Choosing your plants
If you would like some guidance when planning your gardens, we have created categorized lists of many of our plants to make your planning & purchasing easier. The lists include basic categorizations such as "native", "aquatic" or "vegetable", as well as more helpful lists such as "deer tolerant", "drought tolerant", "shade" and "butterfly garden". Click here to view and download the lists.
For those of you planning your edible gardens, there is a fun kitchen garden design
link on the Gardeners' Supply website.
This year, Dana presented a seminar on edible gardening, including information on how to create garden beds, raised beds, and container gardens and how to plan and grow varied crops.
Click here for a copy of the detailed handout from the class. If you decide to create a raised bed or lots of container gardens, check out our 'Links' page for bulk soil suppliers and a soil calculator.
If you are interested in growing plants with edible blooms, this link has a lot of great information, including recipes ranging from flower-infused butter & cheese to jams and teas! Keep in mind that you should only eat blooms if you know where they come from and how they were treated. We do not use toxic chemicals on our edible blooming plants, but as we sometimes treat pests with oil or soap, you should always wash the blooms well. Exercise caution when trying an edible bloom for the first time as individual tolerances may vary - start with small amounts.
Most herbs have tasty edible blooms, but you may be surprised at how many other common garden plants provide lovely edible flowers!
Making Your Own Compost (Free Fertilizer)
For the past several years, Dana Stenger (of Painters) and Molly Sandfoss (of NC Cooperative Extension & McDowell Center) have held seminars on backyard composting at the greenhouse. The goal of the program was to demonstrate how easy and inexpensive composting can be. We emphasized the importance of proper mixing, ingredients, and aeration to encourage fast decomposition. With our clay-rich soils, it can be very costly and time-consuming to create healthy gardens – using your own compost saves money and time! If you have always wanted to compost properly, the below links have all of the details you need.
Click here for Dana’s Composting Handout
This handout gives a brief definition of compost, how to properly create it, what should and shouldn’t be included and how to apply it to your gardens and yard.
Click the link below for detailed information on composting provided by the
NORTH CAROLINA COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE
Molly suggests that you don’t get too worried about the exact ratios; if something has a high C:N ratio (like sawdust), then it will take longer to break down in your compost (and therefore your compost will take longer to be ready for use as fertilizer). If you add more nitrogen (a great source is a little bit of 10-10-10 or a similar fertilizer), then you can achieve the C:N balance needed to speed up the decomposition. As nitrogen is typically lacking, it is best to always include some fertilizer – if you have high ratio contents like sawdust or branches then simply add more fertilizer.
For those of you ready for next step, check out Bokashi!
Bokashi actually ferments wastes in an oxygen-deprived chamber, rather than the oxygen-rich decomposition of traditional composting. The fermentation process means you can add meats & dairy as well as oils and other wastes that you can't put in your compost bin; all of this can be added to a Bokashi bin without fear of bad smells or pests! Incorporating both composting and Bokashi can greatly reduce your trash fees & environmental footprint, and Bokashi can even be done indoors. Check out the above link!
If you read all of this and decide you don't have the time, space or desire to compost,
Painters now sells Compost Tea Bags (concentrated compost that you steep in your watering cans for organic fertilizer), Worm Castings and Daniel's professional grade fertilizer.
Click here to read about Worm Castings
We now sell 100% worm castings (with live worms in the mix). Worm castings (or poop) offer a wide range of benefits to the garden - they have been shown to dramatically improve plant growth and flower/fruit production, they soften the soil texture, they eliminate odors, and they reduce the risk of fungus and insect pests that typically attack your gardens!
Painters Famous Pesto Recipes
Click here for the Original Painters Pesto
This is the traditional Painters Pesto (Stephen & Susie’s recipe) – a delicious blend with basil & pine nuts.
Click here for Dana’s New Cilantro Pesto
This is a zestier version of pesto with cilantro, walnuts & cayenne for some bite!
(You can always omit the pepper if you prefer it more mild.)