Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fall Gardening in Kitchen Garden. 8.30.15

Garlic for planting.  8.30.15
 It may be early, but I planted the first of the garlic today.  These are cloves from this year.

Instead of 8 per row, they are 6 per row.  Instead of 10 rows, there are 8.  I did that to give them more room.

It might be too early.  Last year I planted late and they did not get in much growth before the first freeze.  I can plant more in a few weeks.

This bed has the following rotation:
First Garlic Planting.  8.30.15

2013: strawberries
2014: strawberries.
2015: beans
2015: now, garlic.

I used the largest garlic heads.

I also cleaned up the 1/2 of an 8x8 bed that had E.W. Onions.  That got topped of with some yard soil and planted with buckwheat for green manure.

I started the 4x4 cinderblock bed that I have been gradually building, for replenishing the Chinese Chives.   Will progressively replant them into this bed over the next few weeks.  The soil is enriched with aged chicken compost, and a sprinkling of Epson salts and lime.  Prior testing showed my soil is acidic, and a bit low in calcium and magnesium.  I mixed the additives into the soil and watered to get it ready.

Kitchen Garden Harvests. 8.30.15

Asian Pears.  8.30.15

Tomotoes and Peppers.  8.30.15
 Today I picked the first of the Asian pears.  The European pears were all bad, complete bust.  I can never figure out when to harvest them.  Asian pears are much easier.  These are Hosui, Shinseiki, and an unknown.

More veggies from the garden.

Some Daylilies.  These must be the last.  Stella de Oro is a champion bloomer.
Daylilies.  8.30.15

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Kitchen Garden. 8.23.15

Late beans.  8.23.15

Onion Wells.  8.23.15
Beans growing ok.

Added well aged chicken compost to barrels, and more of the EWO scallion starts into those.

Tomatos, getting an excellent crop this year.  More than we can eat.  Time for some more salsa.
Tomato Cage.  8.23.15

First Main Crop Figs. 8.29.15

Smith Figs.  8.29.15

Hardy Chicago Figs.  8.29.15
 First of the main crop figs.  Main crop is the fall crop.  Rained last night, no splits this time.

Smith - in container.  There was one fig last week.  This one was broken from the rain, so I harvested it.  Excellent flavor even though not quite ripe.  The others will be left on a few more days.

Hardy Chicago - in ground.  Usually the first of main crop figs for me.  I was just going to pick one, but kept finding more. I pruned heavily this winter, to keep branching low.  Probably no loss of crop, since the brebas always fall off for my tree.

Not shown until I get to Battleground today - Sal's, while small, has several ripening figs.

Edit:   Added photos of Sal's figs and comparison with Hardy Chicago.  Maybe the Sal's were not quite as ripe.  I thought the Hardy Chicago had more flavor, sweeter, juicier.  But if not for tasting them side by side. I would have liked the Sal's very much.
Hardy Chicago Figs.  8.29.15

Hardy Chicago Fig Tree.  8.29.15
Sal's  Figs and Hardy Chicago Figs.  8.29.15

Sal's Figs on tree.  8.29.15

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Toka Plums. 8.23.15

Toka Plums.  8.23.15

Fully ripe, my Toka plums tend to fall off the tree with the slightest movement. I missed some, on the ground. These are incredibly sweet and juice, like honey on apricots. Wow.

Dividing a Daylily. Daylily seeds. 8.23.15

NOID Daylily before division.  8.23.15

Out of the ground.  There are 2 main clumps.  8.23.15
Today I divided my oldest daylily cluster.  Last year I moved this bunch from the old Vancouver yard to the Battleground yard.  I was anxious to get it intothe ground, so did not divide it.  There was grass growing deep into the cluster, which has been difficult to pull out.

It needed dividing.  There were only 2 flower scapes this year.  In the past, it had many.  It has been done blooming for a few weeks.

I wanted it to be in a more prominent location.  I am limited on good spots, so part of it went back into the original location, but with fresh garden soil.

Digging it up, two main sub-clumps were apparent.  I used shovel to slice through.  Some gardeners use 2 garden forks and pry them apart.  That results in less root loss.  I don't think that will be a problem.  I don't have 2 garden forks.

Two smaller divisions fell off when I split the big clumps.  So I have 2 good size, and 2 starter size clumps.

They are replanted, mulched, and watered.  One of the small ones is in container for TLC and maybe gift.

The Stella de'Oro was divided, I think, in Mid July.  Both halves regenerated new leaves and bloomed.  Very nice, and one of only three daylilies now blooming.  Happy Returns is also blooming.

The other was labeled as the variety "Frans Hals".  It looks semi-similar to the photo.  Either a mutant, possibly due to improper tissue culture technique, or a seedling.  I liked this photo with a bug in the nectar pocket.  I  cross pollinated the "not quite Frans Hals" with both Stella and Happy, both as pollen donor and recipient.
Split using shovel and hand action.  8.23.15

One of the replanted clumps.  8.23.15

Stella de'Oro divided in July.  8.23.15

Daylily labeled as "Frans Hals".  8.23.15
Daylily Seedpod.  Pod Parent Chicago Apache.  8.23.15
The first of the Chicago Apache seedpods started to split, so I picked it.  The stem is brown and dry, so the seeds will obtain no more nutrition from the plant.  The seeds are black and shiny, so I think they are fully ripe.

Pollen parent is either Chicago Apache or Fooled Me.  Doesn't matter, I'm not a commercial grower, and won't be.

These went into a wet paper towel / plastic zipper bag / refrigerator, for stratifying. 

I wondered what I would do with all of  the seeds from the hybridizing efforts.  This pod made only 4 seeds, so maybe I won't have too many.

I don't need a lot.  I just kept dobbing pollen to pistils to see what happened.
Daylily Seeds.  Pod Parent Chicago Apache.  8.23.15

Bee Forage. 8.23.15

Buckwheat in bloom.  8.23.5

Honebee on buckwheat flower.  8.23.15
 Buckwheat is in full bloom.  I planted the buckwheat seeds 7.21.15 to 7.23.15.  They started blooming, barely, one week ago.  So it takes about 3 weeks to begin blooming, and 4 weeks to be in full bloom.

Yesterday I did not see bees foraging the buckwheat.  Today they are foraging in force.

I replanted some bare patches where I must not have spread the seeds evenly, today.  I also planted buckwheat seed among the cornstalks, where I harvested that last of the sweetcorn today.

Other bee forage:

Very active on Chinese Chive, compact version.
Autumn Joy - type Sedum starting to bloom and activity is growing.
Active on  the remaining borage and oregano.
Honeybee on Buckwheat Flower.  8.23.15
Honeybees on Sedum flowers.  8.23.15

Honeybees Foraging Sedum Flowers.  8.23.15

Cluster of Autum Joy - Type Sedum, Starting to Bloom.  8.23.15
The sedum flowers are just beginning to open.  Sedum is a bee favorite - they will be foraging with many bees per flower cluster, until the plant is finished blooming.

I'm impressed with how long the oregano blooms and is foraged.  It looks almost done, but the bees appear to seek out every last flower.  When they are done, I want to save seeds for starting a much larger patch next year.
Honeybee on Oregano.  8.23.15

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Late Summer Kitchen Garden. Starting Seeds. Barrels. 8.26.15

Barrel #1.  Asian Greens, Kohlrabi, Bunching Onions.  8.26.15
 This is a progress report on some of the seeds I am starting for later Summer, or early Fall starts, for Fall and early winter benefit.  These are all barrel planters that I either had with something earlier that finished, or had left alone for a year or two and now being called back into service.   If there were weeds, I pulled out the weed plants - easy with soft potting soil, then turned the top layer of soil with a hand-spade, and added a top layer of a few inches of potting soil.  The one with the dead bamboo, was too root bound, so I just added some potting soil on top.
Barrel #3.  Chinese pole beans and last year's garlic.  8.26.15

Barrel #4.  Roma beans, Turnips, and a few E.W.O. Scallions.  8.26.15
 I want the beans mostly for seeds.  Seeds take longer than fresh beans, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

This year is projected for a warmer winter due to the impending el Niño effect.  I speculate that will extend the season.  If not, that's OK too.

Days currently in 90s.  Nights in 50s and 60s.  Seeds are germinating quickly.  The barrels need daily water.  The plants are concentrated in small spaces, so shade the soil and not needing as much care as if in the ground.  I am watering with 1/4 tsp miracle grow in 2 gallons of water.  Basically fertigating.  For some, I occasionally peecycle with 1/2 liter of home-grown fertilizer in 2 gallons.  Not more, because I don't want salt build up.

I'm getting excellent, rapid growth for Egyptian walking onionsnasturtiums, and Swiss chard.  Should have some for cooking in 2 or 3 weeks.  Spinach might also be ready in 3 or 4 weeks.  The nasturtiums are for adding leaves too salads.  The E.W. onions are for scallions, and to maintain my crop.  I got about 80% viable from the ones that were in the bed I wanted to renovate, chewed off by rabbits or deer, crowded by wild carrot, and left dry.  E.W. Onions are a damn hardy breed.

As I dig more into the old E.W. bed that I want to renovate, I remove more, clean them up, and plant them in random spots among other plants.  That will give a more extended Fall harvest of scallions, and also some to leave through the winter for Spring harvest and to maintain the clone.

Barrel #6.  Nasturtiums, Spinach, and some E.W.O. Scallions.  8.26.15
Today I planted seeds for Kohlrabi - expect harvest in 60 days, and Turnip - expect harvest in 50 days.  With the hot summer weather, they should get a fast start, then slow down a little as it cools.
Barrel #7.  Egyptian Walking Onions.  ~3 Weeks,  8.26.15
Some of the seeds I am starting.  8.26.15
I also planted an Asian Greens mix that contains equal parts Arugula, Chinese cabbage, Japanese spinach, mustard-mizuna, mustard-green, mustard-Ruby Streaks, and tatsoi. Those were planted about one week ago and now are all germinated.  Cilantro seeds are also included in the barrel gardens, and growing.  The goal with those is to plant a few more each week, for extended harvests.

I planted scarlet bunching onion seeds because I saw them in the store and wanted to try something different.  At the time I didn't know if the E.W. onions would grow.  The scarlet bunching onion seeds are also germinating.

All in all, I think the late summer planting in large containers, has a lot of potential for kitchen gardening.  Easy, more accessible for the older or less vigorous gardeners, and grow more in a very compact space.   Not much bending over at all, very easy to pull out tiny weeds and putter.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Saving seeds. Cilantro. 8.18.15

Cilantro Seeds Ready To Collect.  8.18.15
 I left a bunch of cilantro to go to seed.  It's brown and dry, so ready to collect seeds.

I may use some for spice.  Cilantro seeds are the same as coriander.

Saving seeds is very easy.  I used scissors to cut seed bunches, placed them in a bowl.  Then worked them for a couple of minutes with my fingers.  The seeds fall off the stems.  They don't need to have all of the chaff removed.

I'll let them sit a little while, then they go into an envelope to save for next Spring.  I might plant some this late summer.
Partially Cleaned Cilantro Seeds.  8.18.15

Autumn Joy - type Sedum. Propagation. 8.18.15

Sedums are starting to bloom and the bees are already on them.  There were 2 broken pieces.  This may not be a good time for taking cuttings.  If so, nothing lost.   If they take, then there are some more plants.
Sedum First Blooms.  8.18.15

Sedum CUttings.  8.18.15
 Most are "Autumn Joy" type sedums.  I read, many are sold in the US with that name but in reality are unnamed seedlings.  No problem.  They are great in the border and are great bee forage.  The dark red one might be "Munstead Red". 

I cut the broken pieces into shorter lengths.  I took off the bottom leaves.  The cuttings were allowed to dry briefly.  Not long.  It's in the mid 90s today.  Then I filled small containers with organic potting soil and inserted the stem cuttings and leaf cuttings into the medium.  They are watered and now in the shade.

No rooting hormone.   I read this method works earlier in the year.  Sedums are vigorous, so maybe it will work now.

Root primordia had already formed near the base of the green variety, above the break.   That one should grow even if the others don't.

Low growing, trailing sedums don't need special care to grow from cuttings.  I just cut or pull off pieces and insert into soil where I want them to grow.  These bushier types might not be as easy, or they might.

Sedum Cuttings.  8.18.15

Sedum cuttings.  8.18.15