Time passes differently at Ocracoke…..it does strange things. All it takes is the ferry ride from Cedar Island to this tiny dot of land to send me into a slower pace. It has been a really busy last few months, so the ability to unplug and relax is deeply needed, and appreciated. This is Koda’s first Ocracoke adventure - Marlin gets to spend a week with our daughter, Caitlin (enjoying - I hope! - handling some seedling sales and caring for the plants and driveway garden).
Somehow, most of my speaking events are behind me. Sue and I loved our trip to Washington DC, and it was great meeting many new gardening friends at my US Botanic Garden talk on container and straw bale gardening. Just ahead is a mid May trip to White Flower Farm in Litchfield, Connecticut, after which we will catch up with family for a few days at Cape Cod. A few mid July talks (Museum of History in Raleigh and Duke Gardens) and a mid August event at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania will put a wrap on a really enjoyable set of trips and talks. Details for all upcoming events can be found here.
Seedling sales have been such fun - there have been so many visits from long time garden friends and customers, many going back to our late 1990 “Dixie Cup” debut at the Raleigh Farmers Market. We will have plants until mid May, and I am hoping those in the Raleigh area take advantage of some unusual varieties - Honor Bright, Variegated, the bizarre yellow leaf “Surprise” (one of my discoveries), Velvet Red, Wapsinicon Peach, Peach Blow Sutton, and lots of Dwarf Tomato Project releases, as well as free in-project plants. Drop me an email - firstname.lastname@example.org - to set up a time and date to get some plants - I will send you the details.
As for my own garden, I managed to get 10 straw bales prepped and planted with indeterminate tomato varieties before our trip. These are the tomatoes I chose for the bales: JD Special C Tex, Lillian’s Yellow Heirloom, Cherokee Purple, Stump of the World, Yellow Brandywine, Green Giant, Cherokee Chocolate, Casey’s Pure Yellow, Lucky Cross, Indian Stripe, Matchless, Andrew Rahart Jumbo Red, Redman Giant, Egg Yolk, Aker’s West Virginia, Peak of Perfection, Azoychka, Sun Gold, Cherokee Green and Nepal. I have my reasons for growing each of these, varying between need for seed, historic research from USDA seed stock, old favorites, or the most important aspect - flavor!
Next will be planting the remaining indeterminates, as well as determinate and dwarf tomatoes, in grow bags…….planting peppers and eggplants in grow bags, and prepping a few more bales for direct seeding of cucumbers, bush beans and squash. This will mean reorganization of the driveway, as well as my annual plant donations, date and location to be determined. This also sets the tone for the rest of the spring, into summer and fall….gardening, observing, reporting, blended with speaking and writing. It is, altogether, a delightful agenda, which will be liberally sprinkled with long dog walks in the woods, biking and kayaking with Sue.