Row by Row Episode 13: The Hoss Sustainable Living Center

Sunbelt Ag Expo: Hoss Sustainable Living Center

On this week’s episode, Greg and Travis talk about their yearly demonstration garden at the Hoss Sustainable Living Center. The Hoss Sustainable Living Center was started in 2014 as part of the Sunbelt Agricultural Expo in Moultrie, Georgia, which occurs every year in the third week of October. The Sustainable Living Center consists of an approximately half-acre demonstration garden in addition to a pavilion with exhibitors related to gardening and sustainable living. This allows customers to come and test out the tools in the garden and see which tools/products work best for them. Over the years, the guys have been able to experiment and determine which crops perform best in this planting area. Because the garden is surrounded by a 400+ acre research farm, the insect and disease pressure is troublesome. In addition, the garden is located in an old airfield that is extremely flat and drains poorly. The guys have had to add several amounts of good compost to try to build things up in the garden thus far and it seems to have helped greatly. Some crops that they have tried and seem to do really well there include kale, sweet potatoes, corn, and chard. They tried the Asian green mixes last year and they did really well also and only took 21 days to maturity. Every year they usually grow cauliflower and Brussel sprouts which are typically not ready to harvest at the time of the show but are fairly close. Although winter squash is timely for the annual agricultural expo, they don’t grow very well there due to whiteflies and powdery mildew. Travis explains that they do not direct seed much when it comes to preparing plants for the demo garden only okra, corn, and sometimes peas. They typically like to transplant everything because it tends to grow better and they have better control when it comes to insect/disease pressure. This year they are trying fall potatoes for the first time and hoping that will be a success. If it does not Greg and Travis always have a backup plan to grow something else in the potato spot instead.

Show and Tell Segment

On the show and tell segment this week, the guys talk about pears and okra. Greg is eating a pear that he got from his neighbor’s yard. He mentions that these old varieties of pears are harder, but tend to have great flavor and make great pies. Travis talks about his succession plantings of okra in his garden. He mentions that the first planting is getting too tall to harvest and that he may soon remove it and start harvesting the second planting. As they start planting for the SunBelt expo the tool of the week is our seed starting trays. They have a flat of binary giant zinnias that they have planted that are growing good.

Viewer Questions Segment

On the question and answer segment, the guys answer questions about drip irrigation and amending clay soils. Travis explains how to calculate your water flow rate using a stopwatch and a 5-gallon bucket. Once the flow rate is calculated, it’s easy to figure how much drip tape your well or water supply can support. Greg answers a question about amending clay soils in the garden. He mentions that adding significant amounts of good organic matter compost and gypsum or land plaster can improve clay soils. In addition, adding organic matter via cover crops and compost will improve soil workability and drainage.

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