Friday, April 29, 2016

Fenton Friday: Flower Fantasies


lemon lime joy 2016b

This week was wet and cold. Not much gardening of any kind got done, except a bit more weeding. I hope to get over to the plot early next week to clear out the rest of one bed and direct-sow the cut-flower collection I got from The Gardener's Workshop (see image at left) at this year's Seed Exchange.

I have high hopes and ambitions for this new cut-flower bed and am already dreaming about the scent of that Lemon Basil and the bright color combinations of high summer. Wish me luck!

How is your 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 5th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.)

Local First Friday: Eco Honeybees



Bees are essential to the food system. Aside from producing honey, they pollinate around one-third to two-thirds of important crops, according to various estimates, and the rapid decline of the bee population in recent years poses a serious threat to many berries, fruits, and vegetables. 

Nestled just outside DC in Falls Church, VA, Eco Honeybees serves homemakers and businesses interested in beekeeping in the metro area with hive installment and maintenance services.
The local business helps people who don’t necessarily know how to care for bees themselves, which takes time and has a steep learning curve.

“There’s a lot of people who want to do something about the bee crisis,” said Larry Marling, who co-founded Eco Honeybees (http://ecohoneybees.com/) with his wife, Karen, in 2011. “We essentially provide the expertise and the labor.”

The team plans how many hives they will sell each year in advance, assembling equipment and starting the hives over the winter (a delicate time for bees) to sell to customers in the spring and summer. 

Then, they install and inform their clients, the majority of whom are homeowners, according to Marling, about hive maintenance.

Customers can employ the business to inspect and monitor the hives, which Marling said is important to ensure the hives are adapting to their environments and to eliminate potential problems, including parasites and diseases, before they can become problems.

They would also receive advice and guidance to help their hives survive the next winter.
“We’re not dealing with beekeepers here,” said Marling about why his business strives to help and educate its customers. “I mean, a common question we get is ‘Why do bees create honey?’ They don’t understand that they create honey to survive in the winter.”

Generally, hives produce between 10 to 40 pounds of honey per year, according to the business’s website, but this changes based on the environment and other factors. 

Eco Honeybees uses its own breeding program to populate its hives, and it provides a choice between Langstroth hives, or more common, vertical hives, and Top Bar hives, which are horizontal and considered more organic because the bees fill them out with little guidance, according to Marling. 

For Langstroth hives, honey is taken using an extractor. Top Bar hives are more old-fashioned in that the liquid honey comes from crushed combs and is then strained.

“No hive is better than the other,” said Marling. “It’s just essentially, you know, ballroom dance versus tap – people have a preference.”

Marling said one challenging aspect of running Eco Honeybees is being ready to give customers immediate assistance and adapting care to various environments around the DC metro area.

“In this day and age when everybody is destroying the environment, we’re trying to improve it,” Marling said. “There is no handy manual of how to do things. There is nobody out there for advice. The mistakes we make are our own.”

Marling said the business is getting more commercial clients, including restaurants, schools, and country clubs, and it is constantly looking to expand.


About the Author 
Seema Vithlani is a junior multi-platform journalism major and French minor at the University of Maryland. This spring she is also an editorial intern for Washington Gardener Magazine.
"Local First Friday" is a weekly blog series profiling independent garden businesses in the greater Washington, DC, and Mid-Atlantic region. Washington Gardener Magazine believes strongly in supporting and sourcing from local businesses first!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK: FONA Garden Fair and Plant Sale

A favorite of area gardeners from novice to expert, the FONA Garden Fair and Plant Sale on Friday-Saturday, April 29-30, 2016, at the US National Arboretum. See details at http://www.fona.org/gardenfair/.

The carefully curated offerings include rare and hard to find plants as well as tried and true favorites – you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for. In addition to the hand-selected offerings, they’re proud to offer expert advice on-site to guide you through selecting plants for that tricky spot in your garden.

The FONA plant tent accepts credit cards, checks, and cash. All of of the other vendors will accept cash and checks, many but not all accept credit cards. Check out our stellar 2016 vendor list!


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, April 27, 2016

Video Wednesday: Kensington Day of the Book Festival 2016


11th annual. Street festival celebrating the International Day of the Book on Sunday, April 24, 2016.. Over 100 authors, poets, and other participants line Howard Ave in Old Town Kensington, Md. Live music, children's program, author readings, food trucks, and more!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Win Passes to the DC Green Fest in Washington Gardener Magazine's Reader Contest

For our April 2016 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away 25 pairs of passes to DC Green Festival (www.greenfestivals.org). Prize value: $15 per pass.

   Celebrate the 12th annual DC Green Festival Expo, taking place May 6-8 at the DC Convention Center, Join the Green Festival Marketplace by exploring over 250 exhibitors, learning from over 50 inspirational speakers, indulging in some delicious vegan or vegetarian food and learning all you need to know to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Green Festival offers something for everyone, with the widest selection of products and services to work green, play green, and live green from food, fashion, and health to energy, construction, and design. People can shop and enjoy vegan, vegetarian, organic foods; hands-on demos; educational activities; and inspirational speakers.

   Green Festival is America’s largest and longest-running sustainability and green living event. It brings together the world’s most-trusted companies, innovative brands, national and local businesses, pioneering thinkers, and conscious consumers in one place to promote the best in sustainability and green living.

   To enter to win the DC Green Fest Passes, send an email to WashingtonGardener@rcn.com by 5:00pm on Friday, April 29, with “DCGreen” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Please also include your full name and mailing address. The pass winners will be announced and notified on May 1. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Local First Friday: Three Part Harmony Farm




Three Part Harmony Farm sells fruits and vegetables to consumers in the DC-area. The farm grows produce on a two-acre parcel in Northeast Washington, DC, most of which is sold through a community-supported agricultural program, according to its website at http://threepartharmonyfarm.org/

It supplies to local stores and restaurants in DC, including Pansaari and Potter’s House, according to the website. They also sell seedlings to Annie’s Ace Hardware. 

The farm grows food for the region, including greens and roots in the spring and fall, and tomatoes, eggplant, garlic, and more for the summer.

The farm’s goal is to provide food for the area and combat food insecurity and lack of food variety.


About the Author 
Seema Vithlani is a junior multi-platform journalism major and French minor at the University of Maryland. This spring she is also an editorial intern for Washington Gardener Magazine.
"Local First Friday" is a weekly blog series profiling independent garden businesses in the greater Washington, DC, and Mid-Atlantic region. Washington Gardener Magazine believes strongly in supporting and sourcing from local businesses first!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Spring Garden Tours Round-Up, Cultivating Kohlrab, and much more in the April 2016 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine



The April 2016 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is now out and posted online at:
http://issuu.com/washingtongardener/docs/washingtongardenerapril2016

Inside this issue:
  • DC-MD-VA Spring Garden Tours Round-Up
    Explore the Best Private Gardens in our Region
  • Cultivating Kohlrabi
  • Your Monthly Garden Tasks To-Do List
  • Play Public Garden Bingo
  • What’s the Buzz on Mosquitoes? 
  • Local Gardening Events Calendar
  • Rutgers Breeds a Tastier Jersey Tomato
  • Plant Your Own Little Free Library
  • Grow a Carpet of Green-and-Gold
  • and much more...
Note that any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the May 2016 issue are due by May 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

Video Wednesday: A New Curated Video Web Site


Launching earlier this week by Susan Harris of GardenRant.com is a new, ad-free Good Gardening Videos website, with 305 videos selected for accuracy and watchability. Here's the announcement. Please share. http://goodgardeningvideos.org/launch/

Friday, April 15, 2016

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day: Tulips UP!

 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, spring is finally - definitely - irrefutably here!

   My tulips are in their prime today so I ran around the garden and grabbed these quick snapshots to share with you all. Sorry I don't have time to dig through my old garden journals and bulb orders to identify all of them, but please enjoy them in their (mostly) nameless state as you'd encounter them in my garden.

Tulip 'Angelique'








and one dirty kitty!
What's blooming in your garden today?

Fenton Friday: Progress Stalled

peas growing
Not much progress at my community garden plot this week. Been swamped with garden talks and writing deadlines. I did stop by today and cleared out a few more weeds enough to see that my garlic planted last fall was up and looking good.

Also found what looks like a broccoli plant that re-seeded itself? Could also be a cabbage or cauliflower -- anyone really good at identifying brassicas?

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 5th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.)  
cabbage? broccoli?
garlic up

Local First Friday: Good Sense Farm





Good Sense Farm (goodsensefarm.com) was founded in 2013 by Zachary J. Curtis after he spent five years working in agriculture, according to the business’s website. The farm grows mushrooms and cultivates bee colonies to make honey and hive products for the DC-area.



“We believe there is a need for more specialized food production like apiculture and mycoculture in this city,” it says on the website.

The farm sells its products to local community supported farms and other businesses, including Honeycomb Grocer at Union Market and The Spice Suite in Takoma. 

“We build and operate custom urban growing sites, then package and market our DC Grown goods to help CSAs retain customers, restaurants meet their local sourcing goals and small grocers answer the call for year-round, local food,” Curtis wrote on the website.

Good Sense Farm also offers MycoGarden installations (to facilitate growth of edible mushrooms), holds workshops to educate about food systems, and provides consulting and site planning services for agricultural operations, according to its website. 


About the Author 
Seema Vithlani is a junior multi-platform journalism major and French minor at the University of Maryland. This spring she is also an editorial intern for Washington Gardener Magazine.
"Local First Friday" is a weekly blog series profiling independent garden businesses in the greater Washington, DC, and Mid-Atlantic region. Washington Gardener Magazine believes strongly in supporting and sourcing from local businesses first!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK: Earth Day Festival

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt

Sunday, April 24, 2016 12:00 - 4:00p.m.
Activities at Brookside Gardens & Brookside Nature Center

What better place than Brookside Gardens, M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks, to celebrate Earth Day? Through volunteering, walks and tours, earth friendly activities and browsing our green craft fair, you can learn while having fun. Interactive family-friendly activities and a “green” vendor and craft fair will be offered from 12noon- 4pm. Enjoy wildflower and plant walks starting at 12:30pm. Discover how small changes in your everyday habits can make a big impact on improving our environment.

More details at: http://www.montgomeryparks.org/brookside/earthday.shtm

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, April 13, 2016

Video Wednesday: Green Matters 2016



More than 115 people attended the 2016 Green Matters Symposium on April 8 at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD. The program theme was environmentally friendly landscape design and construction. The event featured seven speakers, including Mary Pat Matheson, president and CEO of Atlanta Botanical Garden, Thomas Rainer, landscape architect and author, and Lori Arguelles, executive director of the Alice Ferguson Foundation.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Local First Friday: Relay Foods




Relay Foods provides groceries, beer and wine, and other home products to people in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area, saving them a shopping trip. The service offers the option of pick-up or delivery (in most local areas), and enables customers to build meal plans to choose their groceries.
The company was founded in 2009 by Zach Buckner, an engineer who was frustrated with the frequent grocery trips he had to make.

“[Buckner] founded Relay Foods with the hope of creating a simpler way to provide healthy meals for his family without sacrificing quality time at home,” wrote Cheryssa Jensen, the company’s press coordinator, in an email.

Customers can order groceries through the Relay Foods website based on their schedules; there is no fixed, required meal plan. Those who choose to have their food delivered pay an unlimited monthly delivery fee of $19.

The service offers a wide selection of items from various meats and produce to baked goods, canned items, sauces and condiments, and more. 

The website (https://www.relayfoods.com) also offers a Meal Planning feature in which patrons can browse or search through the recipe catalogue, import recipes from online using a URL, or type in recipes manually. Meals can be adjusted based on dietary preferences and serving size. Customers can use this tool to plan and select groceries. 

Relay Foods sources its food from around 190 local producers and takes commission from sales.
With so many other food delivery companies out there, we often get pegged as something else: subscription-based, a CSA, or sourcing products from other grocery stores,” wrote Jensen. “We are always finding new and creative ways to reach our customer base and keep them informed about who we are [and] why we are different.”

In the future, Relay Foods will continue to expand its product selection, particularly its organic and local products, according to Jensen.


About the Author 
Seema Vithlani is a junior multi-platform journalism major and French minor at the University of Maryland. This spring she is also an editorial intern for Washington Gardener Magazine.
"Local First Friday" is a weekly blog series profiling independent garden businesses in the greater Washington, DC, and Mid-Atlantic region. Washington Gardener Magazine believes strongly in supporting and sourcing from local businesses first!