Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Agritourism: Explore and Discover

Agritourism is a growing interest across the world. Defined as an agricultural based farm or business that is open for public touring and interactive learning or entertaining.
Here in the great state of North Carolina, there are a plethora of opportunities for you and your family to explore and enjoy. 

Locally speaking, there are several opportunities for discovery that may go unnoticed.

Mitchell's Nursery and Greenhouse 

Mitchell's is a full-service tree and plant nursery that offers tours to groups. Here you will tour the greenhouses and be educated on the growing processes and irrigation. Then you will move on to the nursery, where you will see the hundreds of varieties of trees and shrubs. Mitchell's team of associates will be more than happy to answer questions along the way. A tour typically lasts for 30 minutes. Spring and late summer offer the most activity across the entire nursery, however, mid-November to December offers thousands of poinsettias in full bloom. Certainly, a sight to behold. Tours can be booked at any time. You may book by calling 336-983-4107 or by email at

Buffalo Creek Farms

Here you will find a 34-acre goat dairy and will be educated in the processes of cheese making and other day to day operations of a goat dairy.  Bring the kids and enjoy the day. Buffalo Creek Farms also has many different types of animals to see on the farm, such as miniature zebu cattle and llamas. To book your tour you may visit their website at for more information.

Plum Granny Farm

On this gently rolling 54 acre farm you will find a USDA certified organic farm where they grow raspberries, blackberries, garlic, ginger some vegetables and many more specialty items. You may book your tour by calling 336-994-2517 or by email at

Shelton Vineyards

 Located at 286 Cabernet Ln. Dobson, NC.
Here you will find an expansive vineyard along with the complete process of winemaking from start to finish. The vineyard also offers a restaurant and a retail area. You may call ahead to book your tour 336-366-4724 or visit their website for more information at

The Farm

Located in Dobson, The Farm has something for everyone. It is very kid friendly and is loaded with activities for the entire family. We encourage you to visit The Farm if you are looking for something the whole family can enjoy. They offer pony rides and hay rides and games. you can visit their website at or call them at336-817-5208

Mayberry Spirits

Located at 461 N. South St. Mount Airy NC. 
At the distillery, you will see first hand what goes into the process of creating whiskeys. They offer tastings to guests 21 and older. You may book your tour by visiting their website at

Miss Angels Heavenly Pies

This unique bakery is located at 153 North Main St. Mount Airy NC
All of their fruit pies are made from their own seasonal fruits that are grown in their own orchard.
Baking tours will be available Monday -Friday at noon and baking classes are conducted monthly.
You may contact the bakery at  or by email at or by phone at 336-786-1537

This is just a small list of endless possibilities. If you are interested in exploring all the possibilities you can visit the North Carolina Department of Agriculture's website at  There are so many working farms that make the world go round and offer education to children and adults everywhere.

I encourage you to check out what your area has to offer and if you are fortunate enough to be able to travel, I suggest you check out the offerings at your destination. Agritourism is an underexplored activity option for families and groups everywhere. Explore and discover with agritourism.

Strawberry cobbler


  • 3 cups fresh strawberries, diced
  • ½-3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 stick butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a medium bowl, add strawberries and ¾ cup sugar.
  3. Stir to coat strawberries in sugar and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
  5. Add in milk, vanilla extract and melted butter.
  6. Stir until combined. A few lumps are ok.
  7. Grease a 9-inch casserole dish.
  8. Pour batter evenly into dish.
  9. Spoon strawberries evenly on top of batter. Do NOT stir.
  10. Baked for 35-40 minutes or until golden.
  11. Serve warm or cold.




Spring has sprung and the world is coming alive! What a wonderful time of year it is. It seemed the winter would never end and now the birds are singing, the peep frogs are peeping and the crickets are chirping. Life is good! Now is the time of year that all that cold weather work outside really pays off. Now you can actually start to drop those seeds and plant your plugs and get this garden party started.

 Our vegetable garden should be calling out to us about now. It is longing for its usual capture of tiny seeds that it will nurture and grow. Deciding what to plant can be based on your preferences or your needs. Either way, you can put those seed directly into the ground with all confidence that the tiny, tender plants that will soon emerge, are safe.

Tomatoes are a staple that we find in just about every garden. They are easy to grow and give us enough fruit to provide for our family and usually some neighbors too. These are also good options for your patio plot or container garden. You can grow these from seed that you put straight in the ground but you may find greater success if you start them indoors, acclimate them to sunshine, and transplant the seedlings to your garden. Or you may simply buy young plants from your local nursery or garden center. That is the easiest way. Loose, well-drained soil is best for these plants and they thrive in full sun. Consistent moisture in well-drained soil is a must. You will need to stake or cage your tomato plants and do not remove any leaves that may be shading some of the fruit. Follow these simple guidelines and you will have fresh tomatoes in no time. There is nothing quite as delicious as a fresh tomato sandwich on a hot summer day unless it is one with basil leaves on top.

Peppers are a favorite among gardeners. These plants are high yield when given proper care. Water deeply and provide good drainage and you should have plenty of peppers to pick.  Peppers are not frost tolerant and need warm soil, so they definitely need to be planted after the threat of frost, which in our zone, zone 7, is usually around the first of May. The plant itself is an attractive addition to any garden. Some smaller peppers such as banana peppers or jalapeƱo peppers are often used in pots for their ornamental properties as the peppers will turn to bright red on the vine if not harvested in their green stage.

Lettuces can be sown straight into the ground and fare much better through the early season than in the hottest part of the growing season. However, you can still grow this crunchy favorite nearly all year long with properly timed re-sowing of new seeds. This leafy lovely will attract critters to your garden so you may need to take some precautions such as fencing or netting to keep the nibblers away. This can be put into containers and grown quite successfully.

Cucumbers are a long time favorite of the container gardener as they will grow vertically with a little guidance.  The cucumber has two ways of growing. There are the vining types, best for container growing in tight space and the bush type that are good for smaller areas and containers. Many gardeners use fencing panels or PVC arches for their vining cucumbers while some will use a trellis or even wooden stakes and some twine. Whatever you choose for your cucumbers. The key to an abundant cucumber crop is consistent watering.

 These are just a few of the available choices for your vegetable garden. But what about the flowers? Maybe you prefer blooms to veggies or maybe you are a gardener of both! Either way we could not talk about spring gardening without mentioning the bloomers.

 Let’s kick this section off with the geraniums. These longtime favorites have been a southern staple for the front porch for generations. While they are not frost tolerant at all, you want to make sure you don’t get them outdoors too soon. These beauties love full sun but they do appreciate a reprieve in the evenings, especially in hotter climates. They like their soil a bit on the dry side. After a thorough watering, they appreciate fast draining soil. Pinching them back will keep them looking bushy and not so leggy. The blossoms also need to be broken off as they fade. Most people grow this plant in containers. In the right spot though, they can be planted into the ground and either pulled up at the onset of cooler weather or you can take cuttings to start for next year. Keep in mind that in zone 7 this is not a perennial plant. With consistent watering and a weekly dose of liquid fertilizer, you should enjoy geranium success.

 Let’s hear it for impatiens! Who doesn’t love these gems of the garden? For a few years, they were not seen as often due to a widespread disease issue. Now, with new varieties that have been bred to resist disease we expect to see a rise in their popularity again. They will produce an abundance of flowers if they are placed in filtered light or morning sun where they can spend part of their day in the shade. These are excellent container flowers or if placed in the right location they make very dramatic border plants.

One of my favorites is the petunia. These are some of the easiest flowers to grow. They complement any porch or landscape. These summer bloomers will tolerate some shade but really show off their blooming power in full sun. If you will remove the fading blooms, your petunias will be encouraged to produce many more. This plant will produce blooms into early fall with regular watering and water-soluble fertilizer. Some of the newer varieties such as Supertunias, don’t need the dead blooms picked off.

Finally, the one plant that really needs to be in your plans whether you choose vegetable gardening or flower gardening or both, is the marigold. These come in many different varieties and are certainly beautiful, but what makes them so beneficial is their ability to deter pests of all sorts. While it is their scent that deters some nibblers and suppresses nematodes, it is their attractiveness that draws Japanese beetles and slugs to them. Marigolds provide a food source so that insects leave the other members of your garden family alone- a beautiful sacrifice from a beautiful plant.

These are only a tiny portion of all the possibilities for your garden and every garden is as unique as the gardener. When we finally make it to these first days of the planting season, it seems to stir joy in our hearts that only gardening can. My hope is that each of us can reach for a tiny hand and look into some very young eyes and pass this joy right along. It is the future of our world that lies beneath the soil and the roots of our families that lie just beneath our skin. When the two come together, it builds hope for the future and memories for all time.


Friday, March 29, 2019

The Road So Far: Growing Mitchell's Nursery and Greenhouse

The Road So Far:
Growing Mitchell's Nursery and Greenhouse

Mitchell's Nursery and Greenhouse, located in King, North Carolina offers a large variety of trees, shrubs and bedding plants along with seasonal vegetable plants and perennials. Many of the locals have shopped here for years for their plant needs and we see new faces traveling through all the time.
Recently the nursery has been undergoing some expansion. With the addition of several acres for growing beds as well as the construction of a new 3 bay gutter-house, Mitchell's Nursery is growing and changing with the times.

2019 will mark 40 years. Across the years there have been many hardships and joyful times that shaped the Mitchell's legacy to what it is today.
Join us as we journey into the story behind the trees...

There is no denying that Jim and Judy have always had a passion for trees. Both shared a love of all things rooted at very early ages.
Jim Mitchell grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. When Jim was still in elementary school, he and his father turned his sand box into a rooting bed. Together they rooted azaleas and camellias and also started a few camellias from seed, which is not easy. Jim and his father traveled around the area and got gallon cans from school cafeterias to pot their azaleas in after punching holes in them. When Jim got to high school he landed a job with a local landscape business. Then, he and his father built a small greenhouse in their back yard. This set the stage for what would become a lifelong passion, turned business.
  Jim entered college to pursue a BS degree in horticulture at North Carolina State University. Little did he know that while he was on this path to cultivate his love of plants, he would meet someone who shared his passion. Enter- Judy Jarrett.
  Judy had grown up on a family dairy farm in Catawba County, North Carolina. She spent many early days with her grandmother, while her sisters were in school. During these impressionable years her grandmother shared with her, her passion for gardening and flowers. With her grandmother's help Judy planted her first flower bed before she even started school. Within this flower bed they had planted thrift, or creeping phlox that they had pulled up from her house or at the cemetery where her grandmother had planted at her parents graves. Many people would plant flowers at cemeteries during these times as it gave way for flowers all year. It was thought to be a sentimental gesture to take cuttings or rooting from these plants to plant in the yard as a remembrance of a loved one.
Judy's father made a small flower bed under a willow oak in their yard and filled it with old manure from behind the barn. There is where Judy's grandmother began to nurture her love of plants. As her grandmother wasn't able to get down and plant herself, she instructed Judy on how to plant. Later, in a bed her father had made behind the house, they would scatter seeds from four o' clocks and sultanas, which was a forerunner of the impatiens that we know today. After Judy got into elementary school, she grew her love of plants when she joined a 4-H group where one of her projects was flower growing. She documented and took pictures of a large flower bed and won a medal in horticulture at the county level. This was, for her, the gateway to her growing passion.

   Fast forward to NC State. Jim Mitchell was on the same path and it didn't take long for their paths to cross while working their summer jobs with the horticulture department at the university. This chance meeting led to wedding bells in 1975. While in college they grew and sold plants at the farmers market at the state fairgrounds in Raleigh.

Jim graduated from NC State in 1976 followed by Judy in 1977. After Judy's graduation, Jim accepted a job with The North Carolina Department of Agriculture, where he inspected pesticides in five counties. This prompted them to move to King, NC. Judy soon took a job with Happy Garden - Garden Center in King. Later, High Knoll Plant Farm came to Walkertown, NC. where Joe Angel brought Judy on board to help him learn the ways of greenhouse growing and give him a firm start in the plant growing business.

Mitchell's Nursery began on a half acre in Jim and Judy's backyard, where they started rooting and growing azaleas in 1979. As time went on they added trees, shrubs and mums and welcomed the addition of a baby boy in 1980. As their little back yard business and their family grew, they needed to relocate. This move placed them on 12 acres in their current location on West Dalton Rd. in King, in 1993. The nursery kept growing and led to the addition of a greenhouse in 1996. It was then that Mitchell's Nursery became Mitchell's Nursery and Greenhouse.

The very first crop that was grown in the new greenhouse was poinsettias. In the following spring, geraniums were grown along with bedding plants. Soon, a second greenhouse was added, and then another. Soon there were five.  In 2002, the Mitchell's were happy to welcome their son back home after being away to attend college. He quickly found his niche' with the growing business as he was put in charge of growth and expansion in 2003. In 2003, a three bay gutter connected house was added. It was then that the poinsettia trials began. The trials are how the poinsettia breeders gather their information from year to year on each variety of poinsettia and how they grow and are favored and perceived by the general public. The original two greenhouses were sold to local farmers and dismantled to be moved.

More bays were added to the gutter connected houses to reach a total of 7 bays and garage bays at each end. The Mitchell's have expanded their workforce as needed through the years and have come a long way since hiring their first part time employee in the spring of 1998. Their first full time employee was added in 2000. Today the Mitchell's employ five full time employees in addition to the three original family members and still bring in seasonal help as needed. This family owned business not only sees involvement from the original family unit of 3 but also enjoys some extra help from a daughter-in-law and 4 granddaughters.

 40 years and three generations are rooted in the nursery and greenhouse business.
This year has seen even more growth and expansion and is set to lead Mitchell's into the future with the same quality products and great service that has gotten them down this road so far.

Judy's Best Broccoli Salad

Judy's Broccoli Salad

3 broccoli florets, cut in ½” pieces
½ onion, diced
½ c. chopped walnuts
½ c. dried cranberries

3/4 c. mayonnaise type salad dressing
1/3 c. white vinegar
1/3 c. sugar

Combine toppings . Chop and mix vegetables, nuts, and cranberries. Pour topping over and stir. Let sit for 1 hour before eating for flavors to absorb.

NOTE: You may add shredded cheese, Bacon, Cauliflower or slivered almonds to add some varied flavors and textures


An Easter Story

An Easter Story

   Easter occurs each year on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal Equinox (The first day of spring), which is why there is such a wide variance in its date every year. It is at this time that churches fill their alters and chapels with the delicate, pure white blooms of the Easter lily. The base of the crosses will usually be surrounded as well in recognition of the Resurrection.

The Easter Lily, also known as the Bermuda lily or the Trumpet Lily, has become a prolific icon in the celebration of one of the most important Christian holidays. For centuries the Easter lily has been a symbol of elegance and spirituality in association with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ after his execution. Unlike all of the other Pagan symbolization that we see in modern times, such as, the Easter bunny, colorful eggs, and candy, the Easter lily has been around since biblical times.

 The Easter lilies we use today are sometimes referred to as 'The White Robed Apostles of Hope'. 

There is one legend that speaks of how the blood of Christ made its way to the ground and miraculously turned into flowers that filled the earth and heaven.The bulb of the flower as it is buried in the ground is representative of the tomb of Jesus Christ. The white trumpet flowers represent his life after death. The white color represents the Savior's purity and their trumpet shape represents the Angel Gabriel's call to re birth and new life. 

   One of the oldest stories of the Easter lily is that it originated in the garden of Eden and its seeds were spread by Eve's tears as she left the garden. While there are conflicting stories about this, some accounts say that it is not the Easter lily, or trumpet lily but rather the snowdrop.
   No matter what the legend or story behind this lovely flower, it is by far one of the most iconic of all spring flowers and has been the subject of many artists and writers throughout time.

                                            Easter morn with lilies fair
                                     Fills the church with perfumes rare,

As their clouds of incense rise,

Sweetest offerings to the skies.
Stately lilies pure and white
Flooding darkness with their light,
Bloom and sorrow drifts away,
On this holy hallow’d day.
Easter Lilies bending low
in the golden afterglow,
Bear a message from the sod
To the heavenly towers of God.

-Louise Lewin Matthews


Rightly the lily is the flower of Easter. It lies buried in the ooze of pond or stream. There is nothing in the grave of the dead lily that appeals to nostril or eye. But silently the forces of life are working in the dark and the damp to prepare a glorious resurrection. A shaft of green shoots upward toward the sun. This is followed by a cluster of tiny buds. One day the sun smiles with special warmth upon the dank, black ooze, and there leaps into the light a creature of light and beauty; it is the lily, an angel of the earth, whose look is light.  ___________Author Unknown-_________

Here is an interesting fact.
95% of the worlds crop of Easter lilies are produced right here in the United States. Along the border of northern California and Southern Oregon. However, they originate from the Ryukyu islands of southern Japan.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

What's new at the nursery

Mitchell's Nursery and Greenhouse
Located in beautiful King, North Carolina 
Growing to help you grow!

We are constantly striving to improve and grow with you in mind.  We are currently expanding and adding to our nursery growing and greenhouse areas to offer a larger selection of quality trees, shrubs, perennials, hanging baskets, and bedding plants.

We are also expanding our services to include Landscape consultations!
If you find yourself wanting to plant your own landscape but you are not really sure where or how to begin, we are here to help. 

Simply measure your area to be planted and bring a simple drawing or picture of your area with your measurements to your appointment and we will assign one of our knowledgeable associates to help you with the what, where, and how of your DIY landscape project.

If you are looking to do a foundation planting, that is, the planting you do around the foundation of your home you will need to bring a simple drawing or picture of your home and the following measurements: 

* Across the entire front of your home, if your home has alcoves you will need to measure from corner to corner on each outside wall.
* From the bottom of your windows to the ground.
* Between each window and from the window to any outside corners.
* From the outside corner to any porches or steps.
* Measure from the outside wall of your house out to the edge of your designated planting area. 

If you are going to be planting an area, you will need to bring a simple drawing or picture of your area along with the following measurements: 

* From any structure wall to the outside edge of your bedding area. If there is no structure in your area you will need to measure from side to side at its widest point and a separate measurement at its narrowest points.
* From the edge of the bed to any street or sidewalk areas.
* If planting a bed along a structure, measure under any windows.
* Include measurements from bedding edges to any walls, steps, or other trees bushes etc. that may be in or around your bedding area.

We always welcome you to come by with any questions you might have.
If you are interested in a tree or shrub and would like to know how fast or large it grows or whether it prefers sun or shade, we are always here to help you. However, if you think you might need a little more one on one help, you can schedule a consultation at the nursery today. or call 336-983-4107
We can give you some professional direction on any of your planting desires. From basic foundation plantings to perennial beds and trees. We can also advise you on shade and sun compatibility and how to care for your plants after they are in the ground, including water and fertilizing, and if you need some help with pruning do's and don'ts we are here to help.
The fee for a consultation is $60.00 and you will receive a $25.00 gift certificate that is good for 30 days after your consultation and in addition you will receive 5% off any purchases made within 30 days after your consultation to get you started. That is a pretty sweet deal!

As always we are here to help you and your plants succeed!