The passion flower quickly turned the garden into a steamy tropical jungle. The leaves, when tender, and the flowers can be tinctured and can have medicinal properties.
As fall advanced and the nights became chillier, the leaves lost their youthful blush but remained vigorous and productive. Below – the first and third photos show indigo bush (Amorpha fruticosa) being overtaken by the vine. The middle photo is the sturdier redbud (Cercis canadensis), nonetheless appearing a bit smothered.
The vines were still surviving by late October. I finally pulled them all and fed them to the chickens in November.
April 22. Indigo bush. A native legume that grows taller every year. Note the last inch or so of the growing tip (apical meristem) died, and so a new growing tip has emerged. We have about 25 of this species growing in the garden, and all have exhibited the same response. I suspect it is due to the cold winter and the false spring in February.
Note the Amorpha to the left, has not produced leaf buds yet. This may be a survival trait of the species – some emerge early from dormancy, and others emerge later, in case a final late frost hits.
I will aim to post more photos of this amazing plant later. I’ve top-dressed with a compost to stimulate abundant seed production. We shall see.
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.
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.
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.