Boston’s Gardener’s Gathering

Celebrate the start of the gardening season! The 44th Annual Gardeners’ Gathering brings Boston-area gardeners together for a free day full of informative workshops, engaging exhibitors, networking, and inspiration. Held at Northeastern University, the Gathering features more than two dozen workshops on everything from Healthy Soil to Urban Foraging. Urban homesteaders can learn about keeping bees or chickens, making fermented pickles, and growing gourmet mushrooms. Gardeners can hone their skills with workshops on garden planning, managing pests and diseases, and more.

This year’s Gathering will feature special guest speaker Aziz Dehkan, Executive Director of the New York City Community Garden Coalition. Aziz is an activist, community organizer, former organic farmer, and a tireless member of #Resist. He has worked for many social and environmental organizations including Mother Jones, The Coalition for the Homeless, The Fortune Society, and Peace Action Network of NY. Aziz will address the history, current state, and future of community gardens in NYC, looking at them through the lens of social justice and climate change protection. He’ll speak to gentrification and racial inequality and delve into how community gardens can be in the vanguard of climate change monitoring, adaption, and mitigation.

When
Saturday, March 23
10AM-5PM

Cost
FREE

Contact
617.542.7696 x2115
mdelima@thetrustees.org

Shillman Hall, Northeastern
115 Forsyth Street
Boston, MA

I’ve been posting and whining about the weather being too cold to do any gardening and about a week ago I got this fabulous flyer from the Trustees of the Reservation about their Gardener’s Gathering.

What’s so interesting to me is that rather than just being another “plant conference,” (not that there’s anything wrong with those–we do all need to learn!), this “Gathering,” seeks to address ways in which gardeners can be part of important solutions to very real problems.

I am getting some questions in my lectures about whether growers are addressing things like climate change as they breed plants so I do know it’s on gardeners’ minds. It’s certainly on my mind when I shop for “replacement” plants–what on earth should I be doing to try to help our environment and what on earth should I be planting if I need to replace something long-term like a tree or a shrub?

Unfortunately the timing of the conference isn’t one that I can attend. But I sincerely hope to see more like this. And perhaps some of my readers in the area are able to go and to get some benefit from this interesting day of education!

Polar Vortex Herbs

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Normally this tray of herbs (& a few other things) stays out on my glassed in sun porch. The porch rarely falls below 30, but this year–& during other “polar vortex” years– it does get colder.

I haven’t brought the herbs in before this year and in previous years, I have lost some of them. So this year, I took no chances. I brought them indoors.

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Initially I thought that it would be for a night or two. When it became apparent that it had to be longer, I moved them into a well lit place and resigned myself to living with them inside the rest of the winter.

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Anyway, at least it’s a fragrant problem to have.

Sure the Citrus Looks Nice Now….

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These are my citrus plants. There are 3 lemons, a lime, an orange, and the large variegated one at the end is a kumquat.

I regularly get lemons. Everything else flowers and that’s good enough for me. If you grow citrus, you know that they flower sometime between January and March.

The fragrance is absolutely wonderful. It’s sweet without being overwhelming (in other words, unlike with my snake plants, I don’t have to leave the room because the scent is so over-powering).

I suspect I might be able to get fruit if I “played the bee” and tried to pollinate some of the lime or orange flowers, but really, life if complicated enough as it is for me to worry about that. Maybe someday.

What I can’t seem to stop is the leaf loss. I wonder, again, if I added grow lights, if that might solve the problem? But I would need to figure out a spot for those–that’s another “maybe someday” issue.

Besides, once they are down to basically just twigs, watering is easy. I need some easy plants in the winter.

When Things DON’T Work Out as Planned

After the great poisoning incident last year, I’ve been gardening in fabric containers. For the most part, it’s working out extremely well.

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This photo shows just one of my tomatoes and my green beans.

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And here’s my first bean harvest, taken the same night the photo was taken. It may not look like much, but rarely, even when my beans are in the ground, do I get enough to make a meal (well, a side dish) for myself like this. So I was quite pleased.

What hasn’t worked out?

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After hearing everyone and his brother rave about cucamelons, or mouse melons, these are the pathetic plants that I have. Clearly nothing will come of them. And I had good seed and they are in the same spot as the tomatoes and beans so it’s not as if they’re in a bad spot (I know they like warmth!)

I didn’t start them too early–I know the dangers of starting plants too early only to have them languish in cold wet soil. I waited until I started my beans. And yet, you see the results.

Oh well, live and learn.

Happy Memorial Day!

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Memorial Day is usually all about the planting of my vegetable garden–something I do to honor and remember my Dad, who was a World War II veteran. But this year, that garden is still contaminated with pesticides, I fear, so I’ve had to plant flowers.

So here is that look, above.

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And here is my “vegetable” garden, instead. It’s going to have to suffice.

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At work, we plant a vegetable garden as well. It’s a little unusual because there we garden with a woodchuck (aka, a groundhog, or a whistle pig, or whatever you might call them in your part of the country.

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Interestingly enough, usually he/it/they leaves the tomatoes and peppers alone–as well as my herbs that I plant to try to protect all that (and for the pollinators, of course!)

This year, something nibbled one of the tomatoes. I think it was a rabbit. We are too “urban” to have deer, and quite frankly the nibbling was too delicate for a deer.

Whatever it was, it didn’t care for the tomato leaves. It just left them there, and didn’t try any of the others. Whew!

So I end my post with a huge than you to all who served. You are not forgotten.

Herb Planting

Every year I do a container–or containers–of herbs on the stone wall right outside my kitchen. I have herbs growing elsewhere on the property , although this winter was so cold–and without snow cover when it was the coldest–that I lost a lot of things that had been planted for years–thyme, sage and possibly my lemon balm all bit the dust.  At the moment,  the only thing that I see coming up are chives and ornamental oregano.

I even lost 2 standards that I wintered on my sun porch and I may have lost my bay plant that wintered there as well– it’s definitely winter burned or cold burned. We’ll see.

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So I have some “opportunities. ” I was able to find this nice tender lavender standard (lavendula stoechas ‘Anouk’). 

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Then I found these organically grown herbs. I was thrilled about that.

Even though none of this can go outside in my climate for another month (with the exception of the parsley,  which could go out now if I hardened it off) I think I will plant this all together. The mint will make a nice “spiller,” the standard will be my ” thriller,” and the basil, rosemary and parsley will be the “filler” plants .

This is exactly why I got the 5 gallon fabric pots.  This combo will need lots of root space!

Container Gardeners, These Are For Us

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If you are growing plants in containers, have you tried the fabric pots yet?

I tried one for the first time last year and I liked it so well that I bought 5 more this year. They have everything going for them.

First, if space is an issue, they are a breeze to keep and store. This is a 5 gallon pot. It folds down to the size of a large, glossy magazine–just about as high and thick. I  bought a 5 pack of them. They arrived, folded, in an express mail envelope. Try doing that with any other sort of container!

They’re made right here in the United States, in Oklahoma City, to be exact, by a family company that began manufacturing them for trees.

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This is mine from  last year,  planted with a tomato and some herbs.  The tomato grew so well that I eventually pulled out two of the 4 herbs.

This year I am planning to be even more ambitious . I am planning a couple of tomatoes –1 per bag, obviously–& a bag of cucamelons. I will do a bag of just herbs, to give them room of their own. And I have a fig for one, that’s begging for extra room.

So I should have a nice edible garden–if I can get the Spoiler to haul the soil for me. Thanks to Amie, I won’t be moving much.

And I found–& buy–these all on my own. I get no credit or anything else for promoting this product.  In fact,  I know that there are other fabric type bags out there. I buy these because I like supporting an American company.  You can make your own choices.