I made my first trip of the year to the Raleigh State Farmer’s Market today and was happy to see loads of vendors selling vegetable plants like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, corn, watermelon, lettuce, squash ect. They also had tons of herbs on hand and various spring and summer flowers. Not yet as many food (veggie vendors) yet, but I suspect that their numbers will grow in the upcoming weeks as more things come in season.
I found a guy selling herbs in 4-plant packs for $1.50. I picked up cilantro, oregano, english thyme, dill, and chives. I also bought a nice spearmint plant for $2.50. There was tons of basil and other herbs as well.
I’m looking forward to planting them all in my square foot garden later this week!
With the weather finally warming up here in Raleigh, now is the perfect time to start preparing for your spring and summer garden. The heavy clay soils found in this area make raised beds and container gardenining a popular option. I spent last weekend turning over the soil in my square foot garden and adding compost and organic fertilizer. I like to add a bag of black cow compost and organic fertilizer like Espoma Garden Tone.
Every year I try growing some things by seeds but I haven’t had much luck with certain plants so I purchase seedlings of those from are nurseries. Pictured above is a romaine lettuce seedling I purchased at Logan’s in downtown Raleigh. They sell seedlings in packs of four for $1.59. Early spring is a great time to grow cool weather leafy green crops like lettuce, cabbage, and spinach. By the time May rolls around it gets too hot for these types of plants so it is important to get them started in the garden early.
This is the square foot garden I built last year. It is 4′ x 4′ and 8″ deep. Last year I filled it with planting media comprised of a mixture of compost, peat moss and vermiculite. With a square foot garden, you minimize the space needed for a garden by eliminating space needed for walking space between the rows of plants. You break the garden into a grid giving 1′ squares to eac plant. For example, my 4′ x 4′ garden makes up 16 individual 1′ planting squares making enough room for sixteen different plants.
Now that I have my cool weather crops planted (lettuce and spinach) I can start planning what I will plant for the warmer season after the last frost date, which is typically April 15th in this area. This year I am planning on growing several different herbs along with some cucumbers, peppers, and an heirloom tomato. I plan to buy seedlings for all three at the local farmers’ markets which should be in full swing by mid-April. For more information about gardening check out the NC State Extension website.
This week’s picture was taken at the “Plant A Row” event at Logan’s Trading Company on Saturday. Mayor Meeker and the radio hosts from the “Weekend Gardener” show, Mike Raley and Anne Clapp, were on hand to help kick things off.
“Plant a Row” is an movement to encourage gardeners to plant an extra row of produce each year and donate their surplus to local food banks, soup kitchens and service organizations to help feed America’s hungry. The people at Logan’s were encouraging people to participate by providing a free bag of compost and a packet of seeds. You can still swing by this weekend to pick up your starter kit while supplies last. Then when you have some veggies to donate swing back by Logan’s to drop off your donation for the Interfaith Food Shuttle to pick up.
You can read more about Plant a Row for the Hungry here.
The Annual Herb Festival returns to Festival Park on White Street in downtown Wake Forest for ten days in April running from April 16-through the 25th. This is perfect timing considering in this area the last frost date is typically April 15th.
The festival features low maintenance, organically grown herb plants and organic vegetables along with live entertainment and educational seminars. Last year they even had a beer stand from LoneRider Beer Co. selling refreshments. While this is a small event by “festival” standards, the Herb Fest is recognized as the largest herb and perennial festival East of the Mississippi. Parking is ample and relatively easy along White Street and the offer red rider wagons and other carts to load up your plants (or tote your children around in).
Many of the herb plants I purchased last year ranged in price from $3-$4. The Festival does have a website, but it appears to be under construction at this point, but I will plan on posting more information in April about the scheduled musical acts and confirm whether or not you can expect another local brewery to attend the festival.
To see pictures from last year’s festival click here.
Filed under Events, Garden
It’s still cold and wet outside but spring is just around the corner. Now is a great time to start seedlings indoors so you can transplant the seedlings into the garden in early to mid-March. The mild weather in the Triangle is perfect for creating an early spring garden with leafy green cold weather crops like broccoli, kale, lettuce, cabbage, spinach, and peas. Some great local garden centers to get seeds and supplies include Logan’s in Raleigh, Fifth Season Garden Co. in Carrboro, and Barnes Supply in Durham.
Check out the NC State Cooperative Extension’s Spring Vegetable Garden Planting Guide here for more information on suggested planting dates for seeds and seedlings. If you are like me and working with limited space, check back here next week when I post step by step instructions on how you can build your own square foot garden to enjoy this growing season.