Monthly Archives: February 2021

OUTDOOR MAPLES AND INDOOR KUMQUATS

Sap Season

Get your taps in. It’s syrup weather. Maple syrup. At least here in New York’s Hudson Valley, the sunny days in the 40s with nights in the 20s that are predicted should get the sap flowing.

  I say “should” because I haven’t yet checked sap buckets that I hung out on the trees a few weeks ago when winter temperatures suddenly turned warm; it was sap weather back then. That day was hopeful: I drilled holes an inch and a half deep, lightly hammered in the spiles, hung buckets, and attached covers over the buckets. Frigid days and nights that descended soon after that kept sap flow in abeyance.

  My “sugar bush” amounts to only three sugar maple trees. I used to have four, but a large tree that was a truly magnificent representative of its species began an irreversible path to its death. “Maple decline” is a disease …

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WEED-LESSNESS FOR 2021

WEEDLESS GARDENING WORKSHOP/WEBINAR
 with Lee Reich, PhD, writer, scientist, and farmdener*

Introducing a novel way of caring for the soil, a 4-part system that minimizes weed problems and  maintains healthy plants and soil. Learn how to apply this system to establish new plantings as well as to maintain existing plantings. The principles and practices are rooted in the latest agricultural research and are also applicable to sustainable, small farm systems. 

This system works because it emulates, rather than fights, Mother Nature who, as C. D. Warner wrote (My Summer in the Garden, 1887), “is at it early and late, and all night; never tiring, nor showing the least sign of exhaustion.”

Date: February 22, 2021 
Time: 7-8:30 pm EST
Cost: $35

Register for this webinar at:
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_WqSCBtOGTqqjGgbOHOuxfg 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

*A farmdener is more than a gardener and less than a farmer.

THANKS

I’d like to highlight, today, what makes this blog possible. 

First of all, it’s you, readers. The positive feedback I get is very rewarding. I’ve had great opportunities — academically and “in the field” — to learn about growing plants and caring for the soil, and have put all this into practice for decades. My hope is that in entertaining you with all this, your tomatoes, apples, zinnias, and all the rest grow healthier and tastier or prettier. I appreciate the positive (even the sometimes negative) comments from you all.

Second, if you’ll look at the bottom right corner of my blog posts (or scroll way down near the end on a mobile device), you’ll see some banner ads. Nothing flashy or moving or obnoxious in any other way. Just simple links to a few advertisers.

These seven advertisers are special; these are companies whose products I stand behind. I’ve used them and …

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TELLING SNOW

I Grow Taller

“Make hay while the sun shines” is fine advice in its season. For winter, how about? “Prune while the snow is high and firm.” 

My apple and pear trees are semi-dwarf, presently ranging from seven to eleven feet tall. Even though I have a pole pruner and various long-reach pruning tools, I still carry my three-legged orchard ladder out to the trees with me to work on their upper branches. Sometimes you have to get your eyes and arms and hands right up near where you’re actually cutting.

A few years ago, as I was looking out the window and admiring the foot or of snow on the ground, I realized that all that snow could give me a literal leg up on pruning. If I stayed on top of the snow, that is. While the snow was still soft, I was able to do this by strapping on a …

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A NAME FOR A NAME, AND A WEBINAR

(The following is adapted from my book, A Northeast Gardener’s Year.)

It’s Not All in a Name

With only a name to go on, which tomato would you choose to grow: Supersonic or Oxheart? If the name Oxheart seems a bit too gruesome, make the choice between Supersonic and Ponderosa. My guess is that most gardeners would choose Oxheart or Ponderosa for a tomato, Supersonic for an airline. What compels a contemporary plant breeder to give a tomato a name like Supersonic?

Many old-time names of vegetables – Oxheart and Ponderosa tomatoes are examples — were a lot more appealing than some of the newer names. It could even be that a good name is part of the reason a vegetable of yore still appears in today’s catalogues amongst all the new hybrids.

What’s the Difference?

These names I am talking about are “cultivar” names, or what were once called “variety” names. Problem is …

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GET YOUR DUCKS IN ORDER FOR SPRING

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

Introducing a novel way of caring for the soil, a 4-part system that minimizes weed problems and  maintains healthy plants and soil. Learn how to apply this system to establish new plantings as well as to maintain existing plantings. The principles and practices are rooted in the latest agricultural research and are also applicable to sustainable, small farm systems. 

Success comes from emulating rather than fighting Mother Nature who, as C. D. Warner wrote (My Summer in the Garden, 1887), “is at it early and late, and all night; never tiring, nor showing the least sign of exhaustion.”

Space for this workshop/webinar is limited so registration is necessary. Sign up soon to assure yourself a space.

Date: February 22, 2021 
Time: 7-8:30 pm EST
Cost: $35

Register for this webinar at:
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_WqSCBtOGTqqjGgbOHOuxfg 

After registering, you will receive …

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