Turkeysong

Experimental Homestead

Interstem Grafting Videos

I just posted up a series of videos on interstem grafting.  This is most of what I know about interstem grafting Apple trees, growing them out, and their advantages and disadvantages.  Maybe a little late for this grafting season, but it’s never too early to start planning for next year!

interstem thumbnail ONE

March 18, 2015 Posted by | Apples, Food Trees Fruits and Nuts, grafting | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Some News, and Videos on Scion Storage and Cleaning Black Trumpet Mushrooms

A couple of videos and a little news on apples and flowers!

It’s grafting season.  A lot of people have probably already finished their scion trading, but here is my take on storing and shipping scions.  I was so caught up in the details that I kind of forgot the basics, like store them in the refrigerator.  If it were more comprehensive, it would also include storing the scions without refrigeration, which maybe I’ll do later, but same basic concepts apply.  Mostly, I was trying to address the potential of excess water and the use of paper to cause problems.

And for those of you who are lucky enough to have black trumpet mushrooms in your neck of the woods, this video is on how I clean them really fast, and dry them. It also includes a (what in my opinion is an all too short) rant on efficiency and work as a symbolic activity.  It is a long video for how to do something really fast, but I think the stuff about intention and mental attitude is just as important as the physical part, and it will save your a lot of time in the long run if cleaning large quantities.

DOOOOODS!!!  Two flowers from the first batch of Daffodil Seedlings grown from seeds pollinated in 2011 have put forth flower buds!  The bulbs are  still rather small, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they are under-developed, but that’s still pretty exciting, especially considering that I haven’t taken stellar care of them.  I figured I was at least another year off from seeing anything.  I seem to pick breeding projects that take a long time.  Daffodils typically take about 4 years or more, and apples 5 or more years.  They should open within the week, at which point I may have to update the Daffodil Lust series with a new post.  Even more exciting, one of the seedlings is from Young Love, the daffodil that inspired it all!

Young Love seedling

Young Love seedling.  Not sure who dad is.  She was rather promiscuous that year.

I just recieved 50 apple rootstocks in the mail for grafting up my latest round of red fleshed apple seedlings, and last year’s pollinations are sprouting up in the greenhouse.  Good news, I just talked to my friend Freddy Menge, who is sort of my apple guru or early inspiration.  We talk about apples on the phone about every other year.  He’s getting results from his apple seedling trials, which I believe are mostly open pollinated, but he has a good collection of quality hand selected varieties growing, not just some random stuff.  He say that he gets more apples that are worth eating than ones that aren’t.  That’s just what I suspected when I started my breeding project and what Albert Etter seemed to be saying.  It also is totally at odds with what passes for common “knowledge”.  He has sent me two of his seedlings that I’m trying out, one I’ve been calling King Wickson (not sure if he has a name for it) which he thinks is a King David x Wickson cross.  The other selection is Crabby Lady a small, more intensely flavored version of the latest ripening apple here, Lady Williams, also thought to be crossed with Wickson crab.  Crabby Lady ripens at the same time as Lady Williams, and sounds like a real improvement on an already very good and super late apple, so that really got my attention.  I’m hoping King Wickson will fruit this year, but I just grafted Crabby Lady this past week.

Freddy also said that about 1/4 to 1/3rd of his red fleshed apple seedlings have red flesh.  I was hoping for a little higher percentage on that, but such is life.  I may do some crosses between red fleshed apples this year to try to reinforce the red fleshed trait.  Another amateur plant breeder just contacted me through the blog who is also gearing up to do some red fleshed apple breeding.  Yay for grass roots apple breeding for the masses!

I’m off to get ready for the farmer’s market in the morning.  Not much in the way of vegetables to sell anymore, but I cleaned up selling Erlicheer narcissus flowers on Valentines day and have a new batch ready to go.  It’s nice to have that plan working out.  The Erlicheer are planted along both sides of a row of oblique cordon apple trees, so they require no extra care other than what I already do in taking care of the apples.  By the time the apples are leafing out, the flowers are thinking about going to sleep, so they have nearly opposite seasons

Flowers for market.  !Kaching!

February 20, 2015 Posted by | Apples, Daffodils, Foraging, Garden Stuff, grafting | , , , , | 3 Comments

Some I’itoi Onion Bulbs Available for Subscribers

I’itoi (pronounced E-E-toy) are small and prolific multiplying onions.  The story goes that they were acquired from the O’odham people in what is now Arizona and N. Mexico.  They produce a very small Shallot like bulb that can be peeled and eaten, or they can be used as greens or pulled off during the growing season for “scallions”.   They are very rare at this point and were put on the Slow Food movements Ark of Taste a list of endangered food varieties.  I tossed a bag of old dried up ones that I thought were probably dead out in the rain a month ago, and a lot of them sprouted, so I thought I’d pass on what is left to readers of this blog rather than tossing them in the compost.  These are the ones that were too shrunken to sell, though perfectly viable, and now they are just barely hanging on for dear life.  They have a small core of viable bulb left and I think that if they are potted up soon most will still grow out.  You really only need one as they are very good multipliers.  I made up small packets of about 8 bulbs and tossed in a small sample seed pocket/packet of bulgarian giant leek seeds in each.  There are about a dozen packets ready to ship, first come first serve if you pay shipping, which just $1.50 should cover.  You can paypal that to me after contacting me through the contact link on this website.  This is offered for people who are subscribed to my blog.

I'itoi peeled and whole

I don’t know much about cold hardiness of I’itoi.  They certainly do fine with light freezes, but growing them outside in really cold climates is going to be a bit of an experiment.  I’d appreciate any reports back on how they do.  These bulbs are barely hanging in there, but they are tough little guys and still have a living core waiting to find some soil and water.  Plant them immediately.  In warm climates, plant in the ground now.  In cold climates, I’d start them in a pot indoors and then plant out when warm weather arrives.  They reproduce like crazy and even if only one survives, you’ll have plenty to share, replant and eat soon enough.  I started with just a few and have sold and given away many hundreds of bulbs.

This is one cluster of I'itoi grown in about 3 or 4 months.  They are very prolific.

This is one cluster of I’itoi grown in about 3 or 4 months. They are very prolific.

If left in the ground, they’ll form a dense cluster that can contain hundreds of small bulbs.  If replanted singly and well tended, they will form much larger bulbs than if left alone, but again they are still quite small.

Peeled I'itois.  Good if you have the patience.

First come first serve.  Contact me through the contact link on this page.  Again, this is for people who are subscribed to my blog and they’ll probably go fast, so don’t contact me next week or next month or next year.  I’ll probably have them on ebay again this summer and I would think that they will be more widely available from seed suppliers soon.

If you have the patience, peeled I'itoi onions are nice for dishes where they are left whole, such as Risotto or in stuffing.  These are frying in chicken fat.

If you have the patience, peeled I’itoi onions are nice for dishes in which they are left whole, such as Risotto or in stuffing. These are frying in yummy yellow chicken fat from one of my chickens.

A google search will turn up a little info on I’itoi onions, but there is only so much out there.  This link is a good page to check out for more info.

And This video

January 12, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 9 Comments

Turkeysong, The Year in Pictures and Video, 2014

The short version of this year:  Felt like shit most of the year, didn’t get a lot done, stopped growing stuff intentionaly for the farmer’s market due to unreliable health and too many wasted crops, switched most of my energy and time over to trying to figure out health issues which occupies about 2 to 4 hours or more of research on most days and much of my thoughts.  But, even though I sat on my ass for about 80% or more of the great majority of my days, the pictures I took this year do show that I did get out a little bit.

I’m in a full on war to regain my health.  It takes a lot of thought and time, so I haven’t done as much cool stuff as usual.  Once I figure that out, I hope to be a fountain of useful output, but until then I’m running on fumes.  This year, I was really just getting by most of the time with little spurts of energy here and there which I generally use to do something interesting so I don’t go fucking crazy, often with piles of dishes and laundry as a result.  Give me a choice between a pile of dirty laundry with a pile of charcoal, or just a pile of clean laundry, well… I’ll just be adding some charcoal stained clothes to that dirty laundry pile son.  Let me tell you, a life of leisure is just not for me!

The spring ran on through the worst drought anyone can remember.  It was pretty slow, but there was still more water than I ended up using.  The spring really does make it all possible.  I feel like I should build a shrine or something.  Seriously amazing.

I actually got around to filling my deer tag this year!  Skippy the deer is mostly eaten up now, and good riddance.  He was busting down fences, messing up fruit trees and generally being a juvenile delinquent.  I was half expecting to find graffiti somewhere… DEERZ RULEZ! on the water tank or some shit like that.  The plan was to do a year long educational video series following the processing of Skippy into all kinds of cool stuff, but it proved too large of a challenge to pull off on my own and just getting him cleaned and in the freezer had to be enough at the time.  Maybe next year.

My ex partner and currently business and land partner Tamara Wilder has been back more this winter bringing some help in the form of work traders and such.  It’s a bit of a challenge to have people here after living in solitude for a year and a half or more and I’m generally not up for managing anyone, but maybe some stuff will get done.

I’ve been a little more focused this year on video and hope to continue that trend. I still want a better camera, but I have an okay consumer camcorder I can use for now.  I am pretty excited about the great potential of video and the opportunity to reach a lot of people around the world with it.  You can visit my fledgling youtube channel here.  It’s always helpful to get comments, likes and subscriptions, hint hint!  So this year it’s two for one, The Year in Video and The Year in Pictures.  Or more like two for none, what a deal!

I’ll let the images and captions tell the rest.

Watch in HD if your rural connection is fast enough.

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A 6 year old apple tree frame-worked to a new variety.   Edward’s Fine Winter just didn’t perform well enough, so I changed it over to one of the Etter red fleshed apples.  This was taken in spring.  When I grafted it, the tree was already starting to flower.  Yes, that’s okay to do.

Continue reading

January 10, 2015 Posted by | Food and Drink Making, grafting, Non-Human Animals, Photos, Wildlands and Plants.. and Animals and Stuff | , , | 10 Comments

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