CREATURES LARGE AND SMALL

Identity Crisis?

For the past couple of months, I’m not so sure that my duck knows that she’s a duck. She and another female duck once shared a drake, and they all lived together in their own “duckingham palace.”

  Sometime after the other female and the drake were taken by a predator, probably a fox or coyote, I thought our remaining female might enjoy some company at night. So I coaxed her to take up nightly residence with our three chickens — a rooster and two hens — who have their own house (“chickingham palace?,” actually more palatial than duckingham palace).

Not only has Ms. Duck moved in with the chickens at night but she also wanders around with the flock by day. Her special companion is the rooster, especially since the two chicken hens decided to spend much of their days sitting on imaginary eggs. Neither hen has laid a real …

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GOURMET COMPOST WORKSHOP/WEBINAR

WEBINAR: GOURMET COMPOST FOR YOUR PLANTS   

Learn the why and the how of making a compost that grows healthy and nutritious plants, everything from designing an enclosure to what to add (and what not to add) to what can go wrong (and how to right it). Don’t bother stuffing old tomato stalks, grass clippings, and leaves into plastic bags; just compost them! The same goes for kitchen waste. Learn what free materials are available for composting.

Also covered will be the best ways to use your “gourmet compost.” Good compost is fundamental to good gardening; it put the “organic” into organic gardening, making healthy soil and healthy plants. Plus a segue into compost tea.

Whether your interest is to produce a material that’s good for your garden or to recycle kitchen and garden waste, this workshop will teach you all you need to know to make good compost.

Bring your questions.

Date: September 23, 2020 
Time: …

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COMPOST, KALE, A FLOWER, AND AN ODD ONION

Ins and Outs of Compost

Mostly, what I’m doing in the garden these days is making or spreading compost. Lots of good stuff — old vegetable plants, hay, weeds, rotted fruits — is available to feed my compost “pets.” And compost spread now has the ground ready for planting in spring.

Do you have any questions about composting? Want to know how to make best use of compost? Interested in details about how to make gourmet compost? This is a reminder that on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 from 7-8:30pm EST, I’ll be hosting a webinar about composting. For more information and registration, go to http://www.leereich.com/workshops.

A recording of the webinar will be available for a limited time period to anyone who registers but can’t make it to the live presentation.

Kale, You’re More than Beautiful

I’m lucky enough to have a French window of two big, inward swinging panels out of which I can …

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I’M NO MICHELANGELO, BUT . . .

Lawn Nouveau

I’m taking up sculpture. Not in bronze, Carrara marble, or granite, but with plants.

My easiest sculpture is one I’ve been doing for years. I can’t really say “working on for years” because every year it vanishes, to be started anew each spring. It’s “lawn nouveau,” as I call it in my book, The Pruning Book, and then go on to describe the technique as “two tiers of grassy growth . . . the low grass is just like any other lawn, and kept that way with a lawnmower. The taller portions are mowed infrequently – one to three times a year, depending on the desired look (and my need for hay) — with a scythe or tractor.” The sharp, defining line between the high grass and the low grass is integral to the design.

I’m lucky to have a meadow bathed in sunlight bordering the south side of my …

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COMPOSTING WORKSHOP/WEBINAR

COMPOSTING WORKSHOP/WEBINAR

Presentation by Lee Reich (MS, PhD, researcher in soil and plants for the USDA and Cornell University, decades-long composter, and farmdener*):

Learn the why and the how of making a compost that grows healthy and nutritious plants, everything from designing an enclosure to what to add (and what not to add) to what can go wrong (and how to right it). Don’t bother stuffing old tomato stalks, grass clippings, and leaves into plastic bags; just compost them! The same goes for kitchen waste. Learn what free materials are available for composting. “Bring” your questions about this important topic. 

Also covered will be the best ways to use your gourmet compost. Good compost is fundamental to good gardening; it put the “organic” into organic gardening, making healthy soil and healthy plants.

Whether your interest is to produce a material that’s good for your garden or to recycle kitchen and garden waste, this workshop …

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DAILY GRAPES

As The World Turns…

Over the years, gardening has made me more and more aware of our planet’s annual track around the sun. How quaint. It gives me a certain kinship with the peasants at work in the 15th century painting for the month of September of Les Très Riches Heures de Duc de Berry.

Picking grapes, 15th and 21st century

As with those peasants, September is a month when I have abundant fruits for harvest. Like the peasants, I’m harvesting grapes; it’s been a bumper year. Unlike the peasants, my grapes are destined for fresh eating rather than being sullied by fermentation into wine. (Okay, okay, just kidding, although I am not a fan of drinking wine.)

First to ripen here were the varieties Somerset Seedless and Alden. With an abundance of varieties and fruits, I can afford to be picky, so this will be the last season here for Somerset …

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UPCOMING COMPOSTING WEBINAR/WORKSHOP

Presentation by Lee Reich (MS, PhD, researcher in soil and plants for the USDA and Cornell University, decade-long composter, and farmdener*):

Learn the why and the how of making a compost that grows healthy and nutritious plants, everything from designing an enclosure to what to add (and what not to add) to what can go wrong (and how to right it). Don’t bother stuffing old tomato stalks, grass clippings, and leaves into plastic bags; just compost them! The same goes for kitchen waste. Learn what free materials are available for composting. “Bring” your questions about this important topic.

Also covered will be the best ways to use your “gourmet compost.” Good compost is fundamental to good gardening; it put the “organic” into organic gardening, making healthy soil and healthy plants.

Whether your interest is to produce a material that’s good for your garden or to recycle kitchen and garden waste, this workshop will teach …

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SICKNESS, MY CORN NOT ME

An Interesting Puzzle Unfolds

Sudoko and Scrabble and other games and puzzles offer endless hours of entertainment and stimulation. Or so I hear.  I get those challenges and rewards from my garden. Case in point is a bed of sweet corn which has been stunted all season long and then last week, almost suddenly, all the plants’ leaves turn sickly as well. Needless to say, ears are developing poorly or not at all. Why, I asked?

I have to backtrack. Each year I plant 4 beds of corn, each about 20 feet long, which supplies plenty of ears for fresh eating and freezing. I spread out the harvest season by planting a new bed every two weeks after the previous planting. Each bed, like other beds in my vegetable gardens, is spread each year with a one-inch depth of compost to maintain fertility (as well as other benefits).

At first I thought perhaps …

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READY FOR 2021

Why Now?

For the past week or so I’ve been getting parts of the garden ready for next year. Too soon, you say? No, says I.

Pole beans

A bed of corn and a bed of bush beans are finished for the season. Not that that’s the end of either vegetable. I planted four beds of corn, each two weeks after the previous, and the two remaining beds will be providing ears of fresh Golden Bantam — a hundred year old variety with rich, corny flavor — well into September.

The bed of bush beans will be superseded by a bed of pole beans, planted at the same time. Bush beans start bearing early but peter out after a couple of harvests. Pole beans are slower to get going, but once they do, they keep up a quickening pace until slowed, then stopped, by cold weather.

Why, you may ask, ready those beds …

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BLUEBERRY GROWING WEBINAR REDUX

•For anyone who missed my recent 90 minute webinar on Growing Blueberries, the webinar has been recorded and is available soon for a limited time period on-demand for $35. The webinar covers everything from plant selection to planting to maintenance to pests to harvest and preservation. Including, of course, the all important getting the soil right and dealing with birds.

•After this webinar, you will be really good at growing blueberries! 

Contact me before 9 am EST August 20, 2020 if you’d like to view the webinar.