Category Archives: Gardening

From food sovereignty to crowned berries: Lessons from Rooting DC

Rooting DC program with seed packets

Rooting DC is an annual urban gardening conference held in a big, light-filled high school in Northwest Washington. The day-long event always leaves me awash with information and floating on good urban ag vibes. The 2018 conference, held on March 3, was no different. Here are a few lessons I learned in and out of workshops.


From “Garden Maintenance A-Z”

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Filed under Blog, Conferences, DC, Gardening

Publication: The DC garden boom in Civil Eats

Screen shot 2015-06-30 at 10.55.44 AM

I have a piece in the fine publication Civil Eats! I’m proud to bring news of DC’s urban agriculture boom to a national audience.

Check it out: An Urban Farming Renaissance in Our Nation’s Capital

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Filed under Blog, DC, Gardening

Celebrating Earth Day where I want to be

plants and planters by a rainy window

With my office smelling like wet soil and a motley crew of plants and planters straggling across my desk, I’m in a good place to celebrate Earth Day.  It doesn’t hurt that the plants came from a campus clean-up project that one of my classes planned last week, and the egg carton planters came into being thanks to another class activity yesterday. I’ll spend another few minutes with these signs of spring, then head to a board meeting for the Crossroads Community Food Network. We’ll be talking about that organization’s fragrant, colorful farmers market, which opens in just six weeks.

I hope you’re celebrating where you want to be this Earth Day, or that you’re on the way.

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Filed under Gardening, Sustainability, Teaching

Analyze that Dirt

bags of soil

Soil samples from my plot and my garden neighbors’ are mixed, dried, and ready to ship to U Mass.

Colleges just had that special break where students drink on the beach and faculty stay home to watch 90s movies, and I have potatoes sprouting on my kitchen table. So even if forecasters predict snow tomorrow, spring is officially here! For gardeners, that means it’s time to send in soil samples for testing, if you haven’t already.

Wondering what the deal is with soil testing? Here’s my basic guide to getting your dirt analyzed:

  • It’s a good idea to test levels of various materials in your garden soil every year or two. It’s like getting a physical and doing blood work. Then you can add whatever nutrients you need to grow the most abundant and nutritious plants or, in some cases, remediate or move on to avoid harmful contaminants like lead. Find out more on this and the movement for better soil from the Bionutrient Food Association.
  • A good time to do this in the D.C. area is usually late February. But if the ground is frozen solid during that time like it was this year, late March works.

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Cyberspace and the community

What a week.

Thanks to cyberspace, my dear DC State Fair just garnered overwhelming community support on our Kickstarter campaign.

I also have the Internet to thank for both the topic and mode of publication for my latest story on Elevation DC, “Cyberspace connects DC with the businesses next door.

The 50th anniversary March on Washington that I plan to join on Saturday came together largely online. As I write this, buses and vans of participants are no doubt coming together all over the country through a frenzy of emails. Continue reading

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Filed under DC, Events, Gardening, On media, Writing and technology

Concert herb


Live concerts and herb go together like Woodstock and Yasgur’s Farm. Now, the band Guster is giving that idea a new meaning with a quirky concert giveaway–basil seeds. As I write this, the band is probably sitting at a solar-powered tent in its Eco-Village, aglow from its set before Ben Folds Five and Barenaked Ladies at the Merriweather Post Pavillion.

I just had to share this tidbit about the band’s tour.

It gets better, though. This is part of an overall greening effort complete with a commitment to feed the band local food as they travel. Not only that, but I can see myself grooving to the band’s recent acoustic album in my garden. “Strings and string beans” has a nice ring to it, too.

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Filed under DC, Events, Gardening

Not coming to a trash can near you

Compost 06/08/2007

Photo by Flickr user Diana House

What happens to the scraps from 25,000 pounds of meat at Katz’s Deli each week? Here’s a hint: It’s the same thing that’s about to happen to all New Yorkers’ vegetable peels and egg shells. Another hint: They don’t go into the trash.

Find out more in “When Composting Comes To NYC’s Jewish Community,” my latest story on The Jewish Daily Forward’s Jew and the Carrot blog.

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Filed under Gardening, Jewish community, New York