It’s spring. It’s garden time. Get great starter plants at the market now! – StarNewsOnline.com

Poet, author and farmer Wendell Berry told the New Yorker magazine “A good farmer is one who brings competent knowledge, work wisdom, and a locally adapted agrarian culture to a particular farm that has been lovingly studied and learned over a number of years. We are not talking here about “job training” but rather about the lifelong education of an artist, the wisdom that come from unceasing attention and practice.”
I have had the pleasure of working with many of our local farming artists serving on the board of the Wilmington Farmers Market at Tidal Creek. This producer only market is outdoors every Saturday from 8 a.m.–1 p.m. at 5239 Oleander Drive in Wilmington. This Saturday, March 26, these accomplished, local farmers are bringing a special offering just in time for spring planting; unique vegetable varieties for your food garden, the special ones which our farmers’ unceasing attention and practice have evaluated for good performance in our region.
These wise choices offer an intriguing diversity of crops for your gardening success. Michael of Terra Vita Farm is bringing tomato plants to include “Matt’s Wild” cherries, the determinate Celebrity, and heirlooms Brandywine and SunGold.
Andrew of Farmage will be selling starter plants of basil, tomatillo, artichoke, lettuce and edamame. Meg of Shelton Herb Farm, a regular purveyor of food plants will have Tift Blue and Premier blueberries, young citrus trees including oranges and satsumas, and strawberries of types Sweet Charlie and Chandler.
Culinary herb plants of chives, parsley, and bronze fennel for the cool season will be augmented with hardy celery, lavender, mint varieties, oregano, garden sage and thymes. Edible flowers of nasturtium and violas will accompany flowers for beds and cutting, such as Crazy Daisy, coreopsis, Blue Bedder Sage, petunias and yarrow. Meg will even have plants for cardoon, an artichoke relative.
Jen of Sunrise Gardens will be vending tomato plants Brandywine pink and Sunrise Bumble Bee. Her vegetable selections will offer sweet red cherry pepper, ancho poblano pepper, Suyo long cucumber and Beit Alpha cucumber. Herb offerings will include bronze fennel, oregano, cilantro and mint mix; flowering plants (pollinator attractors) include hollyhock, daisies, coneflowers, anise hyssop, and Siberian Iris. Also, mountain mint and lance leaf coreopsis will be for sale.
Herbs offered by Casey of Green Drop Farms will include: Thyme – Silver, English, French, and Lemon; Rosemary – Salem and Upright; Lavender – Bridget Chloe and Phenomenal; Berggarten Sage, Greek Oregano, Lemongrass, Borage, Comfrey, Parsley, and Dill. Some perennial plant choices will be Joe Pye Weed, Rosie Posie Agastache, Jethro Tull Coreopsis, Blue Moon Monarda, and Salvias – Black n Blue, Leucantha, and Indigo Spires.
Kyle of Humble Roots Farm, a founding member of the Wilmington Farmers Market will be promoting his experience-based organic gardening online course in addition to a three-tent display to showcase tried-and-true vegetable starts. The tomato plant smorgasbord will include Beefsteak, Early Girl, Big Beef, Lemon Boy, Speckled Roman, Cherokee Purple, Striped German, Chefs Choice Black, Super Sweet 100 and Yellow Mini. Colorful peppers, such as Sweet Bella, El Jefe, and Sweet White Cloud will be available as well as Nigral eggplant, Genovese basil, cabbage, collards, and kale.
Morgan and his aptly named farm, Red Beard, will have an assortment of six different basils, five tomatoes, Diva cucumber and Nadia eggplant, and inoculated Shiitake logs for turnkey homegrown mushroom production!
Wilmington Compost Company will be on site with food for your soil in burlap bags; the microbial activity of quality, finished compost is critical for great plant health and productivity. Penderlea Farms will have Live Oaks for sale, the progeny of local granddaddies.
4-H Youth will be there collecting for a food drive. Heal Our Waterways and Extension Master Gardeners will be there to assist.
Live, local bluegrass by the amazing, local Brewer Brothers will fill the air from 9–noon. Whether you grow traditionally in-ground by rows, square-foot style, in a raised bed or in pots on a patio, visit the market this Saturday to get some of what the pros grow. 
The local Cooperative Extension center at 6206 Oleander Drive, Wilmington, offers resources like this to help you get started with your spring garden: https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/home-vegetable-gardening-a-quick-reference-guide. The plant clinic is staffed by Extension Master Gardeners and is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Stop by or call 910-798-7660 for your gardening answers.
Lloyd Singleton is the director for N.C. Cooperative Extension – New Hanover County Center and Arboretum. He can be reached at [email protected]


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