Monthly Archives: September 2010

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Hot and dry — what great summer weather we’ve had for grapes. Every morning for the past few weeks I’ve gone out and picked bunches for fresh eating, and I’ll continue to do so for weeks to come. The bunches aren’t those of just any old varieties; they are varieties chosen from among the 5,000 or so existing grape varieties.

Well, not really. I couldn’t choose from among all 5,000 varieties because many varieties would not grow here. The grapes that grow best here are those derived from fox grapes (Vitis labrusca) and other species native to this part of the world. Concord is the archetype fox grape, with a slip skin, a jelly-like flesh, and that distinctive, foxy flavor. Muscadine grapes (V. rotundifolia) are native to the Southeast, so aren’t hardy here. European wine grapes (Vitis vinifera) …

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On September 25th, from 2-5 pm, I’ll be conducting a “Workshop & Tasting: Autumn’s Delectable Fruits” in my garden. This workshop will cover what fruits are best and easiest to grow, and how to grow them. Everyone will also get to taste delectable fruits such as pawpaws, persimmons, hardy kiwifruit, many varieties of heirloom apples, and more. Space is limited, and the cost is $35 per person. Contact me for more information and to register. Please see my website for contact information.

It’s 10 am and I just came in from the garden where a temperature already 85 degrees and bright sun bode for a scorcher today. Out there, I sowed seeds of spinach, arugula, mache, and Buttercrunch, Romaine, and Red Deer Tongue lettuce directly in vegetable beds and in the cold-frame. Despite today’s heat and …

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On September 25th, from 2-5 pm, I’ll be conducting a “Workshop & Tasting: Autumn’s Delectable Fruits” in my garden. This workshop will cover what fruits are best and easiest to grow, and how to grow them. Everyone will also get to taste delectable fruits such as pawpaws, persimmons, hardy kiwifruit, many varieties of heirloom apples, and more. Space is limited, and the cost is $35 per person. Contact me for more information and to register. Please see my website for contact information.

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Looking around at my fruit trees and bushes, flowers, vegetable beds, and ornamental and fruiting vines makes me wish I had a catchy name for the kind of gardening I do. A catchy name like, for example, “permaculture,” which is all the craze these days.

Everyone loves permaculture. Many budding young as well as experienced permaculturalists have visited my garden to see what I’ve been doing here for the last 25 years. Yes, I have integrated edibles right into the landscape, as do permaculturalists. And, again like permaculturalists, I try to maximize use of the 3 dimensional space in my garden, with, for example, my shade-loving black currants growing beneath my pawpaw trees. I am also …

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And the winner is . . . Cherokee Purple. At my recent tomato growing workshop, we also did a tomato tasting. I cut tomatoes, passed out slices, and everyone rated each variety on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being best. The rating was strictly for flavor, to me the most important quality in a home-grown tomato. I try to grow only the best-tasting varieties each year; we tasted some of these varieties as well as a few others I got from Four Winds Farm in Gardiner, NY, a farm that specializes in heirloom varieties.

Here are the ratings, representing a rough average of workshop attendees’ opinions with, I admit, a heavier weighting from me, because I plan to use the ratings to determine which …

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