Friday, July 27, 2018

Fenton Friday: Soggy Soils

This week we had almost 15 inches of rain fall and more is in today's forecast. That is a record for July. I am happy not to have to water, but this is bizarre and frankly frightening to some extent. Will this be our weather pattern for the future?

The tomatoes are all start to produce though, so that is good.

The plot is looking pretty poorly. Green beans eaten down to the nub again by rabbits. Sunflowers toppled by the storms. And weeds, lots of weeds.


The cucumber vines are slow, but one cuke is actually forming and they have lots of flowers on the vines.

BTW I'll be on "Talk of Takoma"on Takoma Radio this Sunday at 2:00pm. Listen online live at https://takomaradio.org/ We'll be talking climate change and local gardening.

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.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Win a CobraHead® “mini” Weeder and Cultivator tool in our July 2018 Washington Gardener Reader Contest

For our July 2018 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away a CobraHead® “mini” Weeder and Cultivator tool.
    The best garden tools make gardening chores easier, and the new CobraHead® “mini” Weeder and Cultivator is perfect for precision weeding in flower beds, vegetable gardens. and even flower pots and containers. The strong, sharp, tempered blade cuts through all soils, even the toughest clay, and it makes short work of cleaning weed-choked gardens. The CobraHead “mini” Weeder was honored with a 2018 Green Thumb Award by the Direct Gardening Association as one of the best new garden tools on the market.
   The CobraHead “mini” is smaller and lighter than the original CobraHead Weeder, so it’s easier to use in tight spaces. The original CobraHead Weeder and Cultivator is a bit larger and heftier, so it’s well-suited for weeding larger garden spaces. Both of the CobraHead hand tools have comfortable, ergonomically designed handles that are made from a mix of recycled plastic and wood fiber. The attractive blue handle is molded around the unique steel blade to ensure it can never work loose. The CobraHead “mini” Weeder hand tool sells for $21.95 and the original CobraHead Weeder and Cultivator sells for $24.95 at garden centers or www.cobrahead.com.


  To enter to win the CobraHead “mini,” send an email to WashingtonGardener@rcn.com by 5:00pm on July 31 with “CobraHead Mini” 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 the July 2018 issue and why. The pass winners will be announced and notified on August 1.

UPDATE: Our contest winner is Catherine Jamieson of Arlington, VA. 
Thank you to all who entered!

Friday, July 20, 2018

July 2018 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine: Gardening in a Changing Climate




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

It is also posted at:  https://issuu.com/washingtongardener/docs/washingtongardenerjuly18

Inside this issue:
·         Gardening in a Changing Climate
·         New Dwarf Brugmansia
·         5 Pet-Friendly Gardening Tips
·         “Tropical” Native Agave Virginica
·         Hot Color with Ornamental Peppers
·         Meet Lynley Ogilvie
·         Up the Ladder at Evening Star Cafe’s Chef Garden
·         Tick Control and Prevention Tips
and much more…

Note that any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the August 2018 issue are due by August 1.
 
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

Fenton Friday: Holey Moley

After last week's drama, I was hoping for some rest and relaxation in the garden plot this week. I went to check on things and found our only almost-ripe tomato was about half-eaten. I suspect a squirrel or other critter that was thirsty in the drought. (We finally do have some rain in this week's forecast - yay!)

Also, my green beans have lots of holes in the leaves. Anyone recognize the culprit? I have inspected the plants and come in a few times hoping to catch whatever big is doing this, but no luck so far.

Elsewhere in the plot, the cucumbers are setting flowers and soon should have cukes, the basil plants are sending out new branches (pesto soon!), and the pepper plants are forming some nice-looking fruits.

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.

Top 10 Gardening Magazines And Ezines To Follow

Washington Gardener Magazine was named a “Top 10 Gardening Magazines And Ezines To Follow In 2018” at https://blog.feedspot.com/gardening_magazines/. What an unexpected surprise! We are honored and humbled as well by what great company we are in!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Bloom Day in the Water Garden


Here in the Mid-Atlantic USA (USDA zone 7) on the DC-MD border, the past month started off very dry, then it got hot - really hot. After almost 6 weeks of drought, we finally got some decent rain today. Hurray!

Because of this seemingly annual summer drought pattern, I turn my attention to my water garden in July. It is the least work of any part of my landscape and gives me the most enjoyment! You don't need to water. The fish eat the mosquitoes. The blooms are prolific and the dragonflies are enchanting. You just sit back and enjoy.


Pictured here from top, left (clockwise) is a hardy White Waterlily, Water Hyacinth, a hardy Yellow Waterlily with an unusual reproductive cycle, and Pickerel Weed.

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/2018/07/garden-bloggers-bloom-day-july-2018.html

So what is blooming in YOUR garden?

Friday, July 13, 2018

Fenton Friday the 13th

There was a break-in at the Fenton Community Garden last night. We have filed a police report and are seeking any witnesses who may have seen anything. The person(s) drained several hundred gallons of water from our Cistern, did other damage, and stole produce from individual plots.

This is really disheartening -- to say the least. 

We are in a 4+ week drought now with no sign of real rain in the forecast anytime soon, so this attack on our cistern is really painful. I'll be going back over this afternoon with some buckets of water from home just to give my Zinnia seedlings some emergency water until the cistern can be re-filled.


I met with Officer Hussain of the Montgomery County Park Police there this morning and he remarked that it is a very urban corner and there are many homeless in the area. I am not placing suspicion on any group yet though -- it could be anyone from bored teens to a disgruntled ex-plot gardener.

We walked around and he pointed out several spots of possible easy entry -- I removed a stick by the front gate that could ease that access, but obviously a gate left unlocked is the easiest way... so we are asking all fellow community gardeners to lock up and double-check when coming-going to the garden. 

Meanwhile, I cut down all the Cilantro and am hanging it to totally dry out and harvest the seeds (aka Coriander). More tomatoes are ripening and the cucumber and bean vines are doubling in growth almost daily. 
  
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, July 12, 2018

Annual Lotus and WaterLily Festival at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens on July 21-22

Join the National Park Service for the annual Lotus and WaterLily Festival at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens on July 21-22, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
❖ Celebrate the internationally loved lotuses and waterlilies during peak bloom.
❖ See cultural performances from Latin, Asian and African origins.
❖ Play fun games, enjoy arts and crafts and dance to music from around the world.
Washington Gardener Magazine will be giving out free information on home water gardening (on Saturday only) at our table at the event. We hope to see you there!
This FREE festival celebrates nature, culture and community at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens,
a one-of-a- kind destination in Anacostia Park. Celebrate the centennial of Anacostia Park with us
at D.C.’s hidden oasis during the Year of the Anacostia.
Visit go.nps.gov/lotus for more event information.
BTW. the official hashtag for the festival is #LotusLilyFest
They are also celebrating the Year of the Anacostia and Anacostia Park centennial this year,
so you are also encouraged to use: #YearoftheAnacostia #AnacostiaPark100

Monday, July 09, 2018

Washington Gardener Magazine Receives 2018 GWA Media Awards Silver Medal of Achievement

We Won an Award!
There were no others awarded in our small-circulation magazine category and now we are up for the Gold Award against all the other "big" publications, wish us luck! The Gold Award winners will be announced in August at the GWA Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Here is the official press release:

Contact: Crystal Goodremote
  212.297.2198

 Washington Gardener Magazine Receives
2018 GWA Media Awards Silver Medal of Achievement

7/9/18 – Washington Gardener magazine and the magazine’s founder Kathy Jentz received the 2018 Media Awards Silver Medal of Achievement for Magazines (under 20K circulation), presented by GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators.

This national award recognizes individuals and companies who achieve the highest levels of talent and professionalism in garden communications. The 2018 competition had more than 260 entries in 56 categories.  Recipients of the Silver Medal represent the top winners each competition category and will now compete for best of group in the areas of writing, photography, digital media, broadcast media, publishing and trade.

“The GWA Media Awards showcase the writers, photographers, editors, publishers and trade companies that have pursued excellence in gardening communication in print or electronic communications,” says Becky Heath, president of GWA.  “The Media Award winners have been judged by industry experts and show significant distinction and merits that exemplify exceptional work.”

Kathy Jentz is editor and publisher of Washington Gardener magazine. A life-long gardener, Kathy believes that growing plants should be stress-free and enjoyable. Her philosophy is inspiration over perspiration. Washington Gardener magazine is the gardening publication published specifically for Washington, DC, and its suburbs.

Since the early 1980s, the GWA Media Awards program has recognized outstanding writing, photography, graphic design and illustration for books, newspaper stories, magazine articles and other works focused on gardening. In recent years, the awards program has expanded to include on-air talent, production and direction for radio, television, video, Internet and other electronic media.

To view all the 2018 GWA Media Award recipients, visit www.gardenwriters.org. For more information about this award, contact Crystal Goodremote 212.297.2198 or cgoodremote@kellencompany.com.

About GWA
GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators, formerly the Garden Writers Association, is an organization of professional communicators in the green industry including book authors, bloggers, staff editors, syndicated columnists, free-lance writers, photographers, speakers, landscape designers, television and radio personalities, consultants, publishers, extension service agents and more. No other organization in the industry has as much contact with the buying public as GWA members. Learn more at www.gardenwriters.org. 
###


Friday, July 06, 2018

Fenton Friday: First Tomato of the Season

It is a tiny one, but hey, it is ripe! The first tomato of the season is 'Sun Gold' -- not a huge surprise as cherry tomatoes develop faster, but still a bit early in the season for it.

In the rest of the plot, the cucumbers and green beans are growing quickly. The other tomatoes are coming along well also.

I still have one section that needs clearing of the spring (cool-season) leftovers and I'll use that for my peppers and herbs like basil.

We have been experiencing a heat wave with very little rain, so my flower seedlings are really taking a hit. I try to water daily, but it is not the same as a good, drenching rain. I am praying for a pop-up storm or two to come through.

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, July 05, 2018

Local Gardening 101

Guest Blog by Racquel Royer

Gardener, speaker, and editor-in-chief of Washington Gardener Magazine Kathy Jentz shared her tips for finding and taking advantage of local gardening resources at a talk for Knowledge Commons DC in Dupont Circle last week. Knowledge Commons is a “free school for thinkers, doers, and tinkerers – taught anywhere, by anyone, for everyone.”

“All gardening is local,” Jentz says.

Her first step was to “start with your soil.” That means getting a soil test to discover what your soil needs to help plants grow. In doing so, it’s important to let those testing the soil know what your plans are so that they can specify what you might need. Soil test kits can be purchased and mailed in to a lab like the one at Penn State. The next step is to amend the soil with aged manure and leaf compost. Kathy shared many local and free sources of both.

After taking care to prepare your soil, local plants can be obtained at garden club swaps, garden centers, public garden plant sales, and by posting on group lists like DC Urban Gardeners and DC Metro Plant Swap. There are so many gardening clubs and groups to join and most welcome new gardeners. A few good local plant swaps Jentz mentioned are those held by the local chapter of the Rock Garden Society, Takoma Horticultural Club, and the Four Seasons Garden Club. A few of Jentz’ favorite area nurseries and garden centers include Homestead Gardens, Merrifield, Behnke, and Meadows Farms among others.

If you’ve started growing your plants and encounter problems, Jentz advised to reach out to places like the UMD HGIC online, in-person at Master Gardener clinics, and to submit questions for the Washington Gardener’s “Ask the Expert” column.

Another great way to get involved in the local gardening community is to attend garden tours like the ones held by Brookland Garden Club and Virginia Garden Week, or to join  local garden clubs. If you’d like to do some local garden adventuring on your own, some great, lesser-known public gardens to visit and get inspired by include the Franciscan Monastery, Tudor Place, Oatlands, and the Bishop’s Garden at the National Cathedral.

Happy local gardening!

About the Author
Racquel Royer is a senior studying broadcast journalism in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is from Tampa. FL. This summer, she is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener.



Sunday, July 01, 2018

DIY: Real Cotton Wreath

Last summer I grew cotton in my community garden plot. Just three plants, but they provided enough cotton bolls for me to use in making this wreath. I dried the cotton over the winter time--laying the cut branches flat on an old window screen in my unheated sunroom. 
   This wreath retails for $50+ for faux cotton and $100 for the real thing. Not including labor and tools, the cost of this project was well under $10.  I am quite pleased with the results.

Materials:
Cotton bolls (grow your own or buy stems)
14-inch Wire wreath frame
Wire cutters
Pliers
Floral wire 26 gauge

Steps:
  1. Group sets of 3 cotton bolls together and wire them close to their base. Leaving a small length of stem on them (about 3 inches.)
  2. Arrange the sets of 3 on the wreath frame. Using more of the floral wire to secure them well.
  3. Once you have filled in the frame. Hold it up and turn it over and give it a good shake. Secure any cotton that may come loose.
  4. Cut a length of wire to make a hanging loop, if desired.
  5. Optional, add a ribbon or other decorative touches.

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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