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Jeff’s Schedule for October 1-6, 2018

Well, Fall seems to be coming along slowly. Days are shorter, nights a bit cooler, leaf color changing, and some leaves already falling. And Fall is a great time to plant all kinds of things.

This Week’s Tip

Most of us tend to think of Spring as the best time to plant. For some things, that is true, but our hot (and often dry) Summers tend to put a lot of stress on Spring planted specimens. So why not plant all kinds of trees, shrubs, vines, and perennial flowers right now? When you plant in the fall, you give plants a 7 or 8 month head start on the hot, dry weather. Roots are growing during that time, even if other parts of the plant are dormant. This allows the plants to be well on their way to being established in the landscape before they have to face the stresses of Summer weather. So, now’s the time to plant!
Last week I posted a list of great plants to use to create an edible landscape; a yard/garden/orchard hybrid, if you will. Nearly every single one of them is a perennial plant of some sort, which means they continue to grow over the years. Some, in fact, live quite a long time. In fact, the oldest known cultivated muscadine grape vine was planted in the 1500’s on the Outer Banks Of NC!
My preferred method of tree planting is fairly simple. Dig a hole as deep as the root ball of your plant is thick, and twice as wide. For example, if you buy an apple tree in a “3 gallon” container, the root ball will be approximately 10” wide and 14” tall. So you’ll need to dig a hole 20” wide and 14” deep. Remove the plant from the container, and loosen the roots from the tight ball they grew in while in the container. This allows the plant’s roots to spread out faster. Fill the planting hole with 3-4” of native soil, and firm it a bit. This will raise the top of the root ball above the surrounding grade, and lessen the settling of the soil. In our clay soils, you want to plant most things a little high to prevent root and crown rots caused by rainwater puddling around tree trunks. Set the plant into the hole, and backfill with native soil. You might irrigate the soil and root ball when about half the planting hole is filled. Continue backfilling, and fill the planting hole up to the top of the rot ball. Make sure the root flare (the area of a tree trunk that widens into the root system) is visible just above the soil. You can water a bit more, then add your preferred organic mulch. This simple method should get your tree off to a fine start, and a long life. And remember, Fall is for planting!

Upcoming classes

Sustainable Ag 104, September 27 – November 15, 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 here for more information.

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

Monday, October 1, 2018 Matthews, NC
I’ll be working on my business, as opposed to in my business, but I’m in town if you need me. I’ll be speaking to the Matthews Rotary Club that day as well.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018 Matthews, NC
I’ll be at the farm helping prepare for the annual Farm dinner. That evening, I’ll be speaking to the Matthews HAWK (Habitat And Wildlife Keepers) chapter that evening.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 Home Composting Class, 630-930PM
Lomax Incubator Farm, Atando Road, Concord, NC
Details are listed above.

Thursday, October 4, 2018 Sustainable Ag 103 600-900PM
Lomax Farm, Atando Road, Concord, NC
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, October 5, 2018 Matthews, NC
I’m available for home landscape consultations. Contact me here.

Saturday, October 6, 2018 On the road
I’m doing regional farm consultations. Contact me if I can help you.

How Can I Help You?

Well, it’s official; Fall is here! This is a great time in the garden, enjoying your garden, planting new things, building new projects. In all this activity, remember to 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,

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