#TeamTuesday: Adam Queen

Adam Queen is a horticulturalist at The Dixon and a part time urban farmer at Rolling Along Farms. He has been working at The Dixon since early 2019. Adam works in the cutting garden and greenhouses with the guidance of the greenhouse manager growing cut flowers from seed for the bi-weekly arrangements in the museum. Some specific flower species can take as long as four months from seed to harvest! This becomes quite the commitment as they require constant attention, meaning any number of things can go wrong during that time. Adam lso specializes in organic production, and also studies with the Soil Food Web in order to manage a living soil system. As the English would say, “That’s his bag.” This is a picture of his garden located off of Southern Ave between the University of Memphis and the Liberty Bowl which is conveniently located directly behind his house.

It’s a quarter acre lot that when he and his wife, Renee Embry, bought back in early 2019, was almost completely covered in bamboo. This is the sight of Rolling Along Farms that serves Wok‘n in Memphis (inside Puck Food Hall), the Cooper Young Farmers Market, and families in their neighborhood. This has become a sight/site for great experimentation and progress. Adam does not use any synthetic chemicals at all on his site. He maintains soil fertility with a variety of methods including biocomplete compost, compost extracts and teas, and organic amendments. The Soil Food Web approach uses tools to quantify what microorganisms are present in the soil and then determines the proper application of compost and/or compost teas necessary to ensure he can grow healthy plants.

Adam does not believe in soil disturbance of any kind. If there is a problem with really heavy clay a heavy duty broadfork can be used to break up the ground causing minimal disturbance. Imagine tillage (soil disturbance) as a hurricane, tornado, tsunami, earthquake, flood, and a wildfire. It will hit microbes all at once and destroy almost as much as it covers. From there you have to build your soil, a living biosphere, back up again. With no-till, your soil biology is intact, and you can continue to improve upon what you already have

The plan for the 2020 growing season at The Dixon is to cultivate the beds in the cutting garden organically. This is where annual face flowers and foliage are grown for the arrangements and special events. We have since had to shift gears, due to the Coronavirus, but the goal concerning cultivation at The Dixon is to move towards becoming as sustainable as possible.

Posted by Kristen Rambo at 10:47 AM
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