In the Garden


Acts of God




It was 10 at night and pouring rain when one of my best trees -- a ramrod-straight black walnut -- twisted out of the ground and fell across the road and nearly onto a sweet, old couple's home. The only thing holding off that prospect was their giant maple and another of my healthiest trees, a hackberry. You may remember that things have been quite soggy around here. Couple that with some very strong winds -- and the fact that my neighbor replaced much of the soil on his side of the trees with pavement and gravel -- and you have the perfect recipe for disaster. Sadly, that neighbor never realized that the placement of his driveway could have contributed to the extreme soil erosion on his side of the tree. People seldom consider the needs of city-dwelling trees, but I wish they would.

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Quick fixes, long-term consequences


I'm not proud of it, but I don't always practice what I preach. See, I was certain I'd planted enough Yukon Gold potatoes to last us all year, but now things don't look good. Instead of compact, robust plants, mine are spindly and yellowing. At first I thought it was one of the many potato diseases out there, but, no, I know better. Maybe I was lazy or in a hurry or both, but I planted my seed potatoes in the old corn-growing plot without bothering to amend the soil. Sweet corn is a heavy-feeding crop, and I thought the soil might be a little nitrogen-deficient, but how bad could it be? As it turns out, quite bad.

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Reducing our 'food miles'


Lately I've been counting the black raspberries as I pick them -- 501, 502, 503. . . So far my biggest day was 533 berries, and the brambles have grown so profusely that it takes me a good 40 minutes a day just to collect the hand-staining morsels. I plop each berry into a cracked, plastic colander, and, every other day, my hubby whips up a batch of black raspberry jam, which we preserve in mason jars. As of yesterday, it appears that we won't have to buy jam for a decade or so.

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A manual for gardening without land


On Guerrilla Gardening: A Handbook for Gardening without Boundaries just came out, and it's well worth a look from anyone considering gardening "underground." Divided into two parts, author Richard Reynolds' work discusses the history of the guerrilla gardening "movement" and, for inspired, would-be guerrillas, he also offers helpful how-tos.

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The garden under water


The last time flood waters reached this level in my area of Indiana was 1913, and, hopefully, we'll never again see flooding like this. What looked like a river recently rushed to the back door of my house, and, armed with a push broom, I spent quite a while trying to redirect it to the driveway. My vegetable patch was also completely submerged, but, considering what a lot of folks are going through now, I can hardly mourn the loss of all of my pumpkin plants and a couple of frogs from my little pond. True, the tomatoes and strawberries also took a beating, but, really, I got off easy.

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Issue 25



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