Friday, October 17, 2014

Oh October, well played you saucy month!



Welcome back to another episode of LITFM,  and we were planning a post about how to  plant a tree but unfortunately a material shortage put that planned event on hold while the property was prepared for the garden tour in two weeks. For note the Sustainable Neighbors Garden tour is on November 2nd, so if you want to be a location on the tour or attend the tour please sign up at the sustainable neighbor’s site below.



The container garden persists even in winter as this picture demonstrates. Lettuce, radicchio and Japanese red giant mustard all occupy spots in this winter container garden. The last of the peppers and eggplant are there just to squeeze a few more fruits out of the plants.

Striped Togo eggplant. As the fruit mature they eventually turn all-orange, which makes them kind of cool as a Halloween decoration. At his point they are super-bitter as the seeds inside are nearly mature and ready for harvesting.

A very large male Wolf Spider. I found this guy in the dining room barely moving because it was probably cold, so using a drinking glass and a piece of cardboard I got him back outside in the sun where he could warm up.

Amaranth 'Love Lies Bleeding' - Amaranth did super-good this year but this patch of love lies bleeding was from seed sown early on that finally germinated.

All those zinnias I planted in mid summer have paid off, as this Monarch butterfly visited and sat still long enough for me to snap this shot at close range.

             The weather looks gorgeous for the market this Saturday and possibly for the Wednesday beyond. The Fayetteville Farmers Market is a year-round event that runs from 9:00am to 1:00pm on Saturdays and 2:00 to 6:00 pm on Wednesdays. Also there are a few farmers who set up for fourth Friday and indeed we have really good market coverage if any of you are willing to come on down to the biggest farmers market in the region.

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.

Perennial:
1x Grape, Copper Muscadine - 3.5” pot ($3.00)

Cold Season Crops
6x Romaine Lettuce, “Rouge d’Hiver” - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
6x Romaine Lettuce, “Parris Island Cos” - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Bibb Lettuce, Black Seeded Simpson - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
4x Radicchio, “Rossa di Verona” - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
6x Mustard Greens, India - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
6x Mustard Greens, Japanese Red Giant - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
6x Cabbage, Copenhagen Market  - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
6x Cabbage, Savoy – Perfection Drumhead  - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
6x Collards, Georgia Southern Creole - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Kale, Redbor/Red Russian - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Snow pea, Snowbird - 3.5” pot ($3.00)

This brings to a close a somewhat short episode of LITFM, hopefully by next week we'll have something really cool for you to consider, and if not....FARM TOUR the week after!

Friday, October 10, 2014

October events



Welcome back to another autumn episode of Lost in the Piles of Discarded Leaves. No really, if I had known the nearby Pecan and Ailanthus would conspire to dump their leaves early this episode would have been on time!  Despite autumn difficulties this episode of LITFM will continue. First off some of you who visit the Sustainable Neighbors page at meetup.com will notice a recent posting for the Fall Garden tour. It’s not a mirage nor some autumn trickery, the tour is back, and it’s on the first Sunday of November (the 2nd) with a rain date of November the 9th.  Occasionally I get folks at the booth asking why we are doing a garden tour at all and that’s a simple enough query to answer.

The original garden tour was conceived, produced and organized by Sustainable Sandhills as a means to promote urban farming and sustainable practices. The original tour was spread across two counties and featured upwards of twelve tour locations that offered varied means and insights into sustainable agriculture. The tours were generally run on Saturdays and the entire event lasted about four hours. After two years of the Urban farm tour, it was decided to centralize it at one spot down town at the community gardens on Vanstory and Mann Streets and call it the Urban Farm Day. After the second year of the event the concept was dropped with no chance of returning.

The end of UFD/UFT would have been the last anyone would hear until Sustainable Neighbors got the idea to pick the tour back up again and it all began with the “Urban Farm Tour and home grown & Brewed Wine Tasting” even held on October 27th 2013. We followed suit with the “Sustainable Neighbors Garden Tour” on June 8th 2014. Respectively the first event drew 21 neighbors (by RSVP) out to see the sights, while the second drew 17. Both events could easily be called successful. At the least it proved that a tour every six months or so could definitely work as the cool season garden is a differing animal than the warm season garden. Since sustainability also champions gardening 365 days a year it makes perfect sense to demonstrate how that works too.

So this year we are prepared to do something a little different, The tour begins at a central location, the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex with the Bridge garden being the central focus and from there members of the tour radiate outward to our additional locations in any order they desire. As of this writing my test gardens, as well as Melissa Brady’s Celtic gardens are confirmed locations, but we would love to get one or two more locations. You can sign up for the tour at the link below as a visitor or a location.




             With the Sustainable Neighbors Garden Tour discussed I do have to talk about the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market. As you might know the farmer’s market is a 365 day affair that runs on Saturdays between the hours of 9:00 am and 1:00 pm. The Wednesday market runs between 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm. The weather this Saturday is supposed to be quite nice so of course there is no real good reason not to show up at the market, certainly the great fall foods and staples make filling your fridge with the best produce of the year an easy thing. Below is the market list for this week.

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.

Perennial:
1x Grape, Copper Muscadine - 3.5” pot ($3.00)

Cold Season Crops
6x Romaine Lettuce, “Rouge d’Hiver” - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
5x Bibb Lettuce, Black Seeded Simpson - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
6x Radicchio, “Rossa di Verona” - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
9x Mustard Greens, India - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
9x Mustard Greens, Japanese Red Giant - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
6x Collards, Georgia Southern Creole - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
6x Kale, Redbor/Red Russian - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
5x Snow pea, Snowbird - 3.5” pot ($3.00)

This brings to a close a somewhat shorter and less colorful episode then normal but hopefully next week we’ll have more enjoyable content for all of you out there to read. Before the month is out we will definitely have a step-by-step guide to planting a tree which should be a first for LITFM and a fun project to record, stay tuned and as always Keep ‘em growing.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

And Finally Autumn



Welcome back to another episode of lost in the farmer’s market. It’s October and this in theory is the first month in which the possibility of a frost might occur. As some of you might know our first possible frost date is around the 25th-29th of October depending on what source you consult. This first frost however is not liable to be a killing frost as those often don’t show up until December or in the case of a few years ago not until February of the following year. With that said I often answer queries of if it is too late to get in a fall-winter garden as somehow local gardeners have it in their minds that it is already too late for some reason.

Radicchio Rossa di Verona” - Chicorum intybus
To be perfectly honest, you can plant your fall crops as late as mid-November as long as you make provisions for their care and if need be are ready to place anti-frost protection as needed until the crops settle in. The settling in of your fall crops takes about two weeks and generally is accelerated with a root stimulator type fertilizer. Alternately one can simply place a bit of Black Hen in the plating hole before the plant is placed to have the same effect. So of course this leads to the next most common question, “Will ___ survive the winter?”  Well most of the cold season plants will do just fine, Kale, Collards, Cabbage, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Mustard greens, Spinach, Beets, Swiss Chard, Radishes, Lettuce, Radicchio, Carrots, Cilantro and Parsley will all generally make it through winter. More so since most of the above list are sold as Annuals but are actually Biennials, it’s in their life cycle to persevere in cold weather.

Bibb Lettuce 'Black Seeded Simpson - Lactuca sativa

At the test gardens the bulk of my harvested produce is not during the warm season but the cold season because the leaf greens are very productive in the colder season. For instance Red Giant mustard is notable for producing 12” long leaves and yielding a half pound of greens per plant per harvest. Collards and Kale are no slouches for winter food sources either and can most certainly pick up the slack for other species of food crop. In short there is no reason to avoid starting a winter garden, the only obstacle you face is you. Also this leads to the third question I get a lot at the market. Occasionally someone will ask something like “It says it takes ___ days but…it’s October!”  I personally would call this an excuse.

Romaine Lettuce ' Rouge d'Hiver - Lactuca sativa

The reality is that, when you see a set number of days on a seed packet or plant label it’s a literal statement of how long it might take a plant to mature from seed. By the time the plants are available for sale however a portion of that time has passed. For instance my lovely Rouge d’Hiver lettuce says 60 days, but it took me about 40 to get it to salable size…so maturity might be by the end of October if one were to buy it right now and site it properly. I might point out that it is generally unwise to get too wrapped up in the numeric of gardening because they can be misleading as many factors such as care, siting, weather and soil conditions can have major effects on your progress. The maturity numbers are actually there to give a gardener a general estimate/average of the start up time but they are not an absolute statement of fact. Indeed as observed with the month of September the weather can play heck with your garden plans. For instance while there is no current precipitation information for the first week of October, for the record, the test gardens received a total 3.8” last month  over six precipitation events in total or about an inch a week which is ideal for the plants. What is ideal for the plants does not relate to what may be ideal for your planning and so we have later than normal start on cold season plants.

Mustard Greens  India - Brassica juncea
But there is some good news, as some of you have seen the good stuff is in at the market and you can get those fine cold-season staples on Wednesdays and Saturdays at my booth.  The Fayetteville Farmer’s market is located in downtown Fayetteville and is open two days a week. The Wednesday market runs from 2:00pm to 6:00 pm, and the Saturday Market runs from 9:00am to 1:00 pm. The market is located on the property of the Fayetteville Transportation Museum which is on 325 Franklin Street. As always the Museum will be open and there is public access to bathrooms and there is an ATM on the premises. Without further ado here is this week’s plant list.

Mustard Greens  Japanese Red Giant - Brassica juncea


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.

Perennial:
1x Grape, Copper Muscadine - 3.5” pot ($3.00)

Ornamental:
6x Baloon Flower, White 3.5” pot ($2.00) <On Sale! Last Week>

Cold Season Crops
6x Romaine Lettuce, “Rouge d’Hiver” - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
6x Bibb Lettuce, Black Seeded Simpson - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
6x Radicchio, “Rossa di Verona” - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
6x Mustard Greens, India - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
6x Mustard Greens, Japanese Red Giant - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
6x Collards, Georgia Southern Creole - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
6x Kale, Redbor/Red Russian - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Onion, Red Egyptian - 3.5” pot ($3.00)

As you may already know the forecast for this weekend seems to be going every which way but to a clear statement of what things might be like. For note a depending on how things go this month I may or may not continue with Wednesday markets in November. You can expect that should it change I’ll announce it here. Saturdays will continue regardless.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Autumn Draws near


This picture was snapped on Wednesday evening after the market.


Welcome back to another episode of Lost In The Farmer’s Market this week we have some rather good photos from the field. Before we really get into the images of the week, for note since the last episode the area of the test gardens has had approximately three precipitation events with 2.1”, 0.3” and 0.5”. The weekly total as of this writing is 2.9” With this extra rainfall we have had more fall-like temperatures and cool night time temperatures which is perfect for transitioning away from your warm season crops to your cold season crops. This means the summer flowers that are sputtering might get replaced with pansies, snapdragons, chrysanthemums or dusty miller. The vegetables that are really sputtering now could be replaced with Kale, Cabbage, Mustard, Lettuce, Radishes (very short season), carrots, beets and Swiss chard. The herbs are not immune to the changes either as now is the time to stick in the last of the parsley, while cilantro, cumin, dill and chamomile could replace basil and seasoning peppers in instances where the plants are not doing so well. But speaking of fall flowers the fall crowd is looking good in the test gardens. The show has just begun but with an early fall response like this…

You know it’s really fall when the chrysanthemums are in bloom.

Yellow Echibeckia

Orange Echibeckia – Summerina Orange

Rudbeckia laciniata – Cutleaf Coneflower
.
Bunia orientalis – Warty cabbage
The options remain open, as you can see maybe everything does not happen at once but then who said it ever had to? Fall is the season for a color change and preparations to move your gardens into a low-activity mode of sorts. The usual date for the first frost is October 20th-28th depending on weather with the first killing frost often appearing in late November or December.  Now is the best time to start thinking of your fall colors and consider where to place your chrysanthemums in the garden. As I’ve stated before few realize both Chrysanthemums and Dusty Miller are perennials and fewer still realize that snapdragons planted now will likely return in spring and may resow themselves.

But of course as you readers might know despite the change in the weather the Farmer’s Market goes on. The City/Farmer’s market in downtown Fayetteville is a year-round affair. The Wednesday market likely will continue into winter at its usual time between the hours of 2:00pm to 6:00pm. The Saturday Market will continue on in its time slot of 9:00 am through 1:00pm and with the Multicultural Festival coming up next weekend you can be sure that the Saturday market will be very lively. The market is located at 325 Franklin Street in downtown Fayetteville and is spread across the Fayetteville Transportation museum property. On Saturdays parking enforcement is off-duty so parking is unmetered and free.


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.

Cold-Season Crops
6x Mustard Greens, India, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
6x Mustard Greens, Red Giant, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
6x Kale, Russian Red, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
6x Collard Greens, Georgia, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
6x Lettuce, Black seeded Simpson, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
4x Onion, Egyptian Red, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

ON SALE!
2x Artemesia, 3.5” pot ($2.00)
6x Baloon Flower, White 3.5” pot ($2.00)
6x Nicotina, Flowering Tobacco, 3.5” pot ($2.00)
6x Rudbeckia, Irish Eyes, 3.5” pot ($2.00)

Perennial Flowering & Fruiting Vines:
1x Muscadinia rotundifolia, Muscadine Grape Vine (Copper) – 3.5” pot ($3.00)

Coming Soon:
Dino Kale
Stonehead Cabbage
Wakefeild Cabbage
Romaine Lettuce
Cilantro
Cumin