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Tuesday’s Class is SOLD OUT!!!

The first scheduled Successful Gardener class of 2018 has sold out! “Starting Plants From Seed” has reached its seating capacity.

If you’re interested in being put on the waiting list or for a possible 2nd class, contact me here.

For those of you interested in purchasing the 2018 class pack for the remaining 9 classes, that revised package will be available after Tuesday evening.

Thanks!!!

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Jeff’s Schedule for January 29 – February 3, 2018

With all of the rain recently, the soil is really wet. So spend this week doing some planning instead of planting

This week’s tip

Last week I shared the basics of what seeds need to grow into plants. This week, I’ll talk about how to provide those things. Light is easily provided by a sunny window, but extra light is often needed. A simple fluorescent fixture can supply the light you need, but must be kept just above the seedling to keep it from having too much lanky growth. Warmth for your seedlings can be provided by a seedling heat mat, which keeps the soil at 80 degrees. Soil…well, you shouldn’t use soil at all. Instead, use a seedling mix that is light enough to hold the right amount of water for the seedling. Put that mix into some kind os shallow (2”) container with enough drain holes to keep the mix from being water logged. Personally, I like to wet the seedling mix down before I fill my containers. That lets me be sure the mix is wet from top to bottom. Use fresh seed or seed that has been stored properly. Place your seed on top or the seedling mix, then cover lightly with more mix. Moisten that top layer of soil with a misting bottle to keep the seeds from floating out. Place the containers in a plant flat or pie pan or any flat container that will catch any water that drains from your seedling containers. Put the flat on the heat mat, and turn on the light over the containers. Lower the light to with ¼” of the surface of your containers. Depending on the plant, you should see germination in 7-14 Days. Keep the seedling mix moist. As the plants grow, raise the light to just above the growing tip of the plants. When you are about 2 weeks from planting outdoors, take your plants outside for a short while each day to “harden off”, or become accustomed to growing outdoors. Leave them out a little longer each day, as they become accustomed to the weather. When they can be planted outdoors, plant them with the same care you would a store-bought transplants.

Here’s where I’ll be this week

Tuesday, January 30, 18 Successful Gardener Class 630-830
Renfrow Hardware, 188 N. Trade Street, Matthews, NC
SOLD OUT Starting Plants From Seeds
If you want to check with me tomorrow afternoon, I’ll see if I can fit you in.

Thursday, February 1, 2018 Farm Business Management
Central Carolina Community College, Pittsboro,
**This is a curriculum course and registration is closed for the semester.
I teach Farm Business Management at CCCC, based on my work, Cash Crop: Cultivating Profit In Your Farm or Food Business. You can cultivate profit in the same way you cultivate your crops. Good planning helps you work ON your business as much as you work IN your business. Creating and analyzing enterprise and whole farm budgets cultivate the farm’s operation in order to grow your farm’s profits.
This class can be offered at your community college, too. Contact me to find out how.

Friday through Saturday Matthews, NC
I’m available for landscape consultations, especially if you have questions about your fruit trees. This is the best time of year for pruning fruit trees, grape vines and other dormant fruit plants. Pruning is easier than you think, but it pays to know how each cut will help your plants. I can help you gain confidence in your pruning skills, show you how to sharpen and maintain your tools, and teach you what to look for to keep your plants as healthy as possible. I’ll be teaching a pruning class at Renfrow Farm in February, and a fruit tree consultation will help you understand the basics that much better.

Winter is a great time to take stock of what’s going on in the garden and landscape. Last year’s growing season is behind you, and with leaves down you can see the architecture of your landscape clearly. You can get a head start on Spring or finish up those Fall projects. I’ve designed and installed all kinds of landscapes, from formal herb gardens to Permaculture homesteads. In an hour, I can solve problems, identify plants, show you some opportunities, and help you enjoy your garden even more! If you’re interested in a home landscape
consultation, contact me here.

I farmed and operated a plant nursery in NC for 15 years, and was an NC Cooperative Extension agent for 8 years. In that time, I learned a LOT about farm production and farm business management. I can help you with organic certification, transition to organic practices, and marketing your farm and food products. To learn how to cultivate profit on your farm, contact me here.

In these times of great opportunity for small business owners, strategic planning is essential for success. I can help you write a business plan, construct enterprise and cash flow budgets, and do market research. Individual consultations and group trainings are options for getting the information you need to succeed! To take advantage of the opportunities that are available to small business owners, contact me here. .

Remember to enjoy your garden, because THAT’S what makes you a Successful Gardener!
Hope to see you sometime this week!

Peace, Grace, & Love,
Jeff

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Jeff’s Schedule for January 22-27, 2018

The weather has changed a lot in the last few days. It’s been in the low 50’s up here on Locust Ridge, and I’ve been able to work outside a bit. Still too wet to work in the garden, but it’s a great time to set up your plant starting space

This week’s tip

It’s really simple to start lots of vegetable, herb, & flower plants from seeds. Like most Living things, plants need shelter, light, warmth, and water. Most homes have a sunny window that will provide the shelter, light and warmth, though a grow light can help plants grow that short and stocky growth we like. If the air from the window is cool, you can always add a seedling heat mat. That’s especially helpful if you live in an older home with drafty windows. Protecting the surface of the windowsill from water and fertilizer is very important. The easiest thing to use is an inexpensive aluminum pan from the dollar store. You can set all kinds of containers in them, and they are reusable. But my favorite is a 1020 (10” x 20”) solid plant flat. Flats are those plastic trays that hold the 3, 4, & 6 cell packs of bedding plants. A solid flat means no drain holes to let excess water run out of the cell packs. They are relatively inexpensive and sturdier than aluminum pans. Use a seedling mix to start your plants instead of a potting soil or garden soil. Seedling mixes provide drainage and aeration that your plants need to grow their best.

Next week we’ll cover planting and care for Your seedlings. If you’d like to know more, I’m teaching a class on Starting Plants from Seed on January 30, 630PM, at Renfrow Hardware. Click here for more details and to register.

Here’s where I’ll be this week

I start the week on Locust Ridge working on private projects. Then I’m off on another road trip.

Thursday, January 18, 2018 Farm Business Management
Central Carolina Community College, Pittsboro,
**This is a curriculum course and registration is closed for the semester.
I teach Farm Business Management at CCCC, based on my work, Cash Crop: Cultivating Profit In Your Farm or Food Business. You can cultivate profit in the same way you cultivate your crops. Good planning helps you work ON your business as much as you work IN your business. Creating and analyzing enterprise and whole farm budgets cultivate the farm’s operation in order to grow your farm’s profits.
This class can be offered at your community college, too. Contact me to find out how.

Friday through Saturday Matthews, NC
I’m available for landscape consultations, especially if you have questions about your fruit trees. This is the best time of year for pruning fruit trees, grape vines and other dormant fruit plants. Pruning is easier than you think, but it pays to know how each cut will help your plants. I can help you gain confidence in your pruning skills, show you how to sharpen and maintain your tools, and teach you what to look for to keep your plants as healthy as possible. I’ll be teaching a pruning class at Renfrow Farm in February, and a fruit tree consultation will help you understand the basics that much better.

Winter is a great time to take stock of what’s going on in the garden and landscape. Last year’s growing season is behind you, and with leaves down you can see the architecture of your landscape clearly. You can get a head start on Spring or finish up those Fall projects. I’ve designed and installed all kinds of landscapes, from formal herb gardens to Permaculture homesteads. In an hour, I can solve problems, identify plants, show you some opportunities, and help you enjoy your garden even more! If you’re interested in a home landscape consultation, contact me here.

I farmed and operated a plant nursery in NC for 15 years, and was an NC Cooperative Extensionagent for 8 years. In that time, I learned a LOT about farm production and farm business management. I can help you with organic certification, transition to organic practices, and
marketing your farm and food products. To learn how to cultivate profit on your farm, contact me here.

In these times of great opportunity for small business owners, strategic planning is essential for success. I can help you write a business plan, construct enterprise and cash flow budgets, and do market research. Individual consultations and group trainings are options for getting the information you need to succeed! To take advantage of the opportunities that are available to small business owners, contact me here.

Remember to enjoy your garden, because THAT’S what makes you a Successful Gardener!
Hope to see you sometime this week!

Peace, Grace, & Love,
Jeff

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Creation and Change

The last few days, I’ve been working outside while I’m up here on Locust Ridge. While that’s not unusual for me, this is the first period of decent weather we’ve had for quite a while, warm enough during part of each day that I could work without a jacket. I have a busy Spring season ahead, so I AM GRATEFUL for any warm spell up here on the mountain.
With the climate change we’re facing, that’s kind of selfish, I suppose. Before everybody gets worked up, let me say this; say what you will about the causes of climate change, the weather ain’t what it was when I was a kid, and anything I can do to change that, I’m gonna do. I ain’t gettin’ caught up in party politics over cause, I’m just gonna do what I think I need to do.
That’s the thing. When you do what you can, what you think YOU need to do, it creates big change over time. Yeah, I can hear it, “Oh, my actions don’t do a thing. I’m just one person.” That’s a common view, and it’s bullshit. If that’s true, stay home, don’t do anything at all for a day or two. No work, no play, no food or drink. In fact, stop breathing. Did that have an effect on you? Yes, it did. If everybody stopped doing anything, would that make a difference? Yes, it would.
Here’s the point. Our efforts DO make a difference. Every single one. And it’s the accumulation of all those individual efforts that Create our world. The question is, are you Creating by being for something or against something? If every aspect of your creation is based on “I’m against” or “I don’t like”, then you aren’t really Creating, you are reacting. Reacting puts your time and energy into what you don’t like. Creating pours your Life (your time & energy) into thought, word, and deed, building a Life you Love. When enough of us do that, we change the world.
Everything you do matters. How you do it matters. When you do it matters. YOU matter. We should never be bored, because what we do as individuals Creates the world we live in. Be FOR something, and change the world.
It’s my power to Create my world that I AM GRATEFUL for today!!!

Peace, Grace, & Love,
Jeff

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Jeff’s Schedule for January 15-19, 2018

This is my first schedule post for 2018. I’m writing it late, and most of this schedule will be disrupted by the snow that’s been falling since mid-morning. But writing is a practice for me, and I try to write every day. Besides, I need to know where I’ll be so I can meet you there!

This week’s tip

With all the cold weather we’ve been facing, many of us will have plants damaged by freezing weather. You may have plants that look as though they’ve been killed to the ground. Unfortunately, some of them have, mostly your annuals. But even some of the hardier bedding plants can survive surprisingly bitter cold. Also, remember that where the plants are located in your landscape is important. Brick or stone walls, paved drives and walkways, and the surrounding plantings create microclimates that help plants survive.

Some of your perennials and shrubs that look blasted by cold may have some life left in them. So don’t be in a rush to replace anything. You can certainly cut away some of the obviously dead tissue. Wait and do this when things have warmed a bit. Guys, I’m talking to you here…

Sometimes cold damage doesn’t show up til the next Spring or Summer. So make sure your plants get some good TLC this Spring. Patience is the key.

Here’s where I’ll be this week.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Renfrow Farm (as weather permits).
There’s always something to plant or harvest at the farm! But if the weather is uncomfortable for us, it’s also bad for the plants to be handled in any way. As a note, it warmed up enough that I was able to do some limited work at the farm.

Thursday, January 18, 2018 Farm Business Management
Central Carolina Community College, Pittsboro,
**This is a curriculum course and registration is closed for the semester.
I teach Farm Business Management at CCCC, based on my work, Cash Crop: Cultivating Profit In Your Farm or Food Business. You can cultivate profit in the same way you cultivate your crops. Good planning helps you work ON your business as much as you work IN your business. Creating and analyzing enterprise and whole farm budgets cultivate the farm’s operation in order to grow your farm’s profits.
This class can be offered at your community college, too. Contact me to find out how.

Friday, January 19, 2018 430-600PM
Food Co-op Discussion
Hosted by:
The Piedmont Culinary Guild
Charlotte Mecklenburg Food Policy Council

Free Range Brewing
2320 N Davidson St # D,
Charlotte, North Carolina 28205
Are you interested in helping create a food co-op in Charlotte? We are – and we’re looking for partners.
Food co-ops can be an important resource for healthy food and local enterprise, and they have taken off in Pittsboro and Greensboro. What would we need to make one work in Charlotte?
Join us as we discuss where different groups are in this process and what they would need to get to the next stage. We’ll be bringing in a few people with expertise developing and implementing food co-ops in North Carolina, as well as experts in related legal and financial issues.
If you’re unable to join us for this meeting, we’d love to have an email exchange or phone call about your interest in a Charlotte food co-op
Thanks for helping us improve the local Charlotte area food system!

Stay warm!!!
Jeff

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Joy Instead of Achievement

“…Something to achieve instead of something to enjoy”
– Judith Hanson Lassiter

This has been my mindset for most of my life. And it’s been an approach to life that has had the proverbial double-edged sword. It’s certainly pushed me to do things to the best of my ability, but it hasn’t allowed me to enjoy my life. I’ve made the comment multiple times about having a shitty life. I even started writing a post about it. But as I was writing, I had to come to the conclusion that idea was simply BS. I was concentrating too much on what I had not achieved, and had not taken the time to enjoy what I was doing, and who I was doing it with. I was focused exclusively on the destination and not the journey.

When I look back at My Life, I can see the the Abundance of it all. Family, friends, yes, even the achievements I’ve made (or haven’t made). Even the Fuller equation* I quote so much shows the Abundance in My Life. Learning, teaching, and doing has been My Life. I suppose I need to add enjoyment of experience, the fascination with gaining knowledge, and the pleasure I find in action to the corollary.

The irony of the philosophy of one of my businesses is not lost on me. As The Successful Gardener, I tell folks to, “ENOY your garden, because THAT’S what makes you a successful gardener!” Yet I couldn’t see that in other parts of My Life. I had made enjoying things conditional. I’ll be Happy if ______. I’ll enjoy My Life when _______.

So what do I do now? It’s easy to say, “Do the stuff that brings you joy!” I’ve said that in the past, but it didn’t take, for several reasons, not least of which was my mindset of conditionality. Letting go of that idea of “I’ll be happy if ____” will be the most effective way for me to enjoy My Life more.

First, I’ll consciously make the decision to Enjoy My Life Unconditionally. I’ll practice detachment from conditional thinking. I’ll add Enjoyment, Happiness, and Satisfaction to My Intentions, the “I AM” statements I use to Create My Life. I’ll allow myself to make mistakes with all this. I’ll be willing to forgive Myself when I fall back into conditional Happiness, because it takes time for me to Create the new thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions that Create new parts of My Personal Mythology. While I am creating these new parts of My Personal Mythology, I’ll stop old conditional thoughts when they occur and repeat My Intentions for Joy and Happiness. I’ll continue to do this as long as I need to, until enjoying My Life Unconditionally becomes second nature. And yes, I’ll do more things that bring me Joy, because, over time, this work will allow me to Enjoy more things!

I’ve used this process over and over to Create My Life. For this effort to succeed, you have to be Patient and Loving with yourself. At the very least, cut yourself a lot of slack if you fall back to old habits. If you need help doing this, get it. There is no shame in asking for help. I’ve done it multiple times.

Write about the process. You can share those thoughts or not, that’s up to you. I have 30-some notebooks full of pain and suffering that changed to Compassion and finally to Unconditional Love. Again, cut yourself a lot of slack while you do this. Don’t judge what you write. Let the pain go right out the pen and on to the paper. Or, if you use a computer, let that junk flow through your fingertips out onto the screen. If you get it out of your head, it’s less likely to end up in your heart.

I have no idea of how long you’ll need to do this. It seems different for everybody. Don’t get hung up on time or effort. Just do the practice. Cut yourself a lot of slack. Change your Life.

Peace, Grace, & Love,
Jeff
*Buckminster Fuller’s equation for wealth is energy x knowledge = Wealth. My addition, or corollary to that equation is applied energy x (knowledge x experience) = Wealth.

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