Category Archives: products

December Pegplant’s Post Giveaway: DRAMM garden apron and compact shear

I am very excited about the giveaway for the December 2018 issue of Pegplant’s Post. Sponsored by the DRAMM Corporation, the giveaway will be two items: a red ColorWear garden apron and a green ColorPoint compact shear (red and green for the holidays, get it?). DRAMM is a Wisconsin-based business that has produced well-known watering tools for over 75 years and has now expanded into gardening tools, fertilizers, and accessories.

The ColorPoint compact shear is perfect for cutting flowers, herbs, or bonsai. It has corrosion resistant, stainless steel blades and an ergonomic, non-slip handle for a comfortable grip.

The ColorWear garden apron protects clothing while holding tools, plants, or gloves. It is an ingenious three pocket design. The center pocket has side zippers enabling you to unzip the pocket and remove plant debris.

This giveaway opportunity is for subscribers of Pegplant’s Post, an online, free newsletter for people interested in gardening in the Washington DC metro area. Each issue has:

  • Monthly events. Plan your social life with gardening events in the area. Each issue has at least 50 events but depending on the season, there can more than 100 events, many of which are free.
  • New books. Stay abreast of gardening trends and practices with newly published books. Use this list for gift ideas.
  • Tips and advice. Learn timely tips and advice relevant to the current gardening season in our area.
  • Giveaways. Enter the monthly giveaway contest to win items such as seed packets, books, tools, and plants.
  • Articles from pegplant.com. Catch up with seasonal articles about plants, gardens, and resources from pegplant.com.

To be eligible for this giveaway subscribe now. Click here or visit pegplant.com and enter your e-mail address in the box above “subscribe!” on the right column. Click here to see a back issue. Pegplant’s Post is published on the last weekend of the month.

November Giveaway for Pegplant’s Post: Garden of Paradise Gloves

The giveaway for the November Pegplant’s Post is the Garden of Paradise Arm Saver Garden Gloves by Womanswork. A woman-owned family business, Womanswork sells gardening gloves that are made for women’s hands, plus related gardening accessories. The Garden of Paradise glove has an exclusive new print inspired by English cottage gardens. It has extra long cuffs to protect arms from scratches and bug bites and synthetic leather palms. Subscribers to Pegplant’s Post can enter the giveaway to win one pair of these gloves. Pegplant’s Post is a free, monthly newsletter for people who are interested in gardening in the Washington DC metro area. Subscribe by entering an e-mail address at pegplant.com

Giveaway for October Pegplant’s Post: CobraHead Weeder and Cultivator

Here is a great giveaway for the October issue of Pegplant’s Post: the CobraHead Original Weeder and Cultivator. The CobraHead has a very sharp blade that cuts through our clay soil, creates furrows for planting seeds and transplants, slices out weeds, and rakes up debris. The narrow blade, made from forged temperate steel, is able to get in between and under your flowers and veggies. The ergonomically designed curve shaped handle is made of recycled plastic composite and is comfortable for either right or left handed gardeners. Made in Wisconsin, the CobraHead is a multi-functional, lightweight tool built to last a lifetime. The CobraHead company also sells a mini version of this tool and other useful gardening products.

This giveaway opportunity is for subscribers of Pegplant’s Post, a free, online newsletter for people interested in gardening in the Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC metro area. Each issue provides:

  • Monthly events. Plan your social life with local gardening events. Each issue will have at least 50 events. Depending on the season, there can be more than 100 events, many of which are free.
  • New books. Stay abreast of gardening trends and practices with recently published books. Use this list for birthday and holiday gift ideas.
  • Tips and advice. Learn timely tips and advice relevant to our area and the current gardening season.
  • Giveaways. Enter the monthly giveaway contest to win items such as seed packets, books, tools, and plants.
  • Articles from pegplant.com. Catch up with articles from my website, pegplant.com, about plants, gardens, and resources.

To subscribe, click here or visit pegplant.com and enter your e-mail address in the box above “subscribe!” on the right column. Pegplant’s Post will be issued on the last weekend of the month.

Pegplant’s Post Giveaway: Botanical Interests Seed Sprouter and Seed Sampler

I am so excited about the giveaway for the September issue of Pegplant’s Post. Botanical Interests, a Colorado-based seed company with a fantastic catalog, has graciously offered to send to one winner two products: their signature Seed Sprouter with instruction booklet (valued at $24.95) and the Sprouts Sampler (valued at $28.50). The Seed Sprouter is an easy way to grow sprouts indoors for salads, sandwiches, and stir fry. The Sprouts Sampler is a collection of 6 seed packets: alfalfa, broccoli, fenugreek, mung bean, radish, and sandwich seeds. These are organic seeds especially selected for their delicious sprouts, in a drawstring bag.

This giveaway opportunity is for subscribers of Pegplant’s Post, an online, free newsletter for people interested in gardening in the Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC area. Each issue provides:

  • Monthly events. Plan your social life with gardening events in the NoVA, MD, DC area. Depending on the season, there can be over 100 events, many of which are free.
  • New books. Stay abreast of gardening trends and practices with newly published books. Use this list for ideas of gifts to buy for birthdays and holidays.
  • Tips and advice. Learn timely tips and advice relevant to the current gardening season in our area.
  • Giveaways. Enter the monthly giveaway contest to win items such as seed packets, books, tools, and plants.
  • Articles from pegplant.com. Catch up with articles from my website, pegplant.com, about plants, gardens, and resources.

To subscribe, click here or visit pegplant.com and enter your e-mail address in the box above “subscribe!” on the right column. Pegplant’s Post will be issued on the last weekend of the month.

 

Greenstreet Gardens Sets Up Shop in Belle Haven, Virginia

It’s no mirage–that is a tropical oasis on Richmond Highway. Residents of Belle Haven are noticing a pop of color now that Greenstreet Gardens has moved in.

Ray Greenstreet, owner of Greenstreet Gardens, is leasing the lot at 5905 Richmond Highway, Alexandria, Virginia, as an extension of the Greenstreet Gardens retail operation. Instead of building a new structure, Ray created an open air retail garden center featuring houseplants, perennials, annuals, containers, fertilizer, and gardening tools.

“This location just fell in our lap but it is a great opportunity,” said Ray. Despite the windfall, it took months to get the place into shape for the customers. “This was vacant for a long time, maybe 10 years,” said Ray. “Before we came, it was a VDOT (Virginia Department of Transportation) lot for the Wilson Bridge where they dumped gravel. We had to remove 5 dumpster loads of trash.”

Currently, the cash register is in an open shipping container. The products, from plants to fertilizers, are outside on racks or wooden benches. The fire hydrant on the sidewalk provides the water for the plants, most of which are in full sun.  Although Ray is working to have electricity, lighting is not an issue now with the long day length. Just the inventory alone, lush green foliage and eye-popping flowers, beautifies the neighborhood but Ray intends to enhance the location even more. “We intend to add trees to create a park-like setting,” said Ray. “In the fall we will sell chrysanthemums and pumpkins followed by Christmas trees.” After the holidays, the location will close in January and February and re-open in March.

I visited the corner lot last weekend. A large, tall display of tropical plants in containers marks the entrance to the parking lot, which is quite spacious. There was a wide variety of plants on benches and racks of new plants that had just been delivered. The plants were well watered and healthy and the employees were pleasant and helpful. Because this location is just south of the Beltway on Richmond Highway with plenty of traffic, stop lights, and median strips, I thought it would be difficult to access. It turned out to be easy to get in and out with no problems.  This new location truly provides a new source of greenery to residents on the northern end of Richmond Highway.

A native Marylander, Ray and his wife Stacy started Greenstreet Growers, a greenhouse operation in Lothian, Maryland, in 2000. They then ventured into retail and opened Greenstreet Gardens on 14 acres of their 65-acre farm in Lothian. In 2012, they expanded into Virginia and opened a retail store at 1721 West Braddock Road, Alexandria, which is thriving. Later they opened a smaller store in Del Ray, now closed. The Belle Haven location is the third Virginia location and is open every day of the week from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. If you are ever in the area, stop by and say hello to our new neighbors!

 

Gardening-Related Media in the Washington DC Metro Area

I updated my page on local gardening media in the Washington DC metro area on my website, pegplant.com. This is traditional, not social, media. If you are new to the area or new to gardening check out the gardening columns in the Washington Post, the gardening shows on television and radio, two magazines, and my newsletter, Pegplant’s Post.

Discovering New Gardening Products at the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show

As mentioned in my January 14th article, last week I attended the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show (MANTS), an annual horticulture trade show at the Baltimore Convention Center.  MANTS is one of the largest shows with over 10,000 attendees and almost a thousand companies exhibiting at booths in the Convention Center. Almost all the companies are wholesale, they are not selling directly to customers or to press such as myself. However, I enjoy attending because it provides me a glimpse of new products and plants and trends in the gardening world.

There were a few products that caught my eye and although the companies attended MANTS for wholesale orders, these companies below said they sell directly to gardeners through their websites.

Through a fellow Garden Writers Association member Ruth Rogers Clausen, I met Dorian Winslow, president of Womanswork, a women-owned, family business in New York.  Womanswork specializes in gloves that fit well for women (although they also sell gloves for men), gardening aprons, raffia and cotton hats, gardening tools, and related items such as hand cream and poison ivy soap. This company sells to garden centers and online directly to gardeners. For over 30 years, they have been specializing in gloves designed to fit women’s hands. Ruth attested to that, she has been using the products for so many years, she is even featured in their catalog. Not only was Dorian a delightful person to talk with but I also found out that she was interviewed recently by one of my favorite podcasters, Jennifer Jewell of Cultivating Place.

I also had the pleasure of seeing Mark Highland again, owner of Organic Mechanics Soil Company, a manufacturer and distributor of premier organic and peat-free potting soils and soil amendments in Pennsylvania. Gardeners can buy products from the site or search the retailer locator for stores. Mark gave a presentation at the Garden Bloggers Fling in June and generously gave us samples of Fuhgeddaboudit! Root Zone Feeder Packs. These small packages of fertilizer, mycorrhizae, biochar, azomite, and micronized oyster shell are placed under or next to a plant’s root ball when planting to help the plant get established. At MANTS, he gave a presentation on Biochar Blend, a bag of biochar, compost, worm castings, bone char, azomite, zeolite, alfalfa meal, and kelp meal. Biochar is highly porous carbon that improves nutrition absorption and provides a permanent home for beneficial soil biology. Biochar can help boost yields and increase the effectiveness of plants’ growth — the best part is that it only has be applied once and will last a lifetime. Mark also published Practical Organic Gardening: The No-Nonsense Guide to Growing Naturally (Cool Springs Press, 2017).

One company that was new to me was City Farmer USA, based in Nevada. Bruce Lebish, president, explained that his company sells raised, plastic planters that gardeners could order directly from their website. They have to be assembled (the instructions on their website look simple) and the models they had at MANTS were black with a strong oriental/bamboo texture because of their woven sides. 

Apparently this woven side is a patented ventilation design that promotes healthy root systems and the patented base retain water. The basket (where you put the soil and plants) is either 16 inches high from the ground or 30 inches, eliminating the need to bend down (may also be wheelchair friendly). There are different sizes and if you buy a few configurations and line them up they would create a very beautiful container appearance on a deck or patio.

More new products and plants in future articles!

Gardening TV, Newspapers, Magazines, and Radio Shows in the Washington DC Metro Area

The more you garden, the more you are interested in hearing what people have to say, especially to learn how best to garden in this climate. Here are traditional, gardening-related media. These venues do not include social media, which will be best served in a separate post (more to come!).

Newspaper

Every Thursday, in the Washington Post’s Local Living section, Adrian Higgins writes a gardening article and Barbara Damrosch, who lives in Maine, writes an article on growing edibles. These are in the print edition and online.  During the growing season, on some Thursdays, Adrian answers questions from the public from noon to 1:00 pm. You can e-mail the question in advance or e-mail during that time period. If you missed the session, you can read the questions and answers in transcript format, online. Adrian has written several local gardening books and is now venturing into Facebook Live.

You may find local gardening clubs’ meetings in the Washington Post’s Local Living section. There are many small, local papers that list such clubs as well.

Magazines

The Washington Gardener is a a monthly digital magazine. For a subscription fee, one can receive the pdf file as an e-mail a couple of days before it is published and available online via other means such as Facebook, Issuu, and the Washington Gardeners’ website.

The Virginia Gardener is produced by State-by-State Gardening, a company based in Louisiana, but the articles are written by Virginia gardeners. At this point in time, there are no magazines for Maryland or Washington DC.

Television

Fairfax Public Access sponsors the Gardening News & Views show with Dr. John Buckreis on Monday, 9:00-9:30 pm; Saturdays 8:30 am; and Thursday 7:30 am on channel 10.

Although these next two are not local, your local television stations should have Home and Garden Television (HGTV) and there are landscaping and DIY shows. Check their web site for programming.  PBS often has garden-related shows, specials, and documentaries.  Check out your local station.

Radio

A Virginia nurseryman, Andre Viette has a live, call in radio program called In the Garden with Andre Viette on Saturdays 8:00-11:00 am aired at several local radio stations. You can listen live from your computer or podcast as well, 1-800-274-4273. In Washington DC, it is WMET, 1160 AM; in Leesburg, VA, it is WAGE, 1200 AM; in Annapolis, MD, it is WNAV 1430 AM; and in Frederick, MD, it is WFMD 930 AM.

Mike McGrath, garden editor for WTOP, 103.5 FM, an all news radio station in Washington, DC, has one-minute “Garden Plot” sessions on Saturday and “Yard Warrior” on Friday morning. He writes the Garden Plot gardening column every Friday on http://www.wtop.com and you can e-mail him your gardening issue/questions. Mike also hosts a Public Radio Show called You Bet Your Garden on Saturday mornings which you may not be able to hear since it is broadcast from Philadelphia but his website with the same name does have gardening advice applicable to this area.

Garden Sense Radio is hosted by Rick Fowler and Jos Roozen of Roozen Nursery, Inc., on Saturday, 8:00 to 9:00 am., WMAL AM 630 and 105.9 FM. Call 1-800-721-6003 or visit their website for more information.

If you know of any additional local gardening media, please contact me so I can keep this as current as possible.

Learn to Garden with Good Gardening Videos

Gardeners and garden writers can rejoice in a new library of gardening videos. Good Gardening Videos is a campaign to aggregate accurate, reliable videos so gardeners and writers do not rely on videos that have incorrect information, are misleading, and/or are confusing.

Good Gardening Videos was created to identify and promote evidence-based gardening videos and to help so that more accurate videos can be made. The site even has tips and videos on how to make videos. The library consist more than 500 videos organized by topic; all have been screened and found to be useful, watchable, and free of statements contrary to known evidence. They have been produced by a range of experts, including staff at 18 universities with cooperative extension offices. Good Gardening Videos can be viewed on the website and YouTube, which are ad-free; and there is a Facebook and a Pinterest presence. People can sign up to receive e-mails notifying them of updates to the library.

Susan Harris, Founder and Managing Editor, created this non-profit organization as a collaborative effort among horticulturists and garden communicators. She relies on an advisory team of well-known horticulturists and communicators from across the country. A local resident, Susan is a well-known garden writer and teacher who co-founded the team blog Garden Rant, where she continues to post regularly.  Recently she teamed up with Charlie Nardozzi who will serve as the Edibles Editor for Good Gardening Videos. Charlie is a nationally recognized garden writer, speaker, and broadcast personality. He has written several books including Foodscaping and Vegetable Gardening for Dummies and is a spokesperson for the National Gardening Association.

For more information, visit goodgardeningvideos.org or e-mail contact@goodgardeningvideos.org

DC Water’s Bloom: Recycling Biosolids Into Soil Conditioner

DC and Maryland residents are in luck. Using state-of-the-art equipment, DC Water is now producing and selling Bloom, a soil conditioner made from Class A biosolids. According to DC Water, Bloom can increase organic content in the soil, increase drought resistance in plants, and provide essential plant nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. Bloom can be used by gardeners for establishing flower and vegetable gardens, remediating poor soil, planting trees and shrubs, and improving and establishing lawns.

Biosolids are organic matter recycled from sewage, which have been treated and processed in order to be used as a soil conditioner. “Drinking and waste water — everything that goes down the drain – comes to DC Water to be cleaned up,” explained Bill Brower, program manager for Biosolids at DC Water. “Our equipment pulls out the solids, the organic matter, before the water goes to the Chesapeake Bay. The solids are heated to 200 degrees Fahrenheit to kill pathogens.” Class B has a reduced number of pathogens and is not used for gardening while Class A has essentially no pathogens; thus safe for homeowners and gardeners. By purchasing new equipment, DC Water has been able to create a Class A product with the intent to further their recycling efforts.

Using biosolids as a soil conditioner is not new in our country. Other cities such as Seattle, Tacoma, Austin, Houston, and Boston also use and sell their high quality biosolid soil amendment products. One of the more well-known brands among gardeners is Milwaukee’s Milorganite, which can be purchased in bags at garden centers.

“Adding Bloom to your garden is like adding compost,” said Bill. “Bloom breaks up clay, helps to build tilth, and helps to increase the community of microbes. Over time, Bloom increases drought-resistant properties in plants.”

Some people are concerned that using a biosolid product will have an offensive odor but Bill reassured me that Bloom does not. “Bloom has an earthy odor,” said Bill. “I was showing it to school children the other day and they said it smelled like burnt wood or like dirt.” Part of Bill’s job is to serve as community ambassador, introducing Bloom to gardening clubs and people who manage school and community gardens.  About 30 school and community gardens in the Washington DC area use Bloom in their soil.

Currently, DC Water produces two “varieties”: Fresh and Cured. Fresh is cheaper than cured at $2.50 per cubic yard but more alkaline than cured (8.47 pH) and contains more moisture. Because it contains more moisture, it is heavier and more difficult for a person to lift with a shovel. Thus the Fresh is ideal for landscapers who can use spreading equipment. Cured is $5.00 per cubic yard with a more neutral pH (6.79 pH) and less moisture. Because it is dryer, it does not stick as much to a shovel and is lighter to lift.

DC and Maryland residents can order by calling or completing the online order form. They can have Bloom delivered for a delivery fee or drive to Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant, 5000 Overlook Avenue, SW, Washington DC, to have staff load their truck.

The Bloom website is very informative and lists the lab analysis of samples of both varieties with specific amounts of nutrients, metals, pathogens, etc.  Both have nutrients that plants need such as nitrogen and phosphorus, essentially no pathogens, and low concentrations of heavy metals. The presence of heavy metals is similar to the amount found in typical soils and is far below the level found to pose a risk to human health. Bloom meets all U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards for use in homes and gardens.

For more information contact Bill Brower, (202) 787-4296, bloom@dcwater.com or visit http://www.bloomsoil.com. To order, visit the website or call (202) 765-3292 Ext. 102.