Thursday, July 30, 2015

Rehydrating Peach Seeds. 7.30.15

Rehydrated El Dorado peach seeds.  7.30.15
When I cracked open the El Dorado peach pits, the seeds looked like tiny dried out potato chips.  I soaked them for 2 days in water.  Now they are plump and heavy.

I don't know if they are viable.

Now they go into the fridge in a wet paper towel.

Seedling genetic dwarf peach trees, 3rd year.  7.30.15
 This is the 3rd year for the seedling genetic dwarf peaches.  I don't know the source variety - either Sungold or Honey Babe.  They were in-ground the first and 2nd years.  Last fall I transplanted them into containers and kept under cover for the winter.  The foil reflects light from the black nursery pots to keep them from overheating.

Fresh Fruit. 7.30.15

King Figs.  7.28.15

Petite Negri Figs.  7.28.15

Hollywood Plums, Oregon Curl Free Peaches, figs, Pristine Apples.  7.30.15

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Egyptian Walking Onion Starts.  7.28.15

Buckwheat at one week.   7.28.15
 I don't know if these will work.  If I don't try, I won't know.

The Egyptian Walking Onions were eaten by rabbits.  I covered them with chicken wire.  They grew back, but then I was ill and could not get in to pull weeds.  The plants appear to have small bulbs at the bases, although dried out.  I divided some and planted in one of the "wells" that I originally set up for potatoes.  Basically, cinder-block circles stacked on top of each other, chicken wire bottom to deter moles, and filled with garden soil.   I think they will grow.  I have more to plant in container at home, and still more to dig out soon.  Technically these are not seeds, I know.

The buckwheat germinated thickly, in both 1-week-old plantings.  I watered well, and also watered the 3 day old plantings that are not germinated.  Prediction for today is mid 80s or higher.

I planted bean seeds in a raised bed that I cleaned up and topped off with yard soil.  Most of the seeds are old.  I planted 3 rows of Ning's Chinese pole beans, alternating the 2 packets so if one is bad, but the other is good, they will be evenly spaced.  Those seeds are several years old.  I did the same with Roma bush beans.  The Romas are 1 to 4 years old.  The Romas claim 53 days to harvest, which would be mid to late Sept.  If they grow, they should grow fast in the current heat.
Bean Bed, with bird protection.  7.28.15

Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer Seed Planting. 7.27.15

Image via, old botanical illustration, public domain due to age.
Today I am off work, although I need to do remote work plus study.  For a brief break -

Cleared dead nasturtiums out of deck barrel.  Planted fresh nasturtium seeds in same barrel.  These were a mixture of ages, may not be viable.  I mixed all of the packets together and planted close together.  I can thin if too many germinate.

Did the same with swiss chard.

The plan is to have some fall greens and color.

I have one more half-barrel to plant.   This week, I also want to start some bush beans for fall.

If they don't do well in the heat, that's OK.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Kitchen Garden. 7.26.15

Germinating Buckwheat.  5 days.  7.26.15

Trinity Sweet Corn.  Planted Seeds 5.12.15.  Photo 7.26.15
From / In the kitchen garden -

Today I dug up the garlic from the garlic raised bed.  Not pictured, needs to be cleaned up.  Not as productive and big as last year.  I was not up to taking good care of them through the winter, planted later, didn't weed as well.  Still there will be some.

Ning dug up his potatoes.  He estimates 50 pounds of red potatoes.

Buckwheat has germinated in the first bed.  I include buckwheat in kitchen garden, because it might be usable either as grain for us, or for the chickens.  We had a brief rainy spell which helped.  This week, 90s to 100 expected for several days.

Over the past week, I cleaned up 3 raised beds that were all weeds, plus the garlic raised bed.  I topped off the soil where it had sunk, with yard soil.  The sinking does not appear to be compaction.  The soil mix was about 30% or more compost, which is probably biodegraded now to the humic particles that maintain tilth.  It was easiest to pull the weeds by hand.  I managed to salvage some handfuls of shallots, that will get their own location. 
Early Sunglow Sweetcorn.  5.26.15
Trinity Sweet Corn.  7.26.15
Trinity Sweet Corn.  7.26.15
Summer Squashes.  7.26.15
I over-planted three of the raised vegetable beds with buckwheat seeds, watered thoroughly.  If it grows in the heat, that will give the four benefits of (1) organic matter for soil building (2) beaucoup flowers for nectar and pollen for bees, and (3) potential source of grain.   And (4) eliminate weeds by overgrowing them.   Never grew buckwheat before, interested in what happens. 

Had the first of the Trinity Sweet Corn today.  Might have benefit from another few days to fill in and expand the kernels but it was excellent flavor.  I estimated it would be ready in September.   This was a month sooner.  Early Sunglow sweet corn looks stunted in comparison- about 2 to 3 foot tall.  We will see what happens.  The second batch of Trinity, planted about one month later, is tasseling now too.

Lots of squashes.  No wonder they were an important crop for Native American communities.   Very productive and low maintenance.

Walking Around. 7.26.15

Front Border.  7.16.15

Agapanthus.  7.26.15

Joe Pye Weed at about 4 months.  7.26.15
 Random updates.

Front borders are getting close to where I want them.   There are plenty of Spring blooming bulbs, foliage now dead and waiting for another turn of the year.  They are the first wave.

For the second wave, there are lots of Daylilies and annuals.  I know better what annuals will do well.  The nasturtiums that have a big early display, then die, I will not save seeds from those.  I will save seeds from the ones that bloom for another month or more.  The marigolds, heritage French type, have been excellent and continue to bloom like crazy.

Daylilies take the heat and just continue to bloom.  The new daylily plants continue to grow, slowly.  Now that there are plenty of seed pods, I am dead-heading some of the just-bloomed flowers to keep them looking neater.

When I took the overwintered, dried-out Agapanthus out of the garage this Spring, it didn't look like much.  So I planted nasturtiums in the container around the Agapanthus.  They had their burst of bloom, then burnt out.  Now the Agapanthus is blooming generously. 

Geraniums need dead heading.  The 90s to 100 temp, and blazing sun, burns out the petals.  The leaves look good.

The borage died out, but now a second wave of volunteers is blooming, and a 3rd wave of seedlings has germinated.

The Joe Pye Weed is settled in and growing robust leaves.  At the top - there may be some early flower buds.  That would be nice.
Four O'clocks, Nasturtiums, Geraniums.  7.26.15

Tigridia.  7.26.15
Tigridia continues to bloom.  Even though each flower lasts one day, each stem has a succession of bloom.  Planting them in a cluster, in container, works well.

Four O'clocks are blooming nicely too.  The plants that survived the winter are larger and more robust than the new seedlings, but they all look good.  The more I grow Four O'clocks, the more I like them.  They don't mind a little shade, but they grow better in full sun.  They do make a lot of volunteers, but those are easy to pull out if not wanted.

Sedums grew robust new mounds, with lots of flower buds.  They will be the 3rd wave of flowers in the front borders.  Bees really love sedum flowers, so that is an additional benefit.

Of all of the main flowers, borage is about the only one that really feeds the bees.  I have bunches of oregano plants throughout.  The bumblebees and honeybees also forage heavily on oregano flowers, in full bloom now.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Chickens. 7.25.15

Earlier this summer, Ning gave away 2 of the post-menopausal hens for pets.  Then another died of unknown causes.

Three weeks ago, I bought 3 Rhode Island Red pullets.  They are growing nicely.

Then some mysterious person or persons, added 2 Leghorn roosters to the chicken yard.  Which resulted in battles and discontent and bloody feathers.  I found someone to take the roosters off my hands, and we are at peace.

The rooster and hen won't let me near the pullets.  They are very protective.  I think we will start getting eggs again in a month.

Stone Fruit Seeds.

El Dorado Genetic Dwarf Peach Seeds.   7.25.15

Peacotum Seeds.  7.25.15
 After letting the dried pits sit for a couple of weeks, I decided to remove the seeds from the pits. 

A Vice-grip works almost perfectly every time.  One precaution:  This needs to be done with the seed, vice-grip, and hand, in a plastic food bag.  The seed snaps open so suddenly, the seed and pit parts can fly across the room if not contained.

I was surprised at how puny and dried out looking the El Dorado seeds were.  Maybe they are not viable.  I placed them on a wet paper towel, folded, placed into a jam jar, and they are now in the refrigerator.

Not shown, two regular size peach seeds were a bit bigger, but still didn't look great.

Maybe this is an issue for early ripening peaches.  Or maybe I should not have let them sit for a few weeks.  Or maybe this is how they should look.

The peacotum seeds, same duration, are a little bigger but not much.

The apricot seeds, one week less, look much more robust.  That's either because they are better seeds, or more air-tight pit, or the shorter time.
Apricot Seeds.  7.25.15

I have the peacotum seeds soaking in some water overnight.  Maybe they will plump up.  If so, the same might be helpful with the El Dorado seeds.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Veggies 7.23.15

Veggies.  7.23.15
Getting more and more veggies.  Tomatoes, a few every day.  Ditto for summer squash, sometimes zucchinis, sometimes the yellow summer squash.  I have not tasted the pale yellow crookneck squash yet.  They have an interesting oily feel to the skin.   The green beans are the first of the Romas.  We had an earlier crop of yellow wax beans.

As usual with zucchinis, we have too many.  We can shred some to feed the chickens.  I have given some away.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

New Daylilies, 10 days later in the heat. 7.21.15

Daylily Carefree Peach, 10 days later.  7.21.15
 The new daylilies are surviving the 100F week after planting.  I watered every day.  The original cut foliage died off, leaving the start of new leaves.  I  think this is promising.

These are tough plants.  I don't know of a lot of perennials that would take digging up, hosing to bare root, chop roots and top, then plant and expose to 100F sun.
Daylily Strawberry Candy, 10 days later. 7.21.15

Daylily Siloam Virginia H. 10 days later.  7.21.15