Friday, April 28, 2017

Fenton Friday: Harvesting Spinach

We were able to harvest a salad's worth of Spinach and Mustard Greens from the garden this week. The Mustard was already bolting, as we had record heat this week, so we needed to do that quickly.

I put a double-thickness of cover cloth over the rest of the cool-season edible seedlings - carrots, radishes, cilantro. parsley, and other greens. I hope that saved them from being fried in the 90+ degree heat and that this coming week's more seasonable temps let them thrive and grow.

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.)   

Monday, April 24, 2017

Win Passes to DC Green Festival in April 2017 Washington Gardener Reader Contest

For our April 2017 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, Washington Gardener Magazine is giving away four (4) pairs of passes to DC Green Festival ( Prize value: $15 per pass.
   Celebrate the 13th annual DC Green Festival Expo, taking place May 13–14 at the DC Convention Center, Join the Green Festival Marketplace by exploring more than 250 exhibitors, learning from more than 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 enjoy vegan, vegetarian, and 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 by 5:00pm on Thursday, April 27, with “DCGreen” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Please also include your name and mailing address. The pass winners will be announced the next day.

The DC Green Festival pass winners have been chosen, they are:
Jun Yang, Silver Spring, MD
Antonia Dentes, Chevy Chase, MD
~ Susana Baranano, Washington, DC
Jennifer Whalen, Silver Spring, MD
LeShae Philyaw, Capitol Heights, MD 

To order passes to the Green Festival Expo, go to
and use our special code: XDC172DDR

Friday, April 21, 2017

Fenton Friday: Shredded Lettuce

I sat to write this post when all hell broke loose outside. A mid-afternoon thunderstorm arrived with two rounds of golf-ball-sized hail. I just spent the last two hours mopping out my sunroom and picking up broken branches. My home garden looks like it went through a blender with leave parts strewn everywhere. It was with some trepidation that I went over to the Fenton Community Garden to see my plot.

It is not as bad as I thought. Everything is laying down for the hail and rain deluge, but I think it will all right. Most of it just looks soggy and beaten/bruised, but not broken.

The question of the week is that the Mustard Greens are ready to pick (after they recover from the storms), so now what? Do I cook them? Eat them raw? How do you prepare yours?

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.)   

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

April 2017 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine includes Fothergilla, 15 Terrific Tomatoes, and much more

The April 2017 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is now out.

You can also view it online at:

Inside this issue:
Frilly, Fragrant Fothergilla
A Visit to Baltimore’s Sherwood Gardens 
Your Garden Task List
2017 Year of the Rose
Local Gardening Events Calendar
12+ Springtime Garden Tours
15 Terrific Tomatoes for a Long, Hot Summer
Top 8 Less-known Summer Bulbs, Corms, and Tubers
Erigenia, the Harbinger of Spring
And much more…

Note that any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the May 2017 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:

Saturday, April 15, 2017

GARDEN BLOGGER'S BLOOM DAY: April without Showers?

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 here - but where are the April showers? It was a dry winter and, so far, spring is fairly dry as well. This is usually our "wet season," so I fear for our gardens if this pattern lasts much longer. 

Here is a partial list of the plants in bloom around my garden today:
- Epimediums
- Lily of the Valley
- Rhododendron
- Azaleas
- Redbud 
- Lilacs
- Ajuga
- Muscari
- Scilla
- Daffodils
- Tulips
- Veronica
- Leucojum
- Hellebores
- Camellia
- Violets
- Violas
- Pansies
- Primrose
- Carolina Jasmine

Visit my Instagram page at for daily shares of photos of my garden in bloom (like the one above) as well as flowers and plants I see in my daily travels.

What's blooming in your garden today?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Fenton Friday: First of the Season

The first post of the season finds my plot once again run over by Henbit and Chickweed. Alas, no poultry in sight to take care of it. Weeding it all out has been slow this time due to having a broken toe. It is healing quickly, but not fast enough for me to be at top-speed in the garden yet.

Looking at what over-wintered for me. I lost all my Calendula. It had a good multi-year run, so I'm not too upset. Only a few Strawberry plants have returned, but the Asparagus and Garlic are doing very well. I also have one hardy rosemary that is fine. Cabbages and Kale also over-wintered though I think hey may be too tough and bitter for eating so I will use them instead as a garnish.

Newly added by seed in the last few weeks are rows of :Mustard Greens, Bloomsdale Spinach, Lettuce, Radish 'Crimson Crunch,' Carrots "Scarlet Nantes,' Cilantro, Arugula, and Parsley.

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.)   

Monday, April 10, 2017


For our Garden Book Club's Spring 2017 Meeting we will be discussing:

The Triumph of Seeds: How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses, and Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History by Thor Hanson

"This is a book of knowledge, adventure, and wonder, spun by an award-winning writer with both the charm of a fireside story-teller and the hard-won expertise of a field biologist. A fascinating scientific adventure, it is essential reading for anyone who loves to see a plant grow."

Please join us on Tuesday, May 23 from 6:30-8:00pm at Soupergirl, located right next to the Takoma metro stop. Soupergirl offers soups for sale that are incredibly healthy. They are 100% plant-based, low salt, low fat, and most importantly, absolutely delicious, so plan to come a bit early to purchase and eat your dinner with the garden book club. 

Please RSVP to washingtongardener (at) or at the book club event page at by May 20, so we know how many chairs to reserve for our group.

The Washington Gardener Magazine's Garden Book Club is free and open to all. We meet quarterly on a weekday evening near a metro-accessible location in the DC-area. We will announce the details of each upcoming meeting about two months in advance. Please check back on this blog for schedule updates and announcements.

Here are the rest of our 2017 selection:
~ Big Dreams, Small Garden by Marianne Willburn - Summer (July)
Ghost Image by Ellen Crosby (fiction) - Fall (November)


Saturday, April 01, 2017

DIY: Kokedama

By India Hamilton

Kokedama is a Japanese term meaning “moss ball.” After reviewing Miniature Moss Gardens, written by Japanese authors Megumi Oshima and Hideshi Kimura, Washington Gardener decided to try out one of the many projects included in the book. You can find our review of the rest of the book in the March 2017 edition. Check out our easy tutorial for kokedama planters below.

Level: Beginner
Cost: Minimal
Use: Decorative
Time: Approximately 10 minutes for preparation and 15 minutes for assembly

  • Soil
  • Sheet moss
  • Sphagnum or Spanish moss
  • Garden soil
  • A small, rooted cutting of a flower or small indoor plant
  • Waxed string or floral wire
  • Small garden scissors or wire cutters
  • Water
  • Mixing bowl
  • Small plant pots and/or “s” hooks for hanging

Step 1: Soak peat moss in water to allow it to become pliable.

Step 2: Intermix your Spanish moss with moist soil at a 1-to-3 ratio, respectively, to create a ball that will be at the center of your kokedama planter.

Step 3: Create an indentation in the center of the soil ball that extends about one-third of the way into the soil ball and place your plant cutting inside.

Step 4: Take pieces of sheet moss and, after wringing out any excess water, wrap the peat moss around the soil ball until it is completely covered.

Step 5: Secure the peat moss to the soil ball by twisting and tying the string or wire tightly around the ball.

Step 6: To display, place the kokedama ball on top of a plant pot or use more wire to attach to the ball and hang it using an “s” hook. Place in a window.

Care: About once a week, or whenever you notice it start to dry out, place the entire ball in a bowl of water and let it soak for 10 minutes. Then squeeze out the excess water and let it drop over a sink, before returning it to its display spot.

About the author:
India Hamilton is a junior multi-platform journalism major and black women’s studies minor at the University of Maryland, College Park. She copy edits and writes feature and event pieces for the online publication, Pulsefeedz. This winter/spring, she is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener Magazine.

This is a monthly 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

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