Thursday, April 17, 2014

Aww come on spring...take your meds!

Welcome back to another episode of Lost in the Farmer’s Market. As you may have noticed the weather has been oddly cold the last few days due to a cold front that of course arrived and created that super torrential thunderstorm plus downpour the other day. For note this week’s precipitation was an average of 2.45”. Ironically about 1.45” of that fell in the thunderstorm specifically so we’re darn well watered.  After such rain events things tend to green up and so for today's blog post, I decided to rove about the garden and take snapshots of everything in bloom right after the storm.

Just in time for easter!

That’s right here is a picture snapped just yesterday. For the longest time I was sure I had a single wild rabbit that visited the property, but as you can see, there's this little one in the picture and above him one in the grass trying to hide behind some foliage.  I realized moments after that I literally had a flotilla of rabbits. Moments later rabbit number three came out of the bushes beside the driveway. That’s three confirmed rabbits and a probable one or two more. What blows my mind about this is that they do not damage any of the crops, they just seem to like the fact I don’t pull weeds so they instead just eat them. More so this group comes through between five and six pm every day and take the same route. They go up the driveway, across the yard, into the shady rock garden for a bit then under the fence into the neighbor’s yard. In the process they drive the neighbor’s dog crazy but most of all they never damage anything. So I’ve got a batch of well-behaved wild rabbits that seem not to mind me milling about. There is also the rabbit I often see at night around ten to eleven pm that hides a little less. You saw that rabbit hanging out in the reinforced mound bed during the snow storm when I stumbled upon him and he let me snap his picture. The question is, is the night rabbit of the same group or do I have several groups of rabbits passing through? Regardless of the answer, still very cool I am about one endangered species from being a wild life refuge.

Bunias orientalis – Warty Cabbage / Turkish Rocket
Last year I sold Turkish rocket at the market and this is what a second year plant looks like in spring.  As you can see its leaves are rather uniquely shaped and the plant is much larger than the first year despite black magic application. It did go dormant in the winter briefly during that super cold period but it as has also created its own mounded earth. More study of this perennial leaf green is underway to determine how productive it could be now that it‘s established.

Loropetalum chinenese var. rubrum ‘Daruma’ - Fringe Bush
Fringe bushes in bloom are quite the sight. As far as landscaping shrubs the fringe bushes are tough, quick growing and drought tolerant. This specimen is in bloom now and came into my possession as a surplus item. I lacked a good plant for the spot it’s in (driveway) that could withstand the conditions and thus it was put there. Loropetalums in this climate are evergreens that may go partial deciduous in serious winters depending on siting.

A lone white tulip.

Someone at some point planted tulips along the driveway long ago. I honestly do not know who did it bit this little guy comes up yearly and generally is all foliage with no flower. The super-cold winter probably allowed this bulb to develop more along the lines of a more northern climate and thus we have this fine bloom. But hold on to your hats, the fireworks are about to begin!

Double petaled azaleas, hell I had no idea I had these on property.

Salmon-pink azaleas are where it's at.

wait...are the white ones being photobombed by the pink ones?!

Phlox subulata – Creeping Phlox

This last remaining garden phlox plant bravely blooms every spring and struggles through the August drought every year often going dormant before winter. I took pity on it last year and gave it a few hits of black magic and not only has it bloomed like crazy but it has also gotten a bit bigger. Perhaps this ought be a commercial?

Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureaum’ – Black Fennel
This stand of four second year Black fennel plants has become a hedgerow unto themselves. If you look at last year’s pictures of this plant they were tall, impressive but now here near this dense in the foliage department. Numerous side-shoots are what produced this effect and indeed they were evergreen most of the winter producing some impressive foliage against slow contrasts. I cannot state this often enough, Fennel plants are ironclad perennials that are entirely edible but also serve as fine ornamentals; they are a garden must have.

Rumex sanguineum – Bloody Dock/ Sorrel
This is an example of bloody dock that has established in a location. Granted it isn’t as big as it could be because the soil is very much lacking you can see the vibrancy of the leaf color and that the leaves are far larger than the ones I’m selling. Well sited sorrel can get impressively large and thus supply a whole lot of leaves for your culinary uses.

The spring’s bounty is always worth exploring, but then again so is the Fayetteville Farmer’s market. While the weather is not going to be all that good this week, I’ll still show up barring the rain coming down side ways at which I figure we will have other more pressing concerns. As you may know, the market is located on 325 Franklin street in the front parking lot of the Fayetteville Transportation Museum. The market runs from 9 am to 1 pm and you can expect to see some of the venders show up with lots of good food. But let’s move right along to the stuff coming to 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.

2x Asparagus, Gallon pot ($6.00)
3x Bloody Dock, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Eggplant, Casper , 3.5” pot ($3.00)
4x Pepper, Sweet Banana , 3.5” pot ($3.00)
1x Pepper, Pimento, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
4x Pepper, Habanero, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Tomato, Tlacolula, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
4x Tomato, Brown Berry, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Tomato, Blue Berries, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Tomato, Amana Orange, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
4x Tomato, Black Krim, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
4x Tomato, Paul Robeson, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Tomato, Hillbilly Potato Leaf, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
4x Tomato, Cherokee Purple, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

10x Strawberry- Ozark Beauty, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

4x Basil-Sweet, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
4x Basil-Thai, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Borage, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Fennel-Black, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
1x Horehound, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Hyssop-White, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Lamb’s Ear, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
1x Lavender-Cotton-Green, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Marjoram, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Oregano, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Oregano, Bristol Cross, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
1x Rosemary, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Sage, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
4x Tansy, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

Coming Soon:
Potato, Red Norland
Bee Balm

The end of the plant list also wraps up this accidentally Easter themed episode of Lost in the farmer's Market. As note regarding the night time temperatures, if you have already planted you can always toss a spare towel over any plant you think might get frosted to protect it from springs apparent multiple personality disorder. At the least make sure all exposed plants are well watered  and thing should turn out fine. I might note that basil is incredibly dramatic about cold so just because it's gone a bit limp does not mean you wont have pesto later. Peppers are notorious drama queens about the cold too but they still need some protecting so with that said you know what to do. Hopefully I'll see some of you at the market and as always keep 'em growing!

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