• Fruit & nut trees, berry bushes, edible landscaping plants

  • Adapted to the Southern Appalachian and Piedmont bioregions

  • Naturally grown in an ecovillage

  • By friendly and knowledgeable useful plant specialists

  • Permaculture and edible landscape design services

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    Fruiting Plants
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    Nut Trees
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    Medicinal Plants
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    Permaculture Plants
  • Spring fertilization and voles

    Spring fertilization and voles

    Wednesday, 26 April 2017

    We’re well into spring in our neck of the woods. Most of the berries have bloomed and set fruit, and the canopy trees are leafing out. Even those smart natives, such as muscadines, pawpaws and persimmons, are leafing out. With our recent rain, the plants are really going to take off.

    Is there anything I should watch for with our unusually warm winter?
    It is time to make sure your plants are being fertilized adequately for their optimum growth. Check for vole and rodent damage. Begin pinch pruning tips to encourage lateral branching. Get ready to savor your first homegrown fruit.

    In the rest of the column, I discuss spring fertilization and voles.

  • About Useful Plants Nursery

    About Useful Plants Nursery

    Tuesday, 05 April 2016

    Upcoming Events

    We will be bringing plants to the following events. Please let us know a couple days ahead of time if you would like us to bring something especially for your garden.

    Growing in the Mountains

    April 28-29, Friday and Saturday, 9-5
    WNC Farmers Market, Asheville

    Growing in the Mountains features over 20 local family nurseries growing a wide variety of plants, including garden starts, herbs, perennials, and landscaping trees.

    Herb Fest

    May 5-6, Friday-Saturday, 8:30-5
    May 7, Sunday, 10-3
    WNC Farmers Market, Asheville

    This show features herbal plants and products. "If it's herbs, it's here." Lots of herbs, lots of people.

    Spring and Fall Nursery Hours

    The nursery is open the following times:

    • Wednesdays, 9-noon
    • Fridays, 9-5
    • Saturdays, 9-2

    If you would like to visit the nursery at another time, please contact us at least a couple days ahead of time to schedule an appointment.

    Buying Plants

    Visit our nursery, order and pick up, or schedule delivery, see what options could work for you on our Buying Plants page. Note that we can only accept cash and checks at the nursery because we don't have cell phone coverage to process credit cards.

    About Us

    Useful Plants Nursery is a permaculture-based nursery specializing in useful, phytonutritional, food, and medicine plants well-adapted to our Southern Appalachian mountains and surrounding bioregions. Our plants are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides at our nursery located at Earthaven Ecovillage.

Adapting to spring in winter

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Adapting to spring in winter

Given that current reality of change being the only certainty, and with the spring blooming fruits of our region being notorious for emerging in a warm spell and then getting hammered by a hard frost, I’d say our favorite fruit yields for those spring bloomers, such as apples, pears, peaches, cherries, and blueberries, are at serious risk of freeze damage once they begin to bud swell and flower.

Some plants will likely get through unfazed if their flowing timing catches a lucky break, but the uncertainty suggests some preparation to protect your flowering fruits may be in order.  The most reliable method would be to drape or cover your susceptible plants during the danger period.  If you don’t have a supply of freeze protection blankets on hand and a plan for how to secure them, I’d suggest you avail yourself of a supply and some cord, stakes, and landscape staples to secure them during windy conditions.


So, for the homeowner, what are your best freeze protection blanket materials choices? Probably the best simple option would be a supply of cheap or used acrylic or wool blankets in the larger sizes for small trees, and smaller sizes for bushes.  They will work so much better than sheets, burlap, tarps or plastic if there is a hard freeze.  The spun bonded veggie row covers are generally too light, and will be ripped up by the branches of trees or shrubs.  For larger scale, there are some very durable, nursery winter protection blanket materials available, but they come in large rolls and may be ordered from nursery supply businesses.

You can check out UPN’s instructional youtube videos on winter protecting figs for some more elaborate freeze protection schemes.  However, they are more elaborate than needed for a few nights of protection.  Generally just draping and securing your plants will be sufficient.

I’ll be giving a talk at this spring’s Organic Grower’s School in Asheville on Sunday, March 12 on horticultural responses to climate uncertainty.  We’ll look at permacultural and horticultural strategies and methods to grow healthy, fruitful plants during the challenging growing conditions that will mark the times ahead.
Cultivating Abundance,   …. The chuckster