Friday, June 26, 2015

Fenton Friday: Weedy Warning

So this week I got the dreaded the inspection warning that I needed to weed my plot. No big surprise. Almost half of the other plots received the same warning. I knew it was coming -- two weeks ago, my plot was weed-free and inspection-ready. But, for the same reasons the inspection were delayed, so has my weeding been put off since then -- those reasons are two weeks of brutal heat interrupted by several monsoon-like rainstorms -- the result of which is hip-high garden growth and monster weeds. I'll try to hack it back into submission over the weekend, but more rains are forecast, so we shall see...

On the good news front, I was surprised to be able to harvest both carrots and the first few of my 'Sun Gold' tomatoes today. Both were sweet and delicious. Neither of these early harvest made it back to my kitchen.

Also, the interns planted 'Blue Lake' green beans on the back edge of my plot. My hope is that they will be able to harvest at least a few of these in 45-60 days at the end of their summer intern period. If this weather pattern of hot days and big rains keeps up, I think we may well have beans to show in record time.

How is your edible garden growing this week?

About Fenton Friday:
Every Friday during the growing season, I'll be giving you an update on my community garden plot at the Fenton Street Community Garden just across the street from my house. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 4th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.)

Win Vintage-style Poster Art in Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest

For our June 2015 Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away 3 limited-editon poster prints from our recent DC Plant Swap (prize value: $10 each).
   Ben Schifman of the Wangari Gardens in Washington, DC, designed this vintage-feel poster to commemorate and promote our 8th annual plant swap. The poster is 11x17 and is numbered on the back. It is suitable for framing and sure to become a collector’s piece.
   To enter to win one of the three remaining DC Plant Swap Posters, send an email to WashingtonGardener@rcn.com by 5:00pm on Tuesday, June 30, with “Swap Poster” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Tell us which was your favorite article in this June 2015 issue of the magazine and why. Please also include your full name and mailing address. The poster winners will be announced and notified on July 1.

UPDATE:
Congratulations to our 3 poster winners chosen at random from among the submitted entries:
~ Lisa M. of Bethesda, MD
~ Polly Q. of Annandale, VA
~ Esther K. of Washington, DC

Thursday, June 25, 2015

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK: Behnke Nurseries


Behnke Nurseries today reflects the same old-fashioned principles set by our founders. We offer the widest practical selection of top quality plants, with knowledgeable staff to assist in plant choices and educate in plant care.

Behnke Nurseries now enjoys nationwide recognition as Washington’s premiere plant and garden center. Here you will find all kinds of great articles and tips on a wide variety of plants and products from our staff of seasoned horticulturists.

See: http://behnkes.com/website/

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK Details:
Every Thursday on the Washington Gardener Magazine Facebook page, Blog, and Yahoo list we feature a current advertiser from our monthly digital magazine. To advertise with us, contact wgardenermag@aol.com today.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Swapping Plants and Tips with DC-area Gardeners




Guest Blog by Daven Desai

 

The 8th annual DC Plant Swap by Washington Gardener Magazine took place on Saturday, June 13th at the US National Arboretum in DC. Dozens of folks drove in from Virginia, across the District, and Eastern Maryland to take part in the plant swap.
      Every year, people bring out their own plants, from edibles to perennials, these gardening enthusiasts love exchanging what they have grown for something entirely different.  When Kathy Jentz, editor-in-chief of Washington Gardener Magazine Magazine blew her whistle, folks eagerly rushed to pick up their plant of choice. In order to participate, one must bring something to give up from their garden. A few gardening supporters also came out just to hang with these plant-lovers.
      With just a portion of the parking lot at the Arboretum each space was labeled with a plant category. There were houseplants, water plants, and even edibles! The amount in variety was great, though it was clear that it was a plant swap full of mostly sun to part-sun perennials this year.
    The schedule of the event was pretty simple. Participants arrived, they unloaded their plants and then separated them by category according to the labeled spaces. Once the event began, participants gathered at the end of the parking lot in introduce themselves and to tell the rest of us what they had brought to exchange. After the introductions, they all lined up against the partition that separated the parking lot in front of the plants. When Jentz blew her whistle, participants would run over to grab their shrub, herb, or plant of choice. Jentz repeated this for another two rounds before opening up the lot as a free-for-all.
From all the plants that arrived in the morning, each one was given a new home. The 8th Annual DC Plant Swap was a success!

About the Author
Daven Desai is a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is a broadcast journalism student at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. This summer, he is also an editorial intern for Washington Gardener Magazine. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Fenton Friday: Okra Babies

Another Fenton Friday post and another seedling picture for you all. This is 1 of 3 baby Okra that I planted today at my community garden plot. They were left at the cistern by another generous gardener, whom I'm assuming started one too many plants.

They are just wee little things now, but soon enough they will be the tallest things in my plot. Knowing that, I planted them up at the front in the bare spots between a few older strawberry plants. That way they will not shade anything actively growing in my plot, nor in my neighbors (I hope).




The strawberries have abruptly stopped producing - boo hoo! On the plus side, we had very generous rains this week, along with a lot of heat -- making the tomatoes and peppers very happy.

How is your edible garden growing this week?

About Fenton Friday:
Every Friday during the growing season, I'll be giving you an update on my community garden plot at the Fenton Street Community Garden just across the street from my house. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 4th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.)

Washington Gardener Magazine June 2015 issue: Dragonflies and Damselflies, Lisianthus, Microgreens, Canada Mayflower, and much more!


The June 2015 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is now out and is posted at: 
http://issuu.com/washingtongardener/docs/washingtongardenerjune15

This issue includes:
~ Odonating in our Region: Dragonflies and Damselflies
~ Pretty Native Groundcover: Canada Mayflower
~ June–July Garden Tasks
~ Microgreens
~ Local Garden Events Listing
~ Lisianthus: the New Rose
~ Meet the Interns
~ Visit to Sunshine Farm and Gardens
~ How Biochar Alters Soil’s Water Flow
~ Making Room for Fragrance
and much more...

Note that any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the July 2015 issue are due by July 10.

Subscribe to Washington Gardener Magazine today to have the monthly publication sent to your inbox as a PDF several days before it is available online. You can use the PayPal (credit card) online order form here: http://www.washingtongardener.com/index_files/subscribe.htm

Thursday, June 18, 2015

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK: Haven’s Natural Brew Tea


Haven’s Natural Brew Tea conditions the soil so your plant’s root system can better absorb nutrients needed to build a strong, healthy root base. The manure tea can also be applied to compost piles to accelerate the composting process.

Order some today at: www.manuretea.com

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK Details:
Every Thursday on the Washington Gardener Magazine Facebook page, Blog, and Yahoo list we feature a current advertiser from our monthly digital magazine. To advertise with us, contact wgardenermag@aol.com today.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Video Wednesday: Turning Black Thumbs Green


Here is the PowerPoint and audio track from my recent PechaKucha Silver Spring presentation.
If you are not familiar with how PechaKucha works, it is a fast-moving talk that lasts about 7 minutes. Speakers have 20 slides and they are shown for 20 seconds each. They advance without your control, so lots of pre-planning and rehearsal is a must. These talks are a quick way to share loads of information in a very tight timeframe. 

Feel free to share this with all your nongardening friends!

>>
Kathy Jentz, editor of Washington Gardener Magazine, makes change happen by attacking the concept of "black thumbs" and providing simple tips on how to make the world a greener place.
<<

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Discussing Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life by Marta McDowell at the next Washington Gardener Magazine Book Club Meeting

For our next Washington Gardener Magazine Book Club selection, we will be discussing: Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life by Marta McDowell. The book club meeting will be held at the Takoma Park* Neighborhood Library, Washington, DC, in the TPK Meeting Room
on Thursday, July 30, from 6:30-8:00PM.

The library room allows food and drink and you may bring your dinner and/or snacks to share.

The book club meetings are FREE and open to anyone who would like to attend. 
Please RSVP to "WG Book Club" at WashingtonGardener@rcn.com. I will be limiting attendance to 20. If you need to cancel, let me know ASAP so we can give your spot to someone else, should we have a wait-list. 
 
I will announce the date for the next book club meeting's date and location after each previous meeting. We will meet roughly once each quarter/season.
If you like to read ahead, the book club selections for Fall 2015 will be:
~ Teaching the Trees by Joan Maloof 

*NOTE: This is the library on the DC side of the border, NOT the City of Takoma Park, Maryland town location.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Bloom Day: Edible (and not so edible) Flowers

It is Garden Blogger's Bloom Day again! On the 15th of each month, we gardeners with blogs share a few bloom photos from our gardens. Here is the Mid-Atlantic USA (USDA zone 7) on the DC-MD border, this has been a rough past four weeks of high heat and little rain that actually makes it to plant roots. Most storms of the past month are the quick-moving hit-or-miss variety. I got caught in a monsoon in downtown DC last night, but came home to find just a few drops in my own garden.

This month I decided to share the flowers from my community garden plot. Most are edible to humans, but I really grow them for the pollinatators.

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) aka pot marigold has re-seeded again at the front of my plot and is half-hardy. It has wintered over for me for two of the past four years. I like that it is so easy care. I never do anything but occasionally weed around it.



Not pictured here are the Bachelor's Button (Centaurea cyanus) is also commonly known as cornflower re-seeded in my plot thanks to a garden plot neighbor.

 Cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus) 'Bright Lights' is a prolific re-seeder and is taking over the back half of my plot (and then some). The flowers and young tops are edible raw or cooked. Other parts of the plant are reported to be "poisonous" to harmless though not palatable, depending on the source. Personally, I have never tasted one. I prefer to leave them for the pollinators or for cutting flowers.


Marigold is not a favorite of mine. I find the smell offensive, but so do some of the bad bugs, so I include it alongside my tomatoes every year.

Nasturtium is my biggest success this year. Every spring I put some seeds in the ground and I get a few weak plants that never do much. This year, I randomly stuck them in an extra herb pot I had at the plot and they love it! They are a bit peppery and strong so be forewarned if you use them in a delicate salad. They so pretty though that you will likely forgive them.
This ornamental Sweet Pea 'May Lou Heard' is the only one of about a dozen that I started to come up and bloom. It was kind of a bust. Sweet peas just do not do well in the Mid-Atlantic heat and humidity. Despite that, I still try for a few every year. NOTE: Flowering ornamental sweet peas are poisonous - do not eat!




What is blooming in YOUR garden today?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Fenton Friday: What Happened to Spring?

basil baby
The strawberries are still going strong this week at my community garden plot, though they are starting to taper off a bit and I fear they will be ending soon.

The salad greens are still hanging on too - thanks to a row-cover shading them from another too-early and brutal heat wave this week. I fear the heat has zapped all my peas, so those will be pulled out soon.

Additions this week include basil seedlings and two small tomatoes -- 'Tiny Tim' and 'Chocolate Sprinkles.' I also have mess of tomato seedlings coming up everywhere in the plot, where the orange cosmos has not re-seeded. I don't have the heart to pull it all just yet, as I'm hoping some of these are my old favorite and half-wild 'Red Currant.' It is hard to tell at this point. I may give them a couple more weeks to develop, then will have to pull all but a few selections and cross my fingers that I kept the right ones.

How is your edible garden growing this week?

About Fenton Friday:
Every Friday during the growing season, I'll be giving you an update on my community garden plot at the Fenton Street Community Garden just across the street from my house. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 4th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK: Yard By Yard Makeovers, LLC


Yard By Yard Makeovers, LLC
Specializing in Garden
Renewals & Renovations

7304 Carroll Avenue, #229
Takoma Park, MD 20912
301-270-4642
yardmakeovers@yahoo.com
www.yardmakeovers.com

We can reshape and beautify neglected yards.

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK Details:
Every Thursday on the Washington Gardener Magazine Facebook page, Blog, and Yahoo list we feature a current advertiser from our monthly digital magazine. To advertise with us, contact wgardenermag@aol.com today.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Native Spotlight: Indian Pink




Guest Blog by Rachel Shaw 

Spigelia marilandica, common name Indian Pink or Pink Root, is a handsome addition to the native plant garden. Mine are planted in shade next to White Turtlehead (Chelone glabra) and two years after planting are filling in nicely. They are blooming now, and having just read that the blooming season can be extended by removing spent flowers, I went out to do so and found that most dead blooms had obligingly dropped off without my help. I also learned recently from reading Rick Dark and Doug Tallamy’s The Living Landscape that Spigelia’s seeds are dehiscent, propelling the seed capsules some distance to start new seedlings. I haven’t seen this kind of spread yet, but I expect I will, as much of what I grow manages to get itself spread to other parts of the yard.

Spigelia is said to be very attractive to hummingbirds. Again something I haven’t observed yet in my own yard, but between it and the Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) growing nearby, I’m on the lookout. Even if it had no other obvious benefit than its beautiful and unusual flower, I would still be delighted to have added this native to my own small landscape.

About the author:
Rachel Shaw focuses on vegetable gardening and growing native plants in her small yard in Rockville, Maryland. She blogs at http://hummingbirdway.blogspot.com/.

This guest blog post is part of a monthly Native Plants series posted around the 10th of each month. 


Video Wednesday: Multiplying Sweet Potato Plants



Jon Traunfeld of University of Maryland Extension, Home and Garden Information Center shows a handy trick for getting multiple sweet potato plants from only one stem. It's easy!

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

YOU are Invited to the Garden Photo Show Opening Reception

You are invited to view the winning images of the 9th annual Washington Gardener Photo Contest at an art show at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA. All 17 stunning photos were taken in DC-area gardens. Both inspirational and educational, this show represents the best of garden photography in the greater DC metropolitan region.

The photo show reception is Sunday, July 12 from 2:00-3:30pm at the Meadowlark Visitor Center's lobby. The opening reception is open to the public and is free to attend. You may also come by and view the photos any time during the normal Visitor Center hours (10am-7pm daily). The photo show runs through September 1.

Washington Gardener Magazine is already announcing a 10th Annual Washington Gardener Photo Contest. Start gathering your images now and throughout this year. Most all of the entry rules will remain the same as this year’s contest. We will again accept the entries during the first three weeks of January.

Washington Gardener magazine (http://www.washingtongardener.com/) is the gardening publication specifically for the local metro area — zones 6-7 — Washington DC and its suburbs. Washington Gardener Magazine’s basic mission is to help DC area gardens grow better. The magazine is written entirely by and for local area gardeners.

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens (www.nvrpa.org/park/meadowlark_botanical_gardens) is a park of beauty, conservation, education and discovery. Throughout the year at this 95-acre complex are large ornamental display gardens and unique native plant collections. Walking trails, lakes, more than 20 varieties of cherry trees, irises, peonies, an extensive shade garden, native wildflowers, gazebos, birds, butterflies, seasonal blooms and foliage create a sanctuary of beauty and nature. Meadowlark is part of Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.

THANK YOU TO OUR PRIZE SPONSORS:
    • Capital Photography Center, LLC
    • DODGE-CHROME, Inc.
    • Timber Press
    • Washington Gardener Magazine

and

THANK YOU TO OUR JUDGES:
• Katherine Lambert (http://www.katherinelambert.com/)
• Patty Hankins (http://beautifulflowerpictures.com/)

Monday, June 08, 2015

Honeybees Find a Haven at the University of Maryland

Guest Blog by Daven Desai
Students and visitors of the University of Maryland (UMD) flagship campus at College Park, MD, will be pleasantly surprised to see a beautiful pollinator project, the “Honeybee Haven” placed right around Knight Hall just off Campus Drive. Sam Bahr, a horticulturalist who works for the UMD Arboretum and Botanical Gardens and Landscape Services at the university, gave me the grand tour last week. 

We walked through the many different plants that were put in place to attract more honeybees into the garden as beneficial pollinators. The project received a grant of $3,671 to help fund a garden that will consist of perennial plants,  as well as many shrubs and grasses that will be planted in order to create a unique pollinator garden for honeybees to flourish. According to Bahr, many of the plants will bloom in mid-July and into August and several varieties will also flower into the early fall season. 

The Arboretum Outreach Center is hard at work trying to get as many different types of pollinator plants in as possible. The landscape and location allows them to test different plants in the garden to see if they are able to thrive in such a high-traffic, urban landscape. Bahr says that they do experiment with certain plants to see if they will actually endure the landscape conditions and they are usually happy to find that they are indeed growing.

One pleasant side-effect of the new garden is the fragrances that will greet the students, faculty, and visitors on warm, breezy days when the scents travel to the nearby walking paths and seating areas.  Knight Hall, also known as Philip Merrill College of Journalism, will be fortunate enough to be the center of the pollinator haven as it will make up the entirety of it’s outdoor landscape.

Bahr and the rest of his colleagues and volunteers have put in a lot of effort into creating an aesthetically pleasing garden that will capture any passerby's attention. With honeybee populations decreasing across the nation, Honeybee Haven hopes to increase local honeybee populations as well. The garden will be in full swing by the time students return in the fall and until then, the Arboretum/Botanical Gardens and Landscape services center will be tending to their slowly growing, but prospering Honeybee Haven. 

About the Author
Daven Desai is a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is a broadcast journalism student at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. This summer, he is also an editorial intern for Washington Gardener Magazine.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Fenton Friday: Wet!

After practically no rain for the entire month of May and record heat (2nd hottest ever temps for the month), June began with rain, rain, and more rain. We had 2-3 inches in one day so there went my wood-chip pathways floating away. The rain was very welcome, but after 5 days straight of it, my abundant Strawberries are swelling and rotting faster than I can get out to pick them.

Elsewhere in my plot, the scapes are forming on the hardneck Garlic, the Calendula and Nasturtium is blooming, and the Peas are getting fat (see photo here by Daven Desai). My Tomatoes and Peppers are STILL not in the ground, I will remedy that this coming Monday.

How is your edible garden growing this week?

About Fenton Friday:
Every Friday during the growing season, I'll be giving you an update on my community garden plot at the Fenton Street Community Garden just across the street from my house. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 4th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.)

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Video Wednesday: Urban Foraging for Serviceberries and Mulberries

Early June is Urban Foraging time for Serviceberries and Mulberries here in the Mid-Atlantic! I hope you enjoy my two-minute video and that it inspires you to go out to do some foraging of your own.


I originally posted this video directly to this blog in early June 2011, but many of you were unable to view it. It is now up on the Washington Gardener Magazine Youtube channel for ease of viewing and sharing:

Read more about both berries at this Washington Gardener Magazine blog entry: http://washingtongardener.blogspot.com/2009/06/mulberry-stains-and-scouting-out.html.

Also, don't miss my famous Serviceberry Sauce Recipe at
http://washingtongardener.blogspot.com/2014/06/serviceberry-sauce-recipe.html.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Intern Intros


This summer, I have taken on three editorial interns. If you attend any of our upcoming events, like the DC Plant Swap, you are bound to run into one or more of them. As a first assignment, I asked them to write a short introduction to our readers...

My name is Gaby Galvin (pictured at left) and I am a junior at the University of Maryland in the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism. I’m a multi-platform journalism major with a concentration in sociology. I've been writing all my life, and at UMD I've written for several on campus publications, including Her Campus, the Campus Trainer, and The Odyssey. Right now, I'm the editor-in-chief of The Odyssey, which covers issues relevant to college students and millennials. (You can check out some of my writing here: https://theodysseyonline.com/author/gaby-galvin). I garden a little bit at home in Davidsonville, MD, with my mom and grandparents, and I love being outdoors and taking trips to the beach – I couldn’t be happier that it’s finally summer. I’m very excited to be a part of the Washington Gardener team and learn more about both gardening and magazine publishing. I didn’t realize the local gardening community was so big, so I am really looking forward to attending all of the events coming up, as well as being on board for Washington Gardener’s 10th year running!

Hello Readers. My name is Daven Desai (pictured in middle) and I'm a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park. I am a broadcast journalism student at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism as well. This summer I will also be an editorial intern for Washington Gardener Magazine. I am excited to be writing for this great local publication and I hope my skills as an editor and writer will help take the magazine to a whole new level this summer. In the past I have edited blog posts for readUnwritten.com, a college lifestyle blog for the hip, young collegiate. I have also written scripts, recorded video, and edited footage for news broadcast assignments which can be found on my Vimeo page: https://vimeo.com/user32146734. With all this experience, I look forward to sharing my perspective to the gardening world and hope that our viewers will enjoy reading it. Happy Gardening!

I am Marissa Paiano (pictured at right), a summer intern at Washington Gardener Magazine. Originally from Connecticut, I am a rising junior at the University of Maryland where I am majoring in multi-platform journalism with a minor in business. Over the past few years, I have had a variety of other journalism-related internships. In summer 2013 I was a reporter for a local Connecticut newspaper, The Valley Press. Then in the spring and summer of 2014, I worked as a digital intern for WTOP and a communications intern at the Connecticut Secretary of the State’s Office respectively. I look forward to expanding my knowledge of gardening this summer and working with the other interns!