Sunday, October 22, 2017
I might be a bit late this year but it hasn't been very cold yet (just two minor frosts; my tomato plants still weren't dead when I pulled them today but the beans and peppers were) so I think they will be fine. I planted 54 garlic bulbs; Kettle River Giants, plus 3 shallots and 3 Elephant garlic bulbs. I will cover them with 6-8 inches of pine needles when it gets colder.
Friday, September 1, 2017
! These are the first large onions I have ever been able to grown! They are a variety called Alisa Craig and are considered an heirloom. They are sweet and mild but aren't know as good keepers although mine lasted through the winter and into the spring in my garage. Named after Ailsa, a small round island off the coast of Scotland that is solid rock. Introduced in 1887 by David Murray, gardener for the Marquis of Ailsa
I found the following information on the internet for natural management of the Coddling moth problem: Found in all apple-growing areas of the world, the codling moth (Cydia pomonella) is considered to be one of the most destructive pests of apples. Adults are gray to brown moths with a 3/4 inch wingspan. They have a chocolate-colored patch at the tip of each forewing and coppery transverse markings. Codling moth larvae are pink or creamy white caterpillars with mottled brown heads that tunnel through apples directly to the core. As they feed, they push out mounds of fecal material, called frass, which gathers around the entrance hole. Damage lowers the market value of the fruit and makes it unfit for human consumption. Alternate host plants include pears, crabapples, walnuts and stone fruits. Note: The codling moth was introduced to North America by the colonists more than 200 years ago and is now one of the leading pests in home orchards. Life Cycle Full grown larvae pass through the winter in a cocoon beneath loose bark or in orchard litter. Pupation takes place in the spring. Moths begin emerging about the time that apple trees are in bloom and lay an average of 50 to 60 eggs on leaves, twigs and fruits. Once eggs hatch the larvae feed briefly on leaves, then damage fruit by boring into the centers. Larvae feed for three weeks, then leave to seek a suitable place to spin cocoons. There are two generations per year. Control Scrape loose bark in early spring to remove overwintering cocoons and then spray All Seasons® horticultural oil to eradicate eggs and first generation early instar stages. Beneficial nematodes are microscopic, worm-like parasites that actively hunt, penetrate and destroy immature stages of this pest. Spray on trunks and main branches, and also over the soil out to the drip line for a 60% to 90% mortality in pre-pupae. Use pheromone traps to determine the peak flight period for moths, then release trichogramma wasps to attack eggs. Pheromone traps will also help reduce male moths where populations are low and trees are isolated. Surround WP — a wettable kaolin clay — can be used to deter a broad range of fruit tree pests (and diseases), and will reduce codling moth damage by 50-60%. Apply before moths arrive and continue for 6-8 weekly applications, or until the infestation is over. In areas of severe infestation, spray plant-derived insecticides when 75% of petals have fallen, followed by three sprays at 1-2 week intervals. These natural pesticides have fewer harmful side effects than synthetic chemicals and break down more quickly in the environment. Note: Bt-kurstaki (Bt) and Spinosad sprays are moderately effective since the larvae spend so little time feeding outside the fruit. Apply during egg hatching only (consult with a local extension agent for exact times). I also saw on another site that you should pick up and dispose of apples that fall to the ground because sometimes the larvae are still in them. So.... I will no longer be putting them in my compost since I use the slow composting method and my piles don't get very 'hot'. I also read that you put up cardboard rings around your tree trunks to prevent them from crawling up the trunks to get at the apples.
Sunday, April 23, 2017
I use the slow method of composting where you have 3 separate piles of differing ages and just let them decompose over time. If it is really dry I will turn a pile but usually I just wait it out. I have 3 bins made out of free pallets since I am such a cheap-skate. After using up the oldest pile I started a new one with old leaves, green weeds (no seeds yet), goat manure, left over potting soil, some of the left-over old compost (3-4 shovels full) and spilled thistle seed (from our goldfinch feeders) as well as a healthy batch of kitchen scraps I had been stock piling. After about 3 layers I was done for today but can add 3 times that much over the next several weeks. I didn't water it because it is supposed to be rainy the next 6-7 days. Oh, I also placed two metal fence stakes in the center before I started so I can move them around providing oxygen later on. The leaves had already started to decompose and earthworms were plentiful!
My old beds made out of 2 X 12 by 16 feet cedar planks are holding up very well. I had to do some deep turning this year due to some root invasion issues; the weed barrier cloth I had stapled on when building them is likely totally disappeared at this late date. The new bed is for an heirloom blue Navajo flour corn I got from a fellow member of Seed Savers Exchange. I will be growing some beans/peas in among the corn to provide nitrogen fixation as well.
I dug up the rest of the carrots from last year (about 12 days ago) that I had covered with 8-10" of pine needles. With all the snow we had this winter (up to 26" deep at one point here in Spokane) they have lasted far better than in previous years. Most of them are still firm and good tasting! What a nice surprise!
Sunday, February 12, 2017
In 2014 I had a bumper crop of apples perhaps because one of my nearby neighbors put out some beehives on his property. In 2015 I had a very poor crop of apples making me wonder if he lost his bees or because of a late spell of cold weather after they had bloomed (?). This years amount of blossoms is HUGE! Let's hope for a ton of apples this fall!