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Dan Boone

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since Jan 24, 2014
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Dan Boone gardens, plants fruit trees, and tends wild fruit and nut trees and vines in Central Oklahoma.
Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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Recent posts by Dan Boone

Leora Laforge wrote:I second what Elliot said. A livestock guardian has no instinct for chasing or retrieving. That is why they are safe around vulnerable livestock without training.

Sample size of one, but this matches my experience.  Our LGD (unemployed pet) has absolutely zero interest in chasing, catching, killing, or eating small furry creatures.  He looks at our other dogs in disbelief like they are plumb CRAZY when they dig gophers or eat roadkill.  He chased an aggressive neighbor tomcat once (badly/slowly) and he routinely wrangles with a pack of neighbor dogs who come to our yard bored and looking for excitement, but even then he's focused on driving them away, and never uses his ridiculously superior bulk and weight to tumble them, much less pin or kill them. It's unclear if he's even trying to bite them, although he makes impressive threat displays.  He's even suspicious of meaty bones or any non-standard treat; he will gnaw them if they are good, but only after a lot (like, many minutes of) inspection, sniffing, and checking in with eye contact to make sure it is OK/authorized/acceptable.  He basically won't eat at all if he's outside and considers himself "on duty" in dog-that-watches mode; eating is for mealtimes and lounging-on-the-cool-tiles half-asleep downtime.
1 day ago

Dan Boone wrote:I will update here when they confirm shipping (if they do) and/or when the seed order arrives.

And, indeed, the seed order arrived today and my two packets of Juliet seeds were in the envelope.  So that's a preparedness detail I can check off my list.

Charles Rehoboth wrote:

Ellendra Nauriel wrote:Given how much you love this hybrid, it might be worth digging deeper to find out what the parents are. If they're both heirlooms, you could grow them for the purpose of crossing to make your own Juliet hybrids. As long as you keep a line of pure seed from each parent, you could, in theory, have an unending source of Juliet seeds.

You know, that's something I had long wondered about, although I haven't seen much info on this. I'm sure it's a pretty secretive thing for the newer varieties with crazy expensive seed, but ... at least for the older ones? How do you find this sort of thing out?

First, I may have given a false impression.  I do not actually love Juliets.  They fall from the vines while still green far too easily (but then ripen nicely indoors on a plate, if I find them and pick them up), they have a fairly tough skin, and their flavor is merely adequate.  Despite all that, they are important to me because they are far and a way the most productive tomatoes I've ever found for my garden skills and conditions.

My actual "plan" -- as much as a gardener so chaotic as myself can be said to have one -- is to continue trialing new promising varieties and saving seeds from plants that are successful and productive.  Eventually, I imagine, I'll have a half-assed landrace slash grex that performs well enough I can let go of the Juliets.  But that is, perhaps, still years away.  

One of the lessons I learned this year is that I'm not as good at growing tomatoes from seed as I thought I was.  I've always relied on a few flats of purchased started plants to fill in for seedling tomato failures, and when that didn't work out this year, my overall results were the worse for it.  Learned some more things, this year may go better.

Having said all that, I am indeed curious, and cannot find a definitive answer, about the source genetics for the Juliet hybrid.  During my deep dive search for Juliet seeds this year, I did see pages suggesting that China is the source of all the Juliet seed, which might explain why most sources are not in stock; the pandemic and the trade war have interrupted supplies of many Chinese goods.  But these were speculative-sounding internet allegations, not solid/reliable information.  

My other approach (and I obviously have TOO MANY tomato experiments going on at the same time) is to try some of the heirloom varieties that are sometimes suggested as Juliet replacements.  This year, the candidate is San Marzano, said to be a somewhat larger oval paste tomato with many similar characteristics.  I bought that seed earlier in the winter; we'll see how it goes.

Thanks to everybody for the feedback and suggestions!

1 day ago
This past growing season I did grow out some seeds from the small yellow Portland cherries suspected of being Sungolds.  They were not successful in my conditions.  What I got in several cases was a weedy tomato vine, not very prolific, with bog-standard tiny cherries (thumbnail size) in not enough quantity to justify the space.  A few were yellow but most (on the same plants) were red.
1 day ago

Dan Boone wrote:
I will update here when they confirm shipping (if they do) and/or when the seed order arrives.

Got an email notice just now that the seeds (including my Juliet seeds, at least in theory) got shipped today.  Five days from order to ship is not terrible in these times.
4 days ago
I would define it as the woody debris on the floor of coniferous forests, composed mostly of needles and especially cone fragments.  Analogous to "leaf litter" in a deciduous forest.  In the boreal forests of my youth, it was frequently a foot or two thick under large stands of big black or white spruces, and the bulk of it was the shredded cones fragments left behind by hungry squirrels after they tore cones apart for the seeds.
The Maximillian Sunflowers grow as a weed where I am (slightly south of their Great Plains native range) reaching heights of 10-12 feet with stems that are wrist-thick at the ground.  I would not plant them (they take up a lot of space for the value they provide) but I can't help letting a few go crazy every year in places I'm not using.  The flowers attract large butterflies that I never see anywhere else in my yard and when the seeds come in, a particular species of bright-yellow songbird that only comes to my yard for this and that I haven't identified (bird markings are hard for me because I have color vision issues and "lots of yellow" isn't specific enough).

1 week ago
Last April Catie wrote:

Catie George wrote:I can see this crisis extending into next year, businesses failing, supply chain interruptions, job losses, etc. ...  I can't guarantee that next year won't be worse than this year - and harder to buy seeds.

And I said:

Dan Boone wrote:
Due to illness and labor shortages and a hostile business climate for small business, I won't be shocked if seeds are hard to source at this time next year, too -- even if the pandemic is a distant memory.

Despite that, I was a little bit surprised when my Twitter feed started blowing up yesterday with the news that major seed companies are already in January being overwhelmed with orders and shut down, refusing new orders.  But it appears to be partly true, if my spot check of FedCo, Johnny's, Baker Creek, Burpees, & Park Seeds says anything; three out of the five were refusing orders when I looked.

Word to the wise, if you were planning an early seed order this winter to beat the rush, it might be time to attend to that.
1 week ago
Spurred by the news via Twitter that this year's pandemic seed rush appears to be at least as bad as last year's, with several big seed companies having closed their website to new orders, I decided to return to my Juliet seed quest with a bit more rigor.  

I looked for and found a garden blogger with an Ultimate List of Seed Catalogs and Seed Companies and just started down the list, opening each link in a new tab and then typing "Juliet" into each seed box without doing any other looking, reading, or browsing.  (I also did not make any effort to vet the list for completeness.)  

I got as far as J/K in the list before I got a promising hit: John Sheeper's Kitchen Garden Seeds in Connecticut.  They have good reviews online and their smart order form showed Juliet seeds in stock.  My order went through just now without any hitches, except for the fact that they charged me $8.95 shipping for a six-packet order, which is a little bit brutal.  I was hoping to spread the pain of small seed order shipping costs by buying a few extra things (jicama seeds, an attractive heat-tolerant radicchio, some fennel, and a new-to-me color of breadseed poppies) but they actually have an escalating scale of shipping charges by order dollar-value, which I think is a quite customer-hostile policy.  

I will update here when they confirm shipping (if they do) and/or when the seed order arrives.

For what it's worth, I did see several large seed companies with completely closed ordering as I worked through the list.  So the Twitter rumors would appear to be true.

1 week ago
"Is it legal" is one of those fractal questions that can be very hard to answer.  Does the state of Maryland have a law against it? A water quality regulation that regulates it? How about the county, or your municipality? Or is here a property association that has an enforceable opinion? A rural water district that operates wells that tap an aquifer recharged by your land?  And that's even before we get to the Federal questions.  I wouldn't expect a relevant federal statute, but in the many many volumes of the code of federal regulations, who knows?  Watershed protection or surface water quality special zones are everywhere, under state and federal law or all the way down to municipal level; they sometimes prohibit stuff that is totally OK just on the other side of a contour line through your backyard that you can't even see.  And then we get to the "what effect does the presence of the outhouse have on my ability to insure or finance or refinance or sell" and... there's more, but you get the idea.  The only answer you can hope to get is that Permies bugaboo, "it depends" or "it's complicated".

I am not trying to make this harder than it needs to be, I just want to illustrate why there likely isn't a simple yes/no answer you can get here at Permies.  Maybe you can get some "I had one on the western edge of Bosephus County and never had legal problems" anecdotes, but even then you won't know if maybe just the relevant authorities never noticed.  Nothing short of several hours of research by a sharp local lawyer who has a good topographical map with your property marked on it who also knows his land use and environmental and health/safety stuff pretty well, is going to give you a firm answer.

1 week ago

Ryan Adobe wrote:
What are you planning to use to pipe that water around the property?

Perhaps it betrays my humble origins but I was imagining a dozen wooden shoulder yokes so folks could easily haul their water buckets to and fro.  

But then again, I grew up in a pre-electric, pre-plumbing town where this (seventy-foot hand-dug well, large redwood water tank on upper floor, windmill-powered pump) was the municipal water source, so there was a fair bit of bucket-carrying going on.