Saturday, July 04, 2015

Crocosmia: You Can Grow That!


Crocosmia is a slender, tall perennial that takes up little room in your garden, though it makes a big impact. It is a cousin of the Gladiola and had a very similar growing habit and appearance.

Like most bulbs, Crocosmia is a "set it and forget it" plant. My favorite kind! You just plant the bulb in the spring or fall and wait for it to come up in summer.

It prefers full to part sun and medium amount of moisture. Try to plant it where it will get decent drainage as it can rot in heavy, wet clay soils.

Crocosmia forms clumps and every three years or so you can divide it in early spring to share it with a gardening friend or to spread it around your own garden.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer' makes a great cut-flower, but I like to leave it out in the garden as hummingbirds are attracted to it and there is not much else that blooms in that brilliant, show-stopping red.

Crocosmia is also available in a number of other hot-colored varieties, but 'Lucifer' is the most commonly sold and easiest to find in garden centers and bulb catalogs.



All who are involved with You Can Grow That! (YCGT!) believe that plants and gardening enhance our quality of life. We want people to be successful with what they grow and to become more aware of the many gifts that horticulture brings. Find out more at http://www.youcangrowthat.com/.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Fenton Friday: Split Tomatoes and Garlic Harvest

It was another very wet week at my community garden plot and I spent it mostly weeding and hacking back rampant growth.

The tomatoes are really starting to come in, but due to the deluge of rain, many are cracking and falling on the ground before they fully ripen. Not much I can do about that, only settle for the few that remain.

Because it has been so wet, I was worried that the garlic might be rotting in the ground. I pulled it all today and was pleasantly surprised that it is very nicely sized and they all seem firm and healthy. I am drying them in my sunroom on an old window screen I lay across two bars on my laundry rack. In a week or so, I can cut off the roots, foliage, and brush off any dried-on dirt and then use them immediately (have big plans for basil pesto) or store them for later. I have found though that the hardneck garlic do not store well for very long, best to use them up sooner rather than later.

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. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 4th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.)

Thursday, July 02, 2015

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK: Plant a Row for the Hungry

Plant a Row for the Hungry is People Helping People

Since 1995, over 20 million pounds of produce providing over 80 million meals have been donated by American gardeners. All of this has been achieved without government subsidy or bureaucratic red tape -- just people helping people.


Plant A Row is a public service program of the Garden Writers Association and the GWA Foundation. Garden writers are asked to encourage their readers/listeners to plant an extra row of produce each year and donate their surplus to local food banks, soup kitchens and service organizations to help feed America’s hungry.

There are over 84 million households with a yard or garden in the U.S. If every gardener plants one extra row of vegetables and donates their surplus to local food agencies and soup kitchens, a significant impact can be made on reducing hunger.


Support Plant A Row and help make a difference in your community.

PAR Hotline 1-877-492-2727
or go to http://www.gardenwriters.org/gwa.php?p=par/index.html

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK Details:
Every Thursday on the Washington Gardener Magazine Facebook page, Blog, and Yahoo list we feature a current advertiser from our monthly digital magazine. To advertise with us, contact wgardenermag@aol.com today.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Video Wednesday: Not Too Late to Plant Your Tomatoes!



Kathy Jentz, Editor/Publisher, Washington Gardener Magazine shares some tomato planting tips -- basically plant deep and don't worry that it is getting late in the planting season -- just get them in the ground ASAP!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Fenton Friday: Weedy Warning

So this week I got the dreaded the inspection warning that I needed to weed my plot. No big surprise. Almost half of the other plots received the same warning. I knew it was coming -- two weeks ago, my plot was weed-free and inspection-ready. But, for the same reasons the inspection were delayed, so has my weeding been put off since then -- those reasons are two weeks of brutal heat interrupted by several monsoon-like rainstorms -- the result of which is hip-high garden growth and monster weeds. I'll try to hack it back into submission over the weekend, but more rains are forecast, so we shall see...

On the good news front, I was surprised to be able to harvest both carrots and the first few of my 'Sun Gold' tomatoes today. Both were sweet and delicious. Neither of these early harvest made it back to my kitchen.

Also, the interns planted 'Blue Lake' green beans on the back edge of my plot. My hope is that they will be able to harvest at least a few of these in 45-60 days at the end of their summer intern period. If this weather pattern of hot days and big rains keeps up, I think we may well have beans to show in record time.

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. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 4th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.)

Win Vintage-style Poster Art in Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest

For our June 2015 Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away 3 limited-editon poster prints from our recent DC Plant Swap (prize value: $10 each).
   Ben Schifman of the Wangari Gardens in Washington, DC, designed this vintage-feel poster to commemorate and promote our 8th annual plant swap. The poster is 11x17 and is numbered on the back. It is suitable for framing and sure to become a collector’s piece.
   To enter to win one of the three remaining DC Plant Swap Posters, send an email to WashingtonGardener@rcn.com by 5:00pm on Tuesday, June 30, with “Swap Poster” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Tell us which was your favorite article in this June 2015 issue of the magazine and why. Please also include your full name and mailing address. The poster winners will be announced and notified on July 1.

UPDATE:
Congratulations to our 3 poster winners chosen at random from among the submitted entries:
~ Lisa M. of Bethesda, MD
~ Polly Q. of Annandale, VA
~ Esther K. of Washington, DC

Thursday, June 25, 2015

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK: Behnke Nurseries


Behnke Nurseries today reflects the same old-fashioned principles set by our founders. We offer the widest practical selection of top quality plants, with knowledgeable staff to assist in plant choices and educate in plant care.

Behnke Nurseries now enjoys nationwide recognition as Washington’s premiere plant and garden center. Here you will find all kinds of great articles and tips on a wide variety of plants and products from our staff of seasoned horticulturists.

See: http://behnkes.com/website/

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK Details:
Every Thursday on the Washington Gardener Magazine Facebook page, Blog, and Yahoo list we feature a current advertiser from our monthly digital magazine. To advertise with us, contact wgardenermag@aol.com today.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Swapping Plants and Tips with DC-area Gardeners




Guest Blog by Daven Desai

 

The 8th annual DC Plant Swap by Washington Gardener Magazine took place on Saturday, June 13th at the US National Arboretum in DC. Dozens of folks drove in from Virginia, across the District, and Eastern Maryland to take part in the plant swap.
      Every year, people bring out their own plants, from edibles to perennials, these gardening enthusiasts love exchanging what they have grown for something entirely different.  When Kathy Jentz, editor-in-chief of Washington Gardener Magazine Magazine blew her whistle, folks eagerly rushed to pick up their plant of choice. In order to participate, one must bring something to give up from their garden. A few gardening supporters also came out just to hang with these plant-lovers.
      With just a portion of the parking lot at the Arboretum each space was labeled with a plant category. There were houseplants, water plants, and even edibles! The amount in variety was great, though it was clear that it was a plant swap full of mostly sun to part-sun perennials this year.
    The schedule of the event was pretty simple. Participants arrived, they unloaded their plants and then separated them by category according to the labeled spaces. Once the event began, participants gathered at the end of the parking lot in introduce themselves and to tell the rest of us what they had brought to exchange. After the introductions, they all lined up against the partition that separated the parking lot in front of the plants. When Jentz blew her whistle, participants would run over to grab their shrub, herb, or plant of choice. Jentz repeated this for another two rounds before opening up the lot as a free-for-all.
From all the plants that arrived in the morning, each one was given a new home. The 8th Annual DC Plant Swap was a success!

About the Author
Daven Desai is a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is a broadcast journalism student at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. This summer, he is also an editorial intern for Washington Gardener Magazine.