Monthly Archives: March 2011

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Another workshop — GRAFTING — with farmdener* and writer Lee Reich . . .

Joyce Kilmer wrote: Poems are made by fools like me; But only God can make a tree. Not so!! You and I can also make trees, by grafting.

Learn how to make your own fruit tree by the ancient art of grafting.

•The how, why, and when of grafting

•A demonstration of two types of easy and useful grafts

Topworking, which is a way to change the variety of,

or add varieties to, an established tree.

Whip-grafting, which is a way to make your own fruit tree from the start.

•Then it’s your turn . . . whip graft a pear or apple tree to take home.

Date: April 17, 2011

Time: 2-5:30 pm

Place: Lee’s farmden in New Paltz, NY 12561

Cost: $55 per person

Limited space so pre-registration is necessary.

For more information, contact me (Lee) through my website.
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I …

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PRUNING WORKSHOP, April 3rd, at my garden!!

Contact me thru my website for more details.

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Summer cole slaws, steaming plates of broccoli, and kale cooked and drizzled with some olive oil, lemon juice, and toasted sesame seeds are now on their way. Seeds are sown, sprouts should be up within a few days, and a few days after that I’ll lift enough sprouts from their mini-furrows in a seed flat to fill a 40 cell tray. By May 1st, the seedlings will be big enough and will be planted out in the garden.

An early start is important with most of these plants in the cabbage family, the so-called cole crops, or crucifers. (“Crucifer” because everyone in the family bears 4-petalled, cross – “cruc” – shaped flowers.) These are plants that thrive in and taste best with cool, moist weather. The one exception is kale, which to me has a …

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Get your taps in. It’s syrup weather. Maple syrup. Sunny days in the 40s with nights in the 20s should get the sap flowing.

I say “should” because I haven’t yet checked sap buckets that I hung out on the trees a few weeks ago when winter temperatures suddenly turned warm. That day was hopeful: I drilled holes an inch and a half deep, lightly hammered in the spiles, hung buckets, and attached covers over the buckets. The sweet “ping, ping, pinging” of sap hitting the bottom of the metal buckets began immediately. Nights that stayed too warm for the next few days brought sap flow to a screeching halt, and then cloudy weather followed by frigid days and nights kept it that way. But sap weather is upon us again.

My “sugar bush” amounts to only three sugar maple …

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I’m always on the lookout for volunteers in my garden, whether they’re people, fungi, plants, or any other organisms. The relationship is usually symbiotic. Human volunteers gain some knowledge and experience; I get some help in my ever-growing farmden. Fungal volunteers work with my plants, drinking in some of the sugars and other goodies plants produce. In return, the fungi protect plants agains certain pests and, in the case of mycorrhizal fungi, fungal threads ramifying through the soil act like extensions of plants’ roots so plants can absorb more nutrients.


But what do plant volunteers get out of our arrangement? Plant volunteers usually arrive in droves so only some can stay. Those that stay get to enjoy especially good growing conditions.

Which brings me to celery. For the past few years, I’ve allowed celery in the greenhouse to go …

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“Make hay while the sun shines” is fine advice in its season. For winter, how about? “Prune while the snow is high and firm.”

My apple and pear trees are dwarf, ranging from seven to eleven feet tall. Even though I have a pole pruner and various long-reach pruning tools, I still carry a small stepladder out to the trees with me to work on their upper branches. Sometimes you have to get your eyes and arms and hands right up near where you’re actually cutting.

As I was looking out the window and admiring the foot and a half of snow on the ground, I realized that all that snow would give me a literal leg up on pruning. If I stayed on top of the snow, that is. So I called a friend to ask if I could borrow his snowshoes. Before I heard back the weather …

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