four O'Clocks have finished blooming.  They started early, and finished early.  The in-ground Four O'Clocks started later, and are continuing to bloom profusely.  They don't dry out as fast as the ones in containers.  I can see a role for both methods.

I transplanted some Four O'Clocks out of their deck box, into to soil in a secluded spot under the eves and now a bit cut-off by the sunroom.  They will be nice there.  The location is sheltered.  They should have a good chance to survive the winter.  I expect they will also drop seeds and may re-seed there too.

In the front bed, the 4 O'Clocks are among the brightest and most colorful plants in bloom now.  Daylilies are good, but need protection from deer.  Deer have not eaten any of the 4 O'Clocks.  Neither have rabbits.
Four O'clocks and other flowers.  8.31.14

It turned out that a June start for Morning Glories worked just fine.  I gave the plants to Ning and he planted them in his potager.  They are a nice mix of dark blue, light blue, pink and very light pink.

I was surprised that the foraging animals did not eat morning glories. 

This is a good learning for next year.  I like both of these plants.  I have not grown them before.  They are an excellent example of what can be grown from seeds, and much better than plants that are available in the nurseries and grocery stores.

Ning embraced pee-cycling with a vengeance.  His Four O'Clocks and Morning glories, and everything else, were fertilized with generous amounts.  They grew rapidly, to large size, and are blooming profusely.
Ning's Potager.  8.31.14

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Apple Whip and Tongue Graft at 6 Months. 8.24.14

Almost 6 months.  I grafted these about March 1.  The graft is nearly invisible now.  Vigorous, 5 foot tall tree.  Another I did at the same time is about 2 feet tall.  I think the difference is, the taller one was grafted onto a more vigorous shoot.
Apple Whip and Tongue at 6 months

Apple Whip and Tongue Graft at 6 months.