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Jay Colli

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since Jul 07, 2012
Halifax, Nova Scotia
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Recent posts by Jay Colli

It can be done but I've never heard of any long-lasting success stories.

No room for a pear tree to grow independently of the crab?
1 month ago
Hey Janet,

Potatoes also like acidic soil if you want to have an annual crop. IIRC their preferred range is 5 - 6.5 or thereabouts.
11 months ago

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:Squash naturally grow in clumps.

They are very susceptible to root damage transplant shock while transplanting, so the less you fuss with them the better.

The traditional way to grow squash in this area was 5 to 10 seeds direct seeded in a clump.

For these reasons, I highly recommend planting them as a clump, and not separating them.

Thanks Joseph! I'll try that out in a couple of weeks once the risk of frost has passed.

Just this year I tried re-potting a watermelon seedling deeper into the soil (as you would with a tomato) and it didn't seem to bother it - is this something you've experimented with?
11 months ago
Hi all,

Can winter squash (Buttercup) be planted in small groups as shown below? My transplants are in 3.5" peat pots, three seedlings to a pot, and I'm not sure if they should be planted and then thinned down to one once established or left as a group?

Would greatly appreciate any advice!

11 months ago

Bryant RedHawk wrote:If you had a heated green house and grew indiscriminate varieties, they would be perennial growers.

Love the idea of rooting cuttings too.
Good post Jay


Thanks Redhawk,

I'd love to have a heated greenhouse one day but for now I can be content with over-wintering and propagating a few varieties in the window. Indeterminate Tomatoes seem to be ideal for this as they'll grow well enough to survive even in an east-facing window at 45*N, trellis easily on a single piece of string and can even produce some fruit throughout the winter.

I have the original "mother" plant working on a few short trusses of tomatoes at the moment and 9 rooted cuttings all being pretty harshly pruned on a regular basis to keep them small (and ugly...) until May when they can go out into the greenhouse. I have noticed that the cuttings, if allowed to grow, are very quick to put out flowers. I could see myself collecting the first pint of SunGolds within 2-3 weeks of setting the plants out in the greenhouse.

Amanda Launchbury-Rainey wrote:I found this very interesting. When you cut the plant into 4-6 pieces do you have to include a node somewhere or just a length of stem. Could you post a pic of you doing that or even make a video for amateurs like me?

Hi Amanda,

Cuttings will root anywhere along the stem so it isn't necessary to have a node below the waterline when rooting but you'll need to leave at least 1 node above ground after pruning with a little sucker (~1.5cms) already formed. I found that the smaller the sucker, the slower the cutting would take to recovered after pruning, which in my situation means that I aim for small suckers so I can delay the vigorous growth as long as possible.

I be taking more cutting soon and I'll try to take more pictures to better document how I take the cuttings.
Hey all,

Thought I'd post some pictures of an experiment I'm conducting in an attempt to keep my favorite variety alive through propagation over winter.

1 - Root cuttings in water. Takes 10-14 days.
2 - Plant cutting in potting mix and wait for new growth to start. Usually another week.
3 - Trim plant back to first leaf node. This removes of all the old foliage, which usually doesn't bounce back from the rooting stage.
4 - End result. Healthy, freshly propagated cutting of the parent plant.

I've found that this method is a good way to keep this variety (Sun Gold) of indeterminate tomato alive and healthy throughout the winter. It would be easy to continually cut and propagate multiple varieties all winter long in a small space and I've found it easier than starting seeds. The cutting, rooting and pruning all seems to slow down the normally vigorous habits of indeterminate tomatoes enabling me to keep more in less space.

I plant to cut ~12" plants into sections approximately 3 weeks prior to the last frost date, which should yield 4-6 plants for transplant. I'll take a cutting from each of the transplants by topping as soon as I finish planting them to ensure I have back-up in case a late frost zaps my first wave. Cuttings also seem to set fruit more quickly than plants of a similar size/age grown from seed so that certainly tips the scales even further in favour of managing cuttings throughout the winter.

I'm not sure how well this would work with other varieties but I'll be trying out a few more before spring - Cosmonaut Volkov & Hawkes Bay Yellow for sure.
Hi All,

It's that time of year again, have the pruning tools out and the possibilities for future grafts rolling around in my head, but one particular tree has had me flip-flopping on possibilities for a while now and I'd like to finally make some use of it this year.

This seedling tree was found growing on our property (old pasture) when we moved here in the summer of 2015. The pasture was owned by our neighbours who confirmed that it was not planted and so it must have taken root in our heavy clay soil on it's own. I opted to move the tree in order to save it as our soil is heavy clay and I didn't want to waste a locally-adapted potential rootstock.

From summer 2015 until early spring 2018 I let the tree recover and observed it. The tree appeared to be vigorous and other than being prone to suckering an burr knot formation I didn't see any susceptibility to disease so I tried a double cleft graft with some Kingston Black that were admittedly looking a bit worse for wear. Not surprisingly, neither of the grafts took, so now I'm back in the same position as last year. I'm sourcing some Honeycrisp scionwood and intend to cut the trunk below the branches and try for a triple or quadruple bark graft; depending on what looks reasonable with the scionwood that I can get. I want to create a low (read: easy to climb for kids) and open tree to make some use of this part of my front yard.

So... I'd like to hear from anyone that has an opinion on my plans; however, the scionwood selection is written in stone! I have read that leaving one rootstock branch in place for the first part of the spring until the scions take can be a good practice so I would be particularly interested in hearing from folks about that.
1 year ago

Bryant RedHawk wrote:I've always planted my corn seeds about 1/2 inch deeper than the package says to, we get lots of sun and heat with high humidity (I also usually do the "native way of planting a fish first then plant the corn seeds, 3 -4 seeds per fish), this makes the corn plant roots start off deeper in the soil and the fish provides the nutrients for the heavy feeding corn.

Redhawk, I've read about several different ways of planting with fish but I'm curious to know how you do it with corn. Bury the fish 12-18" deep, cover with soil and plant corn as usual above?
Hi Daryl,

I can't comment on the beetles as I haven't had that issue here but I can tell you that my corn had no issues standing all season long in 6"-7" of top soil over very heavy clay. I use a garden fork to aerate the clay a bit before planting, which probably helps the roots get down a bit deeper. As for ripeness, I grew a popping corn variety so the ears stayed on the stalks until the plant was pretty much dead but I've been told that with sweet corn when the silks start to turn brown and you can pop a kernel with your fingernail and see a white milky juice come out then the corn is ready to eat.