- [Presenter] Gardens are never finished. They're constantly evolving. Tammy Algood takes us on a tour of one such garden, where there's always room for another plant, or even a new vegetable garden. Annette Shrader is in awe of the beauty found in a collection of oak trees, on a visit to Watertown. Jeff Poppen visits Bloomsbury Farm, where they're growing a colorful spectrum of cherry tomatoes for market. Join us. In every garden bed, there's something interesting to behold all year long. - We're touring a garden that I have literally watched grow over the years. It's in Nashville, with my friend, Cindy Smith, and, oh my goodness, Cindy is a cherished friend, and this is a cherished yard. - You're so sweet. - I love this. Cindy, let's talk about how you have set the foundation for your whole garden, right here around your home. - Okay. - It's beautiful! - [Cindy] Okay, okay, well, when we bought this house, years ago, about 15, 16 years ago, there was nothing here. - Right. - Nothing. And Chris wanted a deck. Have people, friends, and family over. - Right. - So the deck came first, and then I guess everything kind of developed around it. And there's not a year goes by that I don't add, which, it's a real addiction, but I do. This is a witch hazel, which is kinda cool, I think. - [Tammy] Yes. - [Cindy] And so everything's kinda been added. And then, at some point, I wanted to add the rocks, the pathway, a little meandering thing. And along the way, I've just planted things - That you like. - that I love. And perennials are, by far, my favorite. They're a fabulous investment. You plant 'em once, and they, you have to be patient with 'em, and you have to know some things about 'em, but perennials are definitely my favorite. And then the boxwoods, not even sure when they got added, but. - [Tammy] But it just kind of sets your path. - Yeah. - [Tammy] And did you do all the path work, stone? - We did. - You did it yourself? - [Cindy] Well, with help from my husband, you know? - Yes, we do allow them to help. - [Cindy] It was rock by rock. Yes, yes. - He did a good job though, because I like pathways too, and different places to sit. - Yes, yes. - And it just makes things more fun, doesn't it? - And I like the natural look. I actually love, if I could get moss growing between all the rocks, I would. - Right, right. - But I love that natural look. - I do too. And you've got some. - I do, I do. - You've got some growing there. Talk to me about this beautiful feathery plant, because it just, I just wanna grab it. It's just so fun! - I know, I know. It is a type of Euphorbia. I can't tell you exactly what type. But it started from one plant. As you can see, it has spread all the way over there, and it just, it's very prolific, but that's what I like. - Right. - And sometimes I have to thin it, and I can give some away. - [Tammy] I like that you've got it interspersed with lots of other things too. - Yeah. And most of my gardening is like that. It's just, "Here, here's a place. Let me put a plant there." - Well, that's how it grows in nature, - Yeah, yeah. - among other things, so. - Yeah, I'm not your formal gardener. - [Tammy] But it's fun. - [Cindy] I'm your cottage, let it roll, from one place, one plant to another. - I hear you. And you've got a big water feature, versus some of us that have small water feature. - Well, that is, yeah, I like that. And the grand boys, when they're in the pool, yelling, and screaming, and jumping, and splashing, that's just so good. - That's happiness. - That's so good. That's so good. - Talk to me about this funny little guy right here. - Yeah, well, I ran upon this in a nursery, and I thought it was so unusual. And then when I saw the name of it, I was like, "Okay, I'm not sure I understand." But, Tammy, I'm gonna let you see if you can guess what it is. If you'll kind of rub it, and smell of it, it should hit you right away, what it is. - It smells like corn. - You're close. - What is it? - It's a popcorn plant. And it smells like buttered popcorn, doesn't it? - [Tammy] Yes, it does! - [Cindy] It smells just like buttered popcorn. I thought that was the strangest thing. - [Tammy] And really, after you, it's the stem that's more aromatic - Yeah! - than the leaves. - Yeah. - [Tammy] That's fun! That's fun! - Now, that really is strong. - I love it! - You can smell that. Yeah, so, I like, - Obviously, full-sun-loving. - [Cindy] a full-sun-loving plant, and I love unusual. - Cindy, so, what you've done is you've just made this wonderful border - Yes. - for your pool. And so, at every place, you've got something blooming. - Yes, yes. After we put the pool in, I did want to sort of enclose it, - Yes. - without really enclosing it. - A natural fence. - Yes, and so, I started with the borders, kind of making them a semi-circle almost. Just tilled it up, brought in some fresh dirt, and started planting. And, like I said, every year, I add more plants. And because most are perennials, there's something blooming now, there's something blooming later, or something that just finished blooming. - Right. - So, that's what we did. And then, we wanted to, of course, get the fire pit in. - Right. - So we just extended that. - And you've got a really unusual tree here. - Yes, that is probably my husband's pride and joy. That is a golden larch. - L-A-R. - C-H, larch. And he's sure it is quite rare. I mean, not many in this area, anyway. He just loves this tree. He babies it and takes care of it. It's not the most gorgeous thing, but it is unusual and unique, and so, that's his baby. - And Cindy, this unique tree borders your unique vegetable garden. - It is pretty unique, in a way, - I love it. - but it's also very common, I think. We had problems with drainage, with water coming down through here, and taking out all the good soil, leaving terrible soil. Constantly tilling, which is not the best thing to do for a garden. Weeds were so crazy. And I found this idea on Pinterest, looking, when I told my husband, my sons, "I want raised beds out of concrete blocks." It was laborous. - It was. - It was laborous. I asked for this for Valentine's Day and our anniversary. And so, my husband comes home with several loads of concrete blocks. And yes, it was laborous, an investment, but I figure it's one time, it's no maintenance to this, filling it with some good Nutri Soil. And it has, it's already been so much easier than the tilling, - It's brilliant! - and the, on the knees, hands and knees, weeding, and pulling. And I just take my hand, and put the plant in, - Nice. - and push the dirt up. And my weeding consists of walking around maybe once a day, plucking a weed from here or there. And it's a lot of trial and error. I'm experimenting for the first year, but things look kinda happy. - [Tammy] They do. They look fantastic! - [Cindy] And I've got a lot more in here than I had in this whole area, in the years past. - [Tammy] And you're companion planting here. - [Cindy] I read, I Google about companion plants, and what goes well, what you can put in, so that when one is ready to take out, the others come and take over. So it's gonna be a lot of trial and error this year, but I'm already feeling good about the harvest, and- - [Tammy] They look so happy. - [Cindy] They do look happy. And it doesn't seem like they've been in that long either. So, they're doing well. - [Tammy] And so, Cindy, you've staked all of your tomatoes. - I do. - Are these all the same variety? - No, there's probably, I keep a notebook. I would not know anything if I didn't write it down. And so I do keep a notebook, and there's probably, I think there's 24 tomato plants here. There's probably at least six, maybe more, varieties. - Got it. - Probably, yeah, probably even more varieties than that. So, once I start seeing the fruits, I'll get out my notebook, and figure out which one that is. - And that probably will stagger your harvest a little bit. - It should. And I'll make notes of what I wanna replant next year and what I don't. - Right. - Maybe. - So, all of this that you've got in here, this is your first time planting all the, wow. - The only thing we've harvested is radishes. My husband loves, and so now I've got his second crop coming in. - I got it. - And the peas are probably, I probably got those in too late. But, again, it's learning. Potatoes look good, the green beans, more varieties of potatoes. I've got basil in the middle. I've got just different things growing together. - And you said, in the little holes - Oh! - on the outside, you've got marigolds planted. - I've got marigolds coming up in the little, you can see 'em on the end, mostly. I've planted marigolds, which, they're supposed to be great for pests, and they're pretty. - It's really nice as, as we age, not to have to be on our knees on the ground, to have- - Exactly. - And it doesn't seem like it's that high, until you start having to bend over. - [Cindy] Mm-hm. - [Tammy] Then it makes a big difference. - [Cindy] Yes, it does. And even sitting on the edge, if I want to, and getting in there and picking things. So I do think it's gonna be easier. And, as we get older each year, I think we need to simplify. - [Tammy] Absolutely. Cindy, thank you for letting us, not only just come here, but to experience everything that you have been working on - Aw. - for a very long time. It shows that you love your home. - It does take a lot of work, but there's no place I'd rather be than out digging in the dirt. - Everybody loves tomatoes. And today, we're at Bloomsbury Farm, near Smyrna, because we wanna learn more about cherry tomatoes. I've never grown them commercially. Maybe have some Tommy Toes by the, you know, front doorstep, but I wanted to learn more about the commercial production of cherry tomatoes. And I knew this was the place to come to learn. Robert, good to see you again. - Nice to see you, sir. - Yes, well, this is a beautiful greenhouse full of cherry tomatoes. So, tell us how you do this. When did you start this project here? - [Robert] Sure, yeah, so, we start these in our prop house while it, you know, it's too cold outside. We do that, kind of end of January, beginning of February. - [Jeff Poppen] Oh wow, that's early. - [Robert] Right, and then we will transplant 'em in the house, as early as mid-March. - [Jeff Poppen] Wow. - [Robert] But we have the greenhouse that keeps it protected from the cold. And then, about mid-June, they'll be ready for their first harvests. And then, obviously, by mid-July, they're in, you know, full force. - Right, they look good, yeah. So, just to go back to the start, how do you fertilize? It looks like you got some pretty good soil down there. - [Robert] Yeah, so, we composted all these beds. This compost is just a pure leaf compost, just decomposed leaves. - [Jeff Poppen] Hm, it looks good, doesn't it? - [Robert] These plants will be in here for a long time, so they're gonna need a lot of organic matter to help keep growing. So it really helps. You can't put too much compost on these beds here. - [Jeff Poppen] Yep, compost is the secret to gardening, isn't it? - Yep. - [Jeff Poppen] Yeah, and then you lay the landscape fabric down. - [Robert] Right, we have this fabric here. This helps us, not just for the weeds, but as tomatoes fall down. - [Jeff Poppen] Oh, they don't go on the ground. - Right, the fabric will catch them, and then we can take 'em out. Because, come November, all those cherry tomatoes that fell on the ground become your new weed for November. So, this helps prevent that too. So we like to have a nice colorful spectrum when we bring 'em to market. So we have the Black Cherry. - Lemme see those, are those, so they'll ripen a little more than that, or is that ripe? - [Robert] This is about as close as it'll get to ripe. So, almost like a dark heirloom color. - [Jeff Poppen] Mm-hm, looks almost like a brandy wine, doesn't it? - [Robert] Yep, and then we'll do the Sun Golds. Everyone loves the Sun Golds. Super Sweet, for a nice red one. And then we'll do some green ones too, to kind of round out the color spectrum. - [Jeff Poppen] And these are a, what they call a cascading one? You pick the whole, do you pick the whole bunch of those? - [Robert] So, this variety is called Rapunzel, and it's just known for having a really long fruit truss. So, they'll still ripen - Yeah. - [Robert] like a usual cherry tomato, and we'll pick it normally. - [Jeff Poppen] So you don't pick 'em by the whole thing. You pick 'em one at a time. - Correct, yeah. - Gotcha. Now, tell us a little bit about your trellising system here. - Sure, yeah, so, the way we normally do it is what we call the Florida weave, with the six-foot stakes pounded about a foot into the ground. And then, as the plant grows up, we will twine about every eight, 10 inches or so, to keep it together, keep it off the ground. - [Jeff Poppen] Mm-hm. - [Robert] And then, we are experimenting with what's called a lower and lean technique. - [Jeff Poppen] Lower and lean. - [Robert] Lower and lean. So, it will be a, we will prune it very hard, to a single vine. - Okay. - Versus the other way, where we kinda let it grow wild. - [Jeff Poppen] Yeah. - [Robert] This way, it's a trial we're trying to see, as far as production. - [Jeff Poppen] Yeah, I can see where you pruned it all. - [Robert] Yep, so, usually, when these things get big and messy, it can take a lot of time to get in there and harvest everything, but this stays real clean. It makes for a fast harvest. - I see. And then, do you have to take this down every year? - Right, so, we will, we have a later succession of tomatoes outside. So we can pull these, actually, beginning of September, because we're gonna wanna get our winter crops into the- - And so, this'll rotate into winter crops. - Right, yep. So, but we have an outdoor succession, so that we can keep selling tomatoes all the way to the frost. - Right. So then you'll trellis those - Mm-hm, yep. - out there too. Yeah, and do you grow cover crops, for, like, or just gonna be like, winter kales, and things like that? - [Robert] We typically don't cover crop inside the hoop houses. - Yeah. - We like to keep those going. - Right. - We'll do more additions of compost, to make sure the soil stays healthy, and has plenty of resources, and doesn't get drained. But definitely, out in the field, we will do either over-winter cover crops, or warm-season cover crops too. - Yeah. And so, do you irrigate here? - Here? Yes, we have a system called a Rain Bird, - Rain Bird. - that keeps it all automated. So, we have the header hose, and then your standard drip tape. - [Jeff Poppen] Okay, I see it there. - [Robert] We'll keep it stapled, so it's really close to the plant. And then, that way, it can give a really nice, controlled water to the plant. Huge advantage with that, that you can really control the water, because one of the main challenges of growing them outside is the rain. - [Jeff Poppen] Too much rain. - Too much rain - Yeah. - [Robert] causes the fruits to split. - [Jeff Poppen] Yeah, we suffer from that, - Yep. - quite a bit. - And then, one thing for this year, we're dealing with a little bit of powdery mildew issue. - Mm-hm, and it is that the, it's the little white powdery stuff. - Right, this is the little white powder stuff here. - [Jeff Poppen] Yeah. - [Robert] And that, what that will do is it can mess with the flower production, so, - Oh, okay. - if you see - Yeah. - [Robert] how the flowers have fallen off before the fruit can form. You know, we, - Interesting. - right now, we're treating it with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. That kinda keeps the leaf surface too alkaline for the fungus to spread. - Oh, okay. What are the ratios? Do you know, offhand? - [Robert] It's a couple tablespoons per gallon. It's not a whole lot. - It's not much. - [Robert] Yeah, so, but we're doing that pretty regularly. Once you get it, it doesn't really go away, but it helps manage it. - Gotcha. - So, to keep it from affecting production. - Keep it from spreading. - Right. - [Jeff Poppen] Yeah, diseases like to spread in tomatoes. - [Robert] Yeah. - But Robert, I'm interested in how far apart these rows are and how far apart the plants are in the row. - [Robert] So, the rows, the plants are gonna be 42 inches apart, so, 3 1/2 feet. - The rows. - The rows. - Yeah. - Pretty standard market garden spacing. - That's what we use. - [Robert] And then, the plants within the rows are, for the twine trellising, those will be two feet apart. - [Jeff Poppen] Okay. - [Robert] And then, with the single liter, the lower and lean, since there's a lot less vegetation, - It's not branching, yeah. - [Robert] we can plant those a lot closer. Those are 15 inches apart. - Yeah. So, outside, we plant ours, like, four feet apart, each way, just to - Oh, okay. - get more airflow around 'em. - Yeah. - [Jeff Poppen] You know, because they're outdoors, we have to be careful with the diseases. - Yeah. And our field tomatoes will be more five feet apart. - Yeah, get 'em far apart. - Yep, mm-hm. - Yeah, that way, if a plant gets a disease, it doesn't whip through the whole patch. - Right. - Speaking of diseases, have you ever heard about not being, shouldn't smoke a cigarette around your tomato plants? - I have, yes. In fact, that was the first thing that was asked of me when I was hired on the farm, is do I smoke? And if I do, could I not do it around the tomatoes? - Yeah, so that's because of tobacco mosaic, which affects tobacco, and can even be in a cigarette that will get on your hands, and you get in your tomatoes, it can spread to the tomatoes. And so, that's because tobacco and tomatoes are in the same family. So great to see you here, Robert. - Yeah, thank you. - And thank you so much for your time. - Of course, any time. - Just how many varieties of oak do you know of? I think you're about to change your mind. When I finish talking with Jeff Harvey, you're gonna see. I'm already amazed of things that I didn't know. Jeff, lead us into how many oaks you've got right here. - We have just over a dozen different oaks, a lot of English oaks. And we like the English oaks 'cause there's a lot of variety. - [Annette] Yes. - The one we're standing next to right now is called Cristata. - Yes. - And you can see how the leaves form clusters, and are curly. - Yeah, yeah. - So it's a real nice, they're easy to care for. - And so, as we go through these oak, all of these oaks bear acorns? - Yes. - Okay. And all of them are going to be hardy for our viewers here in this area? - Yes. - That's good to know. Well, I need to just move right on, and let's go see how many you can introduce us to. - [Jeff Harvey] Sounds good. Looking forward to it. - Well, before I noticed the leaf on this oak, I noticed all the acorns, but now I see, this is variegated. - Yes, we were up in Ohio for a plant society trip, and we saw a variegated English oak, called Argenteomarginata, and we just had to figure out where to get it from. - [Annette] You just saw it, and you went searching. - [Jeff Harvey] Yeah, you can find a lot of these neat variegated and strange oaks from specialty nurseries. - [Annette] Yeah, and let's just, for a second, talk about, when we introduce someone to a plant that the local nursery might not have, can you tell us, how would you resource it? Google it? What would you do? - [Jeff Harvey] Google's a good source. The American Conifer Society has a lot of plant nurseries, - Yeah. - those members. - And they do a lot of conifers, as well as unusual trees. - And the oaks, you've just researched and done on your own. - Right, I found a lot of them, believe it or not, at the specialty nurseries on the Conifer Society website. - Yeah, why don't you get a bus trip up? - Yeah. - That would be good. Okay, let's go find another oak tree. I love this variation on this leaf. - [Jeff Harvey] Sure. - [Annette] I'm fascinated by how many cuts there are in the lobes in this leaf. What is this one? - This is another English oak, called pectinata, or cut leaf. Very, very deep cuts in the leaves. - Yeah. - You would never expect it to be an oak, until all the acorns start to develop. Then you definitely know it's an oak. - [Annette] Well, and, you know, I was trying to decide what leaf that actually reminds me of. Not an oak. - No. - For sure. So, this is an average-size tree that wouldn't outgrow a spot in a local home garden? - [Jeff Harvey] Right, this is good for a average home garden. It's a slow grower because of all the cuts in the leaf. - Yeah. - This is about 15 years old. - Yeah. - And measures about 15 by 15, maybe. - [Annette] Yeah, and when you purchase these trees, you get them in gallons, or what? - A lot of 'em are hard to find, and we find 'em at plant society auctions. Some of them we get are just in bin pots with a graft that's only two or three inches tall. - Wow, you love them to death don't you? - When you find 'em you gotta get 'em. - Yeah, that's right. - So. - [Annette] Okay, I know there's some more around the corner, let's go. Okay, I'm getting skyscraper neck on this one, Jeff. What do you call this? - This is really nice. This is a interspecies cross of two different species oaks, and it's a upright columnar form called Wind Candle. And it just sways in the wind a little bit. - Yeah. - The leaves stay on this all winter long, and fall off - Oh. - when the new leaves come on. - Like a pin oak. - Like a pin oak, yes. - Yeah, yeah. - [Jeff Harvey] So, very nice columnar form. - [Annette] Well, on that subject of other oaks, does these ever suffer from gall, or anything like that? - [Jeff Harvey] So far, we haven't had any problems. - [Annette] Okay, so, and you've just let these be, and live on their own, and thrive, without any kind of help from you. - [Jeff Harvey] Yes, they do well without any interference. - [Annette] You never have an issue that it's gonna start to grow outward instead of vertical up. - [Jeff Harvey] Well, if we have a horizontal branch, we'll cut it off. - Okay. - Like, Slender Silhouette, the sweet gum. - Yes. - [Jeff Harvey] That, sometimes, will throw a horizontal branch, and we just cut the- - It's not unknown to do that. - It's not unknown to do. So we just cut that off. - Well. - [Jeff Harvey] And, hopefully, it's down where we can reach it. - [Annette] Okay. Well, I'm anxious to see another one. - [Jeff Harvey] We have a couple more for you yet. - Well, now, I think I like what you call this one. - This is Birthday Candle. This is another interspecies cross, a Quercus x warei. - Well. - And it, nice, tight columnar. - Okay, let me ask you a question. I see down there at the base, it does have a trunk. These candles, are they coming from down below the ground, or are they coming off of that trunk at the bottom? - They come from the graft. The graft is about a foot off the ground. - So it's a grafted tree. - Yes. - [Annette] And what do they use for rootstock? - [Jeff Harvey] Different growers have different varieties they use. - Yeah. - [Jeff Harvey] One grower I know uses Quercus macrocarpa. - Uh-huh. - He has good luck with that. And I think some people, we just use Quercus robur, English oak. - Yes. - So it all depends on what that grafter has good luck with. - [Annette] Well, now, Jeff, when I first looked at this, I was deceived. What is this? - This is another oak. This is Quercus dentate, Pinnatifida. And it actually is an oak that likes to be in wet areas. - Yes. - Our neighbor's runoff comes down this way. - Okay. - And when a heavy rain, we'll get a river that goes through. - Yeah. - And it's doing great. - How old do you think this one is? - [Jeff Harvey] This one's relatively young. This is about six years old, in this spot. - Well, and it's about six feet tall. - Yes. You can see, it's a fast grower, once it finds a spot that it likes. - [Annette] Yeah, so, how much of this was this year's growth? - [Jeff Harvey] All of that is this year's growth. - [Annette] From the stalk to the, well, the terminal there? - From the hardwood to the, all the lime green is this year's growth. - [Annette] Well, I think I need a few of these in my yard right now, okay. - [Jeff Harvey] They might take over, but they're definitely an interesting specimen. - That's okay. Well, Jeff, I'm infatuated with all of your different variety of oak. But I got a question for you. Where did this passion come from? - Well, my wife always gardened with her aunt and her grandmother. And before we bought our first house, she told the developer that we have to start our vegetable garden in the back of the house, and he wasn't allowed to tear all the trees down. So that started our passion, together, for gardening. - [Annette] Okay, so you've journeyed this 15 years on this hill together. - Yes. - [Annette] I just thank you. I can't thank you enough for the time you've shared with us, and our viewers have got a lot to learn, and thank you.
September 14, 2023
Season 32 | Episode 09
Gardens are constantly evolving. Tammy Algood takes us on a tour of such a garden where there's always room for 1 more plant, or a whole new garden area. Annette Shrader marvels at the collection of desirable oak trees that a couple have incorporated into their large landscape. Jeff Poppen visits Bloomsbury Farm where they're growing a colorful spectrum of cherry tomatoes for market.