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Jeff’s Schedule for September 24-29, 2018

I hope most of you have made it through the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. The last reports I’ve seen indicate floodwaters to our east are receding, rising, and repeating that cycle. That produces a whole new challenge with clean-up, mold issues, and rebuilding. Never having been through that, I can’t begin to imagine what’s confronting folks. I wrote about flooded gardens last week, which I’m sure is way down the list for some of you. But when you get to that, the info is here.

This Week’s Tip

There are lots of ways to include more food plants into our landscape. Many plants that provide food also give us shade, seasonal interest, flowers, and a lot more. Using food plants to provide those extra benefits is called edible landscaping. Here’s my list of “The Top 10 Plants For Edible Landscaping”, including some of the other benefits the plants provide.
1. Pecan trees – shade, food
2. Apple/pear trees – shade, flowers, food
3. Rabbit eye Blueberries – seasonal color, food
4. Muscadine grapes – shade, screening, fall color, food
5. Strawberries (perennial matted-row culture) – groundcover, food
6. Fig trees – structure, winter interest, food
7. Living Garden plants
a. Aromatic herbs – beneficials, foundation planting (some), seasonal interest, food
b. Daisy-flowered plants – beneficials, aroma, flowers, beds/borders
c. Umbrella-flowered plants – beneficials, aroma, flowers, beds/borders, food (some)
d. Nectar plants – beneficials, aroma, flowers, beds/borders
e. “Beetle banks” of ornamental grasses – beneficials, seasonal interest, beds/borders
8. Perennial vegetables
a. Asparagus
b. Perennial onions
9. Pole beans – food, seasonal screening, soil improvement, some color.
10. Clover/buckwheat/vetch & other covers – soil building, ground covers, flowers, seasonal interest

Honorable mention:
Blackberries – food, seasonal interest, screening, security
Malabar spinach – seasonal interest, color, screening, food
Persimmon trees – seasonal color, understory, food
Pomegranate trees – seasonal color, understory, food
Sunchokes – flowers, beds/borders, beneficials, seasonal screens, food

If you want to know more about these great plants, come join me for the next Successful Gardener class at Renfrow Farm. Details are below.

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. Details and registration are here.

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 24, 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.

Tuesday-Wednesday, September 25-26, 2018 Matthews, NC
I’ll be at either Renfrow Farm, or at Threefold Farm, my new urban ag venture.

Thursday, September 27, 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, September 28 2018 Matthews, NC
I’m available for home landscape consultations. Contact me here.

Saturday, September 29, 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,
Jeff

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