This page was last updated on Monday, 02 September, 2013.

Elizabeth Stump writes for RS.i℠

Data MatrixWhen I was about seven years old, my father handed me some baby corn seeds, the type popular in Thai cooking. He helped me plant them, taught me to water them, and some months later, I was able to harvest, shuck, boil and eat them, amazed that I could grow my own food instead of buying it at the supermarket.
Once I got married and moved out of my parents' house, the gardening bug really hit me. I bought some books, but I learned a lot from catalogs. Before everyone and their brother had a web site, I ordered a lot of catalogs and sent a lot of dollar bills through the mail to buy catalogs and teach myself as much as I could about plants. Once the Internet took off in the mid 90's, I read nursery web sites voraciously, looking for the interesting, exotic and unqiue.
In between studying catalogs and gardening books, I worked in administrative positions before landing a career job in public relations. The inconvenient thing about public relations is that it's the first industry to fire when the economy tanks and the last to hire when the economy recovers. So between the dot-com boom, bust, recovery and financial/housing market collapse, I've had a lot of time to enjoy my bonsai hobby, buy lots of exotic and rare bulbs, play around with orchids, and grow some fruits and vegetables along the way.
I've been a bonsai enthusiast since 1998, belonging to a bonsai club here in California, where I was born, raised and still live. With bonsai, I've learned some additional aspects about plant care that I've been able to apply to gardening. One skill I've learned because of bonsai is grafting fruit trees, which is helpful if you want to propagate a rare crab apple for your bonsai collection.
When my youngest was in preschool, the housing market bubble burst, and I used my copious free time to help develop an empty lot behind the preschool into a garden. I planned out the garden and planted a wide varity of fruits and vegetables, including an 800 square foot pumpkin patch for the children to pick pumpkins in that October.
My youngest is now in elementary school, where I am a consultant for the teacher who runs the school garden there. I've provided apple trees for the school garden that I've grafted myself and periodically help out. I bring seedlings and seed potatoes sometimes, and help with their worm farm, by sharing some from my own worm farm.
I'm far from knowing everything about growing food, and there is still a lot to learn, but I am thrilled to share information and helpful hints that I've learned from experience, read about or heard from friends who have shared their knowledge with me. Should there be any information you disagree with or have conflicting experience, please let me know. I'm always eager to learn about other people's experiences.

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Fruit Trees

Fruit Trees: Primer and Selection

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