Friday, February 7, 2014

The Terms of Agriculture

Welcome back to another slightly damp edition of Lost In the Farmer’s Market. The weather has our fine cotton weave all clingy with anticipation of the spring to be and the winter that is. With that said we would like to draw your attention to Exhibit A under the category of ‘kicking wet weather in the golf bag’.

The trench is only 9 inches wide at the top and about 4.5" wide at the bottom but theres two feet of depth at the bottom of which is a 4" slotted drainage pipe for 30 feet of the trench. In total there was 35 feet of trench, so on the end you see above there is a two foot end cap that is pure pea gravel.

The end you see above has a foot long end cap of  stone while on the remaining 7 feet switches from perforated to slotted drain pipe to  prevent clogging  at the end of the system.That’s right, after many months of planning the drain system is operational…I feel about as giddy as Emperor Palpatine was over the death star!
This was the drainage project some of you saw underway back in October at the time it was only a ten foot trench but as you can see it now extends about the back porch and incorporates a sloped cistern near the fence. Ok you can’t quite see the cistern as its all underground but it’s the large patch of gravel. The blocks laid atop the cistern are where the new cold frame will go after I give its wooden exterior parts a polyurethane treatment. But enough of that you’re here to see part two of the discussions started last week so without further ado let’s get to those terms.

A heritage variety is essentially almost a synonym for heirloom, almost. A heritage variety can be a heirloom but a heirloom cannot necessarily be a heritage variety. Basically a heritage variety is an heirloom that has verified cultural history attached to it. So a plant say grown and promoted by Thomas Jefferson that is preserved over the decades and is still available would be a possible heritage variety. Likewise a specific variety grown by an entire people for a long period of history such as Kamut wheat grown by the Egyptians would definitely count.  

An heirloom variety is a given breed of plant that is passed on through the generations and may or may not have a clear lineage or record of its propagators. A case in point could be seen with the Brandywine or Cherokee Purple heirloom tomato breeds. Both have been kept in circulation for a long time and both are relatively close to their original parent material. The problem is that due to lax labeling laws genetically altered strains and similar such plants can be marked as heirloom when the alterations cause them to not perform as their natural cousins do. You should be wary of the source of anything marked Heirloom because much like the term organic the term has been abused by many an unscrupulous corporate entity*.

Open pollinated is a good term though a bit unnecessary. All it means is that the pollination of a given plant was not controlled and nature was allowed to do what she does best…make with the natural unbiased plant sex! So for you this means there will be genetic variability in a given batch of seed which could mean little or if your very lucky the next new natural variety of something. The down side is that open-pollinated seed can be contaminated by GMO or hybrids if it is too close to a ‘dirty field’ if you get my meaning. Fortunately producers such as Baker’s Creek, southern exposure, high mowing and seed savers are rather aware of the risk and take precautions which means the use of large distance offsets to avoid foreign pollen issues. If there was a source of seed I’d suggest saving seed as a yearly practice its open-pollinated plants as you never quite know what the offspring will be like but it’s always a fun adventure.

The Fayetteville City/Farmer’s Market occurs every Saturday from 9:00 AM through 1:00 PM. The market is located at 325 Franklin Street in the parking lot of the Fayetteville Transportation museum. Since we are a year-round operation you can expect there will be fresh foods available at the market and as always yours truly is always prepared with garden advice and great plants. Here is a list of what will be coming to the market 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.

Black Magic Fertilizer
That’s right you’ve heard about it in trials all summer. This specially formulated liquid fertilizer was made and tested at the test gardens using natural ingredients and no chemicals. The result explosive growth, great harvests and of course no environmental side effects! We’re making batches of this stuff to order, at $6.00 per gallon of fertilizer. You can either order it at the market and pick it up the next week or have it delivered to your home in the Fayetteville area for a delivery charge of an additional $2.00.

Fresh Cut Herbs
Bundles of Fresh Rosemary, short stem ($1.00)
Bagged Lavender ($2.00)
Bagged Eucalyptus ($2.00)

House Plants
8x Holiday Cactus ($3.00)

Garden Plants
2x Morris-Heading Cabbage Collards 0.5 gal pot ($4.00)
2x Georgia Collards, 0.5 gal pot ($4.00)

Coming Soon:
Angelica - Perennial Herb, culinary.
Green Santolina - Perennial evergreen herb, aromatic.
Black Fennel - Perennial semi-evergreen herb, culinary.
Green Fennel - Perennial semi-evergreen herb, culinary.
Rosemary - Perennial evergreen herb, culinary.
Lovage - Perennial leaf green, culinary.
Bloody Dock - Perennial leaf green, ornamental or culinary.
Tansy - Perennial herb.
Lambs Ear - Perennial evergreen herb, medical.
Bristol Cross Oregano - Perennial Evergreen herb, culinary and ornamental.
Desert Privet - Houseplant.
Rotary Peperomia - Houseplant
Dancing Bones Cactus - Houseplant
Dwarf Pomegranate - Fruit bearing deciduous shrub, perennial.
Chicago Hardy Fig - Fruit Bearing deciduous shrub.
Mary Washington Asparagus - Decuous perennial vegetable.
Ozark Beauty Strawberry - Semi-evergreen perennial fruit bearing.

(The list above is just the beginning! Hold on to your hats folks because 2014 is going to be so permaculture heavy Monsanto might sue us for stealing their business!)

 So this concludes the Second LITFM Episode of February, I have to post a correction on some information from last week. First off after running about the test gardens with a pocket ruler and measuring snow depth, it indeed was an average of 2.5” deep. So that was 2.5” of snow that melted down to 0.5” of actual precipitation. More so this week we had two major precipitation events generating 0.3” and 0.5” amounts respectively. In short I’d say we’re all-good for spring if this keeps up. I hope to see some of you down at the market, and as always keep ‘em growing!

*I mean you walmart…your on notice young mister! *Points at eyes and then points back at walmart* I am soooo watching you.

This was sent out on the sustainable neighbors group by Marsha. The surburban Hermit of Fayetteville another blogger sent it to Marsha and indeed it's worth posting here.


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