Devil’s Hopyard Fire-A Year of Regrowth

Devil’s Hopyard State Park, in East Haddam, Connecticut, was a hot topic a year ago. A fire that burned about 150 acres of the park kept local and state firefighters busy for quite a few days and even held the attention of news organizations for more than 24 hours.

A week after the embers and risk for rekindles died, my husband and I hiked along the orange trail to the vista to observe the fire’s aftermath. (See the photos by clicking the link) The contrasts were striking. It was easy to see where the fire was the hottest – along upward slopes – and where it simply burned the leaf litter.

Yet, in just a couple of weeks and once spring rains fell, ferns began to shoot out of the blackened ground.



By August of 2012 forest grasses filled many of the lightly burned areas.

Devils Hopyard 8 3 12 Four Months Post Fire 2 By Rec Thumb

Even areas where the fire was the hottest showed signs of recovery four months later.

Devils Hopyard 8 3 12 Four Months Post Fire 1 By Rec Thumb


Now, a year later, we hiked many of the the same areas of the park to observe how burned sections of the forest look after a full year. Here’s a section of ledge outcropping one week after the fire.


This is the ledge area a year later. The photo above is of a section just to the left of the photo below. A year ago the area below was totally blackened.

Devil's Hopyard 4-7-13 one year after fire-4


The view from the vista a year ago reveals where fire moved along the slope.


The view a year later.  A few small trees still have blackened trunks but evidence of the fire is barely visible at the ground level.



The fire was most intense along the upward slope along the orange trail leading to the vista. A year ago this slope was completely blackened.  Fire consumed all the leaf litter and was fueled by many fallen trees and standing dead or declining trees. Below are views of the same slope, but from  different angles.

One week after the fire, looking up the slope.


A year after the fire, looking down the slope.


There are still blackened trees – only time will tell how many eventually succumb to fire damage – but the burned leaf-litter remains has been absorbed into the ground and is now covered by leaf litter from surviving trees that leafed out last spring and dropped their leaves last autumn … just as they have for decades.

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Seed to Salad in 10 Days–You Can Grow That!

Need a quick growing fix? Look no farther than a seed packet of micro greens. With minimal effort you can go from seed to salad in 10 days, making micro greens a perfect You Can Grow That! success story.

On the 4th of each month garden bloggers write You Can Grow That! posts to enlighten others of the joys and ease of gardening. I cannot think of anything much easier or more quickly rewarding than a small crop of a micro green seed blend meant to be harvested when about two inches tall.

My small crop grows in two black nursery seedling flats (hoarded for seed starting) filled to about 1/2 inch from the top edge with a container potting mix. I broadcast the seeds across the top of the potting medium then covered the seeds with a thin layer of more potting medium. My favorite method for watering freshly seeded flats is under the light spray of a kitchen sink sprayer. Then I place the flats in a water proof tray with about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom. This allows the potting medium to soak up water from the bottom.

Since I have grow lights set up for spring seed starting, I reserved a spot for these flats. As with all seeds started under lights, make sure the lights are as close to the seeds as possible. Once seedlings reach the lights, raise the lights an inch until seedlings reach them again. This will keep seedlings from growing leggy. Micro greens can also be grown in a sunny window – the more sun the better to keep them from becoming too leggy.

Make sure the flats remain moist, but not soggy, and take special care to keep the top layer, where the seeds rest, moist. This micro green blend, planted on March 24, shows quite a few sprouts on March 28.


Here they are on March 30, just six days after planting.


Today, April 4, this perfect indoor gardening crop is ready for harvest. Using scissors, I’ll give the micro greens a hair cut. After a good rinse and a spin in the salad spinner they will adorn tonight’s salad.


Then the flats will go back under the lights to see if they will produce a second, smaller crop from the roots that remain in the planting medium. To insure a regular supply of fresh micro greens, plant a succession of flats, say every four to seven days.

The micro green blend featured here is from Botanical Interests. The 24-gram packet contains a mix of beet, Swiss chard, radish, mustard, cress, cabbage, and kohlrabi. There are easily enough seeds remaining in the packet for two or three more similar sized plantings.


Botanical Interests sent me, as a member of Garden Writers Association, complimentary packets of seeds to try. This micro green blend was part of the package. To comply with full disclosure regulations, you should know I received this packet from Botanical Interests for free, but I am not being paid to write about the company or its products. If I did not like the product I would simply say nothing. In the past I’ve grow micro green blends, similarly sent in a complimentary mailing, from Renee’s Garden, and they were just as good.

Try growing micro greens as an ideal You Can Grow That! crop. Now head to the You Can Grow That! website managed by C.L. Fornari at Whole Life Gardening, the creative brain behind You Can Grow That! to read the diverse group of You Can Grow That! posts from other bloggers.


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