Monday, February 9, 2015

1st Bonsai attempt

I've been thinking about bonsai for some time--not decorative bonsai, just using those techniques to keep a tree small.

I have a potted grapefruit tree that I started from a seed about five years ago, so I decided to try on that one. This is about the age that most of the sites I found suggested doing the first training, so I figured I might as well.

It has never been repotted and probably hasn't been watered as well as it should have been. Definitely not fertilized--I don't often use fertilizer.

First I cut off all the dead-wood. There wasn't much, but enough to make it difficult to work with the tree as a whole.

Then I cut the tree down to the point that I could actually work with it before I pulled it out of its pot.

It was seriously root-bound. I'm surprised that the roots weren't coming out of the holes.

It took a lot of work and a water bath to get most of the compacted soil out of the roots. The tap root had twisted itself up in a knot, but I got as close as possible and got it out of there.

I cleaned out the root mass, got rid of the very long, stringy roots, and trimmed the smaller roots inside so that there's room for soil in there.

I mixed the existing soil with composted steer manure (no, it doesn't stink) and put it back in its pot, spreading the roots out over the surface before I put the last third of the dirt back in.

The existing root-mass is smaller than I expected, so I did some more trimming after I had it settled back in its pot. Here's the before and after.

And no, that picture wasn't taken in 2007--I just don't bother to reset the clock on my camera every time I change batteries.

I have an apricot seedling I want to bonsai, but the information I found said it needs to be a minimum of two years old...By that time it will be five feet tall, so I keep looking for other information.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

My Hoop House Broke

There's been a lot of wind here in the last week. It generally comes down from the mountains (east) like this in early spring, round about the beginning of April. Instead it comes at the beginning of February.

So I went out this morning to check my hoop houses and this is what I found.

The plastic had split. When I went out yesterday there was the beginning of a small tear (about a foot long) and I taped it up, but the wind came again last night and used the edge of the tape (of all things!) to create a rip that went the full length of the hoop house.

So the plastic is drying out (it stays pretty wet in there) and I'm considering what to do now. I have plenty of small covers--technically I could put one over each of the plants and they might survive till spring. That hoop house is full of chinese cabbage, which I've never grown before, so I don't know how well it handles the cold.

On the other hand, I could either cut a new piece of plastic and discard the old one (which I do not want to do) or tape up the old one and hope it doesn't split again.

Decisions, decisions...

The other hoop house has the lettuce and spinach, and shows no sign of weakness. Note to self: Next time, buy higher quality plastic. :)