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I am a mother, a teacher, and a nature lover. I grew up on a mountain we called Owls' Knob in the Ozarks of Arkansas. The first seven years of my life were spent living in a log cabin, far from a store or streetlight, without electricity or running water and after twenty years of travel, I returned to the abondoned homestead. Now I live on a hill by a small lake and work at a public garden. These are stories about nature written from a women deeply influenced by place.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Bean Mountain Farm Plants

Winter strips the leaves off trees and turns the grass from green to brown. Gardens are mostly barren. Only the most hardy plants remain.
At owls knob, even without water this summer or any attention during fall or winter, a few plants seem to always persist. Kale is the main vegetable. I posted back in fall about how kale is an amazing food. It grows despite drought and even keeps producing green edible leaves through most winters. This year has been mild so far and my kale is still flourishing. I was delighted to pick delectable fresh greens to spice up my burrito last weekend!
Herbs also persevere through the winter months. I once had an old rosemary bush that lived five years and produced food all winter. I also had an old thyme plant that kept  its leaves in the snow and ice. Though they died back each cold season, it grew bigger than ever before each spring.
This year oregano is my herb. Underneath the blown leaves I find hairy oregano leaves hiding. It is nice to flavor pasta with fresh oregano in January!
But I can not take credit for these herbs and hardy vegetables. The plants I grow from seed rarely last long, grow big, or produce in hard seasons. The plants in my garden that thrive are all from Bean Mountain Farm.
Bean Mountain Farm sell small and large plant starts every spring. They always have a booth outside the Ozark Nature Food Co-op on different weekends in spring. This year some of their sale dates are March 24, April 14 (Owner Appreciation Weekend) and May 12, all at ONF. Their annual Mother's Day Sale always inspires me to finish planting before the cool spring weather expires. I have bought plants from the Walmart plant department or from Lowes with much less success. Often the plants I buy from these big stores are half the price as local plants. But when the plants dies and all my money is lost I realize that investing in quality plants is very important! Something about the Bean Mountain Farm plants is special. They live a long time, grow bigger, and are very hardy. When preparing your garden this year, consider buying your plants from a local farmer!

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