- [Announcer] Taking delight in your garden. That's the theme of this episode. We'll meet a lifelong gardener who plants the tried and true but loves to try new things too. Next up an enthusiastic pair of young farmers who practice the importance of building up rich soil, knowing it will pay off year after year. Then this home gardener decided on raised beds and filled them with vegetables, herbs, and flowers in a charming display. Join us. Inheriting a love of horticulture from your father and appreciating the beauty and wonder of plants. - We're in Brentwood, Tennessee today and one of our wonderful viewers submitted a letter. It explained a lot about her gardening experiences, her wins, her triumphs, and so we came to visit Hope Campbell today. Hey Hope. - Hi Sherry! Thank you for coming. - So you were telling me you love hostas and there's some beautiful specimens here. - I absolutely love the hostas. Any variety they just add such consistency to the garden. Their faithful, their leaves are beautiful, even though they do put out a little shooter flower every now and again they're there for their leaves and to me, it's just like an individual who probably doesn't sing. They can't play the piano or they're not an artist, but their personality, their character is so consistent and beautiful. I just love hostas. - And then you had two other favorites in the same beautiful - [Hope] Yes! - [Sheri] Vignette here. - [Hope] I do love astilbes. Now astilbes like the shade. - [Sheri] Correct. - And with different plumes. That's feathery sway with the wind. I just absolutely love astilbe. - [Sheri] There's another one of your favorites. - [Hope] Yes it is. Spiderwort. Notice its the little fangs coming off the side there. Does a beautiful job especially in the mornings. So it's a morning opener and in the afternoon they close up, but you can't ask for a lower maintenance and showy plant. - [Sheri] This is one vignette let's go see another one. - [Hope] Okay come on back. - Hope I had to stop here the aroma is intoxicating. Your oakleafs are really showing for us today. Is this one of your favorites also? - Oh they are. How could they not be after all this like you said, the smell, the abundance of flowers and its blooms. And it's so easy to grow. It is so easy to grow. And I like 'em more natural design to it rather than a lot of pruning. So this is what you get very fateful continuous, I've had other hydrangea species but the oakleafs I think are underrated and are such a great backdrop. - [Sheri] I think one of the mistakes people make with the oakleafs is they don't know how big they're gonna get and they put them in the wrong spot. - That's right so I've allowed these to just have their way. - Well they're beautiful. - Thank you. - [Sheri] Hope you were telling me that these pots are sentimental for you. Can you explain? - Yes they are. Absolutely. In this pot I have crotons. So these the center featured plant the crotons and the lantanas and these really remind me of my home back in Jamaica, we used to have crotons as our hedge, my dad was a huge gardener. He would be considered the one with the green thumb. And I think I picked up my love of gardening from him, but certainly the lantanas so faithful continuous blooms and the colorful leaves of the croton. Just take me back home. I do attempt to winterize them and to have them do more than one season, but I'm not always successful but I do try. - And then over here we have these beautiful little things here. I shouldn't say little they're kinda big right now. - [Hope] These are my garden pride and joy. They're coming into bloom now. It's called purple loosestrife or lythrum unfortunately they're endangered. You cannot get these plants because they can be invasive in marshlands. Fortunately here in Brentwood here I have no problems with that. And so I've been successful having these for about 10 years now. - [Sheri] And I see some coneflowers are getting ready to open. - [Hope] Yes they are! - [Sheri] Are they white or are they gonna be pink? - [Hope] I think this is going to be pink. - [Sheri] Okay and lamb's ear. - Lamb's ear and some verbenas. - Russian sage. - Russian sage very feathery and just beautiful when it comes out with its purple plumes. - And some black-eyed Susans. - Black-eyed Susan. Oh Maryland's state flower. Love it. This sedum the autumn joy just changes colors. - [Sheri] So pretty. - [Hope] With the seasons. - [Sheri] And what do we have back here? - Back there I have a purple gayfeather it's a liatris. So it will be shoots of like darts of of purple plume. And beside it is my peony that has come and gone for the season. - [Sheri] How long have you been gardening in this area here? - [Hope] About 27 years. - [Sheri] And you said it evolves. - It has evolved. I had mature trees that died to the tornado. I lost some. I've had some missteps with my gardening helpers, landscaping and I would lose things every year. And nature took its course. Disease. And I finally got around to repeats that I felt did well, reliable and kept planting those but always wanted to experiment. So I tend to add a new item each year if I can. A few years ago I had this Rose Of Sharon I put in because I lost my otto luyken. Wanted some more shrubbery right there. So I to have one little bloom right now but it will soon be out. - [Sheri] Well it certainly is beautiful. I want to thank you so much for sharing and I'm glad you wrote that letter! And it worked out perfectly. - Why thank you so much for coming! It's always a gardener's pleasure to share their work. - Right well thank you Hope. - Oh you're so welcome. Thank you for coming. - We are at one of Nashville's smallest farms with Dakota Jernigan this is Freia Farms. Thank you for having us out today and tell us a little bit about your operation here. - Yeah so we are a no-till small intensive agriculture farm. So this farm all made with a tarp to kill off the grass, then cardboard, then lots of compost, lots of wood chips. We got all the wood chips for free or low cost. And we're sitting on about 12,000 square feet. - [Troy] So you grow a wide variety of things here obviously because I've got squash down here to my right. - [Dakota] Yeah. - [Troy] That are just coming on for the summer. And you've then cropped in okra over a spring lettuce crop? - Yep we've got some lettuce here, just trialing that out. There are some little cucumber beetles getting on the okra. And we were only, we were trying to interplant okra with squash but the farm we were getting these from gave us a whole lot of okra. - Gotcha. - So now we have two beds. - Now you have two beds of okra. - We also have an understory of lettuce under this okra crop. - [Troy] Yeah. - [Dakota] Just doin' some experiments with polycultures. - [Troy] And then over on the string you've got cucumbers? - [Dakota] Yeah these are salt and pepper cucumbers. So a little small white cucumbers. And then there's watermelon radish as an understory as well as nasturtiums as an understory too. - [Troy] Alright so how long have you guys been here? - We've been here, we moved in March of 2019. And then about a week later we had our first tarp laid out. - Gotcha. So just two years. - We wasted no time. - Two years a hair over two years. - Yeah and you've already gotten to this level of production with everything. - Yeah it's over 200 cubic yards of materials that we've moved onto this. - Wow. - A lot of dump truck loads. - Right. - So you've really built that soil up deep. - For sure. - And rich to get all of these crops to grow so well. - All the beds started off with eight inches of compost and about five inches of wood chips. And we've noticed that each year the soil will eat most of those wood chips. - [Troy] Wow so they decompose in that, five inches of wood chips decomposes in about a year's time. - [Dakota] Yeah. - [Troy] Amazing. - And then we do have to replace the wood chips and we put less compost on the bed as we go. We usually don't put any extra compost - Right. - On the bed when we flip. - And then what about watering all of this, all these crops efficiently. What have you found is the best way for you guys to manage that? - Our first year was extremely inefficient. We did about three hours to four hours a day of hand. - Hand watering? - With a hose. - Yep. - And since then we've, last year in the middle of the year, we put an overhead sprinklers, which are lifesavers. - Yeah. - They're little wobblers. They're very inexpensive. We kind of just designed a little system and we put them on timers as well. So at six o'clock in the morning they're turnin' on. Doesn't matter if we're here. - Asleep? - Sleepin' in. - Right. - And then our drip irrigation is manual. And we may only turn that on once a week. This looks like a pretty healthy crop of carrots that you have going here and you need pretty good deep soil to grow good carrots. So that's a sign that you've obviously done a good job on soil prep in this location. Are there good carrots under there? - Definitely! Sometimes they may hit a rock right and bend but they come out very easy. So like these two hit a rock. - [Troy] Right. - Because this is no till. But if it can dodge a rock and you get some, it's a little bit of split goin' on there, but most of these carrots will come out pretty well. - Right and it doesn't matter that they hit a rock and split. They're still perfectly edible. - Yeah. - They might not be quite as pretty but they're still perfectly edible. - Yeah and if they, usually on bigger carrots like this, we like to bag them and we take the tops off. We leave about two inches on the tops and these are more light roasting carrots. And then if we can get younger carrots, then we'll bunch them with greens on. - [Troy] Right. - And we sell those for more of a premium. - Sure. - But their smaller. - Sure. And then you've also got a good crop of lettuce still going over here. Even kind of in the heat of the summer. I mean we're getting into the hotter weather. - Yes and with experiments that we did last year, we were getting lettuce that germinate in August. So one thing that we're doing in order to get lettuce when it's hotter and when other farms can't seem to do it is we'll take a 90% shade cloth. And after we seed the bed, we put 90% shade cloth directly on the bed, not with hoops on it. We weigh it down with sandbags and then we water it by hand about three times a day. And after about five or six days, then the crop will germinate and you take off the row cover. And we had lettuce all last year. - That's great. - Even through August and you are using some row covers here in your operation. And is that primarily for insect control? - Yeah this is insect netting. - We use it mostly on brassicas to control for flea beetles. We don't use any sprays or anything here. So this is kind of like our form of spraying. - [Troy] Right. - [Dakota] Is using these insect netting's. They're an extremely tight weave. So thrips and flea beetles that are very tiny, even aphids can't get in. - And then obviously on brassicas, which would be your cabbages and broccoli and cauliflower, then that also keeps the cabbage loopers. - It does! - Off the butterflies. So you don't get- - Yes. - The little green cabbage worms - Yes. - And that kind of thing. - [Troy] So this is your biochar. - [Dakota] Biochar. - [Troy] Explain to me what biochar is. - So biochar is charcoal. It's just it's burnt stable carbon material that is inoculated with compost. Every piece of charcoal has lots and lots of microscopic tubes inside of it. And I've heard people say that it basically acts as a coral reef kind of like on the, just on the sterile sea floor. So if this is in the garden, it provides a place for bacteria and microbes to live and breed and it basically becomes like a life hotel in your soil. - [Troy] Gotcha. - And then we make compost on site as well and we mix the charcoal with our compost. - [Troy] So then and all of your microbes that are in your compost basically have a place to live within that biochar that you're- - [Dakota] A hundred percent. - [Troy] Yeah. - [Dakota] We also we feed or we feed our soil a fermented plant juice as well. And it's two ingredients and it's comfrey and brown sugar. - [Troy] Okay. - [Dakota] And we let it ferment for about five days and we'll sprinkle that on our beds. - [Troy] Onto your beds on the soil. - [Dakota] Yeah and so I feel like, it's all experimental for us. We're just trialing it this year. - [Troy] And it seems to be working for you. - Yeah and I think it'll as our garden ages, I think it will make a difference. - So Sperry the other half of the team at Freia Farms. Tell me about these tomatoes because they're some of the prettiest I've seen. - Oh thank you. I really like to baby my tomatoes. We do a single leader trellis style. We also supplement our tomatoes with a calcium amendment that we make from eggs from our chickens. - [Troy] Great. - So I come out here and I prune these to a single leader. I also prune at the bottom. Once they set fruit, you can prune any leafs or any stems that come out below the fruited stem. And the most important thing is just to pick them as soon as they're ready and eat them. And then they'll just keep producing for you. - [Troy] Right. Just as a reference point, I'll go ahead and say that we're at mid June. So these have been in the ground maybe five weeks? - Yes. - And they're already four feet tall and bearing tomatoes. So again back to that soil prep that you all have done, obviously whatever you're doing here is working and we've talked about that. So I would encourage folks at home to follow suit. And I'm guessing you'll get tomatoes probably through the fall on most of these. - Definitely. Yeah. - Yeah. - We're hopin' they'll trellis all the way over and then even come back down. So mostly cherries? - Mainly cherry tomatoes. We've got some big boys tucked into other beds for home use. - Well and I know one other thing that you all do here are these what you call salad sacks. And we've looked at some greens and things during the course of visiting the farm. And tell me a little bit about that and, how you go about getting your produce out to the public. - Sure so we were interested in doing a CSA program, but we didn't like all the components of CSA such as being locked in for the whole season. - Right. - So we call it Not Your Mother's CSA. You sign up weekly. - Okay. - Instead of for an entire season. So you have a chance each week to sign up and you only sign up when you want. - That's fantastic. - And we mainly do this- - Love it. - Through social media- - Okay. - Or text message or email. - Right. - And we try to make it a great value typically around $20. - Perfect. - Cause we want it to be accessible. - Very nice. Well I think we are about to get rained on. So I'm gonna say thank you for letting us come out and visit with you all. We've loved visiting your little mini farm here in Nashville. - Thanks we've- - Thank you. - Yeah thank you very much. - [Annette] I am continually amazed at how gardeners envision the outdoor space that they want to turn in to the way they want to garden. You're gonna be amazed. Joeleen a chat with you in this garden is gonna be wonderful. We're standing right where you began aren't we? - [Joeleen] You are. - [Annette] Okay! Take us on your journey. - Okay. We bought the house about 11 years ago and we started to garden. And we have clay soil. So we were tilling and just working so hard and it was about the same space as this. And we had good years and bad years. So I was just wantin' it just to be done and I decided to start with raised beds. - Interestingly I touched what's behind me, the spearmint just now. And what do you have it here for? - We built the coop and realized that we needed some fly control. We wanted to do it organically. - [Annette] Yes. - [Joeleen] So I planted this mint. It's amazing and it really does work and they eat it on the inside so the chickens love it. The ducks love it. - [Annette] This is true example of vertical gardening. - [Joeleen] I started to do vertical because I wanted to put as much as I could in the space that I had. - [Annette] Absolutely. - [Joeleen] And it helps with pests, you can really see what's goin' on, I don't have to bend over to pick it. I can add so much more in one bed when I have something that goes vertical. - Yes you do. Tell us about what your goal, what you have here. - This is spaghetti squash. We started to have some pests, so we are using an organic method to get rid of them so I can really get in there and dig it out. Do whatever I need to do. These sunflowers are volunteers. - [Annette] Oh. - [Joeleen] I did not plant them. I don't know where they came from but I left 'em just to see what would happen. And when the heads drop, we usually cut them and the chickens will eat 'em. - [Annette] Well you will have more sunflowers volunteer, but that's the good thing. Well and you know the way you're growin the spaghetti squash this way, they are a heavy vegetable. - Yes. - And they're not lying on the ground, which sometimes will give the underside an issue. And this is great fencing that you're using here. That's very sturdy. That looks really good. - This I believe it is a cattle panel. - It is. - We've done cattle and hog, hog is more flexible. - Yes it is. It's obvious in this bed right here. You've got the remains of some of your cool seasons, but there's other things in here. What's planted in here? - These are carrots. This is a lettuce. This is a chive. This is more lettuce. We let it bolt and we're gonna keep it as long as it's green to feed the chickens fresh greens. - [Annette] Oh so you'll take the blooms? - [Joeleen] The blooms are gonna bring in pollinators, which I really want. - [Annette] There is your carrot that's about to go to seed. Now you're a seed saver will you allow this to grow and dry and save the seeds out of that? - [Joeleen] I will and if it wants to volunteer next season, then I'll let it grow. - Okay. Well let's plant our feet on another section of these beautiful raised beds. Okay I feel like I'm standing somewhat in tomato heaven because you are on 30 young varieties of tomatoes. Tell us about what's growing here and I'm quite interested in what you have going here. - Okay these are super sweet one hundreds. I grew them for the first time last year, only one plant. And I love 'em. I love 'em so much. So I'll eat them while I'm out here pickin'. And then on tea cart. - [Annette] Yes. - Those are grandpa tomatoes. I'm just really rootin' them. - What is grandpa tomatoes? - A grandpa tomato is just when you take the sucker and you cut it and it starts to root and then you can replant it and I can grow tomatoes through October. Last year I grew them almost through mid November. - [Annette] I have to say that is one luscious looking beef steak tomato. - [Joeleen] Thank you. - [Annette] What are your techniques on trying to get a tomato that size. - [Joeleen] Really it's just compost. It's just whatever happens in nature I try to mimic in the garden. - [Annette] Okay now are you suckering these tomatoes? - [Joeleen] I have yes. - Okay and I think that might account for the large size of these. Well in this same bed you've got peppers going on. How do you like growing peppers? - [Joeleen] They're challenging. They take a lot longer. They tend to get sunburned. So I usually try to plant them under the tomato canopies. So they still get the morning sun but not so much the afternoon sun. - [Annette] Do you have any trouble with the blossom in rod or them falling off? - [Joeleen] I do this year I did. I have it more so than normal and I think it's the fluctuation in temperature. - [Annette] It is and you know once I saw where someone buried a book of matches. - [Joeleen] Really? - [Annette] With their peppers, I call this your salsa garden but you know I realize that you are utilizing space and other techniques because you've planted tomatoes in canvas bags. - [Joeleen] Yes. - [Annette] Did you choose a certain variety for that or just planted a tomato in it? - [Joeleen] I just planted a tomato. I wanted it to be in-determinant. - [Annette] Yes. - [Joeleen] So I can use that fence. - [Annette] Yeah you can run it, trellis it along the fence. - [Joeleen] Yes. - [Annette] Tell us about your pepper. - [Joeleen] Those are supposed to be no heat jalapenos, but we'll see when we cut 'em. And the grow bag is from the local co-op. - [Annette] Well inside of this bed here though before us, you've got a really good tip for people with flea beetles. Tell us about your eggplant and what's goin' on there. - [Joeleen] Well I planted eggplant. I love it. I try to do it every single year and every single year I get discouraged because flea beetles will find it no matter what. I read a book. And it said to plant pineapple sage as a companion plant and it would deter the flea beetles and it has worked. - [Annette] You know a flea beetle can destroy something overnight. - [Joeleen] Yes and you don't see 'em. Because they're so little. - [Annette] Yeah and you've planted some marigolds. - [Joeleen] Marigolds are for pest control as well and to keep rabbits out of the garden. - [Annette] Well as we stand here next to this, who could miss this beautiful petunia display. What is the vine that you've got growing there? - [Joeleen] There is a jelly melon. It's from Africa. It's just really fun. It's a green spiny fruit. It's supposed to taste like banana and lemons and I planted it for the kids. - [Annette] Well that I don't know that I've ever heard of that one. And when will you get the melons and how long does it take? - [Joeleen] It's taking, it's supposed to be 120 days, but I think has taken a little longer just cause we had that cold spell. - [Annette] And that's when they'll get the best flavor. - [Joeleen] Yeah. and I want the kids to come in and pick it. - [Annette] Okay! It's July and I see red strawberries. What is the variety? - [Joeleen] It's an ever bearer. And we found them in Kentucky in the Amish community. And I thought I would just give it a go and see what happens. - [Annette] Do they all have beautiful pink blooms? - [Joeleen] They do, that's when they start to shoot their little shoots out that start another plant. And then I just go in and bury 'em. - [Annette] They're runners. [Joeleen] They're runners. And eventually the whole bed should be full of these strawberries. And they will give until frost. - [Annette] Well you've got a beautiful edible growing vegetable garden with flowers. And but you like to save seeds. - [Joeleen] I do. - [Annette] And you start your plants. Let's look at where you do that. - [Joeleen] Okay. - Well let's exit through the loofah tunnel! - Okay. - Well this is a great exit but I wanna go and take this journey over to what you actually have used for an area to grow seeds? - Yes. - And you dry seeds? - [Joeleen] And onions. - [Annette] And oh that's right you dry onions. - [Joeleen] Yes. - [Annette] Well tell us about your little cottage. - [Joeleen] Well I built this cottage as a retreat. And it just wasn't very functional. I wasn't usin' it as much as I thought. And then I planted all these onions and realized I needed a place to dry these things. - [Annette] Yes. - [Joeleen] So that's what I converted it to. - [Annette] Do you found that's being successful? - [Joeleen] It's being very successful. It's it gets the breeze starts from one window and goes to the other. So the humidity doesn't build up in there. - [Annette] Okay. - [Joeleen] And I have them laid out everywhere. - [Annette] It's quite obvious that you created a heaven. - [Joeleen] Thank you. - [Annette] I believe with your beauty and your ability to have vegetables. Thank you for allowing us to walk on your path. Well the eye is beautiful. - [Joeleen] Oh thank you! - [Announcer] For inspiring garden tours, growing tips and garden projects, visit our website at volunteergardener.org or on YouTube at the Volunteer Gardener channel and like us on Facebook.
August 26, 2021
Season 30 | Episode 07
Taking delight in one's own garden, that's the theme of this episode. We'll meet a life-long gardener who plants the tried and true, and loves to experiment too. We visit an enthusiastic pair of farmers who are focused on building the soil, knowing it's importance. And we'll introduce you to another home gardener who decided on raised beds. They are brimming with vegetables, herbs and flowers.