Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cool Idea | WNC Magazine

The hoophouse protects plants growing in the winter garden
 Yes, we know that it's spring. Yes, we know that bad storms are right outside our window. But on this gray, rainy day we decided to work through the pile of magazines on the coffee table to see if anything was worth saving before we put them in the recycle bin. (Magazines are so seductive, aren't they? On the stand they scream, "You can't live without reading this article!" A month later you wonder why you bought the darned thing. However, there's always that one story...)

But we digress. Here's an article from WNC Magazine (that's Western North Carolina, one of the neatest places on the planet) about a group called Winter Green. This group's mission is "to train backyard gardeners and entrepreneurial growers for four-season organic food production." In the winter, they use hoophouses to grow cool-weather greens and vegetables. Did someone in Memphis do this last year? Seems something like that is stuck in our memory. Let us know.

Cool Idea WNC Magazine

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A rare bird story

Bullock's Oriole
Our friend Kandi sent us this story.  It progresses from a pig barn to a rare bird sighting to sharing a discovery with new friends.  Isn't sharing and new friends what gardening is all about?

As an aside, the Bill Murphy mentioned in the story leads birding trips to Trinidad and Tobago yearly and has written the Field Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago.  So he's no slouch when it comes to birds.

Click here to read:   Weedpicker's Journal

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pets and Plants, a Problem

We were in New York City recently and I must say, it is very "green."  Parks, gardens, local food - and it was very clean!  I ran across this New York Times blog post and wanted to share it.  It's about the effect of pet urine on plants.  Pretty interesting, especially the science part.

Have you experienced any problems with "excessive" dog fertilizing?  How did you handle it?

Monday, April 11, 2011
 As you know, Michelle Obama’s Lets Move effort calls for Americans both to eat a healthy diet and to exercise more.  For many food bank/food pantry clients (approximately 1 out of every 6 Americans), access to fresh produce is often limited or completely unavailable. is the ideal solution to get these pantries access to garden produce which previously has been composted or left to rot in gardens. is a nationwide anti-hunger effort created by Master Gardener (also CNN Hero) Gary Oppenheimer, which enables millions of Americans who grow food in home gardeners to find a local food pantry eager for their garden excess.

Nearly 3,200 food pantries across all 50 states are already signed up with more signing up daily. While the USDA knows the location of every food bank in the US, represents the most extensive list of food pantries in captivity. 

You can help more fresh produce get to more people in the community by:

1.    Being generous with your own harvest.  What you grow is your food first and foremost and you should enjoy it, preserve it and share it with friends and neighbors.  However, any additional garden bounty should be donated to a local food pantry easily found at

2.    Making sure your neighborhood food pantry is registered.  If you know of a food pantry in your community that is not yet listed on, you should visit to help the pantry register.

3.    Making sure other gardeners know that they too can donate.  Gardeners can take the flier at to local nurseries and garden shops to be posted where other customers can see it.

4.    Mentioning on your blog, Facebook page etc.

Many of you are familiar with Plant A Row (PAR) and some of you have worked with them in the past. It is a wonderful program and has several features that complement it. These include:

1.    Available anywhere in the country ( that a local food pantry registers;

2.    Is easily accessed by gardeners any time of the year – even those who did not plant an extra row but are now faced with an excessive harvest;

3.    Is accessible online or even from a garden via a free iPhone app (; and

4.    Is promoted with a $10K/month grant for advertising on Google to help reach the maximum number of gardeners.

If you already know about PAR, utilization of would be a great “one-two punch” against hunger.

Finally, you should know that publishes photos of gardeners making produce donations to food pantries.  All you need to do is send a photo to  of your delivery. finds that pictures like these help encourage other gardeners to also donate from their garden.

Please do what you can to help spread the word.

Adapted from an email sent to Master Gardener Coordinators across the United States by:
Bill Hoffman
National Program Leader - (Ag Homeland Security)
Institute of Food Production and Sustainability
202-401-1112 (office)
202-445-5576 (cell)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A LadyBug in My Garden

A LadyBug in My Garden

A ladybug flew in my garden,
Looking for something to eat.

How dainty in her polka dot dress,
She landed on a leaf.

But ladybugs don't eat leaves at all,
She hunts and eats aphids,

And rids my garden of sap sucking pests,
She bites off they little heads.

Soon she's filled her natural role,
And spreads her wings in wind.

Off she goes to another garden,
To make another friend.

Carl Wayne  April 2010

Pinwheel Garden?

Tennessee's Pinwheel Garden from
When we read that Tennessee first lady Crissy Haslam had planted a pinwheel garden at the Capitol to help start Child Abuse Prevention Month, we had visions of a gorgeous multi-colored bed shaped like a pinwheel and planted to evoke the three-dimensionality of those colorful whirligigs.  Alas, it turns out that a pinwheel garden is a space full of actual pinwheels. 

Certainly we don't want to take anything away from such a worthy cause as preventing child abuse.  A little research reveals that these pinwheel gardens are going up all over the United States in an effort to raise awareness of this terrible situation.

As a gardener, though, doesn't this concept spark your imagination?  How would you design a pinwheel garden of living plants?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Get out to Spring Fling!

Yay!  The sun is shining and Spring Fling opens today!  It looks like the weather will be the perfect payoff for the hours and hours of hard work invested by the Spring Fling committee and volunteers. 

Spring Fling is the perfect way to get motivated for the new gardening season!  So get out to the Agricenter and see what's happnin'!!!