28 December, 2009

Semianrs Begin this Weekend!

As 2009 comes to a close I wish everyone a Happy New Year. Our winter seminar series starts this Saturday Jan 2 with Attracting and Feeding Wild Birds at 1 PM in Poughkeepsie.
In addition I am pleased to announce that all five photos I submitted were accepted to the Catskill Mountain Foundation members show opening Jan 16th in Hunter, NY


24 December, 2009

the night before xmas

T' was the night Before Christmas
And all through the House
Not a Palozzi was stirring
Charlie Rangall was home with his spouse
So off to the Senate
For the vote on a bill
While called health care reform
Has many Americans ill
For such legislation the most monumentous in the land
I did not see claiming victory a Schumer or a Gillibrand
What did I see about a 1/4 past four?
Sarah Palin finishing up her book signing tour.
That's not all she's done since leaving Alaska
She seeks a new home
With free Medicaid perhaps in Nebraska
Or maybe Louisiana with it's gumbo bright vermilion
Can I have another bowl lease for my three hundred million?
Now what about Connecticut with the most millionaires?
Though I find it quite odd
Your vote sold for 100 million
What's up with that Senator Dodd?
Northward to Canada, to Europe and another
Examples of health care provided by Mother
If a government plan works
Let it be run not by ours
Let's hire another
On Mc Cain, On Snow
On Leieberman, Reid and all
Come next November
Dash Away, Dash Away Dash Away all!

Lighthouse Navigation
kayak/canoe sales and rentals
athens on the hudson, ny

21 December, 2009

New Year Bringing New Opportunities

It is with great anticipation and some trepidation I write this year end (almost year end) post.
I guess it is best to start from the beginning 25 years ago when I walked into Adams and filled out a job application for a position unloading trucks in the nursery.  The plan was to bide my time until gardening season started and then start my own landscaping business.
I did get the job unloading trucks in the nursery but never started my own landscape business. Within weeks of starting in the nursery the long time dept. manager of the garden center announced he was leaving. I was offered the position willingly accepted and the rest is history.
I have enjoyed being your gardening, bird feeding, BBQ-ing, hydroponic guru for the past 25 years. I have seen many generations of gardeners excel in growing beautiful gardens during this time and feel honored for this privilege. It has been a very good thing indeed.
But we all know the saying that "all good things must ( I prefer to say will) come to an end". As 2010 dawns and unfolds before us I will no longer be your garden guru. Opportunities come and go fewer and farther between in the gardening field these days. The days of youth come and go even quicker when you hit the late 40's too! I have had many opportunities cross my path in the last 25 years that while tempting, were not tempting enough. This one however is one not to be missed.  
I will not be leaving Adams however. I will be nurturing a newly created position of Lawn and Garden Buyer for all Adams locations.
With today's market place so keen and moving forward difficult at best it became apparent to us that at the store level our garden managers were wearing too many hats. That ispart  of our unique corpoarte culture which allows managers in each dept. to take an ownership role when it comes to product selection, display, pricing etc. This accompanied with hiring, training, selling scheduling etc beacame overwhelming limiting how well we wore each hat. With fewer hats hats to wear each of us will now be able to concentrate on wearing one hat well instead of several hats and end up with mussed up hair.
The transistion will take several months and I will still be doing my slate of 15 seminars this winter. So while all good things must come to an end no one ever said that better things will not arise.
I will still be writing my blogs and colums for the newspapers. I will now have more time for my garden(s) providing Sam does not stake his land claim before I do. I will now also be able to spend more time doing photography and participating in exhibits and art shows. I plan on attendning the many framers markets I have missed on the weekends perhaps selling some herbs at a few as well.
I scincerely thank all of you for making me part of your gardening experience for almost three decades. I have learned much from of all you and in return, if you learned a small fraction as much from me, I will consider my job well done.
Make sure you stay in contact on my blogs and in the papers.
Good Gardening and Happy New Year
Greg Draiss

15 December, 2009

Greg's Gardening Seminars for 2010

Here is my seminar schedule for Jan/Feb 2010:
Sat Jan. 2 1 PM: Adams Pok: How to Attract and Feed Wild Birds
Sat Jan 9 1 PM: Adams Kingston: How to Attract and Feed Wild Birds
Sat Jan 16th 1PM Adams Pok: Herb Gardening
Sat Jan 23rd 1 PM Adams Newburgh: How to Attract and Feed Wild Birds
Sat Jan 30th 1PM Adams Pok: Home Hydroponics
Sat Feb 6th 1PM Adams Pok: Seed Starting
Wed Feb 10th 6PM Adams Pok: Slugs Bugs and other Thugs
Wed Feb 17th 6PM Adams Kingston: Home Hydroponics
Sat Feb 20th 1PM Adams Pok: Composting
Sat Feb 27th 1 PM Adams Newburgh Home Hydroponics
Don't forget these are just the seminars I am doing! There will be more than 40 other seminars going on throughout Jan/Feb 2010. Chances are I will be doing several more if there is space open on the calendar. As well our annual Spring Garden Show offers up some fabulous gardening classes as well.

Debunking The Poisonous Poinsettia

Millions of poinsettias are purchased each year as a celebration of the Christmas holiday. Nothing says "holiday" like a bright red poinsettia. They make excellent gifts for the host of the holiday dinner. As well they grace many entrances to commercial establishments as well. The poinsettias history is steeped in mystery and a little trickery. Poinsettias colorful show are not flowers but colored leaves called bracts. In fact the flower itself is not very showy at all. Poinsettias also are not supposed to "bloom" this time of year. They are coaxed into turning colors by controlling the amount of light they receive. To further add to the intrigue it turns out that poinsettias are not poisonous at all. So where did this colorful harbinger of the holidays come from and how did it gets its' shady reputation?
Poinsettias are native to an area in Mexico known as Taxco del Alarcon.  Aztecs put this plant to practical use using it for dyes and medicinal purposes. Its milky white sap was used in a formulation to treat fevers. Joel Roberts Poinsett an early ambassador to Mexico discovered this plant growing in Mexico and brought it back to his hot house in South Carolina. Poinsett then began making cuttings and giving them to his friends. He later founded the Smithsonian Institution. Without Poinsetts' interest in the plant Poinsettias would be but a biological oddity to us in the temperate regions of the world.
Until recently poinsettias were considered poisonous. As late as 1995 some 66% of people surveyed still believed the plant to be toxic. This urban legend began some 80 years earlier when a doctor believed the death of an Army officers' 2 year old child to be caused by ingestion of poinsettias leaves. According to POISINDEX, a child would have to eat 500-600 leaves to even get an upset stomach. Further complicating the chance of this happening is that the sticky milky sap gives off a terrible taste making even eating a few leaves unlikely.
Caring for a poinsettia is much easier than dispelling its shady past. Poinsettias like bright warm rooms with no drafts. Watering needs be done only when dry to the touch on the surface of the soil. To prolong the beautiful colors keep temps between 60*F and 72*F. It is possible, with a little care, to get your poinsettia blooming again for next Christmas.  After colors fade in February cut stems back to 8 inches. Hold off on fertilizing until July. At this time it may be necessary to repot it into a pot a little larger. Poinsettias do well outside in light shade providing night time temps stay above 50*F. When the dog days of August strike cut stems back leaving only three leaves per shoot. From September 20th thru December first Poinsettias must be in the dark from 5PM to 8AM the next day. It is very important to follow this schedule in order to get the colors back on the bracts.
Poinsettias official name is Euphorbia pulcherrima. Today there are myriads of styles and colors.
The new rage is "painted" poinsettias where the leaves are hand painted bright colors. Red though still popular often gives way to white; burgundy and even yellow bract varieties. A multicolored bract variety is named after the painter Monet because of the color patterns.

03 December, 2009

Beating the Winter Blues

The onset of autumn is a feast to the gardeners' eyes. Although we try hard to have colorful gardens for the entire growing season nature always socks it to us wit the blast of brilliant fall colors. It is almost as if nature gives it to us two ways. First with the palette of colors and the warning that goes with it that winter is just around the corner. Gardeners
generally have had little to look forward to over the long dark nights of winter. I sometimes wish I could hibernate along with the bears and wake up just in time for the snow drops to bloom. Imagine a nice long winter's nap just and not being woken by Santa on the rooftop! But alas we must endure until spring just hoping our green thumbs do not turn brown in the meantime. I will try in the next few paragraphs to ease our lament even if only a little bit.
Get educated this winter! I often find the best way to handle not being able to do something is to learn more about what it is you can't do. I love to BBQ. Nothing sets my juices flowing like getting on the grill and cooking up a storm. Well when there is a storm blowing outside in January it is a little hard to grill, especially at night. So I will cuddle up in bed or on the couch with any one of my ten books on the subject of outdoor cooking.
Winter is a great time to learn more about gardening as well. Local book stores will have on prime display books on gardening shortly after the New Year. They too seem to know about the let down that ensues after the last New Years' eve toast is done. The Super Bowl is still a month away and not everyone like football. A cup of coffee and a comfy book store chair make for a fine learning experience.
A better way to learn about gardening in the depths of winter is to attend seminars at local nurseries and garden centers. After why suffer the winter blues alone when you could share it with fellow gardeners for an hour or two on a Saturday afternoon. Not to mention the free refreshments often served as well.
Adams Fairacre Farms three locations offer gardening and cooking seminars from January through early March. Many of the gardening classes include organic methods or at least the least intrusive way of doing things in the garden. One seminar I teach there is entitled Organic Gardening. This class delves not only into organic methods but the logic and laws behind labeling of organic products.
The Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge, MA offers classes on an ongoing basis throughout much of the year. They are also offering a horticulture certificate program in conjunction with the Mass. College of Liberal Arts. Classes run all winter long and include Ecology for Gardeners, Landscape Design and Botany for Gardeners. For more information visit their web site berkshirebotanical.org
The New York Botanical Garden offers classes this winter in Horticultural Therapy, general gardening, Garden Writing and Photography and Landscape Design. Their web site claims an offering of over 900 classes throughout the year. Their web site is nybg.org.
My favorite winter time gardening activity is actually an offshoot but closely related outdoor activity. Watching and feeding wild birds. In fact bird feeding and watching is second only to gardening as America's number one outdoor passive activity. I am not sure who it was that coined gardening as passive but that is where gardening is placed in reference to outdoor activities.
Bird watching and feeding can actually be separated into two very distinct categories. For instance bird watchers think nothing of going down to the shores of the Hudson River on Christmas Day and counting the different species of birds flying over the sometimes frozen river. Let's face it even if Christmas day arrives and the temps are above normal it is still cold and windy down by the river. Bird watchers will also think little of hopping on a plane to Costa Rica and trudge through the jungles for a chance to add to their "life list". A life list to a bird watcher is a written documentation of how many species they have seen or heard throughout their bird watching adventures.
Bird watchers seldom are bird feeders. They will spend hundreds on a new spotting scope but not a dollar on bird seed.
Bird feeders on the other hand are content to spend Christmas Day inside around the tree and watch birds at their feeding stations.  This while staying warm and cozy. In exchange for staying warm during the winter many bird feeders fork over $15 to Cornell University to in "Project Feeder Watch". This program has "bird watchers" taking a tally of birds at feeding stations and sending the collected data to the Ornithology Dept. at Cornell.
Now there is a marketing scheme waiting to be hatched. In a sense of brotherhood and camaraderie why doesn't someone build a small bird watchers' hut and take it down to the Hudson and offer the bird counters a warm place to observe from. And lets' say they charge $15 and send it off to Cornell? Bird feeders are the backbone of the bird feeding industry. Bird feeders will come out to my bird feeding seminar on a cold Saturday in January. As well the hard core bird feeder is on a mission to have the most feeding stations in the neighborhood. Number two on their agenda is having the best squirrel proofing story!
Winter is also a great time to visit your nearest garden shop or nursery and peruse the new selection of seeds coming onto the market for spring. There have been a plethora of new organic varieties added to seed racks in recent years. Burpee has added a whole panel of certified organic seeds to its consumer display racks.  Seeds of Change, one of the original all organic seed companies, not only sells only certified organic varieties but their entire collection are made up of almost entirely of heirloom or indigenous varieties.
Winter is a time to head for warmer climates for some.  Winter is also a time for gardeners to take stock of the past seasons successes and challenges. Winter may also be a time to make sure that next winter comes with a little more color. What better time to remind yourself to pot up some tulips or daffodil bulbs for winter color next year than right now? Winter is a black and white season (OK gray and white). But that sad fact should not keep us gardeners from planning ahead for our season that is everyday closer than it was yesterday.
Now if there was only some way of making the 28 days of February not seem like the longest 28 days of the year. Putting the Super Bowl on the first Sunday in February just does not go far enough!

02 December, 2009

Hudson Valley Seeds Have Arrived

Recently I wrote about The Hudson Valley Seed Library and their unique approach to garden seeds.  Their "Art Pack " line has arrived and is now available just in time for holiday gift giving.
Each heirloom variety comes in a neat package designed by a local artist.
Remember the whole idea behind the library is to cultivate a line of heirloom seeds with attributes to grow in the Hudson Valley. In fact the motto of the Hudson Valley Seed Library is "Seeds with local roots"
More Real Dirt for you to play in!

25 November, 2009

Seeds From seedlibrary.org Arriving for Holidays

I just finished corresponding with Ken Greene of seedlibrary.org . We will be offering for sale seeds from the library's "Art Pack" series. These seeds are all heirloom varieties with a catchy art themed package. For instance there is a variety of tomato named "New Yorker". The artist designed a label for the pack depicting a road map of the metropolitan NY area.
The seeds will be in Adams Pougheepsiek store in Early December.
In January when Ken finishes the offering of local seeds for 2010 we will have seeds for the Hudson Valley that were grown in the Hudson Valley. The seed library works like a regular library. You borrow seeds from the library. Then you plant the seeds in your garden. After harvesting the "crop" save the seeds from your harvest and return them to the library!
The goal is to establish seed varieties that are accustomed to the growing conditions of the Hudson Valley.
How cool is that?
Pretty cool in my camp since spring is less than 4 months away!
There's some local dirt for you!
Greg Draiss

Happy Thanksgiving to My Favorite Gardeners

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day:
Good Grief: Is there anything more endearing to Thanksgiving than turkey, football, apple pie and CHARLIE BROWN?  Yes, friends, family and thankfulness.
But, as gardeners, you already know these things as the ground in our gardens gives back more than we can possibly put in.
Here's a toast:   TO COMPOST!
Greg Draiss for
The Real Dirt

22 November, 2009

Don't Stop Gardening Just Because the Sun Went Down at 4

Unusual but fun Pineapple Sage
Lemon Verbena cuttings
Highly aromatic Lavender cuttings
Trays of herbs growing under high a output T5
fluorescent lighting system
As a gardener I just love to play in the dirt. In late November that dirt is pretty cold and ornery to mess with. No worry though. I spent Saturday evening installing a new light system on the other side of my basement grow room. While I have large pots of herbs and chiles growing in a hydroponics system the cuttings you see in the photos above are growing under a T5 fluorescent HO lighting system.
The T5  system I installed is a Sunblaze 44. I will have room for about 250 cuttings/seedlings when I get done with the three level table made out of 1 1/2 inch PVC pipe.

18 November, 2009

Gardening Practices of Pilgrims at Thanksgiving Time

Just in time for Thanksgiving: a new publication documenting gardening techniques used at the time of the Pilgrims and Native Americans. Of course there were no chemical pesticides or fertilizers at the time so the book is somewhat slanted to the benefits of organic gardening. Either way it is a good read on gardening during pre-colonial America. The story is from Trans World News:
"What a lot of people don't know," says Heid, "is the food the Pilgrims grew probably tasted better than the food we eat today and was also better for them."  Fish and all marine life are suited to giving soil the nutrients that make it produce the best food.  In addition to providing soil with vital nutrients like calcium, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and sulfur, marine life is the best source of trace elements.  Trace elements are near microscopic amounts of different elements that are necessary for the human body to survive and that poor soil often lacks.  "Food can only be as good as the soil you grow it in," Heid explains.
 Many of the soil problems that the Pilgrims had to overcome are problems today because of over farming and soil depletion. Scientific studies show how the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables has diminished dramatically over the past 40 years.  Other studies show organic fruits and vegetables are nutritionally superior to those produced using traditional farming methods.  The answer, is the same now as it was in Squanto's day: using marine-based fertilization. 
 The second half of Heid's book explains how to grow an organic garden using Native American planting techniques and marine-based fertilizer to enrich and improve the soil.  A variety of companion planting possibilities are suggested along with layouts for three traditional Native American gardens.  It culminates with a selection of English and Native American recipes making use of garden produce based on what was eaten at the first Thanksgiving. 
 Heid hopes to revitalize interest in the forgotten gardening methods that gave birth to the very first Thanksgiving. "I really want to show all Americans why Squanto's Secrets worked for our Pilgrim Fathers and how his life-giving secrets are even more valuable today.
Solutions From Science is a small Illinois company helping backyard gardeners grow healthier and better tasting fruits and vegetables with alternative, marine based fertilizers.
Empty Image
Empty Image

16 November, 2009

LED Table Top Garden Makes Debut

The Aerogarden came on the scene in a hurry and almost left as quickly. Very few new products have come from Aerogro lately and for a relatively new company that can spell trouble. One of the drawbacks of the Aerogarden in my opinion is that once the novelty wears off there is little to do. Especially since unless you eat very lightly or live alone it is hard to grow enough to feed more than one. The product is better used as a cloning device with the seed starting kit.
The Aerogarden has introduced, as a result of excellent marketing,an esoteric method of gardening to the masses: hydroponics. In essence the Aerogarden is a "mainstream" hydroponics unit.
This story from The Farmington Daily Times in New Mexico comes the story below about the new table top growing appliance:
LED grow light for indoor gardening  PAGOSA SPRINGS Just more than a year ago, Leo Hayes started germinating an idea that had been floating around his head since his days as an automotive technologist an LED grow-light system.

"When I was a technologist for an international company, I had to read a lot about laser technology and LEDs (light-emitting diodes)," Hayes recalled. "I read a lot about what NASA was doing to be able to provide fresh food to their astronauts."

Thirteen months ago Hayes gave the concept his full focus, working with a partner in Taiwan to finalize product design and basic financials for Sonnylight, LLC, which is aims to release the LED Kitchen Garden, a countertop unit, and the LED Grow Garden, a hanging unit, by the end of November.

As director of product engineering at Mitsubishi Motors, Hayes gained a solid technical background and made close contacts in the international industrial-design world, which proved useful as he was fine-tuning the Sonnylight product.

"Plant action is very specific in how much chlorophyll or keratins they produce and how they react to light," Hayes explained.

By working with a master gardener and reading a lot of research from university agriculture departments on the effect of light, Hayes formulated what he called "pulse-point modulation."

"We manage how much power we put into each one of these (colors)," he said.

Sonnylight advantages

Every Sonnylight product has a CPU in it, with "Grow Logic" software. "This helps drive the germination process, because it's more concentrated light," Hayes said. "In the right conditions, you can get up to three times the growth rate, but a lot of that depends on the person what nutrients you give it, what's the soil base, temperature. We provide the light."

Standard grow-light systems with compact fluorescents can use up to 40 watts, according to Hayes. "We're using 15 watts, and we use specific light wavelengths; LEDs have exact wavelengths based on the chemical composition of the diode. In our case we're using two blues, two reds, and for lettuce, cabbage and kale large-leaf plants we add a bit of green."

Plants do their best growth in four narrow light spectrums and only use about 8 percent of the white light, Hayes said. Sonnylight colors correspond with plants' three growth stages: germination, growth and budding.

"If you don't have sufficient blue light, the plant won't germinate properly, so we modulate the amount of light from each different colored diode," he said. "Then, once it starts to vegetate or grow, it switches over to the grow phase; it's all computer controlled."

The grower sets the lights according to five phases: daytime, sunrise and sunset, and 15-minute powering-up and dimming-down periods. "Plants are interesting because they have to have time to shut down and start up in the photosynthesis process," Hayes said. "People grow all the time without that, but this gives options for a more natural process with the plants."

Consumers stay involved in the process by monitoring the amount of nutrients in the water and the amount of water. "The whole product is self-contained you just turn it on, set it and take care of plants. Fifteen years is the lifetime of the lights the life of the product. This is not intended to be a service item."

Staying true to its tag line "Modern Technology Organic Sensibility," all packaging is biodegradable and the hood will be wrapped in a natural cotton shopping bag. Optional accessories for the product will include a heat pad, an off-grid cable for hooking up a Sonnylight to a car battery, two different soil types, and heirloom seeds that reproduce the same kind, so growers can save seeds.

"Consumers can save seeds, or replant them right away; time is not an issue here, as long as you keep them warm," said Hayes.

"If we can help people have a bit more personal control in their lives and control what they eat there're all these scares in the media about food that is what we want."

The business process

Getting Sonnylight products, which have design, technology and global patents pending, to market was a learning process for Hayes. "I can do the technical side, but the whole business structure is a little out of my comfort zone," he admitted. With help from the Next Level Leading Edge class, Hayes started building the business plan in the fall of 2008.

"The class really helped a lot it kept me disciplined," he said. "I found that (designing) the product was easy compared to everything else."

The discipline paid off as Hayes' business plan won first-place in the class. "The good thing that came out of this was that I started surrounding myself by people with business experience," said Hayes, who gave a presentation to the Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center's Business Advisory Group and received counseling from Bart Mitchell, former director of the Archuleta County Economic Development Association, Fort Lewis College marketing professor Simon Walls and SBDC director Joe Keck.

"Launching a product is kind of anti-climactic you work so hard on each step," Hayes said. "It is kind of fun to think about (the response), but the focus has to be on the steps. It's going to go where it's going to go; all I can do is facilitate it."

Although reticent about it, Hayes has reason to be optimistic: Sonnylight's first magazine advertisement garnered more than 600 inquiries.

For more information: www.sonnylightled.com


Hudson River Lanscape Photo Sells at Athens Cultural Center Members Show

This post is not about gardening per se' but it is about landscapes. In fact if it were not for this landscape in the photo American history would most certainly be different. A photo I took of a golden early sprig sunset was on exhibit this weekend at a Members how of the Athens Cultural Center in Athens, just north of Catskill. I am happy to say the photo sold to a lady who is a weekend resident of the village. More important she has a deep love of the area and the river. What I find interesting is that how many folks from the NYC area have more of an interest in the river than we do. Interesting but disappointing at the same time.
We have this great asset on our doorstep but it almost does not exist except when we cross the bridge and curse the toll collectors for the latest fare increase.
To see the photo, and others of the Hudson this summer, click on my face book page below

Lighthouse Navigation
kayak/canoe sales and rentals
athens on the Hudson, NY

02 July, 2009

Box Store Spreads Tomato Blight

A story in the Albany Times Union had a story about late blight on tomatoes being spread throughout the northeast from plants sold by Home Depot.
The source: Bonnie Greenhouses with dozens of growing ranges in several states. The blight got into a 10 acre field and destroyed the entire crop.
One more reason to buy local....

04 June, 2009

Over the weekend I was jolted with a case of bronchitis that hit me out of the blue. In a matter of hours I went from helping customers with last minute plantings to asleep on the couch where I remained for almost four days.
A trip to the doc confirmed acute bronchitis. As a precaution due to something showing up on my X-ray I was given an antibiotic as well.

However before the antibiotic had a chance to kick in I went out to my herb garden and pulled some herbs for a tea in hopes of at least alleviating the cough and chest pressure. I then dried some Horehound, lemon catnip, lemon balm, gray sage and basil leaves.
In a hurry I used the microwave. The leaves were dried to crisp perfection in three minutes. I then boiled some water and poured it over the leafy mixture in the bottom of a tea pot. After four minutes of steeping the concoction was in a small coffee cup.

The results? At first, very bitter. However a little sugar and some honey sweetened the grog to I must say I felt almost immediate relief from the pressure in my chest and was breathing easier. Long term? I must say it helped. I feel the best part of the mixture was keeping it somewhat bitter to prevent consuming the tea like a soft drink, all at once.
In my opinion slowly drinking the hot herbal blend slowly has a lot to do with the success of my tea.

06 April, 2009

Where is Spring..........

Farmers markets are springing up all over the place already. And you know what?
The weather in New York once again stinks.

A word of advice about something else that stinks. Poor service from CSA's.
With the popularity of community supported agriculture growing think twice before joining one.
Ask for membership lists to garner comments from former members.

Just like health clubs have they over sold memberships diluting your potential take home? IS the price so low as to make your weekly trip worthless. Low prices often mean low quantity.

While many excellent CSA's abound watch out for the scammers.

23 February, 2009

Tasty Herbs Start Now From Cuttings

25 * wind from the north west. Once again the temp is ten degrees below normal. Seems par for the course for winter 08-09.

But March 1st is this coming Sunday and spring is somewhere. At least I can see it on my calendar. The next page of the calendar anyway.
March 1st means it is time to take cuttings on woody herbs you may have growing on your window sill. I managed to bring in and have survive a pot of rosemary. I almost forgot it was on my back deck! I did not bring it inside until the middle of November. I figured it was a goner since it had been below freezing for a few nights.
But that pot of rosemary has done very well. Just a few weeks ago new shoots began sprouting from the end of last years growth cycle. They have grown about three inches long and are ready to make new plants.
Any woody stemmed herb with newer growth can be cut now from the tips to make new plants. Early March is the perfect time since it is early enough in the season to allow the cuttings to set roots and be ready to go outside late April.
And with good luck you may get to take a second cutting in April just in case something happens to the March cuttings.
To take cuttings off of woody stemmed herbs choose soft new growth from the ends of the branches. Cutting should be about two to three inches and length although there is no set rule. The only rule is that the cuttings come from soft tissue. These root much easier.
After taking cuttings remove the leaves from the bottom inch or so of the stem. There should be no foliage below the soil surface. To expose more rooting tissue cut the bottom of the cut piece once more at a 45* angle. This exposes more surface area across the bottom of the cutting giving rooting success a much greater chance.
Insert the cuttings into well drained soil. Cover with a humidity dome used for seed flats or place into a small clear plastic bag. The idea here is to create a mini greenhouse environment. Light should be bright with little direct sun until rooting has taken place.
Your new cuttings are ready to transplant when you begin to feel a good deal of resistance when tugging on the cutting. Rosemary should take 3-5 weeks to set firm roots.

29 January, 2009

Welcome To My Garden

Thanks for signing up for Farm Fresh! Greg Draiss' blog about community gardening and backyard food gardening for the homeowner or anyone who wants healthy fresh food grown from home.

Like my other blogs check out the video feeds on gardening.

News articles can be had by clicking on a topic in the list on the side of the blog. You will then be taken directly to relevant articles on the topic of choice.

Feel free to leave comments as well!

Greg Draiss

25 January, 2009

Volunteers Need Not Apply

Hey the new prez says we should all volunteer right? Tell that to the gang at Capital District Community Gardens who despite five years of me asking to volunteer have gone out of their way to screw up the membership e-mail list, not return phone calls and go so far as to not give me directions to their site to sort seed packs.

I feel we need to make these so called volunteer do gooders remove themselves from office and let people who really want to create community gardens actually be able to.

Go to www.cdcg.org and look at all the claims of goody two shoe projects.

Then try and volunteer; Be prepared to be pushed aside, ignored along with the broken promises and fake apologies.

Then think hard about the new regime we elected in Washington and around your state, county and hometown. The pseudo Clintonites will ask for your time when all they want is your money.

Too many non profit organizations are there to self serve their board members. They are not community activists. People like the ilk at Capital District Community Gardens are elitists who want nothing of time just your sympathy.

Now get your community organized and start your own community garden.

Greg Draiss