Monthly Archives: April 2014

Winter’s Legacy and Spring Forward

This winter’s cold is most evident on bamboo. Clumps of tawny, dead leaves, still attached to the canes, stare out from among the trunks and stems of dormant trees and shrubs. I hadn’t realized that bamboo was so widely planted. The depth of cold isn’t what killed the canes and leaves; it was the duration of cold. Seventy miles south of here, leaves of yellow groove bamboo, Phyllostachys aureosulcata, among the most cold hardy of the thick-caned bamboos, typically stay green and fresh all winter, but even they’ve been killed.

My bamboo, before pruning

No, the plants aren’t dead; just their canes and leaves. Warm weather will coax new shoots from the roots, shoots that will push skyward rapidly. I’ve measured as much as 6 inches of elongation per day. The record for bamboo growth, not around here, of course, is almost 3 feet in …

Read the complete post…

Graft, The Good Kind & Tomatoes Galore

Reminders:

PRUNING NUT TREES lecture and demonstration, April 26th, at New York Nut Growers meeting. http://www.nynga.org for more information.

GRAFTING WORKSHOP, here at the farmden, on May 3rd. Theory, demonstration, and graft and take home your own pear tree. Contact me for more information.

——————————————-
  Pest problems, due mostly to having a poor site and living east of the Rocky Mountains, have made me give up on growing apples — almost. Last year’s cicadas and this winter’s deer took their toll also. One problem, I realized, is that my trees are super-efficient, super-dwarfs that I made by grafting chosen varieties on special rootstocks. The problem is that super-efficient, super-dwarfs are also super-finicky about growing conditions. So I decided, instead, to try semi-dwarf trees that would be more tolerant of a less than perfect environment.

Long story short: I’m going to replant with five …

Read the complete post…

CICADAS THREW A MONKEY WRENCH INTO MY PRUNING

UPCOMING EVENTS SCHEDULE
April 26th, 2014: “Pruning Nuts”, New York Nut Growers Association spring meeting at the Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, 423 Griffing Avenue, Riverhead, NY, on Saturday, April 26, 2014 from 9:30 until 3:00, http://www.nynga.org.April 27th, 2014: 2-5:30, “Pruning workshop” with Lee Reich, at my farmden in New Paltz, NY. Contact me for more information. This hands-on (my hands) workshop will cover: The best time to prune; the “tools of the trade”; Plant response to various kinds of pruning cuts; pruning demonstrations. Contact me for registration and more information. May 3rd, 2014: 2-5:30, Make your own trees at the “Grafting workshop, at my New Paltz, NY farmden. The how, why, and when of grafting; demonstration of 2 easy kinds of grafts; and then make your own pear tree to take home. Contact me for registration and more information.
May 10th, 2014: “Weed-less Gardening”, in conjunction with Garden Conservancy Open Day at Margaaret …

Read the complete post…

Fuzzy Buds and Snow Removal; Where’s the White Cat?

Did the cheery looking box of “Mickey Mouse” adhesive bandages my friend Bill handed me actually contain adhesive bandages? No. Instead, fuzzy green buds spilled out. An illicit drug? No, again. Those “buds” were sweet fern seeds, which Bill suggested planting.

Sweet fern (Comptonia peregrina) is a native plant, one of my favorites, valued for its resinous aroma. That aroma always transports me in time back to summer days hiking in the White Mountains along sunny, dirt roads lined with sweet fern when I was nine years old. Poor  (but well drained) soil and hot afternoon sun bring out the best in sweet fern. The plant makes do in poor soil by getting its nitrogen from the air with the help of a symbiotic microorganism.

Sweet fern is attractive even if it lacks the flamboyance of showy flowers or colorful leaves. Picture clumps of …

Read the complete post…