Organic Gardening

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Hello From Raintree Nursery

3/19/2014 5:44:00 PM

Tags: fruit trees, beginning gardening, Washington, Raintree Nursery

Hi, fruit gardeners. I'm Sam Benowitz. I've operated Raintree Nursery for 40 years — though often it seems like 50. My partner in blogging is Tara Bittler, who is much younger than me. She is a talented writer, editor and web designer, but she is also a beginning gardener. Well, she is not even a beginning gardener — she is a super-newbie beginning gardener. Tara loves to cook and make delicious dishes with fruits, and she and her husband make delicious ciders and beers although she has no idea how to grow anything.

Since we are writing a blog post each week, we have agreed to have four major topics that we repeat each month. If there is a fifth week, in the month, we will give notice that we’ll open the floor for questions from you, the reader.

Week one: This will be the most insightful because we will look at the big picture and talk about why fruit gardening is so important for you, other species on earth, the future of humankind and stuff like that.

Week two: We will talk about things needing to be done and observed in the home fruit garden that month. There will be a lot to do because you have just wasted the first week wrestling with important philosophical questions and contemplating your navel (oranges that is).

Week three: Underappreciated plants. I've spent 40 years collecting and offering wonderful fruiting plants at Raintree Nursery, but there are many wonderful fruit cultivars that are not fully appreciated. Perhaps they are not fully appreciated because we, like writers of other catalogs, have a poor command of the English language and we describe each variety as very delicious or excellent and very flavorful leaving the reader to try to read between the lines to determine if the "very flavorful" variety is a better choice than the "delicious and excellent" cultivar.

You might ask if he has failed in the catalog to adequately distinguish among the 900 or so cultivars Raintree offers in the catalog and website...why should we believe he will be able to do so in this blog? Maybe some testimonials from fruit gardeners who have succeeded or failed with certain cultivars would be very useful here. I am attempting to push the burden of proof off here on you readers...

Week four: It's time for Tara's newbie questions. She wishes to grow fruit in pots in a limited space on her patio, which is fortunate because so do most other American gardeners nowadays. (If she lived in the crater of Mount St. Helens and wanted to know what she should do in her specific conditions it wouldn't be near as useful to other gardeners — though she might be more likely to have a blast while gardening.)


Hello, gardeners! My name’s Tara Bittler, and I want to learn gardening for several reasons — self-sustainability, environmental impact, the global impact and last, but not least, the actual quality of the food I purchase in stores. Why do I have such easy access to out-of-season fruits and vegetables? Where did they come from? Who grew it? What pesticides were used on it?

I’ve attempted the art of gardening a few times, but failed each and every time. The wealth of information is incredibly overwhelming, and without a clear starting point, I’m just lost.

I’m hoping that my contribution to this blog will help other newbie gardeners out there by having someone else to follow along with on their journey.

On a side note, I hope you enjoy Sam’s puns as much as I have and do.

Photo by Fotolia/Hayati Kayhan



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