Sunday, December 04, 2016

Sunday Savory: Arugula Pesto

Guest post by Shelby Smith
   Arugula is fresh green that can continue to grow into the month of December here in the Mod-Atlantic. It will continue growing in your garden until a really bad frost. Try making pesto with Arugula rather than Basil. It is fresh, creamy, and has a subtle peppery flavor. 



Ingredients
  • A hand full of fresh Arugula, rinsed.
  • 4-6 tbsp. of olive oil.
  • 3 cloves of garlic.
  • 2 tbsp. of Parmesan cheese.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
Directions
  1. In a food processor or blender blend the arugula, garlic, and cheese.
  2. Slowly drizzle in the oil as the blend is running until pesto is smooth and garlic is minced.
  3. Add salt and pepper for taste.
Traditional pesto has toasted pine nuts added to it and you can add that to this pesto with you would like a nutty and toasted flavor. You can serve this over any type of pasta, drizzle it over a tomato and mozzarella salad, or spread it on a pizza. If any leftover, you can store this in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
"Savory Sunday" is a new weekly blog series with seasonal recipes from the garden.
About the Author:
Shelby Smith is a senior double major in multi-platform journalism and film studies at the University of Maryland College Park. She was a sports copy-editor for a campus publication called Unwind Magazine and a writer at The Campus Current newspaper at Anne Arundel Community College. 

Calendula: You Can Grow That!


Calendula (Calendula officinalis) also known as Pot Marigold or Poet's Marigold is a half-hardy perennial plant that readily re-seeds if ever a bad winter kills it fully back.

Plant it in full sun and in well-draining, loamy soil. I only water it if we have not had a decent rain in weeks. Deadhead them frequently to encourage continual blooming. (I find them to be a long-lasting cut-flower.) You should also occasionally weed around them and pull out new seedlings to pot them up and pass them on to other gardeners.

It was named Herb of the Year in 2008 as it is edible and beneficial. Snip off the colorful ends of the flower petals to add a pretty accent to any salad or as a decoration on baked goods. It has a very light taste -- like a spicy pale honey. The dried petals can be used to color broths, cheeses, and butter. They are a thrifty substitute for the very expensive saffron.



Calendula tends to sulk in the summer heat of the Mid-Atlantic, but that is just a pause in its robust routine. In my garden plot, I cannot recall any month of the year that it doesn't have a few blooms opening up. This is a tremendous workhorse that belongs in every edible and cutting garden.



All who are involved with You Can Grow That! (YCGT!) believe that plants and gardening enhance our quality of life. We want people to be successful with what they grow and to become more aware of the many gifts that horticulture brings. Find out more at http://www.youcangrowthat.com/.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Top 10 New Books for Gardeners

Here is a selection of new books (published in 2016) that were reviewed in Washington Gardener Magazine. I have a given a snippet of the review below each book. To read the full reviews, go peruse our back issues at https://issuu.com/washingtongardener/docs. I think these books would make great gifts for the gardeners in your life as well as to gift yourself for reading during winter's bleakest days.

1. The Cocktail Hour Garden: Creating Evening Landscapes for Relaxation and Entertaining



Our reviewer said: "I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to adopting its basic principles in my garden."

2. All the Presidents' Gardens: Madison's Cabbages to Kennedy's Roses_How the White House Grounds Have Grown with America



"I found the book a fun read and good reference," commented our reviewer "It would make a great gift for a local gardener or one who loves the history of the White House."

3. Bonsai and Penjing: Ambassadors of Peace & Beauty



"This book would be a good coffee-table piece, a great addition for anyone interested in bonsai trees or plant history, or a souvenir from the National Arboretum," said our reviewer.

4.  Grow For Flavor: Tips and Tricks to Supercharge the Flavor of Homegrown Harvests



Our reviewer raved, "'Grow for Flavor' makes the latest horticultural research accessible to the home gardener. Bursting with ideas, it invites frequent returns and sparks further adventures in gardening."

5. Hand-Built Outdoor Furniture: 20 Step-by-Step Projects Anyone Can Build



"Overall, the book is a very satisfying do-it-yourself guide with tasteful and varied projects," said our reviewer, "but could intimidate those who may find the prospect of simply screwing in all the slats to a bench perfectly straight a little daunting. It should be highly considered as a project book for anyone looking to add some character to his or her yard or garden."


6. Natural Color: Vibrant Plant Dye Projects for Your Home and Wardrobe





Our reviewer said, "The book is hardcover, colorful, and contains several photos of dyed fabrics, flowers in the natural form, and plants at various stages of extracting their dye.
It is a nice flip book or conversation starter. I would recommend this book to anyone, especially fashion designers wanting to dye their own fabric and anyone who is interested in doing some natural tie dying."

7. Garden Revolution: How Our Landscapes Can Be a Source of Environmental Change by Larry Weaner (2016-05-18)






"I strongly feel this book has a place beside every beginning or seasoned gardener’s favorite chair, so it is readily accessible. The ideal of how we can create our own revolutionary experience in our gardens has been achieved by the collaboration of Larry Weaner and Thomas Christopher," said our reviewer.


8. RHS Miniature Garden Grower: Terrariums & Other Tiny Gardens to Grow Indoors & Out by Holly Farrell (2016-06-02)




Our reviewer said, "'Miniature Garden Grower' is the perfect guide to planting creative small gardens in ways that one may have never thought about. The book provides a large amount of variety and is well organized, providing inspiration to the reader."

9. 101 Chilies to Try Before You Die



"This book is of interest to anybody growing chilies and in having colorful and visually interesting vegetables in his or her garden—no matter how big or small. The book itself makes a handy reference work and certainly a good gift for anybody interested in gardening," said our reviewer.

10. Late Bloomer: How to Garden with Comfort, Ease and Simplicity in the Second Half of Life



Our reviewer said, "I recommend this book if you have just begun your garden journey upon entering the next phase of life. It’s a great read with useful hints and tips, no matter what age you are!"

Monday, November 28, 2016

Top 10 Gifts for Gardeners

As the holiday season is upon  us, I find my email inbox filling up with requests from product companies and PR companies urging me to share their wares with you all. Yet, I cannot in good conscience, promote anything that I have not used and tested myself. 
   This year, I was honored to be asked to be a judge of the Direct Gardening Association's Green Thumb Awards for the best new garden products and plants. The first seven gifts on this list that I am recommending come from these product evaluations that I did and I can highly endorse these as I tested them in my own home garden. The winning Green Thumb products were selected based on their uniqueness, technological innovation, ability to solve a gardening problem or provide a gardening opportunity, and potential appeal to gardeners.
   The last few gift recommendations are for tried-and-true products that I have used over many years and that I have come to trust and cherish. These are the ones I buy for fellow gardeners and that I am loathe to let anyone borrow lest they not be speedily returned.
   What garden tools do you love? Feel free to share in the comments section below.

1.  Kitchen Garden Kit - Grow Microgreens & Baby Greens - Botanical Interests




2. Plant A Bar, 28217; x 48217;



3. Happy Leaf LED V2 Grow Light



4. Purple Pillar Hibiscus - 4" pot - Rose of Sharon



5. Proven Winners Invincibelle Ruby Smooth Hydrangea (Arborescens) Live Shrub, Pink and Red Flowers, 1 gallon


6.  Hazzard's Seeds Calendula Snow Princess 250 seeds



7.  Fingerling Potato Molly Black - 10 certified ORGANIC Purple Heirloom Potato Seeds

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8. CobraHead Weeder and Cultivator


9. O'Keeffe's Working Hands Hand Cream, 3.4 oz., Jar


10. Alaska Fish Fertilizer 5-1-1 Concentrate 1 Quart



and one bonus stocking-stuffer pick:

Corona AG4930SS Long Straight Snip, Stainless Steel