THE SPICE OF LIFE: The two basic categories of garlic are hardneck and softneck, and there are numerous varieties running the flavor gamut from mild to spicy-hot.

Hardnecks and softnecks: Talking garlic with Root Bottom Farm

Thai fire, Sicilian silver, German red: The world of garlic is far more exotic than one might expect from perusing the plain, white varieties found in most supermarket aisles. Root Bottom Farm owners Morgan and Sarah Decker are working to spread the word about the diverse types of the pungent, flavorful bulb that can be grown in Western North Carolina.

“If you don’t want to own a small business, don’t try and make a living as a farmer,” says William Lyons. He and Marie Williamson own Bluebird Farm in Morganton. Photo by Amelia Fletcher Photogaphy. Courtesy of Organic Growers School

Survey findings may help stem the loss of farms in WNC

Making a living as a farmer is tough anywhere, but it’s particularly true in the North Carolina mountains. Western North Carolina lost 18 percent of its farms — more than 2,800 — in the 15 years between 1997 and 2012. And the majority of existing WNC farmers today are nearing retirement age — many of them without heirs who plan to keep the farm going.

"I gotta go barefoot when I’m in the garden," says Green Opportunities' new executive director, George Jones Jr. Jones joined the nonprofit in mid-July and is bringing some business-minded changes to GO.

Green Opportunities’ new director gets his feet — and his shoes — wet

As the new executive director of Green Opportunities, the green jobs training program that works with low-income Asheville residents, George C. Jones plans to continue the environmental consciousness that was practiced by previous leadership, but his tenure will be guided by his business background.

"I was born to be a moss artist," proclaims Annie Martin. The Brevard landscaper, educator and writer will release her book, The Magical World of Moss Gardening, this month.

A mossier, more magical world: Local ‘mosser’ releases new book on moss gardening

Annie Martin — or Mossin’ Annie — is a Western North Carolina native, educator, landscape designer, farmer and champion — of mosses. She’s designed moss gardens for the North Carolina Arboretum and the Highland Botanical Station and her book, The Magical World of Moss Gardening, is being published by Timber Press and released this month.


First annual Monarch Butterfly Day offers help to a declining butterfly population

Nearly one billion monarch butterflies have vanished since 1990 due to habitat destruction, which impacts their primary food source, milkweed, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Efforts to protect monarch butterflies center on educating the public about the plight of the monarchs, as well as encouraging the creation of garden spaces that provide nectar plants […]

Seven Haywood County Master Gardener gardens have recently been certified Monarch Waystations by Monarch Watch, through the University of Kansas. Pictured above with their certification signs, from left to right are:  Marcia Tate, individual garden; Mike Robertson, Hazelwood Elementary School Garden; Mannie Crone, Canton Public Library Giving Garden; Mary Sue Kindred, Junaluska Elementary School Garden; Anne Budde, Individual Garden.  Not pictured, but both with newly certified Waystations in their individual gardens, are Kim Powers and Jean White.

Haywood County Master Gardeners establish Monarch Waystation­s for embattled butterfly

by Marcia Tate Master Gardeners in Haywood County are leading efforts to educate the public that monarchs butterflies are at high risk of being placed on the endangered species list. They are encouraging the public to plant milkweed in their gardens, as monarch caterpillars will only eat milkweed. Four of the Haywood gardeners created a […]