Friday, May 26, 2017

Fenton Friday: Garlic Scapes and Strawberries

Another wet week at the community garden. I was able to do a bit of weeding. I am battling a horrible Nut Sedge invasion. I fear that will be an ongoing time-suck for years to come.

My once-prolific Strawberries have petered out this year, so I rounded up the remaining babies and re-planting them all at the top of the plot together near the Asparagus.

I dug out the Radish crop and pulled the Peas. This year's pea crop was paltry. These were a dwarf "bush" variety. Next year I will go back to regular climbing peas.

I also pulled the last of the Spinach and snipped off the Garlic Scapes (pictured here).

The rows of Cilantro, Parsley, and Arugula are doing very well. Now, if I can only think of ways to use them up as fast as they are growing!

Some Celosia seedlings from last year's cutting garden have appeared so I plucked them out and put them in a line down the back edge of the plot.

This coming week, the summer interns start and we will plant up many things -- from Peppers to Melons to Okra. I have some Red Cotton seedlings that I am particularly excited about trying out.

What new things are you trying out this year in your edible garden?

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, May 24, 2017

Video Wednesday: Why I Garden


We asked local gardeners in the Washington, DC region: Why Do You Garden? (They also gave us some great gardening tips and advice!)

This was put together by our spring intern India Hamiltion.

You may recognize some folks in this video...

Monday, May 22, 2017

Win Passes to the Live Butterfly Exhibit in Wheaton, MD

For our May 2017 Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away the five sets of passes to the live butterfly exhibit in Wheaton, MD (each set has two passes and is a $16 value).
   Running daily through September 17, 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.
   Note: The exhibit is located inside a greenhouse, which is usually 10 degrees warmer than the outside temperature and more humid.
   See more details at: http://www.montgomeryparks.org/brookside/wings_of_fancy.shtm.
   To enter to win passes, send an email to WashingtonGardener@rcn.com by 5pm on Wednesday, 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 2017 issue of Washington Gardener and why. Please also include your full name and mailing address. The pass winners will be announced and notified on June 1.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Fenton Friday: Spring Vegetables


By India Hamilton

This spring, I grew ‘Bloomsdale’ spinach, ‘New Zealand’ Spinach, and Heirloom Mustard Greens from seed at the Fenton Community Garden. I sowed one row of each variety of Spinach and Mustard Greens in a raised bed and also sprinkled Bloomsdale Spinach seeds into a small container.
   At eight weeks, I was able to harvest both the Mustard Greens and the Bloomsdale Spinach in the ground. The container of Bloomsdale Spinach, which had been started at the same time were about 2-3 weeks behind in growth compared to the ones in the soil. While the Mustard Greens were only cut once, I was able to harvest the Bloomsdale Spinach three more times after the initial cutting. Unfortunately, the New Zealand Spinach never came up. We think it was old seed.
    I froze the Mustard Greens we harvested for later use. My family recipe for Mustard Greens consists of slow-cooking them in a pot with butter, salt, and bacon bits.
   I was able to use the Spinach as both an addition to chicken alfredo pasta and a side with rice and tilapia fish.
   Overall, these seeds were very easy to plant, maintain and harvest. Additionally, the Bloomsdale Spinach has a delicious, unique flavor and I would definitely recommend them to new gardeners.

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.)   

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 spring, she was an editorial intern at Washington Gardener Magazine.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

May 2017 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine includes Fritillaries, Golden Raspberries, and much more




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

Inside this issue:
  • Fritillaries: From Dainty to Flamboyant
  • A Visit to Union Mills Homestead 
  • Hail Storm Pummels Gardens
  • Tomato Watering Tips
  • Planthopper Invasion
  • Peach Tree Problems
  • Starting Flower Seeds
  • New Plant Spotlight: Fairy Magnolia Bush
  • Your Garden Task List
  • Butterfly Larvae: Flower Garden Friend or Foe?
  • Growing Golden Raspberries
  • U.S. National Arboretum’s New  Mobile App
  • Who You Gonna Call for Swarming Bees?
  • Local Gardening Events Calendar
  • Cultivating Chives
  • and much more…

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

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

HOW TO PREP FOR THE 10TH ANNUAL DC PLANT SWAP


10th 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 really heats up.

Date: Saturday, June 3

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 the headhouse.

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.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Oodles of Flower and Garden Photos

Like the photos I occasionally post here? See many more photos from the recent local garden events I attend posted at the Washington Gardener Facebook Page: 

Recent albums include:
• Georgetown Garden Tour 2017
• Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage 2017: Westminster, MD/Carroll County
• Falls Church VA House and Garden Tour 2017
• McCrillis Gardens
• Historic Takoma House and Garden Tour 2017
• DuPont Gardens in Delaware
• Tulip displays at the Dutch Ambassador’s DC residence
Click on the PHOTOS tab - then select the ALBUMS.

By the way, if you like this photo or ANY photo you see on this blog, in our Washington Gardener Magazine, Twitter feed, Instagram stream, etc., and want to purchase it. Please contact me at 301.588.6894 or KathyJwntz - at - gmail - dot - com. I have sold a few photos so far just randomly. One to a real estate agent for a postcard promotion. Another to an area calendar.


If the photo in our publication was not taken by me, I'm happy to put you in direct contact with the original photographer. Our interns as well as past staff shutterbug, Drena J. Galarza, have taken some wonderful shots for us as have Dan Weil and our other freelancers.

Note: Any photo seen in our publications -- online or in print -- require our reprint permission to use them elsewhere. At a minimum we ask you to credit Washington Gardener and to link back to our web site. Our prices are very reasonable and in many cases we will allow photo use in exchange for non-monetary compensation.


I hear horror stories about stolen images popping up all over the web and I understand that is the nature of the Internet beast. It is also why I post low-res images to this blog and our other online outlets. Almost all the photos you see from us have high-res and alternate versions.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Seuss-ian Bloom Day

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 today and to read their collective comments, go to http://www.maydreamsgardens.com/
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. That is changing now though. The sun has emerged and we are due to jump straight to highs in the '90s by mid-week! 
My garden has been growing very lushly with the English-like weather we have had. In bloom now in my garden are small trees like the Japanese Snowbell and Mock Orange, along with many newly acquired annuals from Alyssum to Fuchsia to Petunias. 
The perennial flowers include the large, Dr. Seuss-like Alliums (pictured here) in both purple and white. There are many Irises blooming - Bearded, Water, and Japanese -- as well as roses everywhere from my mainstay Meidiland groundcovers to newly added David Austin selections.
Finally, my Peony shrubs are putting on a prolific show--providing lots of cut flowers for my indoor arranging fun.
So what is blooming in YOUR garden today?

Friday, May 12, 2017

FENTON FRIDAY: Crimson Crunch Radishes

This was a very soggy week in the Fenton Comunity Garden. Between rains, I was able to weed half of the plot and spread compost and wood chips. It is looking neat and orderly -- as only a spring garden plot can. We'll see how long that lasts....

The Cilantro and Parsley are coming in very nicely. I pulled out the last of the old Kale and Cabbage plants to make way for new Lettuce seeds.

I am now debating how much room I want to give to a cutting garden flowers versus melons/pumpkins. Both groups of plants are space hogs and I am not sure how much plot real estate I will give over to either group yet.

I harvested a few of the 'Crimson Crunch' Radishes (pictured) and they are delicious. The seeds are from Renee's Garden.

By the way, I will be giving a talk on Sunday, May 14 at 11:00am the DC Green Festival on "Planting Your First Vegetable Garden." The talk is aimed at beginners, but I will sprinkle in some tips for seasoned gardeners as well. I hope you can attend.

If you need passes to the Green Festival, go to and use our special code: XDC172DDR.

Please stop by and see WASHINGTON GARDENER MAGAZINE in Booth #407 all weekend.

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.)   

Friday, May 05, 2017

Fenton Friday: First Peas of the Season

The first Peas have formed and I can see many more flowers on the vines about to pop into pods. I am so excited to have my first fresh batch of the season.

We cut our second batch of Spinach and I harvested some more Asparagus. I am going to let the rest of the Asparagus go now though as it is starting to be that time in the season. The Mustard Greens are all done as well so I pulled that row out to make room for other greens. 

The Radish are coming right along and the Arugula and Cilantro can be harvested as baby greens right now, but I think I will leave them alone for another week so they grow a bit stronger.

I am still weeding out the Wheatgrass and Nutsedge and uncovering a few more baby Strawberry plants. They are forming fruit now and I should have a few handfuls for my morning cereal in a couple weeks. It sure won't be like previous years where I was overwhelmed with the Strawberry harvest!

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, May 01, 2017

DIY: Chalkboard Watering Can

By India Hamilton

Just in time for Mother’s Day, Washington Gardener staff painted watering cans, which were fun to make and can be easily gifted.

Level: Beginner
Cost: Minimal
Use: Gift, Decorative, Functional
Time: Approximately 45 minutes for designing, allow to dry overnight

Materials
  • Plastic watering can
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Stencils (with removeable adhesive backing)
  • Foam paint brushes
  • Painter's tape
  • Chalk

Step 1: Clean the surface of the plastic watering can or pot with a wet towel. Ensure the surfaces are completely dry afterward.

Step 2: Lay stencil against the watering can and apply one coat of paint over the stencil. Be careful not to go outside the design area.

Step 3: Section off a large square area on the other side of the watering can with blue painter's tape and apply one coat of paint to the inside area.

Step 4: Allow paint to dry at least 45 minutes and repeat step 2.

Step 5: Allow paint and/ or designs to dry overnight.

Step 6 (optional): Use colored sidewalk chalk to draw pictures or write messages on your watering can.

Step 7 (optional): Place cut flowers or potted plants inside the finished watering cans for display and gifting.

Note: The chalkboard paint is not permanent and may scratch off if bumped against other items. For that reason, these watering pots are great for events and decorative use, but not for long-term use. If you want the stenciled design to last longer, you can spray them with a clear fixative.

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 washingtongardener.blogspot.com

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