Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cold protection for plants and fruit trees

Our Organic Grower’s meetings continue with a stellar presentation given by our own Simple Living Institute member, Hayri Lawrence. She showcased her 5 acre nursery chock full of fruit bearing trees, vegetable beds and scurrying chickens with a beautiful slide show and season appropriate talk on cold preparation. Her personal stories about what to do and what not to do to protect plants and fruit trees welcomed us right onto her property!

I felt a shiver as she explained how important is is to hold down the covers for the plants with heavy objects so the cold (more like freezing!) wind won’t lift them and make all the work done to cover plants, for not. Dates when cuts were made written with a sharpie on banana trees demonstrate her attention to detail. Her pictures showed acccumulations of dead leaves everywhere. She piles them up them at the base of every plant to protect important roots from the cold. A child in the audience asked, “Why don’t you just throw the dead leaves away?” Hayri’s eyebrows raised, “No I wouldn’t! They are like gold! When I see the neighbors leaving bags of raked up leaves for pick up, I pick them up! You can never have too many dead leaves!”

Even a master gardener of 17 yrs has to learn about what not to do! Hayri allows her chickens to run about the garden on sunny afternoons. Sometimes the plant protecting leaves are scattered. The time she remembered to push the leaves back up, she showed papayas that survived the cold. What happened when she had forgotten? Burnt, and split stumps!

"I have been greedy thinking that I'll save the fruits by covering just the tops" she says. But her pictures showed us that when she learned to protect the bases, many tress and plants come back to fruit again. Greedy? Hardly! Hayri showed just how many plants in pots she moves in and out (and in and out!) of her insulated shed and garage during the cold and sunny weather. It is a lot of work!

Do you have a question about cold protection or fruit trees, or gardening? write Hayri at

Thanks to everyone who contributes to our raffle table at the Organic Grower's meetings! There is Shirley making sure everything is labeled and presentable. Members of Simple Living Institute receive a free raffle ticket and many many are purchased at every meeting for cheap! Every ticket holder goes home with a treasure from our raffle table.

Our next Organic Grower’s meeting is Wednesday Dec. 15th. Stephanie Syson from Gray’s Garden, will present "What to do with herbs?" Sounds yummy! See you then!

Shayla Dougher, volunteer coordinator 407-923-4562

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