On Saturday, May 7th starting at 8:30 a.m. MNGI crew will host a workday to start the folk medicinal herb garden. We will be removing existing boxwoods, transplanting and instaling initial plantings in the garden. We're looking for the following herbs, preferably as starts unless noted: Angelica, Solomon's Seal (roots/starts), Nettle, Indian Tobacco, Yarrow and St John's Wort.
If you have native Appalachian medicinal plants you would like to donate, please contact Jennifer Flynn firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us on Monday, May 9 th from 5:00-6:00 p.m. We'll continue clean up of the gardens and doing some weeding.
Looking ahead..... Plan on June 13th for power hour and June 18th for our Saturday morning work day and meeting. We'll be planting left overs from the plant sale and start installing the path through the woodland shade garden.
Anyone interested in gardening or wanting to learn about native plans, should join in the fun... call Ed McNally for more info at 828-333-3883 or just come on by!
Great News!! We had a fabulous meeting with Tyler Ross of the NC Soil and Water Conservation. We hope to be partnering with them in the very near future!!
Now partnering with:
Southeastern Native Plant Nursery, Candler, NC
Southern Highlands Reserve, Lake Toxaway, NC
Carolina Native Nursery
PLANT & GARDEN TREASURES SALE
Saturday, May 21, 2016
9 am - 2pm
Plans are looking good for the upcoming sale. 'Primrose' will be performing at 10:00 a.m. We'll have breakfast and lunch options and lots and lots of plants.
Donations of plants and treasures for the sale are needed. Drop off plants that are potted with labels please, anytime on Friday, May 20th. Or contact Ed to set up a different time & day 828-333-3883.
Proceeds benefit the continued development of the Marshall Native Gardens.
Get a Head Start in the Garden: Sow seeds indoors
by Rita Pelczar
Signs of spring are everywhere, flowers have appeared on our native redbuds and serviceberries. Gardeners are preparing vegetable plots and flowerbeds: removing weeds, applying compost and fertilizer, turning the soil, all in preparation of planting time.
You can get a head start on your spring gardens by starting some of your seeds indoors. Growing plants from seeds gives you a much larger palette of varieties than are likely to be carried in the local garden center. If this is the first time you are starting seeds indoors, stick to annual flowers, vegetables, and herbs, since some perennial flowers can be a little tricky, or slow to germinate.
When to sow your seeds depends on what you want to grow. Seed packets usually indicate indoor planting time in terms of “weeks prior to the last frost.” The last average frost for most of Madison County occurs the last week of April, but can be as late as mid May. So tomatoes, for example, which should be planted 6 to 8 weeks prior to the last frost, should be sown in late March to early April. I prefer to wait until April so that my tomatoes don’t get too big before it’s time to plant them in the garden.
To get started, you’ll need containers: a plastic flat with drainage holes, small cell packs, peat pots, even egg cartons with holes punched in each cell for drainage work well. A good seed starting mix is essential; it should clean, drain well but also retain water. Some mixes include fertilizer, but that’s not necessary. You can fertilize your seedlings with a dilute liquid fertilizer as they grow.
Be sure to wet the mix thoroughly before planting your seeds. Fill your containers with the mix and tamp it down slightly to remove air pockets. Then plant your seeds at the proper depth, which should be indicated on the seed pack. Some seeds, such as certain varieties of lettuce, require light for germination and should not be covered (this is usually indicated on the seed package). A germination heat pad placed under the container greatly speeds germination, and a clear plastic dome maximizes humidity.
Once seeds have germinated, remove the heat pad and make sure the young plants get lots of light. Full spectrum or fluorescent lights can supplement natural sunlight and make a big difference. Keep lights on at least 12 to 14 hours per day. You may need to thin your seedlings or transplant them to larger pots as they grow so they have sufficient room to develop. Overcrowding causes weak plants that are subject to a disease called damping off.
When the weather is right for transplanting seedlings to the garden, be sure you acclimate your plants to outdoor conditions gradually. This process is called “hardening off” and it is critical to your seedlings’ success. I place my seedlings in a cold frame so they can adjust to temperatures and light conditions while they are still somewhat protected.
Another technique for hardening off seedlings is to take them outdoors in a partly shady spot where they are protected from wind for a few hours. Over the course of a week or so, gradually extend the length of time the seedlings are outside and increase their exposure to light. Once your seedlings have grown accustom to conditions outdoors, plant them in the garden, preferably on an overcast day with no wind. Be sure to water them every day until they have become established.
Marshall Native Garden volunteers have already started sowing seeds for this growing season, and will be starting more over the next few weeks. Many of these along with a fine variety of native perennials and shrubs will be offered for sale at their annual plant sale which will be held at the Marshall Library on May 21st. Be sure to mark the date on your calendar.