Conway library offers gardening workshops

— As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent social-distancing measures, many people have been looking for new hobbies or interests to keep themselves busy, and one of those has been gardening.

Zack McCannon, the garden programmer for the Faulkner County Library in Conway, said he has definitely seen a rise in an interest in gardening. He said that at one point, the Faulkner County Seed Library was offering online ordering and curbside pickup, and eventually, there was a shortage of seeds.

“There was a definite surge, which is good,” he said.

McCannon started working at the library last February but has been involved with farm projects since 2010. He said he would attend various events to learn how to properly garden. Now, to help facilitate people’s interest in gardening, he has started a new virtual class and in-person workshop for the library, called Organic Urban Farming 101. The class, presented by the library and the Urban Farm Project, began Jan. 7 and will meet every other Thursday throughout the year.

The virtual classes will take place from 5-6 p.m., immediately followed by the outdoor workshop. McCannon encourages participants to attend the virtual classes in their cars,

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Succulents offer variety and can be used indoors and outdoors

During the past few years, succulents have become very popular with gardeners who find that these plants can be eye-catching additions to both indoor and outdoor settings.

a man sitting in front of a window: Mike Hogan

Mike Hogan

Requiring minimal care, most succulents seem to thrive on neglect and dry soil. These plants store water in their leaves, stems and roots, causing their foliage to appear fleshy and even puffy, unlike the foliage of most other types of plants.

Succulents are drought-resistant plants that have adapted to arid environments throughout the world. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. Planting several different varieties in the same bed or container provides visual appeal, and using them as a border among flowering annuals or even shrubs adds instant curb appeal to any home landscape.

a close up of a flower: A collection of succulents can be planted together for a stunning display.

© Ashley Martin
A collection of succulents can be planted together for a stunning display.

Minimal care required

Succulents are low-maintenance plants that require only small amounts of water and fertilizer, but they do need lots of sunlight. When placing them indoors, choose bright, sunny windowsills with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight; south-facing windows work best.

During spring and summer when succulents are actively growing, water no more

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Demand grows for inner-city gardening plots as Covid-19 pandemic ravages U.K.

It may be a small plot in Osterley, west London, but it has provided Karen Peck’s kitchen with row upon row of cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, fava beans and garlic.

But Peck, 60, gets far more out of her allotment than just fresh food.

“It’s so tranquil. I have a favorite robin who comes to visit, then the blackbird turns up, and there are wrens in the corner,” Peck said in a telephone interview late last year. “You appreciate the birdsong and the tiny little brown mice, hedgehogs, urban foxes.”

Karen Peck on her allotment in west London.

The connection with nature had been especially nice during the coronavirus pandemic, she said.

Allotments — small pockets of urban land sectioned off for city residents to grow fruit, vegetables, plants and flowers — were once common in British cities, particularly at the height of World War II.

As German U-boats laid waste to supply ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean, Britons were urged to grow their own food, and the “Dig for Victory” campaign was embraced with vigor.

By 1945, well over a 1 million allotments were supplementing peoples’ meager wartime rations.

That changed in the decades that followed, when the urgent need

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Virtually gardening: Green thumbs pivot their community online

As Jennifer Carlson logged into her computer on a sunny morning in January, she was itching to do some gardening — or at the least, learn about gardening and commune with like-minded folks. But, like so many events from pre-COVID times, such in-person lectures and meetings were out of reach.

Carlson, 47, a professional assistant in the biology department at Suffolk County Community College, remembered the palpable energy at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County’s annual Spring Gardening School, long held at Riverhead Middle School. She attended twice, and as a master gardener, volunteered to chair the raffle committee. “There are so many people that are passionate about gardening on Long Island and have so many areas of expertise,” she said. “It was exciting to spend time with them.”

At the in-person events, Carlson perused educational exhibits and plant clinics, browsed the plant sale and ate a boxed lunch in the school’s cafeteria while enjoying camaraderie with friends, new and old. “A big highlight was the Koppert Cress demonstration,” she said, recalling the tasting table set up by the Dutch-inspired grower of naturally aromatic microgreens with greenhouses in Riverhead and Cutchogue. “They had one that made you salivate,

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Extension office to offer free online gardening courses from Feb. 3 to March 11

Lance Ellis, columnist

ST. ANTHONY — The University of Idaho extension campus announced they are bringing a taste of spring to the cold winter months with free online gardening classes offered every Wednesday and Thursday from Feb. 3 to March 11.

Participants can register online to learn about everything from backyard greenhouse design to basic vegetable gardening methods to successful composting methods.

“These classes are for everyone and anyone, all levels of gardening experience,” said University of Idaho extension educator, and columnist Lance Ellis. “I have found with our housing boom over the last five years that there are a lot of people from out of state who are trying to garden, but are struggling and not having the success that they would like. These classes would be great for them as well as a seasoned gardener.”

For those only able to attend one or two classes, the free registration and flexible schedule provides an adaptable learning experience.

“Participants sign up just once and that allows them to attend any of the gardening classes they want, even if they change their minds at the last minute,” Ellis said. “Obviously, if they don’t want to attend some of the

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GARDENING WITH THE MASTERS: Echalion shallot a winner among 2021 vegetable varieties | Lifestyle

As the 2021 vegetable seed catalogs show up in the mailbox, it is time to look at what might be a new or interesting vegetable variety to consider planting this spring. Some of these varieties may or may not be better or superior to the old tried and true ones but they usually offer distinctive characteristics such as different colors, or size of the vegetable. Other attributes are whether they can be grown in a container or pot, have enhanced disease resistance or a unique taste or flavor. As with many activities in life we gardeners sometimes get into the proverbial “rut” growing the same thing each year.

These new varieties help to expand our horticultural palate and, who knows, we might find something new that is neat, easier to grow, great tasting or provides greater yields.

The All-American Selections organization (, a nonprofit group established and supported by the flower and vegetable seed breeders. Each year AAS announces its yearly “Winners” for new introductions of flowers and vegetables. According to the AAS, the winner selections are the result being trialed at AAS Trial Ground locations around the country where breeders have their new, never-before-sold varieties grown and compared against

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Debunking “Moon Phase Gardening” |

Some believe certain moon phases are more beneficial for planting a garden, but is there any science to back the idea up? Meteorologist Alex Calamia explains.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Do you believe a full moon can bring out the worst in people? Well, there are some gardeners that think the moon can affect plants, too. 

The idea is called moon phase gardening and the belief is the moon’s gravity can affect the way plants process water and nutrients. A little research and you might find yourself believing the practice is based on some solid science, but it’s not! 

Here are a few of the rules behind moon phase gardening and the science that says to avoid taking this gardening trend too seriously.

Myth 1: Plant certain crops during certain moon phases.

The moon is our closest neighbor in the sky and perhaps that’s how the idea behind moon gardening started in the first place. Moon garden folklore goes back as far as the Mayans. There’s a belief the moon’s position in the sky has an impact on living things. 

Moon phases have an affect on some aspects of our world, particularly ocean tides. The highest high tides and lowest high

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Gardening: Discovering one’s roots – Pomerado News

For millions of fellow gardeners around the world, our favorite month is January. Actually, maybe that number is closer to six … people.

Anyway …

It’s the time when garden centers stock their bare root plants.

It’s the time to use up what’s left on our credit cards from Christmas.

It’s a time when people say …

“What is it?”

“It looks dead.”

“Let’s go hang gliding.”

Clarence Schmidt

Clarence Schmidt

(Courtesy photo)

Naked roots aside, hang gliding is an adrenaline rush that allows you to share the sky with seagulls, drones and UFOs. A pilot can do loops, spins, rollovers, climb overs, get nauseous and occasionally even make their very own “environmental impact” … head first.

Back on earth, hang gliders are collectively the biggest proponents of bare root plants.

There is no factual data to support this because I just made it up.

In addition, this is one of the worst segues I’ve ever written. My keyboard is speechless.

Bare roots are perennial plants that are living, but inactive. They have no leaves, flowers or foliage.

They are dug up and stored without any soil around their roots. Plants call it dormancy. Bears call it hibernation. Simply put — it’s

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Pick up gardening tips in podcasts, online newsletters

Gardeners often like to talk about their favorite pastime, but these days, folks might find themselves digging in the dirt alone. Still, planters and growers can smile when tips and tidbits about gardening land in their email inbox or make their way through their earbuds.  

a bird perched on a tree branch: Know how to prune live oaks to protect the trees and promote growth. Removing branches all the way to the source is best.

© Contributed by Daphne Richards
Know how to prune live oaks to protect the trees and promote growth. Removing branches all the way to the source is best.

From selecting fertilizer to cutting back perennials to growing orchids, gardening e-newsletters and podcasts often cover an array of topics. For those who sign up, newsletters can be received regularly from various gardening organizations, publications, nurseries and others. 

Podcasts likewise are created by numerous sources, from home gardeners to professionals. Podcasts run anywhere from just a few minutes to much longer. They are available through a variety of platforms or on many of these programs’ websites. These programs can be informative and occasionally entertaining. As a bonus, gardeners can enjoy relating to kindred spirits. 

Here’s a sampling of what’s available for plant lovers who are eager to read up, listen up or both: 

“The Old Farmer’s Almanac” ( Many people recognize the long-lasting, familiar “The Old

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Gardening Etcetera: Forget the beds, try container gardening | Home and Garden

Now, let’s move on to ornamentals and choices for pots or containers. If you plan on leaving your pots outside during our frigid winters, I recommend and have always used Vietnamese ceramic pots. Stone containers are also freeze-tolerant and come in many shapes and sizes but are quite cumbersome. Plastic ones could break when cold, and the same for terra cotta. Whatever container you choose, be certain there’s a drainage hole at the bottom.

Be creative—many garden and household objects may become plant containers. A child’s old, red wagon looks radiant, as well as whimsical when overflowing with annuals such as petunias and oregano—yes, you can intermingle herbs with flowers. Or, find an old coat rack, set it out on your patio, and hang baskets or old purses brimming with flowers and herbs on the arms. Colorful veggies like ruby Swiss chard and purple kohlrabi are lovely, as well as edible.

Don’t worry too much if the plant label says “full sun”. In Northern Arizona, we receive a higher intensity of light rays than folks in other parts of the country, so five hours of sunlight may be sufficient.

As spring heads into summer, you can easily replace your potted

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