by in Garden.

EggShells1If you have taken a stroll through our on-site garden lately you may have noticed eggshells scattered over the soil surface of some of the beds. In particular, they are surrounding the base of each tomato plant we have lovingly put in. The use of the eggshells has created a lot of buzz… So, I’d like to unveil the mystery and discuss the reasons why…

In fact, there are three excellent purposes that they serve:

  1. The eggshells leach calcium into the soil, which is a beneficial nutrient, helping to create strong and healthy plants.
  2. Additionally, the sharp edges of the eggshells act as a natural deterrent for creepy-crawly insects that may want to snack on the luscious leaves of the plant! (Similar to the application of the product diatomaceous earth.)
  3. Finally, the eggshells, scattered as a layer on the soil surface, protect the tomato plants from the back-splash of soil when it rains heavily. The tomato plants, in particular, are sensitive and extremely susceptible to disease, both soil and air-born. That is why some folks mulch heavily around their tomatoes, here at Sunny Point we happen to have a surplus of eggshells, hence, there lauded place in the garden!

Note to home gardeners: the kitchen staff here is kind enough to save the eggshells for the garden, and they also bake them off in the oven to quickly dry them out. Beware that the scent of composted products can always attract bigger critters to the garden, too… So, look out!

 
by in Garden.

FarmersMarket2If you would rather shop around yourself, the markets are on-going every week. We have quite a few markets around town and many others located in the surrounding counties.

A great resource for all things local, farm, and food related is A.S.A.P—the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, an excellent non-profit organization doing wonderful work here in western N.C. Please check out their Local Food Guide for a listing of the markets in your area.

Here in West Asheville we have our very own Tailgate Market on Tuesday afternoons from 3 to 6:30… and there are so many more, each unique in their own way: the Asheville City Market, Montford Farmers Market, French Broad Food Co-op tailgate market, the North Asheville tailgate market, Black Mountain Farmers Market, and the list continues… So, pack your totes and head on out to the farmers market.

Not only will you be supporting our local agriculture and artisan economy, but it is an enriching environment to be in….the market serves as a humming center of community, creating a place to chat with new folks, get some fresh air, purchase produce and goods, and learn something new!

 
by in Garden.

SP-Garden-Chervil2

Chervil is an herb that looks a lot like parsley when you see it growing in our garden. It is in fact a member of that family and is sometimes referred to as “French parsley” since it is used predominately in French cuisine. The flavor is mild with a faint taste of anise or liquorice.

 
by in Garden.

FarmersMarket1The land of western North Carolina is rich with beautiful and highly productive farms. We are lucky to live in a region so chock full of great local food, not to mention awesome farmers!

As the season is progressing, I would like to send a shout-out to our many area farms and farmers. These individuals work very hard to provide produce, flowers, meats, cheeses, etc. of excellent quality. Thanks for all you do!

There are two excellent means of procuring lovely local produce and goods: the area farmers markets and C.S.A’s (Community Supported Agriculture).

The farmers markets are a “come one, come all!” situation, in which consumers can shop around and get what they need for their household and support a number of farmers and local crafts-people. Say, you just want some berries, lettuce and goat cheese.

Or one can join a C.S.A, and this creates a direct relationship between the customer and one farm and its farmers. Generally, a C.S.A lasts the length of the season (approximately May through October) and participants pick up a box of fresh produce once a week, opting for a full share or a half-share, according to the size of your household. Typically, one would sign up as a member of a C.S.A before the season begins, but you can always check with a farm to see if they have open spaces. It’s always nice to have options, but the fundamental importance here is supporting our local farms.

 
by in Garden.

SP-Garden-Lettuce

We grow a wide number of lettuce types and other salad greens in our garden throughout the season. Since we start our own seedlings we can experiment with unusual varieties and plant many kinds of lettuces. If you visit us throughout the season you’ll probably notice that we regularly harvest and replant. We’ll try to remember to add photos throughout the year of the different varieties we grow, so do check back if you have an interest in salad greens.