Friday, August 01, 2014

Fenton Friday: Basil Bonanza

It is Pesto time! Faced with a garden club summer potluck gathering tomorrow, I have to whip up a main dish. (Annoyingly, appetizers and desserts are not allowed and those are really the only categories of food in my repertoire!) So I looked to my community garden plot for inspiration and found that it is the perfect time to pinch-back and harvest handfuls of fragrant basil to make pasta with pesto sauce.

I'm a bit of a pesto snob, it has to be fresh, made with toasted pine nuts, and a loads of Romano cheese. Truth be told, the green component is really just a vehicle for delivering those delicious bites of nuts and melted cheese into my mouth.

What is your favorite pesto recipe?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Video Wednesday: How to Prune a Hardy Kiwi

If you have a Hardy Kiwi vine, now is the time to give it a hard pruning. In this video, Michael McConkey of Edible Landscaping in Afton, VA, demonstrates the best pruning techniques for a Hardy Kiwi.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Win a Trapstik for Wasps in July 2014 Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest

For our July 2014 Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away a Trapstik for Wasps (Retail value: $20.) “TrapStik® works by luring wasps to a sticky surface using the three dimensional pattern and color combination they find most attractive,” explains Rod Schneidmiller, president and founder of Sterling International, the manufacturer of RESCUE!® products. The TrapStik® for Wasps uses this new 3D technology to catch queen wasps in spring before they have time to build nests. It keeps working from summer through fall to catch aggressive worker wasps. The trap works to catch paper wasps, carpenter bees, and mud daubers.
   To enter to win the Trapstik for Wasps, send an email to: by 5:00pm on July 31 with “Trapstik” in the subject line and in the body of the email, please also include your full name and mailing address. Tell us: “What bugs you in the garden.” The trap’s winner will be announced and notified on August 1.

We have our winner! Congratulations to Linette Lander of Takoma Park, MD, whose entry was chosen at random from among the submitted responses to our July reader contest.   Look out for our monthly reader contest on the front page of our Enewsletter and enter for your chance to win great garden prizes!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fenton Friday: Fall Already?!

kale seedlings
It is only one month into summer, but this week at my plot in the Fenton Community Garden autumn has already started to makes its presence felt. First, the weather has continued to be unseasonably cool with low humidity (no complaints here!) and second, several seedlings popped up from the Kale I let go to seed earlier in the season. That means, it is probably about time for me to start thinking about what fall crops I want to grow and to begin them soon.

Thanks to the cool summer, I still have lots of gorgeous carrots in the ground. I pick one or two per day to add to my dinner salad. That will be one of the fall crops I re-seed soon. I also want to try direct-sowing broccoli this year, rather than to buy started seedlings. I will see if the weather cooperates for doing that.

Tomorrow I'm visiting the Montgomery County Master Gardeners Grow It Eat It open house and I hope to pick up a few tips for my tomatoes which always seem to suffer some kind of foliar disease or another. I am bewildered as to how some of my fellow plot owners are able to grow full, lush tomato plants with clean foliage given our all-organic mandate.

While on the tomato topic, I realized why my large tomato is not "ripening" at all, I forgot that I planted the 'Evergreen' variety - LOL! Guess, I'll just have to pick that one when it looks heavy and full enough and not by color.

What is growing in your edible garden this week?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Video Wednesday: Horticulture at the Virginia Zoo

Horticulture at the Virginia Zoo from plantPOP on Vimeo.

Friend of Washington Gardener Magazine, Marie Mims Butler, did a great job on the Zoo Horticulture video. The plantings are lovely and by necessity very tough. I love Marie's quote, "If the zoo can do it, YOU can do it!" And you thought visiting the zoo was just to see the animals.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Washington Gardener Magazine's Tomato Taste at Market is Back by Popular Demand!

Washington Gardener Magazine's

7th Annual 

Tomato Tasting

 at the Silver Spring FreshFarm Market

It’s ‘Big Boy’ vs. ‘Mortgage Lifter,’ hybrid vs. heirloom, the tomato wars have just begun. Everyone is sure that their tomato pick is the tastiest. Join Washington Gardener Magazine at the FreshFarm Market in downtown Silver Spring, MD, on Saturday, August 23 from 10am-12noon for a Tomato Tasting. Best of all, this event is FREE!

Farmers at the market will contribute their locally grown selections — from super-sweet ‘Sungold’ to not-so-pretty ‘Cherokee Purple’ — and we’ll explore which tomatoes make the short list of favorites. We’ll have tomato gardening tips, tomato recipes, tomato activities for kids, and much more. All to celebrate one of summer’s greatest indulgences — the juicy fresh tomato.

Tip: Your tomato taste voting ballot is also your entry into our prize drawing for a basket full of gardening goodies. The drawing is at 12noon, so be sure to fully fill out your ballot by 11:45am and then stick around for the prize announcement as you must be present to win.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Venting Over Leaf Blowers ~ Washington Gardener Enews ~ July 2014 issue

The Washington Gardener Enews ~ July 2014 issue is now out. It was emailed as a PDF to all Washington Gardener Magazine current subscribers. It is also posted and archived online at:  
Inside This Enews Issue:
• Free Soil Test for DC Residents
• Back Issue Sale
• July-August To-Do List
• Magazine Excerpt: Hosting Honey Bees in Your Garden
• Latest Blog Links
• Local Garden Events Listings
• Venting Over Leaf Blowers
• New ‘Sweet Sunset’ Pepper
• Reader Contest to Win a TrapStik for Wasps

Subscribe to Washington Gardener Magazine today to have the monthly enewsletter sent to your inbox as a PDF several days before it is available online. 

Fenton Friday: One Gardener's Trash is Another's Flowers

This week in my plot at the Fenton Community Garden, we had a few days of really soaking rains followed by unseasonably cool days. I'm not complaining though! Now things are looking lush and really settling in.

Pictured here are two of the edible flowers I'm growing. I had thought the Calendula was gone after wintering over for me for two years and then totally dying during this last nasty winter, but it re-seeded and now is as abundant as ever.


The French Marigolds are not from those that re-seeded in my plot, those were all weak and spindly and in the pathways, so they never had a chance. The marigolds you see pictured here were plants I rescued from our garden's communal compost pile. I am constantly flabbergasted over the things people put in this pile! You can call me Little Miss Trash-digger, but I have no shame in pulling things right back out and planting them or passing them on to good home.  These marigolds were looking a bit sad when I replanted them in my plot, but after just a few days of TLC and watering, they are looking marvelous.

Besides the Calendula and Marigolds, I have Nasturtium, but it has not flowered yet.



My single Okra plant is starting to bear fruit. That means I'll have to stop by daily to check it as it can quickly grow from a tender 3-inch bud to a 10-inch woody stick that is totally inedible. I like to just pick it when I'm out in the gardening and snack on it raw right then and there. And no, it is NOT slimey this way. It is similar in taste and texture to a green bean. Freshness is the key!

What is growing in YOUR edible garden this week?