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Jeff’s Schedule for August 27 – September 1, 2018

This week gives you another chance to learn more about growing a great fall garden. We’ve got lots of time to produce more good, fresh food. See the details below.

This Week’s Tip

It’s time to make some decisions. And those decisions determine what kinds of food your garden will produce in the short run or the long run. Will you leave the older plants in the garden or will you take them up and plant something new?
Usually these decisions are fairly obvious. Take the Successful Gardener display garden at Renfrow Farm. It’s time to plant some cool season crops, but I have it planted with all kinds of flowers and herbs, as well as vegetables. How do I make space for all the kale, lettuce, and collards that I love so much?
First, I’m going to remove any dead or diseased plants, like the cucumbers. They haven’t produced much, anyway. Poor pollination, I think, so out they go to the compost pile. Now, what about that ‘Better Bush’ tomato that has some fruit rot and early blight? Well, it IS still producing, so maybe that gets a little more time. Next are those plants that just haven’t produced much this year. That points right at the cantaloupes. I wrote about their troubles with pickleworm last week. I have gotten no cantaloupes at all, so they may head to the compost pile, too. Anything else? I’ll take a look at the sweet potatoes, but they need a little more time to mature. And I expect a big harvest from that bed. That would give me a lot of space, though. But they stay for now. Everything else looks pretty good.
But what about those plants that look good? Could there be a choice to remove them, too? Yes, but that gets a little complicated. Will you get lots more food from those plants? Will they produce more than any cool season crop you might plant? If the answer is “no”, then they need to be pulled, too.
So let’s review. Dead, diseased, and no production are all candidates for removal. Harvesting plants that wont produce much more can give you more room, too. And plants that have done their good work can make way for new plants for the fall.
There are two more opportunities to learn more of these fall gardening tips this year. One is this week at Renfrow Farm! The details are below.

Upcoming classes

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.

Skillpop class: Fall Gardening Basics, August 29, 2018 630-830PM
Renfrow Farm, 409 W Charles Street, Matthews, NC.
With a bit of planning and knowledge, you can enjoy eating something from your garden 365 days of the year in Charlotte’s mild climate. Learn how to extend your gardening season into the fall and winter by growing veggies such as broccoli, kale, carrots, garlic, onions, and many more! Utilize these principles for early spring (February and March) gardening as well! Details here.

Fall Vegetable Gardening, Monday, September 10, 2018 630-930PM
Lomax Incubator Farm, Atando Road, Concord, NC
This is a new location for The Successful Garden Series. In Piedmont NC, we can continue 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.

Home Composting, Tuesday, October 3, 2018 630-930PM
Lomax Incubator Farm, Atando Road, Concord, NC
This is our second class at our new location. 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

Tuesday, August 28, 2018 Renfrow Farm, Matthews, NC
I’ll be working at the farm in the morning, and working on my business (as opposed to in my business) in the afternoon.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018 Matthews, NC
Skillpop class, Fall Gardening Basics. See the details above.

Thursday, August 30, 2018 Sustainable Ag 103 600-900PM
Lomax Farm, Atando Road, Concord, NC
Sustainable Ag 103 began 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 & Saturday, August 31 – September 1, 2018 Floyd YogaJam
Check out the festival website here.

How Can I Help You?

Summer is great for spending time in the garden, not just working, but enjoying your garden. Feed your body good food from the garden. Feed your mind new knowledge as you learn more about nature. Feed your soul just by watching things grow. All this while having a beautiful place to sit and enjoy coffee before breakfast or a glass of wine in the evening. Get the kids outside and away from “the screen”. Decompress after a hectic day on the job. The movement and exertion of gardening has long been considered a beneficial physical activity, and you get food or flowers as a result!

If you’re not getting those benefits from your garden, right now is the time to change that. I can help you evaluate your home landscape and find the right landscape for your family. In a one hour consultation, I can solve problems, identify plants, show you some opportunities, and teach you some cool shortcuts that make gardening more fun and interesting. If you’re interested in enjoying your garden even more, contact me here.

Organic farming has seen tremendous growth over the last few years, even while other sectors of agriculture have slumped. 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.

As a former Small Business Center Director in NC, I can tell you that these are times of great opportunity for small business owners. Many small businesses can be started for as little as $100! To take advantage of these opportunities, strategic planning is essential. 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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