Friday, June 29, 2018

Fenton Friday: Those Rascally Rabbits

'Kentucky Wonder' Green Beans seedlings
The rains have all dried up and a heat wave has set in. The Cucumber seedlings and Tomatoes are growing by leaps and bounds. I started Zinnia seeds and they are already up, but the Edamame has yet to make an appearance. I will give that another week.

I caught not one, but two, baby rabbits in my plot at the same time this week. This means war! Last year, the rabbits ate my Green Bean seedlings down to the nub each time they emerged. After trying 3 times, I gave up. This season I am taking no chances. I surrounded the green beans with some wire mesh and am hoping it is enough to get the beans started.

How is your vegetable 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 7th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.) See past posts about our edible garden by putting "Fenton" into the Search box above.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Win Passes to the Morris Arboretum in our June 2018 Washington Gardener Reader Contest

For our June 2018 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving passes to the Morris Arboretum at the University of Pennsylvania (www.morrisarboretum.org).
    Spend time with family and friends exploring the arboretum’s 92-acre lush and colorful gardens just outside Philadelphia, PA. Discover your favorite garden spaces and learn from 12,000 labeled plants, trees, and flowers. See the forest from a new perspective—50 feet up in the treetops on the Out on a Limb canopy walk, part of the arboretum-wide interactive Tree Adventure exhibit.
  To enter to win one of two sets of passes for two, send an email to WashingtonGardener@rcn.com by 5:00pm on June 30 with “Morris Arb” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Include your full name and mailing address. Tell us which was your favorite article in our June 2018 issue and why. The pass winners will be announced and notified on July 1.

UPDATE: Our two contest winners are:
~ Madeline Caliendo, Washington, DC
Jane Mandelbaum, Washington DC
Congratulations to you both and enjoy your visit to the Morris Arboretum!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Fenton Friday: Mouse Melons Return

Mouse Melon vine emerging
Another wet week, but I'm not complaining! Not having to water every day frees up a lot of my time to do other things like weed and plant. This week I put in Edamame 'Envy' seeds -- inspired by the EdibleHarvest column in our current issue. Also, got in the 'Kentucky Wonder' Green Beans.

When I was weeding, I came across the re-emerging vines of the Mexican Gherkins (Melothria scabraaka Mouse Melon. I quickly scavenged up an old trellis piece that I had set aside in a scrap pile and then guided on of the tendrils up it. I may add some mesh to the trellis too for it to climb up as the vine is so tiny and the trellis is meant more for roses.

I am so happy the Mexican Gherkin roots over-wintered and came back. I had added a bit of extra compost on the spot in late fall, but next year I will also try to remember to mark the spot with a plant tag, so I won't almost accidentally weed it out again!

How is your vegetable 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 7th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.) See past posts about our edible garden by putting "Fenton" into the Search box above.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

tips for creating native plant container gardens

By Rosie Kean

Photographer and garden designer Marcia Tate shared tips for creating native plant container gardens during a presentation to the Silver Spring Garden Club at the Brookside Gardens on Monday, June 18.

There are many benefits for choosing native plants for your garden, Tate said. These plants can better adapt to local conditions, require lower maintenance, and handle stress well. In addition, once established, native plants can help conserve water and provide natural habitat for other critters.

A native plant is one that grew naturally in an area before humans introduced different plants. In this case, “native” means anything that naturally grew between the Rocky Mountains and along the Eastern Seaboard, Tate said.

Containers can showcase these native beauties and serve as points of interest throughout a garden. Pots and other containers are the perfect place to experiment with a new plant or variety of flower. They also keep plants that like to spread contained.

Some of Tate’s favorites to put in containers include heuchera and phlox. A good list of native plants for our region can be found on Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve’s website.

Many different types of materials can be used to create a container garden. Some options include terracotta, ceramic, plastic, or metal pots or buckets. Tate encouraged gardeners to be creative—feel free to spray-paint a pot or use odds and ends like old tires or boots as containers. You do want to make sure there is a hole for drainage in whatever container you choose.

When it comes to choosing what to put in your container, consider color, texture, fragrance, and how the plants will look in each season. Tate likes her containers to have at least “a couple seasons of interest.”

When planting in a pot, don’t use the same soil from your garden. Fill your container with potting soil (without added fertilizer/salts) and mix in compost. To care for the plants, Tate recommends cutting them back in spring and adding a bit of extra compost every once in a while.

Marcia Tate native container talk demo
An important part of making container gardens is experimentation. Tate often stuffs a container to the brim with different types of plants and “lets them duke it out.” When she was demonstrating how to make a container garden, she packed in about 10 different plants in one average-sized pot. Some will do better than others, but piling in plants helps you get a sense of how they will grow, and it mimics the way they would grow in the wild.

Experimenting with native plants is especially important with climate change affecting local temperatures, Tate reminded the audience.

“You are all now citizen scientists trying to determine what will grow in your gardens,” Tate said.
About the author:
Rosie Kean is a senior multiplatform journalism and English major at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is from Macungie, PA. This summer, she is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Need a Great Garden Speaker?

As a garden club president myself, I know how hard it can be to find a speaker who is knowledgeable about local gardening and who can present that knowledge in an interesting, well-organized, and concise way.  My aim is to be that great, local, garden speaker. My personal mission is to turn black thumbs green and to inspire a love for gardening in my audience.

I am booking talks now through the end of 2019 and am available for garden club meetings, conferences, workshops, panels, and other special events.  

Posted here is my speaker one-sheet (click on it to see it at full size and right-click on it to save the file), which gives you some idea about my most popular talk topics and experience. Even if you don't have a speaker opening right now, please keep it on file for when you do need one and feel free to also share it with your fellow garden club leaders.

In addition, you can read my audience reviews at the Great Garden Speakers web site: http://greatgardenspeakers.com/listing/kathy-jentz-4c818b5cdacc5.html.

Whenever you have a garden speaking opportunity, keep me in mind. Call 240-603-1471 or email KathyJentz@gmail.com for my available dates, rates, and a complete list of talk topics.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

June 2018 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine - Pink Muhly Grass, Edamame, Arlington National Cemetery, and much more



The June 2018 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is now out.


Inside this issue:
·         Pink Muhly Grass
·         Easy Edible Edamame
·         8 Beautiful Blue Flower Bulbs
·         Dumbarton Oaks’ New Garden Director
·         Four Seasons of Local Flowers
·         A Visit to Arlington National Cemetery
and much more…

Note that any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the July 2018 issue are due by July 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



Friday, June 15, 2018

Bloom Day Bliss


Here in the Mid-Atlantic USA (USDA zone 7) on the DC-MD border, the past month started off wet. The monsoons of May continued and then abruptly stopped earlier this week. Now, it is hot, dry, and windy.

The weeds are booming, fortunately so are my flowering plants. They include those pictured above... from top left going clockwise, they are: common Milkweed, Campanula 'Pink Chimes'***, Hydrangea 'Invincibelle Spirit', and Supertunia Latte (petunia hybrid). 

...and from a quick glance out my office window: Astilbe, Clematis, Daylily, Hosta, and Waterlily, plus much more... Ah, true spring at last!

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:
https://www.maydreamsgardens.com/2018/06/garden-bloggers-bloom-day-june-2018.html


So what is blooming in YOUR garden today?


***I think. This was a pass-along plant so am not sure of its origin or ID.

Fenton Friday: Cucumber Babies

This week the rains stopped. I actually had to go over to the plot twice this week and water our newly planted tomato seedlings and the cucumber seed mounds. Cucumber seedlings promptly popped up on two out of the three mounds. That is a good sign!

I haven't had a chance to plant my peppers or other seeds yet. I am also holding off on my herbs as I'll bringing them all to the HERB TALKS and TASTINGS at the 14TH & KENNEDY FARMERS MARKET next weekend.

The lettuce made a comeback under the cover cloth, so I can cut at least one more salad bowl full from that before the 90+ degree days are due to hit next week.

This week we also visited the Koiner urban farm down the street and I saw that Charlie, at 98 years old, is far ahead of me as far as variety and season in his garden beds. His zinnias are already knee-high and the figs on his trees look close to harvest.

How is your vegetable 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 6th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.) See past posts about our edible garden by putting "Fenton" into the Search box above.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

HERB TALKS & TASTINGS at the 14TH & KENNEDY FARMERS MARKET on Saturday, June 23


HERB TALKS and TASTINGS
5500 block of Colorado Ave NW WDC
on Saturday, June 23, 2018
from 10:00am – 12:00pm

Come check out the “Herb Petting Zoo.” Touch/taste/smell a wide assortment of culinary herbs. Learn about which herbs grow best in our area and tips to make them thrive.

You’ll have the opportunity to try recipe samples and get ideas as to how these herbs can be used in your home kitchen.

Hosted by Kathy Jentz (Editor – Washington Gardener Magazine) & Mary-Denise Smith (Food Blogger & Recipe Tester for the Washington Post)

FREE and open to all.
Rain or shine!

Event page:

Monday, June 11, 2018

Discuss The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben at our Garden Book Club Meeting


For our next Garden Book Club selection, we will be reading: The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben.

Our Summer 2018 club meeting will be on Thursday, July 26 from 6:30-8pm 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) rcn.com or at the book club event page at facebook.com/WashingtonGardenerMagazine, 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.

Want to read ahead? The next book club selections is:

Friday, June 08, 2018

Fenton Friday: Tomatoes and Cucumbers In, Peas and Radishes Out

This week the new interns chose their veggie projects for the summer. Rosie chose three cucumber varieties to grow from seed and Racquel has six different tomato plants to focus on. Those all got planted after we cleared out the rain-exasperated weeds that sprung in the plot over the last few weeks.

The peas and radish are officially kaput. I picked the last of the "June-bearing" strawberries and the cilantro has all bolted.

Next week, I'll be clearing out more space for the peppers, watermelon, green beans, and okra. I'll also be going through my seed supplies to see what else I want to start at this point.

How is your vegetable 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 6th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.) See past posts about our edible garden by putting "Fenton" into the Search box above.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Meet the Summer 2018 Interns...

This summer, I have taken on two new editorial interns. If you attend any of our upcoming events, like the recent Garden Photo Show Opening Reception, you are bound to run into one or both of them. As a first writing assignment, I asked them to write a short introduction to our readers...

Hello! My name is Racquel Royer and I'm a rising senior studying broadcast journalism in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park. I’m so excited to be an editorial intern this summer for Washington Gardener Magazine. Previously, I wrote blogs and press releases for the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and QEM - Quality Education for Minorities. I'm looking forward to spending this summer learning about growing beautiful and yummy plants all while getting involved in my community. I love spending time outside when I’m not inside with my cat, McSplitty. I can't wait to highlight some of the amazing things I learn and people I meet this summer. I hope you enjoy my pieces as much as I’ll enjoy producing them. Happy Gardening!


My name is Rosie Kean, and I'm a senior multiplatform journalism and English major at the University of Maryland, College Park. I'm from Macungie, Pennsylvania, but I was attracted to UMD
because of its proximity to DC. Previously, I worked at the university's independent newspaper The Diamondback as an assistant news editor and a staff writer. In spring, I interned at Mascot Books, a book publisher in Herndon, Virginia, where I proofread and edited texts of various genres for publication. I also tutor at my university’s writing center, which involves working with students to help them develop their writing skills. In addition to my love for writing and editing, I have always been interested in the environment and sustainable living, so I am excited to learn more about gardening through my internship with Washington Gardener!

Friday, June 01, 2018

Fenton Friday: Rain-fueled Weeds and Harvest Bounty

It was another week of multiple flooding rains here in the Mid-Atlantic. We measured another 3 inches falling in our garden and more is do today and over the weekend. I will never complain about the rain though as the opposite is so soul-suckingly awful!

The weeds have thoroughly enjoyed the rain and I spend most of my time in the plot just pulling out what I can. The Peas were a bust so I pulled those vines out and the Asparagus has ended so I tied up the tall stalks. The rest of my time is spent harvesting.

This week I cut a big bowl-full of Lettuce for a neighborhood Memorial Day barbecue and cut all the Garlic scapes off. I gave the latter to my mom for use in omelettes and other dishes.

The Strawberries continue to be bountiful. I get about a half-pint a day now as they are slowing down a bit. I also planted two ever-bearing strawberry plants that I hope to be able to snack from in coming months.

I haven't had a chance yet to put in the summer crops - tomatoes, peppers, melons, etc. I hope to do that next week.

The annual cut Flowers self-seeded from last year like crazy and I'll need to spend a morning thinning those out and transplanting a bunch as they inevitable sow themselves exactly where you don't want them.

One more thing that has self-sown again is the Ground Cherries. I'll need to thin them a bit, but otherwise I'll let them go and do their thing.

How is your vegetable 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 6th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.) See past posts about our edible garden by putting "Fenton" into the Search box above.

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