Tag Archives: gardening

Publication: Shmita comes home

photo of an overgrown field with weeds and flowers, overlaid with the words

This past week, I was thrilled to publish my first piece for Tablet Magazine. It appeared on Wednesday, 9/15, right after Rosh Hashanah.

Check it out:

Giving It a Rest: What I learned by observing ‘shmita’—a sabbatical year—in my community garden

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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.

Continue reading

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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

Five tips for launching an urban garden

garden on 10-28-12

My community garden plot in D.C. does its thing last October. Photo by Rhea.

Lately, it seems everyone is trying to start an urban community garden. It also seems I have a knack for stumbling upon successful ones. So I connected the two and pitched it to Civil Eats. The editor miraculously accepted it, and I’m thrilled to share the result, “Five tips for launching an urban garden.”

 

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Delight and dread for a new gardening season

The Mid-Atlantic winter may not have produced a Snowquester, but it’s still spitting out frosty nights. Soon, even those will become a threat of the past, bringing in — to my delight and dread — a new gardening season. Just like the one depicted above. Continue reading

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Recent publications: Something from nothing

Two stories on two rather different topics appeared in two divergent publications this week. One thing they have in common is that I wrote them. They both, I realized, also carry the theme of making something from thin air. See any other similarities?

Growing something out of nothing: The story of D.C.’s Wangari Gardens, on Grist.org, December 4

The Mad Lib legacy, on DeafEcho.com, December 6

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