Thursday, November 6, 2014

Master Gardeners' Edible Demonstration Garden Wins Award

Lois Fischer

Hours of hard work and dedication by Philadelphia County Master Gardener volunteers has reaped rewards. The Edible Landscape Demonstration Garden at the Horticulture Center in Fairmount Park has been selected a Garden of Distinction in the 2014 Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's Gardening and Green Contest. Over 350 gardens in the greater Philadelphia area entered the competition. An Awards Ceremony will be held this coming spring at the annual Philadelphia Flower Show.

Work in the 1250 square foot garden began in early April with turning and preparing the soil for planting. Cool weather crops including five cultivars of arugula, kale 'Lacinata' and 'Red Russian', eight types of
lettuce, red onions and Swiss chard were planted. The herb beds required a manicure after a difficult winter. To the volunteers' surprise, the perennial herbs suffered little damage. The lavender "Dilly Dilly', 'Elegance Sky' and 'Hidcote' all bloomed beautifully in spite of the winter's cold winds and snow.
As the season progressed, a wide variety of warm weather crops were successively planted. A half dozen types of bush beans filled the beds. Runner beans including 'Golden' and Helda' climbed up their trellises. Five tomato selections grew luxuriously in their tepee supports. The gardeners experimented with growing potatoes in a trash barrel. Eggplants and peppers produced excellent fruits and the cardoon's beautiful blue,thistle-like flowers towered over its neighboring herbs.

Over the past week, the volunteers have put the garden to bed for the season. But we are already planning for the spring. There is research to be done over the winter months on new plants, new cultivars and new techniques to try. We will be eagerly awaiting the warming of the soil with itchy fingers and heads full of ideas and dreams. Stop by the garden in the spring to enjoy our special place in Fairmount Park!

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