I'm a Southern woman with family roots in farming. An Appalachain State University graduate, married, and the mother of two grown, and very nice, children. I am recently retired with a long-time hobby of growing flowers, vegetables and houseplants. Now a Master Gardener intern, earned in April 2017, I am excited to give to my community through gardening and gardening related events.
To learn more about the North Carolina State University sponsored Master Gardener program contact your county North Carolina Cooperative Extension office.
But, you don't have to be have certifications to be a good or even great gardener. Nor do you need a class to have fun and have a beautiful garden. Just go outside dig a hole and pop in some seeds and life will happen! Just do it!
Now is the time to plant fall and winter foods. Instead, I found myself, broccoli seedlings in hand, to be thinking of spring. Where, my mind insisted, will the potatoes go? This is my gardening Achilles heel: Planning. I decided to take pictures...
A few weeks ago the sunlight changed and the cicadas began their summer song signaling a seasonal shift. I knew, even as I watered the heat-loving field pea seedlings, it was time to begin the cool weather crops. Consulting Felder Rushing's The North Carolina Fruit and Vegetable Book and Mother Earth News' "What to Plant" pages on the internet (Google) the time is now for planting some of my favorites.
Out came the beet seeds. I planted them between the field peas and the tomatoes so they would be shaded and not get burnt by our hot August sun. They were up in just two days! Next the broccoli and cabbage seeds were planted in saved seed pots. They too sprouted in record time. I will nurture them for a few weeks, then plant them between the rows of okra for shade until the heat abates. Last night I sorted out all the seeds of plants that can tolerate cool weather. Kale and lettuces are on the top of the pile.
Summer veggie update:
Snap beans are on the menu daily.
Field peas are flowering.
We have okra!
Homestead and Rutgers tomato plants are still alive, fruiting and beginning to turn red.
Peppers are coming on strong.
Parsley got eaten by caterpillars. Must get on that.
Summer squash is...words fail me.
Sweet potatoes are vining.
Figs. OMG! Figs! How could I forget them?! I have been making the most delicious jam. Google microwave fig jam. Kudos to neighbor Suzie for sharing the recipe and to Scott for picking the figs. TEAM!
The windows are open as I type. Today's temperature is 71 degrees and at 9:30 am I have not one bead of sweat on my brow following an hour of gardening. It's a August miracle in The South!
I pulled up Round One of the green beans this weekend. Round Two is beginning to make beans. Round Three has flowers. Blackberries are trimmed for the coming winter. In the spirit of full disclosure, squash is a bust. I'm moving on to Fall and Winter planting beets, broccoli and swiss chard today. The Southern delicacy and nutritional standby, field peas, are be-a-utiful! Stop. There is a cool breeze coming through the window, must enjoy. Cicadas stridulate, birds sing. Life is good, glad to be here.
Snap back to reality: I took a chicken break and loved up on Casey The Sweet Dog. Neighbors are trippin' and critters needed care. These neighbors have a most exotic, bohemian/man-cave sanctuary. I just love it and the good times we have there. Flowers everywhere and gigantic Elephant Ears give the garden an exotic tropical feel. Open the gate, step into the tele-transporter machine in Star Trek, open your eyes and you are in the Holodeck. Part bar, part farm yard, home to a middle class family. Pictures, nor words, do it justice but here's a feeble attempt.