Garden roll call

Redbud, Cercis canadensis, in flower. Photo taken April 3. Previous post – redbud in bud, around March 22.

04032018 redbud

April 14. Goji berry (Lycium barbarum, Gou qi zi 枸杞). I’m experimenting to see how much fruit all of this new growth will produce. Also, I’ve heard anecdotally that the dried goji berries at the store are treated with a colorant to give them a redder hue. I will investigate this further.

04152018 goji

April 14. Jewels of opar (Talinum paniculatum). They survived the winter!!

04222018 jewels of opar

April 22. Heuchera spp. Enjoys the shade of the elderberry.

04222018 heuchera

April 22. A bit washed out due to the overcast sky, I suppose. A nice perennial polyculture, front, from left: figwort (Scrophularia marilandica), comfrey in flower (Symphytum spp.), back: Carolina lupine/Blue Ridge buck bean (Thermopsis villosa).

04222018 polyculture

Fall compilation – 2017

Yesterday was fall planting day. Not too much – the trees included a downy serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) and a pawpaw (Asimina triloba) from the UNC Arboretum accession, as well as two other pawpaws from Mellow Marsh native nursery. I also planted numerous Blue Ridge buckbean (Thermopsis villosa), indigo bush (Amorpha fruticosa), figwort (Scrophularia marilandica), and mad dog skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora).

This relatively leisurely Saturday presented the opportunity to photographs various features of the farm, now that lots of weeds have died back.

10282017 fall 1
Habanero pepper. A prolific grower, but will not be in the garden next year.

10282017 fall 3
Marchbox. An open-pollinated variety (seed from Fedco). Parents include Hungarian Hot Wax and Hot Banana. Prolific, especially in the hot, dry late Summer. Smartweed (Polygonum pensylvanicum) in the center right – most of it went to seed before I could get to it. I am heartened knowing that it is native, and chickens enjoy eating it.


Farmers and gardeners are best suited planning out next year’s planting and harvest during the current cycle. We must reflect early and often, and organize these reflections into plans for next season. This is especially true for market farmers who juggle a diversity of specialty crops for a small-town niche public.

I’ll not do Habaneros again, but I may stick with the Matchbox. I was not pleased with the bell peppers, even though they were nematode-resistant Carolina Wonder hybrids. I will probably continue with the Truhart sweet pepper, but I may explore the frying/stuffing peppers such as Gamba or Marconi.

Tomatoes (no pictures here) – I’ll stick with the Cherokee purple, and, since it is the popular low-acid variety here, the German Johnson. I put in numerous blue varieties, but was less-than-satisfied with their size, color (not blue!), and taste. I tried.

10282017 fall 2
The spent seedhead of khella (Ammi visnaga) – looking similar to its umbel relatives, dill, fennel, Queen Anne’s lace, and others – lies amidst baby khella plants. They may or may not make the winter, but there are plenty of other seeds in dormancy. Khella, like most umbels, attracts a host of pollinators and nectar-eaters. It is not native.

10282017 fall 4
Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), or licorice mint, native to the Western U.S., is a plant that continues to give. This plant has put out new growth and flowers even as the stalk and seedheads from spring persist.

10282017 fall 5
Heath aster (Symphyotrichum pilosum) recumbent beside comfrey (Symphytum officinale).

10282017 fall 6
No Southern garden is complete without celosia or cockscomb (C. cristata). Seeds from my farmer friend Pat Bush. These are self-sowed. Upper left, a tiny stand of indigo bush (Amorpha fruticosa).

10282017 fall 7
Foreground, smartweed. Mid-part, the tri-lobed passionflower vine (Passiflora incarnata). Background, goji berry (Lycium spp., Chinese 枸杞 gǒuqǐ)

10282017 fall 8
More passiflora (the green fruit) and goji.


10282017 fall 9
Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum). Left top corner, A. fruticosa. Middle, goji. Back, old growth of Sweet Annie (Artemisis annua).

The above three photos are all taken from the goji row, interplanted with various herbs and volunteers. It seems that goji berry does well in North Carolina in the latter part of summer and early fall. It is a difficult plant to figure out. It sends runners up to 5 feet. It has long, spindly growth that may or may not stand upright, and thorns. It also sells for $15 a pound. I’m not going to give up altogether on it, but I’ve got to figure out how it fits into our farm.

10282017 fall 10
Garlic chives (Allium tuberosum). I do not tire of this sprightly perennial. Just brushing against it releases it’s savory garlicy aroma. It is a hardy grower, and withstood transplant during our dry summer. I’ll keep it on the edges, though.