Carolina gardening

by Kelly Corbett
Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Supplied photo courtesy of Jason A. Frizzelle Photography  

“Carolinas Fruit & Vegetable Gardening,” by local author Katie Elzer-Peters, teaches readers how to plant, grow and harvest edibles year round.

The unique climate in the Carolinas provides ample opportunity for fruit and vegetable gardening in the cool and warm seasons.

Local author Katie Elzer-Peters, who is also owner and writer at The Garden of Words LLC, teaches readers through her new book, “Carolinas Fruit & Vegetable Gardening,” how to plant, grow and harvest fruits and vegetables locally.

A transplanted northerner who has lived in the area for eight years, Elzer-Peters said being able to plant all winter was confusing to her at first and she wants to communicate to others when and how to plant edibles all year round.

The book’s organization by season varies from other mainstream gardening books.

“It also has more cultural information up front,” Elzer-Peters said.

The book features several local photos, some taken by Elzer-Peters herself.

She wants readers to be able to learn from the mistakes she made. She said she learned the hard way.

“I just get so many questions about ‘when do I plant what,’” she said.

The warm season is currently shifting into one of two cold seasons. The warm season runs from April to September, and the cool seasons are from September to December, and January to April, giving gardeners a chance to replant during the seasons.

Gardeners can now begin seeding kale, Swiss chard, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, lettuce and more. In a couple of months, they will be able to transplant the seedlings. 

“I prefer the cool season,” Elzer-Peters said. “You don’t have to water as much. There are fewer pests.”

Adding compost to the soil, especially if it is sandy or mucky, can help with the growth.

“You can save so much money growing your own,” she said. “… You can grow cool season greens really easily in pots. … It’s really hard not to get stuff to grow here.”

The book is dedicated to Margaret Shelton, of Shelton Herb Farm. 

“She just has an incredible amount of knowledge, and she is so willing to share it with anyone,” Elzer-Peters said.

Elzer-Peters said she has picked out someone in each of the regions she is writing about — mid-Atlantic, Southern and Pacific Northwest — who had an impact on her life.

Most of the book is written from her many years of experience with gardening and horticulture, but she also used the Cooperative Extension to nail down numbers.

The 256-page book is one in a series of regional planting books published by Cool Springs Press and is currently available online at Barnes and Noble and The book, with a suggested retail price of $22.99, will also be available in local bookstores soon.


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