patterns and spindles

Monday, February 27, 2023

Long time update

 It has being a while. Nothing was wrong in case if someone was worried. Did not feel like writing content.

The nature is taking is own course, in some cases it is carefully manged in some we just have the perception of doing so. Some years were more gentle and some were harsher like last year when there was dry winter and not much rain in our particular area.

The grapes that were planted while ago and supposed to be at full production speed did not make through the winter, many of them. This climate after all is too harsh for them. They would restart from the root and would not manage to go through harsh winter with swings 60F (18.5C) one day -5F(-20.5C) another. 80F weather swings do kill things here. The grapes came from zone 3 and still our zone 5b was harsher. Some things can be adapted, some can not.

Having fully sheltered vineyard under row covers was not in my plans, therefore the varieties will be replaced and most likely even layout would change where vineyard is planted. It is not a critical peace on the land. It was placed there as a side project in a way. However the weeds management with some new construction that has happen in the area is changed. It brings more weeds, and sand storms add to it. With perennial weeds it's much harder, annuals control does become more challenging in the areas where initial wood chips cover was decomposed. IT does look now as added cover will be part of winter and autumn maintenance automated with the tractor in all areas where equipment  can get.  

I was making flowers at the house an extension of what is outside for a long time. In out dry climate it was somewhat difficult to force branches to bloom in winter so I did stick to the evergreens.

I did find how not fresh the commercially sold flowers are here a long time ago. Especially what is sold retail, compared to what comes out of the gardens. Humidity controlled walk in refrigerator is a very powerful thing especially for tropical plants. They do require constant misting several times a day in the flower arrangement.

It is calendar spring coming, the orchard is pruned and I did put some branches in water to see how will it be this season. With the cost of electric and water I honestly reduced amount of things I was growing in garden and more berries came. It does vary year over year as everything.

Couple things were learned in terms of how much border line fire blight susceptible apple varieties are susceptible. Several trees were lost and replaced with the new plums. They are twigs and will take another 3-4 years to become reasonable tree. Our root stock quality did decrease a lot after 2020 season, our prices doubled as a minimum. What was 15-25 for bare root tree now is 33-39 and it is a smaller younger tree , add the price subtract 1 year of growing is the expected way to get the tree.

What growers do they would not trim overgrowth and sell such a tree as 8 foot when in fact it is a 5 foot twig from the previous year stock that is sold. I became not a huge fan of pot in the pot commercial method in soiless medium. If I bring the root stock now I have to bring the smaller ones. I feel for the commercial landscapers and the households that purchase these. Commercial way of gardening is a different strategy of cutting corners increasing the profits. It is happening more and more each season and with cost of running the greenhouses is is only more so. 

After 2020 thing became a lot more expensive and harder to do it the organic way. Many still do not understand it, it will come. Not without marketing of intermediate solutions or/and introduction of more processed products made conventional way with added mark up.

I did see traditional farms to reduce production last year and leave grain in the field due to fuel costs. Many other things that will come this year without people realizing what was done last 2 years. Many tried to learn gardening last 2 years and some did realize it is not easy in our climate. It did not lead to as much appreciation for farmers and ranchers work so as I was hoped.

Meanwhile the land is still there and will be till we are on it. When we go I think what is done here may perish quite fast as organic land management in not easy. And a lot more do not want to do it at all. Maybe trees and iris farm will remain if I take full control of invasive weeds there plus 5 years, the rest I think will perish. It does not mean the weeds will not reestablish themselves in next 7 years.

I came to think if we are not on this land how would it look like and I think probably a lot like near by lot with some trees and managed by broad leaf suppressing herbicides pasture. I came to think after 2020 looking how land was treated and how people changed that generations of land stewards will be more and more rare and conventional management of invasive weeds will prevail. After all after several decades I came to understanding I have no effective bio control for class C invasive weeds here, their control is the chemical control, total eradication, 5 years restoration period was the faster way to go. Except one thing: construction is the major weeds reintroduction vector on the large scale. That should never be taken out of the equation. I will have to have some areas where indeed invasive weeds that did reestablish themselves will get chemical control. In very selective way, but after 2020 I do not see another option in acreage here. Lucky my problem areas are bordering near by land that did get chemical weeds management, one semi-abandoned one not maintained lot in several hundreds acres is enough to cause massive reintroduction problems. Have to appreciate some of these class C weeds.

Class C weed in USA means the federal/state/county will not request weed management of these, so technically speaking the lot that did not cut say field of invasive weeds will not request to cut down the mess so they do not seed all over the area, authorities will educate the owners, they will not being the equipment to take care of the problem and here is the bill, manage your property dear owners. That does happen with class A (eradication required) and class B weeds (management is required). Class C means state/county/federal admitted this wed is out of control and spread too much. 

Therefore it make controlling class C weeds a lot harder, controlling these with organic methods without any effective bio controls is many times harder.  There is a saying organic fertilizers are more effective then chemical ones, chemical herbicides are more effective then the organic ones.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Vineyard N4

 The strangest season did bring some troubles and the forecast is up to no , so the labor day weekend will be about the labor.

60+F degree drop is coming 2 days of snow after the weeks in 90 on 'cool' days to 100+ on most days heat.

From 100+ we drop to 26 ans is we get snow we are lucky if we do not that will be very very bad.

It will be exactly like this year when I cam to vineyard wiped out to the ground over the winter with 30% root stock loss... cover with mulch, then frost blanket then mulch again... try to bring all these wines down to give them another week to mature...

What would one do... I've seeing 6-7y old wines to restart from the root this year, I've seeing loss of Mars wine at 50+% I've seeing reliance wiped to 1/3... Humrod, st. Teresa and many others to the ground... All last year planted wines were to the ground killed and re-stared from the buds from the root.

It was a terrible year with no fruit in the orchard as the spring killed it all with 2 ice storms and we were just watching... Many have not a single apple or pear and only hand full of plums, then the hail came and shredded all the cucumber and tomato, which had to be replanted and will be killed by 2 days of snow.

What do you do in such year... Pull many green tomato to ripen on the wine, cover with mulch what can and needs to be saved and hope you get it saved maybe.

So the vineyard comes first this year...

One year was lost completely and so maybe another or it can come to the total loss... he goal here is to cover the root stock good enough so at least the root stock can be saved.

Last 2 years are not like any I've seeing

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Vineyard N3

Grapes are slowly making it inside-patio-outside (for 3-4h a day, because high mountain spring sun can burn anything not used to it very quickly, and all my grapes are sound asleep right now, they know next week another snow is coming, so they do sit tight)...
Weeds are coming strong and need to be dialed with.
These are root stock from abroad, table grapes, they handle zones 3-4.

On the other side... almost all gladiolas are planted (regardless of foretasted snow, in composting beds they will be ok.... because snow will not be 3 days like last year, but only one and very short mostly rain and then some freeze-snow...
I planted all... except of these... pots... Clearly I planted some chickens there.
And they messed and tossed out my good compost.

So that to be re-filled and planted, and chicken wire goes over that. Gladiolas come through, but chickens do not scratch because they do not like chicken wire at all.
Like so.

 Wire needs to be added, chickens are in pens till I get to that, because they will be right back at it digging out gladiolas, and I do not like that.
The wire is green, better than rock (that heats way too much up here in mountains). So whoever has self-planting chickens... coated chicken wore does work... If you do not forget to put it over the winter like I did... and chickens will plant themselves there wasting your good compost...
Not exactly wasted, other plants benefit too... 

compost pile, wood chips on top.
 Still, more work, could have being prevented, oh well, can not catch everything.

Chickens were bad, and they planted themselves in new work in progress vineyard.
It's bordering compost pile and Largest variety will be feeding of that wide composting area.
 4 rows, 3 stand alone, 1 merged with composting bed.
 Cickens made some holes, ate some of my good earth worms (not happy, need those)
 2 different rows example, each one has 'chickenscaping'
 Water retention is good so, even after the chickenscaping.

60x60x60 cm holes where the stakes marking the grape holes are.... well were... placed...because chicken landscaped... are still to be done. The dirt was ok, but still a bit dry so these mounds are doing it's job softening the dirt, getting in there last 3 snows... Meaning it's about to be ready to do the dirt holes and put grape supports in the place (t-post tension wire, do not want to do treated wood for this.)
New Mars variety (pruned some more of mine, was sad to toss the wines, they made good cuttings...)

So these will be good for the autumn planting... or overwintering. It's ok variety for up here.
It's zone 5-8, it does not freeze in 5a-5b. Makes good grape jam and jelly. Makes good wine vinegar. Wine... yeah maybe, have to get to that.
Mars variety links
Mars cluster looks like so

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

If you do not have a green house N2 continued

If there is no green house some things can be used instead
Prev post shows the germination start
21 days later we have
lamps raised 3 times 2.5 or 1 inch each time give or take, now lamps are a bit higher than I like but with plants in this size I'm ok with that
Shop lights needs to be close to the plants, that prevents leggy plants.

Roots on tomatoes are good. Our spring is very very windy and 40-55mph winds afternoon are not unheard off (40+ is normal) by any means.  So tomatoes get berried a good bit int the dirt, aka planted deep. For that reason and to make lots and lots of roots to feed on that compost. And some carp caught by bow fishers in lakes (it's a junk fish, state pays folk to shoot it to control it in lakes, otherwise it overpowers all other fish and throws the lake of balance, they grow huge)... I get free and plant that fish in the dirt and tomato next or on top of it. Scandinavian fertilizer that works here very well, just have to keep coyotes out :) of it...

Grapes timeline:

started cuttings

They start like so, buds not captured, but with this method leaves going first is normal, what is not desirable is leaves and lots of them and not roots, aka lagging root development.

 To speed that up have to put heat mat under the box like so below

these are some struggles in the red box, and them in 4 days in red box planted, from struggles I lost 4 eventually, so only 2 made it to good size (losses within 1 month)
 In tubes, this way they stay put for 1 month at least. they need to have good bundle of roots. Be real careful transplanting them into XL 1 gallon pots
 Transplanted. These went into sunroom many times and came indoors under grow light (hooked to tripod... it holds it ok... but I would not use bogen for that :), it's a spare and has lost plate on it...)
So grapes were already adapted to sunroom and a bit outdoors.
I have 3 snow storms to go including this week before all the spring roller-coaster will settle more-or-less... we can get snow first week in June as well.
Grapes will be hardened in shade in 1-2 weeks, right now it's snow, so not a good time, but it will be all gone as usual in 1-2 days.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

If you do not have a green house

set up is very simple and I found it working better in several years in a row compared to 200$+ grow lights
shop light (full spectrum), have full spectrum led -even better.
cinder block (2-6) to vary height
pvc pipe and angle joins, plastic, packing tape

the construction looks like so:
light goes on timer on cinder blocks, as the plants grow raise the light. this prevents leggy seedlings.


tarp for mess prevention. the seedlings are on rubber mud shes trays. no mess, wood floors are just fine

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Vineyard N2

Several useful things about cordon training

Storing wine cuttings... for example this guy (ps we did not do that, our were refrigerated for a month, and they had mold and fungi issues which I did have to deal with potacium permangonite)

We did it in water
I did 3-4 in one cup, 2cm of water, water did have potacium permangonite. My cutting rooting was close to 80% meaning high
They were soaked in potasium permangonate (weak water) and shocked in stronger solution. if there was mildew potasium permangonite dip was repeated to kill the bad stuff (green sand filter stuff works well and very inexpensive, store away from kids etc proper precautions are always taken)

similar to this, not exact.

I did not do it in the dirt because I did not have the good heated set up. And water worked. It is very important to to dip the tops at least into bee wax.
this helps in arid climate a lot. and we had these on heat mat too after the buds broke. they were transplanted into dirt in tubes when the root was only 2.5 cm long or 3.5... very carefully.
After that they were there for a month and heat mat was removed

and only after that month (no touching let it be, and some still are let be as is) they were put into gallon pots and rooting till late May 
soil prep is going on for that while grapes are in green house type setting (aka sun room, not heated and watched closely)

Useful things about vineyard

These are table grape varieties.
Wine and vinegar varieties did produce last year. Even if Reliance and Mars are considered here table varieties.. I mean they are sweet and edible :)... I think f these as wine and vinegar varieties... 
We not much into the wine so, for cooking, makes real nice marinades and French sauces.

Table grapes are here. And bringing cutting last time worked badly, lots of fungi damage on them and We tried to follow this way.

and failed...miserably, there was fungi and mold and no clauses...

So I put that method aside as no go in my case. And instead I forced these cuttings in water, and we did deal with fungi and developing molds with potacium permangonite solution. 
The problems I did see was buds did open too early

But compared to prev nethod I'd say we were very successful indeed

Now useful thing regarding vineyard (organic, I'm going to go metal and how fences too... or the wire... still thinking), my other grapes are t-posts and hog panels trellis

I'm running not with the sun , I'm running with the slope and water.
So I'm not running north south, cause that would be with the slope of the water, so I'm running the way so my grapes do catch the water. And I tested east-west already and that's how my Mars is
And my Humrod is North-South (on flatter area and it's only 3 of them, so not long)
My reliance is also west-east. And I do not have long rows by any means, I do 3-4-5.

I'll do more on the vineyard later. For example my Mars is not trained as cordons...

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Compost tea

Compost teas are innoculants for the soil. In our high mountain desert the autumn and winter and early spring is the time when the moisture is in and one works on the soil.
Days are often warm above 50F and sometimes it freezes, so under the nice layer of leaves one can grow nice organisms for the next season.
Hot compost pile on large scale for me is difficult, so I make larger scale sheet mulch and use compost to innoculate.

Because I'm getting rid of bindweed I go for fungal compost. In my area soils are alkaline and so is the water, 8.5+ is not unheard off at all.  Soils are clay, so they do retain water but also do not drain well. I do have pasture grasses with long roots in my orchard, I want these because they create nice long food web. Because pasture was there for some time already it's a good start, but it's only working its way to high fungal like my garden that grows plenty of mushrooms in spring. That one I did jump start with different organic materials and plenty of wood chips and manure and compost as well.

When one does not have a lot of compost to go around they make compost tea and what is good about it one can re-seed these into compost and create even better bio diversity.

Compost teas:
this is what one can do at home, in garage etc, my kind of a set up for a small scale
For a farm something like this is one nice set up
This one has Elaine Ingham in the video explaining about it

About molasses in compost tea and fish hydrolysate

the product mentioned that helped to grow beneficial fungi is this type

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Summer. Retrospective 3, irises

Some irises, for the fun of it. Some bloomed, some I traded and planted this year in opes to get them going next year