Lee Reich

My nutty endeavors have reaped nutty - and delicious and healthful - rewards.
With no care on my part, persimmons bear in abundance while mocking my empty efforts with my apple trees.
I feed and water my compost “pets,” and they do the same for my plants.
I ponder the benefits of, and experiment with, compost tea.
I separate the fact from the fiction with use of soluble fertilizers.
My favorite graft for these tree makeovers is known as a bark graft and the time to do it is just as leaves are beginning to poke out of recently dormant stems and the bark easily separates from the wood. Which is now, early May, here in New York’s Hudson Valley. Ideally, foot-long scions of one-year-old wood (last years growth) have been gathered a few weeks previous and have been kept dormant with refrigeration.
I feed my vegetable and fruit plants organically, taking into account our ocean-dwelling ancestors.
In addition to my taste for shelling peas, I also want to get the first taste of the season to show off my gardening prowess.
A neglected, overgrown, old apple tree does have charm, its gnarled, elbowed branches seemingly ready to reach out for a hug. The fruits, unfortunately, more often than not are too small, too pest-ridden, and too high in the tree. My fear of heights makes the last deficiency most important to me. Large, clean fruits are for nought if I can’t bring myself to climb a ladder or the branches for harvest.
I’d like to introduce the words farmden and farmdener into the English language. I wonder if there are any other farmdeners out there. And just what is a farmden? It’s more than a garden, less than a farm. That’s my definition, but it also could be described as a site with more plants and/or land than one person can care for sanely. A gardener and garden gone wild, out of control.

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