Lee Reich’s Annual Plant Sale is ON!

Lee Reich is having a plant sale!

If you’ve read my book – Grow So Easy; Organic Gardening for the Rest of Us or enjoy my blog, you know who Lee Reich is.  He lives on his “farmden” (farm/garden) in New Paltz, New York, teaches everything from drip irrigation to pruning to organic gardening and is one of my favorite gardening resources.

Reich’s books – Grow Fruit Naturally and The Pruning Book – occupy pride of place on my gardening bookshelves.  And now, you have a chance to meet Reich and even buy some of his homegrown, organic plants!

Reich is holding his annual Plant & Garden Sale on May 30th and is offering organically grown plants including:

  1. Hardy passionfruit
  2. Dwarf banana
  3. Hardy kiwi fruits
  4. Seedless grapes
  5. Two crop figs
  6. White alpine strawberries
  7. Nanking cherries

…and a whole lot more.!  Reich will also have to some tools and books and other garden stuff!  Here are the details.

SALE: Saturday, May 30th, from 10am-2pm (please, no earlybirds)
387 Springtown Rd., New Paltz, NY

For information or updated plant list: 845-255-0417

And, coming up, on June 20th, Drip Irrigation workshop.  Drip irrigation for: greater yields, saving water, less plant disease, easy automation.  Cost: $57
For registration and more information –  http://www.leereich.com/workshops

2015 -Year for Garden Bugs & Pests

The annual invasion of all the bugs you wish you never saw is starting early this year.  Looks like 2015 may be a hard year on the garden, the veggies and…me!

I started coming to this conclusion when the ticks started walking through the door, well, being carried through the door. We have 4 dogs – never meant to have 4 but rescued 2 so now we have 2 Westies, a Jack Russell terrier and a

Dogs enjoying a break

Rescued Jack Russell and Mini Schnauzer sharing a chair.

Westie pups in the back yard.

Our Westies doing the stick dance when they were puppies.

Mini Schnauzer.  About 3 weeks ago, they all turned in to “tick magnets.”

Between them, they have brought in a total of 13 ticks, so far!

Hubby and I don’t have flea collars on so we are the preferred hosts!  How do we handle them?

  1. We check ourselves frequently – hairline, back of neck, back of knees.
  2. We pluck them off before they bite & burrow and toss them in hot, soapy water or, oddly enough, soy sauce.
  3. We also “burn” them literally but be careful if you do.

We don’t flush them down the toilet – they sometimes come back up.  And we don’t smash them or cut them in half; they carry bacteria and you could spread them if you are not careful.

Keeping your tick population down isn’t easy but Mike McGrath has some tips.

Ticks were my first sign that this would be a year of bugs.  Then, yesterday morning, I found a wire worm — actually what’s known as a “bug-eyed” click beetle – on my back patio.

Bug-Eyed Click Beetle

This beetle is not dangerous to people or pets but it likes plants and plant nectar.

I literally haven’t seen one of these little dudes in 22 years.  They like to snack on plant juice….and what better place to find it than in my backyard in my organic garden!

This afternoon, I had my first “close encounter” of 2015 with a Bald-faced Hornet.

Now, I don’t mind these hornets hanging about because they do pollinate but I need a bit of time to get used to the idea that they are back in the neighborhood.

Bald-faced hornet

Bald-faced hornets are not the easiest of neighbors.

Although they’re not really hornets (from the yellow jacket family), they sure bite like hornets and they are as aggressive.  And they are usually not in my backyard quite this early .

The hornets and I have an agreement, though.  I go out early to pick blackberries and blueberries and they don’t bite me!

So why are these bugs showing up here, now?

I’m not sure but these harbingers appear to be telling me that despite the desperately cold winter, the bugs are “incoming,”  now!

I’m girding up my loins…right now and dusting off the rocks and other totally organic weapons of mass destruction in preparation for doing organic battle with bugs!

COLD Air in the Mid-Atlantic & My Garden is Shivering!

Holy cats! It’s so cold here that the heat came on last night!  Temps dropped into the low 40’s and the wind has been keeping up a constant dialogue, sweeping across my recently planted veggie babies at speeds between 15 and 20 MPH with gusts into the 30 MPH range.

Organic blueberries and zuchetta

Zuchetta share space with blueberry bushes.

All of my warm weather plants are speed dialing their lawyers.

But it is May.  And there always is a bit of back and forth with the weather before everything settles down and the warm nights and warmer days of summer arrive.

I did bank straw up around the peppers, eggplant, zuchetta, summer squash and tomatoes.  And I talked with them a bit about the current conditions and the expected warming trend.

I may lose some of my plants.  And some of them may just slow down their growth but, by and large, most of them will be okay.  And so it goes in the beautiful but not always predictable world of growing your own organic produce.

How are your newly planted gardens faring?

2015 Organic Garden in the Ground!

I got all of my plants in the ground – wrapping up planting today.  All organic seed, all raised by me in my basement and all hand-planted.

Granted, the garden doesn’t look like much right now but give it a few weeks and the size and shape of every plant will change as they fill in their spaces!

My garden is all planted.

All my plants are in the garden and ready to grow.

Here’s the inventory!  And, instead of talking about them, here are pictures of the newly transplanted, beautiful babies.

Eggplant baby.

Eggplant transplant just in the ground.

I put in 4 different types of tomatoes – 12 plants – Golden Slicer, Fir, Fox Cherry & San Marzano

Sweet Italian Peppers – 14 plants

Organic Italian sweet peppers

Inverted tomato cages help support my Italian sweet pepper plants.

Eggplants – 5 plants – Dusky and Melanzana Prosperosa

Zukes – 3 plants – saved seeds from last year’s Italian Zuchetta

Cukes – Saber F1 from Seeds of Change and Cetriolo from Grow Italian.

Kale – 10 plants – Curly, Russian, Dino & some unknowns from Adaptiv Seeds

Beets – lots and lots of plants – Cylindra and Early Wonder

Lettuce – Butterhead, Red Oak & a mix of saved seeds from last year and

Organic red leaf lettuce

Organic red leaf lettuce grows quickly and tastes sweet by itself or in salads.

Onions – 100 plants which I did not raise. I got these from an Amish friend.

Oh, and my thornless blackberries are growing and greening up!  And right below them, my gorgeous blueberries are covered with flowers.  Planted once, harvest every year for 20 years+ – organic gardening really is easy!

Thornless blackberries

My Doyle thornless blackberry bushes getting ready for summer.

Blueberry bushes laden with flowers.

Every flower on every blueberry bush becomes a blueberry — 60 quarts every summer.

Avoid GMO Food – GROW YOUR OWN!

Lettuce, spinach and onions growing in raised truck bed.

Cool weather and cool raised bed of a 55 Chevy truck making for happy lettuce, spinach and onions.

Organic gardening is the easiest, best way to avoid all the GMO foods currently on the market – estimated to be 80% of US food chain.

I know – I wrote the book on just how easy it is to get going and get growing.  And I share tips and tricks on how to raise just about every possible vegetable and fruit you can find in the store (well, no kiwi, avocado or olives – too cold here).

Now, another doctor adds his voice to the growing chorus of educated, intelligent people who just don’t want to eat “frankenfood” that is definitely affecting our health and our children’s health.

Grow lettuce. Try blueberries – in pots or the yard.  20110628_0377

Heirloom tomatoes growing up happy with just sunshine and epsom salts!

Heirloom tomatoes on the vine in my backyard just weeks away from picking!

Add tomatoes and peppers.  And start being sure where your food has been and who it’s been hanging out with.

Share your ideas, your recipes and your success stories with other gardeners – just step out onto your patio or into your yard and start down the path to healthy food, health eating and healthy lives.  It is…oh so easy!

Homemade Eco-Friendly Pest and Disease control | Railway Parade House and Garden

I love it when a fellow gardening enthusiast (okay, let’s face it, we are gardening nuts) posts tips and trick to control pests and diseases!

Matt lives outside Sydney, Australia and shares his gardening trials and triumphs on his blog – Railway Parade.

His tips include household items you can use to make organic pest control sprays — some of his choices are just like the ones I offer  especially in part 2 of “…weapons of mass destruction.”

I hope you enjoy these organic, safe methods for killing pests and disease in your gardens!

Homemade Eco-Friendly Pest and Disease control | Railway Parade House and Garden.

A School Garden & The Green Bronx Machine

Schools should be places where kids just don’t learn to repeat back answers for standardized tests.  They should be places where kids grow, are exposed to new and different things and actually want to be in the classroom and involved.

As a long time, organic gardener, I know, anecdotally, that showing kids how to grow their own food, sharing time and knowledge with them, and letting them get their hands dirty, literally, make them excited about learning.

Now a school, a teacher and a group of students are proving that my theory is correct.

The school is in South Bronx; the teacher is Stephen Ritz.  And his students  at PS 55 have grown more than 30,000 pounds of produce in vertical aeroponic growing systems called Tower Garden.

All gardeners know that there is so much you can learn just by digging in dirt.  Now hundreds of students are learning and growing in the heart of one of the biggest cities in the country.  It’s a beautiful story and one I had to share.

A School Garden Born in a Food Desert May Change the Way Kids Eat—and Learn | TakePart.