Monday, March 6, 2017

Zone 9b - CA - Trialing haskap in southern California

Aurora fruit set, self pollinated, March 4, 2017

Aurora plant 2-year-old from tissue culture propagation

Honey Bee blossoms forming, March 4, 2017

Honey Bee year-old plant, cutting propagation
I love the way these little plants look, very pleasing green to their foliage accented with the yellow flowers. I'm really happy so far!

I will be up-potting these as they grow, as this is my first time growing haskaps I didn't really know what to expect with growth rates/vigor. My idea was to see what conditions they would tolerate throughout the growing season, and move them in and out of dappled shape when necessary. If I start to see them struggling with the SoCal summer, I will still be able to move them around accordingly. I will definitely be keeping them watered well through the heat. I was able to keep some currants alive over last summer, so I have high hopes.

We live in the foothills of a mountain range east of Santa Ana, CA, but have a pretty unique micro climate to the Southern Ca area. During winter, the canyon blocks a lot of direct sun since it is lower in the sky, which actually keeps the temp 5 degrees cooler than most of our surrounding areas. It's actually pretty nice to grow here, because we probably average 500 chill hours or so, but also get the benefits of early spring temps. Around this time of year the sun starts hitting us for much longer periods of the day and in the summer we get normal full sun. But yeah, officially we are zone 9b ish.

Boreal Blizzard year-old from tissue culture
Solo(TM) 2-year-old from tissue culture

Plants were received bare root in late October, 2017.
Plants were potted, watered, and left outside in shade over winter. No direct sunlight until Jan., a couple hours a day increasing direct sun as the sun becomes higher in the sky.

Potting soil used was a varying mix of:

1) bagged, organic soil from big box store (Kellogg) 

2) vermiculite 

3) coco coir/peat  

4) composted chicken bedding/manure from our coop 

5) rabbit manure

Southern California had a rainy winter, so soil was almost always moist. Temps never got down colder than 30-35 deg F at night. Started seeing growth on Aurora in late Jan and blossoms in early Feb. (I didn't pay too close attention to time frames at the point) 
Honey Bee -March 10, 2017 update

Honey Bee just started showing flowers. Still some Aurora flowers out too, although Aurora looks to be almost done.

Mike, Silverado, Southern California

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