Friday, May 17, 2013

Ah Summer, how ye bring thee heat!

Welcome back to another weekly episode of Lost in the farmer’s Market, this is our post-mother’s day episode and we’d like to extend our thanks to all those mothers out there. We at LITFM know quite well how you tirelessly work day in and day out to make sure things turn out right so for all you mothers who read this web log we thank you. First out of the bat I would like to share with all of you a picture of a rose. This rose isn’t just any rose; it is the very rose my great grandmother planted on the property in the 70’s. They don’t breed roses like this anymore, and it has out lived countless others no doubt. Every year it grows a little, and produces some leaves and bears a lot of thorns and yet, around Mother’s day every year it produces just a few blooms. Below is this years bloom which opened and lingered up until Mother’s day.

You cannot beat those old-school rose varieties, the blooms seem to light up the universe while the numerous thorns remind us that such beauty does come at a price and ought be respected.
With the rose in mind earlier this week this guy or girl (I didn’t ask) was moving about on the outside section of the patio so I snapped a shot. In case you didn’t know wolf spiders are a primarily nocturnal arachnid that plays a critical role in reducing pest populations. Wolf spiders don't spin webs and thus range freely at night hunting everything from slugs to palmetto bugs. They are not venomous and they display an unusual habit of carrying their egg sac and later their young around with them. In fact as far as our local spider species go, the wolf spider acts more motherly then most. As you can see in the picture, a wolf spider’s eyes reflect light which in this case is my camera’s flash. This natural feature of the wolf spider anatomy is useful for finding them or avoiding them when out in the garden at night. I might add the Carolina wolf spider is also the state spider of South Carolina.

Hogna caroliniensis – Carolina Wolf Spider (the picture is sized down but the spider was about 3" across)

Passiflora incarnata – Maypop
Now what would May be without the aptly named Maypop, I did an article about this type of passion vine last year and true to form it is now covered with blooms and is of course ready to pop. the above was the first bloom to open and the flower is often attributed with holy references about the trinity and so on. If there ever was an indicator of what month it is without the aid of a calendar then the Maypop being in bloom was a sure sign it is spring and definitely May. In case your wondering this member of the passion fruit family does produce little fruits that are reportedly edible but I’ll test that out later.

Tradescantia virginiana - Widows Tears
Widow’s tears are a common garden perennial found in most gardens on the eastern coast. You may not realize it but you probably have some in your back yard right now. They make for dense stands of coarse grass-like foliage topped with the flowers you see above. The closest relative of these plants is Purple Heart (setcreasia pallida) and both are sold at garden centers in a staggering array of varieties. Considering the reduced size of the image you may not be able to see it but the dark blue at the flower's center is actually fuzz of some sort.

Triodanus perfoliata - Clasping Venus Looking glass
 Often considered a weed the Venus looking class is a spring time annual that has full continental distribution. It is often considered a nuisance weed and can sometimes get in the way of crops but otherwise is a neat little plant that isn't worth pulling up most of the time. The star shaped flowers are hard to miss and the unique cupped flowers add to it's wild beauty.

Amaryllis spp - Amaryllis
In the south the well known common amaryllis is a perennial, and many gardeners use them as a follow up for the daffodils in early spring. They spread easily and as you can see produce gorgeous blooms that act as a introduction for the later blooming daylilies. The real bonus to amaryllis in the south is that they are fairly inexpensive to get in bulk and to some extent cover the colors of most tulips. Squirrels also seem to not be fond of amaryllis either so you win out in the end when Daylilies, daffodils and amaryllis are mixed.

This weekend you can come and speak to me in person at the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market. The market is located on 325 Franklin Street and operates between the hours of 9am and 1pm, though if last weekend was any indicator we were there until almost 2pm. Barring significant rain I will be there and will have cool and unusual stuff. Also I’ll be teamed up with the Sustainable neighbors, so you can come on by the sustainability booth and get some good information about sustainability, local foods, organics and heck even stuff about why GMO is so bad. As promised here is the plant list of what will be available for sale at the booth this week

Cucumbers & Melons: Armenian Cucumber (1x), Poona Kheera Cucumber (1x).
Leaf Greens: Turkish Rocket (3x), Red Malabar Spinach (3x)
Herbs: Sweet Basil (4x), Mountain Mint* (6x).
Ornamentals: Castor Bean “Red Weed” (3x)
Tomatoes: San Marzano (4x), Mexican Midget (1x), Solar Fire (1x), Underground Rail Road (1x).
Eggplant: Nyakati (3x), Early Black Egg (1x), Turkish Italian Orange (2x), Louisiana Long Green (2x)
Peppers: Cayenne Purple (2x), Lemon Drop (4x)
Vegetables: Red Burgundy Okra (4x)
Potatoes: Dark Caribe (1x), Carola (5x)

*Pycnanthemum muticum – Short Toothed Mountain Mint

In the next 1-2 weeks the following will be added:
Asian Winged Bean (2x),
3” Carola Potato Starts (6x)
3” Dark Caribe Potato starts (1x)
Carolina Wonder Bell Pepper (4x)

Also some time soon, the following will become available:
Litchi Tomato
Purple Calabash Tomato
Striped Ntula Eggplant
Red Peter Pepper
Carolina Wonder Bell Pepper

Needless to say if you need some sort of exotic or a plant to fill a gap we’ve got you covered, and if you want to get a hold of something early you can reserve plants. That said as with every week there will be copies of Southward Skies at the booth and if you wish you can pick up a copy of the skye project’s fine book about gardening on the east coast of the United States.

This brings to a close another episode of LITFM, but in the coming weeks we will be covering a site project, and you can certainly expect other pictures of plants in the test gardens as they do their thing. As a final note for this blog post, I urge you to be wary as the mosquito population has seemingly rebounded, and the fire ants are as vicious as ever. With all that said, folks remember to maintain your watering, it only takes 8 ounces of water to un-wilt a plant and just remember to keep ‘em growing! Thank you for reading.

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