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Jeff’s Schedule for March 26-31, 2018

I’m writing this post from my new office. It’s in my new (to me) home in Matthews, NC. You folks in the Charlotte area have embraced the ideas of the Successful Gardener so warmly and enthusiastically that it just makes sense to make the area my base of operations. Thanks to all of you that take my classes, schedule a consultation, or keep up with me by social media.

This week’s tip

Last week we learned a lot about canning jars, so this week, we’ll concentrate on the workhorse of the canning kitchen, the canner. Basically, there are 2 types of canners, the water bath canner and the pressure canner. A water bath canner is essentially a big, deep pot. The jars full of food go in, water is added, the lid placed on the canner, and it’s put on the stove to heat. That’s vastly oversimplified, BTW.
This is a good segue to the main canning methods. They are the boiling water bath method and the pressure canning method. I’ll let the National Center for Home Food Preservation give you detail on each method. Boiling water bath method can be found here and pressure canning here.
Modern pressure canners have a locking lid and gasket to maintain pressure, along with a dial or weighted gauge that regulates and maintains the pressure. If you use a pressure canner, make sure your seal is in good shape, and have the canner pressure tested every year or so. If you do this, your canner should give you good service for a long time.

Here’s where I’ll be this week.

I’m in the Mathews area all week. It snowed in Virginia, so I didn’t get to make that trip last week.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018, 6:00-9:00 PM,
The Cash and the Cost-Share.
RCCC’s Cabarrus Business & Technology Center, 660 Concord Parkway N., Concord 28027
This is a FREE seminar! Here’s more info
Ag Entrepreneurs, or Agripreneurs create new ways of solving problems and creating value while using and protecting our natural resources. They meet the needs of our society while nourishing our families and developing our communities. They may create new production methods, or even new ways to do business. Tonight we’ll look at the financial aspects of farming; enterprise budgets, cash flow projections, tax strategies to help you keep more of what you made, and the surprisingly numerous ways that Federal and State governments can help you do some things with your business.
EVEN IF YOU HAVEN’T BEEN TO ANY OR ALL OF THE CLASSES, you can come to this class. And remember, it’s a FREE class!

NO Farm Business Management Class this week. Central Carolina Community College, Pittsboro, NC **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.

Thursday, March 29, 2018 6:00-9:00PM Sustainable Agriculture 101
Elma C. Lomax Incubator Farm, Atando Road, Concord, NC Registration is now CLOSED. Sustainable Ag 102, Field & Greenhouse Management, begins May 17.
Demand for sustainable or organically grown products continues to increase. USDA Certified Organic produce is in short supply at all major grocery stores. Opportunities abound IF you can produce a quality product, grow in sufficient quantities, and know the proper marketing channels. I’ve been teaching farmers to cultivate profit since 1996. Come join us at the Lomax Farm to learn how to grow good food in a certified organic farm. We’re going to be on a working farm, so dress appropriately. That includes dressing for wet, cold weather.

Saturday, March 31, 2018 9AM-2PM, In the Greenhouse at Renfrow’s!
Renfrow Hardware, 188 North Trade Street, Matthews, NC
More info here.
Come see me for all your gardening needs, from fresh transplants, great products for the garden, or the best selection of seeds in the Charlotte region! Got a problem? Bring it to us. Need to understand a soil test recommendation? We’ll interpret it for you. Come see us!

How can I help you?

Late Winter/early Spring 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 March 19-24, 2018

The rain continues and chilly temps seem to hang on, but Spring arrives this week! So does the Sustainable Ag class at Lomax Incubator Farm in Concord, NC. There’s more information below.

This week’s tip

As my family will tell you, I use Mason jars for a lot of things, even using them as the main drinking glass at my home. They are really useful, aren’t they? What’s that, you don’t know what a Mason Jar is? That’s the trade name for a canning jar. What we know as a Mason jar was invented by John Mason in 1858. It hasn’t changed much over the years, except for the lid. So now that you know what the Mason jar is, let’s talk about it as a superior canning jar. I’m sure everybody’s Mom or Grandma used all kinds of jars back in the day. I used to as well. After repeated episodes of opening the canner only to find broken glass and ruined food, I stopped using them. I use Mason jars exclusively now. They are made for repeated uses, while other jars are NOT. Always check the threads and mouth of the jar before use, looking for cracks or chips. Then inspect the rest of the jar for cracks. Any of these weak spots can cause the jar to crack while processing or might prevent the lid from sealing. Remember that lids should be new.
As a point of clarification, there are several labels of Mason jars these days. Ball, Golden Harvest, and Kerr are the most common these days. They also make the 2 part lids and bands that seal during and after the canning process. The 2 parts are the ring, which includes the threaded part, and the lid, or dome, that covers the mouth of the jar. The lid also has a rubber ring that seals tight if the process is effective. Just a note here to tell beginners that while the jar and ring are reusable for canning, the lid is not.
Next week, more info on equipment for canning your fresh fruits and vegetables.

Here’s where I’ll be this week

I’ll start the week in Virginia, working ON my business, as opposed to IN my business. Just as in gardening, I have a lot of business management experience that forms the basis of whatever I teach.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 6:00-9:00 PM, The Agripreneur and the Business RCCC’s Cabarrus Business & Technology Center, 660 Concord Parkway N., Concord 28027
This is a FREE seminar! Here’s more info
Ag Entrepreneurs, or Agripreneurs create new ways of solving problems and creating value while using and protecting our natural resources. They meet the needs of our society while nourishing our families and developing our communities. They may create new production methods, or even new ways to do business. Tonight we’ll look at the many different parts of operating a Farm or food business, including structure, taxes, and certifications.

Thursday, March 22, 2018 Farm Business Management Central Carolina Community College, Pittsboro, NC **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.

Thursday, March 22, 2018 6:00-9:00PM Sustainable Agriculture 101
Elma C. Lomax Incubator Farm, Atando Road, Concord, NC
Here’s how to register.
Demand for sustainable or organically grown products continues to increase. USDA Certified Organic produce is in short supply at all major grocery stores. Opportunities abound IF you can produce a quality product, grow in sufficient quantities, and know the proper marketing channels. I’ve been teaching farmers to cultivate profit since 1996. Come join us at the Lomax Farm to learn how to grow good food in a certified organic farm. We’re going to be on a working farm, so dress appropriately. That includes dressing for wet, cold weather.

Saturday, March 24, 2018 9AM-2PM, In the Greenhouse at Renfrow’s!
Renfrow Hardware, 188 North Trade Street, Matthews, NC
More info here.
Come see me for all your gardening needs, from fresh transplants, great products for the garden, or the best selection of seeds in the Charlotte region! Got a problem? Bring it to us. Need to understand a soil test recommendation? We’ll interpret it for you. Come see us!

How can I help you?

Late Winter/early Spring 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 March 12-17, 2018

Thanks again to all of you that sold out yet another Successful Gardener class last week. We’re on to the Agripreneurship class at RCCC, and lots of other teaching activities! Remember that my classes on Sustainable Agriculture start next week at Elma C. Lomax Incubator Farm in Concord, NC. Here’s more information.

This week’s tip

I’ve had so many questions about canning, that I’m planning a Food Preservation class for this summer. In the meantime, I’m going to provide you with information that will help you learn more about preserving all the freshness of that good food you grew in the garden or bought at the Farmers Market. We’ll start with an introduction to a great resource. Based at the University of Georgia, The National Center for Home Food Preservation is the go-to resource for research based information on all kinds of food preservation. Take some time and browse this section of the site.
The one thing I’ll add is always use fresh, top-quality produce for your canning. In the spirit of full disclosure, I’ve used seconds (produce with blemishes or even spoiled parts) in the past. But I realized my health is worth only the best. So I use only the best produce for my canning. Keep in mind that I’ll use imperfectly shaped or what’s called “ugly” produce in a heartbeat. The difference being there’s no dead or diseased tissue going into my processed food. Send that stuff to the compost pile! All the critters making compost love it. Remember, our intention in growing good fresh food is to feed our bodies for good health, right?

Here’s where I’ll be this week

I’ll start the week in Matthews, working ON my business, as opposed to IN my business. Just as in gardening, I have a lot of business management experience that forms the basis of whatever I teach.

Tuesday, March 13, 2017 6:00-9:00PM. Agripreneurship Seminar: The Customer & The Story RCCC’s Cabarrus Business & Technology Center, 660 Concord Parkway N., Concord 28027 This is a FREE seminar! Here’s more info.
Ag Entrepreneurs, or Agripreneurs create new ways of solving problems and creating value while using and protecting our natural resources. They meet the needs of our society while nourishing our families and developing our communities. They may create new production methods, or even new ways to do business. Tonight we’ll look at the product, price, place, promotion, and people that make up a Farm business, what the story of your business is, and who you should tell it to.

Thursday, March 15, 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.

Saturday, March 17, 2018 9AM-2PM, In the Greenhouse at Renfrow’s!
Renfrow Hardware, 188 North Trade Street, Matthews, NC
More info here.
Come see me for all your gardening needs, from fresh transplants, great products for the garden, or the best selection of seeds in the Charlotte region! Got a problem? Bring it to us. Need to understand a soil test recommendation? We’ll interpret it for you. Come see us!

How can I help you?

Late Winter/early Spring 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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4 Season Garden class SOLD OUT!

Well, folks, for the second time this year, our class has reached capacity. Thanks to everyone who registered.

For those of you that can’t make it to this class, our future classes will cover some of the same material, plus we will be “down on the Farm”.

Go ahead and sign up for our next class, Soup and Salad Gardens now. Our other classes are available here.

Thanks!!!

Peace, Grace, & Love,
Jeff

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Jeff’s Schedule for March 5-10, 2018

This week, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is on Spring break, so there will NOT be an Agripreneurship Seminar. Those seminars will resume on March 13. If you missed the first one, you can still join us for the rest of the series. Details are here.

This week’s tip

Well, it looks like Spring is here. You can expect some cool temps, though, right on through April. Our average last frost date (see last week’s tip) is Tax day, so be careful about planting warm-season crops like snap beans or tomatoes. In fact, even your cool-season transplants will need a little cover if they’re just out of the greenhouse.
One thing that many gardeners struggle with is how much of each vegetable, herb, or flower to plant. While there are several calendars with amounts per person, that’s really just a guess, so why not make your own estimate?
Think about how much of a vegetable you and your family eat each week. For instance, if you eat one head of lettuce per week, then that’s how much you need to plant. Frankly, I’d plant a little more, because if you have good, fresh food available, you’ll eat more of it. A 3-pack of lettuce transplants might be good for 2-3 weeks, then plant another few plants or seeds. This is a type of succession planting.
For plants like tomatoes or squash, you have to make an educated guess. You know how much you eat of a vegetable, but it’s anybody’s guess as to how much each plant will produce. But tomatoes produce a lot per plant, and squash does as well. Start with one plant per person, and see how that works. You can always give away extra produce. Depending on the variety, plants may bear a harvest all season, or gradually decline and die. The tag or seed pack should have some of that information. Experienced staff at independent garden centers should be able to tell you. You can also check in with me by email.
If you want to freeze or can any produce, that takes more calculating. It also takes more equipment and storage. We’ll talk about that next week.

Here’s where I’ll be this week

Monday – Wednesday, Friday, too! Charlotte, NC area
I’ll be conducting consultations in the area. It’s time to start your planning AND planting in your garden, home landscape, or the farm. I can help you do all of that. See below for more details.

Tuesday, March 6; 2018 630-830PM The 4 Season Garden I – Spring and Summer.
Renfrow Hardware, 188 North Trade Street, Matthews, NC
REGISTER HERE. There are only a few spots left!
In the NC Piedmont, you can have something growing all year. And with a little protection, you can get an early start on lots of crops. We’ll look at ways to grow food earlier in the year and have more fresh food from your garden! Since it’s still dark early, this class will be at Renfrow Hardware.

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.

Be on the lookout for a new series I’ll be teaching Thursdays at Lomax Incubator Farm in Concord. I’ll have details soon. It starts 3/22/18.

Saturday, March 10, 2018 9AM-2PM, In the Greenhouse at Renfrow’s
Renfrow Hardware, 188 North Trade Street, Matthews, NC
More info here
I’ll be working in the greenhouse or the seed department, answering questions, stocking product, and helping you find the best products for your garden.

Late 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!!!

Peace, Grace, & Love,
Jeff

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