Progressive Gardens – Tomatoes, Classes, Produce from the Farm.

Progressive Gardens owner Evan Folds started his retail business in November 2002.  They are located at 6005 Oleander Dr.  Progressive Gardens specializes in organic agriculture as well as indoor gardening and hydroponic equipment.   Their primary goal is to change the current methods of food production by educating the public on where their food comes from, and how it can be produced in a more efficient way without detrimental effects on the environment. Progressive Gardens strives to empower people to take control of their food supply by making good choices in purchasing, by being a resource of knowledge and by providing garden supplies to the community.

Progressive Gardens does a few programs in the shop to support local farms including Cottle Organics CSA, Downeast Connect Online Farmers Market, and most recently, Copper Guinea Farm & Kitchen.

  • CSA: Community Supported Agriculture is run through Cottle Organics in Rose Hill, NC. This costs $300 up front to get started. The season is 12 weeks long, and each week, customers receive a ¾ bushel (12-15 pounds, 5-7 varieties of produce). Weekly bushels can be picked up at Progressive Gardens.
  • Downeast Connect Online Farmers Market: This is a new program in which customers logon (for free) to, can order whatever foods have been posted that week by the local farms, and choose a pickup location. Progressive Gardens is one location as is UNCW, and the Cameron Arts’ Center.
  • Copper Guinea Farm & Kitchen: Progressive Gardens works closely with this small family farm, producing specialty vegetables, salad toppings, and fresh milled breads and baked goods. Ground work is being laid for a program to bring in people from the city, to the farm, in order to introduce them to what it means to produce your own food, tend livestock, “be a farmer!” Volunteers for harvesting and planting will be needed, and Progressive Gardens is taking names for this project now!

Support our locally owned and operated businesses, grow some fantastic organic gardens or order through CSA, and consider volunteering at Copper Guinea Farm & Kitchen! Please be sure to stop by and say hello to our friends at Progressive Gardens for your FREE compost tea!

Growing tip of the month: Fabulous Organic Tomatoes

We know that in the south it gets very warm, and tomatoes like night time temperatures of 85 degrees Fahrenheit or less. That being said, tomatoes should be planted as early as possible without the threat of frost, normally around April 15th; though earlier this year due to warmer temperatures. This year, you can begin planting in the next week or so.

What will you need:  Tomato seeds, organic potting soil, organic matter/ compost which provides nutrients and helps soil hold water, Dr. Earth (a great dry fertilizer). Optional supplies include Serenade for disease control.  And remember, new customers receive 10 Gallons of free Compost Tea, which is a liquid compost to be applied once a month…helping the tomato plant build up its immune system.

Soil must have a proper balance of minerals and adequate organic matter: peat moss, compost, etc. Progressive Gardens provides soil testing and will assist in finding the right balance for your planting area based on our southern climate.

Make sure to plant tomatoes as deep as possible, the more stem buried, the more roots the plant will produce!  Tomatoes like early morning sun, normally 6am – 12pm. Afternoon sun is hard on the plants. Watering should be done daily, letting soil dry out slightly but not to the point of plant wilting. Remember, do NOT overwater. Finally, be sure to trim suckers off the tomato stem…these are where other stems are going to grow and steal vital nutrients from the tomatoes on main stalk.

So there you have it…all the tips from our friends at Progressive Gardens on growing tomatoes. They have all the supplies and knowledge to make this experience productive, fruitful, and positive for you and/or your family! Happy Gardening!

Classes are offered on weekends including learning the basics of starting a garden, composting, controlling pests, and more!  Ten gallons of compost tea is provided Free to all new customers. Services and products offered include: soil testing, organic seeds, organic soils, fertilizers, non-toxic pest and disease control, beneficial insects, wheat grass and sprouting supplies, rain barrels, composters, and much more.

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