Gardening Shorts

Here are some gardening activities for the dog days of summer. These are the kind that may keep us out of the garden (and out of our gardening shorts), yet still keep gardening on our minds.

EXTENSION PROGRAMS

Extension’s Food and Consumer Sciences program offers free, 30-minute webinars on Wednesdays at 2 p.m. titled Gardening & Grub: A Weekly Chat About All Things Food. Extension Agent Cheralyn Berry discusses a new fruit or vegetable each week and talks about its cultivation, nutrition and cultural uses. Each topic is a delightful surprise – one week it was the banana tree, another week the lychee nut. Cheralyn also shares recipes and answers viewer questions. Connect: https://go.ncsu.edu/allthingsfood . If you miss it live, you can tune in at your convenience by visiting the Durham Cooperative Extension Facebook page; and clicking on “Videos.” 

Things are hot at the Briggs Avenue Community Garden! Hot as in growing chili peppers from around the world. “Everything from the original progenitor chili to the common sweet pepper to the spiciest pepper in the world is growing at Briggs right now,” says Cheralyn Berry. Stop by between 8 and 11 a.m. any Friday or Saturday for the next few weeks and receive a mini educational tour. The garden’s address is 1314 S. Briggs Avenue in Durham. For more information call 919-406-4606.

To help produce fun and food this summer, Extension’s 4H program offered Victory Garden Kits – priced at $20, but free to families in need of financial assistance, no questions asked. The summer kits were so popular that a fall kit is in the works. Learn more at: https://durham.ces.ncsu.edu/4-h-victory-gardens/

PHOTO CONTESTS

Do you take photos of your garden – LOL — Who doesn’t, right?! Well, two local organizations are interested in your photos: 

1) WPTF Weekend Gardener magazine is looking for a photo to grace the cover of their Fall issue (circulation 10,000). Act soon, deadline for submission is August 31. To participate and/or learn more: https://wptf.com/contests/weekend-gardener-magazine-cover-photo/ .  The photographer will receive credit in the magazine.

2) NC Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill is collecting submissions for a Community Photo Exhibit. You can submit up to five photos of native wildflowers. The photos could have been taken anywhere in the state of North Carolina. Deadline for submissions is October 1. They’ll share the photos in a digital gallery, and at the end of the year, they’ll display selected images in an exhibit in the DeBerry Gallery. To participate and/or learn more: https://ncbg.unc.edu/visit/exhibits/community-photo-exhibit/

DURHAM GARDEN FORUM – Monthly Lectures
Durham Garden Forum (DGF), a valuable resource for Durham residents and others in the Triangle area. Now entering its 11th year, the DGF holds lectures from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month. At present the lectures are presented online via Zoom. To receive a meeting invitation, send your request to durhamgardenforum@gmail.com

Here’s a peek at topics of upcoming lectures: 
– August 25, Beyond Daffodils and Tulips — a review of all geophytes, including bulbs, corms, tubers, rhizomes, and tuberous roots.
– September 15,  TreesDurham – a review of historical policies that have created today’s inequitable tree distribution in Durham.
– October 20, Hosta! Gardening with hosta, with a look at some of the newest varieties.

— A. Laine

Learn With Us, week of March 1

Raised Bed Gardening CANCELLED
Saturday, March 7 10:00 – 11:00am
For Garden’s Sake
9197 NC-751, Durham, NC 27713

“Raised Beds: If You Build Them the Veggies Will Come” — This class will cover the several advantages of raised bed gardening including recommendations on planning, locating, preparing and constructing the bed. The presenter will also offer helpful tips on season extension, crop rotation, companion planting, improving your soil, using journals to record plant successes (and failures), protection from critters and plant supports. There will also be a discussion of such potential problems and pitfalls as contaminated beds or pest infestations

To register, email ann@fgsnursery.com or call 919-484-9759

Learn With Us, week of February 16

Moss: Primitive and Beautiful – Durham Garden Forum
Tuesday, February 18 7:00 – 8:30pm

Sarah P. Duke Gardens
420 Anderson St, Durham, NC 27708
“Moss: Primitive & Beautiful” with Flora O’Brien, Duke Gardens Volunteer and Extension Master Gardener Volunteer. Moss is a very ancient, primitive plant, and can be enchanting in your garden. It does possess chlorophyll for photosynthesis but does not have flowers or vascular system. Join us to learn more from Flora, the volunteer who cares for the Duke Gardens moss garden.

For any new member joining during the months of February and March 2020, their membership will run through April 30, 2021. Please extend this offer to any of your neighbors, friends, or gardening groups interested in joining the Durham Garden Forum. Our $25.00 membership continues to be an outstanding bargain for the quality of programs/speakers offered. Single program entry fee for non members is $10.00.

Spring Seed Starts
Saturday, February 22 10:00 – 11:00am

Durham Garden Center
4536 Hillsborough Rd, Durham, NC 27705
Description:Starting Seeds for Spring Planting – If you’re hoping to go into the new season with flowers or vegetables or herbs (or all of these), NOW is the time to get both your plan and your supplies together. Topics discussed will include materials needed for successful seed starts; the difference between direct sow and planting indoors; suggestions for proper planting medium; light, water and temperature requirements.

Free/Registration required. Contact:919-384-7526 or http://www.durhamgardencenternc.com

Learn With Us, week of October 20

Composting – Sarah P. Duke Gardens
Thursday, October 24⋅7:00 – 9:00pm

Sarah P. Duke Gardens
420 Anderson St, Durham, NC 27708
Composting by Georgeanne Sebastian and Darcey Martin

Discover the basics of successful composting and vermicomposting. Learn how to transform food scraps, leaves, and other organic materials into a nutrient-rich soil conditioner that will benefit your lawn and gardens.

Durham Master Gardener Program News

Public Events
Is your community planning a feast, fair or festival? Add to the excitement by inviting the Master Gardeners to staff a table at which your guests can have their gardening questions answered. Our “Ask an Expert” program travels all over Durham County to provide this service. Call 919-560-0528 to make a request or learn more.   


Soil Sampling
Statewide, the soil sampling kits and associated paperwork are now available in Spanish and English! Locally, you may pick them up at 721 Foster Street in Durham from the Durham County Master Gardener office.

The season for free soil samples is coming to a close next month. The last day that samples will be collected at 721 Foster Street is November 25, 2019. From December 1, 2019 through March 31, 2020 residents will be responsible for delivery of their soil samples to the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences in Raleigh and paying for their soil to be tested ($4.00 per box).  Extension will resume accepting soil samples on March 19, 2020. There is much to gain by testing your soil! Learn more.

New Partnership with HUB Farm
Durham County Master Gardeners now serve The Hub Farm, a 30-acre farm, forest, and aquatic educational center in Durham whose mission is to improve the academic achievement and well-being of students in Durham Public Schools through experiential outdoor learning. Hub Farm engages students, teachers, and the greater Durham community in environmental stewardship, health and nutrition, and career development. The farm is a program of Durham Public Schools Career-Technical Education Department and is guided by a small staff and advisory board. It is located at 117 Milton Road. Learn more about Hub Farm.

Edible Plants Sale in April
The addition of a greenhouse at Briggs Avenue Community Garden has enabled on-site seed-starting to flourish. The gardeners hope to share their bounty of seedlings of edible plants at an Earth Day event in Durham in 2020. Stay tuned for more information!

NC Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox
Though still a work in progress, the North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox is a great resource. It contains detailed descriptions and photographs of 3,311 plants that grow in and around North Carolina. You can search for a plant by its common name or its scientific name. Use the “Find a Plant” feature to select a plant for a specific location, or  try “Identify a Plant” to determine the name of a plant based on its flower and leaf characteristics.

The primary goal of the plant database is to help consumers select plants that will bring them joy, provide a valuable function in their landscape, and thrive where planted. Users are encouraged to consider year-round functionality and potential disease and insect problems as part of their selection process. Access the database at https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/ now and in the future. It will only get better!

— A. Laine