Friday, August 22, 2014

The Dog days forget

Welcome back to another episode of Lost In The Farmers Market! We’re your weekly internet guide to all things garden and also your hotline regarding the sparklitis outbreak currently raging across Fayetteville this August.  As most of you may have noticed our weather this August has not been typical of this point in the year. To that point we have had these strange popup storms that drop at least a half inch almost every evening usually between the hours of 3pm and 7pm. Indeed since last week’s bizarre torrents we have had at least another 0.8” of rain spread across evening showers and night time rain. This odd weather has made it more humid but also has been great for garden-grown produce as normally we would have drought, high heat and limited productivity.   This year however that is not the case as the test gardens are doing fine even though we are progressing towards the end of the Smart Pot trial which ends next Friday with results posted here in the first week of September. This week I have some interesting photographs from the garden and pictures of new additions to the sparklitis-curing line up.

Most people have to go to the store to buy Truck Balls

Honestly this was too good to pass up, this is actually what the fruit of the Tlacolula tomato look like and I’m not sure I want to eat this when it’s ripe. Seriously I thought the bizarre deformities of the Reisotomate were bad but this, all of them look like this. Imagine that a bush full of truck balls...I don’t even! But then again this is whole point finding the weird and wonderful and then using said weird to sabotage someone else’s salads

Tomatillo “Verde” - Tomatillo / Husk Tomato

So this is the first Tomatillo of the year and one of three in the test gardens. Verde is a variety you can get from Botanical interests, and the other two   which are outside the frame of this picture are a green and purple type.  Tomatillos are often seen at the store busting out of their dried papery husks however in the garden they tend to be smaller and may or may not burst.

Aloe glauca – Cosmetic Aloe

I had to spotlight these plants because of your reactions to the test plants I had at the market. The response to having consmetic aloe was generally positive and so the big parent plants from which the smaller plant cuttings originated are here in a big 6” pot. For note  the other common name for this group is Blue aloe, which is commonly used in cosmetic facial creams and skin lotions. Blue aloe has all the same uses as Medicinal aloe but is faster growing and thus yields more gel with identical properties. I would say these guys are a must for those of you who like to do things around the kitchen.

Aloe x hybrid “Fauxgave” – Hardy “Fauxgave” Aloe

As promised here they are, I’m proud to finally offer a limited run of hardy aloes for use in your outdoor gardens. This specimen of the aloe family yields gel but is hardy in zones 7 though 11A which means you can plant it in a hot dry sunny location right here in Fayetteville as we are now zone 8A. Overall these plants sort of resemble a thin-leaved agave or a yucca and the leaf margins do have spines but there is no need to worry for anything that might cut or poke you as these aloes are well behaved. Overall the same rules apply to these plans as does for aloes in general, water the soil not the plant’s foliage or crown. Plant in a sunny location with soil that is not constantly wet and try to avoid the overhang drip line of a roof. This plant prefers full sun and should receive some form of mulch before winter. As an additional tip I recommend planting these near stonework to ensure the soil remains warmer to increase winter hardiness.

I can assure you there are two more weeks after this Saturday of sparklitis and if the weather keeps not cooperating there may be an extension of our event well into September! The weather is too warm for the cabbages and kale plants to really do anything more then make a straight dash to the flowering stage so stay tuned for more aloe oddities. Either way I have to shift your attention to the Market side of this post. The Fayetteville farmer’s market is open on Wednesdays from 2:00pm to 6:00 pm and on Saturdays from 9:00 am to 1:00pm. The market is located at the Fayetteville Transportation Museum at 325 Franklin Street in downtown Fayetteville. But without further delay here is this week’s plant list. Also as a side note I am taking orders for the enhanced Black Magic fertilizer if you’re interested. Feel free to stop by the booth on either market day and inquire.

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.

4x Basil, Genovese, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
4x Artemesia, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Rosemary, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
5x Toothache Plant 3.5” pot ($3.00)

5x Baloon Flower, White 3.5” pot ($3.00)
5x Nicotina, Flowering Tobacco, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
5x Rudbeckia, Irish Eyes, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

House Plants:
1x Peperomia hybrid, Huntington BHG - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Peperomia obtusifolia varigata, Desert Privet, 3.5” pot ($5.00)
2x Peperomia orba, Teardrop Peperomia, 3.5” pot ($5.00)
2x Aloe dorotheae,  Sunset Aloe - 4.0" pot (6.00)
1x Aloe deltoideodantes, Checkerboard Aloe - 4.0" pot ($6.00)
2x Aloe glauca, Cosmetic Aloe - 6.0" pot ($8.00)
1x Aloe hybrid, 'Blizzard' Aloe - 4.0" pot ($6.00)
2x Aloe nobilis ‘Gator’, 3.5” pot ($5.00)
2x Aloe x hybrid ‘Fauxgave’, 6.0” pot ($12.00)
2x Aloe x Gasteria, 'Night Sky' Aloe - 6.0" pot ($6.00)
1x Aloe vera x Gasteria verrucosa, 'Radiance Aloe' 4.0" pot ($8.00)

Coming Soon:
Black Dragon Haworthia
Silver Ridge Aloe
Rotary Peperomia
Cold-Season Vegetables (September-October)

This brings to a close this episode of LITFM, I might add if you happen to listen to the local radio station 107.7 Jams you might have heard me talking about Sparklitis month. I don’t quite know when the spot will air, or how often but the owner of Sunshine Soaps Melissa Brady and I were both interviewed briefly and that alone is very cool.

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