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Archive for July, 2011

A decent sized handful of berries for the first harvest of Year 3.

Official Description:

Raspberry, Killarney Standard, Red raspberry. Ideal for canning or making jams and preserves. The hardiest raspberry we know of, disease-resistant and bears medium-sized, very bright red berries. Good flavor and freezing qualities. Ripens early and bears for 4-5 weeks. Recommended for colder climates.

Appearance:
These are raspberries. Traditional red raspberries.

Taste:
They taste like raspberries! Seriously, there’s nothing special or distinct about this variety. But they’re good, of course!

Growth & Health:
This type of plant has dark thorns like hairs on a light green stem, making identification very easy when a stray shoot pops up in an unexpected place.

All four types of raspberries I planted in Year 1 (2009) were slow to start. Now in Year 3, this is the second healthiest of my 4 varieties. It is also putting out new shoots away from the original planting,which I will transplant elsewhere.

The thorns on these are much finer, and more hair-like than Jewel. Of course, I still wear gloves to harvest the berries. I’m not a masochist!

Grow Again?
Yeah, sure. It’s nice to have traditional red raspberries even though production isn’t very good yet.

End-of-Year Stats (3rd year Harvest):
# of Plants___Days to Maturity___Days Off____Yield____Yield per Plant
__2_________late June_________-_________1 cup_______1/2 cup
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You're lucky to see a picture at all. They usually don't make it into the house.

Official Description:

The Fall Gold Raspberry has a sweet berry, with a large yellow-gold color. The bush is everbearing, and its very winter hardy, making it an excellent choice for northern gardeners who want to taste delicious raspberries. The Fall Gold Raspberry plant ripens in July and September in the warmer areas, and late spring and July through August, up to a hard frost, in the colder areas.

Appearance:
The shoots of this plant are a lighter green than the standard red raspberries. The leaves are quite soft, but the thorns are pretty managable. I don’t know if it’s just the location I picked for this plant or the plant itself, but the plant is very short and frankly, not very healthy. The berries start out white and ripen to a golden yellow.

Taste:
These are my favorite berry! The few I find that are ripe go right into my mouth. My hubby is lucky to get 5 or 6 in a season. They have a much milder taste than standard red raspberries, and taste less tart, more sweet, and juicier. These might be a good variety to try for people who don’t like red raspberries. I love them!

Growth & Health:
All four types of raspberries I planted in Year 1 (2009) were slow to start. These were the second to last slowest. Their 2nd year shoots almost got to knee high. The 3rd year shoots are finally starting to get taller and more robust looking. I am pumped that they are still surviving year to year and making a berry here and there.

A total downside is that this is the only variety of 4 that gets these tiny inch worms that eat the leaves. Luckily they leave the berries alone. I don’t use sprays, so the plant will just have to get stronger and heartier to survive the minor bug attacks. I’ve heard of “Red Raspberry Leaf” tea, but never “Yellow Raspberry Leaf” tea–maybe the worms know something we humans don’t! Maybe someday I’ll actually try and brew some.

Grow Again?
Of course! I would love to have a full row of these. I can’t wait for fall so I can do some proper maintenance on all my berry plants–mainly adding compost and manure and mulching heavily. Plus the usual trimming of last year’s shoots. That should be a great boost for the health of this plant.

End-of-Year Stats (2nd year Harvest):
# of Plants___Days to Maturity___Days Off____Yield____Yield per Plant
__1_________July and Sep_________-________-_____(too small to measure)
3rd year Harvest:
Just started.

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The conditions this year were just such that I am now experiencing more megablooms than I’ve ever seen on more tomato varieties than ever. Even my parents got one on a potted tomato plant.

Megabloom on Red Brandywine

Megabloom on Malachite Box tomato

If I remember correctly, the weather was a cold, delayed early Spring; followed by a very wet, rainy late Spring; followed by a rather hot early Summer, with a cold snap that lasted a week or two; followed by the normal hot, dry Summer. One or more of these weather conditions made my tomato plants decide to put out some monster blooms. I’m excited about that though, as I get to watch the mega tomatoes growing and ripening. I’ll be picking them probably in 6 weeks!

The varieties that put out the megablooms were:

  • Malachite Box
  • Red Brandywine
  • Green Giant
  • Purple Calabash
  • plus Cherokee Purple (parents’ plant)

For more information about Megablooms, read my previous post here! 

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What? Who? Huh? Daylilies are edible?

Daylily petals add a great punch of color to an ordinary salad.

Yes they are. And some varieties are tastier than others. Mine are pretty standard golden or lemon yellow non-rebloomers. The petals when eaten have a mild buttery taste. Adding them to salads adds visual interest and a shock factor for surprising guests; or a mild sense of pride in eating something out of your garden even if you don’t have a garden.

My daylilies are along the side of our house. They bloom later in the season due to only partial sun.

Just make sure you are snatching daylily petals, not asiatic lily petals. Wiki it if you don’t know the difference.

Ingredients:

  • salad greens of choice, such as romaine lettuce, spinach, or a blend of your favorites
  • a smattering of daylily petals, chopped
  • your choice of salad dressing (my favorite for this salad is Ranch)
  • add ins such as diced chicken nuggets (to make it a meal), carrots, tomatoes, etc.

Directions:
Gather your daylily petals on the same day you’ll be eating them. Better yet, minutes before you eat the salad. Daylily petals bruise easily, so don’t crush them or hold them too tightly. And don’t eat them if any pesticides or herbicides have been sprayed on or around the plants. Pick petals off the freshest looking blooms, leaving the pollen stamens behind.

Chop the daylily petals and add them to the salad. How many you add is up to you.

Chopping up some yellow daylily petals.

Add in the other ingredients, toss in dressing and eat. Enjoy!

This delicious salad is a Daylily Chicken Nugget "Caesar".

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Official Description:

Standard, black raspberry. Ideal for canning or making jams and preserves. Vigorous, erect plants produce large, firm berries with good flavor. Ripens early and resistant to anthracnose. Hardy in Zones 5-8.

Appearance:
These are raspberries that look and grow more like blackberries. They are a deep purple color, the vines are even purple. They are also more vigorous than standard raspberries. The shoots they put out are healthy and large and they make lovely clusters of berries in the Spring, with 7 to 10 large berries per cluster. The berries start out pinkish red that ripen to dark purple (berry-black or aubergine).

Taste:
They taste like raspberries but with a juicier mouth-feel. You know how regular raspberries can make your mouth feel dry? It might be an effect of their sour, mouth-puckering taste. Well, Jewel raspberries don’t do that. Therefore they taste sweeter than the red type.

Growth & Health:
All four types of raspberries I planted in Year 1 (2009) were slow to start. Jewel was the only one of 4 to actually put out a full-sized shoot for Year 2. This is testament again to its vigorous (invasive) growth habit. Now in Year 3, this is the healthiest of my 4 varieties. It is also putting out shoots further away from the original planting, good for starting new plants elsewhere.

Downside: the thorns!

Grow Again?
Unlikely. These are hardy, vigorous, and put out a lot of fruit. But the vines have many thorns. In hindsight, I’d get more yellow raspberries and instead of black raspberries, choose a thornless, non-suckering blackberry.

End-of-Year Stats (2nd year Harvest):
# of Plants___Days to Maturity___Days Off____Yield____Yield per Plant
__2_________late June_________-_________1 cup_______1 cup
3rd year Harvest:
Just started, but have harvested about 1/2 cup already.  

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I’ve always said if you’re going to plant a tree, why not plant a fruiting tree? It’s a carryover from my philosophy about gardening. If you’re not vegetable gardening, than you’re not “really” gardening. Sure flowers are pretty, but can you eat them? Well, there are exceptions to that…

Anyway, 0ut by my compost pile is a landscaping hole. There are a row of arbor vitaeacross the width of our property with a 6 to 10 foot gap at the end. I always said I wanted to plant a tree there. But I never got around to it: the ground there needs a lot of prep work.

The red circle is where the tree is. It is still young and rather open so it's hard to see.

So 3 years ago already I noticed a tree growing spontaneously in that spot. I promptly cut it down as a weed. But the next year, it grew back with a twin trunk instead of a single. It grew too fast for me to cut it down again. And now in it’s 3rd year it’s back and is making … (wait for it) … fruit! Surprise! The tree I didn’t plant is a Mulberry and is making small mulberries fit to eat!

First clue: the leaves are variable in shape. Some are lobed like mittens, others are unlobed. But both have serated edges. They aren’t very glossy but are subtlely hairy. Next, the bark is smooth and light colored. Then there are the berries which resemble small black berries and start out white and turn to red then berry-black (aubergine).

While the tree is a White Mulberry, the fruit ripens to berry black. Notice how the stems get left on.

And finally, one branch was completely cocooned in silk and was full of 1 cm long green worms. Silk worms. Gross, but there it is.

Conclusion: God planted me a White Mulberry tree! I haven’t heard of that variety growing wild in these parts, usually it’s a standard Red Mulberry. But I’ll take it! Now we’ll have 2 Mulberry trees as I actually paid for and planted one as part of our tree order this spring. That variety is a Russian Morus Alba, also a White Mulberry.

I pruned off the silk worm branch, and did some other pruning too. And I picked off all the ripe berries. When I combined those with my raspberry pickings for the day, I got about a cup’s worth of mixed berries. Yum!

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