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Lewes, Delaware
Jim's Towing Service
August 27, 1999     Cape Gazette
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August 27, 1999
 

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70 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, August 27 - September 2, 1999 GARDEN & FARM Romne Pack pho/o@ Bagging up sweet corn for a customer at West's Produce in above photo, Chelsea Aydelotte helps Connie Matthews in counting out a dozen locally grown ears. Matthews usually greets customers at the stand on Sussex 16 on the way to Broadkill Beach; In photo at right, Chelsea chooses ripe black berries from the U-pick bushes that grow on the farm estab- lished by her great-grandfather Howard West. The stand car- ries on a 20-year tradition of West's Produce. West's Produce a Cape Region landmark for 20 years ' By Rosanne Pack The water pumps have run non-stop for months, but "the sweet, juicy berries at West's Produce show the benefits of regular watering in this summer of drought. Pausing in her picking to pop a fat black- berry in her mouth, Chelsea Aydelotte explains, "Our irrigation has been going 24-7 all summer." Her grandmother, Nancy Aydelotte con- firms the fact, but she adds that once you commit to planting and cultivating, you have to go all the way. "Nobody's happy about it but the electric company, but in this heat and humidity, we have to do it keep our plants alive and pro- ducing," she said. "Now, we just look around everyday and say, 'What do I water next?' You hate to see things wither once you have them started."' And the berries, bllackberries and late raspberries now, peaches, eggplant, squash- es and peppers illustrate the care that they have received. The Aydetotte family employs the standard overhead irrigation but they also have soaker hoses stretched under plastic between rows of vines and berry brambles. The background The family has been selling produce for 20 years on what was Nancy Aydelotte's iamily farm, the last five years in the per- manent stand on Sussex 16, east of Route 1. Aydelotte said her father, Howard West, started with an honor box in front of a small shed that sat beside the road in front of their house on the road to Broadkill Beach. "He had a cigar box that he set out," she said. "He put coins in it so people could make change for themselves when they stopped for their vegetables or fruit. We never had a problem. Sometimes people would leave a note that they needed some vegetables, but they didn't have cash on them. They would stop by in a day or two and leave their money." Continued on page 71 In the garden, big hips are always in style Prayer, tranquility, meditation. "Pray the rosary" was the simple command of my mother. The clacking of rosary prayer beads in the hands of young and old, men and women devout was a part of our Italian childhood. Now what, pray tell, do rosary beads have to do with gardening? During World War II, Great Britain was isolated and unable to import citrus fruits. The British were literally starving for vitamin C. Scurvy began to weaken the population, especially the British children. Millions prayed, some on rosary beads. Unknowingly they" held the very answer in their praying hands. For the rosary is named after the rose, or more cor- rectly, the rosary is named after J, JesO fmJls of the rose, or rose hips. The first rosary beads were fashioned out of rose hips. Rose hips are the small hard rose fruits that appear after the rose blossom has faded. And rose fruits or hips were found to contain 50 times GARDEN JOURNAL Paul Barbano the vitamin C of oranges. Rcose hips are also rich in bioflavonoiids that help repair blood vessels, pre- vent bruising and reduce inflam- mation. Rose hips contain the soluble fiber pectin. Pectin helps lower cholesterol, controls blood pressure and even prevents intesti- nal cancer. Armed with this nutri- tional knowledge, war time volun- teers fanned out over the country- side and collected rose hips. The hips were made into vitamin C- rich. rose syrup. Scurvy was reversed and the rose saved Britain. Almost every rose will produce rose hips. Certain species pro- duce bigger and better hips than others. "Rosa Rugosa" is proba- bly the best type of rose to grow for big hips. It also makes a wide, six to eight foot tall impen- etrable hedge, thanks to its thorns and dense growth. Growing rugosa roses is simple. They have the added benefits of being nearly disease free and pest proof. Rugosa roses are able to withstand salt spray so they're great in a coastal garden. And their easy care make them perfect for thenatural or edible land- scape. Plant rugosa roses in a spot with full sun or light shade. Good drainage is essential but otherwise the rugosas are a hardy bunch. A slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6 is ideal. They thrive with little or no fertilizer. If you must feed them try manure tea, some com- post or human hair clippings around the base of the plant. Never use any chemicals or sprays on roses that you intend to eat. You may either plant them as single specimens or as hedges. For hedges plant them about 3 to 4 feet apart. Rosa Rugosa is easily propagat- ed by cuttings. Folklore says to use a stem cut below the sixth set of leaves from a branch that has just finished blooming. Of course you can also plant the seeds that are in every rose hip, though the resulting plants won't be true to the parents. There are several impressive varieties of rosa ru$osa. "Frau Dagmar I-Iastrup" will grow four to five feet tall and about as wide. It blooms with pale pink single blossom from June through August and again in autumn. These are followed by some of the largest hips in the rose family. "Rosa Rugosa Alba" is a pure white very fragrant single rose. It has very large flowers from sum- mer through the fall. It will soon become a spreading six-foot tall hedge. It is also one of the hardi- est roses, able to grow in USDA climate zones 2-9. "Blanc Double de Coubert" produces large white semi-double flowers on bushes 6 feet tall. The fragrant flowers bloom all season and are followed by large hips. A more compact rugosa is "Dart's Dash" with red double blossoms and large orange hips. To find plants check local nurs- eries. Several mail order nurs- eries carry Rosa Rugosa, includ- ing Raintree Nursery on the inter- net at www.raintreenursery.com or (360) 496-6400, and Wa'side Gardens at www.waysidegar- dens .com. So what can you do with these rose hips? Of course you can just leave them be where they will provide wildlife food over the Continued on page 71