Friday, July 31, 2020

Fenton Friday: Doll Babies


Last week I reported that the watermelon vines had started to set flowers - well, this week on Monday we say baby melons forming (so cute!) and by today those "babies" are baseball-sized! These are 'Doll Babies' from seeds I got from Renee's Gardens and are a small "icebox" variety that stays relatively small. I cannot wait to taste them, but I also don't want to pick them before they are fully ripe -- patience!

Elsewhere in our plot, the soy bean and okra plants are continuing to put on rapid growth. I harvested the one fruit so far from the container eggplant 'Picasso'. I ate the couple of  strawberries I had before the slugs or birds could. We harvested tomatoes twice this week to keep up with them The basil made need a big cut-back soon  Maybe I'll do a big batch of pesto next week.

Finally, I checked the cucumber vines for female flowers to hand-pollinate, if needed, and I can across this set of two. Twins? I will keep 
a close watch on them and let you know.

What are you growing and harvesting this week 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 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, July 29, 2020

Plant Profile: Cucumbers



Cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) belong to the same family as melons, watermelons, squashes, and gourds. They are a warm-weather vining plant that is grown for its refreshing and mild-tasting fruits.

They are sensitive to the cold, so the seeds should not be planted until the soil has become warm enough for them to germinate -- usually in late May to early June. Form a soil mound and plant a few seeds in the top then water them well. The seedlings will sprout in a few days. Once they develop their true leaves, you can then thin the seedlings to the strongest couple of plants.

While the seedlings are young, protect them from birds and insect pests with a floating row cover until the plants start to flower. An organic vegetable fertilizer can be applied after the plants start to bloom.

The cucumber plants do best in full sun, with very good air circulation in soil that has excellent drainage. You can let the plants sprawl on the ground or train them on a trellis. Trellising improves air circulation, keeps the fruits from ground-dwelling pests, and makes it much easier to safely harvest the cucumbers.

The cucumber patch should be kept mulched, weed-free, and well-watered. Cucumber plants produce the best-tasting fruits when they are not subjected to water fluctuations or drought.

The most familiar cultivars require pollination in order to set fruit. They are usually monoecious, meaning that each cucumber plant has both male and female flowers. If you find that the pollinators are not doing the job fast enough for you, you can hand-pollinate the vines by plucking off a male flower and “marrying” it to a female one. You’ll recognize the female flowers as they have a tiny fruit at their base.

There is no need to prune cucumbers if you are growing them outdoors and studies show that removing the leaves actually results in a smaller harvest.

Cucumbers should be harvested as soon as they are ready. Otherwise, they will quickly lose flavor, grow too large, and can become tough.

For more tips about growing cucumbers, see our cover story in the July 2017 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine.

Cucumbers - You Can Grow That!

The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine.
Visuals by Taylor Calavetinos
Audio by Kathy Jentz

 If you enjoy this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to our Youtube channel (thank you!)
Remember to TURN ON notifications to know when our new videos are out
 FIND Washington Gardener Magazine ONLINE
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~ Podcast: GardenDC on Spotify, Apple, etc.


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Sunday, July 26, 2020

Savory Sunday: Cucumber Dill Salad


By Anastazja Kolodziej


This salad goes well as a side with any potato dish and, in the summer, works great for a cookout! It’s simple, quick, and very refreshing.  We used 'White Wonder' cucumbers we grew in our community garden plot. This recipe serves two people. 

Ingredients:
  • 1 big cucumber
  • 2 tbsp sour cream (or more, to taste)
  • 1 tbsp dill, thinly chopped
  • Salt, to taste 
  • Pepper, to taste 
Steps:

1. Peel the cucumber, remove the seeds, and slice it thinly. This can be done with a knife or on the long side of a box grater. 

2. Salt the sliced cucumber and let it sit in a colander for about two hours to "sweat" the excess water from the cucumber. 

3. Drain off the liquid. This step is vital — otherwise, the salad would be too wet, and the sour cream would get watery. 

4. Mix in the rest of the ingredients with the cucumber. Serve immediately. 


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"Savory Sunday" is a weekly summer blog series with seasonal recipes from the garden.
About the Author:
 Anastazja Kolodziej is a rising senior at the University of Maryland, double majoring in multiplatform journalism and the classics (Ancient Greek and Latin). On campus, she serves as an assistant managing editor at The Diamondback.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

GardenDC Podcast Episode 21: Cutting Gardens, Monarda, and Adventures in Garden Speaking

This episode, we talk with Drew Asbury of Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens about cutting gardens. The plant profile is on Monarda and I share my Adventures in Garden Speaking.


BTW, YOU can become  a listener supporter for as little as $0.99 per month!See how at: https://anchor.fm/kathy-jentz/support. 


The episode is posted at: https://anchor.fm/kathy-jentz/episodes/July-25--2020---Cutting-Gardens--Monarda--and-Adventures-in-Garden-Speaking-egvle9


It is also available on -
  • Google Podcasts at this link, either now or soon (note that currently, this link will only work on Android devices)

We welcome your questions and comments!

You can leave a voice mail message for us at: https://anchor.fm/kathy-jentz/message Note that we may use these messages on a future episode.


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Friday, July 24, 2020

Fenton Friday: On The Radio

Eric Bond and Hadley Baker on Takoma Radio
Eric Bond and Hadley Baker taping a segment for Takoma Radio.

Joining us today in the garden was Eric Bond, the host of the Talk of Takoma show on Takoma Radio WOWD. He interviewed us (editor Kathy Jentz and one of the three summer interns, Hadley Baker) about the garden and Hadley's internship experiences. The segment will air on Sunday, July 26 afternoon sometime during the 2 o'clock hour. You can listen to it online at https://takomaradio.org/ or if you are local and can get the signal at 94.3 FM.

We had two huge storms this week, which brought some much-needed rain and also made weeding a little easier. The storms also helped cool things down a bit so that the tomatoes got a breather and could ripen. Pictured here is an assortment, you'll notice the 'Apple Yellow' ones are really attractive. We gave them a little fertilizer today as well.

Elsewhere in our plot, we have a couple cucumbers and the watermelon vines are setting flowers. The soy bean and okra plants are growing like weeds. We harvested basil and I add a layer of compost around the fast-growing potato plants. The container eggplant 'Picasso' has set one fruit on it. Most excitingly, a few new strawberries are forming and I hope to be able to eat some this time without bird and slug damage!

What are you growing and harvesting this week 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 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, July 22, 2020

Plant Profile: Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia)




Crape Myrtles are native to Asia and were introduced to the United States in 1790. Crape Myrtles are known for their colorful, long-lasting flowers that bloom in the summer. The flowers are born on long branches in panicles of crinkled blossoms with crape-like texture. Flower colors vary from deep-purple to red and white, with almost every shade in between.

After flowering, it produces seed capsules that start off green then turn dark brown. It is not necessary to cut these seeds off, unless you find them unattractive.

In the wild, most crape myrtle are multi-stemmed large shrubs, but today it is possible to find a crape myrtle filling every landscaping need from small trees to dense barrier hedges to container-sized varieties that grow only 2 foot tall.

The practice of topping-off crape myrtles to keep their growth in check is not advisable. Instead, pick a variety that is bred to reach full maturity at a smaller size.

One of the joys of crape myrtle tree is its brilliant fall color and in the winter is its beautiful, exfoliating bark. It takes a few years to develop that bark texture, so give it time.
Many of the newer crape myrtle varieties were developed at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, DC. These were bred to be disease-resistant and hardier for northern climates. They are generally hardy to Zone 7. If planted in colder zones, they die back to the ground each winter, but with care and lots of mulching will regenerate new growth from their roots.

‘Natchez’ (white flowers), ‘Sioux’ (dark pink), and ‘Muskogee’ (light lavender) are three of the most popular National Arboretum introductions with many more being developed by other people. Some of the newer varieties have burgundy leaves with blooms from purple to brilliant pink and others are dwarf in form.

Crape myrtles bloom on new growth, so you can prune them in the early spring, if you so desire, and they will still flower that summer.

Crape myrtle flowers most heavily in full sun. Other things that may cause Crape Myrtles to bloom less are too much water, lack of heat, and over-fertilization. Note also that crape myrtles are one of the last plants to leaf out in the spring, so if you think yours might be dead in April give it until the end of May to prove its case.

Crape Myrtle - You Can Grow That!

The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine.
Visuals by Taylor Calavetinos
Audio by Kathy Jentz

 If you enjoy this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to our Youtube channel (thank you!)
Remember to TURN ON notifications to know when our new videos are out
 FIND Washington Gardener Magazine ONLINE
~ Facebook.com/WashingtonGardenerMagazine
~ Podcast: GardenDC on Spotify, Apple, etc.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Win a Tube of Zanfel Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac Wash in our July 2020 Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest

For our July 2020 Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away tubes of Zanfel Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac Wash (prize value $40).
   Zanfel® Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac Wash (http://zanfel.com/) is a safe and effective topical solution for poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. It removes urushiol, the toxin responsible for the reaction, from the skin after bonding, enabling the affected area to immediately begin healing. After using Zanfel®, the itching and pain are the first things to be relieved, usually within 30 seconds. Zanfel has a 10-year shelf life.
  To enter to win a tube of Zanfel, send an email to WashingtonGardenerMagazine@gmail.com by 5:00pm on Friday, July 31, with “Zanfel” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Tell us what your favorite article was in the July 2020 Washington Gardener Magazine issue and why. Include your full name and address. Winners will be announced by August 1. 

UPDATE: 
Congratulations to our three winners chosen at random from the submitted entries! Each wins a tube of Zanfel® Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac Wash. They are:
~ Lynn Title, Lanham, MD
Dawn Szelc, Potomac Falls, VA
Alison Mrohs, Henniker, NH 

Monday, July 20, 2020

Upcoming Webinars by Washington Gardener Magazine

All of the webinars are held via Zoom. Once you register, you will get a confirmation and a link to the Zoom connection details. Note that if you cannot attend the live class, you can still register and get a link to view the class recording for two weeks after the actual class date.

Sunday, August 2, 2-3pm
Water in the Landscape: Creating a Garden Oasis
Water features and water gardens can be a magical addition to your landscape. Water can be stimulating or calming, depending on how it is used. Water gardens can sustain native wildlife and mask ambient noise. This class explains the basics of installing and maintaining a water feature of any size into a garden. It also highlights water garden plant choices appropriate for our region. Speaker: Kathy Jentz, Washington Gardener Magazine. Fee: $10.
Register at: 
https://py.pl/VOItf

Sunday,
 September 6, 2-3pm
Attractive and Lasting Plant Combinations
We'll explore playing with color, form, and texture in the perennial/shrub border. This image-heavy talk includes the tried-and-true proven combinations as well as some daring new mixes to experiment with in your own home garden. Speaker: Kathy Jentz, Washington Gardener Magazine. Fee: $10.
Register at: https://py.pl/rxMxN

Sunday, October 4, 2-3pm
Dealing with Deer and Other Mammal Pests in Your Garden
Bambi may be cute, but he and his mother, cousins, and rest of the herd are very hungry and they would love to make a feast of your garden. This talk will cover proven and humane tactics for gardening with deer, rabbits, rats, groundhogs, and other creatures that are attracted to both edible and ornamental gardens. Speaker: Kathy Jentz, Washington Gardener Magazine. Fee: $10. 
Register at: https://py.pl/180w3U

Sunday, July 19, 2020

July 2020 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine – Wild Hydrangea, Cardinal Flower, Fireflies, Guerrilla Gardening and more

Inside this issue:

  • Smooth Hydrangea: Taming the “Wild” Hydrangea
  • Growing Native Cardinal Flower
  • 7 Essential Summer Tasks
  • Guerrilla Gardening: Sowing Seeds of Hope
  • It’s Not Too Late! Start a Victory Garden Now
  • Hirshhorn’s Concept for a Revitalized Sculpture Garden
  • Nancy Ross Hugo: Author, Garden Writer, Instructor
  • What to Do in the Garden this Month
  • 9 Steps to Bring Back Fireflies to Your Yard
  • Top Plants for Your Water Garden
  • Smart Irrigation Tips
  • and much more…
Note that any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the August 2020 issue are due by August  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

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Savory Sunday: Mushroom Basil Pizza

By Anastazja Kolodziej



It’s summertime, which means that for many of us, our basil is in full growth mode. This recipe, which uses basil from our community garden plot, is a good choice for those days when you want something seasonal that’s different from the regular tomato sauce pizza. 

Ingredients:
·  Pizza dough (homemade or store-bought)
·  1 cup basil, with some extra as garnish
·  1/2 cup olive oil
·  About 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
·  1 large clove of garlic
·  Salt, to taste
·  5 Mushrooms,sliced
·  Mozzarella cheese
Steps:
1.   Combine basil, oil, Parmesan and garlic in a food processor and blend well. You can also use an immersion blender, which is what I used. You may need to add more oil if the mixture is too thick to blend.
2.   Spread out pizza dough on a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 530 degrees.
3.   Spread basil sauce on pizza dough. Add mozzarella and mushrooms. I used fresh mozzarella, which adds an additional dimension to the pizza.
4.   Bake for about 13 minutes, or until the crust has browned.
5.   Top with fresh basil leaves.
This recipe makes one medium pizza, enough for dinner for two people.

PIN THIS FOR LATER!

"Savory Sunday" is a weekly summer blog series with seasonal recipes from the garden.
About the Author:
 Anastazja Kolodziej is a rising senior at the University of Maryland, double majoring in multiplatform journalism and the classics (Ancient Greek and Latin). On campus, she serves as an assistant managing editor at The Diamondback.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

GardenDC Podcast Episode 20: Native Plants, Diversity in the Garden, and Sunflowers

This episode, we talk with Shari Wilson about native plants. The plant profile is on Sunflowers and I share my thoughts on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the garden.


Shari Wilson, Nuts for Natives blog
BTW, YOU can become  a listener supporter for as little as $0.99 per month!See how at: https://anchor.fm/kathy-jentz/support. 


The episode is posted at: https://anchor.fm/kathy-jentz/episodes/July-18--2020---Native-Plants--Diversity-in-the-Garden--and-Sunflowers-egssvj

It is also available on -
  • Google Podcasts at this link, either now or soon (note that currently, this link will only work on Android devices)

We welcome your questions and comments!

You can leave a voice mail message for us at: https://anchor.fm/kathy-jentz/message Note that we may use these messages on a future episode.

PIN THIS FOR LATER!

Friday, July 17, 2020

Fenton Friday: The "Other" Radish Harvest

radish seed pods
dried radish seeds
I had let the spring radishes go to flower and set seed (aka bolting) and was planning on pulling them up soon to hang them to dry. I want to save the seeds for our annual Seed Exchanges, but also intended on trying some of the radish seeds themselves, as I heard they are a nice addition to a salad. I ate a few of them and they are very nice -- not spicy, just a satisfying crunch to them.

Thanks to a post by my garden writer friend, Doug Oster, I learned this week that the whole radish seed pod is edible -- and quite tasty! So I went out and pull up some of the radish pods that were still tender and green and tried a few. They taste like - well, radishes! -- though a bit milder and with a hint cabbage-ness. I gathered enough for a cup full and will try them in a stir fry dish. Have you ever tried them? What did you think?

Elsewhere in our plot, the cucumbers are humming along, the re-planted soy beans are up (and protected from rabbits), and the tomatoes are covered in green fruits. Now begins the wait for the 'matos to ripen. With record heat this week and next, they may just sit and breathe for a bit. I am spending my time keeping things watered and chasing away baby bunnies. Starting the fall season edible seeds will have to hold for another week.

What are you growing and harvesting this week 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 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, July 15, 2020

A Sizzling Hot Bloom Day

It is Garden Blogger's Bloom Day Garden Blogger's Bloom Dayagain! 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, the past month has been a HOT one. How hot? We are approaching a record # of 90+ degree days in a row - today we are at Day 20.

MONARDA FISTULOSA - BEE BALM

I realized that many of you might be visiting this blog just once a month for Bloom Day and not have seen our weekly Plant Profile videos/articles. Most all of these are flowering plants and much of the footage is shot in my own home garden, especially in this time of COVID and limited access to local public gardens. Our latest one is on Monarda, which is blooming away in my unforgiving and unwatered hellstrip pollinator garden. These are locally focused for the Mid-Atantic USA and are also seasonal -- profiling plants of interest in the garden at that time. You can view them here: https://washingtongardener.blogspot.com/search/label/plant%20profile.

What is blooming in YOUR garden today?

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