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Every gardener can tell you planning is key for a successful garden. Now is a good time to take out your garden journal and review what worked, what didn’t, and what you want to grow.

Keeping a journal is one of the simplest ways to jot down notes as your garden progresses throughout the years. As it turns into a history of your special oasis, it will also be your most valuable tool.

Will you be growing plants from seed or buying transplants? Why not do both?
When growing from seed, you are in the driver’s seat of selecting the variety of your favorite flowers, herbs, and vegetables.

There are so many different, interesting selections. Plus it’s a lot of fun to watch the seedlings emerge from the soil. Typically, transplants from the nurseries are the standard tried and true variety that grow well in the valley. When the weather and timing is right, they are ready to pop into the ground, and with tender care you will enjoy an early harvest of your favorite plants.

These are just a few topics that will be discussed in our Sowing Circle series on Planning Your Vegetable Garden.

Mary Alice Ramsey, Buncombe County Master Gardener Volunteer, will cover subjects ranging from identifying a gardening site, selecting vegetables, improving soil quality, choosing garden tools and structures, and so much more. She will also give a mini-workshop on starting your seeds. The seed library will provide you with seed starter soil, containers, and seeds to take home.

Ramsey is a WNC native, graduate of both UNC-Asheville and Western Carolina University, a retired teacher of Art, a writer, and a studio artist. Her art is currently displayed at her studio, Pink Dog Creative in the River Arts District of Asheville. She also teaches Visual Journaling in April and May. Her garden has been visited and enjoyed through seven recent garden tours and was featured in 2017 in "Southern Living Magazine."

We welcome you to bring a friend to this free presentation at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 2, in the Education Room at the Black Mountain Library, 105 N. Dougherty Street.

Don’t forget to pick up a raffle ticket for a chance to win a free gardening prize. Our seed
library presentations are in partnership with Buncombe County Extension Master
Gardener Volunteers.

For your garden planning, we offer a few book recommendations. Ramsey  suggests, "Square Foot Gardening" by Mel Bartholomew and "The Self-Sufficient Gardener" by John Seymour.

My favorites are "Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast" by Ira Wallace and "Rodale’s All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening" by Barbara Ellis. These books are in our library system along with a wide selection of other gardening books.

What’s new at our seed library? A new donation of seed just arrived from the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants at Monticello. The Center collects, preserves and distributes historic plant varieties. The program centers on Thomas Jefferson’s horticultural interests and the plants he grew in Monticello, and also covers the broad history of plants cultivated in America.

These heirloom seeds when planted in your garden, will bring beautiful flowers, useful herbs and delicious veggies into your life.

As Thomas Jefferson once said, "No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture
of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.”

So take advantage of these tools that we are giving you, get planning, and grow something a bit different this year.

Lyndall Noyes-Brownell proudly serves as chair of Black Mountain Blooms Seed
Lending Library, Extension Master Gardener Volunteer of Buncombe County and
co-chair for Black Mountain Beautification Committee.

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