Tag Archives: edible gardening

Rooting DC 2016: What a Blast!

rdc-tagline-logoThis past Saturday, February 27, I attended Rooting DC for the first time although it has been in existence for 9 years. It was so fun and informative that I should have started attending 9 years ago. Rooting DC is a free, day-long gardening forum to provide education about gardening, especially edible gardening, and to provide education and resources about local, urban food production and consumption. It is a wonderful opportunity to meet and network with people involved in the Washington DC area gardening/food production landscape. This annual event is a collaborative, volunteer effort planned by members from the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, City Blossoms, Common Good City Farm, FRESHFARM Market, Love & Carrots, and Three Part Harmony Farm. Hosted by DC Greens, a non-profit dedicated to connecting communities to healthy food in the Nation’s capital; Rooting DC took place at the Woodrow Wilson High School, 3950 Chesapeake Street, NW; next to the Tenleytown-AU metro station.

The presentations were organized into four modules, each an hour long, starting at 10:00 am and ending at 4:00 with a break for lunch. Each module was either a one-hour presentation, i.e., one topic, or a “7 x 7,”seven presentations, each lasting 7 minutes. The Rooting DC website listed the schedule, which I printed to plan my visit in advance, but I also received a booklet when I arrived with the schedule, descriptions of the presentations, and all the organizations attending that day. I spent the day attending presentations on:

  • using compost
  • growing mighty microgreens
  • gardening with raised beds
  • planning and planting for a continuous harvest
  • farming using the veganic method
  • learning simple building skills
  • employing companion planting in the garden

In addition to the lectures, over 60 non-profit and for profit green businesses, local government agencies, and educational institutions provided information and samples at tables strategically placed in the school’s atrium. This was the opportunity to meet Sandy Farber Bandier, DC Master Gardener Coordinator, to learn about the Master Gardener program; meet with Meredith Sheperd, owner of Love & Carrots, to learn how her business creates edible gardens; view the gardening tools and books Purple Mountain Organics had for sale; obtain a compost sample from Veteran Compost; pick up the Franciscan Monastery Garden Guild’s postcard to remind me of their April plant/herb sale; and obtain Southern Exposure Seed Exchange’s seed catalog. I was sorely tempted to purchase the 2016 calendar of edible flowers from Marcella Kriebel Art + Illustration – it was a beautifully illustrated poster — and I would have loved to come home with one of those brown T-shirts from Urban Farm Plans.

This year, the Chas C. Hart seed company donated boxes of vegetable and herb seeds to the event.  Each table received a box so while I talked with representatives, I flipped through the packets of seeds, looking for the more unusual ones. I found a few gems I had never heard of before such as cicoria (Italian dandelion), pepperoncini (hot pepper), ‘Riesentraube’ grape tomato, and purple-podded snow peas!

Rooting DC took place in an excellent forum: the Woodrow Wilson High School was spacious and within walking distance of metro, which was next to a Panera Bread and Whole Foods Market. Coffee was available in the school cafeteria and food trucks were parked outside during lunch.

One can register to attend Rooting DC in advance or just walk in. I registered in advance and printed the ticket, which I presented at the door. I was there early enough to visit the tables before the presentations began, which turned out to be a good thing because the seed packets were gone by lunch time. Although the event is free, the Rooting DC website, http://www.rootingdc.org, asks for a $10 donation when registering. The website itself has plenty of information on local gardening and food production. As of this posting, the booklet with the schedule and presenters is still online and several presenters have posted their presentations, which serve as resources themselves to people who could not attend but are interested in gardening. Check out the visitors’ tweets to see photos and comments at #rootingdc and #RDC16. Be sure you put this event on your calendar for next year — Rooting DC will be celebrating its 10th year!

Peg’s Picks: Books on Edible Gardening in the Washington DC Metro Area

booksA colleague asked if I could recommend books related to edible gardening. I quickly replied that I have a Books Page on my site but afterwards realized that those books are about gardening in general but specific to the Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC area. Over the past few years, I have become much more interested in growing edibles rather than ornamentals and have read many books, most are specific to this area. I typed up a short, 2-page list to give to her and thought I would post my recommended list here in case any one is interested in growing their own veggies, herbs, and fruits in the Washington DC metropolitan area. These are in alphabetical order.

American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden & Gardens Across America, Michelle Obama

Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden, Jessica Walliser, and her other books

Backyard Berry Book, Stella Otto

Cool Season Gardener, Bill Thorness (and his other book, lives in WA)

Designing the New Kitchen Garden: An American Potager, Jennifer Bartley

Eat Your Yard, Nan Chase

Edible Front Yard, Ivette Soler

Edible Heirlooms, Bill Thorness (and his other book, lives in WA)

Edible Landscaping, Rosalind Creasy (new edition and any of her other books)

Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist, Michael Judd (lives in Frederick MD)

Four Season Harvest, Eliot Coleman and his other books

Good Bug/Bad Bug, Jessica Walliser and her other books

Groundbreaking Food Gardens, Niki Jabbour and her other books

Grow a Sustainable Diet, Cindy Connor

Grow Great Grub, Gayla Trail (You Grow Girl)

Guide to Year Round Vegetable Garden in the Southeast, Ira Wallace

Homegrown Herb Garden, Ann McCormick and Lisa Morgan

How to Grow More Vegetables, John Jeavons

How to Grow Perennial Herbs, Martin Crawford

Incredible Vegetables from Self-Watering Containers, Edward Smith (and any of his other books)

Landscaping Fruit, Lee Reich and any of his other books

Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Gardening: Plant, Grow, and Harvest the Best Edibles: DE, MD, PA, VA, DC, and WV, Katie Elzer-Peters

Paradise Lot: Two Plant Geeks, One Tenth of an Acre, Eric Toensmeier (and any of his other books)

Perennial Vegetables, Martin Crawford

Perennial Vegetables from Artichoke to “Zuiki’ Taro, Eric Toensmeier (and any of his other books)

Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, Claire Kowalchik, William Hylton, and other Rodale books

Square Foot Gardening, second edition, Mel Bartholomew, and his other books

Starter Vegetable Gardens, 24 No Fail Plans for Small Organic Gardens, Barbara Pleasant (and any of her other books, lives in VA)

Take Our Advice: A Handbook for Gardening in Northern Virginia, Margaret Fisher

The Bountiful Container, Rosemarie Nichols McGee and Maggie Stuckey (good for minimum depth of container to grow veggies)

The Four Season Farm Gardener’s Cookbook by Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch (and any of their other books)

The Sustainable Vegetable Gardener, John Jeavons

The Veggie Gardener’s Answer Book, Barbara Ellis

The Virginia Fruit and Vegetable Book, Felder Rushing and Walter Reeves

The Winter Harvest Handbook, Eliot Coleman, and his other books

The Year Round Vegetable Gardener, Niki Jabbour (and her other book)

Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden at Monticello, Peter J. Hatch

Fruits for Every Garden, Lee Reich (and any of his other books, lives in NY)

Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible, Edward Smith (and his other books)

Vegetable Gardening the Colonial Williamsburg Way: 18th Century Methods for Today’s Organic Gardeners by Wesley Greene

Vegetables, Herbs, and Fruits, Matthew Biggs and Jekka McGiver

Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook, Ron Kujawski and Jennifer Kujawski

What’s Wrong with my Vegetable Garden, David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth, they have a series of “What’s Wrong” books

75 Exciting Vegetables, Jack Staub, has an “exciting” series – herbs, vegetables, and fruits, lives in PA

This list could go on plus there are books focused on particular types of plant/vegetables. Other sources are public or botanical gardens such as Greensprings in Virginia and Brookside Gardens in Maryland; both have non-lending libraries. One can look at publishers’ web sites such as Chelsea Green Publishing, St. Lynn’s Press, Timber Press, Story, Rodale Press, and Cool Springs Press.