Monday, September 7, 2020
Sunday, September 6, 2020
Back in 2012, I was regularly buying (U-picking) tomatoes from Brad Gates at his stand and fields in Solano county. He also had a field with F2 progenies from his crosses, and he allowed me to pick some tomatoes from there too. After tasting the fruits from the F2 field together with my friend Harvey, I ended up with few fruits that I wanted to stabilize. Over the next 8 years, every summer my family chose the best tasting fruits/plants from each hybrid line. Every year I planted 12 progenies from the best tasting plant of the previous year. In 2019 we ended up selecting just one stable cultivar out of the three hybrid lines we started from. Presented here is Optimal: a beautiful, productive, and tasty tomato. It is sweeter than Pink Berkeley Tie-Dye, but has about the same amount of salt. It has less acid than Pork Chop, but still some acidity is present, and it has its own flavors that are not present in either Pork Chop and Pink Berkeley Tie-Dye. It does not have any smoky flavor that can be tasted in many darker and some green tomatoes from Brad Gates. It is a beautiful yellow-red tomato that is best tasting when it becomes more red than yellow.
Here is the final selection, the fruits are from 2020
Thursday, August 6, 2020
The germination success was about 20% for three different batches of seeds I had. About 1/3-1/2 of seedlings died early. Additional seedling loss happened after the excessive fertilization, transplanting, and over-watering.
When transplanting to individual pots, I use commercial potting mix with additional perlite and sand. I still do not know what is a good fertilization regimen for the seedlings. Iron with manganese (1/2 of recommended dilution) seems to be beneficial. Monopotassium phosphate is very dangerous, it kills the seedlings fast. I am not yet sure if nitrogen and potassium help or harm.
Yangmei seedlings also seem to be pretty sensitive to the pests and pathogens. Keeping them under mature trees invites all the possible pests and pathogens that fall from those trees down onto the seedlings. Large trees harbor many small and large pests without being much affected by them. However, when those fall down onto the young yangmei seedlings, they decimate them fast. If you have issues with the leaf discoloration, it could be the pests. Get a magnifying glass and check if you see any mites or thrips on the back side of the leaves. They can be easily washed away with water. I didn't test any pesticides on the yangmei seedlings yet, but I sprayed some with Serenade, a bio-fungicide. It seems that they react well to Serenade. Keeping the seedlings under a shade structure or a shade sail would be safer than under large trees. The shade structure will limit the amount of pests, pathogens, and dust that fall down onto the plants.
Stay tuned, and happy growing!
If you are looking for young yangmei seedlings, I occasionally have them available at reallygoodplants.com
Sunday, July 5, 2020
DPRU 377 was noticed by friends and myself during an orchard walk at Wolfskill in 2013. The leaves looked peachy from the distance, but the tree grew in the plum area. We tasted the fruits and found them very flavorful. There are no records of this accession in the USDA GRIN database. And there was only this single tree in the orchard. The picture of the tag on the tree said that it is a complex cross: MyroXSpinosa X Domestica
We obtained the scions from the USDA the following winter and grafted them. While the grafts grew well (on the proper rootstocks), the fruiting took years to occur. This year I got only 2 fruits on the tree I made in 2016 on the Citation rootstock. My graft from 2014 onto the Santa Rosa plum branch is barely surviving. After tasting the first fruit this year I consider this maybe the best "plum" I tasted. Sweet, flavorful and very aromatic. It has unusual flattened shape. The stone is small, like a plum, but it has indentations similar to a peach stone. After searching though GRIN again, I found that accession DPRU 375 was originated from the former USSR in 1939. If the USDA was tagging the accessions in the order received, DPRU 377 could be from the same batch of acquisitions. This gave me a clue that I should be checking Russian web postings of plum-peach hybrids. The search yielded two videos, both in Russian, that show this fruit and the tree. Both look identical to what we found at Wolfskill. My fruit in my picture looks lighter, I suspect it is because my tree grows in part shade and I covered the fruit with a clam shell to make sure it gets into my hands.
I really liked Sha Zi Zao Sheng peach. It reminded me the honey peaches I had two years ago in China. Very sweet with little acidity. Melting flesh. Feng Bao was very good too, and I'm looking forward to getting more of these in the years to come. Sha Zi Zao Sheng fruits are larger, and they are ready two weeks earlier than Feng Bao fruits.
All these are excellent apricots, very fruity and aromatic.
All these apricots should be available when in season from Andy's Orchard shop in Morgan Hill, CA. Royal Blenheim trees are available from most nurseries, and the Red Sweet and Steindorf Blenheim scions are usually available at the CRFG winter exchanges.
Monday, June 22, 2020
The cultivar should be frost resistant, but this needs to be evaluated better in the US. It grows as far North as Lithuania and Southern Finland.
I am planning to make this accession more available in the US. Currently we have one small grafted tree available for purchase at reallygoodplants.com
In the fall of 2016 I adopted four tiny seedlings of oak leaf papaya. They were started by Brian, a fellow gardener from the Golden Gate ch...