Friday, June 20, 2014

Grow100 Check-in Period 1 Winner and Highlights

Here they are!  The results from the first Grow100 update period!  We were impressed with the amount of participation from Marylanders (and a few out of state folks as well!).  In total, 28 gardeners sent in info to the first update period, with a pretty even split across the three competition categories, 4-Rs, Max Production, and New to Gardening.  We received a lot of great photos and information about your gardens and are excited to pick one we thought stood out above the rest in Update period 1, plus share a few other little highlights.

There are two more check in periods to go.  Period 2 starts NOW and goes until August 15th.  Submit your check in photos and info anytime between now and then.  Click this link to go to the Check in Period 2 form.  Make sure you check in during all three periods to be considered for the grand prize in your category at the end of the Grow100 contest!

We are happy to announce that Alison Rolen of Anne Arundel County is our winner for Period 1 of the contest! She wins a $25 Gift Certificate to High Mowing Seeds.

Alison, who became a Master Gardener intern soon after registering for the Grow100 competition, entered her garden into the 4-R's category.  In this category, we are looking for the use of techniques to reduce waste, energy, and water use; re-use materials; recycle nutrients; and re-think conventional gardens. Alison's approach is not only earth-friendly, but wallet-friendly.
Alison started most of her plants from seed and used cardboard egg cartons and saved greens containers to make the perfect greenhouse setup.  She recycled 9-cell packs inside of a solid base for tomatoes and peppers.  She obtains her pots by borrowing from friends and "free-cycling" online.  All of her garden beds are also made from salvaged and recycled materials as well.

On her way to being a Master Gardener, Alison has already become a Master Recycler, and we think that is cool.

Here is a sample of what's growing in Alison's garden:

4x4 raised bed – made from cedar salvaged from a commercial renovation project 
  • 2 Super Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes on permanent trellis 
  • row sugar snap peas growing on a removable trellis 
  • 3 rows rainbow chard 

4x12 raised bed – made at the same time as above with the same materials 
  • 4sqft – direct sowed spinach; 
  • 4sqft – direct sowed lettuce; 
  • 2sqft “overwintered” spinach; 
  • 6sqft purchased lettuce (producing currently) 
  • (4x4)- 2 “steak” tomatoes planted in recycled plant buckets buried in the bed. The pots are filled with fresh, bagged compost for nutrients and larger root zones, these are caged; and 2 bush-type cucumbers.
4x4 - raised bed
  • 12 sweet pepper plants 
  • 1 row pole beans to grow on permanent trellis
18”x 9’ raised brick planter – attached to the house
  • 1 cherry tomato on trellis,
  • 6 hot pepper plants 
  • 6 sweet potatoes
2x2 whiskey barrel – actual recycled whiskey barrel 
  • 1 early type tomato - caged
  • 2 ruby chard 
Harvested so far: several cuttings of chard, spinach, lettuce; snow peas.

For a Total: 84.5 sq feet 

Ruby chard and tomato in a whiskey barrel

Other Highlights

There were several other great instances of earth-friendly gardening that we were impressed by.
 Laura in Carroll County uses an efficient rain barrel system, and an awesome cold frame created from old windows and parts, plus recycled window screens used as supplemental fencing to keep hungry critters out.

Lisa Neuscheller from out of state recycled an old bike wheel to hang twine for beans to grow on.
Several gardeners were serious about there critter security.  We saw a lot of great enclosures and deer fences.
From left: The Blondells from Fairfax Co, VA, David in Baltimore County, Pam Leifer in Montgomery County.
Several gardeners made great use of limited space with salad tables and pots for some great urban gardening.

From left: Lisa from New England, Anna in Baltimore City, and the Germantown Library in Montgomery County.

There were a ton of great gardens sent in.  It was just too much to highlight everything, so don't be discouraged if your garden wasn't featured.  We are looking forward to the next two check-ins so we can see how your gardens progress!  Keep up the good work!

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