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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Garden season retrospective. Part 7 of N... blueberry in alkaline soil

Some folk who have alkaline soils (7.5-8.5) and want blueberry have little to no success and go to pots. Did I try, yep, was dead clorotic plant next year.
What am I going to do now? Do not buy homedepot stuff, because it turns out there is more than one type and some types simply never will do here in my high mountain desert... meaning no one plants here oranges in open ground :), but plenty in Florida.

Also homedepot blueberry... what the variety are they... and will they grow... Bottom line is it depends, big time. Now to the types.

First of all there are multiple types of blueberry.

Northern highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) are native to much of the eastern and
northeastern United States, from the Appalachian Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. The plants grow
5 to 9 feet tall. One named selection from the wild ‘Rubel’, was introduced in the early 1920s. Many
commercial northern highbush cultivars have been developed through traditional breeding programs.

Southern Highbush Blueberries Southern highbush blueberries are complex
hybrids of  V. corymbosum and a native, evergreen Florida species (V. darrowii). The plants grow about 6 to 8 feet tall. In mild production regions, southern highbush blueberries can be grown in an evergreen system, in which the plants retain old leaves through the winter to advance the spring fruit crop. This type was developed to allow blueberry production in low-chill areas (regions with mild winters, such as Florida and California). A dormant blueberry plant requires a certain amount of chilling (between approximately 32°F and 45°F) to break bud and flower normally. Southern highbush blueberries have a much lower chilling requirement (200 to 300 hours) than northern highbush blueberries (more than 800 hours). Southern highbush blueberries will grow in the
Pacific Northwest but have low yields. Bushes bloom in late winter, and flowers are frequently damaged by frost. Southern highbush blueberry cultivars for the Pacific Northwest are not recommended. Some hybrid cultivars, such as ‘Legacy’ and ‘Ozarkblue’, can be grown successfully west of the Cascades; how ever, cold damage to flower buds has been observed in these cultivars when temperatures drop below approximately 0°F to 5°F.

Rabbiteye BlueberriesRabbiteye blueberries (V. virgatum syn. V. ashei) are native to the southeastern United States. The plants grow from 6 to 10 feet tall. Rabbiteye cultivars were developed in regions with long, hot summers, and they behave differently in the Pacific Northwest than in their home environments. In this region, the plants tend to be smaller, and the fruit ripens very late in summer and fall. In some cool summer environments, such as the Pacific Coast and northwest Washington, there often is not enough heat to fully ripen the fruit. Rabbiteye blueberries are more sensitive to winter cold than northern highbush blueberries. Although we have not seen much cold damage on rabbiteyes grown in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, cold damage to flower buds and late-season growth has been observed when temperatures drop below approximately 0°F to 5°F. We do not recommend this type of blueberry for production east of the Cascades or in northern Washington.
Though newer cultivars have fruit quality similar to that of highbush types, many older rabbiteye
cultivars have darker blue fruit with more noticeable seeds, thicker skins, and noticeable grit or stone cells (as found in pears).

Lowbush Blueberries Lowbush blueberries (V. angustifolium) are native from Minnesota to Virginia and to the northeastern United States and the Maritime Provinces of Canada. The plants are low-growing shrubs that spread by underground stems; they seldom grow taller than 1.5 feet. A few cultivars, such as ‘Blomidon’, ‘Burgundy’, and ‘Brunswick’, have been named, but
the lowbush blueberry industry depends on managing wild stands made up of hundreds or thousands of clones per acre. Plant more than one cultivar for good fruit production. In general, lowbush types need little pruning, but cut plants back to the ground every 2 to 3 years if they get too shrubby.

Half-High Blueberries
Half-high blueberries are the result of crosses  between northern highbush and lowbush blueberries.
These cultivars will tolerate -35°F to -45°F. The plants grow from 3 to 4 feet tall, and most of the fruiting area is protected below the snow line. Half-high blueberries are suitable for commercial production where other types of blueberry are not hardy. They are also used as attractive landscape plants and are suited to container production. In the landscape, they do not need to be pruned as severely or as regularly as highbush types.

So how far from pacific and acidic soils one can get? Does midwest Rock mountain desert sound far?

Here is a very useful video regarding how-to's from Bouledr county CSU extension

And another one from Jefferson county CO

The root stock comes usually from Oregin, so these would be one of high bush cultivars.
Lowbush would do as well. Southern high bush - that's a no (because of oranges :) ).

One of beneficial spots is near your pine trees. And do not toss those pine needles, Make a beneficial guild.

also there are some blueberry cultivars that do in ph7.
In BTE (Back to Eden garden) setting blueberry can grow next to pines.

When BTE is established and the soil is doing what it supposed to do blueberry can grow.

How to propagate them

Northern high bush cultivars (Oregon) : (in order of ripening):
‘Duke’, ‘Earliblue’, ‘Spartan’, ‘Patriot’, ‘Blue‑crop’, ‘Jersey’, ‘Blueray’, ‘Legacy’, ‘Chandler’,
and ‘Elliott’.

Vigorous, spreading
Berry: Medium size, dark blue, soft, thin skin, resists cracking, medium to large scar, excellent sweet 
flavor, fruit hang well 
BTE setting does mention this cultivar, growing at ph7.

Full list of  Oregon cultivars from Oregon Stage SCU

Ssouthern highbush cultivars (e.g., O’Neal, Star, Jewel, San Joaquin, Emerald, Santa Fe, Misty, Carteret, Pamlico) These are pacific south east only. They do not do well in Oregon and not recommended there. They will end up dead anuals as well in midwest, so containers only and indoors in winter.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Spring. Весна

Some earlier spring shots and some earth work.
Несколько более ранних фото на тему весенних работ.

Spring around here gets a bit wild. High mountain desert, so no one complains about moisture in any form. 0F-70+F swings... hard, but... what do you do :)
We get snow till mid May, at times in June, does not mean we do not get summer days weather at 70F at the same time. Freezing at night and 70F day time sun and stuff... sounds pretty normal.
Clay soil, we had about 4 inches from July 2016, so it was dry. Means if we got an inch we are stashing all that water every drop of it. For us it means water collection and mulch.
At times water collects in all the wrong places. The way how land is like so. Road is a low spot and there is no really a way to do otherwise, it's a pasture there with a dirt path to back and barn kind of a structure. Also I do mulch orchard so I take mulch brought by large trucks.
Usually in April-May no one can go at the back, at least last year

Весна здесь с довольно норвистым характером. Высокая горная пустыня, поэтому никто не жалуется на влажность в любой форме, дождь или снег или просто морось. 0F-70 + F дневной перепад температуры  ... трудно, но ... что ж делать то :), погода такая. Мульчируем чтоб деревья не побило такое.
Тут может быть снег до середины мая, иногда в июне, не означает, что мы не получаем погоду как в летние дни 70F в то же время. Замерзат все ночью и 70F дневнем и солнце и так далее ... звучит довольно нормально. Короче погода когда помидор до 20 Мая в принципе на сажают аже если темло 20С, на следующуй неделе может сантиметров 20 снега выпасть, Было.
Глинозес, то есть краснозем.У нас было около 4 дюймов рсадков с июля 2016 года, поэтому все сухо. Это означает, что если мы получим дюйм, мы сбережем всю эту воду, каждую каплю, иначе все высыхает моментально. Для нас это означает сбор воды и мульчирование. Мульча при заморозках работает как снег, у дерева корни холоднее и оно рано не цветет тогда.
Порой вода накапливается во всех неправильных местах. Дорога - низменное место, и в действительности нет другого способа сделать это иначе..., это пастбище там с грунтовка к большому сараю и на заднюю часть участка где сад. Также я занимаюсь мульчированием фруктового сада, поэтому я беру мульчу с доставкой большими грузовиками, а такое на грязной дороге просто сядет и все.
Обычно в апреле-мае никто не может пойти на нижнюю часть участка, по крайней мере, в прошлом году туда было до Июля не влезть. Вот так например пару недуль назад. Это еще мало :)

Mulched side on photo (top part of photo below)  is well controlled and not collecting water, good, bottom part is split by a hidden berm so is redirects the access water on mulched pasture instead of letting it go down to road and sit there.
В верхней части дорога уже замульчирована, там спрятан небольшой земляной вал чтоб вода шла на поле а не на дорогу ниже, остатки воды стоят на дороге и это надо исправлять.

Digging that ditch in snow and mud is not much fun to be honest, but... garden fork, mud boots, gloves and off we go... Копать траншею для отведения воды огородными вилами в снег и дождь дело конечно не веселое, но когда надо трак мульчи принять ... а что делать...

Now how to deal with that? Mulch. Raising the entire road is cost prohibitive and doing culvert requires county permit and stuff so it can handle large fire trucks... complicated. So what did not look that complicated...
Giant rock sink pit naturally :) and wicker raised bed. If that will be not enough I made there french drain access for the overflow if something... and I could lead that drain to the next large back dry creek...
All that feeds from large driveway run off

Итак, как нам все это безобразие исправить? Мульчированием. Поднимать всю дорогу это удовольствие дорогое, очень, а мульчу привозят за дешево. Она утрамбовывается и держит трак, проверено уже. Для контроля воды роем большую яму и заваливаем камнями, если всю воду не удержит то подкопаем отводную трубу и выведем ее на второй такой же сухой ручей. Так контродируется эрозия почвы и ее вымывание.
Можно проложить трубу под дорогой но это обходится дорого к тому же нужен пермит от графтсва потому как это надо делать так чтоб пажарная машина прошла если что... вобщем это сложно...

Step 1 dig a hole
Сначала копаем яму, большую.
 Line and fill with rocks, rock on back, compost on front not for that project but will be added some to the raised bed part.
Выстилаем это тканью, нетканый матерbfл который не пропускает сорняк, в этом месте изводим вьюн и чертополох, поэтому... и за одно так земля не будет с боков в яму попадать.
Куча камня и компоста.
Rock screening tool: 4x4, screws, make a square, staple chicken wire, pt finer plastic insert (recycle store find, for like 50c or something a roll of that plastic mesh) works very good.
Камни переиспользуем, земля от них отсеивается вот таким простыс опудием; доски 2х4, на длинных шурупах, к раме приделывается сетка для куриного загона а сверху кусок пластиковой сетки найденой в местном ресайкле за 50 центов за небольшой рулон, замечательная конструкция.

So add rock, landscaping fabric is from costco, about $30 for a large roll, seasonal thing, comes with staples, but 6'' staples from amazon a re better, about $13 for 150 of them.
Яму заваливаем камнями это lava rock, с отсеяной землей уже, у него большая поверхность, поэтому там много места для жизнедеятельности всяких разных бактерий и фильтра того что о драйвея и дороги принесло водой. Ткань из costco за 30 долларов, большой рулон, это сезонно, поэтому если нужно лучше заранее купить, привозят это весной, шпильки 20 сантиметровый 13 за коробку 150 штук можно купить на амазоне, они лучше для такого дела.
 Here is all done and road mulched, deep
вот промульцированая сантиметров на 30 дорога и справленой ситуацией с водой. Уже проверено несколькими большими траками.

 Rock pit view, more logs will be added here to get it done
Вид сверху на ямузасыпаную камнями. Еще пеньков добавим как их привезут, кончились :).
 Here is top part of the rock creek, it will get dig up more when the next rain comes because otherwise one can not get into that clay much...
Now all the water goes under the rain instead into the posts making those loose and loose posts at the gate is no good thing.
Это верхняя часть ручья. Еще выше прокопаем после очередного пождя потму что в эту почву влезть если нет дождя в несехон можно только ломом в буквальном смысле. А весной во время дождя или сразу после можно прокопать огородными вилами.

Now a bit more about nicer stuff. Spring is here.
О более приятном, весна началась. Вшел лук батун, нарцысы и подснежники и некоторые травы
 Lovage. Любисток, это как листовой сельдерей.

 Snow drops, blues. Подснежники, продаются осеню в costco. А ландыши продаются весной, но не прижились что-то...
А через несколько дней вот так.
And like so in couple of days.

 One can see composting mulch pile all right
А эта куча компостируется сразу видно что теплаяя, вся растаяла.


 They were not impressed :), they do eat snow so :)
Курам снег не понравился, но они его едят :)

A volunteer... Type of a cherry, possibly nanking...
Это волонтер, возможно войлочная вишня.



And we have chicks, brood hatched, that's Orloff chicks under black australorp. 6 are her own and 7 from incubator. she has a her to manage and so far she took all.
So we are all set with Easter hatch I guess, it was not planned so, I had to deal with broodies and did move one successfully, they were breaking egg in the coop and it was not good. It all turned out ok at the end.... too early so, had to put her in garage. I like them outside instead in summer, too dusty.

А еще в Пасхе вылупились циплята, 6 ее собственных высидила и 7 из соседского инкубатора, все орловцы. Сидит в гараже, это не планировалось, но несколько кур решило сесть на яйца рано (хотя бы не зимой в жуткий мороз). Но все равно рано, в гараже от куры пыль, этим тоже надо заниматься, все это лучше на улице делать летом. Видимо петух таки убедил...

Saturday, April 1, 2017


There are many types of compost sold in bags. So what is that you are after...

And why the heck the sales man tries to sell you so much compost anyways (aside of mere profits and margins... because sales man did not put the work into making compost, they are distribution chain of that)... Compost sold in bags, lays outside in whatever environment, treated like dirt...
Is that just expensive dirt? If it was overheated above 130F indeed it is, because t became dirt at that point.
Meaning if something like compost overheats it becomes stero, no life forms in it, all dead. I did see some heating compost in the oven to kill stuff (why is not clear, I guess people sometimes get scared and love to pay whatever money they can an can not afford)..

When one buys compost it's not a fertilizer, it's an inoculation method. The life forms in the food web is what you want, not the dirt, cause you already have dirt on the ground, no need to pay more $$$ for the dirt (cause most households in USA do not own it anyways, they ay mortgages, meaning de-facto bank owns that and they rent... with semi-lax land lord sort of... as long as they pay and have enough security deposit in it - aka down-payment and equity) .

It's the life forms in compost you want.
How to make compost

Why it's a good idea to get compost from the facility that knows what they are doing? Because the life forms in the compost will be there, those are the silent workers you want to breed.

Your dirt already has all the nutrients your plant will ever need by several times over in it's entire life time and then some, the life food web is what extracts those from dirt making the dirt to become soil. No fertilizer sales person is going to tell you that,.. no big herbicide-pesticide company... Why? Cause you will stop coming to buy their product because you have life forms that are present on that earth to do the job. You are not paying rent to big company producing fertilizers and additives (they are salts by the way, that's the chemistry of it and not about to change).
Instead you making pile out of waste materials, literally... Breeding life forms, they eat one another...

What do you believe composting worms eat?.. They eat food scraps, right, at least it looks like... but are those foods craps remain like not broken down? and why some recommend grinding the pieces by food processor so worms eat faster? What eats the scraps... and why do you grind these increasing the surface area? Cause only thing on that planet that benefits from large surface area is small... those are the bacteria, they grow rapidly on food scraps, and worms do not eat the food scraps, its what grows on then they are after, along with other critters in that very compost...

I dirt no one's home, at all.. stero, nothing living. In healthy soil there are living things that work for you

Listen to this, spend your time

When soil food web is active?

most active in early summer when i's warm but not too hot.
In our area it's late spring
Food web

I'm restoring my land into soil, in certain areas I have very decent native grasses, to take that clump out was hard... very. So I have root systems that go over 2 feet deep, and the only thing that does it is bindweed and several other nasty tap weeds...
So why folk were going gaga for bindweed stew? Because that plant was able to go get there, and where are roots there is life.
Before that bindweed goes to seed I'm composting that thing...
Because it did go down there...
I'll talk about hated by many bindweed later... I really after getting that bindweed into the lad and seeing what grows there. What is it that it made symbiotic relationships with that it's roots are capable of going down there, because that's what I want my trees to do.
That's what I want my grass to do.
Good bacteria and fungi seem to be good ones are aerobic and disease and pests are anaerobic.

Bindweed also tells me where I should not plant, if it gets iron clorosis anything else will in that spot, it means life in there is not supporting even that weed. There is not enough bio diversity there, ans I need to get to that spot and put life forms in there, cover it so the erosion is stopped and let the life forms to do the things. It means I add compost tea in there so the cycle is started and so the worms come and start aerating this area and turning that into soil. Deep tap root plants like brasacas can help me out there, Dandelions, they are not clorotic. They seem to have right symbiosis.
And you are right... I did stop killing dandelions at my property indeed.
It does no mean I do not have lawn. And I get a weed into it once in a while, I get the weed, get that root out. After that I do compost tea drench and have chickens go fertilize too.
Weed that did not make the seed goes into compost, there id small amount of seed mass I never compost because at times I may not get the seeds and compost hot enough, I need to work on the process.

Why now? Because the spring has began, Find good health compost, make a simple brewing machine, start brewing that. When soil has structure it can retain water and it can feed the plants.
Now it's a good time to talk about compost, hot composting required 21 days, It turns out one does not need whole lot of compost.