Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Support Your Local Farmer's Market

This past Wednesday, my mother and I visited a local farmer's market located across the street from Arnall's Grocery, next to the refurbished Newnan Historic Train Depot. The Newnan market is open for business every Wednesday from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. It's called Our Community Farmer's Market and there is also one located in Peachtree City Saturdays 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM on MacDuff Crossing near The Flying Biscuit. Both showcase local farmer's and artisan's products beginning June 1st through fall. You can discover more details on www.ourcommuniyfarmersmarket.com.


Pictured above are Mike and Cindy Christie, Crossroads Garden Club Members who volunteer a lot of time to New Leaf Community Garden. The mission statement of this community garden is "The purpose is to educate, feed and nourish our community through a sustainable community garden." What an awesome concept. Check out their website at www.newleafcommunitygarden.com to find out more information and how you can become a part of their quest.


Mike and Cindy were busy selling organic vegetables grown in the New Leaf Community Garden located just blocks away at 32 Salbide Street. I was able to buy heirloom tomatoes called "Amish Paste" off their table. The seeds are drying now for an early 2014 crop in our garden.


I didn't get the info from the gentleman selling these peaches but my mom bought a basketful, so I know they were good because she gave me a few to bring home. Yum in my cereal!


The Yves Garden table pictured above is owned by Master Grower, Sabrina Clough located in Douglasville, Ga. Her card reads, "We grow specialty herbs, vegetables and exotic spices." Her website is www.YvesGarden.com.

Wally Bee's Honey had a display at the market. This honey is raw, unheated and unfiltered. Wally and Lynn Batchelor own the business and are glad to give anyone a taste that stops by their tent. They sale honey to lots of local stores including Arnall's Grocery across the street. You can contact them at 770-328-3472 or wallybeeshoney.com.


Mike Mangham raises his vegetables in Pike County. His daughter was in charge this day, I'm betting her name is Amy, as she expressed these were grown in "Amy's Garden," the name of her dad's business (770-550-0999).

Denise Prince, pictured above, was at the market, "Connecting lives one thread at the time." There were actually two looms working this day and it's called SAORI weaving. She lives in Peachtree City and owns HanDen Studios. Although, I didn't have much time to spend talking with her, I know this is a total art form. The results are beautiful. Contact at www.handenstudios-saori.com or 952-200-4869.


And if you like fresh salsa taste some made by Kellie Mariani from Sharpsburg. I tasted all but the hot because I didn't have any water with me. The peach-mango was great! She told me it's not being bottled right now, but she's working on it. You can look her up for a taste at www.kelraeemar.com or call 770-354-0737.

I bought more heirloom tomatoes, "Purple Cherokee" from Joe Wallis who owns C. J. & J. Farms and Landscaping. His card states, fresh grown produce, tractor work, trash removal & hauling, pressure washing, minor plumbing & electrical work, plus more. Call 678-663-9695 for a free estimate.

And if you have problems with allergies try something baked from Magnolia Manor Sweets, "A dedicated gluten free kitchen." This company is also located in Sharpsburg, but I can assure you, they sell something to calm your sweet tooth. The brochure is to full to name everything, however you can see on their website at www.magnoliamanorsweets.com or telephone at 678-664-4342.

Another plus to visiting the farmers market is that they allow pets, as seen above. I'll have to take Tia and Todd next time.
Regardless of what your interested in, Please Support Our Community Farmer's Markets." Remember it's also boosting our economy and all our local towns and communities can use that today. 
Until Next Time............
Happy Gardening 2013!
Posted by Wilma Smith

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Canna Lily - An Americas' Native


Canna (Cannaceae), most commonly called, Canna Lily is not a true lily at all. Instead, it's closest relatives are the ginger and banana plants. This tropical or subtropical plant is native to the Americas' southern hemisphere to include the United States, Central America and Northern South America.

In the United states it is native and can be found east from southern South Carolina, west to southern Texas then south through Central America through northern Argentina.

It wasn't introduced to Europe until after the discovery of the "New World," although some early botanists argued due to it's tropical nature must have originated in Africa.

I planted several last spring close to my small lake and found them easy to grow and a plus for a summer blooming plant, as they flower summer through early fall until frost.

Also, I grew up with these in our back yard and remember how I loved the flowers all summer. Canna flowers typically are red, orange or yellow with mostly solid green leaves but many varieties have brownish, maroon and variegated foliage.

Although people grow them for their attractive flowers and foliage, nature intended them to be an excellent pollinator, as Canna is great for bees, hummingbirds and bats.

Besides a beautiful addition to a garden this plant makes a great addition in borders and as a potted plant for patios and decks.

Full sun is best but they can flourish in partial shade with at least six hours sun. Canna plants like rich or sandy moist, well drained soil and lots of mulch (cut back after frost and over mulch heavy in our climate during winter).

Amazingly, Canna is relatively free of pests and disease with the exception of possibly red spider mites, Japanese beetles and fungus caused by too much water. I have never had to eradicated either on mine.

I like this plant for many reasons, attractive addition to my yard, easy to grow, attracts beneficial birds and insects, but especially because it's an Americas' native. After all so many of our flowers and plants came from other continents, Canna is one of our own.

Until Next Time.......

Happy Gardening 2013!

Posted by Wilma Smith

Monday, July 15, 2013

Have you tried straw bale gardening?

Today's topic is straw bale gardening and if you have never heard of it before you will be amazed at what you see!

I was introduced to the "Straw Belle," Charlotte Nelson by a forwarded email about Nelson's garden with a note that said, "You might be interested in this." I was not just interested but amazed! Nelson, who began to garden using straw bales in 2009 had these beautiful plants and vegetables growing out of straw!

I had never heard of anything like this and so I asked to see more photos and Nelson, by this time an avid straw bale gardener obliged. Since she started gardening using this method, she has become a believer because of her amazing results. Not only that, she loves to get the word out to people who might not be physically able to garden traditionally, that they can plant in bales without all the back-breaking labor.

It all began in 2009 which was a very good gardening year for Charlotte and because of her success, she enlarged her garden exponentially.

Nelson said, "The 2009 season was my "straw bale testing" year, and so in 2010, I increased my straw bales from 10 bales to almost 50. Her garden has increased every year since.

"I call it my "lazy lady garden," due to the lack of digging and weeding, etc."

One thing I like about her method is now nice it looks in her yard, the grass is totally undisturbed. There is no tilling at all. In the photo below, her lawn is beginning to green for the summer and is undisturbed.

I love her flowering trees. If you examine the wooded area closely (especially in the first photo). You can see flowering trees intermixed with the trees in the woods behind her straw bale garden.

This is a photo from 2011. Beautiful!

Her gardens have been more beautiful each year.

Another view. I like that she is planting marigolds in with the vegetable plants.

According to Nelson, she had an abundant garden even during the recent droughts.

Not only has she had tremendous success in her vegetable garden, but she never has to weed and her garden is not as susceptible to disease. I am guessing it is because of the straw and the plants don't come into contact with the soil. She also seems to have a longer growing season than most gardeners.

"I still had tomatoes in early November ... not to mention a boatload of different peppers and eggplant. I also created a small area for spinach and turnip greens to test and WOW, they did so well in the bales, too."

She does have a fence to keep out deer, just like everyone in our area but she has had incredible success.

During the summer months, Nelson sells her excess produce and I can tell you she certainly is an inspiration to me.

Instructions on how Charlotte created her first straw bale garden are still online here in case you want to know more.

Nelson also visits garden clubs as a speaker and has presented her straw bale gardening method to the Backyard Association meeting of Coweta Master Gardeners. I attended that meeting and she was literally mobbed with interesting questions from people who wanted to learn more.

At that meeting she said that one benefit of straw bale gardening are worms! She said that when the bales disintegrate, as they will after a few years, they turn into a haven for earthworm. As any gardener knows, that is the sign of healthy soil.

Want to know more about Nelson? Here is a magazine article where you can find more photos and an interview with Charlotte Nelson. The article begins on page 12.

I want to leave you from a few more photos from Pinterest because there is more interest in straw bale gardening each year.

Above a trellis using straw bales from strawbaleman via Pinterest.

This photo is from WSU Master Gardeners of Thurston via Pinterest.

And this pretty green garden from janderson99, also via Pinterest.

Nelson is now experimenting with growing popcorn from seeds from Orville Redenbacher and planting grocery store celery stalks. I have a feeling there will be much more to tell about Nelson in the future. She is a gardening free spirit and also a very nice person!