Sunday, August 31, 2008
Hurray for International Kitchen Garden Day
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Fall Harvest Collection for the Hungry
Plant A Row for the Hungry is a project begun and administered by the Garden Writers Association, which Washington Gardener Magazine supports as an Allied member. The concept is simple. There are over 70 million gardeners in the U.S. alone, many of which plant vegetables and harvest more than they can consume. If every gardener plants one extra row of vegetables and donates their surplus to local food banks and soup kitchens, a significant impact can be made on reducing hunger. Food agencies will have access to fresh produce, funds earmarked for produce can be redirected to other needed items and the hungry of America will have more and better food than is presently available.
Tomato Taste in Gazette
Eagle-eyed readers will note our names was inventively misspelled in the photo caption as "Washington Gardiner"! That is a first for that one. Usually folks drop the first e. *Sigh*. I have requested a correction.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Garden Party Photos Published
You will also want to go get the actual paper or go to their web site to see the full issue though as adjacent to this story is a great feature on mojitos, which we served at our event and are available at many fine establishments around downtown Silver Spring. The Voice reviews the different offerings. I generally agree with their conclusion that the best mojito in town is at Cubano's. The worst? Well, I won't trash any local eateries here by name, but I will say I've had a few locally mixed mojitos that were not up to snuff. Sure I'm a mo-snob, but I can forgive not having fresh sugarcane stirrers. What I can't forgive is tinkering with a proven recipe. I mean is it so hard to strain out the muddled mint before the pour? Then throw a fresh spring in for the serve. It is not cool to be on a date and to still be picking tiny, torn mint pieces out of your teeth an hour later. Nor is it cool for a mojito to be made with anything but clear rum or for foreign nasty ingredients to enter the mix -- we're talking salt on the rim or a maraschino cherry thrown in - ugh! I'm not asking for perfection here. Keep it simple and you can't go wrong.
Now all this mojito and garden party talk has me thinking that the unofficial end to summer is this weekend and a Labor Day gathering in the gazebo to close out the season might not be a bad idea. I'll check the weather reports and my schedule then post here if a last-minute function is in the plans.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Tomato Head Gallery
Tomato Tasting Results
- Sun Sugar ~ 42 votes
- Evergreen ~ 20 votes
- Cherokee Purple ~ 14 votes
- Red Grape ~ 10 votes
- Mystery Yellow ~ 5 votes
- Brandywine ~ 3 votes
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Last List... for now
2. Native Plant Seminar/Sale: The seminar, in its 17th year, features three dynamic speakers as well as post-seminar workshops. Throughout the day the Native Plant Sale, featuring 13 native nurseries, is open to the general public.Details: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday; Irvine Nature Center; 11201 Garrison Forest Road, Owings Mills; $70, $60 for members, workshops are $25, sale alone is free; 410-484-2413, ext. 25; http://www.explorenature.org/.
3. Invasive Plant Identification and Removal: Join The Nature Conservancy for a volunteer workday removing invasive plants from the Potomac Gorge, in the national parks just upstream from Georgetown. Children over the age of 5 are welcome.Details: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 23; Potomac Gorge Park; free; 202-225-1116; www.usbg.gov/education/events.
4. Rain Gardens — Learn How to Manage Storm Water Beautifully: Learn the five types of rain gardens that are easiest for homeowners to install. Get tips on how to design, plant and maintain your rain garden. After the talk, participants will have the chance to view the Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council’s demonstration “RainScape” garden on the USBG grounds to check out some beautiful landscape elements that also control storm water runoff. Details: noon to 1 p.m. Friday; U.S Botanic Garden; National Mall, Washington; free, registration is not required; 202-225-8333; http://www.usbg.org/.
5. Tropical Sensations Art Show: The Brookside Gardens Visitors Center exhibitions showcase affordable original works or giclee prints of original works on horticultural themes by area artists.Details: Through Oct. 10; Brookside Gardens; 1800 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton; 301-962-1400; http://www.brooksidegardens.org/.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Summer Gardening Trends Report
The 2008 Summer Gardening Trends Research Report from GWA is now out. A few choice results:
~ On average, consumers are planning to spend about $771 on their yards and gardens this year, where expenditures include making improvements and doing maintenance.
~ Almost half of American households (43%) grow vegetables in their gardens. The top reasons households gave for not growing vegetables in their gardens include:
No time (29%)
No interest (21%)
No space (20%)
Lack of knowledge (8%) and
Not enough sunlight (6%).
~This year, about two out of five (39%) consumers say that they participate in container gardening. This is down from 47% last year.
I picked these three out as the most surprising. I think the $771 is very low as it includes lawn maintenance. Just paying a weekly lawn mow would account for that amount. Are people including their water bill? Mulch? Leaf bags? Heck, if you are DIY, one lawnmower blade sharpening per year and the gas/electricity will still set you back for a good chunk of that.
As to the reasons not to veggie garden, I find 6% for lack of sunlight not reflective of what I hear in my area. I'd say that and lack of space are the only two reasons I ever hear. Many DC-area residents try tomatoes with enthusiasm and give up due to the lack of light. We'd see many more veggie gardeners if apartment rooftops and sunny public spaces were given over to those who want to grow their own produce.
Finally, container gardening went from 47% to 39% in one year?! I think something is way off there. Maybe the terminology - is "patio gardening" better? I can't think of anyone I know who does not have at least one pot at their entrance steps, balcony, or patio -- the majority of whom do not consider themselves gardeners.
Not sure I can use any of this for shaping our magazine content. Interesting, yes. Fun to know. But in the end not much real world application.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Think Local First
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Hummingbird Habitats in new Washington Gardener Enews
Vol. 4, No. 8 — August 15, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
A Sunny August Bloom Day
DC's Growing Sidewalk Hazards
One poster wrote on that thread: "Whether or not bicycles belong on the sidewalk (and, having biked all around DC for years, I think they don't), the plants are either private property of the homeowner, or public property belonging to all of the people of the District. A non-owner has no business hacking up plants that don't belong to them. Even for bikers who are also competent gardeners, a better option might be to carry preprinted notes for the homeowners. If there's a plant you particularly object to, leave the note in the mailbox asking the HO to trim the offending item. I mean, do you really want to be responsible for the murder of someone's valuable Japanese maple or their baby American elm? Keep in mind, however, that shade and lush greenery are part of what make these streets so appealing to ride on. If you can't get your way with the problem plant, you can always ride in the blazing sun and tailpipe exhaust on a big street."
Meanwhile, NBC4TV at 4pm yesterday picked up our Feeding Birds On A Budget story from the current issue of Washington Gardener where we offer "Ideas For Saving Money On Bird Food." Watch the short segment here.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
This weekend I won't be attending any of these listed events. Instead, I'm continuing work on the Sept/Oct issue layout and attending several parties, picnics, and potlucks. One has stipulated "vegetarian dishes only" - while I don't cook meat or seafood, I do bake with eggs, milk, butter, etc. And sorry, total vegans, it is just not the same without the real things. What I do is just label the cake/pie/bread that dairy and eggs were used, that way folks are fully informed and can partake as they wish. Actually, it'd be nice at potlucks if all dishes were well labeled. Don't you just hate biting into something and finding mid-bite that the one ingredient you are repulsed by is hiding in the middle? There you are with a mouth full of nasty, looking for a napkin or nearest trashcan, and trying not to let the torture show on your face as you chat with the dish-bringer.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Friday, August 08, 2008
Celebate Farmers Market Week
Nearby was the "From Farm to Market" art show which runs through Sunday, August 17 at VisArts at 155 Gibbs Street (just around the corner from the Rockville Library). Free to the public, the show "explores the impact farming has on our lives, revealing its influence through a fascinating spectrum of art." Okay, that sounds fairly highbrow, but really the first thing you will think upon entering the main gallery on the second floor is "cow!" Your next thought will be "tomato!" The mushroom picture above is from the exhibit and my advice is don't go there hungry! The best part of the show is the intelligent commentary and captions. At most exhibits you breeze on by these, but these really make you stop and think about our connections to local agriculture and relationship with food. More information on the show is at visarts.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
To Cut or Not?
Number 2 on the list is the Montgomery County Fair which opens this weekend. I'm once again planning on entering a few cut flowers into competition. I've been holding off cutting flowers for indoor bouquets for the last two weeks due to that. I'm afraid I'll cut something I may "need." It's silly, really, as those flowers from two weeks back are surely not competition worthy now. But I'm always thinking "what if these are the best?" -- kind of like not using the "good" china or linens and then ending up never taking them out to enjoy. At least with flowers, you can enjoy them yourself indoors or leave them out for the world to enjoy -- both are lovely choices.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Let It Rain: Weeds and Slugs
UPDATE: Here is a link to the online video of the Channel 4 segment. Bizarre pop-up storms forced us indoors for it. I did get one viewer email chastising me that pennies are not pet-safe. Um, yeah. I had recommended copper, and pennies in particular, as slug barriers and then earlier commented that our slug remedies shown (beer, iron phosphate, etc.) were pretty pet-safe versus the harsh pesticide alternatives. Apologies for any confusion. As a cat-person, I must say my brain does not automatically take into account that certain dogs can and will eat anything.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Seeds of Gold
Friday, August 01, 2008
Paint the White House Green
The video shows Roger of Kitchen Gardeners International up in Maine doing some strenuous sod-busting to create a nice clean veggie patch in the middle of his front lawn. It is a dramatic effect. However, I'd recommend lasagna (aka layer) gardening instead for those who want to get rid of a significant chunk of lawn and start new planting beds. It'll save your back and be much quicker. We described exactly how to do that in our November/December 2006 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine, but you can Google it and find instructions easily on the web too.
Back to the topic at hand, let's cast our vote for a "green" White House by demanding whoever our new president may be (*cough* OBAMA *cough* :-) use some of those 18 acres to feed their household and the hungry of this city.
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