Organic gardening and farming are on tap this week. I’ll be teaching “Organic Gardening 101” at Renfrow Farm on May 8, starting at 630PM. It’s a primer on organic gardening techniques and philosophy. You can sign up here. Beginning on May 15 is “Sustainable Agriculture 102” at Lomax Farm in Concord, NC. This is a series of classes based on organic principles. You can join us even if you didn’t take 101. It’s a hands on course that will definitely get you grounded in organics. Here’s more info.
This week’s tip
Organic gardening is all about creating. Creating healthy soil, creating habitat for beneficial insects, and creating plant diversity. This week, I’ll offer some tips on plant diversity. If you look at an unmanaged meadow or patch of woods, you’ll see all kinds of plants. Annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs, and even some vines. Sure there may be a certain plant, or maybe 2 or 3, that predominate, but usually, plant populations are quite varied. They “work together” to create a habitat protects its plant members by spreading them out. We can do the same thing while creating our organic garden.
In a small garden, if you’ve added the flowers and herbs I talked about last week, you’ll be well on your way toward creating diversity. Another thing you can do is to spread your vegetable plants around in the garden. There are several ways to do this. First, don’t plant all of a certain crop together. If you plant 3-4 tomato plants, plant them in different beds. At the very least, don’t plant them side by side. A second way to create diversity is to split larger crops, like beans, into several plantings. This gives you second and third chances for harvest, even if you have a pest problem. For instance, plant a smaller crop of green beans, wait 2 week’s, then plant more. Green beans can be planted every 2 week’s until a month and a half before frost. And last, move your annual crops from place to place each year, creating different groupings of plants. This confuses the pests and pathogens that cause so much havoc in our garden. Oh, there’s another way to have a more diverse garden. Planting different varieties of the same crop helps plants resist pests and disease. A real benefit of this approach is a longer harvest. For instance, tomato harvest dates range from 55 days to 80 days or more.
All of these techniques create an environment of health and diversity. Combined with the rich soil you create by composting, cover cropping and mulching, plus the wide variety of herbs and flowers that attract so many beneficial insects, you are well on your way toward creating an organic garden that feeds body and soul.
Here’s where I’ll be this week.
Monday May 7, I’m in Matthews, working on my business, as opposed to in my business.
Tuesday, May 8, Renfrow Farm and environs
I’ll be around the farm most of the day, preparing for class.
Tuesday, May 8, 630-830PM Organic Gardening 101
Renfrow Farm, 409 West Charles Street, Matthews, NC.
Ever wonder exactly what “organic” means? Come join us for a primer on how to create your own organic garden. Sign up here.
Wednesday, May 9, On the road
Thursday, May 10, 2018 6:00-9:00PM Sustainable Agriculture 101
Elma C. Lomax Incubator Farm, Atando Road, Concord, NC Sustainable Ag 102, Field & Greenhouse Management, begins May 15. Sign up here.
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.
Friday, May 11, I’m available for home and Farm consultations. Contact me here.
Saturday, May 12, 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?
Spring is a great time to take stock of what’s going on in the garden and landscape. As new growth sprouts all over, new ideas do, too. But you may not know if they will work. That’s where I come in. 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,