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One third into January....
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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
373 Posts
(Offline)
1
January 10, 2022 - 9:18 pm

Hi HOS Forum members,

Because I live a rather isolated life in a rural area [read:  "the boondocks"], I'm curious about what some of my other Forum friends are doing in their varying yards/parcels/fields.  At this time of year are you pruning?  Collecting fruit wood for grafting?  Weeding?  Planning the grafts that you'll be making within the next few months?....  ...Just curious.  I just want to learn from folks who have been going through this regenerative cycle over the years in Cascadia.  

For me, in regard to fruit trees, I guess that the cycle starts when I receive my rootstocks, and then my scion wood from various sources, and I can sit down within our dinky, little pump house [assuming that that's not too redundant], with the door open to the elements regardless of the weather, and graft my "new" trees.  ....It's something of a tradition.  

ANY new graft is kinda like a Christmas present:  the prospect of a new fruit to savour.  

....Life is short.  Enjoy the gifts of the natural world that we inherited.  Contribute to future generations by passing on some of the best of what we inherited, if you can.  Pass on our horticultural heritage!  Here, I only speak of the fruit tree side of things.  Appropriate timing of vegetables, too, is a vital part of this annual cycle.  ... I shan't say more on the subject because this is a fruit tree forum.  ...If you want to eat good food, GROW IT!....

...Yeah.  Just me, The idealist forever in the wrong century.... Smile

Reinettes (Tim.)

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John S
PDX OR
2527 Posts
(Offline)
2
January 16, 2022 - 1:37 pm

I am definitely cutting and collecting scion wood now.  I posted about that a bit back. I'm also pruning and gathering leafy green vegetables. 

John S
PDX OR

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davem
297 Posts
(Offline)
3
January 17, 2022 - 7:58 pm

I just sent a batch of "Miss Jessamine" apple scions to a person in Texas on Saturday.  They were excited to be the first person in Texas to grow that variety.

If I would have been thinking I would have waited to ship them though, since they won't leave the shipping store until Tuesday (USPS doesn't pick up on Sundays or on the MLK holiday).  Hopefully the store isn't too warm.

I'm also opening tubes and cleaning mason bee cocoons.

I plan to do tons of pruning next weekend, if I don't have to work.

I'm also putting the wild birds to work for me, doing pest control and fertilizing.  I do that by throwing black oil sunflower seed on and under my fruit trees.  Thus I have flocks of wild birds spending the whole day scouring the branches and leaf litter for sunflower seed.  I'm pretty sure they are also eating any caterpillars that they find.  And of course pooping all over 🙂

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Rooney
Vancouver SW Washington
631 Posts
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4
January 18, 2022 - 10:37 am

davem said
opening tubes and cleaning mason bee cocoons.

  

It's not too late to do that? What percentage of bees will be suffocated by waiting this late? I'll split mine open today and start a new topic showing the progress for my teasel tube cleaning session and explain more there of what I mean by these questions. Thanks for the help in the past informing us so much about teasel.

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davem
297 Posts
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5
January 18, 2022 - 1:33 pm

Rooney said

davem said

opening tubes and cleaning mason bee cocoons.

  

It's not too late to do that? What percentage of bees will be suffocated by waiting this late? I'll split mine open today and start a new topic showing the progress for my teasel tube cleaning session and explain more there of what I mean by these questions. Thanks for the help in the past informing us so much about teasel.

  

You can do it up until the day they wake up in the spring.  But, earlier is better.

The reason for opening/cleaning is to separate the bees from parasites (mostly pollen mites and mono wasps) and chalkbrood fungus.  Not absolutely necessary, but if you just put out the same tubes/holes over and over without cleaning, you will be spreading parasites and diseases and your bee population will plummet.

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Rooney
Vancouver SW Washington
631 Posts
(Offline)
6
January 18, 2022 - 1:58 pm

@ davem: Then how do you re-use the same teasels after breaking them?

@ Reinettes: Today I add some fresh hybrid pear cuttings from the base of this tree and add it to the remaining prunus cuttings that are located in this bathroom window for possible rooting.

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davem
297 Posts
(Offline)
7
January 18, 2022 - 4:40 pm

Rooney said
@ davem: Then how do you re-use the same teasels after breaking them?

You don't - they are one time use.  But you can just put out filled tubes - the bees will hatch out, then use the same tubes, unless they can find other tubes/holes that they like better. 

As I said you don't want them re-using the same tubes.  It is possible to make a "bee diode" to prevent them from reusing the tubes.  You can kind of clean out the empty tubes with a strong spray from a hose.  But fresh tubes are better.

I used to hate teasel and chopped it down as soon as it popped up.  But I have learned to tolerate it, for the following reasons:

  1. A forever supply of mason bee tubes.  Given a choice, my mason bees always choose the teasel stems over other tube/hole materials.
  2. Late summer pollen/nectar source for bees, especially bumble bees.
  3. Fairly deep taproot
    1. Nutrient accumulation
    2. Helps to break up my clay soil
  4. I strongly suspect that it is carnivorous.  The leaves collect and hold water, which seems to attract insects who drown in the water.  Or maybe insects are attracted to the dry leaves, then rain drowns them.  Anyway, they kill a lot of insects.  Seems to be mostly flies, mosquitoes, and beetles.  And the occasional bee :-(.

To manage its spread, I use a machete to cut the flower heads off the moment they finish flowering, thus preventing them from producing seeds.  It doesn't work perfectly, but it definitely does slow it down.  It is amazing how many bumble bees choose to end their life on the flowers, at the end of their season.

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Rooney
Vancouver SW Washington
631 Posts
(Offline)
8
January 18, 2022 - 6:20 pm

@ davem: It all makes sense now, so Thanks!

As well with your acute and interesting artifacts, ideas, observations etc. of teasel possibly being carnivorous (ie. insect eating plant). It may be well with us to email this "teasel carnivorous comment" from Dave to the same investigation group that discovered and confirmed this one recently:

botany.one/2021/08/newly-recognised-carnivorous-plant-triantha-occidentalis/

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DanielW
Clark County, WA
519 Posts
(Offline)
9
January 20, 2022 - 11:01 am

January tasks in the orchard -

Mostly pruning, mostly apples.  I think one more tree is tall enough to remove deer cage.  Those cages help but are also a hassle.  Espaliers and miniature apple trees are already pruned.

I have peach seeds that stratified in the fridge since August,  I cracked open the pits and extracted the seeds.  Planted them in seed starting medium on a seedling warming mat.  I don't know if they will grow.  Source tree is a child of Oregon Curl Free, produces good tasting peaches, yellow clingstone good for fresh eating, pies, canning and in past six years has been completely free of leaf curl.  I want to propagate it.  Tree started bearing at about three years old.

Last year's bearing canes need pruning from thornless raspberries and thornless blackberries.  I'm removing all of the blackberries except Triple Crown and Ponca.  Triple Crown always bears very well for me, Ponca is new, apparently brachytic dwarf which would be nice if they are good.  One Triple Crown tip-rooted itself so I will plant that too.

I have on my calendar, start dormant oil spray in February.  That's for apple maggot and San Jose Scale.

I have a nice producing red currant that needs moving because it was munched on by deer last year.  Makes a nice jam.  Have to figure out where, might espalier it.

I might start some back up fig cuttings too.  Hardy Chicago, I accidentally left the previous ones to dry out.  I have a possible start from it but want a backup.

Mostly just puttering.Laugh

After building newer, taller raised beds, renovating an old one and putting down weed barrier and tree chips in pathways, Im more disabled at the moment so need to rest as well Confused.  

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Rooney
Vancouver SW Washington
631 Posts
(Offline)
10
January 21, 2022 - 6:10 pm

DanielW said 

I have peach seeds that stratified in the fridge since August,  I cracked open the pits and extracted the seeds.  Planted them in seed starting medium on a seedling warming mat.  I don't know if they will grow.  Source tree is a child of Oregon Curl Free, produces good tasting peaches, yellow clingstone good for fresh eating, pies, canning and in past six years has been completely free of leaf curl.  I want to propagate it.  Tree started bearing at about three years old.

  

A member that expired from the ranks of HOS that went by lonrom told me that growers would propagate peaches very fast using almond seeds which according to lonrom produce a faster growing tree, although shorter in lifespan than a peach. Back then I found raw almonds via ebay and bought 10. Six germinated. They soured away due to loss of time. If I remember correctly you would graft peach buds on almost right away and place the union below the soil the same year to encourage rooting on the peach. I have the data on it stuffed away somewhere.

Another thing to look at is a space saving strategy that works in breeding and evaluating bush cherry types as follows:

As reported in 2004 from U of Saskatchewan cherry program and hastening fruiting from new seedlings

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Rooney
Vancouver SW Washington
631 Posts
(Offline)
11
January 27, 2022 - 9:58 pm

Daniel, I meant to ask you if the 'child of Oregon Free' originated with you?

I also should update others that the bushy peach found near the 'Grotto' that I previously posted was found to have pure red peach flowers. The only red flowering bush peach is from China and sold as 'Flory'. It was also found to have a months supply of curled leaves around June 2021, then it returned to normal. 

The common theme around testing seedlings of peach trees is to wait until maturity and the first crop. It's at that time curl usually begins to show. I know that from watching one mature from a compost pile in downtown Vancouver then watching curl set in after the first flowering season, then sharing common experiences in NAFEX before we had this.

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jafar
559 Posts
(Offline)
12
January 28, 2022 - 11:02 am

I've only gotten into the orchard about once a week lately, and then only briefly.  I've collected a few scions for folks, and inspected status.  That's about it.

Busy with work.

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JeanW
25 Posts
(Offline)
13
January 28, 2022 - 10:34 pm

Since the rain finally stopped for a while, I’ve been pruning my kiwis (Jumbo, Ananasnaja, Hayward, and a fuzzy male) this week. There was a day or two in November and December when it wasn’t raining, and I did manage to prune the Tayberries.  That’s not much progress yet, but we’ve had 47.47 inches since the rain started in September!  I’ve also helped with scion cutting and labeling for the Peninsula Fruit Club Spring Grafting Show.  So far we’ve cut and labeled over 400 different kinds of apples, pears, plums, grapes, and kiwis (mostly apples).  The rain returns by Sunday, so I’ll be stuck indoors working on things for the grafting show—like making more laminated information cards about each variety we’ll have.

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
373 Posts
(Offline)
14
February 1, 2022 - 9:35 pm

JeanW:  You're clearly one of those "Doers".  If there's anything that organizations need in order to be successful it's people precisely like you.  I've made my efforts in a couple of societies, establishing one in Michigan when I was in high school which was some 30+ years' old before dying in the first wave of Covid 19, apparently.  

I just wanted to say that I truly appreciate people like you because you're committed "doers" and you get things done.  God knows that the world needs more folks like you.

Reinettes.

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JeanW
25 Posts
(Offline)
15
February 5, 2022 - 12:39 pm

Thanks, Reinettes, but the show is a group effort!  We had probably 20-25 people helping out on our main all-day cutting and labeling event—fewer than a pre-Covid year, true, but pretty decent nonetheless. 

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
373 Posts
(Offline)
16
February 7, 2022 - 8:11 pm

Hello dear Forum members,

I love you all.  About noon today our phone landline was "re-repaired" for at least the 3rd or 4th time over the past year.  Fortunately, right about the same time, they unlocked my straight-jacket and told me that I was free to go back out into the "real world".  Thanks for all your responses.  I love hearing what other folks are doing in their orchards and gardens in Cascadia.  Apparently, one of my problems is my idealistic upbringing, against which reality can only aggravate me to no end.  All that we can do is live in the modern "real world", but it seems to me that's it's leaving people like me -- who live close to the natural world -- farther and farther behind.  I apologize that I'm having trouble adapting.

...My formally faithful '92 Toyota pickup truck appears to be on its last legs, and I need to get it repaired before I serve Jury Duty in March.   It's always something!  

Since I'm finally able to get back online, I just want to say how much I appreciate hearing from the "HOS" Forum members as to what they're doing.  I stopped yesterday about a 1/2-mile away from home to collect scion wood from an ancient, relictual, remnant apple-tree planting.  I was able to collect and eat a couple of fruits of it last autumn, and I am about 96% certain that the remnant is the 'Ben Davis' variety.  In the 1800's and early 1900's, this was one of the most popular apples for use in hard cider.

Perhaps 16 years ago, not too long after my wife and I bought our place, an "old timer" down the road told us that our road was once known as "Moonshine Alley" back in the day.  ...Over the intervening years I have been trying to figure out what exactly was the source of that "moonshine".  Our area is certainly not appropriate or conducive for corn or potatoes.....  Just based on my observations up and down the road, I'm left to ASSume that the "moonshine" was apple brandy.  ...Here and there is the rare, but occasional ancient apple tree of a sort that was a traditional and popular hard cider variety.  ...I don't want to make any false assumptions, but after all these years it seems to be the only thing that seems logical in this local climate and situation.  

Cordial greetings to my Forum friends,

and, once again, ALL due apologies for my occasional lunacy! Smile

Tim (Reinettes).

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