Maryland Grows

Master Gardeners Take Over the Governor’s Mansion!

(photo courtesy of Jon Traunfeld)

This past weekend, Anne Arundel County Master Gardeners were asked to help the first lady, Katie O’Malley, plant a vegetable garden at the Governor’s Mansion. We went to the mansion on Tuesday to do the prep work and to do a majority of the planting. We left one end of the garden, as well as four containers, to be planted during the media event on Saturday. The weather was great and we were greeted by the chef, Medford Canby, who was carrying a plate of freshly baked muffins!

Along with the Master Gardener volunteers, their were volunteers from the Department of Agriculture and their children. We were able to invite four people who attended the Grow It It Eat It seminars that we gave back in March. They were all new to the world of vegetable gardening and they were able to get some hands-on experience.

If you find yourself walking in Annapolis, stop by and take a look. It is located right next to the infamous fountain. As it turns out, there was a victory garden located in the same place during WW II. Next time, I’ll give you a tour of what we planted.

I feel that I should thank the businesses that donated to the project. River Hill Nursery in Clarksville donated plants and seeds, Bowen’s Farm Supply in Annapolis donated plants and potting soil And Knopp’s Farm in Severn donated plants.

Putting your small fruit plants on hold

My small fruit plants arrived at home before I could plant. Here’s what I did to “store them”. In all cases, keep the plants cool and out of direct sunlight and keep the roots moist:

  • I opened the box they arrived in and surrounded the roots with moistened shredded newspaper. I’ve also used potting soil.

  • I “planted” some of them in a 5-gallon plastic bucket with drainage holes in the bottom and covered the roots with potting soil.
  • I made a 6-in. deep trench in a shady spot in a garden bed for my blueberry and purple raspberry plants. I laid the plants perpendicular to the trench with the roots in the trench. Then I covered the roots with soil.

In all cases, I kept the plants out of direct sunlight and kept the roots moist. The plants leafed out while on hold and that was ok. After planting them in their permanent location I cut the raspberry and blackberry plants to within 2-3 inches of the soil and I cut back the blueberry plants by 50%.

I love asparagus!

There’s nothing better than asparagus fresh from the garden! We harvested our first spears this morning and roasted them in the oven for lunch.
For a real treat, toss spears with a little olive oil, sprinkle with coarse salt, add freshly ground pepper. Roast in a 400 degree oven (or grill) for about 15 minutes or until tender-crisp.

Garlic is happiness

I love everything about garlic. Here is a new bed I prepared last fall, about 4 ft. X 18 ft. I worked in six, 5-gallon buckets of compost because garlic grows great in rich, loose soil.There are four rows, each with about 50 plants from cloves I planted in October. This is ‘German White’ a hard-neck cultivar that has done well for me in Maryland. I used chopped leaves to mulch the bed. In a few weeks, I’ll pull the mulch back and lightly fertilize each row with some FertileGro, a dried chicken litter fertilizer I bought a few years ago. Not sure if you can buy it in gardener-size bags anymore. quotes Jon Traunfeld (click on link) reporter Elizabeth Jia reports on the economic benefits of home food gardening. Quotes Jon Traunfeld and includes links to website.

Date Correction for Jon’s Martha Stewart appearance!

Jon Traunfeld and his soon to be famous Salad Table will actually be appearing LIVE on The Martha Stewart Show on Thursday, March 26. Promos will air during the Wednesday Martha Stewart Show and on beginning Tuesday.

Grow It, Eat It…Anywhere! University Gardening Expert to Introduce "Salad Table" on Martha Stewart Show!

We’re hard at work promoting the Grow It Eat It initiative. Read the the Press Release for yourself!

The Obama Administration’s call for personal responsibility has inspired a “grow it yourself” movement across the country. And thanks to a new invention called the “salad table,” everyone—no matter how small their balcony, patio or backyard—can join in.

Jon Traunfeld, salad table inventor and director of the University of Maryland’s Home and Garden Information Center (HGIC) will introduce this unique gardening tool to audiences nationwide on the Martha Stewart Show on March 27. During the show, which will air locally on WBAL TV and WJLA TV, Traunfeld will instruct Martha on creating the table and describe the best ways to use it.

Essentially, the salad table is an improvement of a vegetable growing tool used during the Great Depression featuring a wood box, wire mesh and non-soil growing medium. Maryland Cooperative Extension faculty and volunteers have successfully grown lettuce, arugula, herbs, Asian greens, and even green beans in salad tables across the state.

Traunfeld’s appearance on the Martha Stewart show coincides with the kick-off of the new “Grow It Eat It” campaign designed to promote and teach food gardening with the vision of 1 million Maryland food gardeners producing their own affordable, healthy food in the next two years. The campaign is a joint venture between the University of Maryland’s Master Gardener program and its Home and Garden Information Center and features a dynamic, informative website: