Category Archives: Tools

GOOD BOOKS, GOOD LECTURES

One Book = Years of Experience

    I’ve been gardening for over 30 years. Don’t be impressed. The number of years spent with hands in the dirt doesn’t necessarily confer any particular expertise in the field (pun intended). Some gardeners do the same foolish things year in and year out, or never sufficiently investigate other, perhaps better, ways of doing what they’ve been doing. Or not appreciate cause and effect. (Was it really the compost tea spray that led to bountiful yields last year, or was it reliable rainfall interspersed with bright, sunny days? The tendency is to hold the former responsible.) Or, the wizened, old gardener’s wealth of knowledge might not extend beyond what they’ve grown on their own “back forty,” severely limiting the benefit of any wisdom passed on to others with a shorter history of gardening.    Reading is a efficient way to squeeze wisdom of others, reflecting decades …

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HOME-MADE TOOLS, GOOD, BAD, AND SOMETIMES IMPOSSIBLE

Needed Now, A Hay Rake, Garden Line, & Bulb Planter

The small meadow that stretches south of my vegetable garden is more than just a meadow. It also provides mulch for my trees and shrubs, and food for my compost “pet.” All this necessitates moving the greenery — or brownery, when it’s old — from the field to the trees, shrubs, and compost bins. I cut the hay with a scythe, gather it together with a rake, scoop it up with a 4-tine pitchfork, then pile it high in the garden cart for transport.

The tools needed seem straightforward enough, except for the rake. An ordinary garden rake would not do. It’s too small for so large an area and its heavy, short, sharp teeth would too readily tangle up in the mown hay without reaching deeply enough too grab a sufficient amount with each pull. A leaf rake likewise would not do; the fine teeth …

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Farmden Health Club & Basil

Rei-King, an Ancient Exercise?

Among the many benefits of gardening is the opportunity it offers for enjoyable, productive exercise in the great outdoors. And now we can add an exercise called rei-king to boot camp, pilates, zumba, kick boxing, cardiofunk, and other ways modern humans build and maintain sleek, fit bodies. Or so I told my wife, Deb.

Rei-King by Deborah as Sammy looks on.

As with some of those other exercise routines, equipment is needed, simple equipment in the case of rei-king. Basically, the equipment is a pole, perpendicular to and at the end of which is a length of wood or metal, attached in its middle to the pole. From the lower side of the length of wood or metal are teeth, each a couple of inches apart and a couple of inches long.

Now for the exercise. You lift the pole just enough to bring the head off …

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Serendipity Strikes!! & Join Me in Seattle

Join me in Seattle on August 10, 2014 for a talk I’ll be giving on “Luscious Landscaping — With Fruiting Trees, Shrubs, and Vines!”. Luscious landscaping is the way to beautify your yard and, at the same time, to put (very) local, healthful, flavorful food on the table. Following the lecture, we will explore the gardens at Magnuson Park. For more information about this event, go to http://leereich.brownpapertickets.com.

Ice Cream for Poppies

I first learned the word “serendipity” when I was in junior high school; it was the clever name of an ice cream shop that my parents had come upon in New York City. I’ve been on the lookout for it ever since: the word, not the shop. And I find it, occasionally, in the garden.

Like yesterday, for instance. Last March I sprinkled corn poppy (Papaver rhoeas) seeds on a flower bed that’s also home to espaliered Asian pears and a plum tree. Looking …

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