Hot temps, high humidity, periods of rain and drought; that’s Summer in the South! In the garden, that can mean a lot of different things, depending on how those periods of rain and drought occur. There are ways to buffer those effects, but they have to be done beforehand.
This week’s tip
The simplest solution to easing the effects of Summer climate is compost. Adding compost to your soil before planting adds water holding capacity as well as improving drainage and aeration. Fortunately, we have multiple opportunities to build soil in the garden. Adding compost between crops adds back any organic matter consumed by the critters in the soil for the previous crop. You can “top-dress” the area by simply spreading the compost on the soil surface. That works fine for most plants. Often though, working the compost into the top 2-4” of the soil helps the soil life get to the compost faster, making it easier for the assorted microbes to do their thing. You can plant just as soon as you “top-dress” the soil. Mulching the soil around plants is something you can do anytime. Mulches keep soils more moist, buffers the effects of climate on the garden, and if organic mulches are used, adds organic matter to soil. It can also be a home for beneficial insects, too.
Cover crops, like buckwheat and field peas are great summer covers to build soil for Fall & Winter food crops. They can add organic matter and nutrients to the soil. You need to give the cover crops time to grow for a bit. Then you mow down and till in the cover. I’d wait 2 weeks for a tilled-in cover to rot down before I planted. That gives the critters in the soil time to work on the crop.
We use all of these techniques on the farm to great effect, and I can show you how to do it, too. Come join us at Renfrow Farm for August’s Successful Gardener Series, “The Four Season Garden”. Details here.
Sustainable Ag 103, July 26 – September 20, 2018. 6-9PM
Lomax Incubator Farm, Atando Road, Concord, NC
This class is a part of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s Agripreneur Academy. If you want to learn to cultivate an income through growing food, flowers, fiber, fuel, pharmaceuticals, and fermented beverages (unfermented ones, too), then come learn my “Cash Crop” method. Contact me for more details.
The Four Season Garden, Part 2: Fall & Winter Tuesday, August 7, 2018 630-830PM
Renfrow Farm, 409 W Charles Street, Matthews, NC.
This installment of The Successful Garden Series continues the planting and harvest of food through the Fall and onto the winter months. It surprises many people just how long our growing season is, especially when your help it along with row covers and tunnel growing. More details here.
Home Composting, Tuesday, September 11, 2018 630-830PM
Renfrow Farm, 409 W Charles Street, Matthews, NC
Compost is a great addition to any garden. It solves so many garden problems simply by adding organic matter to the soil. It’s easy to make, doesn’t need a fancy bin, and keeps food scraps out of the landfill. We’ll look at a simple compost system that will let you create lots of great garden soil. Here are the details.
Edible Landscapes, Tuesday, October 9, 630-830PM
Renfrow Farm, 409 W Charles Street, Matthews, NC We tend to look at our food crops through a single purpose lens. How much food will this plant yield? But many of our fruits and vegetables look great in the garden! Come learn how to add these plants to our landscapes. We’ll feed our souls beautiful gardens while we feed our bodies good food. Details and registration here.
Where I’ll be
Monday, July 30, 2018
I’m in Matthews NC, working on my business, as opposed to in my business.
Tuesday & Wednesday, July 31-August 1, 2018
I have some times available for home or Farm consultations. Contact me here.
Thursday, July 26, 2018 Sustainable Ag 103 600-900PM
Lomax Farm, Atando Road, Concord, NC
Sustainable Ag 103 begins July 26. Contact me for details.
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 hot, humid weather. Closed toed shoes are required on the farm. This is a hands on class. Be prepared for most of the class to be in the field. Your own water bottle is recommended, as is sunscreen and a hat.
Friday-Sunday, August 3-5, 2018
I’m away on personal business, but I’m back in time for the next Successful Gardener class!
How can I help you?
Summer is here, and so are the challenges of heat, humidity, and who knows what with rainfall. 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,