A local farmer’s best advice about growing vegetables

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ARCHDALE, N.C. -- For years, Russell Farlow created custom homes, until the market bottom out in 2008. He quickly had to learn a new trade.

"I like the building, but this, I really enjoy it, you just know when you're supposed to do something," Farlow said among his rows of freshly farmed lettuces and cauliflower.

Farlow is now known for building crop after crop of tasty locally grown greens. His vegetables are huge hits at local farmer's markets. After much trial and error, there is one overriding factor in the success of his delicious vegetables.

"Make sure you have really good fluffy top soil. You can fertilize things to death, but if you don't have good land, you've got to make a really good basis to start."

Farlow says the best way to tell if you have good soil is to take a fistful and try and ball it up. If it sticks together like a ball, it means you need to roughen and loosen it up a bit.

"I've turned some bad soil into some really good land this way. Get some leaf mulch or compost from the city and work it in. Just keep working it in every year. It'll work for you."