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Showing posts from October, 2013


Over the past couple of years one section of our garden has specifically been cultivated to become a berry patch. About two years ago we purchased a year old raspberry bush from a local nursery and placed it in the garden. We worked the soil with compost and put it in a sunny location. The plant stretched and sent up thorny arms covered in leaves the first season. We cut the dead branches down to the dirt and pruned the live branches so that they were about three feet tall to force them to branch out the following year. Our second season was filled with late summer berries as the bush casually took up more ground in the garden. During the winter I kept glancing at the patch out of our kitchen window and said to my wife that I was going to add one more plant. She told me to be patient, that I would be surprised how big the plant would eventually get. I decided to take her advice and spent the winter feeding the plant fresh rabbit manure. In its third season the plant erupted from the gro…

Torch Sunflower

As autumn begins to settle into the valley and early morning mist rise from the Susquehanna I cannot help but admire the brilliant red leaves on the blueberry bushes and the soft tones of the sugar maple looming nearby. The naked frame of the butternut tree whose thin leaves were scattered by last week’s storm stands a quiet watch as black cap chickadee periodically make calculated raids on the giant skeletons of the sunflowers in the garden. As the pageantry of fall displays vibrant colors across the landscape like a fading peacock fan there is one flower still standing in our garden. The torch sunflower, also known as the Mexican sunflower, has been providing flowers for bouquets for months now. The plant stands about six feet tall and bushes out to display loud orange flowers that measure 2-3” across. The fuzzy yellow centers provide plenty of pollen for bees, especially late in the season when options are low. I ordered the seeds for this annual from the Seed Savers Exchange. http…