Monthly Archives: February 2016

Goji Berry Is Very Easy To Root

I discovered this by accident.  I have a 3 year old Goji Berry (also called Wolf Berry) that is ready to go into the ground this spring, if I can find the proper location.

3 year old goji berry

It is a 3 foot tall, bushy plant with soft, thin branches that easily snap.  I accidentally snapped off one while moving the plant and decided to put in a small container filled with perilite and a dash of vermiculite.  I checked it a week later and to my surprise it had several short, translucent white roots growing from the bottom inch!

I went ahead and put it in potting soil.

Seeing this success, I snapped off a few more branches that were too low on the plant – they would be laying on the ground if I was to plant my potted goji berry in the ground.

goji berry cuttings

If these 3 cuttings also root, I am going to try a lot more, cutting all of the lowest branches that would be laying on the ground when I plant this 3 year old in the ground.  I am very excited.  Goji berry are always rather pricy in nursery plant catalogs.

The soil is acidic and red clay where I live.  Goji berry need alkaline soil (pH of 6.8 or higher), so I am going to have to dig a large hole, about 2 feet deep and 2 foot diameter and fill it with peat and organic matter when I plant this 3 yr old.  I will probably have to lime it annually.  This plant has cute little lavender flowers in the spring.  One of these years, when this plant matures, those flowers will result in red berries in the fall.  Goji berry plants grow up to 10 feet high at maturity.  They are sort of like a weeping willow bush in growth pattern.  Mine is only 3 feet tall, but instructions generally say to prune it back to 5 feet when it grows to 10 feet.  This is supposed to produce a greater harvest.  They are self fertile and drought resistant.  Finally, they grow in partial to full sun.  Full sun is defined as at least 6 hours of full sun a day.

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I’m Still Extremely Upset With Burgess Seed & Plant Co.

As spring marches in, I am seeing more of the poor, sorry plants that Burgess sent me.

This picture shows my 3 dead Colorado Blue Spruces, shriveled up brown dead lavender and the poplar trees that leafed out as soon as the replacement order reached me last fall, only to have the leaves soon die.  I know for sure that the poplar trees, cherry trees and spruces are dead – the cherry & poplar trees currently have raised spots of rot at the base of the stem.  The Lilly of the Valley have never displayed any sign of life.  I believe they are dead on arrival.

burgess dead on arrival replacement plants that are replacing the original dead on arrival plants

Time will tell whether the pecan tree, hazlenuts, paw paw trees, honeysuckle, boysenberry, raspberry and elderberries leaf out.

The Cherry trees that were sent as a replacement for the original dead chestnut trees, also leafed out upon arrival in the fall.  They quickly faded and never awoke this spring.  Total screw up on Burgess’s part – they send dormant trees to hot, still-summer Texas only to have the plants leaf out then die.

Look at this mail label – almost everything I originally bought had to be replaced!  And then, the replacements died.

 

mail label of burgess replacement order

I am so disappointed!  I spent over $100 on their plants.  The original order was shipped too late and the plants were in bad shape.  Most never made it.  So, in the fall I followed their warranty procedure.  At that time I told them that I did not want them to ship worn out plants that had sat around the greenhouse all summer.  Against my request, they sent me those very plants in the fall.

eBurgess.com’s warranty is no good!  They replace defective plants with a one-time replacement warranty of more defective plants.

Overall, I feel that the $150 or so that I spent with burgess was money totally wasted.

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e Burgess.com Replacement Shipment

I am not very pleased with the plants that I purchased from Burgess (eburgess.com) last spring, 2015.  The shipment was several months late.  When the plants finally arrived, they were in poor condition and past prime spring planting time.  Most of them died, so I took Burgess up on their replacement warranty.  This is the replacement order they sent.  The fir trees you see are Colorado Blue Spruce.  The 3 Spruce in the original order were DOA on arrival, as was much of the shipment.  These replacement trees went immediately into tree pots.  They immediately started to drop needles and are now dead.  This is how the plants came out of the large green plastic shipping bag – some are wrapped in plastic, some just dried out bare root.  Not very impressive.   The 3 fat stems with the dried brown root mass are 3 replacement raspberries.

burgess nursery replacement shipment

This is another replacement tree.  I’m sorry that I didn’t make note what tree was which, but they all looked rather sorry.

burgess nursery replacement shipment

This small bare root tree has one of it’s 2 stems broken.

burgess nursery replacement shipment

What a sad looking tree.

burgess nursery replacement shipment

Well, it’s been a warm February and some of my trees are already budding out.  Most of my Burgess.com trees aren’t looking too good and I know some are dead because there are fungus bumps at the soil line and when I scratch a tiny bit of bark it is black, not white or green.

I’ll give an update report in a few months after they all should be budded out and see what the death count is.  Burgess only offers a one time replacement, so the sorry plants they sent out this past fall are my replacements for the late shipment of disaster they sent in the spring of 2015.  Pretty bad over-all experience with Burgess.

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This Season’s Tomato & Pepper Seedlings

The Tomato and Pepper seedlings are coming along very well.
I started the tomatoes and peppers in small seed starting plug trays – with between 72 and 128 cells in each flat. This works very well.

I put at least 2 seeds in each hole, sometimes more if I think the pepper seeds won’t germinate well. I had almost full pepper germination! I have a hard time just pinching off the extra seedling, so I end up pulling the plug out, separating the roots and replanting them in recycled plastic plant holders. I put the one of the seedlings back into the plug tray using the original seed starting mix and I use garden soil/potting mix to plant the extra seedlings.

These Rutgers are the extra tomatoes that I replanted instead of just pinching them off. They are all doing well – this picture is a week old. Tomato and pepper seedlings seem to transplant very well with no stunting.

transplanted tomato seedlings

Tomato seedlings in the original plug trays.  You can see Arizona Cypress seedlings in small pots.

tomato seedlings

These are 2 pepper plug trays.  Hot peppers are in one tray and sweet peppers in another.  These are not quite big enough for me to want to transplant them yet.   I am very pleased with the pepper germination.

transplanted tomato seedlings

I learned to seed tomatoes and peppers in separate trays because tomatoes germinate quicker and I can put them out in the cool greenhouse earlier.  I have to keep the peppers in the warm house longer as they fully germinate and this would cause any tomato seedlings to not get sufficient sun and get leggy.  Peppers also take longer for all different varieties to fully germinate and so I have to put them out in the sun during the day, then bring them back into the warm house for the night, then back outside the next day.  They only go out to the cooler greenhouse after all varieties have finally germinated.

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Trying To Determine Soil pH On The Cheap

I need to find out what my soil pH is.  I have questions because of the poor results that I have experienced the past few years.  I have a pH detector, the kind with a meter on top and one metal shaft to stick in the soil.  It doesn’t work – I get the same neutral result regardless of whether I stick it in soil, tap water or even dipping it in white vinegar!  Obviously it is unreliable.

I have pH test strips, so I decided to try to use them.  I dug up a tiny bit of dirt from several spots of each of my six beds.  I mixed this with water, hoping that maybe the pH would transfer from soil to the water slurry mix.  I don’t know if this really works.

ph test of garden soil

This is my soil slurry.  I am now rather unconvinced that the acidity or alkalinity would transfer to the water.  The strip is dipped into the water and the soil residue has to be removed to read the stick.
home made soil ph test

This shows the soil to be about pH 6.  That is not optimal – a good general garden soil pH of 6.0 to 6.5. This quickie test shows that my soil barely made it. I still wonder what my real soil pH is.

ph test for soil acidity

If anyone knows if this quickie test has any validity, I would like to hear from you.

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White Flies – Minuscule Bug, Massive Damage

This past season I was plagued by White Flies, a new problem for me, especially in the greenhouse.

The vicious end result of an explosion of white flies is the death of the plant.  The tiny, barely visible pests secrete a sticky substance called honeydew.  This honeydew causes fungus to grow on it and creates a black coating on the affected plant leaves.  This plant is a baby osage orange tree.  (The flies seem to especially like osage orange trees.)  Before you know what is happening, the leaves are covered with a drying, crusty black coating.  Here, I have sprayed water on the leaves and tried to rub some of it off.

black crust from honeydew caused by white flies

I googled around and found that insecticidal soap was the best natural treatment for them.  I used numerous applications of liquid soap – Murphy Wood Oil soap – increasing soap content percentage each try and nothing killed them.  The soap may have killed the flies that it actually landed on, but it obviously did nothing for the eggs and nymphs that were all over the underside of the leaves.  The next day, flies were all over the place again – either the ones I sprayed the day before, or a new hatching.  I also used my old favorite, neem oil, but that didn’t work either.

These are some white flies on the underside of flower leaves.  They are all over on most of the leaves.

white flies under leaves

There are so many flies that they are also on the top of the leaves.  They are tiny white bugs and the other spots are either eggs or nymphs – so tiny I can’t see them clearly.

white flies on top of leaves

The white fly is very tiny, maybe about 1/12 of an inch.  This past fall they were getting so bad all over the yard that they killed my large Cypress Vine planting and were getting all over the remaining garden plants.  Outside of the greenhouse, I didn’t spray the poison because there were other bugs that seemed to keep them in check.  However, inside the greenhouse, they were breeding rapidly and getting all over all of my plants that I was slowly bringing inside for the coming winter.  They even ruined numerous pots of Rosemary, Gum trees and other strong oiled plants.  Over just a few weeks, they contaminated almost every plant so I had to do something drastic.  That was to buy a bottle of Bifen I/T.  I read extensively online about killing white flies in the greenhouse and this seemed the best answer to solve the problem.  Several applications seemed to take care of the problem.  I didn’t want to do it, but I couldn’t let them survive and thrive overwinter in the greenhouse.

As of early February, I haven’t noticed a white fly problem.

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Just Moved My Gardening Blog From WordPress To My Webspace

Congrats to myself –

I have finally gotten around to moving my WordPress gardening blog from wordpress.com to my own webspace.  Still making minor edits, such as finding a satisfactory theme.

Stay tuned, I moved my site so that I can keep this site updated and make daily posts.  I’ve also added social networking buttons so you can re-post at will whatever you find worthy.

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