After a trial of 9 months on WordPress, I’m changing back to the Blogger platform. The main reason is how difficult it is for me to log on WordPress. Often, I’m not able to do so at all. It’s possible, my old computer and my slower rural internet connection are factors. I am able to log into the blogger platform much more easily, so am returning there as of today.
Mohst of the grafts took and are growing nicely. A few did not.
The apple grafts all did well. I used strips cut from freezer zipper lock bags, as the binding material, and wrapped the exposed scions with parafilm that I had on hand. If I had not had the parafilm, I would have used thinner plastic, maybe bread bag. These are for the miniature tree garden that I am planning, so the rootstocks are highly dwarfing. Pristine was too tiny for whip-and-tongue, so I used a cleft graft. Most of these are on Bud-9 rootstock, but I grafted the less vigorous ones onto Geneva 222 rootstock. Based on my imperfect memory (these are labeled but I’m not up to going outside to check them), the ones on Geneva 222 were Pristine, Jonared, Liberty, and Fuji Shogun, while the ones on Bud-9 were Gravenstein, Akane, Macoun, Black Oxford, Winter Banana, Porter. There may be a couple of others.
As for the odd pear grafts, Bartlet on Chinese Haw appears to have taken, and maybe Bartlet onto Thiessen serviceberry. It does not look like Bartlet took on Winter Banana interstock on Bud-9, or on Black Hawthorn.
The peach grafts did not take. It’s possible I should have kept those inside, peach needing a warmer environment to take, compared to apple and pear.
I also grafted three kinds of French hybrid chestnut (European X Japanese species) onto the tree grown from a seedling from a 4th variety. Those were Marivale, Precose Migoule, and Marigoule. Grafting multiple kinds of scion onto a single tree, is referred to by some hobbyists as a “Frankentree”. This tree is upwind from the other three, so should provide pollen for them and for itself. These grafts are kind of high. I had to stand on a ladder to graft them. Again, they were whip and tongue, with the ziplock freezer bag tape wrap. I didn’t know if chestnut needed different technique, compared to apples and pears, but it looks like they all took.
We had some rain, which seemed to help some of the seeds germinate. Last week, I turned over the rest of the former lawn area that has been covered with black plastic for several months to kill sod. It’s still not ready, but when I plant the warm weather crops – tomatoes, peppers, beans – I think it will be. Those areas have also been given a treatment of dolomite lime and compost.
Yesterday I planted another batch of Swiss Chard. I mixed very old seeds with fresher seeds. That way, the plants will be a little more spaced if the old seeds don’t grow, but there will be a mixture of types if they do. I hate to throw away seeds, so that is how I handle the old ones. I also can’t seem to help planting them too close, so they wind up needing thinning. Again, if the old seeds are nonviable, there will be less thinning needed.
I saw that carrot seeds have germinated. That is a first try with those.
Last fall, I planted quite a few acorns in containers of soil. Now, many are starting to grow. I didn’t know what to expect. One or two would have been enough. I will see what happens. It’s rewarding, they are growing now. There are red oak and white oak. We can see the difference when they form leaves.
The grafted fruit trees look OK so far, for the most part. The peach grafts don’t look so good, but not completely dead, either. The apple grafts have swelling buds. The buds of the chestnut grafts, which are on branches of an existing 3 year old chestnut tree, are also swelling, although not as fast as the buds on the nongrafted branches.
These are some of the first apples to bloom in my yard. Blooming at the same time, means they can provide pollen to each other.
I covered some of the flowers with organza bags, to prevent bee pollination. That lets me be in control for those flowers. I want to pollinate the RedLove varieties with pollen from columnar trees, and see if I can pollinate some of the columnar tree flowers with pollen from the few Redlove flowers so far. My goal is to create a red flesh, columnar variety. I realize it’s a long shot. It’s something to do.
So far, my first blooming apples are: Airlie RedFlesh, SummerRed, NorthPole, Redlove Calypso, Tasty Red, Scarlett Sentinel, Dolgo Crab, and Gravenstein.
Some of the Sarracenias are producing the start of flower buds. This will be the first time that they bloomed in my care. I’m keeping the saucers replenished with rainwater. I started a rain barrel system by adding rain gutters to the well house, but the barrel needs to be put into place before then next rain.
The Nepenthes are doing OK. I don’t always get them watered before they dry out. The smaller ones last longer before drying. They are in the sunroom, which does get hot. Really, these seem as easy to grow as other tropical plants. They are exotic looking and interesting. They do eat a lot of insects.
The website has been clunky, so posting is delayed.
I’ve spaded over most of the area that will be planted in May and June. That’s the bulk of the hard labor part. I’m glad, because I’m less enthusiastic about hard labor than I used to be. However, by making the new fenced – in garden, reducing and eventually eliminating the beds in the easement that could be paved over without much warning, and consolidating my gardening to a less spread out area, it will be easier to enjoy growing fruits and vegetables and flowers, for the long term.
Radishes, turnips, mesclun all seem to be doing pretty well. Those old radish seeds grew better than I expected. Seed houses are overwhelmed due to the need for home gardening / epidemic / social distancing /recession, so it’s good to have saved previous years’ seeds. I didn’t plan it that way, just how it happened. Collard greens seeds are germinating. Some of the snow peas or sugar sap peas seedlings (I didn’t label) are about 2 inches tall now. Potato plants are a few inches tall now. Carrot and spinach seeds have not germinated at all.
I found a package with unplanted garlic bulbs. Most years I would have thrown them out. What I have read in the past is that garlic needs to be planted during the late fall / early winter. However, I read that some plant into April, so I will try. This is an experiment. The garlic plants from last fall are about a foot tall. I fertilized those with osmocote.
I dug out many of the strawberry plants from a raised bed. After weeding, there weren’t a lot of strawberry plants remaining. I panted them in a strawberry jar, with potting soil and osmocote. They perked up in a couple of days. If I have a chance, I’ll dig up a second batch and do the same. Then I can use that raised bed for something else, maybe zucchini or something.
I dug up some more raspberry plants from the old place, and replanted them here at Battleground. I don’t know how optimal the timing is, but there they were. I did that with three plants a couple of weeks ago. Those earlier plants look recovered, with nice growth and flower buds. The new plants wilted a little but not a lot, and seem to be getting over it quickly. It’s interesting to compare – the growth on the plants that I moved two weeks ago, is tougher looking, darker, more compact and coarse. Those are in full sun. The plants that I just moved are have growth that looks more tender, larger but softer and weaker. Those were in a very shady location before I moved them. We’ll see how they adapt. Raspberries are floricane bearing, meaning that the canes that I just moved should have berries this year, and canes that come up from their roots will be for berries next year.
Tomato and pepper seedlings are doing OK in 6-packs. I think the tomatoes should be upgraded into real potting soil in a day or two. Marigolds are also growing in six packs. I move the seedlings outside when the morning has warmed up, so they get more sun and breeze.
The Nepenthes are looking pretty good. I got behind watering the larger ones, and they dried out. I think they will survive, but the pitchers crunchified. The smaller ones didn’t dry out so fast and are looking comparatively better.
The remaining orchids look good too.
The tomato seedlings look more purple than I remember last year. I suspect the LED lights are responsible. I hope they do OK. I will set them outside when the temperature is warm.
The radishes and some of the greens have germinated. It’s been rainy and chilly, so that slows things down. I don’t see any carrot seedlings outside yet. The peas are also not up. In the past, birds have removed all of the pea seedlings, so this time I have a mesh covering them.
Today I took the last of the day lily plants out of containers, and into the ground in the orchard part of my garden. Those were seedlings that I grew several years ago, from crosses that I pollinated among my daylily plants. It’s too much effort to keep them in containers, so now they are in the ground. I grafted pears onto Serviceberry, Aronia, and Black Hawthorn. It’s an experiment, will they grow, and will they be highly dwarfed? Not much experience out there, but apparently pear is related to these quite different species, and graft compatible. Then I planted them.
I also planted some Turnip, “Wasabi” Radish (not really wasabi. We’ll see what it is like), and Kuroda carrot seeds. Then it started raining.