Sunday, August 31, 2008

How To Nick Seeds?

I usually soak the seeds in warm water overnight. Those with really hard shell need more than a day of soaking. After soaking, drain the seeds and let it dry under the sun. You can use a nail clipper (on sweet pea seeds) or use coarse type sandpaper and break through the seed's hard casing just enough for moisture to get in. In other cases I resort to using a hammer just like these seeds of a purple leaf plum.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Seed Saving: Jalapenos

Allow your jalapeno chilis to mature and ripen on the plant.
Carefully harvest them with shearing pruners making sure you don't get in touch with any of it's juices as it's extremely hot. Use hand gloves if possible. Prep them by washing in water first.
Use a fork to hold them in place on the cutting board and cut them lengthwise with a sharp knife.
A closer look at the seeds and the veins. These are extremely hot so be very careful.
Carefully scrape off the seeds with a teaspoon (or flat knife). Always make sure not to touch the chilis - use the fork to hold them in place while you do this procedure. Lay the seeds in paper towel and let them dry for a couple of days under the sun.
Deveined and seeded jalapenos can be used for cooking.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Dahlias

These are the first of the blooms that I started from seeds. I guess I am better off growing them from seeds as the tubers that I bought are not doing as fine as these guys. But I'm still hoping to see them flower too. I will probably would just leave the tubers in the ground when winter comes. Then hopefully by next spring/summer it'll show up and if not I'll just plant more of these from seeds.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

How to Propagate Dates from Seed

These are dates but I'm not sure what kind they are.
Tried a couple and they are so sweet.
I carefully removed the seed which are thin and elongated from the sweet flesh of the date.
They don't look all the same except that they're thin, groved, and elongated.
Started by washing the seeds in cold water and remove all the remaining flesh. Take a piece of paper towel, place them along it and moisten.
Put it in a ziplock and place it in a warm location. In a few weeks they will germinate.
Here I'm trying it with a different date seed.
Will post update on this when they germinate.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Seed Saving: Mammoth Sunflower

My mammoth sunflowers have all withered and died. This is just one of the five that I have in my backyard.
I have to leave about a foot-long of stalk, hang it upside down, and let it dry more.
I remember that I bought a packet of these mammoth sunflowers (6 seeds) for ten cents! Now I have so much seeds to trade.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Eggplant "Red Ruffled"

Another eggplant that I've never seen called "red ruffled". So I bought one from the garden store. The tag says "bitter" - I just want to point that out. I will be saving seeds on this.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Huge Eggplant!

One of the biggest eggplants I've ever seen! I bought this at the store but I just took the smallest one - the largest eggplant was so huge it looked like it was on steroids! Plus a pound of this eggplant costs about three dollars. I'm buying it for it's seed.
Here I laid it next to a regular eggplant that is growing in my backyard.
Can you see the seeds?
Dried the seeds under the sun. Going to save and grow a few of the seeds.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Planting Instrucions for Bare-Root Fruit Trees (by www.treepeople.org)

1. CHOOSING A SITE FOR YOUR TREE

Carefully choose a site that receives several hours of sunlight each day and has good drainage. If possible, avoid planting in a lawn because grass competes with trees for water and soil nutrients. If you can only plant in a lawn, remove grass around the tree and keep the area mulched. Plant the tree away from lawn sprinklers or redirect them away from the tree.

If planting fruit trees close together (a practice gaining popularity in urban areas) you will need more frequent pruning and care through-out the year.

2. PREPARING & PLANTING

PREPARING THE TREE

* Cut off any broken roots.

* Soak tree roots in a bucket of water overnight

PREPARING THE HOLE

* Dig a hole wide and deep enough to fit the tree's roots without bending or cramping them.

PLANTING THE TREE

* Place the tree in the hole. While holding the tree, spread the roots in their natural position and make sure the graft union is at least two-to three-inches above the ground.

* Settle the dirt around the roots by slowly pouring two gallons of water.

* While the water is absorbing, finish filling the hole and lightly compress the dirt around the roots with your fingers. Finish watering with two more gallons. Note: Don't forget to use your bucket water from soaking the tree overnight.

* If the root crown is too low (at or below ground level) hold the tree trunk and pump it up and down gently while raising it to the right level.

* Build a ridge (or "beam") of soil about four inches high around the hole to make a watering basin.

STAKING YOUR TREE

* Stake your tree at planting time with one to two stakes on either side of the trunk.

* Align the stakes on opposite sides of the tree in the direction of prevailing winds and check ties regularly. Use soft tree ties such as rubber and do not make too tight. Do not use wire.

* Ideally the tree will be strong enough to have stakes removed after the first year.

3. ONGOING FRUIT TREE CARE

WATERING

Check soil weekly by digging down three- to four-inches. If soil is dry, slowly fill the watering basin with five to ten-gallons of water (soil should almost dry out between waterings). This deep watering should occur twice weekly the first summer. Note: The tree will need more water in warm weather and during its second year.

PROTECTION

Young fruit trees are brittle and easily broken. If planted near play areas for children or dogs, place a few stakes around the tree's watering basin. Stretch string between the stakes as a reminder to watch out for the tree.

MULCHING

Mulch keeps soil moist and reduces weeds. Place a two- to four-inch layer of mulch around your tree and cover its watering basin. To prevent rot, do not allow mulch to touch the trunk of your tree. Examples of mulch include: wood chips, dry leaves, bark, and your favorite compost.

PRUNING

TreePeople's bare-root fruit trees grown on standard rootstock and can become 15- to 30-feet tall. Annual pruning will keep your tree shorter. Only begin pruning if your tree has obvious structural problems or it is ready for shaping - usually after its first year in the ground.

BASIC PRUNING TIPS

* Remove diseased, damaged or dead branches.

* Remove crossing branches or branches ground upward at a sharp angle to the trunk.

* Cut back an overly tall central "leader" - as well as thin or overly long branches - to just above an outward facing bud (facing away from the tree's center).

FRUIT

Your tree may bear fruit its first year but it's best to remove first fruit so the tree can send all its strength into growing branches. If you don't want to remove your entire first crop, remove some of the early fruit to help strengthen the tree. Once the tree is regularly producing fruit, if you want to have larger individual fruit, remove some of the fruit when it is the size of a quarter.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Replanting and Repotting Plants

Loosen the soil in the pot by watering the plant a few hours before starting. Carefully pull the stressed out plants (overcrowding) in it's pot. Carefully divide them making sure every plant has it's roots.
Then cut a quarter to half of the bottom roots. Now it's ready to be repotted /replanted in much bigger pots.

Saturday, August 02, 2008