My foe is quackgrass, also known as witchgrass, couchgrass and, botanically, Elytrigia repens. It is small consolation that quackgrass isn’t only my problem; this native of Europe, North Africa and parts of Asia and the Arctic is now a worldwide weed. (NYS IPM Program at Cornell University)

Gardener’s Notebook: Quashing quackgrass

My first garden foe, which I haven’t seen for years, recently sneaked into the greenhouse. Damping-off sounds pretty bad, but not as bad as its scientific names: probably Rhizoctonia or Pythium, which, along…

(Dion Ogust | Almanac Weekly)

Early warmth + late frosts = garden casualties

The talk of the town these days is the weather – in this town, at least, and other towns throughout the Northeast. After a relatively snowless winter punctuated with warm spells, spring knocked…

Lee pruning his blueberries

Now’s the time to prune shrubs before spring growth begins

In years past, when I went outdoors this time of year, it was usually with skis strapped to my feet. Or wearing snow boots. Or snowshoes. With this snowless, warm winter, I’m mostly…

(Lee Reich | Almanac Weekly)

Gardener’s Notebook: Mystery of the undead rose

It was with red rose in hand – a long-stemmed red rose – that Deb returned from a recent bridal shower. The rose was a party favor, the flower a welcome sight in…

Lee's friends Bill and Lisa, also shiitake growers, are still harvesting good crops, cold weather notwithstanding. They brought one of their logs indoors, where it stands in the sink of their laundry room. Great idea! (photo by Wendell Smith)

Even indoors, shiitakes just keep on keepin’ on

The 15 oak logs sitting in the shade of my giant Norway spruce tree more than earned their keep last year. Seven of them got inoculated with plugs of shiitake mushroom spawn in…

Lee tests seed viability by counting out 10 to 20 seeds from each packet, and spreading the seeds between two moist rounds of filter paper on a plate. Enclosing the plate in a plastic bag to hold in moisture and putting the bagged plate somewhere warm – preferably around 75 degrees – provides nearly perfect conditions for germination.  (Lee Reich | Almanac Weekly)

How to know when to toss your old seeds

“Ring out the old, ring in the new” – but not all the “old,” when it comes to seeds for this year’s garden. I’m flipping through my plastic shoeboxes (I think that’s what…

Lee spreading wood ash in New Paltz (Lee Reich | Almanac Weekly)

Cardoon’s questionable

I haven’t yet given up on cardoon – growing it. But eating it? I just about give up. It’s like eating humongous stalks of stringy celery having just a hint of artichoke flavor. As…

My Arnold’s Promise witch hazel usually flowers in March. This year’s October flowering means no flowers this coming spring. (Lee Reich | Almanac Weekly)

Balmy fall means problems for garden plants in spring

The season has been “chill,” literally and figuratively – the former predicted by weather experts based on this year’s strong El Niño. Because of El Niño, the West was pounded with rain; here…

Propagating African violets with leaf cuttings. (Lee Reich | Almanac Weekly)

African violets aren’t quite so fussy as they’re reputed

And now, with a bow to my feminine side, a little something about African violets: houseplants that have traditionally been thought of as old ladies’ flowers. Still, I’ll admit it: I like African…

The stress of bending – compression on one side of a stem, expansion on the opposite side – steps up ethylene production (30 to 300 percent), slowing growth, inducing flowerbud formation and shortening the time till I bite into my first pears from young trees. (Lee Reich | Almanac Weekly)

Putting plants’ natural ethylene production to good use

Late fall, and my thoughts turn naturally to…ethylene! You remember ethylene from high school chemistry: a simple hydrocarbon with two carbon atoms double-bonded together with two hydrogen atoms attached to each of the…

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