Items tagged with 'gardening'

Those beautiful Hudson Valley Seed Co. art packets are on sale right now

Hudson Valley Seed Catalog Senate House Marigold Cara Hanley

The package for HVSC's Senate House Marigolds was designed by Albany artist Cara Hanley.

We've mentioned before that we're fans of the Hudson Valley Seed Co.* -- the seeds it sells are selected to grow in this part of the country, and they often in come in beautiful packages designed by regional artists.

So it caught our eye that HVSC currently has a half-price sale on more than 60 of its art pack seed varieties. From Coral Fountain Amaranth to Hank's Xtra Special Baking Bean to Long Island Cheese Pumpkin to Senate House Marigold to Stone Ridge Tomatoes.

This might seem like a weird time for buying seeds**, but you can often score deals -- like, you know, the one mentioned above. And the Hudson Valley Seed Co. art packs can be a unique, inexpensive gift. A bundle of 5-10 would be a nice surprise for someone who's a gardener -- or maybe wants to try gardening -- and it won't cost much. Think of it like a lottery ticket with a better expected payout.

Also: If you buy online, you can sign up for the Hudson Valley Seed Company catalog. And as we've mentioned before, seed catalogs are a simple joy in late winter.

Grow something
This is our semi-regular pitch to grow something, even just some flowers or herbs in a pot on the porch or windowsill. It might make you feel a little bit better about the world.
____

* It was originally called the Hudson Valley Seed Library.

** Don't worry about buying seeds at the end of a growing season. They'll often keep for multiple seasons with no problems. In fact, some garden stores -- such as Faddegon's in Latham -- keep a box of last year's seed packs and sell 'em at a discount in the spring. Just ask.

How a strawberry grown from a "wasteland" in Albany helped spread a national strawberry craze

74 Morris Street Wilsons Strawberry

By Justin Devendorf

At the corner of Morris and Knox next to a small neighborhood park stands a two-story brick building, its front bearing a worn coat of paint. Built in 1838 in the Federal Style, it's the oldest still-standing building in Albany's Park South neighborhood.

But maybe more notable than its age is the fact that home and the land around it played a vital role in the growth of the strawberry trade in the United States, helping to set off a "strawberry fever."

This is the story of 74 Morris Street and The Wilson's Albany strawberry.

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The seed for so many backyard gardens

Shaker seed catalog clip varieties 1888

From an 1888 Shaker Seed Co. wholesale catalog from Mount Lebanon, New York. / via Archive.org (U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library)

Some ideas seem so obvious that the might has well have just sprouted from ground, everywhere, after a rain and people just happened upon them. But at the beginning they're not so obvious and someone has to be the first person to recognize the idea and grow it.

So it was with some delight that we recently learned more about how the Shaker communities in this region were probably the first people in the United States to start businesses selling seeds for backyard or "kitchen" gardens. And putting the seeds in the ubiquitous paper envelopes? Yep, Shakers. And store displays, kind of like the racks that stand in hardware stores and supermarkets today? Shakers did that, too.

Here are a handful of facts about the Shaker seed business and its roots here.

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Washington Park tulip dig and sale 2018

Washington Park tulips 2018 Moses background

The annual Washington Park tulip dig and sale is usually the weekend after Mother's Day -- but that depends on the tulips.

And this year, because of the cool spring, the tulips are still doing their thing. So this year's dig and sale is May 26 and 27. Blurbage:

The event kicks off on Saturday at the Park's iconic Moses Fountain at 9am. Volunteers will join City of Albany Gardener Jess Morgan, City of Albany Department of General Services staff and members of the Washington Park Conservancy for the annual ritual of digging up the city's iconic tulip bulbs. Participation in the event provides volunteers with the opportunity to purchase 30 bulbs for $5 in exchange for assistance in preparing the park's beds for the summer season. The remaining bulbs will be sold first-come-first serve to the general public on Sunday at the Park's Lakehouse beginning at 9am for the same price and quantity.

Those bulbs go fast on Sunday, so if you'd like to buy some it's a good idea to be there right at the start.

Proceeds from the sale go to support the Washington Park Conservancy.

Spring plant sales 2018

cce albany county plant sale

The garden education day/plant sale at the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Voorheesville is always popular.

It's May! And it's finally warmed up! And it will soon be time to start planting tomatoes, peppers, and other warm-weather plants in the garden.

There are a bunch of plants sales around the Capital Region coming up over the next few weeks to help you fill out your garden -- or container on a deck, or window box, or wherever.

Here's a quick list of some upcoming plant sales...

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Senate House Marigolds

Hudson Valley Seed Catalog Senate House Marigold Cara Hanley

We're fans of the Hudson Valley Seed Co. -- both for the seeds themselves, and their beautiful packaging.

So we were happy to see that one of the HVSC's newest "art packs" -- for the Senate House Marigold -- was illustrated by Albany artist Cara Hanley. Seed packaging blurbage:

In the 1950s, Herbert Cutler bred the Senate House Marigold to complement the [1676 Senate House in Kingston's] historic plantings. Ever since, the Garden Club has been saving seeds from the tallest plants with the palest yellow flowers to grace the gardens of uptown Kingston. ...
Talking of her Senate House Marigold artwork, Cara told us she wanted to incorporate architecture from Kingston's historic downtown area. "I also chose to play with scale by placing Kingston's urbanscape in a bouquet of marigolds. If you look closely, you will notice flower boxes filled with marigolds in the windows of some of the buildings! It was tricky and rewarding to create a design that hid secrets of the concept in the flaps of the pack, so the gardener must unfold the packaging to fully understand the piece."

You might already know some of Cara Hanley's work -- she created one of the murals on the Green-Hudson parking garage in downtown Albany.

By the way: Marigolds are very easy to grow. You don't have to start them indoors, they can be grown in a container, and they don't require much more than sun and some water.

Earlier: The simple joy of seed catalogs

The simple joy of seed catalogs

seed catalogs on table

By Greg

If it wasn't already clear, I'm going to out myself now as a huge dork.

During this cold, wet, gray upstate transition between winter and spring one of my favorite activities is to... page through seed catalogs.

Yep, I like to read about vegetables. And fruit. And flowers. But it's mostly about the vegetables.

And it helps. Maybe it would help you, too.

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The Lifestyle Farming Conference is back at SUNY Cobleskill this spring

SUNY Cobleskill Lifestyle Farming Conference 2018 spring logoThe Lifestyle Farming Conference is back at SUNY Cobleskill April 7. The event is a full day of classes on all sorts of topics related to farming, gardening, and cooking.

A quick sampling of some of the sessions:
+ Maple Syrup 101
+ Cultivating cider and heirloom apples
+ BBQ and smoking meat for beginners
+ Summer strawberry patch
+ Garden planning and seed staring
+ Advanced brewing: beyond the kit

Here's the full list of sessions with descriptions. The classes are led by SUNY Cobleskill faculty and other experts.

Registration is $70 for all day ($80 with lunch), $45 for the morning only, and $55 all day for veterans. The registration process also involving signing up for the session, so the earlier you register the better your chance of getting into the classes you want.

By the way: In case you haven't been out that way, SUNY Cobleskill is in Schoharie County, about an hour's drive from Albany.

There's still time to sign up for a community garden plot

backlit flowers community garden state office campus

March starts this week, and that means a change of seasons -- and it's time to be thinking about gardens.

One of the great local gardening resources in Capital Roots, which administers 52 (organic) community gardens around the area. And there's still time to sign up for a garden plot. Application blurbage:

- Call 518-274-8685 NOW! [also gardens1@capitalroots.org] Orientations are held throughout March and into April for new participants at various locations throughout the Capital Region. In order to register for a garden plot, attendance at orientation is required.
- New gardeners must call to reserve a seat at orientation once the schedule is released. Plots are assigned on a first-reserved seat, first-served basis.
- There is a $30 minimum donation to sign up for a plot. Larger donations are greatly appreciated and help support this program.

Capital Roots has a helpful map of its various community garden locations that indicates which gardens have open plots.

Row 7 Seed Co.

Row 7 Seed Co catalog 898 squash

From the Row 7 catalog.

Each year in the backyard garden we like to try growing something new, a little bit different, or maybe even a little weird. So this caught our eye...

Blue Hill chef Dan Barber and Cornell plant breeder Michael Mazourek have started a seed company -- Row 7 -- aimed at developing new varieties of vegetables with a focus on taste, and then selling the seeds so anyone can grow them.

The company's website is offering seven varieties, ranging from beets to a (heatless) habanero-style pepper to an experimental cucumber. And there's info about the background of each vegetable, along with growing instructions and recipes. From the page for the "Upstate Abundance" potato:

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Five reasons to not rake those leaves

brown oak leaves

It is near the end of fall. The leaves have mostly fallen from the trees. So time to rake them from the yard, right? PROBABLY NOT! (* Though see comments below about maple tar spots.)

Here are five reasons:

1. Leaves are basically fertilizer waiting to happen, and you can speed along the process by running them over with a mower. You could use a mulching blade for a very fine chop, but just the regular mower will do fine. [Washington Post]

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A good place to buy plants for a late-start vegetable garden?

lettuce bok choy radishes in garden

Vexed in Voorheesville emails:

Due to the weather and a busy schedule, I still haven't planted my vegetable garden. Does anyone have a good suggestion for a nursery with a healthy and reliable stock of plants?

The plant sales held by orgs such as Capital Roots and the Cornell Cooperative Extension are good places to score these sorts of places. Unfortunately, those sales have already happened.

So, have a suggestion for Vexed's late-start vegetable garden? Please share!

Spring plant sales 2017

cornell cooperative extension albany county plant sale 2013

The very popular Cornell Cooperative Extension garden education day and plant sale in Voorheesville.

May is here and it's time for garden planning and planting. There are a bunch of plants sales around the Capital Region coming up over the next few weeks to help you fill out your garden (or container on a deck, or window box, or wherever).

Here's a quick list of some upcoming plant sales...

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Gardening classes that are popping up soon

lettuce bok choy radishes in garden

It's spring! It's happening!

Now is a good time to get started on garden plans for the spring and summer -- whether it's just a few flowers, tomatoes in containers on the porch, or raised beds in the backyard. Toward that end there are a whole bunch of garden classes / info sessions / talks coming up around the area, on topics ranging from vegetable gardening to composting to garden planning to street trees.

Here's a quick scan of some upcoming classes...

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Lifestyle Farming Conference at SUNY Cobleskill

SUNY Cobleskill Lifestyle Farming Conference logoThis looks like some quality fuel for stoking those backyard gardening / DIY / I've-had-enough-I'm-moving-to-a-farm dreams.

SUNY Cobleskill is hosting its first Lifestyle Farming Conference Saturday, April 8. Blurbage:

In our classrooms and labs, SUNY Cobleskill faculty will teach organic gardening, home brewing, composting, mushroom growing, yogurt making, apiary management, and more. With three levels -- 1.5-hour Introductory Courses, 3-hour Skill Builders, and a 6-hour Intensive -- everyone from novice to experienced homesteaders will find a course to suit their interests and skill levels.
The conference will be accompanied by a specialized vendor fair featuring goods and supplies that complement the workshops, such as brewing equipment, apiary supplies, animal feed, and orchard necessities.

Among the workshop topics: square foot gardening for maximizing production in small spaces, home brewing, backyard poultry, family livestock herds, composting, making sausage, fruit and berry orcharding 101, wild edibles, homemade ice cream, and homemade yogurt.

Conference registration is $60 / $72 with lunch and available online. And the website notes that space is limited in each workshop.

Albany Hidden City House & Garden Tour 2016

Hidden City Garden Tour promo 2016The annual Hidden City House & Garden Tour in Albany is June 23 this year. Tickets are $15 and available online.

The tour is jointly hosted by the Center Square Association, Hudson/Park Neighborhood Association. and Historic Albany Foundation. Blurbage:

Every year, this tour brings the neighborhood to life as homeowners open their doors and gardens to the public. Guests are able to tour, at their leisure, the beautiful and historic homes and hidden gardens that make up the Center Square & Hudson/Park neighborhoods. Residents of these neighborhoods open their homes & gardens for one night only.
This year, the Lark Street BID is also putting together a list of discounts for area restaurants and businesses that you can enjoy on the night of the tour.

The self-guided tour is Thursday, June 23 from 5-8 pm. Map pickup for ticket holders/buyers is at Trinity Church (235 Lark Street) or Capital Wine & Liquor.

Finding opportunities for growth in urban spaces

Emily Menn Troy urban garden view towards the street

By Lauren Hittinger Hodgson

Living in a city often means that you have to make the best of extremely limited outdoor space. If you're lucky enough to have a yard, stoop, or fire escape, it can be a challenge to flex your green thumb in any significant way.

Emily Menn, a Troy real estate developer and landlord, has been working on green space in Troy for the last eight years. And she's transformed a neglected double lot into a budding downtown oasis.

I chatted with Emily about how gardens in cities can build community, as well as the challenges and opportunities of urban gardening.

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Troy Hidden Garden Tour 2016

troy washington park looking out 2015-05-21The popular Troy Hidden Garden Tour returns Thursday, May 26 from 4-7:30 pm. Tickets are currently available online -- they're $10.

This is the 17th year for the event. The tour is a fundraiser for The Friends of Prospect Park. (There's also a dinner benefit for the org at Carmen's that night with a prix fixe menu for $35.) Tour blurbage:

The self-guided walking tour features approx. 30 private backyard gardens in the Historic Sage College, Washington Park and adjoining neighborhoods of downtown Troy.
While most of the gardens are approximately the same size, about 20 feet by 30 feet, they vary greatly in style. Some of the gardens feature charming pathways, fountains and pools. Some are filled with flowers, while others have more plants and vegetables -- all lovingly tended by gardeners of all skill levels.

The tour is a very pleasant time. And it's a fun way to get to know that part of Troy.

Albany House and Garden Tour
Just a heads-up that this year's Historic Albany House and Garden Tour is Thursday, June 23. Tickets are $15 and available online.

Spring plant sales 2016

cornell cooperative extension albany county plant sale

The garden education day/plant sale at the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Vorheesville is always popular. And, like a lot of plant sales, it's worth it to get there at the start in order to have your pick of plants.

May has arrived and that means it's prime time for garden planning and planting. And there are a bunch of plants sales around the Capital Region coming up over the next few weeks to help you fill out your garden (or container on a deck, or window box, or wherever).

Here's a quick list of some upcoming plant sales...

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A row of upcoming gardening classes

tomato seedlings in tray

The sun is shining. Birds are singing. Buds are on the trees. Spring has returned (again).

So now is a good time to be giving some thought to garden plans for the spring and summer -- whether it's just a few flowers, tomatoes in containers on the porch, or raised beds in the backyard. Toward that end there are a whole bunch of garden classes / info sessions coming up around the area, on topics ranging from vegetable gardening to composting to garden planning to mushrooms.

Here's a quick scan of some upcoming classes...

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Drawing: Hidden City House & Garden Tour + Lark Street goodies

HAF Garden Tour .jpg

One of the gardens on this year's tour was frequented by FDR while he was Governor.

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

The Historic Albany Foundation's annual Hidden City House & Garden Tour is coming up in and around the Center Square neighborhood. Beautiful, historic homes and gardens will open as people go on a self-guided tour through the streets around Lark Street.

AOA has a pair of tickets for the tour -- and a basket of Lark Street goodies -- to give away. The prize package includes:

+ A pair of tickets to the Hidden City House & Garden Tour
+ Three $20 gift certificates to The Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark (gift certificates must be used separately)
+ Two $5 gift cards to The Brakes Coffee House on Lark Street.
+ A bottle of Perrier Jouet Grand Brut champagne from Capital Wine at the corner of State and Lark.

To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:

Hidden gardens are lovely. What else is lovely?

We pass by things that are lovely everyday. If we're used to them, we may not notice, but sometimes they stop us in our tracks. Tell us about something you find lovely. Bonus points
if you tell us what makes it lovely in your eyes.

We'll draw one winner at random.

The Hidden City House & Garden Tour is Thursday, June 25 from 5-8 pm. The tour includes historic homes, backyard gardens, and some community gardens that are part of Capital Roots. Advance tickets are $15 and available online. After June 20, tickets are $20.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Thursday, June 11, 2015 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by noon on Friday and must respond by noon on Monday, June 15.

Growing seasons in Albany

lettuce bok choy radishes in garden

The lettuce likes it cool, anyway.

With the, um, rather brisk weather this week (56 on Wednesday) -- and frost advisories around some parts of the Capital Region -- we were curious about growing seasons here in Albany over the years.

Thankfully, the National Weather Service Albany office publishes that info dating back to 1874. And because we have an easier time scanning this sort of stuff when it's in graphical form, we flipped into an interactive chart...

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Troy Hidden Garden Tour 2015

troy hidden garden tour promo imageThe annual Hidden Garden Tour in Troy returns Thursday, May 21 from 4-7:30 pm. Tickets are currently available online -- they're $10.

This is the 16th year for the event, which is self-guided walking tour of backyard gardens in the districts around the Sage and Washington Park in downtown Troy. The tour is rain or shine.

Proceeds from the tour benefit the Friends of Prospect Park. There will also be a dinner benefit for the org at Carmen's that evening from 6-8:30 pm. It's $33 for a prix fixe menu.

Albany tour
The annual Hidden City House and Garden Tour in/near Albany's Center Square neighborhood is set for Thursday, June 25 from 5-8 pm. Tickets are currently $15 and will be available online soon.

photo via Friends of Prospect Park

Spring plant sales 2015

cornell cooperative extension albany county plant sale 2013

The garden education day/plant sale at the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Vorheesville is always popular.

As the April rain falls and the grass regains its green, we're thinking about all the things that will be growing soon. And maybe some of those things will be growing in your garden.

Here's a quick list of some upcoming plant sales...

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Where to get quality local compost?

garlic shoot spring gardenGinny asks via the Twitter:

Your favorite place for quality local finished compost? Building a few new beds. I need way more than I make.

As Ginny noted in a follow up, "Sadly not all compost is equal." It's not a bad idea to know where the compost is from, and what's (generally) gone into it.

So, got a suggestion for Ginny and other gardeners? Please share.

The art of gardening

hudson valley seed library cosmonaut volkov cropped

There are a handful of interesting things about the Hudson Valley Seed Library. A few of them:

+ It started at the Gardiner Public Library in Gardiner as a "lending" program for seeds -- people could check out seeds, grow the plants, and then return saved seeds.

+ It's dedicated to "growing, harvesting, and celebrating" heirloom varieties of vegetable, herbs, and flowers -- including many varieties with connections to New York.

But the first interesting thing you'll probably notice about the Hudson Valley Seed Library is that it has beautiful seed packets. The company commissions artists to design the seed packets in a range of media -- here's the page that collects all the designs (there are many) -- and the work really make the packets feel special.

Here are a few examples that caught our eye...

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Hidden City House & Garden Tour 2014

center square garden tour 2014The annual Hidden City House & Garden Tour in Albany's Center Square neighborhood is returning June 26. Tickets are $15 if purchased between now and June 19 -- $20 after that.

The self-guided tour, organized by the Center Square Association and the Historic Albany Foundation, allows people to get a peek at some of the historic homes and gardens in Center Square (you probably couldn't have guessed that from the name). This year's tour also has a new angle: birds. Event blurbage:

In addition to the traditional house and garden tour, some host houses will pledge to maintain native plants, eliminate artificial fertilizers, and provide food and cover for wild birds. Demonstration sites along the tour route, run by Audubon Society Fellow, Laura McCarthy, will showcase the joy of urban birding and backyard birds.
Other highlights of the tours include a charming garden on Jay Street that features a specimen tree peony, climbing roses, a pergola with a heritage hops vine, and many other plants. A mature garden on Lancaster Street boasts a fountain, climbing roses, and old magnolia trees bearing scars of a former wisteria vine.

The tour is Thursday, June 26 from 5-8 pm. Tickets are available online via the link above.

Saratoga Secret Garden Tour
The annual Secret Garden Tour in Saratoga Springs is July 13 this year. Organized by Soroptimist International of Saratoga County, the tour offers a peek at "creative urban spaces, lush suburban gardens, fabulous water features, and more."

The tour is Sunday, July 13 from 11 am-5 pm. Tickets are $20 and available at the link above. If tickets still remain on the day of the tour, they'll be $25.

HAF advertises on AOA.

photo: Center Square Assocation

A landscape designer for a backyard makeover?

generic landscaped yard areaChuckD emails:

It's time we did something about the backyard. But we're not interested in some HGTV thing with all parts sourced from a Big Box DIY store. We're looking for a creative designer/contractor who will design and build a natural backyard space to include replacement of a ratty deck, a rattier wood fence, inclusion of an existing inground pool, two existing happy doggies, and most importantly, an awareness and interest in those gray areas between indoors and out and work it into our passive solar house. Can anyone recommend someone who will think outside The Box and help us realize our ideas? Cuz we're clueless.

Even on a small project there can be a big difference between what the typical person can scratch out on the back of an envelope and what a professional designer can put together. And a landscape designer might be able to lend some helpful expertise on the sort of plants and other features that will make the new backyard easier to maintain over the long run.

So, got a suggestion for Chuck? Please share!

Botanical gardens in the region?

Thumbnail image for Berkshire Garden -Pond.jpgKatie asks via Twitter:

I'm looking for botanical floral gardens both public and private in the capital region area. any leads?

The one that sprang to our mind immediately was the Berkshire Botanical Garden just over the border in Western Massachusetts.

Got other ideas? Maybe even places that aren't botanical gardens exactly, but do have excellent floral gardens? Please share!

A few spring plant sales coming up

cornell cooperative extension albany county plant sale 2013

The scene at last year's cooperative extension plant sale

Now that we're into May, plant sale season will soon be here. Here are a few good ones coming up, if you're in the process of garden planning:

Cornell Cooperative Extension
The Cornell Cooperative Extension Albany County's annual Garden Education Day is Saturday, May 17 from 9 am-1 pm at the cooperative extension facility in Voorheesville. Master gardeners will be there for tours and advice, but the big draw is the plant sale.

We went to the sale last year and it was bananas. People were lined up waiting to get in before the sale started. Inside there were a bunch of plants -- like heirloom tomato seedlings and other garden favorites -- at good prices. And many of the tables were staffed by gardeners who could answer questions.

Based on our experience last year, it's a good idea show up at (or before) the start and to have in mind what you're looking for -- because if you browse too long, you'll miss out.

Capital District Community Gardens
That same day is the Capital District Community Gardens' spring plant sale in Troy from 9 am to 1 pm. It will have "unique varieties of perennials, heirloom tomatoes, a wide selection of veggies." We've also shopped this sale in the past and we were able to score good plants. (It's also wasn't quite the scene of the of the cooperative extension sale.)

The sale is at CDCG's Produce Project farm on 8th Street, between Eagle and Hutton. Proceeds benefit CDCG programs.

Plant sales this weekend

Thumbnail image for tomatoes on vineIt's plant sale season. A few coming up this weekend that might be worth a stop:

Capital District Community Gardens
The annual CDCG spring plant sale is Saturday from 9 am-1 pm at the Produce Project farm in Troy (8th Street between Eagle and Hutton). The plants are donated from local nurseries, and the proceeds benefit CDCG's programs. We've scored vegetable and landscaping plants at this sale in the past.

Cornell Cooperative Extension Albany County
Saturday is "Garden Education Day" at the cooperative extension in Vorheesville from 9 am-1 pm -- but it's also a plant sale: annuals, perennials, herbs, vegetables. Master gardeners will be there to answer questions. And there will be soil pH testing (first sample free, additional samples $3).

We've never been to this sale -- we hear the prices are good, but it gets packed, so show up early for the best selection.

Washington Park tulip bulbs
The annual Washington Park tulip dig and sale is this Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday is the dig-your-own sale in specific beds near the Moses statue starting at 9 am. As the announcement notes: "This allows people first crack at the tulips they want. We ask that for every bag they fill for themselves, they fill a bag for the sale on Sunday."

Bagged bulbs will be on sale Sunday at the lakehouse starting at 9 am. Bulbs are 25 to a bag for $5, limit 5 per person. And they go fast. Some will be labeled, some won't (surprise tulips).

Funds go to support the Washington Park Conservancy.

How to get a garden plot tilled?

shovel in garden dirtLaura emails with a timely question:

Can anyone recommend a reliable, reasonable service for rototilling a vegetable garden plot?

If you know of a service, great. But even if you don't, maybe you have some alternate ideas that could help Laura get her garden plot in shape.

Got a suggestion? Please share!

Grow on

tomatoes on vineThe Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schenectady County has a morning of spring gardening workshops lined up for April 6 (a Saturday). It looks like it could be a good way to get up to speed on starting a garden.

There are three classes in the lineup:
9-9:45 am: plant propagation ($10)
10-10:45 am: preparing your garden for spring ($5)
11-11:45 am: tool maintenance (including "weed whacker care") ($5)

Easy scan descriptions are after the jump. If you sign up for all three, the fee is $15.

The classes are at the Sustainable Living Center in Schenectady's Central Park (the greenhouses). Call 372-1622 for more info and registration.

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What the early spring means for your garden

crocus 2012-03-19

Oh, hello there. (By the way: we posted a photo of a crocus from this same spot last year -- on April 11.)

It feels so much like May we keep having to remind ourselves that it's still only March.

And we're not the only ones who are confused. Outside the downtown office the tulips are already starting to sprout and trees are beginning to bud.

We're happy to have ditched our winter coats and we'll take any excuse to break out the flip-flops, but we're wondering what all this unseasonably warm weather will mean for Albany's tulips -- and other the flowers and plants.

So, just bonus springtime for gardeners -- or (cue ominous music)... cause for crocus concern?

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Where to go for gardening classes?

tomatoes on vineLooking to green her thumb, Julie emails:

Do you guys know where I can get the scoop on some vegetable gardening classes?

A few ideas that occurred to us: Capital District Community Gardens has offered classes in the past. And we've also seen classes listed from the local branches of the Cornell Cooperative Extension. But we haven't seen specific classes listed for this year, yet.

Got a suggestion for Julie? Please share!

Wild edibles in urban Albany

roasted chicken with purslane and lambs quarters

Roasted chicken with Purslane and Lamb's Quarters. Only two of those things grow free in the city of Albany.

By Noah Sheetz

Ever wonder exactly "what" you are taking out of your garden when you set your mind to the mundane task of weed pulling?

Over the years I've befriended several master gardeners, farmers and herbalists, and it turns out that most of the weeds growing around us are in some way edible or medicinal in nature.

There are hundreds if not thousands of wild edibles in our region, including morel mushrooms, ramps, and fiddlehead ferns, all of which are foraged in the wild and fetch premium prices. In the Albany area there are several edible weeds that sprout up indiscriminately year after year in gardens, lawns, the concrete medians of 787, the cracks of sidewalks, and even on the soil-absent roof tops of buildings.

Here are a few of them -- and recipes on how to prepare them...

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