Green thumb

Unleash the (green) zebras: Garden season is in the air, as growers of every stripe gather their seeds, prepare their fields and beds and wait for spring. photo by Margaret Williams

Savvy farmers, growers and enthusiasts have already bought their seeds and are preparing their fields and flower beds. Here at Xpress, green thumbs are awakening too: In the coming weeks and months, we’ll provide a growers’ mix of garden news. Here are a few early notes.

Composting Bonanza

Have questions about composting? On Saturday, March 19, the Hendersonville-based Environmental and Conservation organization — in partnership with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service — is offering a composting bonanza. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Extension Office located in Jackson Park. Guest speakers will make a presentation early in the day. In the afternoon a vermicomposting workshop will provide participants with hands-on lessons and take-home, active worm bins. The cost is $15 dollars for the presentation only, and $35 for the whole event. Registration is required; for more information, call ECO at 692-0385.

Have you called your extension agent?

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension “partners with communities to deliver education and technology that enrich the lives, land and economy of North Carolinians,” according to its Buncombe County website (http://buncombe.ces.ncsu.edu/). Extension staff provide “educational and training programs for producers of agricultural, horticultural and of forest products and services” — and for the average home gardener. With research based at N.C. State University, N.C. A&T State University and at centers in all 100 counties and the Cherokee Reservation, agents can likely provide answers to your garden and agriculture questions, from soil testing to horse husbandry.

There’s a regular newsletter too (http://bit.ly/icGARw), which offers seasonal garden tips and more.

Plan now for spring plant sales

A perennial favorite is the annual plant sale at the Botanical Gardens of Asheville, located near UNCA. Plants from many regional vendors and stock from the greenhouse will be on sale Friday, April 29, from 1 to 6 p,m., and on Saturday, April 30, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Members will receive discounts at the Gazebo and in the Gift Shop. Food and beverages will be served in the gardens on Saturday. This is the first year that plants form the new greenhouse will be on sale. For more information, call 252-5190, e-mail bgardens@bellsouth.net or visit
www.AshevilleBotanicalGardens.org

Tailgate markets

Looking for an authentic taste of Western North Carolina? Spring marks the opening of Asheville-area farmers and tailgate markets. Explore stalls of fresh fruits, vegetables and locally produced food. It’s a unique and fun way to support sustainable agriculture, community farmers and the local farm-to-table movement. Stay tuned for regular updates as markets open — and note that the WNC Farmers Market on Brevard Road is open year-round.

— Send your garden news to mvwilliams@mountainx.com or call 251-1333, ext. 152.

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