Friday, July 31, 2015

Fenton Friday: Dig Dug Dag!

I set out today in the noon-time heat to dig up what I thought would be a handful of potatoes. These are the German Butterballs that I planted in Spring 2014 and then never bothered to dig up last year. They sent out new foliage this spring and that had died back a few weeks ago, so I figured it was time to see what was underneath the small mound of soil. I put my garden fork in and was surprised to see how many potatoes I uncovered -- lots of golden yellow orbs -- some big, some tiny. Then I dug in again and again. I put them all in a bucket and brought them home to weigh them -- 7 pounds total. Not too shabby for basically zero work on my part!

Also happening in my plot (aside from the ongoing cherry tomato explosion) is the first Okra harvest -- all two of them. I only put three plants so only expect to get a few at a time. This first harvest now kicks off what I call the keep-up-with-Okra time of year in the garden, which is simply to make sure to get over to my plot at least for a few minutes every day to pluck off the newest tender Okra before it gets too big and woody to handle. (Hey, get your minds out of the gutter!)

So 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, July 30, 2015

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK: DCGardens.com


Donate to Support DC Gardens and Gardening in DC!
     
What is DCGardens.com?
   • Images and videos of DC-area gardens by month, enticing people to visit year-
    round (see DCGardens.com for examples).
   • Deep local resources for turning more residents into gardeners.
   • Digital images donated by volunteers, so DC Gardens is inexpensive.
    managed and funded independently from the gardens; nimble and very useful! 

Why Gardens (and Gardening) Matter
The Washington, DC, area is blessed with fabulous gardens that are open to the public, most of them free. Sadly, many are largely unknown and lack the funds to get the word out. If people could just see what they look like throughout the year, more would visit, and that matters because:

    • Gardens bring visitors close to plants and to all of nature, which benefits them
     mentally, spiritually, and physically.
    • Visiting gardens is a gateway experience to taking up gardening at home and in
     the community.
    • Public gardens are the primary teaching facilities for turning residents into
     gardeners, with classes and workshops on growing food, providing for wildlife,
     protecting our waterways from polluting runoff, and creating beauty in our home
     gardens or balconies.
    • Turning people on to gardening results in more beauty for all of us to enjoy and
     better stewardship of our land — without nagging.


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, July 29, 2015

Video Wednesday: AU Field Day



The annual Green industry professional field day and trade show took place today at American University, Washington, DC on July 16, 2015. What a great day for garden learning and touring!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Win RESCUE!® Fly Traps in Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest

For our July 2015 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, Washington Gardener Magazine is giving away the RESCUE!® POP! Fly Trap and the RESCUE!® Disposable Fly Trap (prize value: $12).

   The RESCUE! POP! Fly Trap catches common nuisance or filth flies around the home and in agricultural settings. This trap is formulated to lure hundreds of the most prevalent fly species, including house flies, false stable flies, blow flies, blue and green bottle flies, flesh flies, face flies, and many others. The RESCUE! POP! Fly Trap comes with one packet of water-soluble attractant packaged inside a foil pouch. Once lured inside, the flies cannot escape and drown in the water inside the trap. Find out more at http://www.rescue.com.

   To enter to win the RESCUE! Fly Trap duo, send an email to WashingtonGardener@rcn.com by 5:00pm on Friday, July 31, with “Fly Trap” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Tell us which was your favorite article in this July 2015 issue of the magazine and why. Please also include your full name and mailing address. The fly trap winner will be announced and notified on August 1.

UPDATE: Our winner, chosen at random from the submitted entries is Alison Mrohs of Rockville, MD. Congratulations!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Fenton Friday: Stew Fixin's?

This week at my community garden plot, the heat broke and the humidity left. That made gardening do-able again! The downside of that cool front moving is that we are dry-dry-dry and no real rain in sight this coming week either. So looks like we are back to our usual July-August drought period with most of my precious gardening time being allotted to watering enough just to keep things alive and not getting much else done. I did participate in one communal weeding session of our shared pathways earlier this week - no big surprise that only one other gardener showed up for it...

In my own plot, the Okra are quite short (due to planting them so late), but putting on flowers and buds. Also, I pulled out a handful of small Carrots -- they are surprisingly still sweet and tasty. Finally, I think it is time for me to dig up my Potatoes. When I do that, between these three ingredients I could theoretically make one tiny bowl of stew. Ha! As if I would attempt it even! No, instead I'll eat the Carrots and Okra raw as a snack, then see what the Potato dig unearths -- IF there is more than a handful, I may save them for county fair competition.


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, July 23, 2015

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK: Carex Tours

Carex Tours
Experience contemporary and classic gardens with a professional garden designer as your host. Our thoughtfully arranged tours present an opportunity to experience the work of the world’s most influential designers through an impressive variety of public and private gardens. Tours are planned to provide a leisurely pace in the spirited company of other garden enthusiasts.

Piet Oudolf & Dutch Wave Gardens

September 17 – 24, 2015

This tour explores the gardens of the highly respected designers and plantsman who contributed to the Dutch Wave movement. These experimental designers favored tough perennials and grasses arranged naturalistically. A visit to Piet Oudolf’s personal garden is a tour highlight introducing us to his artful approach to planting design. More tour info: http://www.carexdesign.com/tours/

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, July 22, 2015

Video Wednesday: Garden Photo Show 2015



Here is a short video from the 9th annual Washington Gardener Photo Contest at an art show opening reception at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA. In the video, 9 of the 11 winning photographers describe how and where they took their winning images. 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. You may come by and view the photos any time during the normal Meadowlark Visitor Center's lobby 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, July 20, 2015

Washington Gardener Magazine July 2015 features Stunning Stewartia, 20 Herb Drying and Preserving Tips, Perennial Container Creations, and much more...


The July 2015 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is now out and is posted at: 

This issue includes:
~ Stunning Stewartia:
A Tree to Bridge the Seasons   
~ Meet Barbara Faust of Smithsonian Gardens
~ July-August Garden Tasks
~ 20 Herb Drying and Preserving Tips
~ Local Garden Events Listing
~ 5 Flower Photography Hot Spots in our Region

~ Perennial Container Creations
~ Top 2015 Landscaping Trends
~ New Blueberry for Home Growers
and much more...
Note that any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the August 2015 issue are due by August 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

Friday, July 17, 2015

Fenton Friday: Basil Beginning

For various reasons outlined in previous Fenton Friday posts,  I have been very behind planting this summer. The basil seedlings went in only three weeks ago, but they are thriving and I've already pinched them back twice now. I hope to have them big enough by next week so the interns and I can make a nice fresh pesto for our weekly lunches.

I am also picking tomatoes from my garden like crazy -- about 2 cups of cherry-sized fruit a day -- and I'm missing a lot of them as the overripe ones fall off the stems and roll away.

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, July 16, 2015

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK: Green Spring Gardens

 

A “must visit” for everyone in the metropolitan Washington, DC, area. It’s a year-round gold mine of information and inspiration for the home gardener. It’s an outdoor classroom for children and their families to learn about plants and wildlife. It’s also a museum, a national historic site that offers glimpses into a long, rich history with colonial origins. Located at 4603 Green Spring Rd., Alexandria, VA. Information: 703-642-5173. See: www.greenspring.org


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, July 15, 2015

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day: Summertime and the Living is Easy

It is the 15th of the month, which means Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day again. To view links to other garden bloggers' blooms around the world to see what it blooming in their gardens and to read their collective comments, go to http://www.maydreamsgardens.com/.

Here is a small selection of what is blooming in my garden on the Washington, DC/Silver Spring, MD border -- solid USDA zone 7.

Crape Myrtle 'Natchez'

Echinacea 'Sombrero Salsa Red'

Thunbergia aka Black-eyed Susan vine

Water Hyacinth in my pond
 So what is blooming in YOUR garden today?
 

VIdeo Wednesday: Container Gardening Basics




Tips and basic container gardening principles explained by Kathy Jentz, Editor/Publisher, Washington Gardener Magazine.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Fenton Friday: Beans Climb, Tomatoes Leap

The three summer interns planted 'Blue Lake' pole beans on June 24. A week later the beans had sprouted and were 4 inches high. The next week, they were almost 8 inches high and sending out climbing tendrils, so we inserted these poles for them to climb up. Today, just two weeks and two days after we planted the, they are all well over a foot high and reaching much higher. We hoped to have actual green beans for them to eat before going back to school at the end of August. I think we may well make that tight schedule!
Meanwhile, I let several volunteer tomato plants run amok in the middle of my plot and thy are all setting on wonderful cherry-sized fruit. I feel like I should never bother again buying or babying a tomato seedling plant, when I can get all this sweet bounty from basically free plants!

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.)

Native Spotlights: Milkweeds




Guest Blog by Rachel Shaw

It has been a good year in our region for Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata). We have had a lot of rain, and they certainly seem to have appreciated it. The plants are lush this year, and quite a few new seedlings have popped up in my yard. (Seedlings are easy enough to pull out if they’ve landed in an inconvenient place.) Although my Swamp Milkweeds certainly appear to appreciate the water, mine normally get little supplemental water, except from the rain barrel, and the plants do well enough up until the end of the summer.

Milkweeds of course are best known for hosting Monarch Butterflies. I wish I would see more of these in my yard; I was lucky to observe one flitting from plant to plant the day I was taking pictures. Swamp Milkweed also attracts a wide variety of bees, wasps, and other insects. The “other” category includes several kinds of insects that find milkweed particularly enticing, such as the Small Milkweed Bug and Large Milkweed Bug. What I’ve mostly seen on mine are aphids of a golden yellow color, which apparently are Oleander Aphids. They seem to cluster on stems late in the season, although they appear to be more unsightly than damaging. 


In addition to Swamp Milkweed, I grow Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) -- one of my all-time favorite native plants. My Butterfly Weed patch remains small, and as these plants seem to come up particularly late in the season, I always wonder if they will reappear, but they have not failed me. I have to say though that it is the Swamp Milkweed that seems most splendidly attractive to pollinators. Both do fine in a modest-sized yard. I have not tried Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), which I understand spreads pretty aggressively and probably is suited to more spacious areas. 

About the author:
Rachel Shaw focuses on vegetable gardening and growing native plants in her small yard in Rockville, MD. 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. Rachel is taking little hiatus from this monthly column in order to focus on some family matters. WE anticipate that this series will return in mid-summer.


Thursday, July 09, 2015

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK: Garden Speakers' Bureau

 

Need a Garden Speaker?

Washington Gardener Magazine staff and writers are available to speak to garden clubs and other groups in the greater DC region. Call 301.588.6894 or email wgardenermag@aol.com for available dates, rates, and topics

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, July 08, 2015

Video Wednesday: Summer Mulching



How and why to mulch your garden in the early summer explained by Kathy Jentz, Editor/Publisher, Washington Gardener Magazine..

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Crocosmia: You Can Grow That!


Crocosmia is a slender, tall perennial that takes up little room in your garden, though it makes a big impact. It is a cousin of the Gladiola and had a very similar growing habit and appearance.

Like most bulbs, Crocosmia is a "set it and forget it" plant. My favorite kind! You just plant the bulb in the spring or fall and wait for it to come up in summer.

It prefers full to part sun and medium amount of moisture. Try to plant it where it will get decent drainage as it can rot in heavy, wet clay soils.

Crocosmia forms clumps and every three years or so you can divide it in early spring to share it with a gardening friend or to spread it around your own garden.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer' makes a great cut-flower, but I like to leave it out in the garden as hummingbirds are attracted to it and there is not much else that blooms in that brilliant, show-stopping red.

Crocosmia is also available in a number of other hot-colored varieties, but 'Lucifer' is the most commonly sold and easiest to find in garden centers and bulb catalogs.



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/.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Fenton Friday: Split Tomatoes and Garlic Harvest

It was another very wet week at my community garden plot and I spent it mostly weeding and hacking back rampant growth.

The tomatoes are really starting to come in, but due to the deluge of rain, many are cracking and falling on the ground before they fully ripen. Not much I can do about that, only settle for the few that remain.

Because it has been so wet, I was worried that the garlic might be rotting in the ground. I pulled it all today and was pleasantly surprised that it is very nicely sized and they all seem firm and healthy. I am drying them in my sunroom on an old window screen I lay across two bars on my laundry rack. In a week or so, I can cut off the roots, foliage, and brush off any dried-on dirt and then use them immediately (have big plans for basil pesto) or store them for later. I have found though that the hardneck garlic do not store well for very long, best to use them up sooner rather than later.

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, July 02, 2015

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK: Plant a Row for the Hungry

Plant a Row for the Hungry is People Helping People

Since 1995, over 20 million pounds of produce providing over 80 million meals have been donated by American gardeners. All of this has been achieved without government subsidy or bureaucratic red tape -- just people helping people.


Plant A Row is a public service program of the Garden Writers Association and the GWA Foundation. Garden writers are asked to encourage their readers/listeners to plant an extra row of produce each year and donate their surplus to local food banks, soup kitchens and service organizations to help feed America’s hungry.

There are over 84 million households with a yard or garden in the U.S. If every gardener plants one extra row of vegetables and donates their surplus to local food agencies and soup kitchens, a significant impact can be made on reducing hunger.


Support Plant A Row and help make a difference in your community.

PAR Hotline 1-877-492-2727
or go to http://www.gardenwriters.org/gwa.php?p=par/index.html

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, July 01, 2015

Video Wednesday: Not Too Late to Plant Your Tomatoes!



Kathy Jentz, Editor/Publisher, Washington Gardener Magazine shares some tomato planting tips -- basically plant deep and don't worry that it is getting late in the planting season -- just get them in the ground ASAP!