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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Too Soon For Summer

Greenhouse Frame With 30% Shadecloth

Too Soon For Summer

The greenhouse top came off and was replace by a 30% shade cloth.  With the greenhouse cover on, the temperature was getting a bit hotter than the rest of the yard area.

Kind of a bummer, because it was helping to retain humidity a little more. With the wetted soil, the mini water garden and transpiration, the humidity is about 5% higher there than the rest of our yard area.  It is also about 5 or 6 degrees cooler than the rest of the area.

Or normal Phoenix temperatures are in the mid to high 80s and we are heading into the 90 degree weather already. Phew.  Some of these plants will have to be moved indoors when it breaks 100.

Phoenix, Arizona Climate Trends
This is also the time of year that we receive much less rain until the Monsoons come around...  And much longer days with the sun beating down on the little plants with a much lower humidity.  This is when the plants  start looking like they're passing out midday from heat stress.

June will be the absolute most tortuous month for us gardeners here, so we can slowly get started on getting stuff prepped to beat the heat.

But, back to the nicer April weather.

zWave Weather and Shade House Readings
After giving the now named shade house a watering on the soil and a spray down on the plant leaves the difference from our ambient temperature and the shade house temperature is noticeable.  The humidity sky rockets for a bit as well.

Making a regular study on this it may be a benefit to put a humidifier or timed misting system low to the ground.

Getting back to what is going on here this month.

What's Growin On In April

Fuyu Persimmon Blossom
The new persimmon tree has started blossoming.  The blossoms are so cute and many photos will be on the persimmon page.   We're learning about growing and training persimmons. I'm so looking forward to trying a persimmon, I haven't the heart to pick off the blossoms this year.  I'm not sure how harmful that is for the overall development.

We have a new purple honeysuckle plant, jasminum officionale (Poet's Jasmine), Attar of Roses, vanilla bean orchid, soursop and Phet Pakchung atemoya. We ended up replacing one of the Sicilian Sunshine Bay Laurel trees as the one started indoors completely failed. The replacement is quite robust!

We started a simple layer propagation of the Wisteria vine so that we can have our Cat-In-The-Hat duo, Thing One and Thing Two back. The original Thing One failed, and we're just going to clone up another one.

In The Hive

Honey Bee Hive
We haven't checked the hive for some time.  We've left them alone to completely fill up the full length of the 4 foot long top bar hive.

The bees kind of went cockeyed with the comb. This will make honey thieving a little harder when June comes around.

They have a lot of fresh comb, as indicated by the light coloring of the wax. There is some propolis deposited around many of the openings and the clear liquid honey is quite visible in the open cells.

Honey Bee hive

The bees still have so much emptiness left, we are not likely to get a split from the hive this year. maybe next year... We still have an open, unloved hive.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

More Variety In The Yarden

Bearss Lime Fruit Starts

More Variety In The Yarden

Our citrus trees have blossomed and have a bunch of little fruit sets.  Most will be dropped by the trees within 30 days, then we can leave the rest and see what we get.

We currently have Bearss Lime, Finger Limes, Meyers Lemons, and some type of orange trees.  They all taste pretty good when they make it to the winter.

We don't have diaries for the citrus trees other than the
Finger Lime Fruit Start
finger limes as we are planning to put the lemon, bearss lime and orange trees in the ground eventually.

The Finger Limes don't seem to taste much different than other limes as I remember. However the interesting thing about them is the shape of the pulp and how that makes them useful in ways that other citrus pulp is not.

We currently have some white/yellow honeysuckle growing on the dog run fence and arbor. We have some purple honeysuckle on the way (from WellspringGardens) to get a little variety in the color as well.
Lonicera Japonica 'Purpurea'

With the white and yellow of the regular variety and the white, yellow, pink and purple of the purple variety, it should make a nice fade in color variation and cover the fencing quickly.  This should also be great for our bees. We need to keep them deep in pollen.

We don't keep any diaries on the honeysuckle, but will probably take shots and make updates on posts here and there.

Hardy Kiwi Issai
Being greedy, we added a third type of Kiwi plant that will be updated on the Kiwi page.  I'm not really sure why, as the Ken's red is growing aggressively and is a bit scary because of how fast it grows.

The new addition is Issai, which makes small green fruits in a very short period of time and is self-pollinating, so we only need one plant this time.

For some more tantilizing scent-sational plants we have a Bay
Bay Rum Tree
Rum tree on order that will probably be added to a topiary or bonsai diary, depending on the looks. Our daughter in law will be making some essential oils and may be able to use some of this plant when she gets her still going.  To be honest, making essential oils of my own is piquing my interest.

A couple of these plants will be put in the greenhouse, which is now
Greenhouse Sensor Module
set up for monitoring with our ZWave Home Genie system.

Mr. Man has found a humidity, light, temperature, and motion sensor that we put in the greenhouse to help make sure everything is 'just right' for our little hot-house babies. This will help quite a bit with the plant management and deciphering any issues that may come up.