Green Thumb: There’s money in those logs

If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to grow oyster and shiitake mushrooms in a log (and perhaps make money doing it), then the final workshop in a month-long series is just right: “Does Your Forest Talk Money and More?” will be held on Saturday, March 12, at the A-B Tech Enka campus.

This hands-on event will feature two tracks — Forest Businesses and Forest Botanicals — and includes an afternoon session for those interested in learning how to grow mushrooms on logs.

Co-hosted by the BioNetwork BioBusiness Center, the workshop caps a series organized by the Land-of-Sky Regional Council and its partners. The series aimed to give landowners, business owners, craftsmen and others information they can use to generate income from their forest lands. Part of the WNC Forest Products Cooperative Marketing Project, the workshops are a collaborative effort funded by a USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant.

To see additional details on the workshops and to register for the daylong March 12 workshop, visit or call 251-6622. Registrants will be entered in a drawing for free ginseng seeds and a copy of Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal & Other Woodland Medicinals, by W. Scott Persons and local Extension Service agent Jeanine Davis.
Breakfast, lunch and breaks are included in the $10 registration fee. There is an additional $20 fee to participate in the Mushroom Log Workshop. Attendees will take home one shiitake log and one oyster log.

Plotted: Nonprofit offers Swannanoa garden space

According to the group’s Facebook page, “The Swannanoa Community Garden is an ideal place for people to grow their own food, share their enthusiasm for gardening and to simply enjoy the outdoors. The garden consists of multiple plots that individuals or groups can rent, plant and care for throughout the season. Renters can grow food for themselves, share among others, sell … whatever they want!”

The garden is sponsored by the Swannanoa Pride Community Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting public events and services in Swannanoa. Plots are available for $15-$25 per season. For more information, call 581-4064 or visit

The Extension Service is organic

If you are a grower interested in organic production, try contacting your county Extension office for guidance. Over the past several years, almost 50 Extension personnel from across North Carolina have trained for organic production. Funded by Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (, training is led by such instructors as Jeanine Davis, author, researcher, N.C. State associate professor and manager of western activities for the North Carolina Specialty Crops program (she’s stationed at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River).

The following agents, listed by county, have a variety of resources to assist growers who may be interested in organic methods (for the full list, go to

Susan Colucci, Buncombe, Haywood and Henderson counties, 697-4891, http:/

Amanda Stone: Buncombe, 255-5522

Christy Bredenkamp, Jackson county, 586-4009

Tammara Cole: Macon and Swain, (828) 554-6936

Stanley Holloway: Yancey, (828) 682-6187

Free gardening seminars at B.B. Barns

After a good response to their winter seminars, the folks at local nursery B.B. Barns are continuing the series into spring. Here are a few upcoming topics and instructors (for more information, see

Making Your Garden Pop! with Hunter Stubbs

Saturday, March 12, at 11 a.m.

“Did you say you want to be the envy of your neighborhood? Allow Hunter to inspire you with gardening selections to make your garden stand out above the rest. Now is the time to plan for a beautiful landscape,” the website description reads.

Orchid Re-Potting, with Cynthia Gillooly
Saturday, March 12, at 1:30 p.m.

“One of the most important aspects of orchid care is proper re-potting when the time is right. Getting into the plant, and cleaning up the roots will ensure the long term health of your orchid.”

Hillside Gardening, with Barney Bryant
Saturday, March 19, at 11 a.m.

“One of the most common problems we encounter as gardeners in the mountains is the fact that eventually we will have to plant something on a hill. There are a unique set of challenges that arise when landscaping on a slope. It is important to be sure that you have the right plant, and the proper technique in order to tame those hills.”
—compiled by the Xpress gardening team

— Send your garden and farm news to or call 251-1333, ext. 152.

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