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Showing posts from May, 2016

Elderberry

'The Russians believe that Elder-trees drive away evil spirits, and the Bohemians go to it with a spell to take away fever. The Sicilians think that sticks of its wood will kill serpents and drive away robbers, and the Serbs introduce a stick of Elder into their wedding ceremonies to bring good luck. In England it was thought that the Elder was never struck by lightning, and a twig of it tied into three or four knots and carried in the pocket was a charm against rheumatism. A cross made of Elder and fastened to cow houses and stables was supposed to keep all evil from the animals.' 
~Lady Rosalind Northcote, The Book of Herbs 1903~
We have been interested in adding elderberry plants to our homestead for some time. When we found out some good friends of ours were ordering a number of plants we jumped at the opportunity to be included.

They are a very hardy plant that can easily be grown up to zone 4. Some varieties can survive in zone 3. When planting your elderberry remember th…

Dwarf Pear Tree

~ People in suburbia see trees differently than foresters do. They cherish everyone. It is useless to speak of the probability that a certain tree will die when the tree is in someone's backyard. You are talking about a personal asset, a friend, a monument, not about board feet of lumber.~ Roger Swain

As an urban farmer I have to be very conscious of the limits of my property. Part of my goal this year has been to extend my harvest season and to introduce more fruit trees to the Bossy Hen Homestead.  In an effort to honor this goal my family planted two dwarf pear trees on my sons birthday.

Pears are a wonderful tree to grow. They are hardy from zones 3 to 10 depending on the variety you choose. This year we planted a Bartlett and a Karl's Favorite in order to increase the chances of pollination by offering our local bees more than one variety of pear to scamper on.

When planting keep in mind that healthy soil means healthy plants. We composted rabbit manure in the area wher…