Friday, July 18, 2014

Consumer Considerations



Welcome back to another episode of Lost in the Farmers Market, this week’s topic is the same as every week; garden and sustainability stuff. Before we delve into the main topic I do have to talk briefly about safe shopping for organic and GMO-Free products .

So on this web log we often talk about what it means to be organic from the context of growing a garden but not from the perspective of what it means to buy organic at the store. Indeed there are a number of existing misconceptions about what Organic means and what genetically modified organisms (GMO) has to do in relation to the term organic. For instance, something that is GMO-free may not be organic, and something that is organic may not be GMO-free. The term organic only means that the ingredients used in the product in question were grown and processed in an organic fashion by the standards set down by either the USDA or some other organizational body. I make that distinction because the growing standards of the USDA are not nearly as stringent as those of the Organic Materials Research Institute (OMRI) or for that matter the standards of the Oregon Tithe. Just being declared organic without listing without listing whose standards you’re running under is a little like intended deception these days.

The common packaging in the supermarket doesn’t distinguish and the best protection a consumer has is to read the package carefully and then read the ingredients label to verify.  As a case in point, RW Garcia’s Big Bag of yellow Corn Tortilla Chips says it’s made of organic yellow corn and is Non-GMO project verified. When you actually read the ingredients information on the back it says the following.

Ingredients: Organic stone ground yellow corn, sunflower oil or non-organic corn oil, sea salt, water, trace of lime.

So the corn, being the main ingredient is organic, that’s good it’s hard to find GMO-free organic yellow corn these days but that part about the oil does worry me. If the non-organic corn oil is on this particular bag…is said corn also GMO-free? The only good news I can find is that this product was certified by guess who? The Oregon Tithe, who are one of the most ardent organic supporters out there so I can only hope I didn’t get the non-organic tainted bag and even if I did the oil isn’t GMO. For note I sent an Inquiry to W Garcia a bit before this post went up and am still waiting for a response. Admittedly I’m of the view that if a single ingredient in a product is tainted by GMO’s or is non-organic the entire product may as well not be certified as free of both. But pending the response from RW Garcia in this case I’m also withholding a judgment on the product. The point of all this is to remind you the reader that you should carefully scrutinize what you buy at the super market even if it says organic. You are the ultimate gatekeeper of your own health and it is your task to ensure that what you put in your body is at the quality level that you decide.

As it turns out this weekend is set to be pretty nice, with a low chance of rain moderate humidity and lots of sun. With such nice weather the farmer’s market is bound to be packed and as you regular readers out there know I’ll be down there this Saturday and the following Wednesday manning the booth with plants a-plenty. For those who don’t know about the market the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market is located in downtown Fayetteville at 325 Franklin Street in the parking lots of the Fayetteville Transportation Museum. Parking enforcement down town takes the weekend off so you can part on the street or in the municipal lots nearby without problem and shop at the market for as long as you like. As always below is Saturday’s plant list for the 19th of July.

Southward Skies: A northern guide to southern Gardening
This is the second edition of my book, which was published using data compiled from several years of test garden operations. It’s written to aid gardeners of all skill levels in successful garden methods that are targeted for the south east but had proven to be a valued resource for gardens across the eastern coast. It’s certainly a good gift for that gardener you know or for yourself if you’d like to have a reliable field guide. The book costs $25.00 and we do take checks for this item, you can even have it signed.

On Sale: (3x for 5.00)
1x Pepper, Jalapeno, 3.5” pot ($2.00)
2x Pepper, Habenero, 3.5” pot ($2.00)
2x Pepper, Sweet Banana , 3.5” pot ($2.00)
4x Pepper, Carolina Wonder, 3.5” pot ($2.00)
1x Tomato, Brown Berry, 3.5” pot ($2.00)
2x Tomato, Martino’s Roma, 3.5” pot ($2.00)
1x Tomato, Rainbow Cherry Mix, 3.5” pot ($2.00)
1x Tomato, Red & Yellow Currant, 3.5” pot ($2.00)
1x Tomato, Reisotomate, 3.5” pot ($2.00)
3x Eggplant, Casper , 3.5” pot ($2.00)
2x Eggplant, Louisiana Long Green, 3.5” pot ($2.00)

Vegetables
3x Cucumber, Armenian, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Cucumber, Poona Kheera, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
1x Pepper, Lemon Drop, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

Fruits
3x Horned Melon, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Vine Peaches, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

Herbs
3x Basil, Sweet, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
1x Basil, Blue African, , 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Basil, Thai, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Basil, Cinnamon, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Basil, Red Rubin, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
4x Artemesia, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
1x Fennel, Black, 7” pot ($5.00)
4x Lavender, Hidcote, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Oregano, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
4x Rosemary, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
1x Sage, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Thyme, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

Ornamental:
1x Passion Vine, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
4x Nicotina, Flowering Tobacco, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
4x Rudbeckia, Irish Eyes, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
4x Rudbeckia, Golden, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

Coming Soon:
Muscadine, Copper
Red Egyptian Onions

With the plant list posted and the topics discussed this brings to a close another episode of LITFM. If you have any questions about our content feel free to post a message via this blog or stop by the booth at the farmers market.

Friday, July 11, 2014

July; a month that clearly has no idea what it's doing



Welcome back to a shortened episode of Lost in The Farmers Market. As some of you out there may have noticed there was no episode last week. We decided due to workload that it was a wise idea to take that week off and do a ‘half’ post this week for the same reason. Normal episodes will resume next week and this brings us to the current topic.

As you’ve noticed we had a long stretch with no appreciable rain, the latest thunderstorm on Thursday dropped 0.8” on the test gardens and spread that across a few hours. Some would consider a thunderstorm that takes several hours a bad thing however for the purposes of irrigation and replenishment of ground water a slow rainstorm is actually better than a heavy fast one. One of the obvious reasons a rainy day beats a series of short heavy down pours is that rain over time tends to produce less flooding problems. Now to be fair several days of heavy rain will still cause floods just not of the same sort where water is raging though neighborhoods from a torrential downpour that’s also tossing hail.

I’ve said before that thunderstorms are good for the garden and agriculture in general because with the rain comes a slight dose of atmospheric nitrogen. This nitrogen does not stay but it is there just long enough to green everything up for a few days. I might add if this nitrogen is applied over say a few hours…there is a greater chance for your plants to capture and use more of it, also the slow rain ensures that the soil is moistened to a deeper level than might be possible in a short downpour. In fact a short storm poses a greater chance to increase soil loss by the movement of water. What you have is a debate on how much is enough. The test garden rain barrel water levels were at 50% before as the recent and frequent waves of random thunder-showers have done much to keep the irrigation water supply full.

There is the subtle effect of water passing through the soil structure that we must be wary of. Nutrient loss is a common problem in sand-heavy soils that comes from a lack of organic matter and the tendency of sandy soils to lean towards the acidic side of the pH scale. The varied degrees of Acidity in a given soil will allow or prevent your plants from accessing certain critical nutrients. For instance at a pH of 4.0 Nitrogen, Calcium, Molybdenum, Phosphorous, Potassium, Sulfur, Manganese and Boron are limited in their availability to your plants and yet at the same pH Iron, Manganese Zinc, Copper and Cobalt are fully available to a potential that may be toxic.  Ironically your ambient soil pH if kept between 6.0 and 7.0 will auto balance what nutrients it has with exception for any generally low nutrient where the pH is not affecting it’s accessibility to your crops.
On a local Level I have talked about how calcium deficiency causes blossom end rot in tomatoes in general but is especially problematic in paste tomatoes. In this case the regular rains are somewhat of a mixed blessing. On one had regular rain means good growth and fruit formation, but on the other hand with every rain my responses to blossom end rot are being washed away.

The quandary here is that the quickest acting materials at hand are reduced in effectiveness by drenching rains. The slowest acting ones are too slow to do anything in the short term. So the response is simply to increase doses of the short term solution (calcium carbonate) and couple it with a median response material (crushed eggshells) and apply a long term solution (agricultural lime). All three things are organic, all three things have the same effect over time and all three leave no lasting side-effects on the local environment. Rain or not, sometimes it takes a creative and multiple stage strategy to defeat nutrient problems in the field.

But enough about the battle against nutrient deficiency,  as always the conversation shifts from plant information to the activity at the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market. This weekend weather wise is set to be quite nice with temperatures in the 90’s and modest humidity but a very low chance of precipitation. I would say that is rather fortunate as it makes for some good market weather. The Fayetteville Farmer’s Market is located at 325 Franklin Street in downtown Fayetteville. The market is open on Wednesdays from 2:00 pm through 6:00 pm and on Saturdays from 9:00 am through 1:00pm. I might add I maintain a table at both market days and my plant selection varies a bit between so, I can assure you it’s always interesting. I might add this week there are some new selections and this is just the start, as I mentioned a few times before, once we hit mid-July through August the strange plants start appearing at the booth including rare and unusual houseplants. The plant list for the Saturday Market is below and there may be some random extras not listed that make it to the table.

Southward Skies: A northern guide to southern Gardening
This is the second edition of my book, which was published using data compiled from several years of test garden operations. It’s written to aid gardeners of all skill levels in successful garden methods that are targeted for the south east but had proven to be a valued resource for gardens across the eastern coast. It’s certainly a good gift for that gardener you know or for yourself if you’d like to have a reliable field guide. The book costs $25.00 and we do take checks for this item, you can even have it signed.


Vegetables
3x Cucumber, Armenian, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Cucumber, Poona Kheera, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Eggplant, Casper , 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Eggplant, Louisiana Long Green, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Pepper, Lemon Drop, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
1x Pepper, Jalapeno, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Pepper, Habenero, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Pepper, Sweet Banana , 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Pepper, Carolina Wonder, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
1x Tomato, Brown Berry, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Tomato, Martino’s Roma, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
1x Tomato, Rainbow Cherry Mix, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
1x Tomato, Red & Yellow Currant, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Tomato, Reisotomate, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

Fruits
3x Horned Melon, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Vine Peaches, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

Herbs
4x Basil, Sweet, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Basil, Blue African, , 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Basil, Thai, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Basil, Cinnamon, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Basil, Red Rubin, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Artemesia, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
1x Chives, Common, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
1x Fennel, Black, 7” pot ($6.00)
3x Lavender, Hidcote, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
4x Oregano, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Rosemary, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Sage, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
4x Thyme, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

Ornamental:
1x Passion Vine, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Coneflower, Cheyenne Spirit, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
1x Rudbeckia, Golden, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

Coming Soon:
Muscadine, Copper
Red Egyptian Onions

With the end of the plant materials list for the Saturday market we bring to an end this week’s episode of Lost In The Farmers Market.  Feel free to ask about any of our content at the booth or through this blog. As always, keep ‘em growing.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Half Year Past



Welcome back to another episode of lost in the farmer’s market where we look into the ways and means of successful organic gardening with just a dash of comedic content to keep the topics from going to seed. As you may know with next week’s post we are heading into the second half of the year. This of course means the fruits of your labor for the summer harvest should be starting to produce results or are very close so now is a good time to talk about protecting your hard work and how to keep the produce coming. Before we get into that lets talk precipitation, this week the test gardens have received at least 1.1” of precipitation on average which has been supported by a number of brief showers. This comes on the heels of last week’s significant rainfall which is a good thing. Since the major rains in the area tend to be by way of thunderstorms this also means gardens in the area have been receiving atmospheric nitrogen. Adequate water is essential to the success of any garden that is designed to produce food for a house hold or for sale.

The discussion of production isn’t complete without a bit on fertilizer. Now as you might figure if your vegetable crops have been in place for a few months they might need a little boost in preparation for the difficulties of August. July is right around the corner and with it the oppressive heat and common drought of August. This basically sets the stage for a possible case of nutrient deficiency, or a soil fertility issue. Usually in the context of a garden it’s a localized problem take for instance the issue of blossom end rot in tomatoes which in truth is a calcium deficiency.  Most problems can be resolved or prevented with regular applications of water-soluble slow release organic fertilizers which when used in the right measure put back what you remove. It also has to be said that mono-cropping and not making use of crop rotation will only make the issue of nutrient deficiency worse in the long run. On a local note, at the Test gardens one of the tomatoes involved in the trials this year has already exhibited a case of blossom end rot. The real twist to this is that it’s a potted plant that is being grown in fresh soil and thus I have to point out that even with good potting soil you can have nutrient issues. I’ve resolved the issue with hydrated lime suspended in slightly acidic water from the rain barrels and the problem has not recurred but it does highlight that gardeners should always be wary. The link below goes to a document published regarding the varied symptoms of various nutrient deficiencies and is a rather informative read or reference.


Keep in mind in the case of the tomato that suffered blossom end rot even when potted, it was the San Marzano paste tomatoes. They might have been the first large tomato harvested had the entire first batch not suffered end rot. I suspect pate tomatoes just need more calcium in general as this happened last year also.  This is the life of the test garden; you react to whatever situations happen as they come about with the information at hand.

But this leads to the second topic of the week, how does one handle losses to birds and squirrels and such? A lot of visitors at the booth have stated that they often find their tomatoes with bites out of them in the middle of the yard (squirrels). Others have mentioned the birds getting them and basically leaving them still on the vine half eaten/pecked to death. At the test gardens I have problems with critters in both cases and have found a decent way to solve the problem at little or no cost. Some folks get decoy owls, or those weird inflatable balls that have bright colors, some get fox urine, of dangle old CD’s up or foil strips. The problem is birds and squirrels quickly adapt to these things, and let’s face it netting over your crops is a massive pain in the rear end. Admittedly I’ve never used a single one as the frustrations with these methods that are voiced at the booth at the farmer’s market as well as when I’m out doing landscaping have ruled out these options. So many people could not be so dissatisfied if it was effective. With that said this is how I handle it, instead of fancy and expensive stuff I will often ‘jacket’ the fruit of crops that are vulnerable to birds and squirrels.


Before you ask no, this is not a micro-greenhouse technique.

The use of plastic zip lock type sandwich bags protects tomatoes because for some reason the birds cannot quite tell they are ripe and the squirrels tend to leave them alone probably because of the plastic. I should say that in the bottom of each bag I cut three 1” slits to allow the fruit inside to breathe and to prevent water from collecting inside. The alternative means of ‘Jacketing’ a crop can be seen in the below picture.


Figs require a different method as they will not tolerate plastic.
For the White Ischia figs that ripened within the last few days (this is early, I think) it posed the problem of dealing with the bird population. Last year I field tested the use of muslin bags over the fruits that were gently tied to the branches of the fig bushes with great success. This year the process was repeated and for the early harvest I only lost two ripe figs to birds out of 23 which is a remarkable success rate. Basically this version allows the fruit to breathe but also removes the ripening fruit from sight so it’s not as much of a target. This method has only been tested with the figs, because of their slow ripening habits. Unlike other fruits figs generally are ripe when the fruit are very swollen, have a slight gloss to their skin and are very soft to the touch. I might add figs sag when ripe as if too heavy for their stems to support. The end result of all this  effort can be seen in the next picture.


Last week’s Mexico midget and Cherokee purple tomato harvest plus the first five figs of the year.
It does payoff to be vigilant, but it also pays off to be wise about how you manage your crops. As a final note for this post before we get to the market stuff, someone last week asked about caterpillars and the “eggs” they leave on the soil. Catapillars have this biological mechanism that allows them to fling their feces a distance away to prevent wasps from finding them. And so you get what I found in the house this week a caterpillar on one of my rhipsalis that seeming came from nowhere the following occurred right after.

Why Hi Mr. caterpillar, have seen you in a while.

What the hell? Did you just crap all over the living room?
Needless to say I don’t know how he got on that plant as it’s never been outside but he had to go and there was a cleanup after the fact. For note this is probably the first time we've resorted to toilet humor at LITFM, it was a barrier that needed breaking anyway.

But now I must move on to the Farmers Market stuff and indeed we appear to have a decent weekend coming up. Thought eh weather has a chance to throw a thunderstorm like it has had every day for the last two weeks that should not prevent you from hitting up the market. For those who have not heard the Fayettville Farmer’s Market is located at 325 Franklin Street, in downtown Fayetteville in the front parking lot and lawn area of the Fayetteville Transportation Museum. The market runs on both Wednesdays between 2pm and 6pm and on Saturdays between 9am and 1pm. This gives all of you two chances to get the freshest foods in Fayetteville and to hit up my booth for information and  GMO-Free, organic plants for your garden. Without further ado here is this Saturday’s Plant list.

Southward Skies: A northern guide to southern Gardening
This is the second edition of my book, which was published using data compiled from several years of test garden operations. It’s written to aid gardeners of all skill levels in successful garden methods that are targeted for the south east but had proven to be a valued resource for gardens across the eastern coast. It’s certainly a good gift for that gardener you know or for yourself if you’d like to have a reliable field guide. The book costs $25.00 and we do take checks for this item, you can even have it signed.


Vegetables
2x Amaranth, Tricolor, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Cucumber, Armenian, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Cucumber, Poona Kheera, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Eggplant, Casper , 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Eggplant, Louisiana Long Green, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Pepper, Jalapeno, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Pepper, Habenero, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Pepper, Sweet Banana , 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Pepper, Carolina Wonder, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Tomato, Brown Berry, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Tomato, Martino’s Roma, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
1x Tomato, Rainbow Cherry Mix, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Tomato, Red & Yellow Currant, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Tomato, Reisotomate, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
1x Tomato, Underground Railroad, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

Fruits
2x Cape Gooseberry, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Ground Cherry, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Horned Melon, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Vine Peaches, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

Herbs
4x Basil, Sweet, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Basil, Thai, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Basil, Cinnamon, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Basil, Red Rubin, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Artemesia, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Chives, Common, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Fennel, Black, 7” pot ($6.00)
2x Lavender, Hidcote, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Oregano, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Parsley, Italian, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Rosemary, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Sage, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Thyme, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

Ornamental:
1x Passion Vine, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Coneflower, White Swan, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Coneflower, Cheyenne Spirit, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
1x Coneflower, Magnus, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Rudbeckia, Golden, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
1x Rudbeckia, Irish Eyes, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Rudbeckia, Summer Sun, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

Coming Soon:
Black Hungarian Pepper
Potatoleaf Hillbilly Tomato
Japanese Black Trifele Tomato
Muscadine, Copper

I admit this episode was a tad wordy however it is now at it's end, and I hope you enjoyed it. Next week caps off the real summer series, as we document things like the pepper trials and other stuff going on around the gardens. As always folks watch for lighting, carry an umbrella and never ever allow a caterpillar as a house guest they  seriously think the world is toilet paper. As always folks keep 'em growing!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Summer is that you?





Welcome back to another episode of Lost In The Farmer’s Market. So here we are on the first official LITFM episode of the summer of 2014. Imagine that, we’ve come through some very strange weather as there was that brief drought period, and now constant thunderstorms some of which featured very violent winds and hail. Personally I find this odd weather to be the result of climate change but then that’s just me. Never before have I seen such alternating flood/drought periods or for that matter hail as often as in 2014. Granted what I just said is personal opinion which isn’t science fact and thus we move on to some actual science fact; this week’s episode.

As we know it’s now summer and of course we had that bit of drought but fortunately the recent series of thunder storms finally made their way to the region of the Test gardens and the storm event on Monday delivered a 0.5” of rain with the storm on Thursday adding another 1.5” for a total of 2.0”.  Not bad for a post drought rainfall it’s certainly enough to replenish the rain barrel water supply. For this week’s post we’ve got some garden photographs that answer some of your questions at the farmer’s market booth.

Blue berries tomatoes developing note the nice purple shoulders but green underside.

A few days later the bottoms begin to turn and we have this reddish coloration.

So I had to post up two developing pictures of the same blue berries tomato plant to show to those who doubted a blue tomato exists that yes it does and it's incredibly glorious. I know it's only going to make cherry tomatoes but I still have plans to processes the little buggers and make something "purple-mato" out of it.  It's just plain fun to watch this plant develop and despite all the plants being tagged by roman numeral only to be able to pick this one out without trying because of fruit and foliage color. Will this tomato return next year more likely than not.


Chichorum intybus - Chicory
I don't precisely recall who asked me about it during the tour but chicory has wonderful blooms as you can see. They tend to last through summer and are a good feature to support pollinators in the area. Now that you see the blooms I'm sure you might think you've seen them along the highways somewhere. Typically chicory is indeed a nearly indestructible roadside weed. It's taproot is much like the one found on the dandelion it reaches deep for moisture and has no issue finding it.


Achillea millefolium - Yarrow (Medicinal)
Yarrow is one of those self-naturalizing herbs that has a lot of bloom color options and can handle heat, drought and other general environmental nastiness once established. It does also as you can see bloom and thus is good for the pollinators. However only white blooming yarrow with the scientific name above is considered medicinal. There are many yarrow varieties bred to have differing colored blooms but the white blooming types are the most durable.


Cosmos bipinnatus - Garden Cosmos
Admittedly these little cosmos were not even sprouted at the time of the tour and as soon as they emerged all these mushrooms emerged  did what they needed to do and disappeared a few days after leaving the cosmos unharmed. My best guess here is that the mycelium for these mushrooms came in with the soil I used to raise the soil level in the bed. Some would not approve of such happening however it told me that the soil was already inoculated and now there will be beneficial fungi in the soil that may aid in converting the soil I used into topsoil. This natural balance is a good thing actually you want stuff like this to happen. By the way the chicken wire screen over the seedlings was there to prevent squirrel damage.


Cucurbita ??? - Unknown volunteer squash plant

Visitors on the tour saw where I was actively training a squash plant that had volunteered up into a dogwood tree and here is a photo of it's first bloom. While not precisely the most showy bloom only squash seem to have that perfect yellow-gold mixture.


Monarda sp. "Lambada" - Lambada Bee Balm (old)
Monarda sp. "Lambada" - Lambada Bee Balm (new)

So some of the visitors to the booth had been asking what the bee balm I sold would look like in the landscape. and here are two pictures, the one up top is an older and somewhat unhappy cluster in the shady rock garden. Notice it's a tad paler and the leaves are larger while the plant is a bit shorter. The lower picture is a new cluster planted in the crescent garden it's colors are more vibrant, and it's much taller to the point I could not get the whole picture in frame. Needless to say Bee Balm is very versatile and for those of you who nabbed some of these plants your in for a treat.

The Horticultural Turret
For those who've had th chance to look through the test garden yearbook you might notice this is the second time I have constructed a circular raised bed on the property. The original was the "Figgy Turret" which contained the first fig on property a Celeste type. This time I went with making it a physical, feature that was noticeable day and night that served to grow food crops. Int his case you can see tricolor and molten fire amaranth growing within the bed. Amaranth is related to spinach for note and is cooked the same way.


Sanseveria trifaciata - Snake Plant
So in the last week or two I posted a picture of these strange stalks emerging from my snake plant. I could not tell what they were but the looked like flowers for sure. The stalks had little clear droplets of sweet nectar on them and it seemed that that was a wrap for a botanical oddity but I was wrong. I found my self walking through the lab smelling this ultra sweet hyacinth fragrance...and suddenly realized the snake plant had bloomed. the flowers are short lived wispy things that smell incredible. None of my manuals mention the bloom as if the authors have seen them so hey a first for LITFM.


Capsicum anuum - Mixed peppers
Speaking of errors and omissions, what I originally thought was a pot of sangria peppers turns out to be a pot of sangria peppers and a single black pearl pepper. That's right the sangria when solid green and some how a black pearl pepper seed got into the mix. Honestly this is the sport of volunteer/seeding incident I can live with.


Although the weather looks a bit strange this weekend I do still suggest you come on out to the Fayetteville farmer's market. It's rather wise to bring along a umbrella just in case of a shower but beyond that the Fayetteville farmer’s market occurs Wednesdays between 2 and 6 pm, and on Saturdays between 9am and 1 pm. The market is located at 325 Franklin Street in the front parking lot of the Fayetteville Transportation museum. I’m now present at both market days so you now have two opportunities per week to hit up the booth for info or plants. As you can see int he plant list for Saturday the first of the summer plants are showing up at the booth with several selections from the black eye susan (rudbeckia) and the coneflower (echniacea) groups.


Southward Skies: A northern guide to southern Gardening
This is the second edition of my book, which was published using data compiled from several years of test garden operations. It’s written to aid gardeners of all skill levels in successful garden methods that are targeted for the south east but had proven to be a valued resource for gardens across the eastern coast. It’s certainly a good gift for that gardener you know or for yourself if you’d like to have a reliable field guide. The book costs $25.00 and we do take checks for this item, you can even have it signed.

Vegetables
2x Eggplant, Casper , 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Eggplant, Louisiana Long Green, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Pepper, Jalapeno, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Pepper, Habenero, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Pepper, Sweet Banana , 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Pepper, Pimento, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Pepper, Carolina Wonder, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Tomato, Brown Berry, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Tomato, Martino’s Roma, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Tomato, Rainbow Cherry Mix, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Tomato, Red & Yellow Currant, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Tomato, Reisotomate, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
1x Tomato, Underground Railroad, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Cucumber, Armenian, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Cucumber, Poona Kheera, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Melon, Horned/Kiwano, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

Fruits
2x Ground Cherry, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

Herbs
2x Artemesia, Wormwood, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Basil, Sweet, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Basil, Thai, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Basil, Cinnamon, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Basil, Red Rubin, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Chives, Common, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Fennel, Black, 7” pot ($6.00)
2x Lavender, Hidcote, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
4x Oregano, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Parsley, Italian, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Rosemary, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Sage, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Thyme, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

Ornamental:
2x Passion Vine, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Echinacea, White Swan, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Echinacea, Magnus, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Echinacea, Cheyenne Spirit, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Rudbeckia, Irish Eyes, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Rudbeckia, Golden, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Rudbeckia, Summer Sun, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

Coming Soon:
Black Hungarian Pepper
Potatoleaf Hillbilly Tomato
Japanese Black Trifele Tomato
Grape, Bronze Muscadine



This wraps up this somewhat late episode of LITFM, I hope to see some of you at the market and well lets look at the weather in a positive light. The drought is give or take over so at least that's not a problem, keeping up with mowing the grass however might be.