Homegrown Pineapple

A little over two years ago, my daughter, B, started an after dinner gardening project. She plopped a discarded cut off pineapple crown of leaves into a pot. She treated it like many of her succulent plants: no prep, no … Continue reading

Darn Bumper Crop of Berries

Most of my flowers and perennials these days are generally low water users, at least once they became established, however the same is not true of all my edible plants. When the state officials announced the need for even deeper … Continue reading

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Winter Propagation Projects: Pomegranates

 

When the weather is too cold to do much work outside, I get a little over zealous and try propagating all sorts of plants, just to see if I can. Since I got a couple of new heat mats for Christmas, I am in the process of propagating a variety of plants including ‘Parfianka’ Pomegranate, ‘Sweet’ Pomegranate, ‘Strawberry Verte’ Fig, ‘Bababerry’ plants, Thornless Raspberry plants, and tomato seeds.  Because I spend so much time doting on the cuttings, my hubby says I am going to turn into Jordy Verrill from Creepshow who ends up covered in Alien Weeds if I am not careful. I hope not. Well, if I find a mysterious meteorite in the backyard, I promise I won’t put water on it!

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The pomegranate cuttings are in the peat pellets on the heat mat. These are a semi dwarf variety good for cooler coastal areas named “Sweet.” I originally bought my tree from Armstrong Garden center in Long Beach in January 2010 as a little one gallon tree.

Although I don’t have room for anymore Pomegranate trees, I had read they are one of the easiest fruits to propagate, so I just had to try.  And it’s true! I took a half dozen of cuttings from each of my two trees on January 14th, and I already had to transplant some of the little trees yesterday into 4 inch pots because the roots were growing out of the peat pellets and out onto the heat mat.  If I had know it would be this easy and quick to start pomegranates, I would have taken more cuttings. With the continuing drought in California, pomegranates are a good choice for a drought tolerant backyard fruit tree so I shouldn’t have a hard time finding new homes for the little pomegranate trees, once they are bigger and acclimated to the outdoors, especially since they are less common varieties.

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A new little pomegranate tree ready to be transplanted to a 4 inch pot. This one is Parfianka, rated by many folks as one of the best tasting pomegranates. My tree was originally grown by Duarte Nursery.

Propagating Pomegranates:

  1. Prep rooting medium like perlite, vermiculite, or peat moss.  I used Peat Moss pellets this time and soaked them ahead of time.  I have them on a tray over a heat mat.
  2. Take cuttings about the width of pencil and about 3 to 6 inches in length with sterile clippers.
  3. Score or injure the cuttings near the bottom end.
  4. Dip in rooting hormone (optional.) I like Dip and Grow liquid hormone for this, but be careful and follow the directions carefully.
  5. Place cutting in rooting medium.
  6. Mist a few times a day and water as needed.
  7. Watch for leaf growth.
  8. Transplant when they have sufficient leaf growth or like in my case, the roots outgrow the peat pellets.
  9. Slowly acclimate them to the outdoors.
  10. Over the first season of growth, pinch to make them bushy.
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Little new roots poking out of peat pellet on Pomegranate cutting

 

 

© 2014, .

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Choosing a New Bare Root Fruit Tree – Spice Zee NectaPlum

 

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Pretty blossoms on NectaPlum hybrid Spice Zee

I know, I know, I shouldn’t be thinking about buying and adding more bare root fruit trees, since my yard is already crammed full, but it is hard to not collect one of everything, and even more so, after K shared some of her Spice Zee nectaplums last summer. Back in early July, K generously gave me a half dozen Spice Zee fruits, even though she didn’t have much of a crop yet since the tree is only 3 years old. I cut the first few up, and they were gone in seconds. My normally easy going kids, got into a shoving match over who got the few slices of the remaining fruits. I have never seen them act that way over fruit! I have tried a lot of different stone fruits at the local farmers markets over the years, and honestly, the Spice Zee was probably the best tasting stone fruit I ever tried. Usually the best tasting stone fruits need more chill than we have around here in coastal Southern California, but this nectaplum only needs about 300 chill hours, making it a good choice for a low chill fruit tree. The fruit looks like a white nectarine and the taste is sweet and rich. On top of the amazing taste, the tree is really pretty. It has purple red leaves in the Spring, resembling a Flowering Plum a little bit, and turns green as the summer approaches. Spice Zee would make a good tree for guerrilla gardening and planting in a median strip because of its similar looks to flowering plum. It could probably go unnoticed until it was heavy with fruit. After very little consideration, I decided I am going to have pull something out and plant one; it is just a matter of deciding who goes. Hmmmm….Sorry Red Baron.

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Spice Zee fruit on the cutting board, before the kids tried it and seconds before it all disappear.

Note: If you are looking for where to buy a Spice Zee NectaPlum, K’s tree was purchased locally at H & H Nursery in Lakewood, CA.

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© 2014, .

Easy Homemade Cinnamon Orange Air Freshener

  With the house being closed up so much in the winter months, it can smell stale or sometimes even worse, like our big dog has been in the house all day.  However, I refuse to use chemical aerosol air … Continue reading

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Red Reblooming Bearded Iris

 

Happy New Year!

Living in Southern California, we hardly get a break in the growing season, and Mid Winter often brings out some of first of the cool season blooms to my garden. One of my brand new, planted in September, reblooming irises sent up a spike just before Christmas and bloomed today.  I was so tickled and surprised to have it bloom already that I had to share my delight.  Irises are some of my favorite perennials. This red spotted iris is technically a NOID (no identity) bearded iris, but I am pretty sure it is Pepper Blend, by Moores, 1977. After seeing other similar irises, lots of research based on the history I know about it, and more importantly seeing a recent photo upload to the iris wiki of an iris exactly like mine, taken by iris hybridizer Richard Tasco. Other possibilities I considered were Etched Burgundy, a burgundy red plicata hybridized by Garrison in 1970 or Spiked Punch, hybridized by Moores in 1980, or Cayenne Capers Iris. The colors look different, at different times of the day and lighting. This second photo is more true to the bloom color.

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There is more info on Pepper Blend at reblooming iris at The American Iris Society’s online encyclopedia. And info on Spiked Punch, Etched Burgundy, and Cayenne Capers can be found there as well at this link. We are having a bit of a warm spell, and I plan to enjoy the lovely weather this New Years Day doing one of my favorite things, puttering in the garden.  I hope you also have a Happy New Year!

 

© 2013 – 2014, .

Adding More Plants To The Edible Landscape

  I actually didn’t get as many new edible plants and trees this winter or spring as I have in past years, but I still probably got more than I really have room for.  Basically, my small urban backyard is … Continue reading

How to Gently Get A Brooding Hen to Stop Setting

  Bantam Cochins are one of the best breeds of chickens for small urban backyards, mainly because they are generally quiet, curious, very friendly, easy to handle, kids like their small size and docile nature, they don’t fly like other … Continue reading

Spring Update: Kiwis, Berries, Cherries, and More…

    By Southern California gardening standards, we are already half way through Spring, and as usual, the Hanbury edible landscape and ornamental garden continues to evolve.  Every winter and Spring I change out things that under performed or plant … Continue reading

The High Cost of Sub-Urban Homesteading

  Am I imagining it or are edible plants at the nurseries going way up in price due to the increased popularity of backyard food gardening, sustainability, and homesteading? I was running errands this morning, and one of them took … Continue reading