Garden Talk: August 27, 2009

From NGA Editors

New Colorful Toad Lily

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Toad lilies (Tricyrtis formosana) are moisture-loving, shade tolerant perennials that are hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8. They flower in late summer and early fall, offering color and interest in the garden when few other perennials are blooming. Now there's a new toad lily variety that features more attractive leaves and a longer bloom time. 'Gilt Edge' toad lily produces 1-inch-diameter, deep pink, orchid-like blooms in late summer that last into fall. The real selling point, though, is the leaves. The dollar bill-sized green leaves have golden yellow, jagged edging and stay vibrant into fall. 'Gilt Edge' grows 2 to 3 feet tall and wide and can tolerate boggy soils.
For more information on this new toad lily, go to: Wayside Gardens.

San Francisco Becomes More Food Sustainable

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Creating a healthy, sustainable food system is on many people's minds these days. Books, articles, and documentaries highlight pockets of successful programs across the country. Now, one city is taking it upon itself to create a comprehensive healthy and sustainable food system for all its residents. San Francisco's Mayor Gavin Newsom has issued an executive order directing all branches of the City of San Francisco offices to develop a healthier and more sustainable food system in the city. Some of the proposed initiatives include an audit of city land for its potential to produce food, using locally grown "healthy" food for all city events and meetings to the maximum extent possible, developing nutrition standards for food vending machines on city property, supporting urban agricultural initiatives, composting and waste reduction, and issuing permits for mobile food vendors to sell locally grown produce throughout the city.
For more information on this ground-breaking initiative, go to: Roots of Change

National Indoor Gardening Day

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While many gardeners in the country are enjoying the fruits of their summer labors, some forward-looking folks are focusing on a time of year when, for most of us, our gardening will be limited to the indoors. September 1st is National Indoor Gardening Day. It's a day to gear up for gardening inside and bringing the outdoor garden in. This is particularly of interest to Northern gardeners where the outdoor season is so short. AeroGrow and the National Gardening Association are teaming up to offer free classes around the country on September 1st to help everyone become a better indoor gardener. The classes will cover how to start and grow a flourishing collection of fruit, vegetables, and herb plant indoors -- even in winter. Topics included will be hydroponics, lighting, soil, and seed starting. Classes will be held in Denver, Colorado; Chicago, Illinois; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Anchorage, Alaska; and Burlington, Vermont.
For more information on National Indoor Gardening Day, go to: AeroGrow

What’s Woolch Mulch?

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While in England this past summer, I noticed gardeners using wool around plants that slugs love. It appears the wool deters the slugs and snails from eating the foliage. Well, here’s a new idea combining wool and mulch to create a new product for gardeners: Woolch. Made from 50 percent wool (a bi-product from yarn and blanket making industries) and 50 percent toothpick-size wood shavings (a bi-product from sawmills), woolch was developed by the Minnesota Lamb and Wool Makers Association and tested at the University of Minnesota. This combination of wool and wood shavings has been used on perennial fruits and vegetables such as strawberries with great success. Woolch prevents weed growth on top and below the mulch, retains soil moisture, keeps the soil cool, and lasts longer than other organic mulches such as straw. For strawberries it even allows the daughter plants to root themselves through the woolch material. The lightweight, felt-like mats of woolch can be cut to fit any fruit, vegetable, or perennial garden patch and generally lasts for 2 years in the garden before degrading in the soil.
For more information on this new organic mulch, go to: Minnesota Lamb and Wool Producers .
 
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