John Indaburgh

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since Dec 09, 2017
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Recent posts by John Indaburgh

I planted mustard as a cover crop after my tomatoes were done for a couple of years. That worked out as a roaring failure. I moved a couple hundred feet to two new plots one of which still got early blight or Septoria. I expanded the size of the new space so that I can rotate crops. But then I started growing potatoes; since I had all that space.

I grow only heirloom tomatoes; including Pink Brandywine Sudduth, Dester, Mortgage Lifter, Giant Belgium, Pink Ponderosa, Kellogg's Breakfast, Yellow Pear, and Santa Maria paste tomatoes. I still get some of the above problems but I am growing the ones that are the "hardest". I get some leaf loss about the time the tomatoes ripen, but don't loose the crop. I've experimented with setting out seedlings late; even as late as July 10th. Those plants start producing big crops of tomatoes on healthy vines beginning in September
I'd like to present a reason to graft your own trees, the interstem. Which is a scion placed between the rootstock and your selected variety scion. This is what I did when I grafted the first time. I used an M111 apple rootstock to which I grafted a cutting off an M7 semi-dwarf rootstock and then grafted my selected variety to that.This choice gave me a semi-dwarf tree on a semi-full rootstock that grows well in my clay. As I said all of these were successful and are still growing today.

But there's another reason to do this interstem grafting. There are varieties of fruit which grow faster or slower than others of the fruit type. In apples there are considered 3 grades. T1 Weak, T2 Medium,and T3 Very Vigorous. And there is a list of apples and their category. I will use a google search link as I'm unsure of the status now and into the future for the site that originally posted the list.

My idea is that you can grow on either a large rootstock you buy or grow yourself and then control the size of your tree by selecting an apple that meets your size requirement AND is also an apple you want to grow and then graft to that ANOTHER apple that you also want to grow. As an example You grow Antonovka seeds which gives you a cold hardy full size rootstock with a tap root and then graft to that a Cox’s Orange Pippin which is listed as a T2 Medium grade and then another apple say an Anna which is a T3 but will grow out as a T2 because of the previous graft. So you wind up with a tree that won't blow over but also controls the size and gives you 2 different apples.
2 months ago
Most web sites that sell rootstocks or scions usually start selling just after the holidays and for perhaps a month after. Then you start seeing items out of stock till there's nothing left. Some websites have nothing for sale until this short burst.
2 months ago
I would also suggest planting apple seeds which you later graft to. But there are a few apples that tend to produce true to type; so that if you plant seeds you will likely get the same apples it's noted for. The first is actually a root stock called Antonovka. You can get seeds here. Antonovka apples aren't the best but they'd likely be great for sauce and cider and possibly baking. Another is Famuese also known as the Snow Apple. Famuese will likely produce a better apple. Antonovka is from Russia, I think actually Poland; and Famuese is from eastern Canada.
So if you grow and graft to these varieties you will have some idea what you'll get and you can graft to them later. Another advantage you'll get is if you grow out the seed in the ground and graft to them in place your trees will have a tap root which should help you get thru droughts and wind storms.

As far as grafting My first attempt was with 4 trees and they were all successful. I used a "whip and tongue" graft using a retractable safety knife and a finger guard I made from the bottom of a plastic half gallon milk jug.

As far as growing the seed you have to keep the seed in a cold environment, outdoors or in a refrigerator over the winter. I've had good luck sowing the seed outdoors in late fall/early winter in the ground and covering the seed with screening to keep away the critters.
2 months ago
I regularly use horse manure from a very old pile. This past winter I built a new hot frame and wanted to put a foot of fresh manure in the bottom to serve as the heat source. So I went to my usual barn and instead of taking manure off the bottom of the old pile I took the manure off the top of the pile being used. I wanted the fresh manure to get more heat. I was surprised to find that there were red wigglers in the freshest manure available.

I offer this as a suggested test. You might also dig into the pile in various spots to get a better reading over a period of time in the life of the pile.
2 months ago
I would say you want to watch what happens when you have the fork in the ground and pull back. I would guess that you'll create a crack in the soil along the line of the tines. That would mean that any water flowing downhill will seep into the crack catching any soil washing with the water.
My guess: the biggest benefit will be if the fork is parallel to the contour line.
3 months ago
Some thoughts from a fella who lives where level land is rare.

If you're buying sloped land to save money then the cost of terracing would make the level land cheaper...... I think!

I would put orchards on a slope, but not so steep that operating machinery is dangerous.

Here most farm homes and almost all barns are on the worst slopes. For one with the home you get a view and can observe better what's going on. With the barn on a slope makes it easy to access both levels and be able to drive out. It's a lot easier to unload hay when you can drive into the 2nd level.

Cattle here are usually grazed on the slopes, steep slopes included.

Don't even consider a tractor with a narrow front axle. I haven't seen one of those here for many years. I guess they've all rolled over and are still there in that gully.

I still see acres of corn growing on some very steep land. They always plow sideways to the hill to cut down on erosion.

Good luck with all your endeavors.

edit to read farm homes
4 months ago
I commend you for your effort and for you dreams. I would suggest you plant some fruit tree seeds directly into the ground. You stated that you wanted deeply rooted trees; but if you transplant your seedlings they won't have a tap root. I realize the rewards will be slimmer but a seed that does grow and survive a year or two will be much healthier than one you transplanted in your climate.

I tried direct seeding the past two winters. Last season I tried keeping some of my purchased Antonovka apple rootstock seed in the refrigerator and some out in the weather in a jar. Only one germinated in my potato patch instead of where I planted them. So I came to the conclusion that that critters ate my seeds and gave themselves away my loosing one seed. The second year I saved seeds from apples and in early winter planted a double row under screening. I have lots of tiny seedlings right now.
So if you can find someone who presses cider they may give you the pomace, or pulp, that's left after apples are pressed. Hopefully where you currently live will have an orchard that also presses apples..... or pears. I can't think of a source of cheap screening other than what someone may leave out for the trash.
Seeds from apples would be better from an orchard that grows dessert apples than one that grows cider apples. But today almost all the cider pressed is from dessert apples. I say that as you can be sure that seeds from dessert apples have at least one parent with an edible apple. However using the same genetic rule, if you grow out seeds from a dry climate the seeds will be closer to a match to what your climate is. So southern California apples may be better than Washington State apples. There also varieties of apples which originated from California, Israel, and perhaps Australia that would provide a closer match.
I wish you luck!
4 months ago