Stella Otto: The Backyard Fruit Gardener

Today's Tip: Mow vegetation short around the base of fruit trees and bushes to reduce winter habitat for rodents.

Monthly Archives: October 2013

Rodents — Pests of the Winter Fruit Garden

Vole - winter nemisis of fruit tree trunks and roots

Worms, wee­vils, rots, and molds are typ­i­cally the first “evils” that come to mind when talk­ing about pest prob­lems in the fruit gar­den. Many gar­den­ers, how­ever, real­ize that wildlife pests can be just as  prob­lem­atic. Voles, mice, rab­bits and deer keep fruit gar­den­ers on their toes dur­ing the win­ter sea­son. You can out­wit them though. […]

Winter is coming — Is your Fruit Garden Ready?

First dusting of snow in the strawberries

The arrival of win­ter is inevitable and much as we all love to gar­den, the occa­sional break from plant­ing, bat­tling pests, and har­vest­ing is an impor­tant and wel­come respite. The break is impor­tant for our fruit­ing plants as well. Although it may appear that our plants are doing noth­ing, that’s not really true. Many necessary […]

Compost No-nos: What Not to Add to Your Pile

The goal of adding com­post to the fruit gar­den is to ulti­mately pro­vide a healthy and whole­some crop for you and your fam­ily to eat and enjoy. Good qual­ity com­post will pro­vide nour­ish­ment to your berry plants, vines, and fruit trees. When grow­ing edi­ble crops it is impor­tant to use prac­tices that will keep that […]

Proactive Protection from Southwest Injury

While we north­ern fruit gar­den­ers enjoy these beau­ti­ful Indian Sum­mer days, we hate to think of the impend­ing win­ter. Yet this is the per­fect time to take a proac­tive approach to pro­tect­ing our fruit trees from win­ter dam­age. Now, while the weather is still warm is the ideal time to  paint the trunks of young […]

Factors that Affect the Composting Process

Finished compost waiting to be used

Given even remotely accept­able mate­ri­als and con­di­tions, com­post will occur over time. The break­down of organic mat­ter is a nor­mal part of nature’s cycle. To cre­ate com­post in a timely man­ner and of qual­ity that is use­ful in our gar­dens, it helps to under­stand how some fac­tors influ­ence the com­post­ing process. Car­bon and Nitro­gen sup­ply­ing material […]

Revolutionary Gardens — Take-home Lessons

For those who missed the recent Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Gar­dens con­fer­ence in Michi­gan, here are a few lessons I was lucky enough to take home: Com­post is king. It is at the root of all healthy and pro­duc­tive gar­dens. Good records are gold! They’ll help you repeat your suc­cesses and learn from the even greater num­ber of “fail­ures.” “Fail­ures” are […]

Revolutionary Idea, Revolutionary Gardens

Andrea Wulf and Peter Hatch enjoy a relaxing break during the Revolutionary Gardens conference

I just choose to spend 3 of the most gor­geous fall weather days.…..inside. Yes, inside. Why on earth would any gar­dener in their right mind want to do that when we all know these per­fect days of the sea­son are num­bered? It was pos­si­bly a rev­o­lu­tion­ary idea, a Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Gar­dens con­fer­ence to be pre­cise. Our relatively […]

The Fruits and Fruit Trees of Monticello: Thomas Jefferson and the Origins of American Horticulture — Book Review

The Fruits and Fruit Trees of Monticello Peter J. Hatch

Book Review   Title: The Fruits and Fruit Trees of Mon­ti­cello: Thomas Jef­fer­son and the Ori­gins of  Amer­i­can Hor­ti­cul­ture Author: Peter J. Hatch Strong points: Where to begin? This book is as infor­ma­tive and fas­ci­nat­ing as it is beau­ti­ful! It belongs in the library of every seri­ous fruit gar­dener, no really every gar­dener! It also belongs […]

Recipe for a Compost Pile

Layer appropriate proportions of carbon and nitrogen source material to create quality compost

Fall is an excel­lent and con­ve­nient time to start com­post­ing. Many of the mate­ri­als you will need are avail­able in abun­dant sup­ply — fallen leaves, green gar­den trim­mings, grass clip­pings, and nat­ural mois­ture. For pur­pose of exam­ple, I am going to assume you are stock­ing a 3-sided com­post bin. The same prin­ci­ples apply to the […]