VCE Urban Agriculture Symposium

Print Version: 2016 Urban Agriculture Symposium Flyer
Organic Vegetable Fall ProduceSaturday, Oct. 1, 2016, VCE Urban Agriculture Symposium – 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Fairlington Community Center, 3308 S. Stafford St., Arlington 22206

Held in conjunction with Urban Agriculture Month in Virginia. Keynote speaker will be Carlin Rafie, assistant professor at Virginia Tech and VCE adult nutrition specialist, who will discuss the relationship between nutrition and health.  In breakout sessions, Virginia Tech researchers and other experts will focus on perennial and tree crops for the urban gardener, research on growing food with biosolids, growing nutritious, low-maintenance vegetables and other topics. Registration fee is $25 and covers supplies, refreshments and lunch.
More information |  Registration

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TREE: Nyssa sylvatica (Black Gum)

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Nyssa sylvatica, Black Gum, Black Tupelo

Nyssa sylvatica, Black Gum, Black Tupelo
Photo from Missouri Botanical Gardens

Found in a variety of sites from creek bottoms to upland slopes in eastern North America, Black Gum is noted for its beautiful yellow to orange to scarlet fall foliage.  Bees make a flavorful honey from the nectar-rich flowers, while many birds and mammals enjoy the juicy fruit. Learn more . . .

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WHAT’S HOPPIN’ In The Glencarlyn Library Demonstration Garden

By Judy Funderburk

Certified Wildlife HabitatFirst there is Peter, our resident bunny who periodically comes hoppin’ along. It’s especially good timing if we Master Gardeners happen to be explaining to a visitor that our garden is a Wildlife Habitat certified by the National Wildlife Federation. Peter seems to prefer our parsley to lettuce and violets to chard. He devours sorrel, that lemony sour leafy green that makes such a fine addition to salads or soups, to the point that each year we try to grow it, we soon have none. As long as he does not chew the stem of our Purple Hyacinth Bean plant growing on the Cemetery fence, we (and any children in the vicinity) are delighted to see him hoppin’ through the Garden. Continue reading

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September Public Education Events

There are many fabulous opportunities for learning in September – come join us!

Wednesdays in the Garden, Sept. 7, 14, 21, and 28, 7 to 9 p.m., Arlington Central Library, 1015 N. Quincy St., Arlington 22201.

This series of indoor and outdoor programs, taught by Arlington Food Assistance Center volunteers and VCE Master Gardeners, is designed to teach gardening skills to a wide audience. Continue reading

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October Public Education Events

Print Version: October Education Events Flyer

Organic Vegetable Fall ProduceSaturday, Oct. 1, 2016, VCE Urban Agriculture Symposium – 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Fairlington Community Center, 3308 S. Stafford St., Arlington 22206

Held in conjunction with Urban Agriculture Month in Virginia. Keynote speaker will be Carlin Rafie, assistant professor at Virginia Tech and VCE adult nutrition specialist, who will discuss the relationship between nutrition and health.  In breakout sessions, Virginia Tech researchers and other experts will focus on perennial and tree crops for the urban gardener, research on growing food with biosolids, growing nutritious, low-maintenance vegetables and other topics. Registration fee is $25 and covers supplies, refreshments and lunch.
More information |  Registration

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VINE: Passiflora incarnata (Passion Flower or Maypops)

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Passiflora incarnata 003Found naturally along roadsides, pastures, and open woods, the exotic flowers and edible fruit of Purple Passionflower make this unique vine a striking ornamental plant for the garden. The common name, Maypop, refers to the fruit, which makes a loud popping sound when stomped on. Learn more . . . 

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August Notes from the Organic Vegetable Garden, in Potomac Overlook Regional Park

by Master Gardener Nancy Dowling

Sungolds, Romas

Sungolds, Romas
Photo © 2016 Nancy Dowling

Enough already, the tomatoes seem to be screaming. It’s too hot; you expect too much from me. And I agree. It is too hot to put out new fruit, too hot to stand up straight and tall and too hot to look good! The current run of heat and humidity has taken its toll on our largest tomatoes. Smaller varieties, like the Sungolds and Romas, seem to hold up better and longer, but the big ones are pooped. Continue reading

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High Summer at Simpson Gardens

By Master Gardener Christa Watters for the Simpson Crew

Seed pods of Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

Common Milkweed (Asclepius syriaca) seed pods
Photo © 2016 Christa Watters

We’ve survived a long siege of fairly relentless heat this summer as July brought day after day of 90-degrees and higher, with humidity also pushing the limits. Some plants love the heat and are thriving, while others have passed the flowering bursts of spring and early summer and started setting seed or gone dormant.

Among the plants that love heat and sun are some of the big pollinator-attractor flowers. In this first week of August, the common milkweed (Asclepius syriaca) has finished blooming and is displaying those big pods that hold the seeds that will disperse in fall, little brown ovals floating on puffy white silk parachutes. Continue reading

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For Your Pollinator Garden

Written (and Photographed) by Mary Free, Certified Master Gardener

Monarda fistulosa

Photo © Mary Free

Do you want to create or add to a pollinator garden? Do you look at lists of plants that claim to be superior at attracting pollinators, then wonder which ones really perform best?

If you wish to target bees, then consider native Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot). If you need convincing, click on the image below to watch this video recorded in late June 2016 at the Glencarlyn Library Community Garden in Arlington, Virginia. Continue reading

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The Shade Garden Showcases Ferns

by Dina Lehmann-Kim, Master Gardener

Japanese Painted Fern

Japanese Painted Fern

Photo © 2016 Dina Lehmann-Kim

While the Shade Garden at Bon Air Park is host to a wide variety of plants, the stars this month are the ferns. Ferns thrive in shade and come in a range of sizes, hues, and leaf (frond) structures. This standout plant has prehistoric roots and continues to enchant gardeners despite the fact that it does not flower.

Fast-spreading ferns can be used as a ground cover while slow-spreading or “clumping” ferns such as the garden’s Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponiscum ‘Pictum’) are best used as an accent plant in a well-defined space. Continue reading

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