Saturday Gardening Thread: Tomayto/Tomahto, Desert/Dessert [Y-not, KT, Weirddave]

Good day, gardeners! Welcome to your Saturday Gardening Thread. Today's installment is brought to you by Fred and Ginger:

You may have ascertained by now that KT is the real brains behind the Saturday Gardening Thread being an actual, you know, gardening expert! So what tends to happen is that she'll come up with some sort of topic and write her section, then I'll put that into draft and add my section based on her topic, then leave it to Weirddave to make his contribution.

Imagine my surprise -- and happiness -- when she told me that this week she'd be writing about desserts! Finally, a topic I know something about! Given that this is the Gardening Thread and not CBD's Sunday afternoon Food Thread (stay tuned to this station for that at around 4 pm tomorrow), I assumed when KT said dessert she meant fruits or possibly sugar cane or cocoa beans.

As it turns out this week our local supermarket had gooseberries for sale, something I've never tried before, so I thought I'd write a little bit about them since they seem to be primarily used to make desserts and other sweets. (Recall that last Fall KT regaled us with all things huckleberry and we also had a thread about apple cider. CBD had better watch out or we'll stomp all over his Food Thread! lol)

So these are gooseberries:

**Correction (thanks to commenter right wing whippersnapper): THIS IS NOT A TRUE GOOSEBERRY. THIS IS A GROUND CHERRY!**

Gooseberry.jpg

HERE'S A REAL GOOSEBERRY (Ribes hirtellum):

TRUEGOOSEBERRY.jpg

Gooseberries are closely related to currants. They grow well in some parts of this country (although some varieties are prone to mildew), but are particularly beloved in English gardens.

Here's a little bit about their habits:

The gooseberry bush has thorny, arching branches giving the plant a height and breadth of three to five feet. Flower buds are born laterally on one-year-old wood and on short spurs of older wood. Each bud opens to yield from one to four flowers, depending on cultivar. The flowers are self-fertile, and pollinated by wind and insects, but usually not honeybees.

YellowGoosebery.jpg

Flowers of the Yellow Gooseberry, Ribes quercetorum

According to the BBC, there are different varieties best-suited for specific recipes in the kitchen:

Cooking berries

Try sourcing 'Invicta' gooseberries - the very thorny shrubs are loaded with tart, green berries tucked away in the middle of the plant. Other cooking varieties you're likely to find are 'Greenfinch', which boast smooth green fruit, and 'Careless', which can be picked for cooking early in the season, as soon as they're big enough. (We'd leave anything smaller than a grape as they'll involve too much topping and tailing). The younger and greener the berry, the more sugar you'll need to counter its sharpness.

Dessert berries

These can be enjoyed raw or cooked, but won't be completely ripe until July. 'Hinnonmaki Red' are plump and sweet with a ruby-red glow. 'Hinnonmaki Yellow' are the same, but golden. 'Pax' and 'Whinham's Industry' are blushing in a field near you. Go for berries that look swollen and juicy, and give to a gentle squeeze.

**Note: A number of these varieties appear to be available only in Europe.**

In addition to bearing fruit, these shrubs are sometimes used as informal hedges owing to their thorns (present in most but not all varieties) or trained into cordons.

FruitTreeForms.png

This link provides a good quick primer onto the various forms of fruit trees (and bushes), including cordons.

As I was reading up on gooseberries, I found that some varieties can be quite invasive, which means you should think carefully about where (or if) you should plant them. Pruning is recommended to promote fruit production, as well as to help reduce problems with mildew (by facilitating air circulation within the plant). As it turns out, gooseberries are actually banned in a number of places:

The culprit is the disease, white pine blister rust, which was introduced into the U.S. on white pine seedlings imported in the late 1800's. This disease is fatal to white pines and other 5- needled pines. Currants and goose-berries are an intermediary host for this disease - in order for the disease to complete its life cycle and infect white pines, it must spend some time on a currant or gooseberry. It was soon discovered that the best way to control this devastating disease on white pine was to break its life cycle by eliminating all currants and gooseberries. Thus began a federal quarantine and eradication program, where a ban was placed on the importation, propagation and culture of all Ribes. Further, a rather extensive program was put into place to destroy both wild and cultivated Ribes. This was accomplished by legions of Boy Scouts, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the WPA. As a result of these efforts, nearly all Ribes were eliminated and the U.S. lifted its ban in the 1960's.

SierraGoosebery.jpg

Sierra Gooseberry

So that's what I have, now let's see what KT has to tell us about desserts.


Take it away, KT:

Last week we discussed some plants that may still be graced by ice and snow in northern gardens. Maybe we should pay some attention to our southwestern deserts, near-deserts and semi-tropical regions. My rosemary is blooming, along with some annual weeds. Wildflowers canít be far behind. It is already time to set out tomato plants in places like Phoenix and Tampa.

Y-not: DESERT? DESERT?! Uh-oh...

Back to KT:

Desert Wildflowers

Last October I flew from Bakersfield to Phoenix, then from Phoenix to Salt Lake City. The high desert around Mojave was pretty barren. There was quite a bit of green in the wild lands around Phoenix from the earlier monsoon rains. It occurred to me that we might have good wildflower displays in some of our deserts this year. Since that time, California has gotten some rain, too.

californiapoppy.jpg

Next time you are in a plane approaching Phoenix, pay some attention to how humans have changed the landscape. Some developments reminded me of the ancient Nazca lines in Peru, with designs only evident from the air. You know, the Nazca lines that were recently defaced by Greenpeace. The designs seen from the air in Phoenix look more pleasant. And they have water.

sun-city.jpg

Outside the city, in summer, Carefree Highway is pretty stark and desolate. But after rain, you might want to snap a few photos from your car.

fl.jpg

Here's an excellent resource for learning about desert plants - wildflowers, cactus and succulents, trees, shrubs and grasses. There is a detailed page for each of many species of desert plants.

Calochortus-striatus.jpg

Alkali Mariposa Lily

There are also links to information about desert gardening, botanical gardens and arboretums. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson describes how annual wildflower blooms are predicted.

562879.jpg

Traveling from the low desert to the high desert, you might look for the Hedgehog or Claret Cup Cactus. It can be pollinated by hummingbirds or butterflies.

CactusFlower.jpg

Not too far from us is the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. If you go, try to pick a day that is not too windy.

antelopepoppieslarge.jpg

While you are in the general vicinity, you might as well head into our Central Valley to explore the Blossom Trail, featuring stone fruit, apple, pear and/or citrus blossoms (depending on date). There are some wildflower meadows nearby, too. The mountains have a whole different set of wildflowers, but they generally bloom a little later.

blossomtrail.jpg

An attempt to re-create a wildflower meadow in the garden may be more trouble than you would think. California Poppies are one of the easier wildflowers to add to a garden as long as you skip the meadow idea. And if the plants are dug into the soil at the end of the season, they help inhibit root knot nematodes.

Time to plant tomatoes ALREADY?

I bought some particularly awful Roma tomatoes at the supermarket last week. The ones we grow ourselves are so much better. I have a few seedlings started.

In the low deserts and semi-tropical regions of the USA, it is already time to set out spring tomatoes, from December-planted seeds. These regions both have two tomato-growing seasons. We'll discuss their fall tomato seasons later.

In Southern Florida, the spring tomato season is the time to try a few heirlooms or other specialty tomatoes. PLANT NOW. Timing is everything, particularly for larger tomatoes.

Because of disease pressure, some Florida-adapted cultivars could be included. Small-fruited tomatoes will probably last longer into the summer heat.

3992.jpg

Florida 91 Hybrid Tomato VFF

Because of very serious problems with Root Knot Nematodes, Florida gardeners often plant tomatoes in containers which have no contact with the soil, like the ones we discussed here a couple of weeks ago.

Some people also bury a big pot to just below the rim (in sandy, nematode-prone soil) and add a thick layer of drainage/insulation material. They nest a smaller (but still big) pot inside to hold a plant, with more insulating material between the pots. This provides protection from both nematodes and heat.

In parts of Texas, transplanting seedlings up to gallon pots before setting out in the garden is recommended, to give plants a head start in the heat. If you are in a hot-summer climate but your nights are still cold, transplant your tomato seedlings into progressively larger containers to induce husky root systems. Don't let them get root-bound. Unless you are planting grafted tomatoes, you can remove leaves from the lower stems and bury them when you transplant.

Get your plants accustomed to the sun by leaving them out during the day and bringing them in at night. Unless your plants have just sprouted, start with two or three hours in the sun if they have been growing under lights, in weak light or in the shade at the big box store. You can increase the amount of sun they get fairly rapidly after that.

41080103eb6ffed5217f65c3c9f22f5e.jpg

Not ready for full sun

To harden off plants, leave them out both day and night as the weather warms. Plants can go in the ground or in their final container as soon as the soil temperature is 60 degrees. Cover if a late frost threatens.

In the hotter subtropical regions and in the desert, self-watering containers can really be a boon to plant survival. Especially if covered with a reflective or light-colored mulch. Light-colored pots help. Afternoon shade or 30 percent shadecloth may also be useful.

Burpee Quarter Century and Husky Cherry Red tomatoes are recommended for containers in the high desert. In the low desert, Celebrity seems to be the go-to slicer-sized tomato.

A serious gardener in Tucson recommends the parthenocarpic cultivar "Siletz" as the best open-pollinated slicing tomato for the desert. It was developed at Oregon State University. Because it can set fruit without pollination, it can produce tomatoes at cooler or warmer temperatures than many other tomatoes, or in a greenhouse, without even jiggling the plants. Some tomatoes may be seedless.

He plants tomatoes in a trench -- the opposite of a raised bed. This method is used commercially for many veggies grown in the Imperial Valley of California. Our Tucson gardener also provides other tips for desert gardening.

I grew a parthenocarpic cherry tomato from OSU last year. Gold Nugget grows on a big determinate or semi-determinate plant. I wasn't too impressed with the flavor at first. After I let the plant dry out in the heat of summer, it was pretty tasty. Still not as good as Sungold hybrid. But if you have a difficult climate...

Tomato-Gold-Nugget.jpg

Gold Nugget Ė a parthenocarpic tomato


full winter's here
the trees are bare
garden's done
for lack of care

when all at once
arose a shout
toh-may-tah
ignorant lout

it's not dessert
came back a cry
stupid fool
it's desert dry

back and forth
forth and back
blows exchanged
a mighty smack

above it all
i bide my time
waste all of yours
with silly rhyme

-ee weirddave


To close things up, how about some culture? Here's an excerpt from Anton Chekov's 1898 short story, Gooseberries:

"My brother Nicholai, sitting in his office, would dream of eating his own schi, with its savoury smell floating across the farmyard; and of eating out in the open air, and of sleeping in the sun, and of sitting for hours together on a seat by the gate and gazing at the fields and the forest. Books on agriculture and the hints in almanacs were his joy, his favourite spiritual food; and he liked reading newspapers, but only the advertisements of land to be sold, so many acres of arable and grass land, with a farmhouse, river, garden, mill, and mill-pond. And he would dream of garden-walls, flowers, fruits, nests, carp in the pond, don't you know, and all the rest of it. These fantasies of his used to vary according to the advertisements he found, but somehow there was always a gooseberry-bush in every one. Not a house, not a romantic spot could he imagine without its gooseberry-bush.


What's happening in your gardens this week?

Posted by: Open Blogger at 01:45 PM




Comments

(Jump to bottom of page)

1 In the paragraph just below the video, you really should put the word contribution in quotes.

Posted by: Weirddave at February 07, 2015 01:46 PM (WvS3w)

2 Nice shots of scenes in AZ.

Will read in a few minutes. But any specific suggestions for travel directions sight seeing would be appreciated.

Going to be in PHX for 2 weeks starting 2/23

Posted by: PMRich at February 07, 2015 01:47 PM (OxHMs)

3 Nice poem.

Posted by: Y-not at February 07, 2015 01:47 PM (9BRsg)

4 Will read in a few minutes. But any specific suggestions for travel directions sight seeing would be appreciated.
---

Too bad. A couple of weeks later is the Scottsdale Arts Festival, which is awesome.

Posted by: Y-not at February 07, 2015 01:50 PM (9BRsg)

5 The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is definitely worth the drive.

Posted by: Y-not at February 07, 2015 01:52 PM (9BRsg)

6 Interesting... That picture of gooseberries looks a lot like ground cherries, which are-I think- an edible relative of Chinese lanterns. Any botanists know if there's a connection?

Posted by: right wing whippersnapper at February 07, 2015 01:52 PM (ThxKk)

7 What's happening in your gardens this week?

Shirley you jest.

At 7200 feet in Colorado, I've had tomatoes wiped out by frost in early June. I start seedlings in March. Once I get my coldframe finished I should be able to add a month or two to the growing season, but it's a struggle.

Posted by: wisenheimer at February 07, 2015 01:54 PM (qnhj2)

8 We grew some nice, tart gooseberries at my childhood home. Very refreshing on hot summer days to pluck a few in between naughty capers and tomfoolery.

Ooh, fools -- I remember reading about Gooseberry Fools in one of the Narnia books and thinking that was the greatest dessert name ever. Here's a recipe:

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2303642/gooseberry-fool

Posted by: All Hail Eris at February 07, 2015 01:54 PM (KH1sk)

9 5 The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is definitely worth the drive.


Will look that one up.

Weekend is always a long one (they want you out by noon Fri) when there for training

Posted by: PMRich at February 07, 2015 01:55 PM (OxHMs)

10 5
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is definitely worth the drive.

Posted by: Y-not at February 07, 2015 01:52 PM (9BRsg)


It is. Lived at Luke AFB as a kid, love the desert.


Took our son to the museum while attending a conference in Scottsdale years ago. It was lovely.

And he got to hold a tarantula. *shudder*

Posted by: Jane D'oh at February 07, 2015 01:56 PM (FsuaD)

11 There are some "gooseberries" that are from the Genus Physalis instead of Ribes. I think those are they.

When I was looking for pictures, I kept stumbling into the false gooseberries... hope I didn't accidentally grab the wrong picture!

Posted by: Y-not at February 07, 2015 01:56 PM (9BRsg)

12 One thing I have not done yet, despite quite a few trips to Phoenix/Tempe/Scottsdale, is go to Taliesin.

Posted by: Y-not at February 07, 2015 01:57 PM (9BRsg)

13 7
What's happening in your gardens this week?



Nothing. But the deer, possum, and racoons keep swinging by. Just in case.

Posted by: Jane D'oh at February 07, 2015 01:57 PM (FsuaD)

14 I really really hate to break the news to you, but your gooseberry section is all wrong.

When you say "So these are gooseberries," what you are actually showing in the photo are Cape Gooseberries which are a totally diffetnet plant in a different genus.

And when you say "Gooseberries are closely related to currants," that may be true for the other kind of gooseberries, but the kind in the photo aren't related to currants at all -- they're related to tomatillos! They from South America, not Europe.

Also only one of the four types of gooseberries are related to currants -- the other three aren't.

Check it out if you don't believe me:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physalis_peruviana

I grow Cape Gooseberries, so I know!

Posted by: zombie at February 07, 2015 01:58 PM (K4YiS)

15 Ugh! Sorry. Bold off!

Posted by: zombie at February 07, 2015 01:58 PM (K4YiS)

16 I mean --BOLD OFF!

Posted by: zombie at February 07, 2015 01:59 PM (K4YiS)

17 DAMMIT! I *DID* grab the wrong friggin' picture! Shit shit shit.

Posted by: Y-not at February 07, 2015 01:59 PM (9BRsg)

18 15
Ugh! Sorry. Bold off!

Posted by: zombie at February 07, 2015 01:58 PM (K4YiS)


While you're in the barrel, would you check for an earring I lost in there sometime during the Christmas holiday? And clean it off for me, too.

Thnxs.

Posted by: Jane D'oh at February 07, 2015 01:59 PM (FsuaD)

19 Judging from pictures, the ones I remember resemble the Invicta Gooseberry.

Posted by: All Hail Eris at February 07, 2015 02:00 PM (KH1sk)

20 11 There are some "gooseberries" that are from the Genus Physalis instead of Ribes. I think those are they.

When I was looking for pictures, I kept stumbling into the false gooseberries... hope I didn't accidentally grab the wrong picture!
Posted by: Y-not


yes, it is the wrong picture.

The term "gooseberry" is not a coherent term describing one plant. There are actually FOUR different TOTALLY UNRELATED plants all mistakenly given some variant of the name "gooseberry." Actually more than four, but four main ones.

Check it out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_plants_known_as_gooseberry

Posted by: zombie at February 07, 2015 02:01 PM (K4YiS)

21 While you're in the barrel, would you check for an earring I lost in there sometime during the Christmas holiday? And clean it off for me, too.

Thnxs.

Posted by: Jane D'oh at February 07, 2015 01:59 PM (FsuaD)
---
Jane says "earring", but it's actually from her brother-in-law's "Prince Albert" piercing.

Posted by: All Hail Eris at February 07, 2015 02:02 PM (KH1sk)

22 Heh!
Zombie will scare the barrel off with some old pics from SF marches

Posted by: PMRich at February 07, 2015 02:02 PM (OxHMs)

23 I want more bold.

Posted by: Bob from table9 at February 07, 2015 02:03 PM (WNERA)

24 If you want to harvest gooseberries you have to plant enough to satisfy every chipmunk, squirrel and bird that visits your yard, and then some more for yourself. But that's the case for every edible berry I can think of.

Posted by: Ed Anger at February 07, 2015 02:03 PM (RcpcZ)

25 I know what happened. When I was at the grocery store, what they were offering as "gooseberries" looked exactly like that false gooseberry whose picture I posted. Confirmation bias for the fail!

Thanks very much for pointing out my error. Post updated/corrected.

Posted by: Y-not at February 07, 2015 02:04 PM (9BRsg)

26 Speaking of currants, can you guys find them at the local grocery store? I have never found them here.

So I have several boxes because my husband occasionally needs them for a recipe and orders them. We end up with 6 boxes of 'em.

Hmm, I guess I should check the expiration date. Ah, if they're not crawling out of the box, they're probably okay.

Posted by: Mama AJ at February 07, 2015 02:04 PM (0xTsz)

27 We're hoping to have actual figs on the fig tree this year. We surrounded it with deer fencing last year. It's a big tree, but it's never produced a single fig.

Going to try Jobe fertilizer on it (and the three citrus trees) this year.

Posted by: Jane D'oh at February 07, 2015 02:05 PM (FsuaD)

28 Speaking of currants, can you guys find them at the local grocery store? I have never found them here.
---

Dried ones I can find, but the fresh are only available for a short time around here. Very expensive, too.

Posted by: Y-not at February 07, 2015 02:06 PM (9BRsg)

29 OT: Sad news. Rosie O'Doughnut's wife has left her and she's lost her job on The View.

Posted by: The Great White Snark at February 07, 2015 02:06 PM (Fyh6U)

30 OT: Sad news. Rosie O'Doughnut's wife has left her and she's lost her job on The View.

Posted by: The Great White Snark at February 07, 2015 02:06 PM (Fyh6U)

31 Ya'll have fun. Have to face the mobs in town. Ugh. Saturday shopping.

Posted by: Jane D'oh at February 07, 2015 02:06 PM (FsuaD)

32 Fred and Ginger! Gooseberries! Good old Anton C.! Antelope Valley wildflowers (split pea soup at Anderson's in Buellton)! the Carefree Highway and the Arizona Musicfest!

And all it does up here is rain.

Posted by: Skookumchuk at February 07, 2015 02:06 PM (9tzvc)

33 Posted by: Ed Anger at February 07, 2015 02:03 PM (RcpcZ)


I wish that was just the case with berries.

Those little SOBs have robbed me of all my cucumbers, then decided that the tomatoes were better!

15 plants and I only got a few handfuls of tomatoes last year

Similar issue at the neighbor with the apple tree

Posted by: PMRich at February 07, 2015 02:07 PM (OxHMs)

34 Posted by: Mama AJ at February 07, 2015 02:04 PM (0xTsz)

I've found dried currants in the store, next to the raisins. Used them instead of cranberries in bread and it turned out amazing. But I've never encountered fresh ones. Then again, I think it's sacrilegious to buy blueberries or raspberries from the store (grew up on a commercial blueberry farm and had raspberries in the garden), so I may not be the one to ask.

Posted by: right wing whippersnapper at February 07, 2015 02:10 PM (ThxKk)

35 What of snozberries?

Posted by: Garrett at February 07, 2015 02:14 PM (7o6GQ)

36 I used to enjoy gardening in my spare time but I gave it up after I laid out the grounds of the gardens at the palace at Versailles. It just didn't seem worth pursuing after that because I knew that would always be my best work.

Posted by: Brian Williams at February 07, 2015 02:14 PM (8ZskC)

37 Pro Tip: Roma tomatoes were bred so that they could be picked ripe and shipped in dump trucks, not for flavor.

Posted by: Parabellum at February 07, 2015 02:15 PM (icJK8)

38 My other advice, PMRich, is to plan on spending a night hanging down at the main restaurant/bar strip of Tempe. Even in my old age I still enjoy the collegiate vibe there. A few good restaurants there, too.

Posted by: Y-not at February 07, 2015 02:16 PM (9BRsg)

39 And I can only imagine that the only thing going on in my garden right now is that the neighbors cats are shitting in all of my beds.

Posted by: Garrett at February 07, 2015 02:17 PM (7o6GQ)

40 Also, since you'll be there a couple of weeks, plan on making some pilgrimages to AJ's Fine Foods.

Best grocery store ever.

www.ajsfinefoods.com/

Last time we stayed in Scottsdale we chose a place with a kitchenette so we could take advantage of AJ's.

Posted by: Y-not at February 07, 2015 02:18 PM (9BRsg)

41 >>I've found dried currants in the store, next to the raisins.

I've looked in every local store and they just don't have them here.

I wasn't sure if it was regional or if they were just hard to find in recent years for some reason.

Apple pie with currants and dried cranberries in a lemon nutmeg crust.

Awesome pie. Just takes a long time to bake because people keep opening the oven door to sniff!

Posted by: Mama AJ at February 07, 2015 02:21 PM (0xTsz)

42 Anybody grow table grapes? I'm thinking about it but wonder if it's worth it. Specifically, are they significantly better than store bought?

Posted by: Mr. Dave at February 07, 2015 02:22 PM (/1HDM)

43 Gooseberries are everywhere in the woods in N Illinois. They bloom and fruit very early in the season, easy to spot.

Posted by: gp at February 07, 2015 02:25 PM (mk9aG)

44 You guys can keep throwing suggestions out. I'm bookmarking this thread as a reference for when I go to Phoenix

Likely to have a couple more chances to go on company paid trips in the next year

Posted by: PMRich at February 07, 2015 02:26 PM (OxHMs)

45 Gardening? Heck, I just back from ice fishing and getting ready to to the Avs vs. Wild game. Dang it's so winter

Posted by: Misanthropic Humanitarian at February 07, 2015 02:27 PM (hcfn1)

46 Posted by: Mama AJ at February 07, 2015 02:21 PM (0xTsz)

That pie sounds wonderful. I think one of those is in order for the whippersnapper household sometime soon.

And the currants are from California and I'm in the Northeast, so I don't think it's regional. But I tend to buy them around Christmas in a big chain store, so that might have something to do with it.

Posted by: right wing whippersnapper at February 07, 2015 02:27 PM (ThxKk)

47 But I tend to buy them around Christmas in a big chain store, so that might have something to do with it.
--

I think that's when I've seen them as well. I bought them to make a sauce, but they are so pricey and sold in such small batches that I can't imagine making a pie with them.

Posted by: Y-not at February 07, 2015 02:28 PM (9BRsg)

48 For berries I am hoping to have blueberries and blackberries this year.

Blueberries are just hopeful, blackberries very likely as they grow wild around here - I just planted some for the easy accessibility

Posted by: PMRich at February 07, 2015 02:29 PM (OxHMs)

49 I always thought gooseberries was a rash from constantly getting goosed. and I do live in Phoenix so cactus, and you can die out here.


...and yes, I'll go now.

Posted by: Badda Bing at February 07, 2015 02:31 PM (Msg5U)

50 If you are going to be in AZ for a couple of weeks a good day trip (1-1/2 hr each way) is down to Bisbee, which also takes you through Tombstone (meh). Bisbee was a big copper mine that's still there but a lot of money went into fine brick hotels and public buildings. Very quirky houses built on the steep hills. It is only about twenty miles from Mexico but the mountain rises quickly and it's at about 5,000 ft in town. It is FULL of old hippies and associated weirdness but kinda cool in a point and laugh sort of way. In laws of mine live there.

Posted by: Mr. Dave at February 07, 2015 02:31 PM (/1HDM)

51 The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is definitely worth the drive.
Posted by: Y-not at February 07, 2015 01:52 PM

There's also a very cool botanical garden in Phoenix, can't recall the name. It's actually like a museum in that they have Native American tableaus set up in some of the vegetation.

Posted by: Farmer at February 07, 2015 02:32 PM (3hlFs)

52 Blueberries are just hopeful, blackberries very
likely as they grow wild around here - I just planted some for the easy
accessibility

Posted by: PMRich at February 07, 2015 02:29 PM (OxHMs)
Blueberries do best in acidic soil with plenty of water. Don't drown them, though. And they like to be pruned every couple years. Burn whatever you prune off of the bushes; don't chip it or compost it.
Good luck!

Posted by: right wing whippersnapper at February 07, 2015 02:33 PM (ThxKk)

53 I live "under the Tonto rim" in Az and I pick wild raspberries every summer. This winter has been unusually warm and the trees are starting to bud already. Started the frost hardy plants in my greenhouse this morning. Yay winter!

Posted by: sourdough at February 07, 2015 02:35 PM (BaimD)

54 51 The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is definitely worth the drive.
Posted by: Y-not at February 07, 2015 01:52 PM

There's also a very cool botanical garden in Phoenix, can't recall the name. It's actually like a museum in that they have Native American tableaus set up in some of the vegetation.
Posted by: Farmer at February 07, 2015 02

For those not accustom to mountains and mountain roads the Apache Trail is a hoot. North of Mesa

Posted by: Misanthropic Humanitarian at February 07, 2015 02:35 PM (hcfn1)

55 "You guys can keep throwing suggestions out".


Also in the Tucson area, actually quite near the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, is the film set of Old Tucson. Used in many a western movie, especially a number of John Wayne films.

Not to mention the Pima County Air Museum. Pretty impressive. You start indoors, checking out all the planes and info, then go outside where there are acres and acres of planes. Nothing like seeing a B-52 or a SR-71 up close.

Posted by: HH at February 07, 2015 02:35 PM (Ce4DF)

56
What's happening in your gardens this week.
---------

Snow covered & hibernating baby

Posted by: Misanthropic Humanitarian at February 07, 2015 02:37 PM (hcfn1)

57 Bisbee is great.

Also a trip up Mt Lemon to get pie in Summerhaven.

Posted by: Toltec at February 07, 2015 02:38 PM (7o6GQ)

58 Ginger said she had to do all the dance steps that Fred did , only she had to do them backwards.

Posted by: Velvet Ambition at February 07, 2015 02:40 PM (R8hU8)

59 Jerome, AZ:

http://www.azjerome.com/jerome/

Posted by: Mama AJ at February 07, 2015 02:42 PM (0xTsz)

60 "Bisbee is great."


Been a while since I've been there, but the tour of the Copper Queen mine was really neat.

Posted by: HH at February 07, 2015 02:43 PM (Ce4DF)

61 According to Brian Williams, Brian Williams once planted a garden that fed the entire city of Toledo Ohio. He also handmade 100,000 tomato basket in a single day.

Posted by: Jukin at February 07, 2015 02:48 PM (WGm5T)

62
Gooseberries!?!?!?


Snozzberries.

Posted by: eleven at February 07, 2015 02:48 PM (MDgS8)

63 Is Jerome the place that has the convex mirrors at some of the street corners (the kind the use in warehouses)

Posted by: PMRich at February 07, 2015 02:49 PM (OxHMs)

64 I have a number of tomato plants in my back yard which sprouted on their own from seeds fallen from last year's round of heirloom tomato plants. (Which I did not get very much of in the way of tomatoes as it turned very, very very hot, and those which survived the heat the local rats ate before I could get to them.)
Weirdly, I also have a great many small catnip, parsley, leaf celery and fennel sprouts coming up all over the place - which I will encourage. Most of the plants are now in the back porch, which is sealed off with plastic ground-cloth so as to make a temporary greenhouse. It's now and again in the 30is at night. Traditionally, the last frost around here is in mid-March.
One of the free-range tomato plants has two grape-sized green tomatoes on it ... so, we'll see how that all goes.

Posted by: Sgt Mom at February 07, 2015 02:50 PM (95iDF)

65 71 degrees and glorious here at 6,000 feet on the Front Ramge of God's Rocky Mountains.


Had to gloat.


Back to your originally scheduled programming.

Posted by: Bob's House of Flannel Shirts and Wallet Chains at February 07, 2015 02:50 PM (yxw0r)

66 Gooseberries are a type of weasel.

And so to see if I can get even more off topic, Drudge has a link to HotAir on the 2007 BW looking down the tube of the RPG story; and I want to be clear that Ed mentions/links ace and NDH in his first line of his write-up.

So AoS [i[almost had a Drudgealanche.

Posted by: GnuBreed at February 07, 2015 02:54 PM (sD47d)

67 Mirrors? Don't know, but it's been 40 years since I've been there! Got family from there, went to visit when I was a kid.

Posted by: Mama AJ at February 07, 2015 02:54 PM (0xTsz)

68 There's also a very cool botanical garden in Phoenix, can't recall the name. It's actually like a museum in that they have Native American tableaus set up in some of the vegetation.
--

Yes, I can't remember the name but iirc it's up on a hill?

Posted by: Y-not at February 07, 2015 02:55 PM (9BRsg)

69 It is glorious here today. Started out overcast, but now we have full sun and warm!

Posted by: Y-not at February 07, 2015 03:00 PM (9BRsg)

70 Unseasonably warm here today. Low 70s. Can't plant any garden until late May. Last year radishes and turnips had to push up through a lite snow.

Posted by: Ronster at February 07, 2015 03:11 PM (ymjdW)

71 42- I just planted concord and thompson grapevines last spring with my wine grapes. I had to pick the grapes off because you have to let them grow the first year and not waste energy on fruiting. I am hoping I get some fruitthis year. One of my friends got 13 lbs of grapes off her concord vine that's about 5 years old last year!
Spent the whole morning doing the last spring spray of the fruit trees, citrus, vines and berries: Lime sulfur and horticultural oil. Maybe those damn citrus leaf miners will be thwarted this year!
Does anyone know anything about Irene Nuss begonias? I planted them last year and they are gorgeous but over the winter (So Cal winter that is) they just look scraggly and awful and half dead. I cut them back today but I hope this is just what they do in winter and will come back.

Posted by: keena at February 07, 2015 03:13 PM (RiTnx)

72 Unseasonably warm here today. Low 70s. Can't plant any garden until late May.
--

Yeah, I hope that our trees don't get tricked into budding early. That happened one year, then they got zapped by a Spring storm.

Posted by: Y-not at February 07, 2015 03:13 PM (9BRsg)

73 Jerome and Bisbee are both filled with freaks. I had a blast, but Thor was very uncomfortable.

Which kills me, because he's a damned giant. But he is a very traditional guy, and has no use for hippies and New Agey types.

This was several years ago, maybe even in the 90s, though, so maybe it's better now.

I just got through planting a boat load of containers with various bulbs that I should have had in the ground months ago, so we'll see how they do.

We have barely had Winter here and I am still sulking about that, but I have to admit, it's a beautiful day. 65 and breezy.

I keep expecting the Easter Bunny to come hopping out any minute from now.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at February 07, 2015 03:14 PM (2HvRz)

74 Goosebery (Ribes hirtellum) pie is my favorite thing in the world.
Ribes hirtellum
1) Pick them green in the spring.
2) The plants are very thorny but if you lift the branch you can strip the fruit from underneath into the bucket. Wear a leather glove on your off hand when you work if you can't take the thorns.
3) Picking is 1/4 of the work. Stemming and bearding is most of whats left. It's simplest to do the latter with a thumb nail or a butter knife while watching TV. It took four of us an hour to do about 2 gallons of berries. That came out to 8 pies. So about a man 1/2 hour of time per pie for the cleaning.
4) The plants do seem to spread. In our woods they are most common undergrowth. Gooseberry bushes are nearly impassible.

or

http://tinyurl.com/nxfpdmk

Two cans of these make a nice pie that is might not be as good as homemade but won't be as much work.

Posted by: bestie21 at February 07, 2015 03:15 PM (l5jrP)

75 Posted by: keena at February 07, 2015 03:13 PM (RiTnx)


I sued to grow Black and Langdon (?) begonias in SoCal (Huntington Beach) and they more or less did the same thing, but I can't remember now if they did it in summer or winter. They were definitely scraggly at one point in the season.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at February 07, 2015 03:17 PM (2HvRz)

76 Posted by: keena at February 07, 2015 03:13 PM (RiTnx)


I sued to grow Black and Langdon (?) begonias in SoCal (Huntington Beach) and they more or less did the same thing, but I can't remember now if they did it in summer or winter. They were definitely scraggly at one point in the season.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at February 07, 2015 03:17 PM (2HvRz)

77 Yeah, I hope that our trees don't get tricked into budding early. That happened one year, then they got zapped by a Spring storm.

That happens about every year around here.
Also if it stays warm long enough, the sap will start moving and a cold spell will blow the bark off of trees.

Posted by: Ronster at February 07, 2015 03:18 PM (ymjdW)

78 There is a place between Jerome and Prescott ( which is another great place in AZ) that has all kinds of Catholic statues set out, I can't remember if it's Stations of the Cross, but it's like a trail you go on and it has other things besides the stations, I think (Thor is the Catholic, I can ask him if anyone is interested)

It was very peaceful.

I was afraid it had burned in that last bad wildfire, but most of it was spared, kind of miraculously.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at February 07, 2015 03:24 PM (2HvRz)

79 What's happening in your gardens this week?

A great deal. I'm laying out the lines for what was just scrub woodland, but after removal of some undesirable trees, will be a nice mixed sun/shade garden.

I suffer from analysis paralysis, so I've spent a year thinking about how I wanted this all to look, and I'm now digging through the leaves and planting flags to indicate where the shrubs, perennials, etc. are going to go.

I'm really poor at the vision thing, i.e. landscaping, so that the plot has a theme and doesn't just look like a random bunch of plants thrown in the ground. I hired a landscape company to map out a plan, and provide a blueprint. It wasn't cheap, and I'm making alterations, but I think this is the way to go. They wanted to do the planting as well, of course, but their labor was ridiculous and their plants were twice what I can get them for.

I'm particularly looking forward to a grouping of Blue Shadow Fothergilla surrounding one of three Service Berries. The latter are already in the ground and look great, even just the stems.

I've also got ornamental peppers, St. John's Wort, geraniums, and columbine growing under the grow light in the workroom. Next is vinca.

Summer should be a breeze by comparison.

Posted by: pep at February 07, 2015 03:25 PM (4nR9/)

80 I'm really poor at the vision thing, i.e. landscaping, so that the plot has a theme and doesn't just look like a random bunch of plants thrown in the ground. I hired a landscape company to map out a plan, and provide a blueprint. It wasn't cheap, and I'm making alterations, but I think this is the way to go.
---

Can you ballpark it for us? How big is your yard?

I heard one way to trim costs a bit is to provide them with the measurements of your property.

Posted by: Y-not at February 07, 2015 03:26 PM (9BRsg)

81 We're still about three weeks away from starting some seeds indoors. Bell peppers at first followed by tomatoes. It's hard to judge the timing. This winter, SO FAR, has been quite mild especially compared to the last two years. I don't miss the shoveling but it does make it tough to decide on seed starting dates.

The island where I grew up had a Gooseberry Beach. It was private so I don't know what kind they were but I recall hearing that some folks picked them for preserves. Never tasted them myself.

Thanks, as always for this thread. Mrs. JTB and I learn something new every time. And those photos are gorgeous.

Posted by: JTB at February 07, 2015 03:27 PM (FvdPb)

82 Lovely 61 degree day in KY, just cleaned out the winter damage from the front yard. Found out it stinks trying to cut back things while suffering tennis elbow! Fertilize and mulch next.

Posted by: FCF at February 07, 2015 03:33 PM (kejii)

83 Can you ballpark it for us? How big is your yard?



I heard one way to trim costs a bit is to provide them with the measurements of your property.


I had to get a surveyor before I even started, because the property lines were unclear and I hate my neighbor. That was about $300.

Once that was done, I had to have the trees taken out. That's now mostly done ($3k) , with one very big exception that comes down on Wednesday $(2.4k).

Most of the landscaping companies around here charge about $100 just to come to your property and make some really weak suggestions. They'll charge more like $500-$750 to make a drawing (that actual plan) that you can keep. Many won't even give you the physical drawing until you hire them to do the landscaping. I don't play that game.

The cost for the area in question in my backyard was $20k for regrading, tilling and amending the soil, as well as installing a drip irrigation system, which I didn't want because I have an in-ground sprinkler system. The plants were another $20k. The area they would be working on was about 200' wide by an average of about 20'.

The front yard, which I didn't request, was a total of $60k, but some of that was for hardscaping and removal of old plants. This is NoVa, so anyone who's willing to do manual labor, or at least organize it, can make a ton of money, especially if they hire Mexicans to do the work, which almost all of them do.

Posted by: pep at February 07, 2015 03:35 PM (4nR9/)

84 It's been nice here too. Low 70s I think.

Posted by: boulder terlit hobo at February 07, 2015 03:37 PM (AVEe1)

85 @83 Just to be clear, I didn't hire them to do the backyard, I really just wanted the plan.

Posted by: pep at February 07, 2015 03:39 PM (4nR9/)

86 Yes, I can't remember the name but iirc it's up on a hill?
Posted by: Y-not at February 07, 2015 02:55 PM

Yes, that's the one. Found it, it's the Desert Botanical Garden, located in SE Phoenix. Not a very creative name, but it tells you what it is.

www.dbg.org

Posted by: Farmer at February 07, 2015 03:49 PM (3hlFs)

87 Thanks, pep. We were expecting $1-2K for a plan. Haven't pulled the trigger yet.

My concern is that any "serious" plantings will require us to do some soil amendments or something b/c of all of the roots from the aspens.

Knowing us we'll wimp out and just try to do our own low tech version of hardscaping and "xeriscaping."

Posted by: Y-not at February 07, 2015 03:54 PM (9BRsg)

88 OT. Brian Williams just took myself out.

"As Managing Editor of NBC Nightly News, I have decided to take myself off of my daily broadcast for the next several days, "

The end is near.

Posted by: lowandslow at February 07, 2015 04:11 PM (+ebSh)

89 He suspended himself

Mediaite @Mediaite 5m 5 minutes ago
BREAKING: Brian Williams Announces Brief Hiatus from NBC Nightly News http://bit.ly/1LZKL28

Posted by: Costanza Defense at February 07, 2015 04:11 PM (ZPrif)

90 Posted by: pep at February 07, 2015 03:25 PM (4nR9/)

You are my kind of Moron!

Fothergillas don't get near enough love. Three solid seasons of beauty. I have several plantings of Mt Airy here and there. I had such high hopes for one grouping I planted in front of some beauty berry, but it doesn't look as nice as I had hoped, and I can't figure out exactly why. The group with oak leaved hydrangea looks awesome, though. Perhaps it needs to be next to something with substantial leaves.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at February 07, 2015 04:12 PM (2HvRz)

91 Wow, pep, another hard core gardener!

Home from a workshop. Drizzling a little. Yay! The giant "Just Right" turnips are starting to bolt, so I need to give the rest away fast. Still have more turnips in the garden (3 kinds). Broccoli also. And savoy cabbage.

Seedlings of tomatoes and kohlrabi are out in the rain.

Posted by: KT at February 07, 2015 05:07 PM (qahv/)

92 When visiting Phoenix, pick up one of the Tony Hillerman novels set nearby. It could add interest to your visit.

Posted by: KT at February 07, 2015 05:08 PM (qahv/)

93 Hi KT!
Thanks for your beautiful post.
Kind of slow here earlier today.

Posted by: Y-not on the phone at February 07, 2015 05:20 PM (9BRsg)

94 Thanks all for the suggestions

Bookmarked and looking forward to my visit to the area

Posted by: PMRich at February 07, 2015 05:25 PM (OxHMs)

95 Gooseberries: I wonder where they grow gooseberries in winter? The edible kinds mostly need some winter chill to produce. The English used to grow really giant "dessert gooseberries" in a sort of competitive manner, but those types are mostly hard to find because they suffer from mildew.

Y-not could grow gooseberries and currants at home. There's an old American variety called "Poorman" that's sweet out-of-hand and does well in the Intermountain West.

Many of the newer varieties of gooseberries are inter-species crosses. Some of them are really, really good. Some have thorns, some don't.

You will notice that the photo of the "Sierra Gooseberry" above features thorny fruitlets under the blossoms. It is used as an ornamental plant, and might attract hummingbirds and certain butterflies (where Ribes are native). These are the same areas where currants and gooseberries can get worms.

Other wildlife eat the bristly berries. There are a couple of Ribes species native to the Sierra and Cascade mountains.

There may still be some areas of the country where gooseberries and certain currants are prohibited because White Pine is big in the lumber industry. These places are mostly in the East.

Posted by: KT at February 07, 2015 05:27 PM (qahv/)

96 76- Thanks, Tammy. When I cut them back the stems were all green so I'm hoping they will come back as it warms up. It's already spring here, the birds are going nuts and the sun is definitely hotter!

Posted by: keena at February 07, 2015 05:34 PM (RiTnx)

97 Dried currants that you buy at the grocery store are mostly "Zante Currants". They are made from grapes. They are really tiny raisins.

They are made from "Black Corinth" European grapes. I think the fresh ones are sometimes called "Champagne Grapes". Unless you are up on how to treat grapes with the plant hormone gibberellic acid, the fruits may be too tiny to bother with.

The same is true of many other commercial table grapes. If you are going to grow grapes at home, you need to pick a home variety adapted to your climate. Maybe we should do a segment sometime.

Posted by: KT at February 07, 2015 05:37 PM (qahv/)

98 I have to be honest and say that gooseberries (and white currants to an extent) look too much like fish roe to be appealing to me.

Very embryonic.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at February 07, 2015 05:38 PM (2HvRz)

99 A survey of property lines here cost a lot more than $300. Check locally. Don't assume costs will be similar across the country.

Posted by: KT at February 07, 2015 05:39 PM (qahv/)

100 Posted by: keena at February 07, 2015 05:34 PM (RiTnx)

Keep us posted! I need to go google these!

I'm sorta getting into begonias again, but it's stays so bloody hot here at night in the summer that I"m not sure it's worth buying the fancy ones again.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at February 07, 2015 05:40 PM (2HvRz)

101 Oh and thank you Y not, Weird Dave and KT as always for this wonderful thread.

I heart it so much, even though I seem to be missing the active part lately.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at February 07, 2015 05:41 PM (2HvRz)

102 Oh and thank you Y not, Weird Dave and KT as always for this wonderful thread.

I heart it so much, even though I seem to be missing the active part lately.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at February 07, 2015 05:41 PM (2HvRz)

103 Nude Brian Williams pile-on thread!

Posted by: Cicero Kaboom! Kid at February 07, 2015 05:58 PM (cZOkr)

104 Checkov really liked writing about fruits, didn't he?

Posted by: KT at February 07, 2015 05:59 PM (qahv/)

105 JTB, the experts all seem to suggest erring on the early side if you can't judge when to start tomatoes because of the weather. Transplant them up to a larger container if it's still tool cold to plant them out at your target date.

Last year, I schlepped tomato plants out during the day in in at night for longer than I should have, though. When the soil is warm, plant them out.

Posted by: KT at February 07, 2015 06:21 PM (qahv/)

106 Zombie, how do you use Cape Gooseberries? Is there a named variety you like?

Posted by: KT at February 07, 2015 06:29 PM (qahv/)

107 All Hail Eris at February 07, 2015 01:54 PM

Interesting recipe for Gooseberry Fool. BBC says it is like a syllabub. But it is made with yogurt instead of wine.

Bet raspberry/peach would be outstanding, too. Yogurt and cream or whipped cream, fruit. Nice. The red gooseberries don't seem to have caught on much in the UK.

Posted by: KT at February 07, 2015 07:42 PM (qahv/)

108 Had our first crop of Hinnonmaki gooseberries last year, my daughter made pies, very nice! I hope we will have enough this year to make gooseberry soup.
If you want currants, they are easy to grow. We had a good crop of both red and black currants, and I made creme de cassis for kir and kir royale.

Posted by: Hal Dall at February 07, 2015 10:34 PM (IzL3X)

109 As far as wild currants, few of the many PNW species are edible, but an outstanding spring ornamental is the redflowered currant (Ribes sanguineum). It's native to western OR and WA but extends nearly to Hood River in the CRG(where I got hardier cuttings).

Posted by: Hal Dall at February 07, 2015 10:41 PM (IzL3X)

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