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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Apple Blossoms, Companion Planting and Practice Shots

Malus domestica 'Anna' blossoms
Malus domestica 'Anna' blossoms

Apple Blossoms

This year we moved our container grown apple trees (Anna and Ein Shemer) to a different location for espalier training.  The disruption as well as the dryness of June took a bit of a toll on the apple trees, mostly to the Ein Shemer.  None of our fruit trees blossomed much and produced nothing.  This is okay, we expected the energy to be diverted to deeper root development now that they had a chance.
Malus domestica 'Ein Shemer' blossoms
Malus domestica 'Ein Shemer'

I was surprised yesterday and today with little flower buds and upon internet inquiry learned that both the Anna and Ein Shemer bloom and produce twice a year.  How fortunate!  So, this is the summer blooming period.  If they do get pollinated and grow a few apples, we will probably remove many to reinforce structure and root development.  We will also need to remove stray branches from the basic espalier structure pretty soon, and energy will be needed for recovery following the trim as well.

Companion Planting

Punica granatum 'Wonderful', Ocimum basilicum 'Red Rubin', Origanum vulgare, Portulaca oleracea
Punica granatum 'Wonderful'
Ocimum basilicum 'Red Rubin'
Origanum vulgare, Portulaca oleracea
In between two sets of our tomato cages, we have a small pomegranate tree, red rubin basil, italian oregano and purslane.  It was a bit of a haphazard companion planting set up, but ended up well.  All are mediterranean plants.

We had loads of blossoms on the pomegranate in spring (top rear), but every single one dropped off eventually.  It may be that it is in the small container, it may be that it was over fertilized.  Hard to say.  I had read somewhere that the pomegranates can be quite fickle.

Red Rubin basil (mid left) is doing much better in the ground than it did in a planter.  The parts exposed to sunshine turn nice red tones, but the shaded portions are more green.  The flowers are a hot pink color, which is very nice.  The taste is milder than italian basil.

The italian oregano (mid right) is much more prolific in the ground than it was in a planter as well.  It harvests well and tastes great, as expected.  The basil and oregano catch overflow from the planters and get a little extra water themselves.

The purslane (bottom front) is a volunteer plant.  It is edible, verified by breaking off some of the stem and the liquid was clear.  If the liquid was milky, it would have been yanked. It has grown quite rapidly and will help with retaining moisture in the ground.

Apis mellifera ligustica drinking from water dish
Apis mellifera ligustica drinking from water dish,
Note 3, Camera FV-5 apk
Practice Shots

I've been practicing taking photos with the Note 3, Camera FV-5 apk.  I really like the macro shots I see on the G+ groups, but just can't make myself buy an expensive camera for what is just a hobby and documentation tool. So, I'm working the phone, and made a minor investment in a Lesung®4 in 1 Magnetic Detacheable Lens Set.
The lense hasn't arrived yet, but I got a few shots in.  We set out some shallow blue dishes with cleaned off yarden rocks to provide the much needed water to honeybees during the summer. They are strategically placed to catch some of the water from the garden system, so the water is refreshed 2 to 3 times a day. They seem to like it!

Formicidae - Fire Ant on
Borago officinalis, Note 3,
Camera FV-5 apk
Another photo was a capture of an ant on one of the borage flowers.  It turned out well, after adjusting the colors.  I don't like adjusting colors, but the initial photos looked very faded out.  Apparently this is due to an exposure setting on the apk.  Practice, practice, I guess.  In comparison to the last photo, taken with the Samsung WB250F, it seems to lack crispness and details.

Sweat bee - halactidae in Cucurbitaceae flower, WB250F
Sweat bee - halactidae in
Cucurbitaceae flower, WB250F
This morning I broke out the digital camera for comparison of the images.  I haven't yet decided if I will forgo the digital camera over the note 3.  More tests are needed when the 10x macro lens arrives and I have time to practice.  I really do like the simplicity of taking photos with accurate colors and not having to fiddle with a lot of stuff.

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