Items tagged with 'gardening'
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...
This looks like some quality fuel for stoking those backyard gardening / DIY / I've-had-enough-I'm-moving-to-a-farm dreams.
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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...
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...
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.
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...
The 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.
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
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...
Ginny 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.
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...
The 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
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!
Katie 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!
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.
It'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.
Laura 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!
The 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.
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?
Looking 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!
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...