Friday, October 24, 2014

So much for that idea

Welcome back to another episode of Lost in the Farmers market or LITFM for short. Due to events out of our control the tree-planting demonstration is yet again delayed. Let’s just say it’s a good delay not a bad one. Instead of planting a tree; lots of other things needed planting at the test gardens and we would have photographed it but that’s a surprise for the big garden tour coming up next week. For those of you who don’t already know, the Sustainable Neighbors Garden tour is Sunday November the 2nd between the hours of 1:00 and 5:00pm. The event starts at the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical complex where the feature is the bridge garden, a project started by one of S.N.’s members. The museum is located at 801 Arsenal Avenue. From that starting point anyone on the tour can chose which of the two garden tour locations to go to. This Sunday, or literally one week from the event the garden locations will be announced at the link below.

So then, since our intended topic just isn’t ready this week, I would like to point out that it is time to consider your land. I know that sounds a little odd but I don’t mean going out in your yard and dropping pickup lines every time you get near a garden. I’m talking about soil testing and evaluation. By this point you no doubt have sent soil to be tested so you know what to do or what not to do in regards to plant productivity and quality of soil. The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences offers residents of the state free soil testing from April to November. Literally you can send as much or as little during that time period and response time is about two or three weeks. From December through March however a 4 dollar fee is charged per soil sample. With that said, now is always a good time to consider re-enriching your soil before the cool season crops go in. Since crops such as collards, cabbage, mustard, cabbage-collards, lettuce and so on as plants can be installed up until late November you have plenty of time to make minor local adjustments to your soil or make large changes as you see fit.
The thing to remember is that, if you are planting a winter garden, individual plant vigor is a critical factor in ensuring regular and ample harvests later. Also as you grow crops year-round certain plants will use certain nutrients and by switching crops and enriching the soil between rotations will ensure greater overall soil quality over time. If you don’t believe this and are planning to attend the garden tour I can show you the last few years’ worth of soil tests for the property and you can judge for yourself. In fact the tests from this fall revealed that in some beds the soil went from being almost pure sand to soil that is more or less organic matter with a dash of sand and clay in there somewhere. This is almost terraforming on a very miniature scale. But of course you may never know if you don’t do regular soil testing in any space you are producing crops in.

Soil aside as this weekend is supposed to be beautiful, and so the Farmer’s market goes on. The market is located at 325 Franklin Street in the parking lots of the Fayetteville Transportation Museum and runs on two days of the week. The market is open from 9:00 am through 1:00 pm on Saturdays and 2:00 pm through 6:00pm on Wednesdays. Below is the plant list for 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.

Cold Season Crops
7x Romaine Lettuce, “Rouge d’Hiver” - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
6x Romaine Lettuce, “Parris Island Cos” - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Radicchio, “Rossa di Verona” - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
9x Mustard Greens, India - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
9x Mustard Greens, Japanese Red Giant - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
6x Cabbage, Copenhagen Market  - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
6x Cabbage, Savoy – Perfection Drumhead  - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
6x Collards, Georgia Southern Creole - 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Snow pea, Snowbird - 3.5” pot ($3.00)

Can you really imagine that pickup lines for every garden bed? “Hey baby is that Organic matter in your soil composition or are you just happy to see me?”  Terrible…just plain terrible. Think of the Children folks! Friends don’t let friends hit on soil!

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