Monthly Archives: July 2014

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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Peas Please Me

In some gardening circles, a gardener’s worth is measured by how well he or she grows peas: how soon the first pea gets to the table, the crop’s abundance, and, of course, the flavor.  Sad to say, I haven’t been able to grow peas well for about 10 years.

Peas require a humus-y, moisture retentive soil and early planting, all of which I provide. But about 10 years ago, just as the crop was coming on strong, vines began to turn yellow, leaves would flag, and plants would die. The probable cause was fusarium wilt disease (caused by Fusarium oxysporum). This soil-borne fungus invades plant roots and then clogs up the vascular system.

(You may have heard of fusarium wilt of tomatoes and other vegetables. Fear not spread of fusarium among these vegetables, because different vegetables have their own fusarium subspecies. Cucumbers have F. oxysporum f.sp. cucumerinum, canteloupes have F. oxysporum …

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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

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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“In Lee’s Garden Now” has a New Home!

You can now find “In Lee’s Garden Now” right here on my website:

You’ll find that all of the posts are still here, and new material will be coming online each week as always. If you subscribe by email, you should continue to receive notices of new blog posts. (If you don’t subscribe yet, now would be a great time! Just enter your email address in the sidebar form.)

While you’re here on my website, be sure to check out all of the other ways that you can find information about gardening and tips for your own garden, farm or “farmden”.

Please be sure to bookmark my blog’s new location! ( )

Talking Fruits & Pleasant Aromas

Potted alpine strawberries

Alpine Strawberries, Gumi Fruit, David Austin Roses and Catalpa

Earliglo strawberries are on the wane. Time to move on to other fruits, still strawberries but very different strawberries in all respect. Alpine strawberries. The largest of them are the size of a nickel but each packs the flavor of a silver-dollar sized berry.


August 6, 2014, “Trials, tribulations, and rewards of growing fruit” meeting of Home Orchard Society (, North American Fruit Explorers (, and California Rare Fruit Growers ( Conference, Troutdale, OR.

August 9, 2014, “Uncommon Fruits for Every Garden” and espalier tour, Western Washington Fruit Research Foundation (, Mt. Vernon, WA.

August 10, 2014, “Luscious Landscaping — With Fruits!” sponsored by City Fruit, Bradner Gardens, Plant Amnesty, Seattle Fruit Tree Society, and the Washington Association of Landscape Professionals,, Warren G. Magnuson Park, Seattle, WA.

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