Friday, May 27, 2016

Fenton Friday: A Handful of Salad


The rains stopped early this week and we have jumped straight into summer. The little bit of lettuce I had in the plot bolted, except for this measly handful I managed to cut today.


I was able to pick more strawberries this week and today got another quart. The disappointing thing is how many I come across that are rotten and moldy that I have had to throw away.

I also devoted an hour today to just pulling out that damn Canada thistle that seems to sprout immediately wherever I clear some planting space in the plot. I can see this will be a long-running battle for years to come.

One I get a big enough section cleared, in will go my cutting garden seeds finally!

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.)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK: GARDEN HELP WANTED

GARDEN HELP WANTED
Upscale landscape design/garden maintenance firm in DC Metro area seeks talented, artistic gardener to assist with container planting, plant grooming, pruning and watering.
PT or FT. Excellent compensation
www.newdawngardensdc.com
Please email marketingmarvels@aol.com
or call 301-251-9603.

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, May 25, 2016

Wildflower Wednesday: Bachelor's Buttons



This month I decided to dive into Gail Eichelberger's Wildflower Wednesday garden blog meme. For my first entry, I chose a wildflower that has self-sown in my community garden plot and is blooming abundantly right now -- Bachelor's Buttons aka Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus).

Though they are not native to the Eastern US, they have naturalized well and provide a nice food pollinator source. They do self-seed, but are easy enough to yank out where you don't want them and don't run riot over other plants.

This old-fashioned heirloom is great as a cut flower, and, of course, worn as a boutonniere or stuck in a hat band!

By the way, they are famous for their brilliant blue color, but they also come in white and pinks.

You will find Bachelor's Buttons in most commercial "wildflower" seed mixes or you can buy straight Bachelor's Buttons seed packs. They need little from you. Just a spot in full sun. If they get too leggy, simply cut them back or place a tomato cage or peony ring around them.

Wildflower Wednesday is about sharing wildflowers from all over the world. It was started by Gail Eichelberger on her "Clay and Limestone" blog. It is always on the fourth Wednesday of the month.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Fenton Friday: Suddenly Strawberries!


This week was another one of nonstop rains and chilly temps. Miraculously though, I went over to weed for a few minutes and discovered ripe strawberries! I immediately ate a few. They were delicious! I had feared all the rains would cause them to be water-logged and flavorless.

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.)

Win Passes to the Brookside Gardens Wings of Fancy Live Butterfly Exhibit

For our May 2016 Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away the five sets of passes to the Brookside Gardens Wings of Fancy live butterfly exhibit in Wheaton, MD (each set has two passes and is a $16 value).
   Running daily through September 25, from 10am to 4pm, Brookside Gardens South Conservatory features live butterflies. Come witness the butterfly life cycle as tiny eggs hatch into crawling, chewing caterpillars, which then encase themselves in jewel-like chrysalides and emerge as sipping, flying adult butterflies. Learn about the best annual and tropical plants, and hardy shrubs that are used as nectar sources, to attract butterflies to your own garden. See more details at http://www.montgomeryparks.org/brookside/wings_of_fancy.shtm.
   To enter to win a set of passes, send an email to WashingtonGardener@rcn.com by 5:00pm on Monday, May 31, with “Wings” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Tell us which was your favorite article in the May 2016 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine and why. Please also include your full name and mailing address.
   The pass winners will be announced and notified on June 1.

 UPDATE:
Congratulations to:
~ Donna Thuotte Martin. Ashburn, VA
~ Jennifer Whalen, Silver Spring, MD
~ Kira Lueders, Kensington, MD
~ Stephanie Richard, Rockville, MD
~ Jeffrey Trunzo, Takoma Park, MD
They each won 2 passes to the Brookside Gardens Wings of Fancy live butterfly exhibit!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Edible, Beautiful Amaranth in the May 2016 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine

 
 
The May 2016 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is now out and posted online at:
http://issuu.com/washingtongardener/docs/washingtongardenermay2016

Inside this issue:
  • Edible, Beautiful Amaranth
  • Your Monthly Garden Tasks To-do List for May-June
  • Enviro-friendly Landscape Design Trends from Green Matters 2016
  • 8 Great Strawberry Growing Tips
  • Local Gardening Events Calendar for DC-MD-VA
  • Stopping a Slug Invasion
  • Helping Sickly Pepper Plants
  • Meet Dr. Amen of Purple Mountain
  • Dirty Secrets:  Gardeners Share Their Tips and Tricks for the Best Ways to Haul Plants Home
  • and much more...  
Note that any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the June 2016 issue are due by June 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

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK: GoGardeners Garden Coaching


"My mission is to introduce people to the wonders of nature through their own backyards, and to show them how to enrich their lives and the environment by taking charge of their outdoor space." - Elise Stigliano,
Garden Coach and
Founder of GoGardeners
Phone: 301-518-8333
Email: elise@gogardeners.com
See: http://www.gogardeners.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, May 18, 2016

Video Wednesday: Turning Black Thumbs Green


I gave this talk last spring as part of the PechaKucha presentations in Silver Spring, MD. The theme of that talk collection was "change." I demonstrate making change happen by attacking the concept of "black thumbs" and providing simple tips on how to make the world a greener place.

If you are not familiar with PechaKucha talks, they are a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images. PechaKucha Nights are informal and fun gatherings where creative people get together and share their ideas, works, thoughts, etc.

I am going to do an encore of this talk at the upcoming Behnke Garden Party on June 4.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

9th Annual DC Plant Swap

 
9th Annual DC Plant Swap
hosted by Washington Gardener Magazine

What: A Plant Swap -- bring and receive free plants to expand your garden

Why: Free Plants! Last chance to do so before the season heats up.

Date: Saturday, June 11

Time: starting at 11am bring your plants for sorting by category (shade perennial, groundcover, herb, etc.) -- swap starts promptly at 11:30am -- do not be late (the swap goes fast and can be over in a matter of minutes!) - after swapping, we can socialize, snack, and trade more info on the plants we brought - we plan to conclude and be cleaned up by 12:00noon. so you will have the rest of the day to plant and enjoy your Saturday.

Place: US National Arboretum's R Street parking lot -- if it storms, we will move inside to the auditorium.

RSVP:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1039472452786550/
Who: anyone is welcome as are any of your friends, relatives, or neighbors -- it is FREE -- feel free to forward on this invitation

How: be prepared to BRIEFLY introduce yourself and describe your plant swap offerings

Bring:
~ a name tag - home-made or from work or school -- whatever works
~ pen and paper - you will want to take lots of notes as folks describe the plants and their growing conditions
~ plants to swap - pot them up NOW -- the longer they can get settled in their pots, the better their chance of success and survival - (no plants to share? see note below)
~ labels - fully label all your swap plants with as much info as you have - optimally that will include: common and scientific name, amount of sun needed, amount of water needed, any other special care notes, and color of the blooms (if it is not currently in flower)

What NOT to bring: common orange daylilies* and any invasive species - use this list (http://www.mdinvasivesp.org/list_terrestrial_plants.html) to screen your plant offerings
*Hybrid daylilies are fine and totally welcome, but the common orange ones (aka "Ditch Lilies") usually end up with no takers and we are stuck having to throw them out as yard waste.

What if you do not have plants to swap? Come anyway! Bring refreshments like cold drinks and yummy finger foods to share with the other swappers.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Blustery Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day




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, the past month has been a very wet and cold one. The early-spring blooms that had been ahead of schedule due to the somewhat mild winter are now all gone and the mid-spring are mostly stalled and waiting for warmer, sunnier days. I looked at past years' bloom day posts and at this time I usually have peonies, roses, and annual containers full of blooms to share.

Instead, I have lots of lush green growth (including the weeds!), but really only the Bearded Iris is hitting its stride right now. Those are mostly on the ground though as we have high winds coming through and a frost advisory (!) for this evening, so I cut a bunch for an indoor bouquet.

Because of the high winds, I could not take any decent bloom photos this morning. Instead I'm sharing a photo from my Instagram feed (https://www.instagram.com/wdcgardener/) that I posted a few days ago of my Clematis 'Silver Moon,' which is looking good despite the weather challenges.

What is blooming in YOUR garden today?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Fenton Friday: White Radishes Ready



Yet another very wet week has kept me out of the community garden plot. I did get a few minutes to run over though and pull out the 'White Icicle' Radish that the spring interns planted. They are good-sized and tasty. I will definitely plan on growing them again, along with the tried-and-true 'Cherry Belle' and 'French Breakfast' varieties. I'd like to try the 'Mardi Gras' kind next, as they look so festive and colorful. Are there any other radish varieties that you recommend?

BTW 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.)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK: Green Spring Gardens

Green Spring Gardens (http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/greenspring/) in Fairfax County, VA., is a "must visit" for everyone in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. 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. There's something here for everyone: a wooded stream valley with ponds, a naturalistic native plant garden, over 20 thematic demonstration gardens, a greenhouse filled with tropicals, and a well-stocked horticultural reference library. Visit the Garden Gate Plant Shop and the two gift shops, where you'll find gift ideas ranging from books and gardening gloves to china and wind chimes. Green Spring will educate, inspire, and delight you. The gardens are always changing, so come back often for new ideas. Be sure to come to the BIG SPRING Plant Sale on Saturday May 14 9am-3pm. Free. Spring is a great time to plant and Green Spring Gardens is hosting more than 25 plant and craft vendors to satisfy your gardening needs. Come and support Friends of Green Spring and one of Virginia’s most innovative public gardens. 

Every Thursday on the Washington Gardener Magazine blog, we feature a current advertiser from our quarterly print magazine or monthly online enewsletter. To advertise with us, contact wgardenermag@aol.com today.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Fenton Friday: Another Soggy Week

This is the communal compost pile of the Fenton Community Garden. The county parks folks come by and clear it out every once in a while. The rest of my plot's weeds will join the pile soon -- as soon as it stops raining that is. I"m not complaining though as too much rain is surely better than too little! This cold and wet spring has set my schedule back by at least a couple weeks. I hope to have more to report next Friday.

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: Leafyhead Lotions & Potions

Leafyhead Lotions & Potions (http://www.leafyhead.com/pages/Home.cfm), founded by Tricia McCauley in 2009, uses locally grown herbs and plants to create creams and lotions.
The ingredients for the products are home-grown by McCauley or sourced from two Oregon companies: Mountain Rose Herbs and Horizon Herbs, according to McCauley. She sells face and body creams, lip balms and body salves, beard oil for inflammation, insect repellant, and more online through Etsy or by email and at certain D.C. crafts markets that can be found on the Leafyhead website.
“I love connecting people and plants,” McCauley said. “So when I get to talk to someone and tell them about a plant they haven’t ever heard about before, that’s really exciting to me.”
McCauley, who holds a master’s degree in herbal medicine, created her first product after learning how to make lip balm at graduate school. Because she had a list of food sensitivities, she created cilantro lip balm using cilantro essential oil so she didn’t have to worry about ingredients in outside products, according to the website.
“I had all these crazy sensitivities … I couldn’t do soy, gluten, or oats at the times,” said McCauley. “When I learned that I could make [products] for myself, that’s what really inspire me to make them.”
From then, most of the products were created to meet specific needs of her friends (although she found many could be applied to other uses), including Boobie Balm for a friend who was breastfeeding and Peppermint Foot Cream for a friend who spent the work day on her feet, according to the website.
The products use a variety of oils and butters (including coconut and almond oil), essential oils, and herbs (including aloe vera, black walnut, chamomile, and plantain).
McCauley said she is not sure whether she will expand the company in the future but that using Etsy in the past year to year and a half to sell more of her products has already been a “huge expansion” for her.
“There are a lot of people that have been with me for many years, so they purchase from me every year,” said McCauley. “But I am getting more and more and more strangers from around the country purchasing from Etsy.”
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, May 05, 2016

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK: DCGardens


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.

DCGardens will be at the Smithsonian Garden Fest on Friday, May 6th, 2016 | 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
NOTE: DUE TO THE FORECASTED RAIN the Garden Fest is moved indoors into Ripley Center. Look for signage onsite and see event details: http://gardens.si.edu/whats-happening/garden-fest.html 

DCGardens is hosting the DC Public Gardens Bingo Game during National Public Gardens Week May 1-7See the game card at http://dcgardens.com/game/ (and posted above). Lots of great prizes and fabulous gardens to visit!!!


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, May 04, 2016

Strawberries: You Can Grow That!

Sweet. Luscious. Juicy. No wonder this fruit is blushing! Strawberries are one of the most loved edibles. They can be eaten straight from the plant; used in jam or dessert recipes; or frozen and enjoyed in mixed drinks and shakes throughout the year. Not only is it versatile in the kitchen, it is also amazingly easy to grow. If you attempt no other edible this year, we encourage you to at least give this berry a try.
   Strawberry growing can be as simple as a pot on your patio or hanging by your back door. Set aside a 4x4 foot bed in your garden and you can have strawberry crops for the next few years.
   Strawberries grow best in a raised bed of well-drained soil. Mix in plenty of organic materials. If you put a wood frame around the bed, ensure that the wood is not treated with harmful chemicals that will leach into your planting.
   Plant strawberries in full sun during the spring. The first year may not yield much of a crop. Strawberry plants send out runners. Pinch them back or guide them back into the bed. Some even recommend pinching off all flowers and runners during the first year to get even bigger crops the following year.
   The plants peak at three-years-old. So buy new stock every few years to replenish them.
   Put the new, bare-root plants in so the crown is just resting at soil level with the roots gentled fanned out beneath the surface.
   They need only about one inch of water per week and are prone to root rot, so don't over do it.
   There are two main kinds of strawberries: ever-bearing and June-bearing. As per their names, ever-bearing and June-bearing fruit at different times. June-bearing from late-May to mid-June, while ever-bearing can have several waves of berries throughout the summer. Select June-bearing if you want one large crop for making jams or freezing. Choose ever-bearing if you want to throw some fresh berries in your cereal bowl every few days.
   Relatively disease-free, compared to other fruits you may grow, they are plagued by a few pests. Most notably slugs and birds.
   To combat slugs, sprinkle around the beds with Sluggo (iron phosphate), which is safe for use around edibles.
   For birds, put some shiny, moving objects nearby. For instance, used CDs hanging by strings on your fence or trees. You might also consider investing in some bird netting to cover the beds as the fruits ripen.
   In the fall, mulch the strawberry bed with straw (not hay!) or other materials such as pine needles to insulate the plants over the winter. Remove the mulch again in spring.
   The strawberry flowers themselves are pretty. Usually white or light pink, some varieties are grown more for their decorative value than for their fruit. The 'Pink Panda' aka Strawberry Potentilla is especially attractive with its bright pink blooms.
   Strawberry plants also make good border plantings. They stay low and fairly tidy. The runners are easy to pull if they go astray. (If you choose Alpine varieties, you will not have a runner problem.) So don't hesitate to plant a row of strawberries on the front edge of your flower beds for a sweet treat every time you pass by.

Advice from Local Growers

According to Larriland Farms, the berries are very consistent in their ripening schedule — coming exactly 28-30 days from bloom to harvest.
    Lynn Moore of Larriland says some of their best customers are gardeners. They find that the time and effort it takes to invest in growing the plants is just not possible with a full work schedule and busy life, so they visit pick-your-own farms for their annual strawberry “fix.” Lynn says she rearranges her life around her plants schedule. “They need what they need when they need it,” she explains. “And most gardeners are just not going to keep that kind of schedule.”
   Butler’s Orchard reports that June-bearing varieties do the best in our region. The intense summer heat can damage the ever-bearing varieties. Besides pick-your-own berries, Butler’s also sell the plants themselves including: Earliglow, Northeaster, and Darselect.
    Strawberries are expected to be in season for picking at all area pick-your-own farms starting in late May into June. Call first (or check their web sitrs/Facebook pages) to see if the berries are ripe before you make the trip.


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/.

Top Local Spots for Azalea Viewing: Best Bloom Displays in the DC-MD-VA Region

What is a spring in the Mid-Atlantic without abundant azalea blooms? Masses of bright blossoms make for a wonderful sight after a long, cold winter. Sure, they can be over-used at times, but the reason we love them so much is because they are so successful and reliable in our gardens.
   Azalea season runs from April through June with early-, mid-, and late-season blooming shrubs. (Though technically, with the new re-blooming varieties, the flowering season can extend through fall.) Be sure to re-visit some of these locations through-out the several weeks of bloom so you can enjoy the changing mix of colors as different varieties wax and wane.
   Washington Gardener Magazine asked local azalea fans for their favorite bloom viewing spots in our region. “I’ve always enjoyed the ride along Prosperity Avenue between Little River Turnpike and Route 50 in Fairfax County, VA. Many homes have beautiful, mature azaleas,” said Rick Bauer, president of the Northern Virginia Chapter, Azalea Society of America.
   “My first place vote will always go to the National Arboretum,” said Mike Welsh, city gardener for Takoma Park, MD. “It has everything: a great collection, many different forms and varieties, wonderful lay of the land for viewing, and a central location. By far, a fascinating lore and history. It gets better, year after year. All one needs do is to go and look at the faces of whose visiting and witness first-hand their expressed pleasure and their interaction with those beautiful azaleas.”
   Mike’s gardening domain is the parks of Takoma Park, which is well-known for its many beautiful azaleas, in both private and public gardens. The location is the former home of Benjamin Y. Morrison, the famed horticulturalist who was the founder and first director of the National Arboretum. Morrison is noted for cross-breeding different strains of azaleas to produce the Glenn Dale azaleas, which are prevalent today throughout the eastern United States. Morrison lived near Piney Branch Road and many of his Glenn Dale introductions can be seen throughout the city’s private home gardens and public parks.
   “Azaleas have a glamorous presence that few other plants have; beautiful azalea viewing can be anywhere and everywhere,” added Mike.
Azaleas at the USNA bonsai collection. Photo courtesy of DCGardens.com
   Indeed, most all of these azalea-viewing suggestion are free and open to all. A few are on private property and we ask you to respect the home owners by not trespassing and staying in the public right-of-way to take any photos.
• Brighton Dam in Brookeville, MD, has more than 20,000 azaleas and is provided by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.
•  Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD, features more than 300 varieties of azaleas represented by 2,000 plants.
• Landon School in Bethesda, MD, hosts an annual Azalea Festival on the first weekend of May. The Perkins Gardens include 15,000 azaleas.
• The U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, DC, is where thousands of azaleas cover the flanks of Mount Hamilton in a blaze of color. You can track what is in bloom and when at: http://www.usna.usda.gov/Gardens/collections/azaleablossom.html.
[Note this year, due to the eaglets that the access to the azaleas is limited.]
• McCrillis Gardens in Bethesda, MD, was the private collection of an azalea gardener before being given to Montgomery County parks in 1978.
• Franciscan Monastery in Washington, DC, features a hillside of azaleas in its 40-acre grounds.
• Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens in Washington, DC, includes hundred of azaleas sprinkled throughout the many garden rooms.
• Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA, has a small collection of natives and some Asian varieties.
• Rachel Carson Conservation Park, in Olney, MD, is known, in part, for Rachel Carson’s famous wild azaleas (pinxters), which are in full bloom in mid- to late-May.
• Norfolk Botanical Garden in Norfolk, VA, contains an azalea collection with more than 50,000 plants representing more than 550 species in full bloom. They also host an annual Azalea Celebration Week in early May.
• Cylburn Arboretum in Baltimore, MD, is known for its Azalea Trail and offers guided walks on occasion.
• Maymont in Richmond, VA, includes a Japanese Garden with spectacular combinations of azaleas, Japanese Maples, and spring-flowering trees.
• Annmarie Garden in Solomons, MD, has about 500 shrubs in its Glenn Dales collection established in 1997 and tended by volunteer gardeners.
   Did we leave any of your favorite local azalea viewing spots off this list? Let us know where you go to be amongst “the royalty of the garden.”  

About the Author:
Kathy Jentz is editor/publisher of Washington Gardener.

Video Wednesday: Franciscan Monastery Gardens


Enjoy this video of the Franciscan Monastery gardens by intern Seema Vithlani.

We caught it during the only (and brief) afternoon of sun of the past two weeks!

Sunday, May 01, 2016

DIY: Eggshell Seed Pots

Guest blog by Daisy-Nelly Nji




If you are a person who is conscious about the environment, but would still like to take on an easy gardening task this is they DIY for you.


Materials
·         Eggshells
·         Egg carton
·         Potting soil & spoon
·         Awl/needle/pin - anything long and sharp
·         Knife
·         Seeds

Step 1: Prepare the eggshells
Instead of discarding eggshells that you have used, keep them in a carton to do this task and be eco-friendly. Carefully crack the top third of the egg. You can do this by tapping the egg on the edge of a bowl, or tapping with a sharp knife. Empty out yolk from the eggshells and wash them out well. You can also put in the microwave for a minute to kill any potential pathogens.

Step 2: Add drainage
Make a hole that will provides drainage, so the roots of your plant don't drown. Take the empty eggshell, and poke one hole in the very bottom with your sharp object such as a pushpin. 

Step 3: Add potting soil
Using a small spoon, fill the eggshell with moist potting soil.

Step 4: Add seeds
Think about the amount of light you have available in your home and garden, and use seeds that will thrive in these conditions. Plant your seeds according to directions on the seed package.

Step 5: Enjoy
After you have planted the seeds, you can simply put the eggshell back into the carton. The carton provides a stable base with room for drainage, is further re-used and r-cycled, and it also looks darn cute.


About the Author

Daisy-Nelly Nji is a senior journalism student at the University of Maryland. She is a multi-platform journalism major in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. This spring, she is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener Magazine.

This is a monthly guest blog series on DIY projects for the beginning home gardener. Look for the other installments in this DIY blog series by putting "DIY" in the search box here at washingtongardener.blogspot.com.