2-21-14 Ageless advice on feeding your rose

One thing about the shift from newsprint to online electrons is that people are less likely to take out their scissors and save the written word for future generations.
Remember gramma’s recipe holder — usually a wooden box crammed full of yellowed Betty Crocker recipes?
When I need a recipe, I go to allrecipes.com and press print on my computer.
We don’t even need coupons nowadays. We just point our Smart phones at the general direction of the checkout girl.
This week I received a phone call from a reader who had clipped an article from the dark ages — apparently something written by me about recipes for roses.
Then she lost it.
Could I find the original article, she asked nicely.
One clue was alfalfa pellets.
A challenge? You betchya.
As it turns out, that article was written in 1999 — the year Sow There! debuted. I had to go check my crow’s feet before regaining composure.
Despite the alarming reality that most of my youth is gone, I was pleased she had saved the article and now mourned its loss.

Rose food recipe
The recipe came from certified rosarian Julie Matlin, who was the president of the Butte Rose Society in 1999. Julie had recommended serving the magic rose concoction after the first blooms in April and again in the middle of summer.
• 1 big bag steer manure
• 1 small bottle fish emulsion
• 1 pound alfalfa rabbit pellets from a feed or pet store.
Instructions: Cultivate lightly around the rose.
Sprinkle a cup of alfalfa rabbit pellets. Follow that with two shovelsful of steer manure, taking care not to cover the crown of the plant.
Follow the directions on the fish emulsion, which should say something like, “Mix a tablespoon in a gallon of water.”
Let everything soak in, and finish with another good watering.

Cooking up good blooms

Another recipe for “alfalfa tea” calls for placing 10-12 cups of alfalfa pellets into a 32-gallon plastic garbage can with a lid. Optional is to toss in two cups of Epsom salt, add water and stir.
Cover tightly, stir occasionally. After a few days, the mixture will begin to brew and smell. After five days, pour about one gallon around the base of each rose.
After the water is gone, you can use the alfalfa pellets at the bottom of the bucket to brew a second batch.

Thank you, dear reader. Despite wondering how 15 years have gone by so quickly, I had fun looking back into the past.
I’m sorry I didn’t ask your name. But let me know if this was the news you had lost.
That particular article was co-written by Elaine Gray, who dreamed up the idea of two women writing about gardening and giggling once a week until our co-workers asked us to pipe down.
Back then, Julie shared many other rose tips, which certainly must be useful today.
To read the article in its entirety, I’ve tacked it onto my seldom-read blog at: http://www.norcalblogs. com/sowthere/.

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