Friday, June 20, 2014

Summer is that you?

Welcome back to another episode of Lost In The Farmer’s Market. So here we are on the first official LITFM episode of the summer of 2014. Imagine that, we’ve come through some very strange weather as there was that brief drought period, and now constant thunderstorms some of which featured very violent winds and hail. Personally I find this odd weather to be the result of climate change but then that’s just me. Never before have I seen such alternating flood/drought periods or for that matter hail as often as in 2014. Granted what I just said is personal opinion which isn’t science fact and thus we move on to some actual science fact; this week’s episode.

As we know it’s now summer and of course we had that bit of drought but fortunately the recent series of thunder storms finally made their way to the region of the Test gardens and the storm event on Monday delivered a 0.5” of rain with the storm on Thursday adding another 1.5” for a total of 2.0”.  Not bad for a post drought rainfall it’s certainly enough to replenish the rain barrel water supply. For this week’s post we’ve got some garden photographs that answer some of your questions at the farmer’s market booth.

Blue berries tomatoes developing note the nice purple shoulders but green underside.

A few days later the bottoms begin to turn and we have this reddish coloration.

So I had to post up two developing pictures of the same blue berries tomato plant to show to those who doubted a blue tomato exists that yes it does and it's incredibly glorious. I know it's only going to make cherry tomatoes but I still have plans to processes the little buggers and make something "purple-mato" out of it.  It's just plain fun to watch this plant develop and despite all the plants being tagged by roman numeral only to be able to pick this one out without trying because of fruit and foliage color. Will this tomato return next year more likely than not.

Chichorum intybus - Chicory
I don't precisely recall who asked me about it during the tour but chicory has wonderful blooms as you can see. They tend to last through summer and are a good feature to support pollinators in the area. Now that you see the blooms I'm sure you might think you've seen them along the highways somewhere. Typically chicory is indeed a nearly indestructible roadside weed. It's taproot is much like the one found on the dandelion it reaches deep for moisture and has no issue finding it.

Achillea millefolium - Yarrow (Medicinal)
Yarrow is one of those self-naturalizing herbs that has a lot of bloom color options and can handle heat, drought and other general environmental nastiness once established. It does also as you can see bloom and thus is good for the pollinators. However only white blooming yarrow with the scientific name above is considered medicinal. There are many yarrow varieties bred to have differing colored blooms but the white blooming types are the most durable.

Cosmos bipinnatus - Garden Cosmos
Admittedly these little cosmos were not even sprouted at the time of the tour and as soon as they emerged all these mushrooms emerged  did what they needed to do and disappeared a few days after leaving the cosmos unharmed. My best guess here is that the mycelium for these mushrooms came in with the soil I used to raise the soil level in the bed. Some would not approve of such happening however it told me that the soil was already inoculated and now there will be beneficial fungi in the soil that may aid in converting the soil I used into topsoil. This natural balance is a good thing actually you want stuff like this to happen. By the way the chicken wire screen over the seedlings was there to prevent squirrel damage.

Cucurbita ??? - Unknown volunteer squash plant

Visitors on the tour saw where I was actively training a squash plant that had volunteered up into a dogwood tree and here is a photo of it's first bloom. While not precisely the most showy bloom only squash seem to have that perfect yellow-gold mixture.

Monarda sp. "Lambada" - Lambada Bee Balm (old)
Monarda sp. "Lambada" - Lambada Bee Balm (new)

So some of the visitors to the booth had been asking what the bee balm I sold would look like in the landscape. and here are two pictures, the one up top is an older and somewhat unhappy cluster in the shady rock garden. Notice it's a tad paler and the leaves are larger while the plant is a bit shorter. The lower picture is a new cluster planted in the crescent garden it's colors are more vibrant, and it's much taller to the point I could not get the whole picture in frame. Needless to say Bee Balm is very versatile and for those of you who nabbed some of these plants your in for a treat.

The Horticultural Turret
For those who've had th chance to look through the test garden yearbook you might notice this is the second time I have constructed a circular raised bed on the property. The original was the "Figgy Turret" which contained the first fig on property a Celeste type. This time I went with making it a physical, feature that was noticeable day and night that served to grow food crops. Int his case you can see tricolor and molten fire amaranth growing within the bed. Amaranth is related to spinach for note and is cooked the same way.

Sanseveria trifaciata - Snake Plant
So in the last week or two I posted a picture of these strange stalks emerging from my snake plant. I could not tell what they were but the looked like flowers for sure. The stalks had little clear droplets of sweet nectar on them and it seemed that that was a wrap for a botanical oddity but I was wrong. I found my self walking through the lab smelling this ultra sweet hyacinth fragrance...and suddenly realized the snake plant had bloomed. the flowers are short lived wispy things that smell incredible. None of my manuals mention the bloom as if the authors have seen them so hey a first for LITFM.

Capsicum anuum - Mixed peppers
Speaking of errors and omissions, what I originally thought was a pot of sangria peppers turns out to be a pot of sangria peppers and a single black pearl pepper. That's right the sangria when solid green and some how a black pearl pepper seed got into the mix. Honestly this is the sport of volunteer/seeding incident I can live with.

Although the weather looks a bit strange this weekend I do still suggest you come on out to the Fayetteville farmer's market. It's rather wise to bring along a umbrella just in case of a shower but beyond that the Fayetteville farmer’s market occurs Wednesdays between 2 and 6 pm, and on Saturdays between 9am and 1 pm. The market is located at 325 Franklin Street in the front parking lot of the Fayetteville Transportation museum. I’m now present at both market days so you now have two opportunities per week to hit up the booth for info or plants. As you can see int he plant list for Saturday the first of the summer plants are showing up at the booth with several selections from the black eye susan (rudbeckia) and the coneflower (echniacea) groups.

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 Eggplant, Casper , 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Eggplant, Louisiana Long Green, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Pepper, Jalapeno, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Pepper, Habenero, 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)
2x Tomato, Brown Berry, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Tomato, Martino’s Roma, 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)
1x Tomato, Underground Railroad, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Cucumber, Armenian, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Cucumber, Poona Kheera, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Melon, Horned/Kiwano, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

2x Ground Cherry, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

2x Artemesia, Wormwood, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x 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, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Chives, Common, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Fennel, Black, 7” pot ($6.00)
2x Lavender, Hidcote, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
4x Oregano, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Parsley, Italian, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Rosemary, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Sage, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Thyme, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

2x Passion Vine, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Echinacea, White Swan, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Echinacea, Magnus, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Echinacea, Cheyenne Spirit, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Rudbeckia, Irish Eyes, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Rudbeckia, Golden, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Rudbeckia, Summer Sun, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

Coming Soon:
Black Hungarian Pepper
Potatoleaf Hillbilly Tomato
Japanese Black Trifele Tomato
Grape, Bronze Muscadine

This wraps up this somewhat late episode of LITFM, I hope to see some of you at the market and well lets look at the weather in a positive light. The drought is give or take over so at least that's not a problem, keeping up with mowing the grass however might be.

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