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Jeff’s Schedule for September 10-15, 2018

In doing leg work for my classes, I have discovered that composting seems to have lost some of its reputation among gardeners. Making and using good compost is a cornerstone of good gardening…and farming, for that matter. Here’s more on composting.

This Week’s Tip

Last week I wrote about some of the basics of composting. I want to add to that, and talk about how important compost is to good gardening. Remember, compost is decomposed organic matter, full of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes that help plants grow. I have found that plants grown in soils that have compost added regularly are healthier than plants grown without compost.
Here are a few of the benefits of using compost in garden soils.
– Improved soil health & fertility
– Increased nutrient content of soils
– Higher yields of crops
– Richer, more diverse life in soils
– Soil are easier to work with
– Increased soil porosity & moisture retention
– Suppression of plant diseases & pests
– Reduced need for fertilizers & pesticides
– Healthy root systems
– Regenerates poor soils
– Prevention & management of soil erosion problems
– Reduced water demands of plants & trees
Read more at: https://composting.ces.ncsu.edu/home-composting/

In my years as a gardener and farmer, making and using compost were at the center or my soil building practices. As an educator and consultant, I have helped many people start composting or improve their compost production and use. Just this year, tomato plant tissue tests have shown clients that adding compost and growing cover crops can provide 100% of the nutrients needed for tomato production. Granted, this isn’t common, and the farmer that had these results is very aggressive in cover cropping and composting. But it is an example of what can be done. And it can be done by anybody, because most of the compost comes from fall leaf collection, and the cover crops are often field peas, clover, and grasses.
Compost your leaves, collect the leaves from your neighbors, maybe have a landscaper drop a truckload at your house if you have the space. Let those leaves compost, and add the compost to your garden soils as amendments or as mulch. Plant beans or peas in your garden, harvest the food, and compost the vines. It’s really simple!
Want to know more? Come to my compost class at Renfrow Farm or at Lomax Farm. 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.

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

Monday, September 10, 2018 Fall Vegetable Gardening
Lomax Farm, Atando Road, Concord NC
Details are above.

Tuesday, September 11 2018 Home Composting
Renfrow Farm, Matthews, NC
Details are above

Thursday, September 13, 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, September 14 2018 Matthews, NC
I’m available for home landscape consultations. Contact me here.

Saturday, September 15, 2018 On the road
I’m doing regional consultations. Contact me if I can help you.

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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