Monday, April 14, 2014

Companion Planting

While I was at the Master Gardener's Expo, several people asked about companion planting.  As promised, I am posting some information on that subject.  This is by no means a complete list, but it should be extensive enough to get you going.

Companion Planting Guide
Basil
          May repel flies, asparagus beetle, mosquitoes & thrips
          Beneficial with tomatoes, squash, strawberries, grapes & peppers
          Avoid planting with rue or sage
Bee Balm
          Beneficial with tomatoes
          Attracts beneficial insects & bees
Catnip
          May repel flea beetles, Japanese beetles, aphids, ants, weevils & squash bugs
          May repel rodents
Chamomile
          Beneficial with cucumbers & onions
          Increases essential oil in peppermint
          Attracts hover flies & wasps
Chervil
          Beneficial with broccoli, lettuce & radishes
          May repel aphids, slugs
          Incompatible with beans & peas
Chive
          May repel tomato pests, aphids
          Beneficial with carrots, grapes, roses & tomatoes
          Helps prevent apple scab
Cilantro
          Attracts beneficial insects
Clover
          Nitrogen fixer
          Attracts beneficial insects, particularly predators of the wooly aphid
Dandelion
          Emits ethylene gas that is beneficial to fruit trees
Dill
          Attracts beneficial insects
          Incompatible with carrots, caraway & tomatoes
          Beneficial with cabbage, lettuce & onions
          May repel aphids, squash bugs
          Can attract the tomato horn worm
Eucalyptus
          May repel ants, cabbage looper, & Colorado potato beetle
Fennel
          May repel aphids (I have not found this to be so)
          Attracts beneficial insects
          Incompatible with dill, potatoes
Lavender
          May repel fleas, moths & whitefly
Lemon Balm
          May repel many bugs
Lovage
          Beneficial with most plants
          Attracts ground beetles
Marjoram
          Beneficial with vegetables & herbs
Mints
          Attracts beneficial insects, particularly predatory wasps & hover flies
          Use cuttings to mulch beets
          May repel rodents, ants, cabbage moth, aphids, fleas, flea beetles
          Beneficial with cabbage & tomatoes
Oregano
          Beneficial with grapes, cabbage, squash & hot peppers
          May repel cucumber beetles & cabbage butterflies
Parsley
          Beneficial with tomatoes, roses, asparagus, carrot, hot peppers, chive & onion
          Attracts beneficial insects, particularly hover flies & parasitic wasps
          May repel asparagus beetles
          Incompatible with mints
Rosemary
          Beneficial with hot peppers, carrots, beans, cabbage & sage
          May repel carrot flies, cabbage moths & bean beetles
Sage
          May repel white cabbage butterflies, beetles, flea beetles, carrot flies & cabbage moths
          Incompatible with cucumbers
          Beneficial with cabbage, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower & rosemary
Tarragon
          Beneficial with most vegetables
          May repel a variety of pests
Thyme
          Beneficial with eggplant, potatoes & tomatoes
          May repel cabbage worms, whitefly & cabbage looper

We Survived the Whirlwind!

What a week!  It was stressful & exhausting, but we survived our cluster of events.  I could not have accomplished any of it without the love & support of my dear husband Mark, plus help from Taylor & her mom, Cindy.  The encouragement of loving friends was also a big, big help.

Thursday, 4/10 we attended the Grand Opening of the Lookout Farmer's Market.  Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures there, but will next time.  Everyone was very welcoming and excited about their new market.
Friday was a firestorm of activity, getting organized and loading up for 3 venues on Saturday and 2 on Sunday.

On Saturday, Taylor manned the tent at St. Alban's Farmer's Market.  Mark had his maiden solo market voyage at the Hamilton County Master Gardener's Expo and I manned (so to speak) the tent at the Crabtree Farms Spring Plant Sale.
The weather was beautiful, but a bit breezy and the Crabtree staff was supportive, as always.  The farm is such a nice setting; it is an oasis in the middle of an urban landscape.  The only thing I dislike about the event is that, as a vendor, I'm never able to browse through the plants THEY have to offer!  Mark took over there on Sunday and had a rough time with some gusty wind.  He was certainly a trooper.  I think he has made it halfway through his market apprenticeship training without being scared off & is still willing to do it again! 

The Master Gardener's Expo was better than ever and it appeared they had even more vendors than 2013.  There were a wide variety of vendors, including nurseries, landscape companies, garden clubs, agricultural supplies, yard art/birdhouses, garden
tools, nature artists & more!
We had a great spot for the booth and a lot of help whenever we needed it.  On Sunday afternoon I gave a 45 minute talk on incorporating herbs into the home landscape.  There were a lot of good questions and I even helped with some veggie garden issues.  It must have been well-received because I received an excellent rating on the participant evaluations.  That makes a Garden Girl feel good!  Many thanks to those who stopped by any of the locations to support the business.  We appreciate your patronage!

Needless to say, we were both exhausted by the time it was all over and spent today taking it easy and getting back Down to Earth!


Tuesday, April 08, 2014

I Must Have Lost My Mind

More than once this week I've wondered, have I completely lost my mind?  Never mind that I'm running behind on almost everything.  I have four events this week.  Oh, and never mind that three of the four happen on the same two days.  Have I completely lost my mind?

This Thursday, 4/10, from 3 p.m. till 7 p.m. I will be at the grand opening of the Lookout Farmer's Market atop historic Lookout Mountain.  Saturday & Sunday I will be at both the Crabtree Farms Spring Plant Sale & the Hamilton County Master Gardener's Master Your Garden Expo.  I will also be represented on Saturday morning at the St. Alban's Farmer's Market.  Yep, I'm beginning to rethink my position on cloning.  Luckily, I will be able to pull this off with the help of my dear husband and some very good friends.  I will personally be at the Crabtree Farms location on Saturday & the Expo on Sunday.  On Sunday, I will be giving a talk from 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. on incorporating herbs into your landscape.

So if you're out and about this weekend, there are ample opportunities to check out my plants, teas, seasonings & Garden Girl T-Shirts.
I'm sure that by Sunday night there will be some really tired people wanting to get back Down To Earth!

Almost Garden Time!

While we've had some rain, it hasn't been the deluge we experienced last Spring.  We were able to get the garden tilled in between showers without turning it into a mud bog.
There's something about the smell of freshly tilled soil that does my soul good.  So now I'm chomping at the bit, ready to mark rows, plant seeds/seedlings and wait for the fruits of my labor.

I can already envision cages leaning under the weight of rosy tomatoes on healthy branches.  There will be towers of pole beans creating green, leafy columns.  Ah, and let's not forget okra stalks resembling a nuclear holocaust after the marauding deer eat all the leaves...  I can hear my Dad saying 'deer need to eat, too.'

There is something therapeutic about digging in the dirt, planting seedlings that you've watched germinate and reaping the rewards of your labor.  Everyone who eats a vegetable should have to spend one day working in a garden.  People need to understand what it takes to get the food to their plate.
Just maybe that would keep them Down To Earth.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Catching Up...

"The best laid plans..."  Do you sometimes wonder why we bother making plans at all?
After the Fall of 2013 and Winter/Spring of 2014, I had to ask myself that question.  Beset with a couple of health issues, then losing power in the greenhouses during our last snowstorm, I found myself woefully behind on many things.  But while I might have been down, I was definitely not out - at least not yet!

So with the determination and perseverance my Father taught me, plus the faith in God that sustains me, I moved and continue to move forward.  I managed to get more cuttings done and  more seeds started.  Thanks to heat mats and blessings I have been potting seedlings for the past month.  Here's proof that I wasn't slacking.  There were seed trays lined up for 30 feet down one side of the greenhouse.
 
These pictures are from mid-March.  Things are coming along nicely, with a few exceptions.  This seems to be one of those years when all the difficult seeds germinate and the run-of-the-mill seeds decide to be challenging.  This is the first season I have started with no dill or curled parsley because the seeds just sat there...and sat there, while the wormwood, milkweed, pleurisy root and other persnickety seeds popped through the soil like they were on steroids!  Go figure...  Those are the joys and frustrations of growing useful weeds.  Through the sanity and some insanity, it keeps us Down To Earth.
Note:  April 5th I will be at the St. Alban's Market with teas, seasoning, bath brews & salts, note cards & Garden Girl T-shirts.
More to come!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Garden Progress

After an iffy start, the garden seems to be coming along.  This is the weeded part.  I'm ashamed to post the unweeded part!
Leading the charge are the cucumbers. Jackson Classic Pickling Cucumbers, to be exact. From the looks of things, I may be buried in cucumbers...  I already have enough for the first batch of lime pickles.  I've never had much luck with dills, but would love to give them another try.  There should be a trick to keeping them fairly crisp - that is where I have failed in the past.  If anyone knows this bit of sorcery, please share!
The squash is starting to produce just a bit.  They didn't weather the heavy rain as well as everything else.  So far the tomatoes are doing well, as is the okra.  On the tomato list there is Cherokee Purple, Super Sioux, Legend and some pre-Monsanto Big Beef (older seed).  Unfortunately, I've forgotten the variety of okra.  The beans are climbing their strings and will wrap around your leg if you stand still too long near them.  They are Gita, which is a long, slender gourmet bean with a nice nutty flavor.  And when I say long, I mean 18-20 inches long!  They are also stringless with a nice bean production.  I also planted a few 'greasy beans' for a dear friend.  Those are a first for me, so I'm not sure what to expect.
 
Soon I will be transplanting broccoli and cauliflower, and propagation in the greenhouse seems never-ending.  All of it keeps this Garden Girl digging in the dirt and Down To Earth!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Market Update

I will NOT be at the St. Alban's Market tomorrow (6/29/13).  I will return to the market, God willing, on Saturday, 7/6/13.  I will be at the Sewanee July 4th celebration, on (yes, you guessed it) Thursday, July 4th.  If you're up for a day trip with plenty of festivities, come visit!  The vendors will be in Shoop Park on the Sewanee campus (University of the South).  Susan Parry, glass artist extraordinaire, will also be there.
Easy to find, beautiful setting, food, festivities, parade and fireworks...what more could you ask for in a holiday celebration?

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Almost Back At It!

Knock wood, this seems to be my shortest encounter with respiratory crud ever!  I've consumed elderberry, echinacea and astragalus tinctures twice a day, along with copious amounts of water and hot teas with honey.  I also did the saline sinus flush early on, which I'm sure didn't hurt and tried to get plenty of rest.  Needless to say, greenhouse stock doesn't water itself...soooo...
Oddly enough, when I would drag myself to the greenhouses to check on things (and water), my head would clear up and I could breathe freely.  Could have been the humidity or the essential oils from the plants, but I can tell you I seriously considered spending the night there!  But...visions of spiders tap-dancing all over my body put an end to that thought!
I'm hopeful that tomorrow will be even better and I can spend more time digging in the dirt!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

St. Alban's Market 4/27/13 - UPDATE

Unexpected change in plans - I have come down with the same crud that my husband has had for a week.  This means I will not be able to be at the market this morning.  It could likely not be conducive to my recovery and I'm sure the customers wouldn't appreciate my presence either.
Hopefully, I will be well enough to set up next Saturday.  Sorry for any inconvenience...