Thursday, May 8, 2014

Soooo Spring, you mad?

Welcome back to Lost in the Farmer’s Market where we apparently longed for more stable spring temperatures and Mother Nature took offense and instead gave us stable summer temperatures.  Seriously, it went from torrential thunderstorm downpours with hail and flooding and sideways rain to 90 degree weather and humidity so heavy that you thought the air was composed of a thick soup broth. But despite these difficulties the noble and tireless gardeners of the world must continue on maintaining those dreams of having positively incredible gardens and bountiful harvests. For today’s topic we continue the photographic extravaganza because we can and that’s the excuse we are sticking with dangnabbit!

So first we have the redo pictures of stuff that wasn’t being cooperative for whatever reason the last time I snapped the pictures. Some of you will remember that at the end of April One of my black petunia pictures didn’t quite turn out. Here is the replacement image.

You can see the real purple of the flowers near the centers.

Next we had those yellow irises that also refused to be photographed.

Is that a yellow Iris in bloom or are you just….oh…it’s an iris…

Petunia spp. And Tagetes erecta – Common Petunia and African Marigold
But what is this? Not redo at all but an update, for those of you who have been to the ranch lately you’ve seen this old barbeque grill thing lying about not in use. I salvaged it last summer while at a jobsite with the intentions of making it the fire pit but then actually got a real fire pit and discarded the original idea. So finally as the failed plant count piled up I piled the dead plant bits and the associated soil into this thing and capped it with some fresh soil then planted annuals in it. Blue Petunias and yellow African marigolds. For note the white PVC pipe goes all the way to the bottom of the ‘planter’ and is used to deep water that entire section of the garden. For note, in the 80’s and 90’s this form of marigold was called African marigolds, somehow ad of late they are now called American Marigolds, I still don’t get why the new name came about but they are surely some underused plants in the garden. In this case the marigolds should get rather tall and the petunias should trail down the sides of the planter. Opposing colors against the black planter should make for one hell of a display.

Asclepias tuberosum – Milkweed, Pleurisy Root
This is my perennial stand of Milkweed which was started form seed some five years ago and despite changes to the garden has remained right where it is ever since. As some of you might know, Milkweed due to its very long taproot tends to respond terribly to transplanting. So, the original bed included this plant, then when the bed was reduced and changed from a triangle shape to a rectangle shape this plant was dormant and forgotten and well it seems to do better right where it is anyway. I’ll have pictures of the blooms when it happens.

Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Barlow Double’ – Barlow Double Columbine
Looking good! That’s right the next time someone says you can’t grow columbines in the south…print out the above picture and tape it to their face! I grew this little one from seed purchased at w whim from the burpee rack at bLowes in year two. Much like the milkweed it took some time to establish but now this perennial has adapted and blooms like this yearly. The trick is really good soil and filtered shade with preference for little direct sun.

Tradescantia virginiana – Widow’s Tears
Tradescantia virginiana – Widow’s Tears
You probably see these guys all over the place and never bothered to worry for what they were. They’re more common than dandelions a true perennial and are quite prolific while forming dense colonies that can be quite attractive. They are somewhat persistent and thus hard to eradicate but then they aren’t all that poorly behaved as far as wild perennials go. The most common wild flower color is that impressive blue you see above but every now and again you see the occasional bicolor mutation as shown in the second picture.

Santolina virens – Green Santolina or, Green Lavender Cotton
These three plants were planted about two months ago and have put on all this growth you see in that time. Each were no bigger than the santolina plants I sell and they have already doubled in size at least and show no signs of slowing down. As I say at the market Santolina loves hot dry locations. Hopefully by the end of the summer these little perennial dynamos will have filled this edge of the garden making for an incredible scented border.

Lycopersicon esculentum ‘Mexico Midget’ – Mexico Midget Cherry Tomato

This is what a mature Mexico midget tomato actually looks like. Ton one side is a Black Krim and to the other is a Cherokee Purple. The Mexico Midget was grown from a volunteer seedling that emerged in the mother plant’s pot at the end of last year and was overwintered in front of the kitchen window then planted out on April 11th. What you see is just the beginning, as I’ve said before the Mexico midget is indeterminate, will produce an insane number of vines and then produce copious amounts of cherry tomatoes. It was the winner for productivity in last year’s trials and so it’s already making some records for insane growth. It is possible that the resulting fruit may be quite unique this year as this plant may be a biological cross between Mexico Midget, Underground Railroad and Paul Robeson which may explain the crazy-vigor. I will not know for sure until the first ripe fruit are off the vine. As a closing note to the garden topics the rain barrel challenge is still on and my planter sacks survived the super rain we had so now it’s a matter of watching the plants grow.

            As some of you may already know the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market is going on this weekend as it does every Saturday 365 days a year. The weather is supposed to be near 90 degrees with about 70% humidity but otherwise sunny but because of the roughly 30% chance risk of rain we may find some respite from the heat due to cloud cover even if it does not actually rain. I might add there has been no measurable precipitation since the turbo-downpour last week so there will be no precipitation info this week.  The market is located at 325 Franklin Street in downtown Fayetteville and there’s no shortage of parking in the area. But of course here is this week’s plant and materials list for Saturday the 10th.

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.

2x Asparagus, Gallon pot ($6.00)
2x Bloody Dock, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Borage, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Eggplant, Casper , 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)

3x Tomato, Amana Orange, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Tomato, Brown Berry, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
1x Tomato, Cherokee Purple, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
1x Tomato, Tlacolula, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Tomato, Black Krim, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
1x Tomato, Martino’s Roma, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Tomato, Mexico Midget, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Tomato, Paul Robeson, 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)
2x Tomato, San Marzano, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Tomato, Underground Rail Road, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

6x Strawberry- Ozark Beauty, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

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
2x Bee Balm, Lambada, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Chives, Common, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Fennel, Black, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Mint, Chocolate, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Lamb’s Ear, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Lavender-Cotton-Green, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Marjoram, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Oregano, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Parsley, Italian, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Sage, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Tansy, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

Coming Soon:
Genovese Basil
Black Hungarian Pepper
Striped Togo Eggplant
Louisiana Long Green Eggplant
Early Black Egg Eggplant
Triple Crop Tomato

With the posting of the plant list this brings to a close another episode of lost in the Farmer’s Market. I hope to see some of you on Saturday as the tomato mayhem moves intoa n interesting new phase consisting of the really wild and crazy varieties.

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