- [Narrator] On this episode of "Volunteer Gardener," we'll spotlight a variety of inspiring growers. Tammy Algood strolls the orchard at Southall Farms and Franklin to learn the benefits of growing trees in the espalier form. Julie Berbiglia learns how a Nashville church partnered with others in the community to create a high yielding vegetable garden. Annette Shrader tours a backyard landscape that would have intimidated some gardeners because of all the rock, but this grower turned it into a showpiece. And Sheri Gramer meets a man who has five flower fields surrounding his 25 beehives. These are some happy bees. Now let's get to the gardens. Fortunately for these bees, a reliable source of food is all around. - Murfreesboro, Tennessee. We're visiting a flower farm and a bee farmer, but guess what? The two interact so much that you won't believe how it transpired. We're here with Price Hartman. Price. - Yes. - So thankful that you let us come today. - You're welcome, I'm glad to have you. - Give me a little history. You're from Tennessee originally, or your family is? - That's correct. - How long have you been here? - We've been here on the property about 11 years. I've been in Rutherford County, middle Tennessee my entire life. - [Sheri] And your family's been here forever? - [Price] Our family, we're on the census in Laverne back to 1814. - That is so cool! - So I don't know how many greats that is, but several great grandfather's back. - [Sheri] You were talking to me about how this all evolved about your wife was involved in the beginning. Let's talk about that. - [Price] Well, we got in the flower business originally when we moved here. Again, we have eight acres. And I grew up with a father that always had two giant gardens. So when we moved here and we got an opportunity, we put a garden in. And I pick on my wife a little bit. My wife liked the planning part and the picking part, but not the in-between part. - [Sheri] Like us all! - [Price] And all the gardeners know if you don't do the in-between part, you don't have a good vegetable garden. So after a couple of years, I just tilled the entire garden and put it in sunflowers. The next year I ordered some Zinnia seeds and we had a small patch of zinnias. - [Sheri] Did you have bees all the time? - [Price] I did not have bees, yes, I had bees before we started the Zinnias. So this is my fifth year of beekeeping. And this year I robbed 92 gallons of honey. - [Sheri] And you go to the farmer's market? - [Price] I go to the farmer's market and sell the honey and we sell some flowers sometimes. But we kind of evolved. We put one small patch of zinnias in, the next year I till a little larger area and we just really enjoy the flowers. So it's exponentially grown, as you can see. I think-- - It's gorgeous. - I think we have five different patches of flowers or fields. And then this year on the very back I put in some cotton. I acquired some cotton seed and put a small patch of cotton in just for fun. - [Sheri] How many beehives do you have? - [Price] I have 25 hives at present. - [Sheri] That's substantial! - [Price] And this past spring I caught 21 swarms. Let some other beekeepers have some of the swarms. 25 is more than I could manage. But again, we had a good honey year this year. - Great, now let's talk some basics. I, for one, grows zinnias and cosmos and sunflowers, not cotton, all these goodies, but not on this scale. Obviously you use a tractor to sow them? Or how are you sowing them? - I actually use a tractor to till. I normally till in the fall and I don't turn the ground with a plow, but I have a five foot tiller on the back of a tractor I till with. And normally I till early in the spring, I end up tilling the ground three or four times because the initial early weeds, try to keep the weeds out. And then I broadcast the seed. - With a fiddle? - No, that's what I was gonna say, I buy my seed in bulk and it comes with no filler. So a pound of Zinnia seed, I mix it with 10 pounds of sand and I use white playground sand that you buy in a bag. And actually I rob it out of my daughter's volleyball court now that we have a volleyball court. So I mix one pound to 10 pounds of sand, and the benefit to that of having white sand, I broadcast it by hand. And as I broadcast the sand, - You can see it. - [Price] I can see where the coverage is. - [Sheri] I did that with sugar before, if you can believe it. - Absolutely, it works great! So if I have an area where I do not see the white residue from the sand, I know I don't have flowers seeds. And as you can see, I get really good coverage. Actually, I plant them too thick, thicker than what the manufacturer of the seed calls for, but we like them solid and thick. And this is the first year I've tried the Cosmos. They're utilizing the nectar from the sunflowers and the flowers later on as the other nectar dries up. And as we get into what's called the dearth, or the summer dog days, you know, all your nectar, your flowers dry up, and then they start gathering nectar back in the fall. - [Sheri] So you had said that you do take a few flowers to the farmer's market, but that's not your mainstay. - Last year, we took more because of the COVID and my children were home from college, and we had some real good days at the farmer's market. This year, we've not sold as many flowers or made it a point to go to the market, but long-term plan, that's probably in my longterm horizon, if I ever get to retire, that would be something that I would pursue-- - I was gonna mention that this isn't your full time gig. - No, not at all. This is really, the flowers are for fun, for the bees. And then we have a lot of people that just come and pick bouquets. Then also I have some photographers that bring clients out, families to take pictures in the flowers. - So what's the longevity of the zinnias? When will these be spent and you're gonna be thinking about, do you cut them down first and then till them up or compost them, what do you do with leftovers? - Well, actually these are called Cut and Come Again, the strain, and so the more you cut them for table arrangements, they grow back. Obviously it's not possible to cut all of those. So in the field in the front, last year when they did start dying down, I took my hedge clippers and cut them off for them to grow back. But I pretty much just let them run their course and they will look good up until beginning of frost. They still have quite a bit of color. And then when they died down, generally I just mow them and then retill the ground. And the sunflowers you see in the back here are a later planting. I also have a well so I was able to water this field and in the flowers you see in the background. - What about soil amendment? Are you doing anything, adding anything before you plant the seed? - At this point I have not. - Do you have to rotate your crops because you're planting so many? - Well, I'm not far enough into it, because-- - It's a learning curve. - It is a learning curve because this field you see right here behind us, this is the first time that I've had flowers here. So I just tilled this, this spring and put flowers here. I added three new patches that I did not have last year or the previous year. And depending on the time of day, and I see a couple, I do have a lot of butterflies, a lot of pollinators. And it depends on the time, I see normally earlier in the morning, the honeybees work in the zinnias and the sunflowers. And then throughout the day you see the bumblebee type bees. And actually, you know, I see several of those now. I'm still learning, so I don't really know what pointers I would give for someone in the beginning other than we talked about the sand. And the zinnias, if you just want to plant a patch of something, and I think most people that garden probably know they're bulletproof. I think they'll grow anywhere in any kind of environment. - Will you share your seed source? - Absolutely, americanmeadows.com is where I buy my seeds. - And you buy them by the pound? - I buy them by the pound. You can buy a quarter, a half, you can buy them in larger bags. - Well, Price, I wanna thank you for sharing all this. It is, I don't know if the camera can do the just of how pretty and expansive it is. It's just gorgeous with all the bees flying around. It's a hot, hot July day, as you know. And they still look, they're zinnias and cosmos and sunflowers. Perform well in the heat of Tennessee. - Absolutely, absolutely. - [Sheri] So thank you for sharing, I really appreciate it. - [Price] Yes, all right, thank you. - Well, I really believe that great gardens begin with community and bring people together. And here at the North Nashville Community Garden, we have exactly that. And one of the neat things about this garden is the design. So I have Tricia here with me, who is a local artist in this neighborhood who brought her skills and talents to the design of this wonderful garden. So Tricia, tell me, what is your inspiration for this really cool garden? - Well, we wanted to do a sacred circle garden, my design partner, Nancy Lunsford, and I decided that it would be really appropriate for a church setting. So the circle itself represents community on the lowest level. And it also represents perfection of God because circles are perfect. So the two things work together. There will be an implied square around the edge of the circle, which will represent man's attempt to understand God. So of course, that square can't be closed in. It has to be kind of open because that's something that's really, we're not able to do that. We're not able to fully understand God. And then eventually down this side of the lot, there'll be probably two areas of fruit trees with an aisle down the center. And so we have the circle, and then a square around that, and then a cross. - I loved this inspiration that you're bringing to this. Now, also the benches, which my first thought was, "Oh, this is so practical." We have benches at the end of each of these really neat beds. And so it's a great place to sit and relax, but I bet it has another purpose. - It also does have the purpose of serving as a place where people to sit and meditate and pray. And then also the inner circle could be used as a place to do a ring shout like they used to do in slavery times. And sometimes people still do today, get gathering in a circle and praising God and dancing. And that could also take place around the outer edge of the circle as well. Sometimes I've come to the garden and I've noticed that people are actually sitting and meditating during their lunch hour and just taking in the garden. And I feel that sacred geometry sort of resonates at a very deep level with people. And it allows you to open yourself up to meditation and prayer, which is very important in a church setting. - Well, Tricia, I really, really appreciate all of the artistic talents that you have brought to this endeavor here. So thank you for your time today. - Well, thank you. - Well, Dr. Smallwood, I understand that this wonderful garden and its great bounty, is a combination of efforts from two different churches and the neighborhood. How did this get started? - This collaboration is a divine ordered. It came about as a result of two really tough women who are pastors in this neighborhood. Julie, you have to know that Dr. Judy Cummins and Reverend Lisa Hammonds are some visionaries. And they were in a program with ABC, which is American Baptist College, looking at a call to lives of meaning and purpose as a grant process. And at some point in time, of course, we lost Judy to her retirement. So I became involved, got to know Dr. Hammonds and realized that she was planning to do what we call commercial kitchen in her church. And of course, you know, two weeks before the pandemic protocols hit, we had a deadly tornado. That tornado took the church out. And so here they have a house of worship gone. What is going to happen to our vision? And what they really decided is that this will become a seed for the work that they had already planned. We came together in the process and decided, because our outreach person, Roni McGregory, wanted to do a garden at New Covenant, that the two churches could work together. This is the property of the AMEs. And together we have put together our resources from that grant process and we're on. This is a neighborhood volunteer effort. The neighbors come in, they help weed, they help plant. - Wow, so impressive and so relevant to our lives today. As are these wonderful things that I'm holding here! Oh my gosh, I just feel so pleased to be able to come out and take a look at your produce. So let's see, well, clearly you've got carrots and peppers and of course, tomatoes, cucumbers. We've got some potatoes here. What else are you growing? - We have herbs. We have all kinds of peppers. The mint of course is great for any kind of bath, along with the kinds of things that we do in the cooking area. We've got, of course, Zinnias, we've got collards, cabbage came up. Earlier we had lettuce. There's just a panoply of things here. And they are all because we understand the desert that we live in. This is food apartheid and 37208 zip code. And these leadership women decided that we needed to do something to bridge that gap. I'm so impressed by their leadership. And so very happy to be able to give my wares to this work. But what happens is we had a service here. We prepared lunch in box set up. And then folks from the neighborhood were invited. We went out and canvased like a hundred people. They came up, had service with us. And then afterwards, everybody, including the little ones, as low as that started helping with the weeding. And this is what we do. It is a gathering spot for us to get to know our neighbors, to understand what they need, and to be responsive. - When I drove in the first thing that I noticed was the big sign urging people to come harvest and to share in this wonderful bounty. - It belongs to the community and this box, there's a gift box out here that says, "take what you need and leave what you have." That simply means if you've got a pack of Pampers that is extra and someone else needs it, leave it. But if you need food, if you need any of the other things that are in here, take it. And this is becoming, for us, a theological endeavor because it is what God requires of us. - Oh, this is so wonderful! And I just feel so inspired and truly touched being out here. Well, Roni, I know you've been a big part of bringing this vision to fruition. And I just can't help but wonder what is going to happen this fall? What is gonna happen over the winter? What is your future vision? - We are actually partnering this fall with the school here, right in our backyard. Churchwell, Robert Churchwell School, to get the kids involved as well. And we love the input of the kids. You know, what is it you see your parents or grandparents cooking? You know, what would you like to see in this garden? Because it's your garden. It's not our garden. It was an idea that came to fruition and it's here for the community. - What fun! Well, I know the kids are going to enjoy. I mean, I enjoyed coming over and discovering the sugar baby watermelons. - [Roni] Yes, absolutely, absolutely. - [Julie] That's so much fun. And just seeing the different things, like you said, that they eat at home. This is great. - [Roni] There's some techniques that we need to really look into and have classes so that the community is aware of what we need to do to sustain this great garden and this great space. - [Julie] Thank you, Roni, so much for sharing with me your vision and your challenges out here. This is such a great place. - [Roni] Thank you, thank you. I appreciate you coming out. - It's the heat of the summer. And while some people are seeking air conditioning, we're in the middle of an apple orchard. We're at Southall Farms in Franklin, Tennessee, and we're gonna learn all about apples. Cooking and agriculture are two things we have in common. This is Chef Tyler Brown, the inspiration behind Southall Farms here in Franklin. Tyler, welcome. - Thank you so much for having me, Tammy. I appreciate it. "Volunteer Garner" is one of my favorite shows in the world. I watch it every week. - It's one of mine, too! - I'm glad, that's important. - Tell us about this phenomenal orchard, because it is quite stunning. How in the world did you start planting an orchard with 1500 apple trees? - Well, one was an excitement for cooking apples, for sure. I had to start with that. But you know, when we were thinking about things and elements that we were going to bring into the Southall Farm and give people the opportunity to experience, different elements. We wanted to have an orchard. And I really was excited about having espalier trees. With that, started researching the apple industry and found this tall spindle style of growing apples, which we see here with the trellis and the top lines with the center leaders, this tall spindle style. And what it allows folks to do is they graph the budwood onto a Geneva 41 rootstock, which is a dwarf rootstock. It allows you to plant the trees closer together and they also mature quicker, so you get fruit earlier. So these trees are between three and four years old, and we're already starting to see a crop. As we see, this will be our first year of harvestable crop. The first few years the goal was they started at about 18 inches tall, then we took them out of the nursery, planted them. Was to get them to crawl up the trellis, pruning them, and training them, as we see here, to the trellis wires. But the biggest thing was to get the central leader to reach the top of the trellis before we really allowed them to produce fruit. So prior to that was picking off the flowers and buds. - That's hard to do, isn't it? - Very hard. Truth be told, I let a few go 'cause I wanted to taste. I was so curious. Wanting to create something where we had a volume that we could share with our guests of apples so that they can touch each part of the season. Fresh apples, preserved apples, and the different ways that we will prepare it for them to experience the apple. So a good friend of mine, David Hughes, who I've been close friends with for about 20 years, and working in the industry and buying vegetables from, we started talking about ways that we could do this orchard. What varieties we want. So storage apples, cooking apples, great eating apples, early, late. And so we landed on 35 different cultivars that we're producing here. We'll ultimately have about 2000 trees and we've grafted each one of them by hand. Like I said, from budwood to the rootstock and raising them in the nursery, and then we come in and plant them in the fall. - You got to obviously start with substantial bracing for the tree because this gets heavy. So you've got a three, four different, no five different wires here to just kind of hold the branches in place with one big board here. That's what you're calling the trellis. - Correct, so there's four wires that we really train on, and then the bottom wire was to hold the irrigation. - [Tammy] Oh okay, got it. - But that was conception, but it's turned into, we're actually training on some of these irrigation wire, but ultimately, we will prune and it will continue to grow up. So when at home, you know, you can take a eight foot high fence that you might have in the back and you're going to want some wind to be able to get in there, some air for sure. And simply create, you know, put some staples and a line. And the key really with this is that dwarf rootstock. There's a number of ones I mentioned, the Geneva 41. There's a number of different varieties that will work with a budwood and dwarf rootstock combination. Getting them up to produce sooner than a real large mature apple that might take seven to 10 years. - And the advantage of this entire plan is exactly what you're talking about. Let light get in, air flow through, and what I immediately see is the ease of harvest. - Yeah, so it's very accessible. They produce quite a bit. So the volume is pretty large for the size of tree that it is. And you'll see, these smaller branches here as they mature, they will obviously hold more. But yeah, they produce a lot. They're prolific, as I said is just a way to celebrate old ways and new ways. So we have old varieties, old cider apple varieties, and things from France and England. As many old Southern varieties as we can find. It's celebrating the history of apples. In the South, there used to be over 2000 identifiable apple varieties, and now there's only 500. So it's something to really respect and we want to lift that up and tell that story as much as we possibly can. A large part of what guides me in the kitchen and through my journey in life really is curiosities. And I think one of my biggest strengths is recognizing things I don't know and the willingness to ask those questions and find people that are experts in those fields. So that's what I've done and just let that guide me through a lot of my curiosities because the questions keep coming as we explore new foods and new ways of doing things. And I really love to understand what it takes to produce a product. In this case, the apples. 'Cause there's a lot that goes into that. And there's a lot of respect that we need to be aware of. - Thank you for allowing us to come here. It's stunning and I absolutely love the attention to detail that you've put into the orchard. It's beautiful. - Well, thank you so much. It's such a pleasure to share it with you and we look forward to bringing you back to the orchard and sharing the progress with you in the future. - I'll be here. - Me too. - I find it amazing how people come from other places on the country road, buy a piece of land, and start their lives anew. Marla Killian, you did that. - We did. - 30 something years ago. Give me your thoughts about what you had purchased and what you were going to have back here. - Well, when we first moved here, we purchased 20 acres of land. And there wasn't a lot here at that time... except a lot of rock and a lot of trees, and lot of land. - [Annette] I call that hardscape. - [Marla] Definitely hardscape. Now, most people in Marshall County look at the rock and they go, "I don't know what to do with this." But I said, "Surely we can make it beautiful." And so there's several huge rocks that protrude out of the hillside. And we started by planting on the hillside... the structure or the plants, the shrubs, and then built forward, came forward. We started out with some azaleas. - [Annette] And I'm sure these are fabulous in Springtime. - [Marla] That's true. - [Annette] And right here, you've got a? - [Marla] This is a Royal Star Magnolia and I love the blooms. It is the first shrub to bloom and those delicate little white flowers are, oh, they're beautiful. - [Annette] And the fragrances. So you sort of did it in layers, and in here you must have lots of daffodils? - [Marla] In the spring, it starts when the azaleas bloom and the daffodils start blooming, they're all white, planted around the rocks. So it really makes the rocks pop and the colors, the azaleas are pink. - [Annette] And I can see all that in my mind of how this must appear, but there's a lot of beauty here today-- - [Marla] Well, thank you! - [Annette] that I want to talk about. That's probably on the far end of this. - [Marla] The hydrangeas are in bloom. - [Annette] Right. - [Marla] This is a Nikko blue hydrangea and it's got a few blooms, but they're hiding right now. - I see a Lily? - Yes. The Stargazer Lilies have popped out and that's the first bloom to open today. - [Annette] Well, and they're so fragrant. This afternoon, when you rest after us visiting with you, you're gonna smell that fragrance. And I see a beautiful day lily. - [Marla] There's a few day lilies tucked in throughout the area. - [Annette] How about a pink hydrangea? And that's a dark pink. - [Marla] Now the pink hydrangeas are gorgeous. I love those! And the phlox are even darker pink on the other side of the hydrangeas. - [Annette] You know, that's a beautiful variety. And you do utilize some annuals in here that do make it have color all year. Well, not all year, how about all summer? - [Marla] This area has a lot of pink and purple and I like to leave the hosta blooms for the birds and the butterflies. - [Annette] Well, you've got a rock that money can't buy and I wanna go touch it. - [Marla] It is very much a huge rock. Well, let's go take a look at it. - This is a fabulous piece of artwork! Even if you didn't have anything around it. And this rock has got pockets in it. So this is definitely a one of a kind showcase. - It is, it's beautiful. It protrudes from the ground. - A wanna touch her. Gosh, I love rock! I love rock. Well now you've had some issues with trees here too. So what did you do? - Well, actually, when we first moved here, we had a lot of Hackberry trees and we had those removed after many, many years. We have Walnut trees, but I'm not about to take those out. They're beautiful. So we work with what we have. We have rocks, we have trees, but everything I plant, we try to accentuate nature and-- - [Annette] And I'm just looking at the feet of this rock, how it just curves around and makes curved beds and-- - [Marla] Little areas to plant. - [Annette] Yeah, it's just amazing. - I use irises in the back. So some of the foliage can kind of be hidden when they're not in bloom. - And I see a beautiful sun ray on that echinacea. That is our native one, isn't it? - [Marla] Yes, it is, yes, it is. And the Hollyhock just finished blooming. It was beautiful pink one that-- - [Annette] That's a nice vertical. - [Marla] That's right, that's right. First time to grow my Hollyhock. So I'm excited about that. - [Annette] And you have a Dahlia already blooming. - [Marla] Oh yes, this one is beautiful. I'm not sure the name. I have a friend, that's a Dahlia grower. And she fixes me up with some beautiful plants. - Well, Marla, in the wintertime, how do you utilize this beautiful rock back here? - Well, it's growing, I mean, it's moss covered. A lot of the sedums and things, they winter over outside. And so it still adds some interest for winter. Also, I take some of the moss that's growing on my rocks and I will take them and transplant them onto a hypertufa, onto the pots, onto fountains, onto birdbaths that are hypertufa and then they will grow moss. And so I've also tucked away moss in between some of the stones and things. So the rock is beautiful itself and the moss will grow back. But yeah, it's just beautiful even in the wintertime. - And your heart is from that and I can say you have a place to sit in and you can take your book and write down your memoirs and the list of to-dos. This is a very good place. - And the moss is so soft when you walk on it barefooted. Oh my goodness, it's just a delight. - [Annette] Thank you for everything you've offered as far as how to take what you have and make it your footprint in your garden. - [Marla] Well, thank you for coming. - [Annette] We appreciate your time. - [Marla] Well, I sure enjoyed having you. - Thank you. - You're welcome.
September 23, 2021
Season 30 | Episode 10
Tammy Algood strolls the apple orchard at Southall Farms in Franklin TN and learns the efficiency of espalier. Julie Berbiglia learns how a Nashville church partnered with others in the community to create a high yielding vegetable garden. Annette Shrader tours a backyard landscape that may have intimidated some gardeners. Sheri Gramer meets a hobbyist beekeeper and flower farmer.