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Jeff’s Schedule for August 6-11, 2018

I know that most of you have been harvesting lots of good food over the last weeks. There’s still plenty of time for planting more vegetables, herbs, and flowers. I wrote about succession planting here, and I hope you’ve already planted your next round, and are planning more.

This week’s tip

With all this bounty, how do you keep it fresh, and retain as much nutrition as possible? The key to this is what happens after you harvest your crops. That starts with cooling the produce down as quickly as possible. This is referred to as removing the “field heat”. When temps have been as high as they have been this summer, it’s really important to cool your fresh produce down quickly. The easiest way to do that is to pick when the temps are at their daily low. Most times, this means early morning. It’s better for you, too. Temps can stay relatively mild til full “sun up”. Then get that produce to a cooler or refrigerator. That can be challenging when lots of stuff is coming in at the same time. Realize that not everything needs refrigeration, though.
Tomatoes do fine at air-conditioned room temperatures for a few days, but it’s best to preserve them in some fashion as soon as you can. Irish potatoes and sweet potatoes need cool, dry temps and as little direct light as possible. It helps to let them dry a bit out of direct sunlight before you store them, which is called curing. Onions and garlic benefit from that as well. Do NOT store them in plastic bags, as they need to “breathe”. This would create moisture in a plastic bag, which would cause rot.
The most enjoyable thing to do with fresh produce is to eat it, of course. The fresher the better. Good planning will let you manage harvests by using succession planting. I’ll talk more about this at the next Successful Gardener program. 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.

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, August 6, 2018
I’m in Matthews NC, working on my business, as opposed to in my business.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018 The Four Season Garden, Part 2: Fall & Winter Tuesday, 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.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018 Matthews, NC
I have some times available for home or Farm consultations. Contact me here.

Thursday, August 9, 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, August 10, 2018 Matthews, NC
I’m available for home and farm consultations in the Charlotte, NC area. Contact me here.

Saturday, August 11, 2018 9AM-12PM, Matthews, NC
This time of year I may be at Renfrow Hardware, working at the Farm, or simply enjoying a coffee at Brakeman’s. Regardless of where I am, you can always stop by and find out more ways to enjoy your garden. Come see me!

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,
Jeff

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Jeff’s Schedule for July 30-August 4, 2018

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.

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.

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,
Jeff

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Jeff’s Schedule for July 23-28, 2018

Tomato sandwiches are becoming the staple for many gardeners, as the tomato harvest is in full swing. Most people have favorite combinations of bread, tomato, and mayo, but I like to change it up. That way, it’s like a new sandwich every time. But the tomato is always the mainstay of the sandwich.

This week’s tip

Speaking of tomatoes, you still have time to add new plants to your garden. We won’t have a real chance of frost until mid-late October. Any variety that produces in 70-80 days will still give you some fruit. In fact we have time to plant lots of warm season veggies. There are varieties of beans, squash, cukes, and other vegetables that all mature (bear some kind of food) before any chance of frost. While it may be hard to find plants, all these vegetables grow easily from seed planted in the garden. If you are curious if a particular variety will have enough time to make a crop, look at your calendar. In NC’s South-Central Piedmont, our average first frost date is around Halloween. In the North-Central Piedmont, average first frost will be around Columbus Day. You can find your area’s average first frost date by looking at a planting calendar for your area. Note here that I’m saying average first frost. That means that it could be earlier or later. I’ve seen scattered frost as early as October 3 in the Charlotte area, and a good bit later than Halloween, but not often. But back to the calendar.
With your average first frost date in hand, count back to the current date. How many days? From July 23, I count 101 days til Halloween. Green bean varieties produce in 45-55 days; plenty of time. Summer Squash produces in 48-50 days. Cucumbers bear fruit in 56-58 days. All of these are easy and economical to grow from seed. Tomatoes might be a gamble if you can’t find plants. If you have some healthy plants in production already, root some cuttings for your late crop.
This type of planting is called succession planting, and I’ll be talking about this strategy in more detail in my class “The Four Season Garden 2”, on August 7. Register here.

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. You can get more details at the RCCC website.

Wild Herb Weekend, July 27-29, 2018
Valle Crucis Conference Center, Valle Crucis, NC
While I’m not strictly teaching at this great conference, I’ll be leading a panel on starting a profitable herb business on Friday. I’m the MC for the entire weekend, too. The real benefit of WHWis the opportunity to meet and learn from herbalists from all over. Details are here.

The Four Season Garden, Part 2: Fall & Winter Thursday, 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.

Where I’ll be

Monday – Tuesday, July 23-24, 2018
I’ll be in Patrick County, VA, working on private projects. If you’d like to schedule a consultation, contact me here.

Thursday, July 26, 2018 Sustainable Ag 103 600-900PM
Lomax Farm, Atando Road, Concord, NC
Sustainable Ag 103 begins July 26. Details here.
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, July 27-29, 2018 Wild Herb Weekend!
Valle Crucis Conference Center, Valle Crucis, NC
This is the annual meeting of the NC Herb Association. We’ve met in beautiful Valle Crucis, just outside of Boone, NC, for over 30 years. While I’m not strictly teaching at this great conference, I’ll be leading a panel on starting a profitable herb business on Friday. I’m the MC for the entire weekend, too. The real benefit of WHW is the opportunity to meet and learn from herbalists from all over. Details are here.

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,
Jeff

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Jeff’s Schedule for July 16-21, 2018

This Summer’s weather is, as usual, not your usual weather. Other than being unusual, which is the way it usually is…Seriously, one thing I was able to predict was the surge of weeds after our rain last week. So my methods of weed management are the subject of discussion.

This week’s tip

One of the most persistent challenges in garden is the result of the same energy that allows us to grow food, flowers, fiber, fuel, pharmaceuticals, and fermented beverages (unfermented ones, too). That energy is, of course, Life. Our home planet is saturated with the energy of growing things. So the energy that gives us a ripe, juicy tomato is the same energy that gives us crabgrass. And because Nature wants plant life to flourish, we can’t leave soil uncovered very long before something starts growing there.
So, if that’s the case, what do we do about all those unwanted plants that try to grow where we want our desired plants to thrive?
There are several methods, but most of them break down into 2 categories: exclusion or removal. Removal is pretty obvious. We’re talking about pulling weeds and applying pesticides. Since pesticide use is a complicated topic, we’ll leave it for another day. Weeding, however, is very UNcomplicated. You remove, cut up, and /or bury the unwanted plants. This applies to weeding by hand or with some kind of tool and is best done when the unwanted plants are small. That means, of course, frequent weeding. This applies to hand or machine weeding. One thing I’ll remind you of is that lots of weeding should be done with very little digging. Sure, you’re working the soil, but most weeds can be killed and removed or buried by cutting through the crown of the plant, which is usually just below the surface of the soil. The older the plant, of course, the deeper you have to cultivate. And the deeper you cultivate, the harder the work. So frequent, shallow cultivation is the best way to handle weeds if you want to remove them.
A better method is to not have them grow in the first place. That’s exclusion. How do you do that? By covering the soil. Remember that Nature wants the soil covered with growing plants, or plant residue. Cover crops are one simple methods to keep weeds managed. If you are growing something, there’s less room for Nature to plant. That applies to your desired crop, too.
Mulch is another way to cover soil, too. I prefer organic mulches, like straw, leaves, pine bark, or pine needles. They build soil, offer habitat for beneficials, keep soil cooler and more moist, and do slow down the growth of weeds. Plastic sheeting, tarps, and landscape fabric can be used in the short-term to manage plant growth. Simply cover the unwanted vegetation with the sheets, secure it with weights or staples, and leave it there for about a month or so. More persistent weeds may need to be covered longer, and with a heavier sheeting, like pond liner. I’d suggest NOT using it permanently, because some weeds can germinate and grow on top of the cover. That’s a good reason not to cover the sheet with organic mulch. Straw, bark, or leaves will break down quickly and create enough organic matter that plants will grow on top of the plastic cover.
I use both removal and exclusion methods in my gardens, depending on the crop. But the fewer weeds there are, the fewer you’ll have to pull.

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. You can get more details at the RCCC website.

Wild Herb Weekend, July 27-29, 2018
Valle Crucis Conference Center, Valle Crucis, NC
While I’m not strictly teaching at this great conference, I’ll be leading a panel on starting a profitable herb business on Friday. I’m the MC for the entire weekend, too. The real benefit of WHWis the opportunity to meet and learn from herbalists from all over. Details are here.

The Four Season Garden, Part 2: Fall & Winter Thursday, 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 you help it along with row covers and tunnel growing. More details here.

Where I’ll be

Monday – Wednesday, July 16-18, 2018
I’ll be in Patrick County, VA, working on private projects. If you’d like to schedule a consultation, contact me here.

Thursday, July 19, 2018 Sustainable Ag 102 600-900PM
Lomax Farm, Atando Road, Concord, NC
Registration is closed for this session, but Sustainable Ag 103 begins July 26. Details here.
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, July 20, 2018 I’m available for home and farm consultations in the Charlotte, NC area. Contact me here.

Saturday, July 21, 2018 9AM-12PM, Matthews, NC
This time of year I may be at Renfrow Hardware, working at the Farm, or simply enjoying a coffee at Brakeman’s. Regardless of where I am, you can always stop by and find out more ways to enjoy your garden. Come see me!

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,
Jeff

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Jeff’s Schedule for July 9-14, 2018

We had an old fashioned “gully washer” storm in the Matthews area, with rain pouring quickly and in amazingly varied amounts. I’ve heard everything from 4.5” to the 1.5” our rain gauge showed at the farm. Regardless, any rain is welcome after 2 months of above average temps and below average (or no) rainfall. We maintain high levels of organic matter in the Farm soils, so all of the rain was soaked up quickly.

This week’s tip

Speaking of organic matter, the farm’s soils are composted regularly. We add at least 2” of compost between every crop. Plus we grow lots of cover crops, such as clover, buckwheat and peas. All of these crops are grown out, mowed down and filled in, allowing for more plant matter to be added to the soil. In addition, we use lots of leaf mulch on our crops, too.
You can do the same thing in your garden. Compost can be added yearly, and between crops as well. Two inches is a good amount for the yearly application, because that amount is easy to dig or till in to your soil. The amounts used between crops can be about half that, especially if you’re mulching with straw or leaf mulch.
Cover crops do lots of good things. Clovers, peas, & beans add Nitrogen from the air to the soil, converting it to a form that plants can take up from the soil. Grasses and grains add lots of organic matter to the soil, Essentially growing your compost in place. There are cool season covers, like the clovers, and warm season covers, which include buckwheat and peas. All it takes is a small amount of seed, sown and worked lightly into the soil. Let it grow a bit, then mow it, and dig it in. Let it break down a bit before you plant the next crop. This lets the microbes and other “critters” in the soil break it down.
Organic mulches, like wheat straw and leaf mulch, add organic matter over time, as the life in the soil works on it. In the meanwhile, mulch shades the soil, keeping it cooler and more moist. There’s some weed control as well, but not very much.
Adding all 3 of these practices to your garden are excellent ways to create a soil that soaks up water like a sponge, provides habitat for all kinds of beneficial “critters”, and helps you grow some great food and flowers.
If you want to learn more about our soil building practices, check out my classes at Renfrow farm. Details and registration are here.

Where I’ll be

Monday, July 9, 2018
I’ll be in Matthews, NC, working on the farm, preparing for Tuesday’s class.

Tuesday, July 10, “Summer Garden Challenges” 630-830PM
Renfrow Farm, 409 W Charles St, Matthews, NC
The July edition of The Successful Garden Series! Every gardening season is different. More rain, less rain. High temps, average temps. Lots of bugs, fewer bugs. We’ll see what this year’s challenges are in the display garden at the farm, and talk about solutions. Details here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018 Matthews, NC
I’m working on my business, doing all the little things that make me available to help you enjoy your garden.

Thursday, July 12, 2018 Sustainable Ag 102 600-900PM
Lomax Farm, Atando Road, Concord, NC
Registration is closed for this session, but Sustainable Ag 103 begins July 26. Details here.
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, July 13, 2018 I’m available for home and farm consultations in the Charlotte, NC area. Contact me here.

Saturday, July 14, 2018 9AM-12PM, Matthews, NC
This time of year I may be at Renfrow Hardware, working at the Farm, or simply enjoying a coffee at Brakeman’s. Regardless of where I am, you can always stop by and find out more ways to enjoy your garden. Come see me!

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,
Jeff

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Jeff’s Schedule for July 2-7, 2018

Here it is July already! We had a slight break in our ongoing drought conditions in Matthews, NC. Three evenings in a row we got measurable rain. It was great for the peanuts I planted. But they will need a lot more water in order to produce as heavily as last year. Our 2017 harvest was 5 pounds of unshelled peanuts from a dozen shelled peanuts. I planted 7 100’ rows this year. I’ll keep you posted on the crop.
Is all this hot weather challenging you to be a better gardener? Come join me next week for the July Successful Gardener class, “Summer Garden Challenges”. If you like bring any samples of  pest problems, and we’ll come up with a solution. PLEASE BRING ANY PEST OR DISEASE SAMPLES IN A SEALED ZIPLOC BAG. We’ll meet at Renfrow Farm, 409 W Charles Street, Matthews, at 630PM. Details here.

This week’s tip

Drip irrigation has been around for a while, but has never caught on with home gardeners. There’s no good reason why, either. It’s a very effective way to water a vegetable garden. I’ve used it to irrigate fruit trees, screen plants, and flower gardens, too. If you’ve ever used a soaker hose, that’s similar to drip. It puts the water on the soil surface instead of shooting it across the yard. It’s really pretty simple.
Your supply lines carry water to areas of the garden that need irrigation. These are ½” plastic pipes that are sold in coils of various lengths. If you need to distribute water to plants with similar needs, you can use a smaller supply line, usually ¼”. Emitters are used to actually deliver the water to the plants. They come in various sizes and types, but all deliver some type of water at a GPH (gallon per hour) rate. You can also use drip tape, a product with 1GPH emitters added at 1’ spacing. This is commonly used in vegetable farms, and is meant to be discarded after 1 season. Soaker hoses are available from some suppliers. These deliver water along the entire length of the tubing. Misters and mini sprinklers are available, too. Many companies offer twist on or snap on connections that make it easy to install. Just push or twist the connectors and you’re good to go. For a “how-to” on installation, click here. If you’re interested in drip in your farming operation, click here.
Learning how to irrigate your plantings is pretty simple, too. The best way to learn is to run the system for a bit, check how moist the soil is, run it some more if necessary, until the soil is as moist as it needs to be. It could take an hour or more the first run, especially if the soil is dry. Then, you run it just long enough and often enough to keep the soil moist. This could be 15-30 minutes daily in the summer. You have moisture sensors on your hands (your fingers) and your feet (your toes). Use them to check the moisture levels in your garden.
Using drip is super efficient, using less water, and really effective, reducing wet foliage that can encourage disease. This would be a great year to try it out!

Where I’ll be

Monday & Tuesday, July 2&3, 2018
I’ll be in Patrick County, VA, working on personal projects. With the hot weather, I get my farm work done early, and spend the afternoons working on my business as opposed to in my business. I’m available for consultations if you’re interested. Contact me here.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018 Happy Independence Day!

Thursday, July 5, 2018 Sustainable Ag 102 600-900PM
Lomax Farm, Atando Road, Concord, NC
Registration is closed for this session, but Sustainable Ag 103 begins July 26. Details here.
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, July 6, 2018 I’m available for home and farm consultations in the Charlotte, NC area. Contact me here.

Saturday, July 7, 2018 9AM-12PM, Matthews, NC
This time of year I may be at Renfrow Hardware, working at the Farm, or simply enjoying a coffee at Brakeman’s. Regardless of where I am, you can always stop by and find out more ways to enjoy your garden. Come see me!

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,
Jeff

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Jeff’s Schedule for June 25-30, 2018

My Sustainable Agriculture class had a great visit to Rowland’s Row Farm in Gold Hill, NC. Joe and Dani are good people and great farmers, growing 40 different vegetables on their farm. Their daughter Ella is a good helper, too! We brought a little rain to the farm, but as dry as it’s been, nobody minded getting a little wet.

This week’s tip

When it’s this hot, plants need water more than ever. It’s really important to irrigate effectively. So how do you do that? As with so many questions, the answer begins with, “It depends”. In this case it depends on what type of irrigation equipment you’re using. Most of us use overhead irrigation, what we call “using sprinklers”. It’s an inexpensive way to water if you don’t count the cost of delivering the water. What I mean is, you can buy a sprinkler for as little as $5-$6. These days, you can’t buy a good meal for that. When you add the cost of the water, or the cost of pumping water (which includes the cost of the pump and the power to run it), then the price goes up. Add in the water lost through evaporation, and it’s not quite the bargain you thought. It still may be the most effective way to irrigate if you need a lot of water delivered fast. That’s the real advantage to overhead irrigation. You can put the water down faster than other methods of irrigation.
Most homeowners use oscillating sprinklers. Those use a tube with lots of holes to spray water over a large area. For this to be most effective, you need good water pressure. This allows it to be quite efficient. It covers a rectangular area and can be adjusted. The other type of sprinkler is called an impact sprinkler. This sprinkler is driven by the force, or “impact”, of the water. It can cover a big area if you have plenty of water pressure, and can be adjusted as well. Here and here are some good descriptions.
Generally, sprinklers are used to water heavily but infrequently. This method promotes deeper root growth. The rule of thumb is 1” of water per week. How do you measure that? By measuring it, of course! Use a rain gauge or one of those tuna cans. Set it out inside the area being watered. Water for 30 minutes. Then measure how much water is in the gauge or can. This gives you an idea how much water your sprinkler can deliver. Do you have ½”? Then you are on track to water twice weekly if it doesn’t rain. If you have more or less water in your gauge, then adjust your irrigation schedule accordingly.
By the way, hoses and sprinklers left out in the sun can deliver scalding hot water until fresh water cools the equipment. Be careful!
Next week, I’ll write about drip irrigation. A method that is extremely efficient once you understand how to use it.

Where I’ll be

Monday & Tuesday, June 25-26, 2018
I’ll be in Matthews, NC, working on the farm or at the house. With the hot weather, I get my farm work done early, and spend the afternoons working on my business as opposed to in my business. I’m available for consultations if you’re interested. Contact me here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018 House In The Horseshoe State Historic Site, Carthage, NC
The “Shoe”, as we affectionately call this beautiful old home, was the site of a battle during the American Revolution and the home of a 19th Century Governor. Our next event is the re-enactment of the 1781 battle. Details and directions here.

Thursday, June 28, 2018 Sustainable Ag 102 600-900PM
Lomax Farm, Atando Road, Concord, NC
Registration is closed for this session, but Sustainable Ag 103 begins July 26. Details here.
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, June 29, 2018 I’m available for home and Farm consultations. Contact me here.

Saturday, June 30, 2018 9AM-12PM, Matthews, NC
This time of year I may be at Renfrow Hardware, working at the Farm, or simply enjoying a coffee at Brakeman’s. Regardless of where I am, you can always stop by and find out more ways to enjoy your garden. Come see me!

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,
Jeff

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Jeff’s Schedule for June 18-23, 2018

Just FYI, we had a great class at the farm last week. Lots of new faces learning how to be successful gardeners in small spaces. Everybody that attended got to take home some walking onions, too. If you’d like to know what those are, come to the NEXT Successful Gardener class in June! Details here.

This week’s tip

Well, we’ve gone straight to hot Summer temperatures and ozone warnings. It’s time to protect yourself from all that heat and sun. There are ways you can enjoy your garden while the Sun’s at its zenith.
A hat is one of the best things you can do for yourself on a sunny day. Personally, I like a hat with a lot of ventilation, because my head is the thermostat of my body. Those of you that know me have seen me wear a bandana because I sweat a lot, so the hat has to fit over the bandana as well. For those of you with sensitive skin, you might want to wear a loose cotton shirt with long sleeves. Using sunscreen is an option for many. When I use sunscreen, I use a very high SPF rating. Getting to work in the garden early (before 8AM) and getting your chores done before it gets hot is another way to protect yourself. You can work later as well, but the heat of the day has been sticking around later and later, so be careful!
I think the best protection is a good water bottle so you can stay hydrated. I drink a lot of water during the day, plus a lot in the evening. It’s done more for me than anything else. And remember to take breaks in the shade, so you can cool off!
I’ll add one more thing. Melon is good for you, and it has a cooling and hydrating effect on the body. It’s a little early for any melons from the area’s home gardens, but a real treat is a melon picked early, still cool from the night, and putting it in the shade for a snack later. When I’m really hot, I don’t like anything really cold. I prefer the relative coolness of the shade to the artificial cold of a fridge.
Spend some time in the shade yourself, enjoying your garden. THAT’S what make you a successful Gardener, right?

Where I’ll be

Monday & Tuesday, June 18-19, 2018
I’m in Patrick County, VA, working on a personal project

Wednesday, June 20, Raleigh, NC
I’ll be in our State Capital representing the Board of Directors for the House in the Horseshoe Preservation Committee. The “Shoe”, as we affectionately call this beautiful old home, was the site of a battle during the American Revolution and the home of a 19th Century Governor. Our next event is the re-enactment of the 1781 battle. Details and directions here.

Thursday, June 21, 2018 Sustainable Ag 102 600-900PM
Lomax Farm, Atando Road, Concord, NC
Registration is closed for this session, but Sustainable Ag 103 begins July 26. Details here.
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, June 22, 2018 I’m available for home and Farm consultations. Contact me here.

Saturday, June 23, 2018 9AM-12PM, Matthews, NC
This time of year I may be at Renfrow Hardware, working at the Farm, or simply enjoying a coffee at Brakeman’s. Regardless of where I am, you can always stop by and find out more ways to enjoy your garden. Come see me!

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,
Jeff

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Jeff’s Schedule for June 11-16, 2018

It looks like we’ve dried out a bit after a lot of rain. So let’s look at what you can do to prepare your garden for the next rainy spell. For that matter, what I’m going to suggest will help with almost any kind of weather. To create a more resilient garden, a garden that can grow in almost any kind of weather, follow these suggestions.

This week’s tip

The first thing you can do to help your garden be more resilient to build your soil with compost, cover crops, and mulches. That shouldn’t be a surprise to any of you that follow my work. Good soil is the foundation of a successful garden. Compost, of course, is the decomposed remains of plants. It adds organic matter to soil, helping lighter soil hold water longer, lightens clay soils, and tends to moderate the effects of extreme weather. Of course, this doesn’t work for every situation. Floods are a little too extreme! A lengthy drought can also pose a challenge as well. But for the kind of weather we’ve been having in south-central Piedmont NC, soil that is regularly amended with compost can handle a wide variety of conditions. I usually add about 2” of compost on top of the garden surface, and then work it in. If you need to add more, add another 2”. There’s nothing scientific about the 2” figure; it’s just easy to mix that amount into the soil.
Cover crops let you grow your own compost and mulch right in place! Grasses and clovers are the most often used covers, but even common garden vegetables can be used to build soil. I’ve used snap beans, cowpeas, and even greens as covers. The process is really easy. Simply sow the crop on the area you want to improve, let it grow for a while, and then mow it and till it in. Wait for a couple weeks to allow for some decomposition. Then you can plant another crop right in the same space. We use multiple cover crops on new fields at the farm. They are used at Lomax Farm as well. I’ve used all kinds of cover crops over the years, and they build soil very well.
Organic mulches work well to add more organic matter to the soil. They also moderate temperature changes, slow down erosion, and hold extra moisture during drought. They have a reputation for holding down weeds, but my experience has been less than satisfactory in that regard, especially with pine needles. Another benefit of mulches is they provide habitat for beneficial insects like ground beetles. Chunky wood chip or bark mulches work best for beetle habitat.
Another thing that really helps make gardens more resilient is to plant in raised beds. This helps the soil warm faster in the Spring, dry out faster after a rain, and if you can avoid stomping around in the bed, keeps the soil very friable (uncompacted, light, airy, well-drained). Raised beds don’t have to be contained by lumber or brick or stone. They just need to be higher than the surrounding soil surface.
Deep digging is not something I normally recommend, but for heavy soils, it can help greatly with drainage and aeration. Deep digging is sometimes called double digging, or if you have a tractor, you can use a subsoiler. In either case, you’ll be loosening the soil up to 24” deep. That’s a LOT of digging! I did that once, and have never done it again. I’ve been able to do the same thing with deeply rooted covers like clover, though it does take weeks or months longer. I’ve also simply added more soil and compost to a raised bed for the same effect.
These tips should keep you busy til next week, when I’ll share with you some of the easy-to-build structures that can protect our gardens.

Where I’ll Be

Monday, June 11, 2018 Personal Project.
I’ll be in Patrick County, VA, and Matthews, NC.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 630-830 PM
Renfrow Farm, 409 W Charles St., Matthews
My next Successful Gardener class, “More Food From Less Space”, will be June 12, 630PM. We’ll meet at the Farm on Charles Street in Matthews, NC. Details are here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018
House in the Horseshoe State Historic Site Carthage, NC
I’m on the Board for this beautiful place located in a “horseshoe bend” of the Deep River. Site of a battle during the American Revolution, and later a home for one of NC’s earliest governors, it also parallels the development of agriculture in NC. We are creating a volunteer group we call the “Horseshoe Gardeners”. We’ll learn about historical horticulture, and how folks grew food in the 18th Century. I’ll be teaching classes and we’ll conduct some field trips as well. If you’re interested, here’s more information.

Thursday, June 14, 2018 Sustainable Ag 102 600-900PM
Lomax Farm, Atando Road, Concord, NC
Registration is closed for this session, but Sustainable Ag 103 begins July 26. Details here.
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, June 15, 2018 I’m available for home and Farm consultations. Contact me here.

Saturday, June 16, 2018 9AM-12PM, Matthews, NC
This time of year I may be at Renfrow Hardware, working at the Farm, or simply enjoying a coffee at Brakeman’s. Regardless of where I am, you can always stop by and find out more ways to enjoy your garden. Come see me!

How can I help you?

Spring is a great time to take stock of what’s going on in the garden and landscape. As new growth sprouts all over, new ideas do, too. But you may not know if they will work. 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,
Jeff

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Jeff’s Schedule for June 4-9, 2018

I expect everybody’s garden is as wet as mine is. We’ve had a LOT of rain these last few days! Dealing with wet weather is as much of a challenge as dry weather. FYI, my July class is “Summer Gardening Challenges”. We’ll talk about the garden experiences of Summer that challenge you most. The details are here. For now, here’s my approach to rainy weather in the garden.

This week’s Tip

Remember the Successful Gardener’s mantra. “Enjoy your garden.” In our busy, accomplishment-oriented, world, we can get all tangled up in getting things done. If we don’t get things done, we get anxious and stressed. So here’s the first tip – the garden should be the place you go to unwind, not get wound up! Wet weather (or dry weather, for that matter) is simply a part of gardening. You do what you can to create a good garden environment, deal with the weather you experience, harvest what you can, and improve the garden with what you learn.
Spend time in the garden while it’s raining. You’ll learn something. Where does run-off go? Does the excess rain puddle instead? How long does it take to drain away? Do I need to add a swale or a berm to drain or catch water? What does soil feel like when it’s waterlogged? You’ll develop an appreciation of rain. Get wet. Get muddy. Go barefoot and get completely soaked. You might be surprised at how much fun that is!
In practical terms, gardens need more observation in rainy weather. All the more reason to spend time out in the garden when it’s raining. Check your containers to make sure all the excess water has drained out. Support plants that are weighed down by wet foliage and fruit. Trellis (carefully!) any trailing or vining plants that might rot lying on wet soil. By the way, don’t handle wet plants if you can avoid it. Plant diseases can be transferred that way. Also, water is relatively heavy, and wet stems can break easily if handled roughly. Yes, it’s a bit of a balancing act; do I do this or not? You learn by doing, making mistakes, and doing something different next time.
Stay out of planted areas if you can. Wet soils can compact very easily in wet weather. But go and do what you need to do; just step carefully!
Weeds will grow like crazy in the rain, so keep an eye out for crabgrass, especially. Clay soils really stick together in wet conditions, so the younger the weed you pull, the less soil comes away with it.
Harvest your vegetables regularly. All the rain makes them develop quickly. And all this moisture can encourage rot. Again, step carefully, and avoid handling plant foliage when it’s wet. But do what you need to do.
These are some of the things you can do while it’s rainy. Next week, I’ll give you tips on what to after and before a rainy spell.

Where I’ll be this week.

Monday- Tuesday, June 4-5, 2018 Personal Projects
Patrick County VA

Wednesday, June 6, 2018 House in the Horseshoe State Historic Site
Carthage, NC
I’m on the Board for this beautiful place located in a “horseshoe bend” of the Deep River. Site of a battle during the American Revolution, and later a home for one of NC’s earliest governors, it also parallels the development of agriculture in NC. We are creating a volunteer group we call the “Horseshoe Gardeners”. We’ll learn about historical horticulture, and how folks grew food in the 18th Century. I’ll be teaching classes and we’ll conduct some field trips as well. If you’re interested, here’s more information.

Thursday, June 7, 2018 Sustainable Ag 102 600-900PM
Lomax Farm, Atando Road, Concord, NC
Registration is closed for this session, but Sustainable Ag 103 begins July 26. Details here.
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, June 1, I’m available for home and Farm consultations. Contact me here.

Saturday, June 2, 2018 9AM-12PM, Matthews, NC
This time of year I may be at Renfrow Hardware, working at the Farm, or simply enjoying a coffee at Brakeman’s. Regardless of where I am, you can always stop by and find out more ways to enjoy your garden. Come see me!

Remember, my next Successful Gardener class, “More Food From Less Space”, will be June 12, 630PM. We’ll meet at the Farm on Charles Street in Matthews, NC. Details are here.

How can I help you?

Spring is a great time to take stock of what’s going on in the garden and landscape. As new growth sprouts all over, new ideas do, too. But you may not know if they will work. 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,
Jeff

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