There Is Still Plenty of Time to Garden

This year I took great care and cost to plant a shade garden. I pulled out the remnant grass that had survived the increased tree canopy, added humus, added many plants, watered regularly, prayed often. It was a maintained area that I liked to walk in. I had a friend help me maintain it while I was on vacation and returned to see my astilbes were gone. I assumed they had been pulled as weeds. I was so sad. One had even bloomed and it was gone. Several weeks later, that one was back, regrowing from the root. The other had no root at all, so no regrowth there. So back to maintenance and watering and a daily inspection. I had surrounded the astilbe with sticks to point out the intentional plant. Oh, no! A bleeding heart, both black snakeroot, a Japanese fern are all missing. Maybe the astilbes were not pulled as weeds after all.

Off I go to buy wire forms and chicken wire for protection on the remaining two bleeding hearts, the fern and the astilbe. Before I can build wire canopies, I lay chicken wire and brush over the remaining plants. The next morning, the remaining fern is gone. I am emotionally sad and financially mad. What did this? What type of critter can get through the wire and consume all of the plants: flowers, leaves, stems and roots alike? Can I protect what remains? I suspect not and I am trying to keep my thoughts from filling with hate. It does not change the fact that some critter had a gourmet meal and I picked up the tab . . . just smile, rise and float above the ugly thoughts . . .

It is not easy to be a gardener. There is much devotion, caring and organization needed. Setbacks like this make you question if you should choose another interest. But with any activity that yields great rewards, there is also the possibility of great loss. I maintain the importance of these: patience, perseverance.

Time for Fall Vegetable Planting
We are fortunate that we live in an area where the growing season is ready to start up again. Trim back the beaten tomato plants by removing yellow or dead leaves and branches. There will be a resurgence. Plant the seeds for the fall vegetable crops. The seeds will need moisture to get them started. Broccoli, bush beans, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, kolrabi, lettuce, mustard, radish, spinach, squash, turnip greens and turnip roots can all go in the ground in August. The UT extension has a great publication that you can download. Search for Fall Vegetable Gardens, UT Extension (it is publication # SP291G).

Grass Masters Academy
Grass Masters Lawn Care Academy will be held again this year. It is taught on Aug. 15 through 17 from 6–9 p.m. by extension agent Mitchell Mote. Space is limited, so preregister by Aug. 10 to guarantee that course materials will be available to you. You will learn about the different types of turf grasses that can and can’t be grown here. You will learn how to manage the lawn with options for establishing a new lawn, renovation tips for an existing lawn, weed control, fertilization, organic lawn care options and more. All sessions will be held in the Lane Agri-Park Office complex.

It is a free class. You can register by calling (615) 898-7710 or by emailing mmote1@utk.edu.

farmersmarketlogoFarmers Market Education Classes:

Aug. 2 – Planning a Cutting Garden
Carol Reese, Certified Master Gardener

Aug. 5 – Homegrown Bouquets
Carol Reese, Certified Master Gardener

Aug. 9 – Cooking with Kids (registration required)
Tiffany Schmidt, Extension Agent

Aug. 12 – Preparation for Fall Lawn Care
Mitchell Mote, Extension Agent

Aug. 16 – Minimalist Organic Practices
Mark Murphy, Certified Master Gardener

Aug. 19 – Learn to Quilt Workshop
The Quilting Bees of Murfreesboro

Aug. 23 – Intensive Gardening Techniques
Richard Lee, Certified Master Gardener

Aug. 26 – Smart Plant Choices for Ponds and Water Gardens
Cynthia Allen, Environmental Specialist, MTSU Stormwater Program

Aug. 30 – Seasonal Eating, Part 2: Tomatoes
Carla Bush, Extension Agent

Sept. 2 – Managing Pests and diseases in Honeybees
George Martin, Martin’s Honeyhouse

Sept. 6 – 2016 Tennessee Hemp Update
Colleen Keahy, TN Hemp Industries Alliance

Classes are free, open to the public and are held at the Community Center in the Lane Agri-Park on John R Rice Blvd. They start at 9 a.m. and last about one hour. Questions about the classes can be directed to (615) 898-7710. If you are unable to attend, most classes are recorded and uploaded to the RC Farmers Market YouTube channel.

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