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Tivona Hager

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since Sep 14, 2019
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Recent posts by Tivona Hager

That is hard information to find. What I personally found was more generalized.

Tree size is probably from the root stock graph. Smaller size will produce quicker. Pruning, particularly substantial pruning will delay the start of fruiting. Careful spring and summer pruning can stunt growth and but could advance fruit buds. However no pruning produces the heaviest crops over the first 5 years according to the Utah state agriculture extension.

Basically a specific tree such as a gala apple can come in different sizes. Size coming from the root stock but also much of the trees immunity. The bigger the tree the smaller the early harvest but later it will produce more. Also big trees live longer generally.

The book “designing and maintaining your edible landscape naturally” by Robert Kourik is really great and gave me most of this but searching the internet for a given type of tree and the various types of rootstocks will help.

8 months ago
I have tree collards and love them. The flavor is great and they are super easy to grow. I also have Kosmic kale from Territorial Seeds which is good tasting but the leaves are tough.

I also have been having fun sprouting a few perennial kale seeds I got as a grex mix from Experimental Farm Network. One seed developed into a beautiful kale that looks like Russian kale but tree type. It also has a bit of pink at the edges in cold weather. Flavor is bitter though. Another was pink edged and short but tough and bitter and poor eating so I re-homed it. A few didn’t seem to really want to grow well for whatever reason. Another couple grew and seemed fine but weren’t cold hardy.

I keep the seeds in my refrigerator and just plant about 10 or so each year. It is all I really have room for and can develop into a full sized plant and make decisions about. Kale seeds can easily last in the refrigerator for 8 or so years so they are not going to waste. Most plants don’t make it or are re-homed. I am hoping for a great flavor and some color and at least an acceptable texture. If it isn’t at least as edible as the Kosmic that I have it gets sent to my neighbors. If it is, it still has to survive my mild winter.

Perennial brassicas are the best!
I have had ducks and geese for nearly ten years now and the behavior in the videos is only going to get worse if you can’t train them. Jay is right about them being highly trainable though. Consistency is the main thing. If you can’t get them to get along come spring they will likely kill her.

Separating the geese from the ducks at night is a great start but you are going to need to work with the geese during the day. I suggest only letting them be together while you can supervise for a few days. What has worked with all my geese including two very dominant ganders was to grab a hose with a jet end and just stand back and let the geese do whatever except show even a trace of aggression towards the ducks. Behave as though you are ignoring them. You want them to think that you don’t care. As soon as the geese put their heads down to a duck, or start doing the fast trot to a duck, put their head down in that snakey way they do, or any other dominant pushy behavior blast them with the jet clear across the yard. Don’t yell, or make a big deal of it but keep the water blasting them till they retreat far, far from the duck. Then go back to ignore watching them. Try to blast them before they can actually start the picking thing. Or even a couple of seconds before they touch the duck.

The plan is to make them associate the water jet as the natural effect of bothering the duck, they associate retreating with the jet stopping. The loser in bird fights always is the one that has to retreat. Get them retreating and they think the ducks are nobody to pick a fight with and peace is great. They will still be top birds but they should stop picking on them. Anyway that is what worked for me. I hope you can get them to stop particularly before spring when they get all hormonal
1 year ago

Tereza Okava wrote:Tivona, all the things that self seed for you are the things that make me nuts trying to coax along!! I wish!

You mentioned having ducks. How do ducks work in the garden? I have a serious slug problem but never considered it since I have a really small urban space, but it interests me a lot (maybe for some future space). Do you have to fence off areas so they don`t destroy things?

When I moved here there were slugs everywhere. It was a major problem. The duck work great for me and I rarely see them any more. The birds do have a large area to graze grass elsewhere but they spend most of their time in the garden which is their favorite place. As a result my walkways which are grass remain perpetually mowed.

I have somethings unfenced such as my bamboo, blackberries, raspberries, day lilies, roses, plantain, stinging nettles and mallow. They rarely bother those or do any real damage to them. For some I have to fence the plants off for part of the year. Blueberries are like that as the birds like them when they are ripe but leave them alone for the rest of the year.

Then there are my proper garden beds. Raised beds with wire around them. I use rebar as stakes and cheap carabiners to clip rabbit wire fencing in place. It is cheap and very flexible to my needs. Easy to move and set up. In the beds I keep plants such as purslane, kale and tree collards which my ducks and geese think are candy. Also partially toxic plants such as tomatoes and potatoes with their toxic leaves are in the beds as are plants I just don’t want them munching or messing with like my shiso, pansies and zucchini. The beds lose the fences when I am done harvesting so they can eat any bugs, slugs, weeds and old roots. When they are done I dig and let them at it again then top it with compost and replant.

The only time it is a real problem is when the grass is to dry to grow in late summer. The rest of the year they have enough forage to not bother most things I care about. If they can reach a garden plant then they will eat it if the grass is dry and low regardless of what it is.

Also tricky is when I am planting. My ducks like to “help” by standing where I am digging so they can grab any worms. Many times this means on my shovel or in the hole I want to put a plant. The geese think all plants I am working with need test nibbles as what else could I be doing with plants other than be feeding them. Also the geese think of games to play. Pick up the trowel and run away and hide it, grab my gloves and put them in water, dig holes, move mulch, etc. Personally I find it all entertaining although the ducks standing on my shovel when I am digging makes me nervous because I don’t want to hurt them and they have no concept of the danger.
1 year ago

Tereza Okava wrote:What a great list. You're going to have fun!

Tivona Hager wrote:
Also included in the orders were Achocha Cyclanthera brachystegia and Jacob’s tears.  

Job's tears makes good tea. As for Achocha, it will self-seed well enough if it doesn't live through the winter (I'm in 9B and it will die when it gets cold), but keep an eye on it, it will totally take over if you don't keep on top of it.

Good to know. They added a negligible amount to the cost of the order and I have been interested in getting Job’s tears for awhile.

The Achocha I had never heard of but it sounded fun. I will try to keep it slightly under control but I typically let plants go to seed then transplant seedlings as needed in the spring to wherever I want them. Knowing it can get weedy is good to know though.

It couldn’t be worse then my feverfew which my mom planted 10 years ago and is now everywhere. Or my parsley, which I typically leave my best and biggest 5 or 6 plants to let seed which give me thousands of seedlings in spring each year.  Or my mammoth dill, mustard, musk mallow, purslane, dandelion, plantain, corn salad, Siberian kale, nasturtiums or cherry tomatoes. On second thought let’s be real, the Achocha will probably be a welcome weed in my garden if I like its flavor and don’t rip it out the first year. The up sides to my crazy method is that I always have starts in spring and the extras just get scratched in to the soil and become compost. Also bad weeds, which in my definition are toxic or allelopathic or completely unusable rarely get established in my beds because they have so much competition as seedlings. Even if I am sick in spring my garden works itself until I can come weed, transplant, etc. If the Achocha can grow well and tastes good it being a bit prolific would be fine with me.
1 year ago

T.J. Stewart wrote:Where did you order from?

Some from Peace Seedlings and some from Norton naturals.

I have received the Norton Natural order but am still waiting on the one from Peace Seedlings. They are still harvesting and not ready to ship yet.
The Norton’s order looked good and they included extras on the items I ordered.
1 year ago

Fredy Perlman wrote:We have mild winters here as well. This is my second year of growing oca and after planting twelve tubers last year, I had more than I knew what to do with. Of course I have more this year, and a number from last year that were left in the ground.

Even when they die back, they continue to develop tubers. Last year I dug in late November and December, they were fine, despite some frost. they had probably started to show frost damage a few weeks prior. Only the tubers on the surface were damaged. This is also true of ulluco and mashua.

I started a thread about this last year

because these crops seem promising if you don't want to amend your soil much and don't want to spend a lot of time harvesting. They seem very passively productive. the biggest inconvenience with them is that they should not be grown in the same place for more than one year, because they can develop viruses that will be very hard to eliminate. I have already left oca and mashua in the same place for two years in a row, because it's impossible to get out all the tubers, and will have to work harder at that this winter.

Regarding companion planting, they did very well with alliums, Spanish black radishes, and crosnes. I haven't found anything that seems put off by them, although mashua has a tendency to overwhelm asparagus fronds. Bill at Cultivariable said that trellising can keep mashua from spreading too much... I had one that climbed a 10 foot deer fence this year.

Oh my...You planted 12 and had to much, I planted 25 oca plants and 5 Ulluco last spring and my oca definitely liked its location. The Ulluco seemed stunted so it might not make as many tubers but I might have more oca than I know what to do with. I hope my family likes it’s flavor. I did get multiple varieties though trying to get different flavor profiles as much as possible.

I am pondering putting the oca with my Jerusalem artichokes. Seems like they might do well together but the oca is dug later from all I have read. I typically leave root crops except onions in the ground and just dig as I want to eat them but I start digging them as soon as I think they can be harvested. Perhaps they can be planted side by side so I can harvest the Jerusalem artichokes earlier and leave the oca till later. All I know is that the oca needs more room at least in autumn then what it had.
1 year ago
So many great ideas. I will be able to keep adding some for years.

I have made a couple of orders Now and have 3 more Ulluco coming, 3 different Mashua, Crosne, hog peanut, 3 bulbs of camass so I can see how they do, a red Jerusalem Artichoke.  I have an unknown variety that was given me probably, white Fuseau but I am guessing, all I know is that it isn’t Stampede as I have had them before and the one I have now is different.

Also included in the orders were Achocha Cyclanthera brachystegia and Jacob’s tears. I also have three different hardy kiwis to plant as well as 1 hosta.

Some of these were added as the cost was negligible and the shipping was fixed already by the other things I was ordering. I am still wanting to get some currants and sea kale and if I can find them for next summer.

Now all I have to do is figure out were to put all of the plants I have coming.

Thanks again everyone for all the wonderful ideas.
1 year ago
Frost has killed most of the tops now but before they got hit I measured the other varieties by lifting the stems to see how tall they could reach. All of the varieties reached about 4 foot high so apparently the OE Blush only got that tall by climbing the tomatoes and their supports. Should be interesting to see how they produce on the tubers.
1 year ago

Do they eat your garden plants too?

I do have to have fence off most garden beds, particularly in late spring through early autumn. The ducks and geese don’t eat most perennials or bushes. The geese munch new bamboo shoots badly in spring. Any of the birds would completely eat any kale green, purslane, or lettuce to nothing. They don’t bother my tomatoes unless I am harvesting then they think they are helping me. Potatoes they seldom bother unless they can see a tuber at the surface. Ripe blueberries hanging low they will occasionally nibble.

They do an amazing job of keeping me walkways down and bushes weed free. Strawberries are safe but occasionally they take a berry. My oca they have no interest except when I am messing with it, then the geese take a few polite nibbles to support my work. As the grass grows quickly they loose interest in many garden plants and my tree collard leaves sticking over the garden bed fence are ignored. One of the best aspects of having them in the garden is the ducks eat slugs. When I moved here they were everywhere. I seldom see them now.
1 year ago