Richard Kicklighter

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since Feb 13, 2015
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Recent posts by Richard Kicklighter

I also follow David and am hopeful to try some cassava here in 7b. We'll see how it goes! I did go ahead and buy some sweet Jamaican red.
Supposedly there are some varieties that will yield decently after just 6 months. I have been looking for some of those and butterstick as well.

If you find a butterstick supplier, let me know please! :)
10 months ago
This will be my 2nd year growing citrus in ground here in 7b-- so 8b should be a lot easier! Some of the citrus I am growing is a little more cold sensitive so it is sheltered on the south of my house against the brick wall and fireplace. Just fruits and exotics I've purchased from before but unless you are in FL you'll need to drive down for a pickup. Mckenzie farms is also good and the owner is a great person to chat with-- I think they may ship(?) but their listings online are seriously lacking. The other site that was mentioned, I've not looked at previously.

I've purchased a number of citrus from one green world and they are great as well.

I would suggest some reading Cold Hardy Citrus for the South East. It is a little painful due to formatting (scanned from hard copy) but it is the only one I've been able to find. It will break down a number of varieties that can be grown. The list given there is pretty surprising at least to me and I'll be expanding out greatly with them.

California's Citrus Clonal Protection Program seems to also offer good grafting material. I've not purchased from them yet however.

Fruitwood Nursery has also started offering cuttings and I have a lot from them under light/heat now trying to get them to root.

Good luck-- cold hardy citrus can be an addicting hobby!
10 months ago

Mark Griffin wrote:I am a GIS guy so it's cool to see your place from the sky over the years! Anyone else in NC that maybe interested in aerial photos should check out this site:

Super cool, was able to find some additional images there as well-- I'll need to play around to see if I can overlay property lines on those images. I am continually amazed at how different things looked over the years! Too bad we can not currently look back over hundreds of years to see fine detail on properties here. There are tons of historic things around here (Battlefield for example is just several miles away).

It has been a challenging few days here, the well pressure tank failed and burned out my well pump. Finding someone to do the work at a semi-reasonable price and then getting it all together has been a multiple day ordeal at this point. Turning the pump back on, blew out a pipe in my house and then had to get that resolved. Now with all that fixed, trying to flush the well a bit-- pressure was once again lost. Tomorrow will be day three with no water and scheduled for the well company to visit again first thing in the morning.

Attached are two photos of the pump which had been running faithfully since 1976.
11 months ago
A little spotty in being able to reply lately. Had a few issues with neighbor's littering/trespassing on my property (it looks like the old barbwire fence was cut). I've temporarily just put up a new sign but will be ordering some trail cams to keep an eye on that portion of the land soon. Also, need to actively get that fence fixed...

A photo below, but also got a number of cuttings from fruitwood nursery. Have them all setup to hopefully root. If things go well, i can pot them in 1 gallon pots in late spring and maybe place in the ground in mid fall.

Varieties: Rolling River Aronia, Autumn Magic Aronia, McKenzie Aronia, Nero Aronia, Korean Bush Cherry, Hidden Springs Goumi, Golden Silverberry, York Elderberry, Samyl Elderberry, Sampo Elderberry, Samdal Elderberry, Nova Elderberry, Korsor Elderberry, John's Elderberry, Haschberg Elderberry, Guincho Purple Elderberry, Emerald Lace Elderberry, Adams Elderberry, Mexicola Avocado, Big White Mulberry, Black Beauty Mulberry, Collier Mulberry, Contorted Mulberry, Illinois Everbearing Mulberrry, Kokuso Mulberry, Pakistan Mulberry, Persian Mulberry, River View Russian Mulberry, Russian Mulberry, Tehama Mulberry, Wellington Mulberry, Evergreen Huckleberry, Bing Cherry, Compact Stella Sweet Cherry, Early Burlat Cherry, Kansas Sweet Cherry, Kordia Cherry, Kristin Cherry, Lapin Cherry, Mona Cherry, Montmorency Pie Cherry, Royal Anne Cherry, Stella Cherry, Stella Cherry, Sweet September cherry, Utah Giant Cherry, Van Cherry, Elegant Cornelian Cherry, Pioneer (Lukyanovskii) Cornelian Cherry, Red Star (Vidubetskii) Cornelian Cherry, Redstone Cornelian Cherry

I have a lot of stuff coming from cold stream farm as well (25 paw paws and persimmon seedlings each and 4 of the following osage orange, witch hazel, sassafras, spicebush, thornless honeylocust, and rosa rugosa.

I started some tree seeds as well from trade winds: dwarf paw paw, dead man's fingers, medlar, japanese raisin, flying dragon, and dwarf jelly palm. I need to put in another order, i forgot to get jujube seeds...

1 year ago
So the last couple weeks have been super busy! The east side of my home had a number of trees that were blocking sunlight greatly and I intend to use the east wall of the home for bananas so that wouldn't work long term. All told, i think we took around 12 trees down. Still a good number of logs remaining that I have use for already-- likely as edging around the driveway and the garden and to segment off the propane tank.

Additionally, the shabby work I did to quickly get protection up over my citrus against the house has been redone to a much more acceptable level.

I put in a few plant orders this week as well. I've ordered around 30 lily tree bulbs from Brecks for planting. These will go around the propane tank to block it from the home. Also, I ordered a couple newly released Yacon and Mashua varieties from Cultivariable along with some Chinese Bugleweed. With the bugleweed-- I will now have both Lycopus Lucidus and Chinese Artichoke (Stachys affinis) planted.

It is raining here tomorrow, so I'll mainly be gathering building supplies. Sunday however, I will be building beds for those air potatoes and ground nuts I posted about previously so they can get planted ASAP along with creating new beds for the dwarf red sunchokes I picked up from Cultivariable several weeks ago and the brussle sprouts I'll be putting in next month.

Speaking of sun chokes-- the advice I received regarding curing them like sweet potatoes was horribly wrong. Nearly every single one shriveled and turned soft/black in under a week. Further investigation shows keeping soil over them may be a better option-- I'll try that next year!
1 year ago
Harvested the sunchokes this week. Replanted new sunchoke beds, got the onions in the ground. Still have some blooms around and calamondins are ripening still. I have some kumquats as well that are still green. Hopefully they'll be ripe by December!
1 year ago
Been raining like crazy this week, ~2 inches this week alone. But, intermixed in there-- was able to get a delivery of wood chips and logs from Chip Drop (after waiting the last 7ish months). Some more of my seed tubers arrived-- dioscorea batatas and LSU ground nuts. Along with some yellow potato onions. I am hoping to get all of those in the ground this weekend. Also received some carolina african runner peanuts for next year.

I tend to make raised beds with just compost, but for the peanuts after last frost-- I'll need to get source some sand and get it mixed in as well. Most of my property is think red clay so building the soil into something more usable and pleasant to work in is a priority. Until the soil is in that state however, raised beds of mainly compost will be the solution.

Sunchoke harvest will be soon as well, they are barely hanging on with our temps dipping to 34 last night and continuing that trend through Sunday evening. I am building four additional beds for sunchokes (one for each variety i am growing)-- the stampede, clearwater, red fuseau, and a new variety I purchased this week that should arrive in the next week or two... a red dwarf sunchoke from the cultivariable folks.

Starting the ordering process for some additional yacon varieties as well (crystal and morado) plus some oca to play with for next year.

1 year ago
More photos I've been able to pull down from the cloud for here. :)
1 year ago
I'll definitely be able to post some more photos as we go. I tend to take a lot of them as I wander around regularly.

bruce Fine wrote:
where do you find historic pictures?

The county GIS site here in the last several years it seems found/loaded all of their historic maps and county information (streams, soil maps, zoning, etc). I was super shocked to see aerials from the 1930s!

Marty Mitchell wrote:
I just moved down to Elizabeth City,

On a side note be sure not to take on too much at once. Don't want to burn out! It sounds super amazing though.

That "Cold Hardy" citrus does not really mature to their rating until around year 5 or more I am told. Best to keep a good eye on it during cold snaps and be prepared to save it. For some reason citrus takes a REALLY long time to build up a good bark layer... which is what protects from the cold. Getting a good root system going really helps as well.

What root stock are you running on them?


I have since cloned 4 branches in my Aquaponics system. They will be going into pots for a few years... and then in-ground in a greenhouse in a few years after I build one at my new place. They will be fine. I am now in zone 8A.

Elizabeth city is super close to the water I believe, right? That will be an awesome moderating micro climate!

Definitely trying to keep my taking on projects at a reasonable pace-- just so much I want to do but realistically only so much I am willing to spend any given year to get it all done. ;)

All of the citrus is supposedly on flying dragon, but I had to buy the collection retail so I am not 100% sure. I have Flying Dragon rooting in the basement currently and will hopefully be able to plant it out next year sometime. Around 7 flying dragon, 3 normal trifoliate, 2 morton, and 4 red australian finger limes are being rooted. (flying dragon pictured)

Awesome on the cloning in aquaponics! I really am interested in setting that up as well, but that may over extend me a bit right now! Super cool

As for the cold hardy citrus, I have three that are less unprotected (near driveway with crape myrtle for canopy) than the others but they are rated for zone 7 or better. Varieties: Flying Dragon, Yuzu Ichandrin, and Sudachi Hybrid Yuzu.

Photo after initial planting:

The others I am growing are all zone 8 appropriate, but growing them next to a south facing brick wall with no shade may help. Varieties: Centennial Variegated Kumquat, Variegated Calamondin, Ten Degree Tangerine, Juanita Tangerine, Dunstan Citrumelo, Ichang Lemon, Morton, Meiwa Kumquat, Kuno Wase Manadarin, Hardy Grapefruit (zone 7).

The main collection (with some purple tree collards):

The two outliers still by the house (they've since been fully mulched):

Around the deck of the house, I have 'Favorite' pomegranates planted by the steps:

And, pineapple guava along the path with a few hostas and cold hardy begonias intertwined. I've since wrapped the mulch around into the planting of the pomegranates. Varieties: Robert, Nikita, Mammoth, and Apollo.

From earlier and in no particular order:
Garden after initial mulching:

Ginger/Turmeric/Galangal with a pepper plant I didn't have room for elsewhere. The weeds had grown through the mulch a good bit at this point.

Yacon and Chick peas growing together:

Sunchokes (Stampede, Red Fuseau, and Clearwater) going strong and starting to bloom (sweet potatoes were in the front bed but were eaten back by deer):

Maypop growing on a drought killed elderberry:

Japanese raisin tree (a deer recently decided to rub on it a good bit, I am hopefully it will survive). There is a second planting nearby as well.

State (as of last late winter) of the forest on the north/east side of the property (I need to lean out some of the dead wood and open it up a bit).

My favorite old tree on the property (I just wish there were not so many names carved into it). The trunk is about as wide as my truck's front end.

I'll have to find more photos later, but also a number of mulberries, aronia, goji, apples, almond, and cherries have been put in this year. I have a Chicago Hardy Fig that is potted up and will be going out next spring along with several cold hardy kiwis.

I just put in giant miscanthus grass in a raised bed so I can propagate more next year and the year after for on site compost production. Additionally, got some chinese artichoke growing and turkish rocket for perennial broccoli substitute.

This weekend will be digging up the sunchokes and replanting each variety in its own bed (hopefully saving some tubers). And, getting some cattle panels setup as trellis arches for groundnut (lsu improved variety) and chinese wild yams.
1 year ago
I've been doing a lot of reading on Oca this year but was unable to secure tubers or seed for planting this growing season. 18 inches seems more reasonable, but depending on where you grow at and the light conditions-- perhaps double or more is possible. The best write-up I've found for Oca and the other andean tubers is from Bill @ Cultivariable and his guide there.

For companion plants, it sounds like they do well with alliums or other crops that wont be around by harvest in late fall. There is a companion planting section on Bill's guide as well.

Assuming I can secure tubers for the coming year-- I'll likely skip the companion planting initially.
1 year ago