Derwood Demo Garden 2013 Wrap-Up

photo by Darlene Nicholson

So aside from the disconcerting tendency of praying mantises to eat bees instead of stink bugs, I’d say our Montgomery County demo garden, veggie division, had a pretty good year. We had some great harvests:

and donated 676 pounds of produce to Manna Food Center. Some other highlights:

  • Our 100-square-foot garden project, which was a trial for a statewide effort coming next year. It was run by a group of MG interns, produced 170 pounds of food, and taught us a lot about intensive growing. We’ll be repeating this project next year using what we learned.
  • A straw bale planting project, not so successful, but interesting enough to try again on a larger scale next year.
  • A tomato tasting for MG volunteers, which was fun and informative and delicious.
  • Further reduction of our thuggish Jerusalem artichoke patch.
  • Success in keeping harlequin bugs and other pests out of our brassica crops using row covers. Some of them are still waiting for harvest under plastic tunnels, so we’re expanding our season too.
  • Great crops for the Year of Root Vegetables, especially the spring beets, the onions, the carrots, and the delicious crunchy Andean tuber called yacon.
  • Tromboncino squash, which was just about the only cucurbit to resist pests all season.
  • Flowers to enjoy along with our vegetables.
We had some serious pest problems, especially Japanese beetles, squash vine borers, cucumber beetles, and wireworms, but fewer brown marmorated stink bugs and Colorado potato beetles than in previous years. This year’s wet weather worsened fungal diseases, and some plants succumbed to early blight and powdery mildew. We also lost some plants to drought in the height of summer. But on the whole we enjoyed a productive year – and each other’s company! And since this is Grow It Eat It and I’ve only been reporting on the vegetable garden, I should mention that the rest of our demonstration areas had a fantastic year too.
We also like knowing that our visitors appreciate our efforts. And it was great fun to share the garden at three major events and for smaller groups as well.
We look forward to 2014!
(Unacknowledged photos by – I think – Darlene Nicholson, Melitta Carter, Julie Mangin, and me.)

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