Barbara Rosholdt, Native Fruit Orchardist and Lecturer, describe how-to’s of home gardening and orcharding, with an eye to sustainability and efficiency

April 29, 2012: Paying your Dues – (Barb’s Gooseberry Karma Part 1)


More on Barb: I really enjoy growing things, all kinds of things – vegetables, flowers, fruits, and animals.  I like to watch how my efforts positively affect my environment and am excited about the progression of life:  the little green shoots poking up, the tiny chicks starting to feather out, the blooming of the trees and flowers, seeds and fruit maturing to perfection, wonderful dinners and shared bounty.  To me the only thing finer than sampling ripe fruits and vegetables is doing it with a crowd!  Socially, I am strongly committed to supporting the growth of community and connecting needs with opportunities.

This blog will describe how-to’s of home gardening and orcharding, with an eye to sustainability and efficiency.  This will include saving seed, propagation of plants, companion planting, and culture/harvest of many fruits and vegetables.  My experience tells me that no one remembers a pile of facts.  Everyone remembers stories, so I will tell stories that will inform and perhaps, entertain.

About my background.  I was raised on a family farm in the 1950-60’s in southwestern Ohio.  We had Angus grass fed beef cattle, pastured Hampshire hogs, white Plymouth Rock chickens (eggs and meat), cherry, apple, and peach orchards, and we raised our own hay, oats, and corn.  We also raised produce (including Silver Queen sweet corn) that we sold at our little market table under the spreading tree by the road.  Our family had a big garden that supplied most of our year round vegetable needs, and kept my sister and me busy weeding and picking.

As I got older, I noticed the stack of “Organic Gardening and Farming” magazines my dad kept by his chair.  I started to read them, and became an organic gardener/farmer on the spot.  I started experimenting with wood shavings on raspberries (anything to improve the quality and quantity of the berries!) and began to understand why he did things the way he did.

I had a strong connection to the animals on our farm, and am grateful for all the experiences I had being raised on a working farm.

Fast forward to now, and my husband and I have 13 acres in Louisa County, Virginia with a large garden, a modest orchard, and soon, some animals.  We both have off-land jobs, but I still save seed and preserve the harvest, trying to use every scrap that we grow or produce in some efficient, sustainable way.