Monthly Archives: June 2010

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Two workshops coming up . . .

I’ll be holding a BACKYARD BERRY GROWING WORKSHOP in my garden on July 15th, from 6:30-9 pm. We’ll cover the ins and outs of growing blueberries, raspberries, lingonberries, gooseberries, blackberries, lingonberries, and strawberries — and, of course, taste whatever’s ripe. Pre-registration is necessary; the cost is $35 until July 10th, $40 thereafter, with checks mailed to me at 387 Springtown Rd., New Paltz, NY 12561. Enrollment is limited. For more information, email garden@leereich.com or call 255-0417.

This summer, NOFA (Northeast Organic Farming Association) is offering four advanced, accredited workshops in organic land care. I will be offering the workshop, EDIBLE LANDSCAPING WITH FRUIT, on July 21st from 9am-3pm at my …

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June 17, 2010

a gardener’s notebook

by Lee Reich

A love of roses has crept up on me over the years, due mostly to changes in kinds of roses available. Up until about 20 years ago, hybrid teas were pretty much the only roses on the block. These plants’ gangly stems are each capped by a vividly colored, fairly stiff, formal blossom whose petals wrap together into a pointy peak. You see where I’m going: hybrid teas are ugly, to me at least.

Also available were grandiflora and floribunda roses. Grandifloras are like hybrid teas, except

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Three people – and one of them a farmer! – mentioned to me last week that their asparagus harvest was over for the season. I figured they were tired of eating asparagus, but no, they asserted that now is when you are “supposed” to stop harvesting asparagus.

Asparagus is burdened with too many myths, and that harvest window is one of them. Asparagus is a perennial vegetable (which is just one reason everyone should grow it) that each summer has to build up energy reserves in its roots to fuel the following spring’s spears. Green leaves and spears are what make that energy so you can’t harvest all summer long and then expect the plant to have enough energy to sprout again in spring.

So yes, you do have to stop harvesting at some time during the growing season in order to let the plant …

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This year’s berry season officially began, on May 22nd, with the first harvest of strawberries. As with everything else in this year’s garden, the strawberries are early. Looking over my records, I see that in years past, I had to wait until early or even the middle of June to pluck the first glistening, red orbs of the season.

Those first berries are particularly welcome. First of all, they are the first fresh fruit from the garden. (Not that I haven’t been eating berries: We still have plenty of blueberries, still frozen and, when thawed, still delectable, from last summer.)

The first strawberries of the season also are particularly welcome because they are always the biggest. Every strawberry stem ends in a single flower, which is the first one to open. About thirty days after opening, if all goes well, that flower has been transformed into a …

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A telephone pole is just a telephone pole – unless you jazz it up and make it look prettier. And that’s what I’ve done to a couple of those unobtrusive at best, ugly at worst, brown columns of wood that support the electric and telephone wires that run along the street in front of my house.

Telephone poles can be even worse than just big, dead pieces of wood stuck in the ground. Those poles sometimes need guy wires for lateral support. To keep anyone from tripping over such wires, their lower 10 foot sections are usually girdled in bright yellow, hard plastic sheaths. Very functional and very ugly.

One day a few years ago I looked upon telephone poles and their guy wires in a new light: trellises! I’m frequently building arbors and trellises to support various vining plants, and here was a ready-made trellis …

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