Sunday, February 27, 2011

3-n-1 Apple

I purchased a few 3n1 Apples on my wholesale order this year for the orchard. This one is a low chill Apple with Anna, Dorsett Golden, Fuji and Gordon.

I dedided to make some of my own so I trimmed branches off my Mexican Plum and made a 4n1 Plum with Santa Rosa, Burgundy, Green Gage and Mexican.

These are cleft grafts and are very easy to do. I cut a slit down the middle, cut the donor wood into a wedge, stick it in so it matches up with the edge, wrap with a rubber band and then wrap in parafilm tape.

More pics.

I also put some wax on the cut to protect it from water penetration.

Here are some pictures of the Pineapple Quince that I grafted two Asian Pears and an Apple.

Mason Bees

The Mason Bees are finally out of their little wooden block nest that we have hanging from the back porch. They are working on the Rosemary, Apple and Plum flowers.

The picture is kinda blurry.

They are very friendly but get annoyed if you get in their way.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The winter horribles!!!!

I love it when they say things like that on the news.
I tried to get prepared for the artic weather by putting blankets over some of my younger more senstive citrus. I planted quite a few very young citrus this month and promptly dug them right back up and potted them two days ago. They will be able to take the cold when they are older. Once a nice thick bark appears on the plant, they should be fully hardy. I also only buy citrus on Trifoliate rootstock because it is clay tolerant and hardy below zero degrees. Studies show that it will impart more cold hardiness to your citrus. The more rootstock that is above ground will give you more cold hardiness.

Here are pictures of my ghostly phantoms around the yard. I put bamboo sticks around the older cold sensitive citrus bushes and covered them with large tarps or plastic sheets that we had lying around. I then put a lamp or light with a 100 watt bulb under the blanket. I was careful to set the light on a non-flamable surface like a rock but 100 watt bulbs only get up to 111 degrees. These bushes took the cold temps down to 14F last year but I lost a years worth of crops. I dont want to risk it this year.

Here is my sunroom. I normally only have delicate tropicals in here but I had lots of young and tender plants still in pots. They had been out all winter but I decided not to chance it.

Finally, I have my mini-greenhouse with a 150 watt bulb. It is 40 degrees in there while the outside temps were in the low 20's. The greenhouse cost about 80 bucks and was a popup so it was easy to setup.

All my other fruit trees are just loving the cold since they are hardy below zero.

Snow on Thursday for Central Texas?????
I hope so.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Nature provides

I have been blown away by all the things edible and useful that have been growing around me but unnoticed due to my ignorance. I found a product called Soapnuts at the healthfood store and desperately wanted to find a Soapberry tree so I could grow my own. After long searches on the internet, I had almost given up. That is when I noticed a few trees out at my land that I had ignored previously. I HAD SOAPBERRIES GROWING ON MY LAND!!! I couldnt believe it. I could wash my clothes with berries.

I will take some pics soon but until then just use this link.

I was frustrated with all the Mesquite out at the land until I found out that the pods and seeds could be eaten or made into flour.

I hated the Hackberries at the house until I found out that the little berries were edible and tasted pretty good. Some had a very hard seed and others had seeds like M&Ms.

Today I was pulling up weeds to give to the chickens but I wanted to ID them first. To my delight, the weed I had been battling for the last few years was Chickweed. It is completely edible and unlike other wild plants, it had a nice mellow taste to it. I made sure to id the leaves, flowers and hairy stems before taking the plunge. I also posted pictures on a gardening site to get multiple confirmations.

I have been desperately trying to grow an edible groundcover in the yard for years and it turns out I had been trying to kill what I wanted the whole time. Here are some pics of the cute little guy.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Trees! Trees! Trees!

We received our shipment of trees for the orchard but had to wait a day before planting them. They were all bareroot so we lined them up in the yard and covered them with wet blankets.

Here are some of the root systems on these beauties.

I have some 3n1 Apples, Shinko and Hosui Asian Pears, SugarCane Jujube, Black Mission Fig, Plums and Angel Red Pomegranates.

The first thing I did was go plant five at my neighbors house down the street so she could start on her home orchard. I also picked through the trees to find the best additions to my house and one Plum for my mother-in-law next door. I still have two Black Mission figs that might find a home around town.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Urban Harvest Fruit Sale

I convinced the wife to come with me to Houston for this big sale. Last year they sold about 8000 trees in a few hours. We showed up about 15 minutes early but the line was already about 1/4 mile long. We purchased two Avocado (one for my dentist), three Kumquat and one Persimmon. I wasnt able to get one of the low chill Cherries as they sold out asap.

The line to get out was just as long and twice as slow. It snaked around in circles and through a stadium at the University of Houston.

Finally we got out of there and Katinka was happy it was done.

Little did I know I would be taken around town hitting craft stores and estate sales. We ended up in small towns trying to get deals on junk and treasure. We also stopped at the Matt Family Orchard and had a nice personal tour of the place. It was a nice day even with the rain.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Just plain weird

Have you ever had a picture, symbol or word that you draw over and over when you are bored. I did when I was younger and I got it tattooed on my foot about 16 years ago. As far as I know, the symbol has no meaning. I was looking at it the other night and noticed that it spelled out UF. Now it is my official Urban Farming symbol. Feel free to draw it on any Monsanto product or fast food establishment. It will make me sleep better at night.