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!
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
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.
This is an introductory video I threw together to stoke people up on the idea of multigrafted trees. Quite a few fruit collectors use this technique and, while Frankentree is a more extreme example, I increasingly think that multigrafted trees with 3 to 30 varieties or so will serve the average person with a few trees much better than single variety trees do. Add to that the edifying character of the work, the increased involvement in one’s own food supply and the neato factor and it seems like a pretty easy sell, except for the intimidation factor. I’d like to maybe think this out better and make a more refined version as well as a detailed video tutorial on some of the specific strategies and skills, but this will have to do for now. The original Frankentree post has a little bit of information on grafting with pictures of a couple of different grafts.