Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Winding down 2014 at PAR Davies.

Hi Everyone,
Today's Harvest 22 lbs.     YTD 1704 lbs.

Today was really chilly, but there was no frost at the garden and picking was easy. Gardeners today were Jamie, G.A., Susan, Steve, Nancy and myself.

Only two heads of broccoli harvested.

Our small harvest today consisted of cabbage, kale, radishes, spinach, broccoli, turnip/mustard greens and bok choy. I thought there would be more cabbage to pick, but we decided to give it more time to get a just a little bigger. It should be nice and big if we can wait until January. In the meantime, should we get a hard freeze, it will be picked sooner.

Our future 'Field of Dreams' planted in vetch and clover.

The above picture shows where corn will be planted next year. This will be a trial run on the corn, and pray that the raccoons don't get it before we do. Wishful thinking? Probably, but what is gardening without a little experimentation.

Dark rich compost.

When I arrived at the garden this morning, Jamie was already at work on the compost. He had acquired two 5-gallon buckets of coffee grounds and was turning and layering the compost. There are oodles of leaves for the browns and coffee grounds along with shredded pea and bean vines, and soon-to-be-added remains of the cabbage and broccoli for the greens. Steve joined Jamie, and they worked the rest of the time on the compost.

BJ's Lettuce uncovered and undeterred by freezing temps. It's a keeper.

In addition to working on our compost in an effort to improve our soil, G.A. took soil samples to get an idea of where we stand after the bed upheaval last winter/spring. Five samples were taken and these will be sent to the UT lab.

Nancy picking bok choy. 
Crop on the left is kohlrabi with leaf mulch to insulate from the cold.

This will be the last garden workday this year, unless of course, if freezing temps make us harvest the rest of the cabbage and broccoli. All our gardeners will be taking a much deserved Christmas break, and I'd like to wish a Merry Christmas to all of our gardeners and our blog followers.

On another note, this will also be my last report as project leader. It has been a little over two years since I took over leadership (with trepidation), not feeling nearly qualified! I have learned so much since then, and have had the opportunity to meet and work with so many wonderful people--all supportive and hard working. I appreciate each and everyone of you, and hope that I will continue to see you at the garden.

I will be passing on the leadership position to a most capable gardener, Susan Phillips. She has been at Davies PAR since its inception, and I know she will do an excellent job. Be sure to keep up with the Instagram pics she is posting for PAR Davies in the 'Photo Gallery' on the MAMG website.

So (again to paraphrase Garrison Keillor)... That is all the news from PAR Davies, where all the men and women are strong and good looking, and all the vegetables are above average.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Online Sales End Tomorrow!

We cannot accept online orders after midnight on Saturday, December 13, so act now to get your 2015 Gardening in the Mid-South calendar!
  • Local experts list their favorite plants in 8 different categories, including hostas and daffodils.
  • Plants best suited for the Memphis area in terms of drought/heat tolerance, deer tolerant, native plants, flowering plants.
  • Turf grass tips for growing the perfect lawn.
  • Kitchen garden guide.
  • Dates of all plant society meetings and other horticultural events open to the public.
The price this year is only $15.  Get yours soon as we have a limited supply!

Click HERE to go to our online shop

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Last Week to Purchase 2015 Calendar!

Click here to order
This is the last week that we can accept online orders for the 2015 Mid-South Gardening Calendar!  Only $15 and chock-full of gardening information specific to the Mid-South area.  Get yours NOW!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Update on the Gardening Calendar

Here is an updated list of local retailers who are carrying our calendar:

Booksellers at Laurelwood
   387 Perkins Ext

Dan West Garden Centers
   4763 Poplar
   12016 Highway 64 in Eads

Dabney Nursery
   5576 Hacks Cross Road

Urban Earth
   80 Flicker Street

Country Gardens
   7858 Moore Road
   12016 Walker Street in Arlington

Millstone Nursery and Market
   6993 Poplar Ave

Wild Birds Unlimited
   704 S. Mendenhall

Or click on the calendar at the upper right of this site and order online!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The 2015 Gardening in the Mid-South Calendar

Click here to buy the calendar!

You are not going to believe the fabulousity of the Memphis Area Master Gardeners' calendar this year!  The gorgeous photos are just the beginning.  You know how you'll read an article about a certain plant or about how to do a certain gardening task, only to find out that the writer is telling you about something in the Pacific Northwest, or Connecticut, or England???  Not here, sister.  All of the information in this calendar is specific to the Memphis area.  

Here's what you get:

Local experts list their favorite plants in 8 different categories, including hostas and daffodils.

Plants best suited for the Memphis area in terms of drought/heat tolerance, deer tolerant, native plants, flowering plants.

Turf grass tips for growing the perfect lawn.

Kitchen garden guide.

Dates of all plant society meetings and other horticultural events open to the public.

The calendar will be available for sale from Nov 13 - Dec 13 only (pesky Tennessee sales tax rules...)  It's only $15 - makes a great gift for the gardeners in your life!  

So act quickly, there is a limited supply.  Click on the link on the upper right side of the page or underneath the photo above.  They're also available at Dan West Garden Centers, at Memphis Botanic Garden, and through any MAMG member.  We'll be selling them at the plant society meetings during this selling period as well.

Did I mention the gorgeous photos?  They were all taken by our MAMG members - what a talented group!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Getting ready for the 'big freeze' at PAR Davies.

Hi Everyone,
Harvest Today 38 lbs.       YTD 1652 lbs.

Gardeners braving the nippy weather today were Susan, G.A., Steve, Mary Elizabeth and myself. It didn't take us long to warm up as we started to work. The main task today was to harvest....beets, mustard, kale, lettuce, swiss chard, radishes, turnip greens, bok choy, peppers, herbs and lavender. All was packed up and delivered to the women's shelter.

Today's varied harvest.

We also sent the dried peanuts along. Susan included instructions that she used for roasting a portion of these, which we had for sampling at the garden tour. The variety is 'Tennessee Red,' and they were really, really good. Also included was a recipe for Portuguese Kale Soup which we found on Renee's Garden website. This recipe is actually what prompted us to try the Portuguese kale. The curled dwarf kale was also included. After trying Lacinato or Tuscan kale last year, we were encouraged to try different many to choose from and so hard to decide.

Grosso Lavender

The few little lavender blooms were picked and included in the delivery. Our lavender plants grew beyond our expectations, but the blooms were few. I think all the energy went into the foliage. But that's okay, we expect lots of blooms next year.


Susan spied the kohlrabi bulbing up. We have several varieties, including a 'giant' that is new for us this fall. I don't know which variety this is, but it looks like there will be a good many that will reach maturity. Fortunately, kohlrabi are very cold tolerant.

All our babies are cozy in their beds tucked under blankets.

After we finished harvesting, G.A. transplanted a lot of the tender leaf lettuce into one of our winter cover beds. Then beds were covered until we ran out of row cover. The cabbage is heading up, but the broccoli doesn't seem to be in a hurry, so I don't know if any will reach maturity before it gets too cold. Even if we had row cover for the broccoli, we'd have to do a higher tunnel because of the height, and we aren't ready to do that this year.

Gingko ready to do a leaf rain dance.

I saw this little Gingko tree in front of the manor house this morning. It looked so cute that I just had to take a picture. I'll bet tomorrow it will be naked.

'Spaghetti' zucchini.

Above is some zucchini that I made using the Veggetti. I usually don't buy gadgets because I find that they end up in a drawer never to be used. For that reason I hesitated on getting this, but I'm glad I did. I've been having fun with it. This is the last of the zucchini...I usually steam or sauté. The only things I've found that work in this gadget are zucchini, carrots and cucumbers. Just a different way of fixing your garden produce when you start to run out of ideas.

I hope you are able to enjoy the cool crisp weather.

'Til later,

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Quilt show visitors enjoy fall/winter garden at PAR Davies.

Hi Everyone,

Just a quick note to tell you about yesterday’s visitors to the garden. There were 20 folks who ventured back to the garden…interesting people and mostly avid gardeners themselves. Best of all, we were able to encourage and give advice to those who were thinking about starting a vegetable garden.

Davies manor house decked out for the quilt show.

The garden looked really good, due in great part to some ‘garden angels’ who did a marvelous cleanup job. The only clue we have is that it was "two ladies who worked all afternoon,” per Rannie. They painted, rearranged furniture, put down a new walkway and got rid of trash. All the things we’ve been looking at and wishing we had time to do in the midst of all the harvesting and planting. A BIG THANK YOU ladies, and please let us know who you are!!

The entrance area has had a makeover!

Of course, every MG event seems to have food, with this being no exception. Jamie’s wife, Jan, graciously furnished us with coffee and breakfast goodies and we had chili at lunch time. All the visitors who arrived around eating time were invited to partake. Susan took some of our peanut harvest and roasted them. These were a hit, and we could proudly say that they were grown right here in the garden. I'd hoped that the peanut crop would have been ready to be harvest by the visitors, but I truly think they enjoyed eating them instead.

Some people couldn't quit eating peanuts.

Even after our Thursday harvest, the garden still looked full and productive, and we were proud to show it to all our visitors. The peppers are still growing and producing, but this week's temps may put an end to that.

Barbara with one of the behemoth Poblano ‘pepper trees.’ 
We will definitely plant Poblanos again next year.

Volunteer garden guides today were Jamie, Barbara, Nancy, Al and myself. G.A. dropped by early to help Jamie blow out the irrigation system to get ready for winter.

Three visitors and Al Hayes 'talking garden.'

It was overall a great day and we were able to share much and learned some in the process.

Time travelers?

'Til later,

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Veggies and quilts at Davies this Saturday.

Hi Everyone,
Today's Harvest 35 lbs.          YTD 1614 lbs.

Gardeners today were G.A., Susan, Nancy, Barbara and myself. The weather made our work easy today. We picked and picked and picked.....radishes, mustard, kale, lettuce, swiss chard, turnip greens, bok choy, spinach and herbs. Peppers and a few green tomatoes were picked Saturday in anticipation of the freeze, which actually never happened in our garden.

Kale, leaf and romaine lettuce, and swiss chard.

There were so many different kinds of greens today that I gave the ladies at the shelter a list in case they had difficulty identifying all of them. Everything was so green and beautiful with the chilly weather....and best of all, the bugs were gone today!

Barbara planted a flat of pansies around the garden. This will give us some color when our marigolds are gone.

Turnip greens and bok choy.

Our garden is looking good. The broccoli and cabbage is heading up, kohlrabi heads are starting to form and the beets and carrots are growing. I hope the weather holds out so we can see all of these things reach maturity.

This week we received our new winter row cover. Agribon AG-50 was again ordered, which can keep veggies from freezing to 24 degrees. This has been used in the past two years with good results, so we ordered another 50 feet, which is enough for two additional beds.

Radishes, red and green mustard, and a variety of peppers.

We are looking forward to showing our garden to visitors on Saturday. The Davies Manor Association is hosting their annual Quilt and Fiber Arts Show and Sale this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so we are taking this opportunity to invite attendees to see what is happening in the garden. They will be able to see the bees and chickens too. Drop by if you are able...admission is only $5 to see dozens of artsy quilts. Admission includes a tour of the manor house, which is a real treat especially for history buffs.

'Til later,

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Working for peanuts at PAR Davies.

Hi Everyone,
Today's Harvest 11 lbs. of peanuts     YTD 1541 lbs.

Today we pulled and dug peanuts. Gardeners were G.A., Barbara, Susan, Michelle and myself. If you weren't there, you missed more fun. I think these should have been harvested about a week or two ago, but due to the rain and our workday schedule, we missed it. When peanuts are left in the ground too long, the little pegs holding onto the peanuts rots away, thus leaving the peanuts in the ground when the plant is pulled out. Consequently, you also have to dig up those remaining, making it a little more labor intensive and also creating the possibility of missing some….which will later sprout.

Susan proudly displaying her harvest.

The plan is to put garlic in the peanut bed the end of this month or in November. We feel that the soil is nitrogen rich now with the peanuts having been in ground since the first part of June, and we expect some knockout garlic come next June. Susan and Barbara both took peanuts home to spread out to dry.
Cabbage and broccoli growing nicely.

After the cabbage worm fiasco Wednesday, the cabbage and broccoli looked much better. At first glance no worms were noted, but later some were spied and we spent a little time picking them off. Bt was not reapplied, but probably should be next Wednesday.

Carrots and kale.

Susan and G.A. raked up the in-ground area and sowed crimson clover and hairy vetch. This is the area that is designated for corn next year, which will be the first time for a corn crop at Davies. It is within the range of the walnut tree, so there will be some stunting toward the back, but we hope that we can have the experience of growing corn without too many problems.

Lettuce and kale and two weeds.

The lettuce looked especially nice this morning, and there is some emerging in the block holes that reseeded from last spring. Overall, we were surprised at how everything grew since just last Wednesday.

Mustard greens on the left, crimson clover on the right, 
and wheat grass sticking up at the bottom.

More spinach was planted and Michelle did some weeding. Next workday will be a time to concentrate on replenishing our compost bins, in the hopes of having more excellent rich compost as we had last spring.

Lettuce mix in a container.

Much was accomplished today and the garden looks good. The cabbage is starting to head up but no signs of broccoli heads yet. We are hopeful, always hopeful….and thankful for all we are blessed with.

'Til later, 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Picking worms and other fun stuff.

Hi Everyone,
Today's Harvest 30 lbs.        YTD 1530 lbs.

We finally got back to the garden after a week of rainy weather. The cabbage and broccoli had not been sprayed in the interim because of the rain, and some of the plants looked pretty riddled with holes. Okay, there, I started off with the bad, but all the rest is pretty good.

Worm-eaten Savoy cabbage.

Worm pickers, er gardeners today were Susan, Jamie, Martha, Steve, Barbara and myself. Everyone immediately got busy squishing the buggers, which were not the usual green larvae from the white butterfly, but was a worm with horizontal stripes. I had some on my cabbage at home and Kay McAdams reported to me that she did too. These are new to me but seemed to inflict as much damage as the old familiar green worm. After all the plants were picked clean, each one was sprayed with Bt in an effort to kill any small remaining eggs. Although we probably lost a few plants, I believe most will survive, and some had no damage at all.

Red mustard, peppers and turnip greens.

Today we harvested some baby turnip greens, beautiful red mustard, 5 lbs. of bok choy, pole beans, 9 lbs. of Romaine lettuce, chard and leaf lettuce salad mixture, a variety of peppers, cucumbers and herbs. All was delivered by Martha to the women's shelter. We picked about a half dozen cucumbers, which looked really nice until we realized they had worm holes too. There were many more small ones coming on, so the cukes were sprayed with the Bt also.

Cabbage on the left, beets on the right, wheat grass in the front with sage and rosemary.

Last year we visited the U of M garden and really liked the pretty green wheatgrass plantings, so we put in some too, scattered about the garden. Come to the garden and bring your juicer!

The marigolds look prettier than they have all summer.

There was one more plague of Biblical proportions (exaggerated slightly)…grasshoppers, which were only on the pole bean vines. We didn't exactly know how to deal with these critters because we could have only killed a few by hand picking before they would all fly off, so we decided to leave them to eat the rest of the pole bean plants, which were done for anyway. I will check in the next day or so to make sure they haven't moved to other plants.

Herb bouquet.

Martha picked a beautiful herb bouquet of rosemary, chives, sage, chinese celery, parsley, basil, oregano and some of the nasturtiums. Our two plantings of nasturtiums made it through the summer and have now revived with the cooler weather. I have never seen nasturtiums survive a Memphis summer, so we need to save some of these seeds.

Grosso Lavender

Our two potted lavender plants on either side of the gate are starting to bloom. They have really grown and look so healthy. Nothing has done very well in these pots in the past, but I think the lavender has found a home. I got these plants this year at Spring Fling.

That's all the news from PAR Davies, where all the men and women are strong and good looking, and all the vegetables are above average.

'Til later,

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The fall harvest is just beginning at PAR Davies.

Hi Everyone,
Today's Harvest 16 lbs.        YTD 1481 lbs.

Every week the garden changes, and today a growth spurt was evident after not being at the garden since Saturday. Gardeners today were Susan, Jamie, Cathy, Steve, Barbara and myself.

Bok Choy has shot up.

Today we harvested pole beans, tomatoes, peppers, mustard, okra, herbs and a smattering of peanuts, with all being delivered to the women's shelter by Cathy. 

Getting ready to be weighed.
 Check out our first harvest of the red mustard and our few peanuts.

The pole bean trellises were loaded and made a nice late harvest. We got just one cucumber, but more are coming along. This was our last okra harvest, and we pulled those out so we could plant vetch.

Lovely pole beans just asking to be picked.

We checked the maturity of the peanuts and noticed some were still a little pale looking. I was concerned about some of the mature peanuts sprouting, but found out that this happens if you water your crop near harvest time. We will have to disconnect the irrigation system on that bed so that the only water they get will be from rain. They need to stay in the ground a bit longer.

Red and green Romaine lettuce.

I believe by next week we might be able to harvest some of the Romaine lettuce. It looks so beautiful. The seeded leaf lettuce has been slow at coming on, but finally starting to show some growth.

Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli bed filling up.

Two more rows of tomatoes were taken out, giving us space to plant vetch or spinach on Saturday. We are still getting plenty of peppers, and they are full of blossoms. The smaller varieties will have time to mature before frost, but doubt the Bells will.


The raspberries have put on a few berries--not much to do anything with except eat off the vine. Only two bushes out of five survived, but they look great and we are hopeful that there will be some berry picking next year.

Jamie reminded us that we need to get serious about the compost, so as things slow down a bit, that will be a priority. The garden looks good right now, and we are thankful.

'Til later,

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Today was all about sweet potatoes at PAR Davies.

Hi Everyone,
Today's Harvest 109 lbs.            YTD 1465 lbs.

If you weren't at the garden today, you missed a lot of fun. Gardeners today were Susan, G.A., Barbara, Steve and myself. In my opinion, the most fun thing happening in the garden this season has been harvesting the sweet potatoes. It was like digging for gold!

G.A. and Steve pulling back the vines. Boy, were they tough!

Our one bed contained 79 lbs. of sweet potatoes, and we feel that there are some we missed. We loved finding odd shaped ones. Another very good thing we found along with the sweet potatoes were WORMS....lots of them and huge. It has taken a lot of work, but our soil is finally getting good.

G.A. with some whoppers.
(I especially like the star filter effect upper left, which just happened.)

Susan and I took boxes of sweet potatoes home to cure; then the dirt will be dusted off for next week's delivery. I just read online that if possible, cut the vines two or three days before you plan on digging to toughen up the skins. We'll know better next year....if we remember.

Sweet potatoes curing in my garage.

There were actually other things harvested today....tomatoes, peppers, okra, green beans, one yellow squash, basil and a jug of zinnias....which were all delivered to the women's shelter.

When we got to the garden we saw that Bob had been working more on the irrigation system and now our in-ground bed has irrigation lines. Thank you Bob! We continued hand watering all the newly planted seeds and seedlings to make sure none were missed. Everything is growing nicely.

Cabbage and broccoli and zinnias and sunflowers.

G.A. and Steve pulled out more tomatoes and Susan sowed vetch in the sweet potato bed and where tomatoes came out. We noticed a small cucumber and lots of blooms on the late planting. Other late summer crops starting to produce are pole beans (5 lbs. today) and one yellow squash with five more on the plant.

We will continue planting either vetch, radishes or spinach in any empty beds until the garden is planted full. One sad note, voles have gotten several of our heads of romaine. Dang!

I wish you all could have been there today to help dig taters, but you will have another chance next year.

'Til later,

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The fall/winter garden is up and growing strong at PAR Davies.

Hi Everyone,
Today's Harvest 20 lbs.       YTD 1356 lbs.

I believe fall is the perfect time for working in the garden, and today was no exception. Our gardeners today were G.A., Susan, Barbara, Steve, Cathy and myself. Our fall garden is now pretty much planted except for sowing the vetch when the sweet potatoes and few remaining rows of tomatoes and peppers come out. The beds are full of fall crops that we have been planting since the latter part of August.

Savoy cabbage bed with radishes planted on both sides.

The harvest consisted of tomatoes, peppers and okra, which was taken to the women's shelter by Cathy.

G.A. pulled out another row of tomatoes and planted turnip greens in their place. The turnip greens that he planted last week are coming up. Susan and Barbara planted what is to be our winter covered bed. They seeded in several varieties of lettuce, some carrots, beets and dwarf blue kale down the center. Steve hand watered most of the garden.

Cabbage on the left, turnip greens peeking on the right with some basil still hanging on.

We put in a whole bed of spinach, hoping it does as well as last winter; although I didn't have the seeds to soak last night to speed germination. Soaking ALWAYS helps with spinach germination.

There were no signs of the cole crops being eaten, and since time was short, we elected not to spray today but concentrate on other things. I will check Friday and spray if necessary.

Romaine down the center with broccoli and cabbage on either side.

There wasn't time to check the sweet taters since we really needed to get everything planted, as fall planting time is near an end. In fact, everything planted in the winter covered bed is about past time to get in the ground. But since it will be protected, we went ahead and put it in, with about 50 days to get up and going.

Late planted summer squash.

There are three summer squash that were transplanted out the end of August. Here you see a few little squash starting. The bugs have not bothered these as much so late in the season. I wonder if we will actually get any squash?! This is the end of our squash experiment, with results yet to be determined.


There is quite a bit of sage that has taken off, looking really nice in the cooler weather. I know it deters bugs and is good for Thanksgiving dressing, but does anyone have any good recipes using sage? Martha Payne gave us a recipe using butternut squash and sage made into kind of a tart that looks really good. Sage seems to be an underused herb.

All our workers have been extremely pleased with our fall crops so far and the looks of the garden, with most of our beds full. 

'Til later,