Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Goldenseal Cultivation Workshop at NC Arboretum-Register Now!

Goldenseal Cultivation Workshop

Instructor: Margaret Bloomquist
Tuesday, September 23; 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

The North Carolina Arboretum in Bent Creek
$77 Member/$87 Non-member

Limit: 30 students

Goldenseal is a Western North Carolina native plant and popular herbal medicine. In this hands-on class you will learn about goldenseal’s history, uses, native habitat, and how to grow goldenseal. Participants will propagate goldenseal rhizomes to take home. Wear clothing for the outdoor component of class. Golden-seal rhizomes, media, pots, labels, reference materials, and handouts will be provided.

Teacher: Margaret Bloomquist. Margaret is a research assistant with the Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River. She has been working in Dr. Jeanine Davis' Alternative Crops and Organics Program for several years, on woodland botanicals, Chinese herbs, hops, organic broccoli, and many other projects. She recently completed a project helping Cherokee basketmakers grow bloodroot for dye. Margaret holds a degree in sustainable agriculture and rural community development from the University of British Columbia and Makerere University. She is constantly accumulating additional knowledge and continuing education through her research positions and personal interests; including topics in communication, education, plant medicine, marketing, regulations and organic agriculture.

Registration closes on Tuesday and space is limited, so REGISTER HERE NOW.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Organic Broccoli Harvest and Post-Harvest Field Event-Sept. 11

Harvest and Post-harvest Handling of Broccoli in Western North Carolina
Participatory Organic Broccoli Field Demo
Hosted by Miller Bros Organic Farm in Marble, NC
When:                September 11, 2014 
                          10 am to 12 pm is the Organic Broccoli Harvest
                          12 pm to 2 pm is the Post-harvest Demo and Discussion

Want to come?
Please RSVP to, 828-684-3562 ext 257. This is important so she has your contact information in case of a change due to weather or the crop.

There is no charge for this event. Wear appropriate field attire and bring a bag lunch.

Please join us in the effort to move our regional broccoli industry forward.

This event is funded, in part, by grants from the Organic Farming Research Foundation and the USDA SCRI program (the Eastern Broccoli Project).

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Non-timber Forest Products Fall Webinar Series Starts this Week!

A group of federal, state, and non-profit partners have teamed together to offer a webinar series on forest farming. I will be kicking off the series on Thursday, August 21 from 2:00 to 3:00 with an overview of what you can cultivate and wild-harvest in the woods for profit or your own use. This first hour long interactive presentation is just to whet your appetite for the more in-depth presentations to follow in the coming weeks.

The webinar series is being hosted by the American Tree Farm System. That is where the webinars will be posted if you want to watch them later, too. You can access that site and register at Webinar Series for Forest Owners.

My presentation is called "From Ginseng to Mushrooms: Goodies from Your Woods.
Here is a flyer with the rest of the presentations. Open it up and enlarge it to read the details.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Organic Cucurbit Variety Trial and Seed Saving Field Day

Organic Cucurbit Variety Trial and Seed Saving Field Day

August 12, 2014, 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Mountain Research Station in Waynesville
Registration - $10, includes field day and lunch

An organic variety trial of melons, squash and cucumbers is being conducted in cooperation with researchers in NY, NC, and AL.  The trial was developed to study variety resistance to Downy Mildew, Striped Cucumber Beetles and viruses and will provide information and germplasm for the breeding of resistant varieties specifically for organic farmers. 

At this field day we will share the initial results from this project and tour the research plots in the morning. After lunch we will help build your skills and knowledge around seed breeding, saving, and processing.  

This project is funded through the USDA Organic Research and Extension Initiative and is coordinated by Cornell University in partnership with the Organic Seed Alliance, NCSU, and Auburn University.  Click on the link below to find out more details and to register for the event.
EventBrite registration


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Plan to Attend the NCSU 2014 Tomato Research Field Day

research employee checking tomato plant
Are you interested in learning about the research that faculty at NCSU are doing on tomatoes in western North Carolina? Want to see the up and coming varieties? How about a tomato grafting demonstration? See that and much more at the annual Tomato Field Day at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station in Mills River, NC. And new this year, you can take a tour of some of the other research on the station including apples, ornamentals, hops, and bioenergy crops. Those tours will start at 1:00 pm. The tomato field day welcome is at 3:00 pm. In-between you can visit the exhibitors. There will also be an industry sponsored supper at 6:00 pm.

PLEASE NOTE: If you have attended this event in the past, it will be a little different this year. It is starting later in the afternoon and the dinner will be at the research station, NOT at Lake Julian.

Hope to see you there.
tomato field day august 7, 2014 in mills river, nc

Sunday, July 13, 2014

From stevia to truffles, we have lots of interesting research in Waynesville this year

Last Thursday I spent the day at the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville, NC checking out my research plots and participating in the annual field day. Here is a quick overview.

In this study we are looking at the feasibility of growing stevia on a commercial scale in western NC. The study is being done in partnership with Sweet Green Fields and funded by the NCDS&CS Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

This study is part of the Eastern Broccoli Project which is developing new broccoli varieties for east coast production.

This is our organic cucurbit breeding study. This is party of a big multi-state, multi-agency project to develop squash, cucumbers, and melons for organic production. Cucurbit project website
This is the third year effort of the organic, participatory broccoli variety study funded by the Organic Farming Research Foundation. Note all the farmscaping we have included.

This is the All-America Selections vegetable and herb trial we conducted. The judges came through last month.

And here are a few pictures from the field day. If you didn't attend, you missed out on a good time filled with equipment demonstrations, educational tours, a pork loin sandwich dinner (yummy!), music, and a raffle for a chainsaw.

And where, you might ask, are the truffles? The two truffle orchards are there, I just forgot to take pictures. Right now, just envision a filbert orchard. This coming winter we plan to bring out a trained dog to sniff out any truffles that might be there. We were also just awarded a grant to evaluate methods to determine if the trees you buy and your orchard soils are colonized by the truffle fungi.

And that is what we are up to at Waynesville this year. Watch for notices about our project field days.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Tomato Late Blight Confirmed in Western North Carolina

It doesn't look this bad yet, but we all know what late blight can do to our tomato plants. Unfortunately, I just received an email from our NCSU vegetable plant pathologist, Dr. Lina Quesada-Ocampo that the presence of tomato late blight in western North Carolina has been confirmed. Late blight is one of those diseases that you need to prevent because you can't cure it once it has started. So, here is her information on it: Extension Plant Pathology Tomato Late Blight Recommendations