[UPDATE: The situation with Covid-19 is changing rapidly in Maryland. Since this article was published, Maryland Governor Hogan issued a stay-at-home order for Maryland residents, effective March 30, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. This prohibits trips outside the home for non-essential items. We encourage you to follow current state guidance and use home delivery options for supplies.]
In this time of uncertainty, many of us are reaching for a trowel. But if you’re a beginning gardener, or have never grown your own food before, you probably have a lot of questions. Please make your first stop the Home and Garden Information Center – read the vegetable gardening information, and feel free to ask an expert.
You may be thinking about starting a garden because of worries that the food chain will be interrupted. Or because you have children at home, and planting seeds and watching them grow is a great lesson. Or because you need a distraction and some exercise. Whatever the reason, we encourage you to jump right in. But if you’re starting from scratch, here are a few caveats:
That said, let’s get started. First, as of the date of this blog post, garden centers, nurseries, and big box stores have been declared essential businesses and therefore can still be open in Maryland. However, a few have closed to the public and others may follow, so always call before you visit. This way you also find out about availability of items, changed hours, health protocols, and delivery options. If you live in a different state, please check current regulations.
Many online retailers are doing a booming business in gardening supplies right now. As long as stock doesn’t run out, most of what you need for gardening can be ordered online and delivered to your door, but prices may be higher, particularly for bulky items like soil and compost. Local is better for those materials.
Where to put your garden
Your garden should be sited in the sunniest space available (at least 6 hours a day of full sun) and close to a water source. Container gardens can be grown on a deck, balcony, patio, or any other space. Raised beds can be tucked in close to your house; in-ground gardens can be of any size. (More on garden planning here.)
In this region we have lots of animal friends who like to munch on your garden plants. If you don’t have a fence around your property already, you will likely need to fence your garden area. There are lots of fencing options, but if you’re in a hurry a quick fix of stakes and plastic or wire fencing is better than nothing.
Types of gardens
Some things you will need to get a garden started besides the above:
Some other notes:
We’ll have more posts in coming weeks to help you on your gardening journey! Stay well and safe, friends.
By Erica Smith, Montgomery County Master Gardener
Mike Raupp, “The Bug Guy” for the University of Maryland Extension, explains how, like a crime scene investigator, you can use clues to find out what types of insects are causing damage in your garden. Look for telltale signs like chewed leaves, discoloration, distortion, dieback, and insect products.
We have a special bonus episode for you this month. The Gardens Hoes went “On the Road” to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, to learn more about their yearly orchid exhibit. We sat down with Greg Griffis, senior horticulturist and orchid grower, to ask him about the exhibit, orchids, and tips for growing them. The Orchid Extravaganza is an annual event at Longwood Garden that runs through March 22. Longwood Gardens consists of 1,077 acres, with gardens ranging from formal to naturalistic in design. Formidably, the Conservatory encompasses 4.5 acres of greenhouses. This lush winter oasis is transformed from January to March, with over 6,000 orchids. As you wander through the conservatory you’ll see Phalaenopsis orbs hanging above the Patio of Oranges, to Lady Slipper orchids tucked in along the Fern Passage, to delicate Cattleya in the Orchid house, orchids magically transform every space.
Great news! We are now available on both iTunes and stitcher, making it easy for you to listen to The Garden Hoes on the go! To listen to our latest episode click here.
You can find out more information about this event, Longwood Gardens, and their other events by visiting longwoodgardens.org. If you can’t make it to Longwood Gardens for the exhibit check out “Everything About Orchids.” This free online course hosted by Longwood Gardens offers valuable insights from experts at Longwood Gardens through video lectures and discussion forums.
If you have any garden questions or topics you like us to talk about, you can email us at Gardenhoespodcast@gmail.com Garden Hoes is brought to you by UME. Mikaela Boley- Senior Agent Assoc. (Talbot Co.) for Horticulture, Rachel Rhodes- Agent Assoc. for Horticulture (QA Co), and Emily Zobel- Agriculture Agent (Dorchester Co.).