Friday, September 27, 2019

Fenton Friday: Groundcherry Surprise

It is amazing what you find during a drought and when you start yanking out the weeds. These self-sown Ground Cherries are in about the same spot as where I planted some last year.

If you are not familiar with them. they are a native edible, related to tomatillos, but much sweeter. They are known by several names - Ground Cherry, Cape Gooseberry, Goldenberry, etc. - the Latin is Physalis spp. and you can find out all about sourcing and growing Ground Cherries in our September 2014 back issue of Washington Gardener Magazine posted here.

I have been watering the seedlings most every day. The Kale, Spinach, and Carrots plants by the interns are coming along nicely. The Tomatoes, Okra, Sweet Potato, and Marigolds are hanging in there - for now.

Everything else in the garden is a dried-out husk and I am slowly making my way in from the edges trying to weed them out. It is very tough going though as the ground is as hard as concrete. I pray for rain, any rain, but an all-day soaker would be such a blessing!

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 in zone 7 Mid-Atlantic MD/DC border. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 8th 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, September 25, 2019

Plant Profile: Tall Sedum


There are two general types of Sedums for the garden – creeping Sedum groundcovers and tall sedum.  The tall type grows between 1to 3 feet high and perform best in full sun locations with well-draining soil.
   They thrive through summer’s dry heat and are extremely drought-tolerant. There is no need to fertilize this plant. If you do, the growth can become leggy and flop over.
   The tall Sedum varieties work well as border perennials or can be planted in groups to give a mass affect.  They combine well with Ornamental Grasses, Asters, and Echinacea.
   The taller, upright varieties of Sedum typically develop large flower heads in mid-summer and bloom from late summer through fall. The flowers can be left to dry and stay on over the winter to provide seeds for wildlife.
    Sedums are an easy perennial for even the novice gardener. They are very low maintenance, requiring virtually no pruning to shape. They make good cut flowers, attract pollinators, and are a great addition to any landscape.
   Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ is a classic selection. Some of the newer selections to try include those with darker, purple leaves like ‘Vera Jameson’ and ‘Purple Emperor’ or bright, variegated foliage like ‘Frosted Fire’ or yellow flowers like ‘Lemonjade’.
   It is very easy to divide and propagate tall Sedums. Much like the other members of its large succulent family, you can pull out a few stems, strip off the leaves, and simply stick them in the ground. They will form new roots within a few weeks.
   Try a tall Sedum in your garden today – you can grow that!

The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine and edited by intern Jessica Kranz.

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Monday, September 23, 2019

Win a pairs of passes to the Fall Maryland Home & Garden Show at the Maryland State Fairgrounds


For our September 2019 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, we are giving away five pairs of passes to the Fall Maryland Home and Garden Show at the Maryland State Fairgrounds (prize value: $18).
   Fall is when we spend more time with friends and family in our homes. With the holidays approaching, it is a great time to update, remodel, redecorate, and landscape your home. This is an opportunity to see hundreds of contractors in one location and purchase handmade crafts and gifts. Sample wine from several of Maryland’s wineries while you browse over 300 exhibits. There is something for everyone, and many exhibitors are offering special show pricing.
   A special guest is author Boyce Thompson, who will be bringing 10 awesome new cutting-edge products for the high-tech home—including a security drone and weeding robot.
   Trash or treasure? Bring it in! Dr. Lori, a TV personality; author; and art collectibles, and antiques appraiser with a Ph.D. in art, antiques, and architectural history from Penn State University, will see if something you own is trash or treasure. Get there early to be included in the show.
   The Fall Maryland Home & Garden Show runs Friday, October 18, through Sunday, October 20. See more details online at www.mdhomeandgarden.com/fall.
   To enter to win a pair of passes to the Maryland Home & Garden Show, send an email to WashingtonGardenerMagazine@gmail.com by 5:00pm on September 30 with “Maryland Home & Garden Show” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Tell us what your favorite article was in the September 2019 issue and why. Please also include your full name and mailing address. Winners will be announced and notified on October 1.

UPDATE:
The winners of a pair of passes each to the Fall Maryland Home and Garden Show at the Maryland State Fairgrounds are:
- Robert Alonso. Glen Burnie, MD
- Barbara Delaney, Bethesda, MD
- Annie Shaw of Greenbelt, MD
- Taylor Markey, College Park, MD
- Jeavonna Chapman, Baltimore, MD
 The Fall Maryland Home & Garden Show runs Friday, October 18, through Sunday, October 20. See more details online at www.mdhomeandgarden.com/fall.
Congratulations to all!  

Friday, September 20, 2019

Fenton Friday: Kale Sprouting

Kale seedlings

We had another very dry week here. Which meant watering the newly planted seedlings every day. It was a relief to see that the Kale seedlings sprouted and so have some carrot seeds.

Today, I added a row of Cilantro seeds. It is not the easiest thing to grow here - every bug and critter likes to chew on it - and the hot weather can make it bitter, but I figured why not give it a go as I have the space and plenty of extra seeds.

The tomato plants are still producing and the marigolds are blooming their heads off. I have one - just one - red okra  and I think I should be digging out my sweet potato soon if I want to have time to cure it.
Carrot seedlings
 
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 in zone 7 Mid-Atlantic MD/DC border. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 8th 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, September 19, 2019

Hampton Estate, Hardy Hibiscus, Onion Growing Secrets, and much more in the September 2019 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine



The September 2019 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is now out.

Inside this issue:
·         A Visit to Hampton National Historic Site
·         Plant Profile: Hardy Hibiscus
·         Ask the Expert
·         Secret Tips for Onion Success
·         Meet Dr. Lea-Cox, Greenroof Farm Expert
·         What To-Do in the Garden This Month
·         DC-MD-VA Gardening Events Calendar
·         Ornamental Grasses for Dramatic Garden Silhouettes
·         and much more…

Note that any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the October 2019 issue are due by October 5.

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, September 13, 2019

Fenton Friday: Cool-season Seeds

The new fall semester interns, Jessica and Taylor, planted two sets of seeds after I cleared out space for them in the plot. Jessica is growing two greens - 'Bloomsdale' Spinach and 'Nancy's Baby Leaf Blend' Kale. Taylor planted two kinds of carrots - 'Oxheart' and 'Purple Sun'.

It went from temps hovering around 100 for the past few days to an almost chilly high of 70 degrees today. Fall is coming.

Eagle-eyed readers will note that I skipped last Friday's Fenton blog post. I was in Salt Lake City at the annual GardenComm (formerly GWA) meeting with my fellow garden communicators. I got back a few days ago and am still feeling the effects of the altitude, time change, and long days of garden tours, talks, and networking events.

On the tours I attended, I did not see very many edible gardens, so I cannot do much comparison with our Mid-Atlantic climate to Utah in that aspect. I will say that a visit to the Pioneer Park farmers market near our hotel was a highlight for me and I sampled some very tasty cherries and peaches. The dry atmosphere there means that fruit growing is a lot easier (not as severe fungal diseases), but that also means they have to run drip irrigation to almost everything.

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 in zone 7 Mid-Atlantic MD/DC border. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 8th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.) See past posts about our edible garden by putting "Fenton" into the Search box above.

Sunday, September 01, 2019

DIY: Painted Allium


 

 This is an easy and fun project. The color combinations are as wide as your imagination. Try metallics in winter or bright jewel tones in summer. Pop them around your garden to add color in any season. You can also use these in a modern floral arrangement in a vase. 

Usually, this project is done with dried allium flowers, but you can use other perennial flowers as well such as Astilbe or Echinacea.

Materials:

Steps:
  • Gather your allium flowers after they have dried on the plant
  • Choose a location to paint the allium that is well ventilated (ideally, outdoors) and spread cardboard or newspaper out
  • Determine what direction the wind is blowing and plan to spray with your back to the wind -- wear gloves, mask, and clothing that you don't mind getting paint on
  • Insert or attach a dowel rod onto the base of the allium flowers and wrap with floral tape, if the stems are not strong or need reinforcement
  • Hold the dowel/stem of the allium and spraying the bloom while rotating it to fully cover all parts of the flower
  • Lay down or hang the flowers to let them dry
  • Optional: Put a piece of cardboard just under the flower to act as a protective collar and spray the dowel/stem green
        You can also use this collar method to spray dried flowers that are still attached to the plants in a container or a garden bed. 


    Tips:
    These painted flowers can last for years inside or only a season outside. Add a layer of shellac spray to keep them intact longer.

    This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a few pennies from Amazon.

    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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