Building Beds and Super Soil

Now is the time to start thinking about saving seeds for next season.  The Enthusiastic Gardener, Charles Murphy, is back and in the mood to build something.  Our host, Harold Johnson, will explore gardening from the ground up with Dr. Nicolette Cagle, soil ecologist from Duke University.  

What’s Happening

  • Thinking about a fall vegetable garden? Check out this week’s timely tips.
  • It’s tick season: Be Alert.  Check out this week’s timely tips.
  • Find out more about Digging In Durham seed exchange at a library near you.
  • Now is the time to start preparing to help prevent insects from gaining access to your house -find out what steps to take.
  • Find out how to become a Durham County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer.

The Enthusiastic Gardener

Piedmont clay soil presents lots of challenges and the Enthusiastic Gardener, Charles Murphy, shares ways to raise your expectations.

For more information watch this video on Building Raised Beds

Expert Interview

Dr. Nicolette Cagle, Lecturer at the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University

This week Harold Johnson talks to soil ecologist Dr. Nicolette Cagle.  She is a lecturer at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University.  She also directs the Environmental Science Summer Program at Duke, and is a NC Science Leadership Fellow.

For more information visit Dr. Cagle website.

Coming Next….

Durham Sustainablity Manager, Tobin Freid, talks with Harold Johnson about Durham’s sustainability projects most notability Trees Across Durham. About 1,000 trees were planted last year by this project including over 400 planted at Durham public schools.


  • Cover Crops - AUGUST 16, 10-11am -  At the Briggs Ave. garden, Durham MG Leanna Murphy Dono will be leading a class on “Cover Crops and Crop Rotation” to help gardeners learn about planting fall/winter cover crops (like clovers and legumes) that help soil recover nutrients, improve soil structure and prevent weeds when not planted in vegetable crops.  If it’s raining at class time, we’ll meet at the Extension Office instead. This class is free and open to the public (including MG for continuing education credit and Briggs plot owners), but we have to have 7 people registered to officially proceed with a class; please call Pana at 919-560-0525 or email: [email protected]  to pre-register.
  • Garden to Table – Tasty Summer Vegetables - August 16, 1:30pm-3pm - Bring your whole family to learn how to use seasonal vegetables. Fee. JC Raulston Arboretum, Raleigh. 919-513-7011 or [email protected]
  • Sustainable Lawns - August 16, 2pm-4pm - Types of lawns depend on use, design goals and resources you are willing to invest. You can strive for lawns to be a dense grass of one type, mixed stands of many types of plants or alternatives like mosses or low ground covers. Lawns can be suitable for very active or more passive use. Alan will look at many lawn options while focusing on the sustainable issues that affect each. Fee. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill. 919-962-0522.
  • Extension Gardener Series: Autumn Container Design - August 21, 6:30pm-8pm-
    Learn how to design your own fall container garden. Sponsored with the NC Cooperative Extension Service Durham County. Fee. Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Durham. 919-668-1707.
  • Introduction to Botanical Illustration (Short Course) - August 23, 1pm-4:30pm - This half-day class explores the history of botanical illustration, shows examples of various types of botanical illustrations and botanical art, describes the coursework for the Certificate in Botanical Illustration, and introduces the instructors. It is required for ALL students beginning the NCBG certificate program but is open to anyone. No prerequisites. Fee. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill. 919-962-0522.
  • Well-Traveled: On the Influence of William Bartram and His “Travels” - August 24, 2:30pm-3:30pm -We’ll explore the many facets of Bartram’s influence here and abroad, from poets such as Wordsworth and Coleridge, to naturalists including Erasmus, Darwin and grandson Charles, Asa Gray, William Baldwin, and Charles Lyell. Free; advanced registration required.  North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill. 919-962-0522.


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