Slides for Chilton County Master Gardeners

Today, Lee and Amanda Borden presented to the regular meeting of the Chilton County Master Gardeners on the subject of Fall Vegetable Gardening. Here is the video showing their slides. While watching, you may press the pause button or (using most browsers) your space bar whenever you wish to stop the video and jot down key information.

Mary McCroan Cooks with French Sorrel

Mary McCroan’s video is up on Stubborn Old Gardeners now, describing the advantages of perennial vegetables like French sorrel. Then she shows us how to make a hearty soup using the sorrel.

One of the advantages of shooting these videos is that John Barnes and I got to taste the soup. Yum!

Amanda Borden’s Slides on Attracting Beneficials

Amanda Borden presented at Herb Day on May 13 in Montgomery on “Planting to Attract Bees, Butterflies, and Friends.” Here is the text of her slides:

170513 herb day talk text only

All four of the books Amanda recommended are on the last slide.

Here is the information Amanda passed around from the University of Georgia:

Plants for prolonged-blooming bee pasture in the Southeast [xvi], [xvii], [xviii], [xix], [xx], [xxi]
Common Name Scientific Name Type Availability Resource (nectar orpollen) Bloom Dates
Cajeput (Tea Tree) Melaleuca quinquenervia tree feral n,p much of the year
Chickweed Stellaria spp. ann. or per. herb feral n,p much of the year
Cucumber Cucumis sativa ann. herb cultivated n,p much of the year
Pumpkin Cucurbita spp. ann. cultivated n,p much of the year
Alder Alnus spp. tree feral p January-June
Blueberry Vaccinium spp. shrub cultivated, feral n,p January-June
Maple Acer spp. tree feral n,p January-May
Cantaloupe Cucumis melo ann. herb cultivated n,p February-August
Citrus Citrus spp. tree cultivated n,p February-May
Dandelion Taraxacum spp. bien. or per. herb feral n,p February-September
Dead Nettle (Henbit) Lamium spp. ann. or per. herb feral, ornamental, sometimes invasive p February-October
Elm Ulmus spp. tree feral n,p February-April
Groundsel Senecio spp. ann. or per. herb, shrub feral, ornamental n,p February-May
Hawthorn Crataegus spp. shrub, tree feral n,p February-June
Peach Prunus persica tree cultivated n,p February-April
Pine Pinus spp. tree cultivated, feral p February-April
Skunk Cabbage (Polecat Weed) Symplocarpus foetidus per. herb feral, ornamental p February-April
Titi (Spring Titi) Cliftonia spp. shrub feral n,p February-April
Willow Salix spp. tree feral n,p February-June
Apple Malus spp. tree cultivated n,p March-May
Ash Fraxinus spp. tree feral p March-May
Blackberry Rubus spp. shrub cultivated, feral n,p March-June
Black Locust Robinia pseudoacacia tree feral n,p March-June
Cherry (cultivated and uncultivated) Prunus spp. tree, shrub cultivated, feral n,p March-May
Cottonwood Populus spp. tree feral p March-May
Flowering Dogwood Cornus florida tree feral n,p March-April
Gallberry Ilex glabra shrub feral n,p March-June
Mustard Brassica spp. ann. or bien. herb feral n,p March-September
Oak Quercus spp. tree feral p March-May
Persimmon Diospyros virginiana tree cultivated, feral n,p March-June
Plum (cultivated) Prunus spp. tree cultivated n,p March-April
Rape (Canola) Brassica napus ann. herb. cultivated oilseed n,p March-May
Rattan Vine Berchemia scandens shrub feral . March-June
Redbud Cercis spp. shrub, tree feral, ornamental n,p March-May
Tupelo Nyssa spp. tree feral n,p March-June
Vervain Verbena spp. ann. or per. herb feral, ornamental n,p March-October
Alsike Clover Trifolium hybridum per. herb cultivated forage n,p April-September
Bindweed Convolvulus spp. ann. or per. herb feral, ornamental, sometimes invasive n,p April-September
Buckeye Aesculus spp. shrub, tree feral n,p April-May
Buckthorn Rhamnus spp. shrub, tree feral, ornamental n,p April-June
Catclaw Acacia greggii shrub, tree feral n,p April-July
Coneflower Rudbeckia spp. ann., bien, or per. herb feral, ornamental n,p April-September
Corn Zea maize ann. cultivated p April-September
Crimson Clover Trifolium incarnatum ann. herb cultivated forage n,p April-June
Elderberry Sambucus spp. shrub, tree feral, ornamental n,p April-July
Holly Ilex spp. shrub, tree feral, ornamental n,p April-June
Honey Locust Gleditsia triacanthos tree feral n,p April-June
Honeysuckle Lonicera spp. shrub feral n,p April-August
Horsemint (Bee Balm) Monarda spp. ann. or per. herb feral, ornamental n,p April-October
Huckleberry Gaylussacia spp. shrub feral n,p April-June
Johnson Grass Sorghum halepense per. cultivated forage, feral, sometimes noxious . April-November
Marigold Gaillardia pulchella ann. feral, ornamental n,p April-October
Mesquite Prosopsis glandulosa shrub, tree feral n,p April-June
Pear Pyrus spp. tree cultivated, ornamental n,p April-May
Pepper Vine Ampelopsis spp. vine, shrub feral n,p April-August
Persian Clover Trifolium resupinatum ann. herb . n,p April-September
Privet Ligustrum spp. shrub feral, ornamental n,p April-July
Red Clover Trifolium pratense short-lived per. cultivated forage n,p April-September
Sage Salvia spp. ann. or per. herb, shrub ornamental n,p April-May
Sweet Clover (White, Yellow) Melilotus spp. bien. herb cultivated forage n,p April-October
Thistles Cirsium spp. ann., bien., or per. herb feral n,p April-October
Tickseed Coreopsis lanceolata per. herb feral n April-June
Titi (Summer Titi) Cyrilla racemiflora shrub feral n,p April-July
Tulip Poplar Liriodendron tulipifera tree feral n,p April-June
Vetch Vicia spp. ann. or bien. herb cultivated forage n,p April-September
White Clover (White Dutch, Ladino) Trifolium repens per. cultivated forage n,p April-October
Yellow Rocket Barbarea vulgaris bien. or per. herb feral, sometimes noxious n,p April-June
Alfalfa Medicago sativa per. herb cultivated forage n,p May-October
American Beautyberry (French Mulberry) Callicarpa americana shrub feral, ornamental n May-June
Aster Aster spp. per. herb feral n,p May-November
Bermuda Grass Cynodon dactylon per. grass cultivated forage . May-November
Bitterweed Helenium amarum ann. feral n,p May-November
Carpet Grass Phyla nodiflora per. herb feral, groundcover n May-frost
Catalpa (Catawba) Catalpa spp. tree feral n,p May-June
Chinese Tallow Tree Sapium sebiferum tree ornamental n May-June
Grape Vitis spp. per. vine cultivated n,p May-July
Palmetto (Cabbage Palm) Sabal spp. palm feral n,p May-July
Palmetto (Saw Palmetto) Serenoa repens palm feral n,p May-July
Prickly Pear Opuntia spp. cacti, tree-like feral, ornamental n,p May-June
Raspberry Rubus spp. shrub feral n,p May-June
Smartweed Polygonum spp. ann. or per. herb cultivated, feral, ornamental n,p May-November
Sorghum Sorghum bicolor ann. cultivated p May-October
Sourwood Oxydendrum arboreum tree feral, ornamental n,p May-July
Spanish Needles Bidens spp. ann. or per. herb feral, ornamental n,p May-November
Sumac Rhus spp. shrub, tree feral n,p May-September
Virginia Creeper Parthenocissus quinquefolia vine feral, ornamental n,p May-August
Watermelon Citrullus lanatus ann. cultivated n,p May-August
Anise Hyssop Agastache spp. per. herb feral, ornamental n,p June-September
Balloon Vine Cardiospermum halicacabum ann. or bien. vine feral, ornamental . June-August
Basswood Tilia spp. tree feral n,p June-July
Blue Vine Cynanchum laeve per. herb feral n,p June-September
Boneset (Joe-Pye Weed) Eupatorium spp. per. herb, shrub feral, ornamental n,p June-November
Buckwheat Fagopyrum esculentum herb cultivated n,p June-frost
Buttonbush Cephalanthus spp. shrub, tree feral n,p June-September
Clethra (Sweet Pepperbush) Clethra alnifolia shrub feral n,p June-September
Cotton Gossypium spp. ann. herb cultivated n,p June-September
Cowpea Vigna unguiculata ann. herb cultivated n,p June-September
Cranberry Vaccinium macrocarpon evergreen cultivated, feral n,p June-July
Ironweed Vernonia spp. per. herb, shrub, tree feral, ornamental n,p June-October
Lespedeza (Bush Clover) Lespedeza spp. per. herb, shrub feral, ornamental n,p June-October
Lima Bean Phaseolus lunatus herb cultivated n,p June-July
Loosestrife (Purple Loosestrife) Lythrum salicaria per. herb cultivated, feral n,p June-September
Mexican Clover Richardia scabra ann. herb cultivated, feral n June-frost
Milkweed Asclepias spp. per. herb feral n June-August
Mint Mentha spp. per. herb cultivated, feral, ornamental n June-September
Partridge Pea Cassia fasciculata ann. herb feral n,p June-October
Prickly Ash Aralia spinosa shrub, tree feral n June-August
Star Thistle Centaurea spp. ann., bien., or per. herb feral, ornamental n,p June-October
Sunflower Helianthus spp. ann. or per. herb cultivated ornamental and oilseed, feral n,p June-November
Vitex (Chaste Tree) Vitex spp. shrub, tree ornamental n,p June-July
Broomweed Gutierrezia texana per. herb feral . July-October
Goldenrod Solidago spp. per. herb feral n,p July-November
Ragweed Ambrosia spp. herb feral, often noxious p July-October
Snowvine Mikania scandens per. vine feral n,p July-frost
Soybean Glycine max ann. herb cultivated n,p July-October
Woodbine Clematis virginiana per. herb feral, ornamental n,p July-September
Brazilian Pepper Tree Schinus terebinthifolius shrub, tree feral, ornamental, sometimes noxious . August-October
Crown-beard Verbesina spp. ann. or per. herb, shrub, tree feral n,p August-October
Matchweed (Snakeweed) Gutierrezia  sarothrae per. herb feral n,p August-October
Prairie clover Dalea spp. herb, shrub feral n,p September-October
Baccharis (Groundsel) Baccharis spp. shrub feral, ornamental n,p October-November
Strawberry Fragaria x ananassa per. herb cultivated,feral n,p December-May



FarmBot: One Step Back, Two Steps Forward

It took Rhona Watson and me about 15 minutes Thursday to figure out that when I was working alone I had put two motor controller cables in the Y axis cable carrier instead of a motor power cable and a motor controller cable. If that’s incomprehensible to you, just know it’s not a good thing. The fix was to open the Y axis cable carrier back up, change out and reroute the cable, and then close it back up again.

And so goes our work assembling FarmBot. We make a little progress. We figure out something we did wrong. We cuss. Then we fix it and keep moving forward.

By the time we ran out of energy Thursday afternoon, we had connected power to both the X axis motors and had started in connecting the power to the Universal Tool Mount (UTM), the tiny little machine that alternately picks up, uses, and then puts down the key tools in FarmBot’s toolkit.

After several unsuccessful attempts to connect the 12 tiny wires in the UTM cable to the UTM, we made a decision to ignore the instructions from FarmBot about how to connect the wires and devised our own solution. FarmBot’s instructions say we should simply lay each wire against its designated screw and wrap it with a zip tie. Seemed flaky to us from the start and flakier after we actually tried it.

Instead, we ran to Fastenal in Montgomery (can’t get this at Lowe’s) and purchased some tiny 3M nuts. We then compressed each wire between the locknut provided by FarmBot and the nut we purchased. Tedious, but effective.

We’re taking a break until after the plant sale. When we return, we will finish wiring the UTM and move on to installing and connecting  Farmbot’s Raspberry Pi computer.

The Latest Progress on FarmBot

It’s like when you build a house. When it’s first coming out of the ground, it seems something dramatic is happening every day. That’s the way it was at first with our farming robot. Now things have quieted down, and there are not as many pretty pictures, but we’re making progress nonetheless.

Here’s where things stand as of this afternoon. The cables are in place for the X axis (running the length of the bed), the Y axis (running from side to side), and the Z axis (running vertically up and down). All the cables are safely tucked away in plastic cable carriers that look the tiniest bit like bulldozer tracks.

Next up is to span the gurney (the gizmo that carries all this amazing stuff) and get power simultaneously to the twin x axis motors (one on each side of the gurney). Then we will be mounting a little plastic box that contains the brains of the outfit, a tiny computer called a Raspberry Pi.

We will mount the rack that holds all the tiny tools that FarmBot uses to plant seeds, measure moisture levels, add water, and suppress weeds. And then we will begin to struggle through the seemingly limitless ways things can get messed up on a robotics tool like FarmBot.

Here’s a little video that lets you see how it looks right now.

Great and Tiny Progress on Farmbot

Friday was a day when Rhona Watson’s husband John and I made good progress on lots of tiny things. We were working with the components that make Farmbot a sophisticated precision farming machine.

I spent WAY too much time figuring out how to download and install the software that Farmbot needs to run its little Raspberry Pi 3 computer. While I was muttering in the corner in frustration, John mounted in their protective plastic box the computer, its little controller, and the shield that protects the controller.

We also put together the “Universal Tool Mount,” the little tin-can implement that alternately picks up to use and then puts down the seeder, the waterer, the soil sensor, and the weeder. Think wires. Tiny wires. Lots and lots of tiny wires. Secured to their mounting posts with, get this, tiny zip ties! Not the way this old man would have designed it, but what do I know?

Each of those implements needs little nubbins, knobs, and noodles to work, and we also put several of those tiny components together.

All in all a good day. Just no pretty pictures to share with you.

Lee Borden

Judy May on Repotting an Orchid

Judy May is one of CAMGA’s great teachers. Lean forward in your chair when you watch her demonstrate in our latest Stubborn Old Gardeners video how to repot an orchid. As with all our Stubborn Old Gardeners videos, you can rely on the accuracy of the captions!