Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Garden Classes at PAR Davies

It's almost time for our Spring classes! Mark your calendar for Saturday, March 29 or Saturday, April 5.  Here is a list of the topics planned at this time:

1. Introduction: Importance of Organic Gardening….Janet Wehner
2. Fertilizer….Nancy Brophy on April 5
3. Container Gardening….Michelle Page
4. Composting….Jamie Childress
5. Fall/Winter Gardening….Dianne Parks
6. Raised Bed Construction….Susan Phillips and G.A. Crosby
7. Lasagna Gardening….Virginia Vierkandt
8. Drip System and Irrigation….Jamie Childress, Mary Elizabeth, Virginia Vierkandt
9. Seed Starting….Susan Phillips
10. Soil….Bob Hathaway

There will be another chance to participate in late summer when we plan to have two more Saturday classes.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Mark your calendar now for Spring Fling!

March 21 & 22
9:00 - 5:00
The Big Red Barn at Agricenter International

Nationally known garden, floral and life-style expert James Farmer will be the headline speaker at the 2014 Memphis Area Master Gardeners Spring Fling Garden Show and Plant Sale. Farmer has been a popular and engaging speaker with gardening groups across the country, and has appeared on the Today Show and in numerous magazines such as Southern Living and Harper’s Bazaar. He is a nationally acclaimed author of five gardening, cooking and interior design books.
Now in its tenth year, the theme of this year’s Spring Fling is “Get Out and Grow!” The two-day event offers seminars from national, regional and local experts and enthusiasts; hands-on instruction; farm-to-table cooking demonstrations; and fun children’s activities. In addition, more than 50 vendors from six states provide unique plants, accessories and garden-related items in a rare “one stop shop” gardening marketplace.
Attendees are also encouraged to bring their gardening dilemmas to the free “Ask A Master Gardener” Clinic for recommended solutions.  All events are free and open to the public.

Dr. Chris Cooper, UT Extension Agent for Shelby County, says that the Memphis Area Master Gardeners Spring Fling “is unique.  It is the only free garden event in the county devoted entirely to horticulture education and gardening. Many well-known local nurserymen as well as state extension employees support Spring Fling with their contributions and time.”

For more information on this event, contact Shelby County UT Extension at (901) 752-1207 or visit the website

Here's a sneak peek!

Memphis Area Master Gardeners (MAMG): The Master Gardener Program is offered by The University of Tennessee Extension Service. Volunteers undergo extensive training and become certified as Master Gardeners. MAMG projects include a wide range of horticultural activities which promote research-based education within the Shelby County community under the supervision of the University of Tennessee Shelby County Extension Service. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Planting Onions in the New Beds

I'll bet most people thought it would be too cold to garden when they saw a temperature of 27 degrees at 7 a.m. The brave souls who ventured out were Jamie, Susan, G.A., Bob H., Janet, intern McGehee Marsh with her friend David, and myself. By 10 a.m. when we started, it was sunny and we were reasonably comfortable as we worked.

The guys working on the beds….almost done!!

We needed to get a lot done on the beds and the onions needed to get in the ground. Both were accomplished. We had four men today, and they were moving the blocks pretty fast. Great job guys. The ladies got busy with the onion sets. These were from Dixondale Farms, and the few that we had last year were really beautiful. I hope we get a big harvest of the beauties this year. We planted 'Candy' (a large sweet yellow), 'Red Candy Apple' (large red), and 'Super Star' which is a white onion. Before planting we worked in earthworm castings and mycorrhizal inoculant. Per Dixondale instructions, we dug a trench between the rows, spread some bone meal and filled back with soil. Later on they will get some nitrogen fertilizer.

Janet and McGehee planting onions.

Susan and I measured our area to plant raspberries, and we will have about a 20 ft. row. The bushes need to be planted about 3 ft. apart, so we will need at least 6 plants. I checked with Dan West, and they will have bushes some time next month, but are not sure when because of the unusually cold weather we've been having.

We were blessed with another big seed donation. This one came from Heirloom Seeds and Things http://stores.seedsandthings.com in Georgia, who wanted them to be used by Plant-A-Row for the Hungry gardens and/or community gardens. The seeds will be used by our PAR gardens in addition to Urban Farms, and Lauren Bangasser at the Grahamwood School garden. I believe we may have some seeds left if anyone knows of a worthy community garden group. Thank you Jennifer and Andy. BTW,  we purchased our 'Tennessee Red' peanuts from them.

Heirloom veggie seed donation.

That is about all the news from the garden for this week. I hope you will be able to get some of your own gardening done in the warm weather predicted for this week.

'Til later,

Saturday, February 1, 2014

First Workday of the Year at PAR Davies

Hi Everyone,

What a nice warm day to finally get together at the garden. Gardeners present today were Susan, Dorothy, Janet, Mary Elizabeth, Jamie, G.A., Bob Hathaway and me. When I arrived this morning Jamie and G.A. were already hauling blocks and lining them up for the beds. They are well over half done now, and it is looking really nice. Bob had the in-ground beds tilled up and then did the area along the fence where we are going to plant the blueberries and raspberries. What a surprise!

Susan, Mary Elizabeth, Janet, Dorothy and I started cleaning up a much neglected garden. Things had blown about and frozen cabbages needed to be pulled out, etc. There is still more to be done, but already looks 100% better. 

Dorothy and Susan folding up plastic sheets.

We were able to plot out where the blueberries will be planted and worked in aluminum sulfate to each site. We will have to bring the pH down to at least 5 from 6.8. Before planting, we will recheck the pH to see if we need to add more aluminum sulfate. Rain is predicted, so it will be good to get that all watered in.

Blueberry bush sites.

We were able to take a break from the garden to organize our shelves in the barn. We got rid of a lot of 'junk' and cleaned up mouse droppings and all kinds of trash. What a difference. Suzanne got us all organized last spring with labels, etc., and things got scattered in this rush this summer.

The beautiful soil that Bob tilled for us. What a blessing to have this done.

The things that survived the freeze thus far are the garlic, cilantro, chives, carrots, brussels sprouts, walking onions in the uncovered beds, and the carrots, endive and some of the lettuce in the covered bed. We should be getting our onion sets within the next two weeks, so they will need to be planted on the first nice day. After that, the next things to be planted will be the peas, but we will have to wait and see how the weather looks as to whether it will be the last part of February or the first part of March.

The Lollo Rossa lettuce seemed to be the most cold hardy. 
A large carrot (top center) in covered bed.

Thanks to all the gardeners today. Much was accomplished, and the garden is starting to look like something we can be proud of. We have lots of plans for this coming year. I thank God for the abundant harvests last year, and ask His continued blessings in 2014.

'Til later,