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Dear MOTHER August September 2018

Letters from our readers about garden certification, DIY greenhouses, gardening challenges, and more.

| August/September 2018

  • dog-kennel
    The interior of the Pickering's dog kennel greenhouse.
    Photo by Corky Pickering
  • canning
    Here are a few samplings of Kathy's successful canning experience.
    Photo by Kathy Lareau
  • bicycle
    For this photo, my son and I had recently arrived after a bike ride, and we cut fresh flowers straight from our garden for vases in¬side the house.
    Photo by Yaneiza Baez

  • dog-kennel
  • canning
  • bicycle

Rocky Start for Colorado Transplants

I absolutely love Mother Earth News, and I’ve been reading it since the ’70s, after dis­covering it in college. I lived in Pennsylvania for 63 years before moving to Colorado less than two years ago. In Pennsylvania, gardening was so easy; I could grow stuff just by breathing on it! In 2013, my 13 tomato plants produced a few thousand tomatoes.

However, living in the Colorado foothills is quite different. In the time we’ve been here, I haven’t grown a thing. Our soil is shallow, dry, and not exactly nutrient-dense. There are boulders under everything. I would love an issue devoted to mountain gardening. I’m sure others living in the Rockies would also appreciate it. Perhaps there are some longtimers who might share their tips for success with those of us new to this arid gardening environment. On the flip side, sun is plentiful here, even if water isn’t.

Karen Arencibia
Morrison, Colorado

Fond Memories of Cutting Hedge Posts

Hank’s “Growing Resources” (February/ March 2018) hit my memory bank. My dad cut tens of thousands of hedge posts between 1960 and 1990. He would custom-cut them or cut on shares (the land owner received a quarter of the posts). As I recall, he would cut 75 to 100 per day in all kinds of weather. In about 1970, I believe he was selling the line posts for 70 cents each and the corner posts for $2 or $2.50. He also custom-built a few hundred miles of fence in my area of Illinois. Many times, because he was cutting ahead of a bulldozer, he worked long hours. I remember he said that cutting hedge posts (or probably any wood) was much easier in a valley than on a hill, where the woodland was much denser. One time, he was cutting hedge posts on a hill and he said the wood was so hard that the saw re­quired constant sharpening. But those posts likely lasted much longer because they were so strong.

Sharon Crum
Perry, Illinois

Rhubarb and Mulberries, Perfectly Paired

I enjoyed reading “Abundant Summer Mulberries” by Clyde Myers (April/May 2018). I’m from southern Indiana. One of the things the author failed to mention about mulberries is how well they go together with rhubarb. The tartness of rhubarb blends well with the sweet blandness of mulberries. Opening a pint on a cold winter day brings back the memory of warm spring sunshine. I have a stand of rhubarb that’s over 50 years old that I like to use, but the fruit needs a lot of sugar to be enjoyable.

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