Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Plant Profile: Asparagus

Nothing says, "SPRING!" like fresh asparagus. With no real work on my part, I am able to get a decent harvest of asparagus from my community garden plot. The only thing this perennial vegetable really requires is patience.

Having to hold off on harvesting for three years from the initial planting date was a real test of my will power, but the wait is worth it. They are so tender fresh from the garden that they only need a quick blanching to prepare them.

To plant them, buy asparagus crowns (roots) via mail-order or from your local garden center. Plant them in a trench about 6 to 12 inches deep and a foot wide in a sunny spot in your garden. Add in some organic compost when re-filling the hole and then keep the area well-mulched.

 Let the plants go through their growth cycle for two years without picking any so they gain strength and get well-established. In the third year, you can finally selectively harvest some spears by grasping them near the ground to bend them and they will naturally snap off at their weakest point.

At the beginning of May, stop harvesting and let the asparagus spears grow. They need the tall foliage and recovery time to send energy back down to the developing roots. You will need to tie-up the long asparagus fronds in the summer with a bungee cord or string as they like to flop over.

 In the fall, the plant forms little red seed pods or "berries," The asparagus seeds can be collected, dried, and planted the next spring. Towards the end of autumn, the foliage starts to turn brown --cut it back and compost it. Then mulch the bed with an organic material like straw.

I let strawberries encroach in my asparagus bed as their surface-runners don't really interfere much with the asparagus roots, but you really should keep it weeded and free of other interloping plants.

By the way, “white” asparagus is the same plant as the regular green one. It is just deprived of sunshine so it can’t produce chlorophyll and turn green. To grow white asparagus, bury the spears in mounds -- adding a few inches of soil a little at time, leaving the very tips showing. Harvest by digging them out and cutting off the top growth.

Asparagus - You Can Grow That!

The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine.

Visuals by Khloe Quill
Audio by Kathy Jentz


 If you enjoy this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to our Youtube channel (thank you!)

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 FIND Washington Gardener Magazine ONLINE


~ Podcast: GardenDC


Monday, April 12, 2021

Monday Thoughts

"The love of gardening is a seed that once sown never dies."
- Gertrude Jekyll 

Sunday, April 11, 2021

21+ Gifts for Gardeners ~ Gardening Gifts ~ Cool Gardening Gift Ideas

Spring is here, so I thought I'd share again the garden products I use almost every day. These are the tried-and-true work tools that make my garden grow, save my back from breaking, and generally make life a little easier. Treat yourself!

BTW, the gift ideas are linked to an Amazon affiliate account, so if you click on them and order any, Washington Gardener Magazine gets a few pennies added to the account for the referral. Our full Amazon storefront is at:


Need even more ideas? Here are some gift guides from my garden blogging friends -

Disclosure: Clicking on these links and then ordering anything from Amazon may put a few pennies in the Washington Gardener Magazine bank account. Thank you for anything you can direct our way. We are participants in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Saturday, April 10, 2021

GardenDC Podcast Episode 54: Flower Farming with Lisa Mason Ziegler

This episode we talk with Lisa Mason Ziegler of The Gardener's Workshop about her flower farm business. The plant profile is on Wild Violets and we share our upcoming events and local gardening news!

Lisa's own podcast is called Field & Garden and you can listen to it here.

We welcome your questions and comments! You can leave a voice mail message for us at: Note that we may use these messages on a future episode.

Note: this post contains Amazon affiliate links.


Friday, April 09, 2021

Fenton Friday: Feeling Spring-like

Fava seedlings

Lettuce mix
This week finally feels like spring - cool and rainy - but still lots of great sun and mild weather in-between. The plants are practically jumping out of the ground.

The peas and fava beans are putting on nice growth. I picked a few more stalks of the asparagus. 

The lettuce is doing well. I cut some lettuce leaves for my lunch today. I also saw some baby slugs when I moved a board aside, so will be back with Sluggo soon.

The strawberries are starting to flower and the garlic has doubled in size since last week!

The arugula and radishes left in from last fall have bolted and I will leave them be to collect their seeds later on. 

The recently planted broccoli are doing fine, but the ones that wintered over are also trying to bolt, I cut the flowerheads off those and we are keeping them under a cover cloth. I am hoping that gives me a few more weeks on them before the heat sets in.

We sowed seeds for 'Ultimate Hybrid' carrots, 'Garden Party' radishes, and 'White Egg' turnips today. I plan to go back this weekend to add more lettuces and a row of parsnips -- and that Sluggo!

How is your edible garden growing?

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, April 08, 2021

Seed Giveaway 2021

We have a surplus of seed packets left over from the annual Washington Gardener Magazine Seed Exchanges. 

Here is the list of currently available seeds:

- Early White Patty Pan Summer Squash
- Cocozelle Green Stripe Summer Squash 
- Early Prolific Straightneck Summer Squash 
- Boston Marrow Winter Squash
- Waltham Butternut Winter Squash
- Moon and Stars Red Flesh Watermelon
- Oxheart Red Tomato
- Red Pear Tomato
- Brandywine Pink Tomato

All the seed packs are from heirloom seed company Landreth Seed and have a sell-by date of 2019, but should still be viable.

If you are a community garden, farm, school garden, garden club, little free library, etc. and want 20 or more seed packs, send a pre-paid Priority Mail flat-rate envelope. Include a note listing which seeds you want and a few alternatives, in case we run out of certain kinds. We will fill the orders on a first-come, first-served basis.

Send your pre-paid Priority Mail flat-rate envelope by April 30 to:

Washington Gardener Magazine Seed Giveaway
826 Philadelphia Ave.
Silver Spring MD 20910

A donation* of $5 to Seed Swap Day for any seeds received is a wonderful way to support our annual Washington Gardener Magazine Seed Exchanges, but is not required. Here is how to donate via Paypal: go to and click on the "Donate" icon on the upper right corner of the page.

*Note that the donation is not tax-deductible, but is much appreciated to keep our seed-sharing mission alive!

LOCAL ALERT: If you are in or near the DC area, we are placing seeds in Little Free Library (LFL) locations throughout the neighborhoods. If you have an LFL in the area and would like to be a seed distribution point. Contact us by placing a comment below. We will then arrange to drop off seed packs to you.

A HUGE THANK YOU to American Meadows/Landreth Seeds for donating these seeds to our annual Seed Exchanges!

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Plant Profile: Wild Violet

Wild Violets (Viola sp.) are a sweet little wildflower with heart-shaped foliage and tiny purple flowers. There is also the closely related Confederate Violet, which has white flowers with purple streaks.

A lawn of Wild Violets can be a lovely sight in early spring, though some consider this dainty flower to be more of a weed than a welcome garden plant. However, they are a native wildflower that is the host plant for several kinds of fritillary butterflies and can have a place in your home landscape.  They make a nice groundcover in a woodland garden and can also be grown easily in a container.

They need virtually no care, except to cut the ground-level brown flowers back to prevent seeding, if you do not want them to reproduce by self-sowing. They also expand in clumps through underground rhizomes.

Wild Violets are edible and are a favorite of foragers. You can eat both the flowers and foliage. A purple syrup can be made from the flowers to flavor a cocktail and add a fun coloring to baked goods.

Wild Violets - You Can Grow That!

 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 

The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine.

Visuals by Khloe Quill
Audio by Kathy Jentz

 FIND Washington Gardener Magazine ONLINE


~ Podcast: GardenDC

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Gifts for Gardeners ~ Gardening Gifts ~ Cool Gardening Gift Ideas

Today is Amazon Prime Day, so I thought I'd again share the garden products I use almost every day. These are the tried-and-true w...