March 2021

Read Joan Clayton-Davis' interview from this month's Nashville Public Library Seed Exchange newsletter:

This month, NPL kicked off its ninth year of our Seed Exchange. If you’re subscribed to this newsletter, there's a good chance you’ve attended one of our workshops with Master Gardener Joan Clayton-Davis, a regular presenter and organizer of our gardening workshops. We did a full interview with her a few years ago, but decided to check back in with her this season to see how her garden life is going.

Seed Exchange: What are you most excited about at the beginning of this season?

Joan Clayton-Davis: Three things: 1. Getting outside and enjoying nature and planning my 2022 garden; 2. Getting started with our educational sessions in partnership with NPL Seed Exchange Program; 3. Looking at seed catalogues and trying to decide what I will grow this year.

SE: Since we are in the middle of winter, what are you doing for your garden right now? Do you do anything to your soil?

JCD: I am cleaning my raised beds, cleaning and disinfecting garden tools, and will soon get a soil sample to see if I need to amend the garden soil.

SE: What sort of seedlings will you be starting indoors?

JCD: Tomatoes, peppers – especially hot peppers like Scotch bonnet.

SE: Are you worried about the unpredictable Nashville winter this year, or do you tend to transplant around the same time regardless?

JCD: Don't worry about our crazy weather. I follow the UT Planting calendar for early spring planted vegetable garden, warm season gardens, and fall gardens. I also will look for flowers in the landscape to see them pop up from the soil so I can separate them (such as hosta).

SE: Has your relationship to gardening changed at all during the pandemic?

JCD: Yes. We were hit by the pandemic with multiple restrictions. We had an in-ground garden at TSU Research Farm Community, but the March 2020 tornado destroyed much of the farm. We had to go to raised beds in a relative's backyard, but it has been a good experience. Additionally, we did more container gardening on our deck with good success. That will be what we will do in 2022.

SE: What tips do you have for new gardeners who want to learn but are overwhelmed by the amount of information out there?

JCD: For new gardeners, go small and choose a few things you would like to grow. Take advantage of NPL Seed Exchange and educational sessions provided by Master Gardeners. Use UT and TSU Cooperative Extension Resources as guides and contact a Master Gardener for assistance.

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