Friday, March 30, 2012

Gardening is Good For You!

Since 1995, the American Public Health Association has coordinated National Public Health Week - a campaign during the first week in April that serves to educate the public, policymakers and practitioners about issues related to the chosen theme. This year's theme, A Healthier America Begins Today: Join the Movement, was designed to encourage more Americans and their communities to take preventative measures to help improve their lives.

And what's our favorite example of a community-based, life-improving, healthy activity? Getting the community together to grow local produce, of course!

Two of our founding hillside farmers, Lauren Messina and Rachel Rosenberg, PhD students in the School of Public Health, will be discussing the connections between gardening and public health on Monday April 2, from 3:30-4:00pm. Following their talk and tour, everyone is invited to get their hands dirty in the garden and assist Rachel and Lauren in some weeding and planting in the garden until 5:30pm. Please find additional details about the event here.

This event is part of National Public Health Week and co-sponsored by the Public Health Garden, Delta Omega (the Public Health Honor Society), and the Maryland Council on Family Relations (MCFR).

Thursday, March 29, 2012

This Sunday, 10 am: Arbor Build

In addition to the rain garden construction with the PGMS group on Saturday we will also be constructing an arbor at the top of the garden on Sunday! All the materials have been delivered and we should have enough tools. Construction shouldn't take more than 3-4 hours. So I would like to start around 10am and hopefully finish up no later than 2pm. Lunch and drinks will be provided, so come ready to work!

Here is the vision:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rain Garden Planting This Saturday: March 31st

Volunteers, mark your calendars!

This Saturday March 31st, beginning at 9:00am, the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) Student Chapter will be hosting a service day and rain garden planting on the Public Health Garden site. Led by club president, John Mowbray, PGMS members and supporters will weed, excavate, shovel, prepare and install plants at the base of the hill. As always, the more volunteers we have, the more we can accomplish on site with this experienced team.

Here's what they'll be planting: River Birch, Winterberry, Swamp Hibiscus, Rudbeckia and Panicum Grass.

Remember to dress for the work and weather and bring plenty of water and smiles.

*Note that this special Saturday event will not replace our regular Thursday volunteer hours but rather serves as a fantastic supplement.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Flexible Work Hours Today 3/22

We will not be hosting formal work hours during our usual time today but will be in and around the garden and greenhouse throughout the day so if you are interested in starting and transplanting seeds, send an email to Otherwise, keep enjoying the break!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Spring Break!

Enjoy your spring break UMD!  Let us know if you want to spend some time with us in the garden during the week off.  We'll be starting new seeds, tending to the seedlings, and making plans for construction.

Eco-goats on their vacation last year

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Work Hours Today: 4-6:00pm

Hello, new and returning volunteers! We will be on site today at 4:00pm having fun in the sun, planting seeds and pulling pesky invasive weeds (like Japanese Honeysuckle - pictured). Arrive before 4:30pm for a quick tutorial on which weeds will be yanked and which will be mowed. See you soon!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Special Thanks to The Anacostia Watershed Society

As farmers and gardeners, we enter into spring not only with an elevated sense of joy for longer days, warmer temperatures and new growth but also with a heightened awareness that the same rain showers that will awaken our perennials have the capacity to wash precious nutrients and sediments away from our plots and into the waterways.

Last year, the Public Health Garden gang was so eager to start growing on the hillside that the majority of our rainwater management tactics were reactionary and admittedly haphazard. This year, we are starting off the season with a better understanding of the slope and landscape of our site and with the realization that until the formal rain garden construction is implemented, we are the stewards of this hillside farm and therefore equally as responsible for potential watershed pollution as we are for growing beautiful, edible plants.

Thanks to a pro-bono consultation with the Anacostia Watershed Society's Conservation Biologist, Jorge Bogantes Montero, we were able to determine what to plant where, where not to plant, and how to best manage our weed populations and rain water. We will be extending the capture of our silt fences, hand-pulling and solarizing the persistent Japanese honeysuckle, and transplanting cover-crops and beneficial flowers into carefully selected locations on our steepest hillsides.

Special thanks to:

Doug Lipton, Associate Professor and Program Leader, Sea Grant Programs, University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Jim Foster, President of the Anacostia Watershed Society
Jorge Bogantes Montero, Conservation Biologist, Anacostia Watershed Society
Carin Celebuski, University of Maryland Arboretum Outreach Coordinator

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Full Sun. Full Moon. Full Schedule!

Hi Gardeners! We've got a beautiful day and no shortage of things to do around the garden so come on down at 4:00pm to help us direct seed dwarf peas, beets, carrots, radishes, dill and cilantro into the "Spring Bed."

We've also got some conservation and watershed experts coming by to advice us on how to best keep our soil on site and out of the waterways during the upcoming rainy spring months and (hopefully terrace construction).

Monday, March 5, 2012

Seed Starting

Thanks to our regular gang and a regular volunteer turnout, we were able to get a our Salad Tables soiled and seeded, decorate pots and collection boxes for spring plant giveaways, AND get our first round of seeds started in the university greenhouse, where they will be cared for by Institute of Applied Agriculture Instructor Ken Ingram and his Greenhouse Management class.

What's growing in the greenhouse: Oregano, Bok Choy, Hybrid Chinese Cabbage, Endive, Escarole

What's growing in the Salad Tables: Dynamite Butterhead Organic Lettuce, Little Green Pearl Lettuce, Great Lakes Lettuce, Arugula

What we will need help seeding this Thursday March 8th: Dwarf Gray Sugar Peas, Beets (Early Wonder, Detroit Dark, Bolivar), Vitana Carrot, Radish (Rudolf, French Breakfast 2), Dill, Cilantro

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Salad Table Planting Today

During our regular Thursday volunteer hours (4-6:00pm) today we will be adding soil and seeds to the Salad Tables we built with Senior Extension Agent and Maryland State Master Gardener Coordinator Jon Traunfeld in the Fall. Drop by and enjoy the sunshine with us!