Archive for February, 2018

A Rainbow of Dahlias

Last June, some of the big box stores in our area had a large selection of dahlia plants in bloom. They seemed to have every solid color, but what most impressed me was how large the dahlia flowers were. Some of the flowers were 8-9 inches in diameter. I bought red, magenta, purple, yellow, pink, and orange dahlias to add to my garden. The magenta colored dahlia had the largest flowers (maybe 10 inches in diameter). They were full of beautiful flowers through July and into August, and they continued to bloom in Sept. Although starting in August, they got mildew on their leaves and produced less flowers.

A few of the dahlias I bought last summer I kept in pots. Earlier this month, I transplanted those tubers, which are now dormant, from pots into the ground near our fence line. They usually don’t start coming up until April, so it’s not too late to transplant or subdivided dahlias. Below are some pictures from last July.

February 28 2018 | Dahlias | No Comments »

Late Winter Garden

Some of my fruit trees are already blooming in late February, including my nectarine, almond, and mutli-grafted pluot, which is shown below.

The Dabble Dandy pluot graft is full of blossoms after having set no fruit last year (lower right in picture). The blossoms of Dabble Dandy and Flavor Supreme pluots are overlapping with the later blooming Flavor Queen and Flavor King pluot grafts (upper left and right, respectively), which need to be cross-pollinated by Supreme and Dandy. Last year, the King/Queen bloom times did not overlap for very long with Dandy/Supreme, and none of the 4 varieties set as many fruits as previous years. Luckily, the weather for the most part has been sunny and dry, which should be great for pollination.

This year, I set out sugar snap pea seeds in the ground early on Feb. 2 (Cascadia, Sugar Ann, Sugar Lace, and Super Sugar Snap varieties). I planted left over seeds from last year. Most of the seeds have sprouted. I have the bed covered with mosquito netting that is supported by sticks to keep the seedlings from being eaten. A part of this bed (with the netting off) is shown below.

I planted these same 4 varieties last year. The Sugar Anns were the first to produce peas, in late April. Cascasdia produced the most peas, throughout May until mid-June. They were also the most tasty and my favorite overall. The other two varieties also produced well (mid-May to mid-June). Below is a picture of the 3 dwarf varieties (Sugar Ann, Cascadia, Sugar Lace) last Apr. 27.

For a few weeks in May, they produced so many peas that I ended up giving a lot away. The quality of our peas has been very high season after season for the past few years that I have been growing them. I would rank sugar snap peas near the top of my list of produce that is most worth growing at home. The pea pods are very crisp and flavorful, especially when compared to the taste and freshness of store bought sugar snap peas that I have purchased. And I can’t say that about all home grown produce. My home grown potatoes, for example, have not tasted different than store bought potatoes, although they were fun to grow and pesticide free.

February 27 2018 | Peas and Pluots | No Comments »