Experiments, observations, and lessons learned

Zeedman

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We don't have late frost this year, but most of the fruit trees (also in neighbors' gardens) didn't have flowers, and of course, very very few fruits were set. Maybe it's a bad year, or a year they need to take a rest.
Hmmm... my apple, crab apple, and pear trees all had few blooms this year. The neighbor's apple tree likewise. Maybe the trees are sensing something in the impending solar maximum? Or some trigger in the climate? I'll have to keep watch on all the fruit trees nearby, to see whether these occurrences are widespread.
 

flowerbug

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the lack of rains seemed to hold everything back this season. if it weren't for watering i'd have no strawberries (i still don't but that is because the critters are eating them as fast as they grow).
 

Zeedman

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the lack of rains seemed to hold everything back this season. if it weren't for watering i'd have no strawberries (i still don't but that is because the critters are eating them as fast as they grow).
While clearing out some of the brush from the fence that runs behind my neighbor last year, I noticed several young elderberry bushes that the birds had apparently "gifted" me with. I've actually been wanting to grow elderberries - and these are in the perfect spot, lined up as if I planted them. :) They grow quickly, and are already flowering this year. But I just wonder if like you @flowerbug , the birds will leave any berries for me.

The wild, heavily-runnered strawberry that appeared in my perennial onion bed last year is prospering, and has already given me a couple snacks. Grass has gradually overrun those onions & I want to return that space to the garden it is attached to; so I will be digging up, cleaning, & relocating those onions during their mid-Summer dormancy. I'll take some of the strawberries with them, and "pot and release" some of the runners to other places in the yard.
 

Eleanor

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Regarding the lack of flowers on fruit trees - the flower buds for the season are actually formed almost a year prior, so it's last season's conditions (weather, pest/disease burden, and fruit set) that determined the flowering for this year. It is cyclical in that the tree focuses its resources on either fruit set or flower formation such that it alternates between a year with heavy fruit set and and a year with an abundance of flowers (similar to the mast year concept in nut trees.) Our local orchardman confirmed this for us many years ago but this extension article provides a concise explanation.
 

Phaedra

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Regarding the lack of flowers on fruit trees - the flower buds for the season are actually formed almost a year prior, so it's last season's conditions (weather, pest/disease burden, and fruit set) that determined the flowering for this year. It is cyclical in that the tree focuses its resources on either fruit set or flower formation such that it alternates between a year with heavy fruit set and and a year with an abundance of flowers (similar to the mast year concept in nut trees.) Our local orchardman confirmed this for us many years ago but this extension article provides a concise explanation.
I also heard that pome fruit trees usually have one heavy fruit year and the next year for a rest. I didn't even see flowers on some of the apple trees this year, so weird.
 

flowerbug

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And maybe the fungus network messaged them that there would be an unfavorable situation like a drought (so save the energy?)

it was really dry and hot last summer too.

we did have a few morel mushrooms pop up last year and many more this year. i still did not pick or eat any of them as i wanted those spores to spread all over as much as possible. the original spores here came from a few mushrooms my brother gave me that i took the rinse water from and spread it around in three different locations. a few years later we had morels appear. :) so cool, so easy... life is wonderful and awesome.


and what's also cool is that this was an experiment so it also fits the topic. :)
 

Phaedra

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I just wonder why several batches of seeds I sowed in mid-June had poor germination. They are fresh new seeds and have good performances in spring. Even the peas didn't germinate well.

Then, something came to my mind - as the temperature in the greenhouse is so high, it's no longer a proper place for seed germination! Why didn't I realize it earlier? They can germinate properly even when I put them on outdoor shelves.

Poor seeds; I guess they were somehow 'cooked' in the greenhouse. It's a Lesson learned.
 

digitS'

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This might be a helpful chart for you, Phaedra.
 

flowerbug

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yesterday's harvest and later cooking and experimenting... :)

first of all i prepped and cooked up the Purple Dove beans. they were picked a bit later than i wanted, but as i was cutting them up i decided to leave a lot of them in the bowl to be cooked even if they felt stiffer than tender. i did cook them longer to make sure they did get a chance to become more mushy, but it was ok and they are edible. i didn't notice too many being extra chewy in the bowl of them i had. i didn't do any as shellies.

in comparison my usual method is to cook them for about 8 minutes to get them just cooked but not over cooked. yesterday's timing went, bring them to a boil and then cook on power level 2 for 15 minutes and then the 2nd batch i bumped to 20 minutes power level 2. i kept eating them and had to tell myself to stop eating them. so, yes they were still edible to me (hard for green beans of any kind to not be edible as i'd eat them canned if i had to).

the next part of the experiments was to go through all the peas i picked and decide what i was keeping to dry down for seeds and what to eat.

my main mistake in pea production this year was not checking out how big the different varieties were going to possibly get. the ones i'd previously grown several times i knew how big they could get, but the other four varieties i planted next to those also got pretty big so they all sprawled together. i had to go through and separate the plants as i was picking. the varieties were all distinct enough or spaced enough that i should be ok for the two dark seeded types i put in.

ok for varieties i grew two rows of peas labelled Dark Seeds Rare, Midnight Snow, Biskopens and Mummies and then too closely next to them the three rows of the large pods (Green Beauty and some other type mixed in).

the work i need to do for the large pod varieties is to get the rather bland tasteless pods and seeds apart from the others that do have more taste and also larger pods. i pretty much need to just plant a single row of these plants with one seed per square foot and then eliminate the plants that produce bland and smaller pods - they are edible they just don't have much taste. that did not happen this year. they are all mixed together again. :( so that experiment failed, but provided me more information as to how to proceed if i do plant them again (i probably will since i hope to turn under most of the strawberry patch and plant peas in there next year - we'll see if i can get that done... haha).

of the other four peas planted Midnight Snow was really easy to find and pick and also tasted ok when fresh peas, there was a slight bitter finish to them that i wondered would persist once cooked and i found out that cooking did get rid of that. yay! after cooking the water was purplish so i decided to test it to see if it would work as a pH indicator (Mom was soaking something in vinegar so i had a sample sitting right there to be used as a few drops were all that was needed - yes, it worked as the liquid turned pink when any vinegar was added). to make a scale i could have set up small containers and used distilled water and then done dilultions of 90% down to 10% and then used the colored indicator solution to see how many drops it took to turn something pink and then no change (measuring indirectly pH and buffering capacity). so via this indicator solution now i know for sure (what i knew before but it was nice to verify it) is that the water from the well here is alkaline. to what degree i do not know but i'll likely have some more pH indicator water available at some future date and i can play with it then.

the cooked Midnight Snow were good to eat. :) i ate a few of the others fresh, not really great as compared to the large pods or the MS. pretty much my goals for these experiments were to get more seeds (i didn't have many) and refresh my stock of seeds for the four varieties and then to also see how edible they might be if there were enough seeds and pods. the other part of the test was just to see how productive these were in our typical garden soils and conditions and to check how big they got and what future spacings or if i should provide supports for them in the future (in all cases i think i really should but it's not easy for me to do this and i really prefer to just block plant and let the plants hold each other up). it would make for cleaner pods and cleaner harvesting but i guess i don't mind losing a few if they are too dirty (or just eat them anyways after rinsing off as a bit of minerals are probably good for me :) )...
 

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