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It’s time to start growing ‘The whole blooming thing'

By Paul Viau | May 08, 2013
Photo by: Paul Viau THINGS ARE LOOKING UP — Tower Garden lets you pack 28 fast-growing plants in about 10 square feet. Lettuce, anyone?

Right on the heals of National Garden Month (Which is one month too early, in my opinion.) comes the garden event that officially kicks off the growing season in Haywood County — Waynesville’s Whole Bloomin’ Thing Spring Festival.

Traditionally, this is the event where my wife and I select what varieties of the heirloom “maters” we will be growing for the year, the herbs to complement summer cooking, and a few beautiful garden baskets to adorn our deck area.

Did you know? — This Saturday, May 11, will be the 11th Annual Whole Bloomin’ Thing, and as always, the event will fill Historic Frog Level, Depot Street, and Commerce Avenue with all things natural, green, crafty, and health-oriented.

There will also be a number of alternative energy and eco-friendly exhibitors, children’s activities, food vendors, and entertainment — and maybe, if you’re in the right section of Frog Level during “The WBT” — an opportunity to sample some good-ole, homegrown craft beer.

I happen to know that — for a fact — Frog Level Brewing Company, Waynesville’s first craft brewery, will be open throughout ‘The whole bloomin’ thing” serving up root beer floats, porter floats (Yummmmm!), their full selection of hand-crafted beers, plus live entertainment from local Haywood County bands.

If there is a message here, it is that gardening is fun for the whole family, and these days you can have a garden just about anywhere. And take it from me — you don’t even need a green thumb.

My wife and I were watching NBC’s “The Today Show” last week and they had a lengthy segment on the not-so-new trend of vertical gardening. They featured wall gardens, “green” buildings covered in gardens, and many other towering tributes to our environment.

Remember the hanging gardens of Babylon? Vertical gardens have been around for centuries. But these days, the world is coming to grips with food shortages, desperately looking for ways to grow more food in less space — and people are looking “up” — not out.

It just so happens that vertical gardening is perfect for many mountainous locations in Haywood County. I know our beautiful spot up above Clyde is a lot more vertical than horizontal, so we’re doing what I call “deck gardening.”

Rux Gardens has wonderful garden planters that nest neatly along both wide and narrow deck railings. They are available in 24- and 30-inch lengths and a round planter that neatly holds a 1-gallon plant. We use them to grow most of our herbs.

This year, we added the incredible aeroponic Tower Garden, which I featured in my column a couple weeks ago. Despite several frost warnings, we got off to an early start the second week of April. (After all, it was National Gardening Month.)

I promised photo update, so here it is — an example of what an off-colored thumb can do in less than four weeks with a Tower Garden.

We now have enough leafy greens growing to keep us lean and mean all summer long. They’re all organic. And if we decide we want to grow something different, we can change out growing pod in seconds. In fact, I’m about to pull some slow-growing spinach to add kale and cherry tomatoes to the mix.

FYI — A few avid Tower Gardeners (Yes, I’m already avid about it.) will be showing off this incredible growing machine at “The whole bloomin’ thing,” so come and see it for yourself.

You can also see Tower Gardens in action on the new patio section at Frankie’s Italian Trattoria in Maggie Valley, and coming soon, in front of U-Can-Save in downtown Clyde and Walnut Cove Farms when you pick up your CSA shares.

Happy growing!

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