- [Narrator] Ornamental flower beds, biodynamic farming, and a patio garden. We are spotlighting inspiring growers. Tammy Algood tours a home garden, featuring an array of pretty plants for sun and shade. Jeff Poppen explains how he grows tasty, sweet corn. And Marty DeHart discusses high yield vegetable crops suitable for containers. Stay tuned. First, a gardener who always has room for one more plant. - You've heard of yard art before. Well, our next guest has turned her whole yard into art with plants. Doris Weakley, we are so glad to have you on the show. Your yard is spectacular. Walk us through this wonderful piece of artwork you've created. - [Doris] As you come in, I garden under a maple tree, which is the hardest place to garden, but you can do it by picking your spot. And most of those up there are native plants, which was what I started with up there, and then with the exotics, and then I had to go with the pots. - [Tammy] Pots are great. - [Doris] Pots. And then we did put a swing up there for a sitting area and my husband would go up after golf and read, so that was always a good spot for him. - [Tammy] And I've noticed you incorporate a lot of hostas in your pots. Is that on purpose? - [Doris] That's on purpose because the hostas do not do well in my garden because of the underground critters, the moles, the voles and the chipmunks. So I put 'em in pots, it gets 'em out of the clay soil. It gets 'em up and the roots get cold enough in the winter time that they do well. - [Tammy] Doris, talk to me about the tree that's the centerpiece for your shade garden 'cause it's got its own personality. - Yes, it does. It's got roots, which you have to plant between. It's got the limbs that are really pretty when they go up, so I had to give them hanging plants. So I put all of my orchids in the summertime hanging from the tree and then I take them inside in the winter time and they bloom. So it does, it's a good shade, but it's getting a little old. - [Tammy] Well, but the orchids renew it don't you think? - [Doris] Yes. - [Tammy] It gives it new life. - [Doris] It does. - [Tammy] And it's just kind of interesting to hang things from trees like that. - It is. And not only that, when I first bring them out of the house, they are still in full bloom. So I only have one that's got a bloom on it now, but then I'll cut it off. And then in the fall I'll take them in and they will bloom. Which is, I find it that I don't have to do a lot of work with these orchids because I'm not an orchid person, but I just love 'em. - They're self-sustaining. - Yes they are. - And then you have a hibiscus that came up as a volunteer, you did not plant this. - [Doris] I did not. There're several that's in the back, one being Diane, which is the white one. And then there're the pinks and the purples. And for some reason, everything mutated and it came up with variegated white leaves. So I took a picture of it, took it to Don Shadow's when I was on a buying trip and he told me, he says, "Do not dig it up. If anyone wants a cutting, let 'em take a cutting, but do not dig it up until it's older or until it gets established." This is a 200 foot border going from one end to the other end of the garden. And over time, it started out just as a sunny border, and over time, it's getting a lot of shade, so you transition your plants to what you have in your garden. If you have shade, you've got to put a shade plant there, you put it in the sun it's just gonna wither. If it's a sun plant, you put it in the shade and it gets really too leggy. So you plant with what you have in your garden, not making your garden what you want it to be outside of nature, so. - [Tammy] That would be good advice for somebody that maybe is just starting to put some equity into their garden, is to utilize what you've got and propagate things and spread out your plants throughout your garden. - [Doris] Exactly. And you know, when we first start our garden, we want one of everything. - [Tammy] Right. - [Doris] And I have killed more plants by getting one of everything. And so as I age my garden ages, so I have more than one of everything now to show off. It's a bush, it's a shrub, but I wanted to limb it up and make lollipops with it. So I take off all the bottom limbs and I limb it up, and after it blooms and it forms its bud up there after the bloom, then I will go back and I'll make lollipops of 'em, so that next year they are still in the lollipop standard form and it takes, you know, it takes time to do those things, but if you're a gardener you'll do it. - [Tammy] Okay, Doris, talk to me about your cannas and how you've paired them color wise. - [Doris] With the Ruby Slippers, and it's showing its colors right now, which is beautiful. And it goes really well with the Montana Canna, which also has that red tinge in the leaf. So that looks really good together. And then on the other side of that is the Tetrapanax, which is the rice paper plant that has huge leaves. And by the end of the summer, both of those two plants will be above the fence. - [Tammy] And you say you like big leaved plants. - I do, because I look at my garden from a distance. It's not one that's a courtyard garden, where you see every plant, it's from a distance and you see colors, you see leaves, you see what's going on, you see the tall, you see the medium, you see the low plants. So it is, it's a distance garden. - [Tammy] And your tiger lilies are huge. - [Doris] They really are. And once the sun comes out and they all start blooming, it's just one big orange blob out there. - [Tammy] I love that. - [Doris] Yes, I do too. - [Tammy] And as you come on down through your garden, you have got some spectacular pairings. It's like putting together an outfit. So you've got all kinds of different things put together that are in the same color family. - [Doris] Yes, and if you notice that something is pink, but it also has orange with it, use it with orange, which is the purple coneflower. It has an orange center, why not put orange daylilies with it? Because it brings out the orange of that, and if nature puts 'em together, it's not gaudy. - [Tammy] Absolutely. And your hydrangeas have really spectacularly put on a show this year. - [Doris] Yes, we had, the rain that we had in the spring, made those Annabel's, where the blooms are this big, and of course the rain beats them down, but you can still see that there're big blooms on those big heads. - And you know, that's a good point, that sometimes rain does beat things down, but it pops back. - As soon as the sun comes out, there'll be a different looking garden. - Isn't that nice? - Yes. - So let's swing on around here because you've got something interesting around another tree that I want to talk about. - [Doris] Okay, this is a hellebore. And this is the foetidus, which is a stinking hellebore and it starts blooming in the winter with apple green blooms, they're really good to putting in the house, but at the same time, it just sparks up a winter landscape. - [Tammy] Okay, so behind this great tree, you have your she shed. - [Doris] Oh yes, a gift from my husband. And my husband and our son put it together during the quarantine of the COVID-19. So it was really a labor of love for them. And for me, it's been a delight. - [Tammy] It's just kind of a little fun thing to add interest to your garden as well. - [Doris] Oh yes. And this was my work area and my compost area, so this really cleaned it up and it made me get serious about cleaning up an area. - There you go. Well, and talking about something that some people might clean up, you've got this most interesting table with moss on it that I love. - [Doris] Oh yes, and that's an accident. - [Tammy] If you'd wanted moss to grow on this table, it probably wouldn't have happened, right? - [Doris] Probably not because I didn't seed it to happen. Nature gave it to me because it was the right place, the right rain, the right shade, everything just happened, and I did not clean it off. - [Tammy] I love that. And close to that is one of my favorite things. The voodoo plant. - [Doris] Oh, yes. It's the stinkiest thing you'll ever want to smell of when it blooms. It's quite interesting. And if you don't have it in your garden, you really need to look for it and at least put one in it to watch it grow. - [Tammy] So Doris, one of your favorite activities you were telling me is sharing plants, right? - [Doris] Yes. I do love to propagate plants, and then I love to share them with my friends and they share plants with me. So it's, you know, it's just a nice thing to do for your garden to live in someone else's garden. - [Tammy] Absolutely. And you've given us a wonderful afternoon here in your garden, and it's absolutely stunning and we appreciate you sharing it with us and our viewers. - [Doris] Thank you, my pleasure. - I grew up on the beautiful black soils in Illinois, where corn was king. Nothing tasted like summer, like fresh sweet corn. Corn takes a lot of nutrients and needs a rich soil. So corn often follows beans in the rotations. These are October beans that are bringing in nitrogen from the air with their symbiotic relationship with the soil bacteria, and they're really good for building soil for a crop that takes a lot of fertility. A winter cover crop of crimson clover, another legume, along with 10 loads of biodynamic compost got our corn ground in good shape. The sheer mass of organic matter in a corn patch can really build good soil. Corn is truly a miracle. From a lowly grass, native Americans developed and bred the corn that we use now. Far surpassing the small grains that our ancestors in the old world were working with, wheat, barley, rye and oats. Modern day plant breeders and scientists have no clue how the native Americans accomplished this. First we make furrows of inch or two deep, about three and a half feet apart. Then into these furrows, we drop the corn seed, oh, about eight or 10 inches apart. And then we step on it and firm it into the ground. Seeds need to be really tightly touching the soil so that they can absorb the moisture in the soil, swell up and sprout. Then we go back over the rows and we just kinda do the duck walk and cover 'em up. We like to plant our corn and all of our direct seeded crops before a dry spell, never before rain. The humus rich soil will have enough moisture to sprout the seeds anyway. And we like to go over the rows three days later with our rake. This destroys weeds that are sprouting right on the surface, but it's not gonna bother our corn kernels that are deeper down. Then when they sprout up, they have a headstart on those pesky weeds. As soon as our corn sprouts out of the ground, we're busy cultivating. We have to keep that soil surface loose and friable, because that's what conserves our soil moisture. Water in the soil will wick out through capillary action, but we can prevent that by keeping the soil surface cultivated. So we're continually cultivating our soil, but not only to conserve moisture, we're bringing in the all important air that has the gases of nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide that help to feed the soil microbes and our plants. On our last cultivation, we pull the soil up to, well beans or corn, or whatever we're growing, and by hilling it we're, again, conserving moisture. And in the case of corn, we're actually helping the corn to withstand blowing over from those July thunderstorms. Green cornstalks have sugar in them and I take advantage of this. After the last ear's pulled off, I immediately mow the patch and disc it into the soil. This feeds the soil microbes who then proliferate and improve the land. The main pest in sweet corn is raccoons. We use an electric fence, a few inches off the ground to keep the raccoons from ravaging our corn patch. When we plant our sweet corn I oftentimes put a pile of shelled corn near the field. Crows, who are pretty pesky about going down the row and getting the kernel out of the newly sprouted corn, will just go to that pile of corn that's on top of the ground because it's easier to get. And by the time that's gone, my corn is past the point where they can be troublesome. Japanese beetles sometimes get into the silks, but they don't bother me because the birds that come by to eat the beetles, oftentimes get the corn ear worm out of there too. Sweet corn is always grown in a patch so that it pollinates better, it doesn't make full ears if it's grown in single rows. After one of my master gardeners talks, an old friend came up to me and handed me a big sack of sweet corn seed. It was open pollinated corn that he'd been saving for 35 years. He had got the seed on our farm at a conference we had had way back then in the 80s. With open pollinated corn, we can save our seed from year to year like my friend Darryl had been doing. So we have flagged a lot of the stalks in here that have two ears and the ears are nice looking and the plants are healthy. With the hybrid sweet corn we don't save the seed, it won't come true. Hybrid sweet corn may be sweeter and yield more, but the old fashioned flavor of this Ole Timey open pollinated corn is summer at its best. It's good eating. - Maybe you think you can't grow vegetables because all you've got is a little bitty courtyard at your townhouse, or a deck and nothing else at your apartment complex or whatever. Guess what, you can. Carol Burdett does it every year. She's gonna tell us how she does it. She does it all on her back deck here in containers. Carol, this is just really impressive, what you're growing here. - Thank you, thank you. - [Marty] Tell me about this first pot here? - [Carol] Okay, well, first of all, people that try to grow in containers and don't have successes it's usually 'cause the containers are too small. - [Marty] Yeah, you got to have something big. - [Carol] But these are 15 gallon, I do like to have saucers under them. This one is mostly beans, but I have onions in there too. - [Marty] Oh, so you double crop? - [Carol] Right, and the onions will progress all winter long, and then I can just reach out here and have fresh onion. - [Marty] Okay, so the beans go and you've still got onions under there. - [Carol] Right, and of course I've thoroughly harvested beans and beans and beans until I decided I'm gonna cut 'em down and let 'em grow back. - It looks like they're coming on again. Any bush bean will basically do it for you. - And I see that the butterflies have not gotten to my parsley yet. - [Marty] Yeah, black swallowtails will often use, the caterpillars will show up on this. - [Carol] About the time they need to be pruned back, you know, in July, then the swallowtails show up. - [Marty] I see this is another multiple planting here though, you got what, cucumbers, parsley and man, is that a good looking pepper? - [Carol] Yeah, I'm letting some of those peppers turn red. - [Marty] Oh yeah, that's when they're so sweet. - [Carol] I usually have one green pepper a day, but I'm trying to leave some growing. - [Marty] Wow, well, you're certainly are doing it, it's bearing very heavily and it looks super healthy. Tell me what you use for soil. - Okay, I use a third, a third, a third. And a third is compost. And a third is peat moss. And a third is vermiculite or perlite, whatever happens to be on sale. - [Marty] Something to break it up and drainage. - So I get that in a big 30 gallon container. - [Marty] Oh, okay. - [Carol] And then you can just use the same soil over and over, except of course tomatoes, you really don't want to propagate that blight. - [Marty] Right, right, you need to change out for tomatoes. - [Carol] But all the roots that are growing in there just become part of the compost for next year. - [Marty] That's for sure. And this is really impressive. Strawberries. - [Carol] And you can see there's four layers. - [Marty] It's one of those pyramid pots. - [Carol] Yes. So it starts out with a 15 gallon pot on the bottom, then a seven gallon pot and a five gallon pot. - [Carol And Marty] And a one gallon pot. - [Marty] How many plants would you say that is altogether? - [Carol] Well, it was, I think I planted a dozen in there and of course they're ever bearing, I've had tremendous numbers of strawberries out of them. - [Marty] Really? - [Carol] But I think after I did the original 12, I just kept some of the babies, you know, curled around. - [Marty] Wow, well, it sure looks happy. And that's a smart thing, you know, you can spend a lot of money on those pyramids and you just made your own. - And when I was growing strawberries out in the garden I don't know what was eating them, but I know it wasn't me. - Yeah. - But they were always disappearing, and I thought, well, up here, even though I've got a lot of birds, I can just put a little netting over it. - Yeah sure. - But I didn't have to, really the birds have got their sunflower seeds and they're happy. - Yeah, I see you feed 'em just down the way. This is really, really fine. I like that idea a lot. And it's a lot of fruit, a lot of produce in a very small space. - [Carol] Yes, and it just stays all winter. I pull it up against the house in the winter. - [Marty] Oh cool. - [Carol] I don't have to protect it. - [Marty] You've even got some kind of melon growing in pots. - [Carol] Oh yeah, we have wonderful cantaloupe and these are the little ones. There's a number of different varieties. So the real small ones, one to two pounds. - [Marty] Oh yeah, like Minnesota Midget or something. - [Carol] Yeah, and they just grow over the deck. But they're really late getting started this year because the bugs. - [Marty] Oh yeah, I can see that you've had some problems here. - [Carol] Yeah, I don't usually have a problem up here. So I think I let 'em get a little ahead of me. - [Marty] Yeah. - [Carol] And then one day I found cucumber beetles on them. - [Marty] Oh yeah. I love your little grape tomato here. - Yeah, they are sweet. - [Marty] Oh, crazy. - [Carol] They're wonderful. - [Marty] You've had to wire them up here, I know they just scramble all over the place. Look at that, that is looking awesome. Do you know what variety that is? - [Carol] I'm not seeing, now that one was the beefsteak, I have the also. - [Marty] Yeah, looks like a beefsteak. - [Carol] Yeah. - [Marty] Look at that, wow. Can you see that? - [Carol] You know, there's less leaves on this. This is the first year, now all my friends are saying that they've had to just pull out all their tomatoes, 'cause they've got the blight so bad. - [Marty] Well, we've had so much rain this year. It's been a bizarre summer for rain. - [Carol] It has. But a friend said, well, UT is really recommending that we take off all the lower leaves up to the fruiting branch. And so this is the first year I've done that. I think that's really paid off. - It tends to go early blight from the ground up, and it's spread by splashing water from the ground, 'cause the spores live in the soil. And that's why you were saying earlier, you don't wanna replant in the same soil year to year. - With tomatoes, that's right. - Right, with tomatoes in containers. And of course in the ground, if you're doing 'em, you don't plant 'em in the same location, you rotate throughout your garden space if you can. - [Carol] My cucumbers have been suffering, and then I found this bugger all the way on the back. - [Marty] Oh my goodness. - [Carol] So he got a little bigger than I anticipated. - [Marty] Yeah. - [Carol] It'll be good slicing. - [Marty] He was hiding from ya. - [Carol] They have been delicious. - [Marty] Yeah. Oh, that's cool. Well, even the bird seed doesn't seem to stop 'em. - [Carol] Yeah. - Well, this is a great, this has been really instructive. I appreciate you showing us how you do all of this and you can be successful obviously in containers. Like you say, the size of the container is pretty critical. - Very much so. - Yeah. - And I think it's really important to have saucers, there's a big controversy over that. - Oh really. - Yeah. But you know, when you watch all the water running through and then dark water coming out underneath. - Yeah, that's leeching out good stuff. - Yeah. - Yeah, exactly. - And people are concerned that it's gonna get wet rot, but I don't think so. - Yours don't. - No. - Yeah, I think if you have a good soil in there, that's not too mucky. - Right. - And you make good soil, so. - Right. Well, and the roots pretty soon just to get all through it. - Right. Not an issue anymore. - It works well. - Well, thank you so much for sharing with us Carol, it's been great. - Well, it is so wonderful to be out here in the demo garden again Alisa, and today I'm just thinking about how much I appreciate pollinating insects. There's a lot of concern about making sure we see enough of 'em. - [Alisa] Yes there is. - [Julie] And you have this wonderful insect hotel where I'm assuming they check in and they check out. - Well, we're hoping they check in and stay for a long time. We built this, and we are hoping to attract all kinds of pollinating bees, wasps, beetles, ladybugs, you name it. Even daddy long legs as creepy as they are. Maybe even some lizards, some little toads, everything. Because it is crucial to our existence as humans to have these pollinators, to help us grow the food that we need. I mean, everybody thinks that when you talk about save the bees, save the bees that you mean honeybees. Have to remember, honeybees are not native to this continent. So what we need to work on preserving is the habitat for the native bees, which of now there are at least seven that have been listed on the endangered species lists. - Wow, well, I am all in favor of keeping my pollinators happy and overwintering in all my property. So this looks like, it looks like everything has a purpose. So let's start talking about who might live where. - Well, if you look up here in the top, we have tubes and we have pieces of wood. Now the tubes create tunnels. We have approximately 1,200 species of native bees that will live in tunnels. Mason bees, leafcutter bees, and they need a tunnel that they can burrow into and lay their eggs. The eggs will overwinter and pupate, and then they'll hatch, and we'll have a new generation. In some of these other spots, like these buckets, these little pots here, they're stuffed full of leaves, and that gives beetles places to hide and to live. And you know, up in the top of the roof, we could possibly end up with some wasps. Well, not everybody likes wasps, but to be honest with you, those big, angry red wasps that you see flying around your garden, they're really beneficial. They love caterpillars. So you really do want them in your garden. So before you reach for that can of spray think about the purpose that they serve as far as controlling the insects that damage the crops that we eat. But it's important that you provide different habitats for all of these insects, the more you provide, the more you're going to have in your garden. But then of course, this is kind of big. Not everybody is gonna have a place to put something like that. - Well, I'm wondering about that. So could I just make sort of a pile of these types of materials next to my compost? - You could, 'cause you of all people know how, a few years ago, Metro Nashville decided that they didn't want people throwing their yard brush in their trash. They wanted, they began, you know, encouraging us as homeowners to compost things in our own yard. Well, you can do that. You can create a pile of sticks. You can put a pile of grass clippings, a pile of leaves, you can leave them in a remote corner of your yard that you're not using, and not only are you creating compost in the longterm for yourself, you're creating a habitat that insects can live in and breed in and protect your garden. - Aha, so I knew my laziness of leaving things in the corner of the garden were gonna pay off one day. Now it's just my insect hotel. - It is, it's your insect hotel and it's your beneficial gardening practices. - Aha, fantastic. Now, I see these for sale. And what this reminds me of is what happens to the post where I have my bird feeders. - Yes, carpenter bees do that. - Aha. - Yes they do. Now this one is actually one that is mine. And I've been very lazy about getting it hung up in my yard and I threw it on a cabinet by the back door. Well, it didn't stop the bees from nesting in there and I was looking at it and you can see the debris, they've been tunneling in these little bamboo tubes and they've, there's actually eggs in here. So I'm gonna have to return this to my garden. But these, you can take a small piece of lumber and drill different size holes in it, and you can set them aside in your yard or you can do, as we've done here, include them in a habitat like this and you'll be giving those bees a place to live. Now there are 2,800 species of bees that nest in the ground. So as you can see, it's really important to create a habitat. So set a corner of your yard aside, keep it close to where you're gardening because these bees aren't gonna fly three miles. Now a honeybee will fly two or three miles. But these bees, maybe a couple hundred feet to a couple hundred yards at the most, from where they're nesting to where they're feeding. So you wanna kind of put, give them a place to live and then give them something to eat and keep it fairly close to where you're gardening and you will be helping to control some of the insects that you don't want, and you'll be helping to ensure pollination of your plants. - [Narrator] For inspiring garden tours, growing tips and garden projects, visit our website at volunteergardener.org, or on YouTube at the VolunteerGardener channel, and like us on Facebook.
October 01, 2020
Season 29 | Episode 07
On this episode of Nashville Public Television's Volunteer Gardener, Tammy Algood tours a home gardener's extensive beds in both sun and shade. Barefoot Farmer Jeff Poppen talks about growing sweet corn on his biodynamic farm. Marty DeHart learns about growing vegetables in pots on the deck from an experienced grower. Julie Berbiglia learns about a homemade 'pollinator hotel' to support habitat.