The Daily Feed, We Green DC

5 Ways to Green Your Yard and Garden

Photo courtesy of
‘The Lawnmower Man (197/365)’
courtesy of ‘NomadicLass’

You may think that grass and veggies are inherently green, but a new guide tells you how to make yours even greener.

The Climate-Friendly Gardener: A Guide to Combating Global Warming from the Ground Up, tells you how to lock carbon dioxide in the soil so it doesn’t heat the atmosphere.

“Gardening practices alone won’t solve global warming, but they can move us in the right direction, just like installing super efficient light bulbs and using reusable bags,” said Karen Perry Stillerman, a DC-based senior analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists Food and Environment Program, which released the guide.

Tips include avoiding chemicals and motorized equipment, planting trees and shrubs so they shade your house and block wind, minimizing fertilizer and water use on your lawn, composting, and planting winter crops.

The Daily Feed, We Green DC

Learn to be a Backyard Farmer

Photo courtesy of
‘Double Red Ripe Tomatoes’
courtesy of ‘Wayan Vota’

If you’ve ever had a tomato or zucchini plant gone wild, you might appreciate this.

Soon, an area farmers market may carry produce from folks who farm in their own backyards. The Maryland Organic Backyard Initiative (MOBI) wants to create community farmers markets that lets people who have organic gardens trade with each other.

Tonight and for the next two Thursdays at 7:30 at Crossings in Silver Spring, MOBI will hold classes where organic backyard farmers or wanna-bes can meet and learn how to grow, eat and trade delicious, organic, fresh, locally grown produce.

The Daily Feed

Film to Highlight DC Community Gardens

Photo courtesy of
‘Great Lettuce Harvest of 2009′
courtesy of ‘Wayan Vota’

An area filmmaker is now editing a documentary on seven community gardens in DC — and the people who tend, love, and learn from them.

The film will explore the role of these gardens not only as sources of fresh, nutritious food, but as outdoor classrooms, places of healing, centers of social interaction, and oases of beauty and calm in inner-city neighborhoods.

Already there’s a long and heartwarming trailer that shows all the good that playing in the dirt and growing your own food can bring. You can see it on the newly launched Community of Gardeners Web site.

The Daily Feed

Too Many Tomatoes?

Photo courtesy of
‘Double Red Ripe Tomatoes’
courtesy of ‘Wayan Vota’

Many of us have been there — gardens gone wild, and produce galore. There’s a reason someone invented zucchini bread.

If your garden groweth over, give your extras to hungry families through the Arlington Food Assistance Center. Or plant an extra row for them from the start through the cleverly named Plot Against Hunger.

The Daily Feed, The Mall

Have You Seen This Bird?

Parakeet Staring

This here is Pickles, a green and very talkative rose-ringed parakeet last seen in a tree in the Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Castle. Pickles’ owner Scott likes to take the bird on his shoulder, pirate-style, for walks around the National Mall on weekends, and on nice days, perch Pickles on tree branches in the Gardens to let him get some nature.

Yesterday, Pickles disappeared. Continue reading

Arlington, The Daily Feed, The Great Outdoors

Unwed Mother Mantis

Praying Mantis = good luck!

This praying mantis was sitting on the railing of my deck as I was coming in from picking peppers in my garden. What a nice surprise, I thought. I have always associated mantids with good fortune. As I looked closer, I noticed that this one had an engorged abdomen and appeared to be ready to birth a giant-ass egg sack.

I can’t wait until next spring, when the little ones appear and eat all the other insects and spiders. Maybe that’s weird for a vegetarian to admit, but it’s true. This is one of those things that gives me hope about the coming autumn and winter.

Even though things wither and die as the days grow colder, like the poor little unwed mother praying mantis, I know that in that egg sack little critters are quietly awaiting the spring and will slowly mature until they burst forth to eat all the darned spiders, who are probably just as fertile and ready to lay eggs right now.

Whatever gives us the hope it takes to push through the cold weather and emerge on the other side of the cold is worth latching onto. For me, it’s the arrival of mantis season and the hope of no spiders.

Arlington, Featured Photo

Yep, it’s Autumn, or might as well be

Cucumber from my Garden IMGP1602 copy

I know the season has not quite changed yet, but to me it’s already autumn. The garden has stopped producing, and it was a bum crop anyway this year. Pretty much all I got were some freaky cucumbers (another example here) and a handful of tomatoes that started to grow and then got stolen by some animals who apparently loved my garden as much as I had hoped to.

On the bright side, I was able to get some rosemary well entrenched in place of a dead shrub and with luck my grapes will really take off next year. They say the third year is the magic one, so I hope to have a better report then. The roses did very well in their first year and should winter well in our mild climate.

It’s about time to slow down, pour a glass of wine and make a toast to the passing of summer and the coming of autumn. Who knows – next year at this time we may be celebrating a bumper crop of whatever I plant and snacking on grapes, whose perfume will waft gently on the cool evening air with the promise of a late, delicious harvest.

What culinary delights are you still enjoying from your garden?