Saturday, 9 August 2014

Opium Poppies / 2013-2014

I bought opium poppy seeds from the national auction site. I have no interest in making my own opium, or heroin, but the idea of growing as many things I can eat as possible is one of my goals. In this case, the edible is poppy seeds.

Day 27: By this time, they're a pretty distinctive plant, and have germinated well.

Poppies - 2013-11-08 - Seedlings

Day 33: Six days later, from a different angle.

Poppies - 2013-11-14 - Seedlings

Day 93: Later some were planted out in an old barrow.

Poppies, Barrow - 2014-01-13

Day 94: A few more open every day.

Poppies, Barrow - 2014-01-14

Day 96: Two more days pass.

Poppies, Barrow - 2014-01-16

Day 103: Seven more days pass.

Poppies, Barrow - 2014-01-23

Day 112: Nine more days pass.

Poppies, Barrow - 2014-02-01

Day 126: Fourteen more days pass. The poppies are starting to die, as some yellow is appearing.

Poppies, Barrow - 2014-02-15

Day 141: Fifteen more days pass. At this point, they're all dead. Once the heads are dry enough, they can be cut off and cracked open to get the seeds. Wait too long, and the seeds are lost through holes in the heads. The soil I put in the barrow, I dug out of the watercourse at the front of the property, which I had earlier sprayed to kill the growth in there to allow better water flow. So I did not save any from these plants, for culinary purposes. They were traded with some lady for black double opium poppy seeds, which she gave me a lot of. Not sure I want to get those mixed up with these, as these look better. Black flowers are something I still need to be convinced of the merits of.

Poppies, Barrow - 2014-03-02 - 20

Day 96: The rest of the poppy seedlings were planted out on the west side of the house. Not so much sun there, so not so many photos.

Poppies, House West - 2014-01-16

Day 103: Seven days later. These were eventually the seeds I saved for culinary purposes.

Poppies, House West - 2014-01-23 - 23

Day 140: This is a dried seed head. It is basically a bowl shape with a windowed top. When the seed is dry enough, the gaps/windows on the top open and the seeds get out of the bowl. So if you wait too long, they'll be empty.

Poppy Seeds - 2014-03-01 - 01 - Seed head 1

Here's the seeds obtained from one bulb.

Poppy Seeds - 2014-03-01 - 02 - Seed head 1 seeds

And the seeds obtained from two bulbs in total. Really, look how much you get from two poppies. A herb package of poppy seeds costs around $2 at the supermarket on special. You would only need to harvest 10-20 poppies to get this many seeds, at most.

Poppy Seeds - 2014-03-01 - 03 - Several seed head seeds

I think I should sow seed regularly over time, so as to get a continuous crop of poppies. If I did this, then I would both get an appealing ground cover, and would get a continuous supply of seeds. It will be interesting to see how many plants self-seed next spring, as well.

An additional note, is that the seeds are grey and not black, as the culinary poppy seeds purchased in the supermarket are - or the seeds on your bagel. But I understand that the grey is a opiate latex covering, and could possibly be washed off. I haven't done much research into this.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Seed Saving / Kiwano

When the local supermarket has interesting fruit in, I buy one and try and save the seed. If they have seed, which the persimmons they have, do not. And if I remember to buy the fruit! Which I forgot this week, with papaya. In this case, this is a horned melon, called Kiwano. Honestly, it's a tasteless fruit which I'd not take if someone offered me for free. In any case, I scoopd some seed out of the one I bought.

Kiwano - 2014-02-24 - 01 - Scooping seeds

And then put the seed in a jar to ferment, to remove the gel coating. The same sort of thing cucumber seed has.

Kiwano - 2014-02-24 - 02 - Seed fermenting

Later I rinsed the seeds, and put them on a paper towel. This was dried out, and the theory is that you cut out a segment with seed stuck to it, and just plant that. I'll probably try to grow some up a trellis next year, but I suspect I'd be better off to grow some beans up the trellis, or another passionfruit plant.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Planting & Rooting

This is a collection of recent things I have either planted out, or planted out to root for later transplanting.

Two fruit plants were donated to me, as they were not growing well in town. This is a Fantasia nectarine tree, a variety I already have one of. At worst, it's a backup tree, should the other cark it. It could also be used for grafting.

Nectarine, Fantasia - 02 - 2014-07-16 - Donated, planted out

The other donation, was this blueberry. It's planted out alongside my other two varieties, one of which is Climax, and the other is Powder Blue. This variety of this new plant has been mislaid and will never be known.

Blueberry, Unknown - 01 - 2014-07-16 - Donated, planted out

I also traded a lot of cuttings and seeds online, and got two varieties of gooseberry. These were from plants themselves raised from cuttings, where the cuttings were from old farms or gold fields, in another part of the country. They should be older varieties, where most of the modern plants available are Pax and Invicta. I've got one Invicta out in my berry orchard. These are sitting in front of my north bed, which the elephant garlic cloves were planted out in.

Gooseberry - 2014-07-08 - Cuttings

Last year, I took cuttings from someone else's currant prunings. These I dipped in rooting hormone, and planted in a garden bed. And this year, given they grew roots in the garden bed, I transplanted them out in the field beside my purchased Magnus plant. I've also got a Cotswold Cross, an unknown red currant and a white currant. It just goes to show how easy it is to make your own plants, if you're willing to wait a year and have a source for genetic material to work from.

Black Currant - 2014-07-16 - 2013 Cuttings, maybe Magnus, planted out

This year, I've got some gooseberry cuttings and black currant cuttings, which I've taken from someone else's prunings. The gooseberry are a thornless variety, and haven't had a problem with mildew. So not Invicta. The currants are likely Magnus again. Something I read, likely a fruit book I bought, recommended the black plastic to keep weeds down.

Black Currant - 2014-07-16 - Cuttings, maybe Magnus, rooted

I also took two cuttings off my white currant, and have planted them out. But not photo. With a bit of luck, this will give me two more white currant plants next year. I should go out and see if I can get cuttings off the red currant. And for that matter, the Chilean cranberry. Hmm.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Appleton's Nursery Delivery

Last year's big purchase of plants was all my fruit trees. I've now got around 40 trees out in my orchard. This year's big purchase are two kinds of more practical trees, and something I bought on a whim.

I came home on Monday morning to find a package the postie had left at my gate. I keep the gate closed because, as I've probably mentioned before, South Neighbour's fence isn't too great. This means that if my gate is open, I get cows or sheep in my front yard, and at worst, in my back yard and field. This is a problem because they tend to do things like eat whatever I have planted around, including my citrus. My grapefruit is still recovering.

Delivery, Appleton's Nursery - 01 - 2014-07-17 - 01 - Packaged

The packaging is quite solid. There is a whole covering of plastic, inside a whole covering of very sturdy paper.

Delivery, Appleton's Nursery - 01 - 2014-07-17 - 02 - Unwrap

The inner plastic bag helps keep the roots wet, as the trees have to be bare rooted to ship this way. Note there are 80 bare rooted plants in all packaged into this.

Delivery, Appleton's Nursery - 01 - 2014-07-17 - 03 - Unwrap

There are 20 sugar maple (acer saccharum), 50 hazelnut (corylus avellana) and 10 black chokeberry (aronia melanocarpa).

Delivery, Appleton's Nursery - 01 - 2014-07-17 - 04 - Bare rooted Sugar Maple, Hazelnut, Black Chokeberry

For now, I've heeled them in wet sawdust. This will help kill off the remaining odd leaf, and let them survive dormant, until the weather comes a bit better so I can plant them out.

Regarding the sugar maples, there was an article about someone up in Nelson who planted a lot of these out 20 years ago, and how they're just coming ready to harvest maple syrup from. And any time you mention them, you get some 'negative nancy' who says how you need a certain amount of frost which I wouldn't likely get, to be able to get maple syrup from them. They're an experiment for me. A recent article detailed a way in which you can get maple syrup sooner, and with less required frosts.

The hazelnuts might produce decent nuts. But they will be seed grown, which makes that not a certain thing. So, it'll be a source for coppiced wood. And I'll also have the opportunity to graft known varieties of hazelnut to them, once they've grown to a decent size.

The chokeberry. Well, I'd read a bit about them in some book or on some web sites, around the time I ordered. I don't remember why I ordered them, but they should add a nice bit of variety to the berry orchard. I'd probably have around 25 berry plants, in addition to the 40 fruit trees mentioned earlier. It's also not likely to be common, so I should be able to trade it for other plants or varieties of plants I already have, at a later point once I've rooted some cuttings.