Category Archives: Fruit

BACTERIA AND FUNGI, AND GRAPES, OH MY

Upcoming Fall Fruit Workshop

See web page http://www.leereich.com/workshops for details.

The River Runs Green

    Crossing the bridge over the Wallkill River on my way home, I glance to my right to admire the river itself. What a beautiful color it has turned, a bright turquoise. Ponds I pass also have taken on this bright complexion, for which we can thank, or curse, organisms known as blue-green algae (heretofore referred to as BGA).
    Algae, they are not, though. BGA are bacteria known as cyanobacteria. “Algae” generally refers to eukaryotes, organisms with distinct nucleii and specialized organelles. BGA are prokaryotes, lacking such features.
    BGA can be toxic, which is good reason to curse them. Drinking or swimming in contaminated waters can cause problems to humans and other animals, including dogs, who seem to be otherwise able to drink almost any water without ill effect. The “cyan” in the name and the …

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UNPERMACULTURE

Accusations,  (Mostly) not True

I’ve understandably been accused of being a “permie,” that is, of practicing permaculture.    (In the words of permaculture founder, Bill Mollison, “Permaculture is about designing sustainable human settlements. It is a philosophy and an approach to land use which weaves together microclimate, annual and perennial plants, animals, soils, water management, and human needs into intricately connected, productive communities.” In the words of www.dictionary.com, permaculture is “a system of cultivation intended to maintain permanent agriculture or horticulture by relying on renewable resources and a self-sustaining ecosystem.”)    Walk around my farmden and, yes, you’ll come upon Nanking cherry bushes where forsythia bushes once lined the driveway, an American persimmon tree where a lilac bush once stood, and other edible plants used also for landscaping. In the vegetable garden, I preserve soil integrity by never tilling it, and, in the south field, blackcurrant bushes make use of the space beneath …

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GOOD FRUITS, ONE A VEGETABLE

World’s Best Fruit?

    Finally, I reap the fruits of one of my labors. Literally. The fruit is black mulberry, the species, that is Morus nigra, rather than any of the black-colored mulberries that grow all over the place around here. The latter are species and natural hybrids of white and red mulberries (M. alba and M. rubra).    Black mulberry, native to the Mediterranean climate of western Asia, is not cold-hardy below temperatures in the ‘teens (Fahrenheit) so definitely not cold-hardy here. I first tasted it at a fruit conference in Davis, California and it wowed me even from among bowls heaped high with fresh-picked apricots, peaches, and other seasonal fruits.    I had to get a tree to grow, which I did (from www.whitmanfarms.com). The tree went into a pot with potting soil. As it grew, I moved it on into larger and larger pots, …

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