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1 month ago

Extension Master Gardeners host fall gardening events | Mountain ... - Mountain Xpress

Even as summerproduceripensand farmersgather their harvests, the indefatigable Extension Master Gardeners of Buncombe County continue their mission ofeducating the public ongood gardening practices using research-based information provided by the North Carolina State University Extension Service throughout the fall.

On Saturday, Sept. 24, and again Saturday, Oct. 8, Master Gardeners will offer free instruction and advice in two locations at the WNC Farmers Market from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. At Jesse Israeland Sons Nursery andGarden Center at 570 Brevard Road, instructorswill explain how to get started composting at home. Several compost systems will be on display,including a worm composting bin. Free samples of black gold, as well as printed instructional materials, will be available.

Across the way, in the area between the two retail buildings of the farmers market, Master Gardeners willanswer gardening questions and diagnose plant problems. Area residents are encouraged to bring in good-sized plant samples for evaluation. Free soil test boxes willalso be available. As Cooperative Extension community gardening coordinator Megan Gregory writes in the Master Gardeners fall newsletter, Fall is an ideal time to test your garden soil.

On Saturday, Oct. 1, the Master Gardeners will field gardening questions and weigh in on plant problemsfrom 8 a.m. tonoon at the Asheville City Market at 161 S.Charlotte St. At that event, the book A Gardening Guide for Our Mountains will be available for $10.

The Master Gardeners also offer assistancethrough their helplineat 255-5522, which operates from March through October. Hours for the service are9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday-Thursday, and9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Fridays. Gardenerswith questionsmay also visit in personduring those hours at 49 Mount Carmel Road.

Western North Carolina Gardening Symposium

On Wednesday, Oct. 12, the organization will host its Western North Carolina Gardening Symposiumat the DoubleTree by HiltonAsheville at 115 Hendersonville Road. The theme of this years symposium isOur Gardens in a World of Change, and informational sessions will focus on strategies for developing resiliency.

Soil scientistLaura Lengnick, who is known as a leader insustainable agriculture and climate resilience planning, will be the keynote speaker. She will open the day with a talk titled Cultivating Resilience in a World of Change and close the program with What Path to a Resilient Future? More information about Lengnick, aSwannanoa resident, and her work is available

Tamara Houston, of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, will speak on climate and weather variations in WNC. Meghan Baker, small farms extension agent in Buncombe County, will discusspollinators at risk, and Linda Alford, Buncombe Extension Master Gardener volunteer, will outlineways to thrive in the face of change.

This program offers five hours of continuing education credit for Extension Master Gardener volunteers. The fee is $55. All registrations must be received by Wednesday, Oct. 5, and the registration form is available

4 months ago

GARDENING: Large zucchini have uses, too - Odessa American

Anyone whos ever had a garden has probably experienced zucchini fatigue. Youve gotten a little tired of finding uses for the over enthusiastic summer squash and neglected it for a few days only to discover a green vegetable approaching the size of a baseball bat as your reward.

Dont worry; other gardeners wont accuse you of reckless abandon, although they may pause for a moment before saying anything about it. Secretly, those same garden scandals have happened at their homes, too.

Ok, so whats the big problem with allowing zucchini to get really big before harvesting them?

For one thing, the plant gets tired of supporting the giant veggies and finally quits producing any at all. Zucchini is at its best when harvested at about 6 or 7 inches long. The whole vegetable, including the skin, will be tender and tasty at this stage. Harvesting at this size will also allow the plants resources to pace out longer so youll be able to enjoy higher quality produce for a longer period of time.

Big zucchini have big seeds and big seeds are just not any fun to eat. Big zucchini also have large cells which give them a grainy consistency. Fortunately, these large cells take up moisture readily so they can be used when cut into very small pieces and sauted alone or cooked into other dishes. The coarser texture also allows them to be easily sliced into small strips which make a great substitute for spaghetti noodles.

There are hundreds of uses for overgrown zucchini so dont toss them out. Gardeners have different ways of dealing with this presumed garden faux pas. Recently, I lugged a green monster out of the garden and hoisted it up to my lovely bride. She stared at the budding Louisville slugger, then at me with contempt, and sighed.

Some gardeners may find it a little embarrassing to talk openly about their neglectful behavior but Im a big fan of zucchini bread so heres what my lovely bride did: Mixed together three lightly beaten eggs with two cups of sugar, one cup of shredded zucchini, one cup of melted butter or margarine, two tablespoons of vanilla extract, three cups of flower, one tablespoon of baking soda, one half teaspoon of baking powder and one half teaspoon of salt.

Poured it all into a foil bread pan and baked it on 350 degrees for one to one-and-a-half hours. The top is usually done before the middle so she will cover the top with foil so it doesnt overcook. In case you havent figured it out yet, thats just a simple recipe for zucchini bread.

6 months ago

City program offers help for home repairs - C&G Newspapers

By Victoria Mitchell Posted April 6, 2016

click to enlarge

City program offers help for home repairs

he before photo of a home qualifying for needed repairs through the Royal Oak Housing Rehabilitation Program.(Photo provided by the city of Royal Oak )

9 months ago

Diggin It': Gardening In The New Year - Northwest Boomer and Senior News

This pink-flowering crape myrtle is sure to get anyone into the gardening spirit. This pink-flowering crape myrtle is sure to get anyone into the gardening spirit. Grace Peterson

Gardening and weather-watching go hand-in-hand. Get a bunch of gardeners together and before long, well be discussing the pros and cons of current weather, past weather or future predictions. Well lament the hail that punctured our once-perfect hostas leaves or brag about how the sunshine warmed our tomatoes to perfection.

The summer of 2015 who can forget day after day of sweltering, 90-plus-degree weather? All kinds of records were broken here in western Oregon with what was dubbed an infernally pro-longed heat wave. Experts suggest this could be an ongoing trend and that we should adjust accordingly. For gardeners this means one of two things: Either spend a fortune on water bills or replace some or all of those thirsty, water-loving plants with drought tolerant, heat-loving ones.

While most gardeners enjoy the showy, new plants on the block, there is some-thing to be said for the native stalwarts those tough plants that have spent decades adapting to the vagaries of weather and, if sited correctly, perform beautifully in our gardens. For example, the native sword fern thrives under the shade of towering Douglas firs so Ive got several of them planted in the dry shade of my courtyard. The only maintenance required of me is to cut off the old fronds in March before the new fronds uncoil. They look great all year.

Another worthy native plant is ornamental flowering current (Ribes sp.). Not only will it add dramatic color to the early spring gar-den, it will provide a feast for resident bees and humming-birds all without needing a ton of summer water.

But did you know that western Oregon gardens can also host an olive tree, a bottle brush shrub and several different desert-roaming agaves?

Although weve never met in per-son, Ive had many enjoyable online conversations with Paul Bonine, co-owner of Xera Plants, located here in the Willamette Valley. Paul is a native Oregonian and a walking, talking (and writing) encyclopedia of plant knowledge. He is also a self-proclaimed weather geek and can rattle off fas-cinating weather factoids that occurred yesterday or 30 years ago. He merges these two talents into dis-covering, testing and then touting high-performance, low-maintenance plants for western Oregon gardens.

One of Pauls favorite summer-bloomers is crape myrtle, which despite outdated rumors, performs amazingly well in our climate. Hes got several planted in his modestly-sized Portland garden.

If you check out the Xera Plants website, youll find hundreds of time-tested perennials, trees, shrubs (and sub-shrubs), vines, ornamental grass-es and succulents suitable for growing in western Oregon. But the website has much more. Got a problem area?Deer issues? If so, youll find helpful information including a list of plants that can thrive with low or no summer water. Finally, you can read an excel-lent article demystifying the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones. And there are lots of gorgeous photos.

Gardeners neednt be worried about their gardens with respect to changing weather patterns. We can take advantage of the research and adapt accordingly. And who knows?Maybe the predictions will be wrong and it will rain all summer.

For your online perusal, visit Xera Nursery at While youre at it, visit my gardening blog,

Tips for February:

February is the month when plant nurseries stock bare root trees and berry plants. You can save a lot of money by purchasing your plants bare root. The key to success is to get them planted in the ground or a large pot immediately after purchasing.