Archive | May 2015

2015 AAS Summer/Fall Summit registration is now open

Reprinted with permission of All-American Selections:


Registration is Now Open!
AAS Summer/Fall Summit
“Urban Ag Opportunities”
October 5-8, 2015
Dallas, TX 

All-America Selections is heading south! South to Texas, that is. In an ongoing mission to visit states and AAS Trial Grounds that we’ve never visited, the AAS Summer/Fall Summit will be held in Dallas, Texas this year.

BONUS! The 2015 AAS Summer/Fall Summit is being held in partnership with the Home Garden Seed Association. One trip, three days, new faces and multiple stops to see many different facets of Urban Agriculture as represented in the Dallas Ft. Worth area.

Registration for the AAS Summer/Fall Summit is now open; click here to register.

Some of the exciting details about our trip to the big state of Texas:

Arrive in Dallas, Texas, via Dallas Love Field or DFW International airport. Our hotel offers a free shuttle from Love Field.
Welcome reception at 6:00 PM: Settle in to your comfortable suite, then join HGSA, AAS and NGB for the evening’s welcome reception.

After breakfast at Embassy Suites Hotel, our first stop is the Dallas branch of the Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center. We will visit their Water-Wise demonstration home as well as their “Food 3.0” sustainable ag project.
After an authentic Texas-style lunch served at the beautiful North Haven Garden Center, we’ll make our way to the world-famous 66-acre Dallas Arboretum for a tour of the 2015 AAS Trials as well their award-winning gardens. That evening, we’ll dine together as we celebrate at the annual AAS Awards Banquet.

After breakfast and meeting updates from all three organizations, we’ll travel to Fort Worth to visit the Fort Worth Botanic Garden to see the AAS Display and Japanese Garden.  Lunch today is at the trendy Clear Fork Food Park then we’ll head to the Botanical Research Institute of Texas for a tour and the HGSA roundtable discussion on market trends, industry concerns and opportunities. Later we’ll indulge our senses with tequila tasting, chocolate tasting and an evening of flavor explosions in the hip multi-use urban area of Forth Worth known as West 7th Street.

Today we focus on the Downtown Dallas area as we tour Ruibal’s Rosemeade Market, including HGSA member’s container trials, located next to the Dallas Farmer’s Market. After lunch, we’ll have an NGB panel presentation from several of Dallas’ urban ag visionaries. That afternoon, continue on to Ruibal’s production facility to review the extensive plantings of 2015 HGSA summer trials. Time permitting, we’ll make a quick stop at the Klyde Warren Park and Parkland Hospital’s Therapy Garden before finishing our 2015 event with an HGSA evening of camaraderie and dining in Dallas’ up and coming Greenville Street neighborhood. 

Full Registration is available for $395
Single day options are $200 per day.
Host hotel is the Embassy Suites Market Center; rooms are only $129/night.

AAS Judges – this is a great opportunity to meet other judges and share your experiences.
AAS Display Gardens – this is a chance to learn more about the AAS trialing process and the story behind the AAS Winners you feature in your gardens.
Garden Writers – this is an opportunity to meet the industry folks behind the AAS Winners and learn the in-depth process each and ever entry goes through in order to become an AAS Winner.

Come join us!

Growing a Bountiful Harvest on a Patio

Reprinted with permission of the National Garden Bureau:


Growing a Bountiful Harvest on a Patio

At National Garden Bureau, we like to encourage those who think they have a brown thumb to attempt gardening, even if on a small scale. And what better way to start than with produce grown in easy-to-manage containers on your own patio! 

Container growing offers many benefits, not the least of which is that you can put a ‘garden’ just about anywhere. Balconies on a highrise building can become urban gardens and a backyard deck or patio becomes a produce garden at your fingertips. The top vegetable breeders that are members of National Garden Bureau are encouraging this trend by breeding smaller, more compact varieties that still are prolific producers.

Without a doubt, container gardens will require less weeding than their in-ground counterparts. This makes them ideal for busy people who love gardening and fresh food but have limited time. However, watering container gardens has to be monitored more closely. Smaller gardens in hot sun can dry out quickly and even a gentle summer breeze will wick moisture from plants. Be prepared to water daily or even twice daily during long, hot, dry spells.

As for supplies, the shopping list is small:

* Appropriately sized container (bigger is usually better)
* Good quality growing medium
* Young plants or seeds
* Your desired choice of fertilizer or plant food
* Stakes or cages if growing tall or vining edibles

After that, with a little sun, a little water and a little patience, you’ll soon have fresh delicious vegetables and herbs, even fruit, at your back door (or front door!). We always feel a little like Martha Stewart when we can step out the back door, snip a few herbs, grab a handful of tomatoes and a pepper or two then go back inside to continue with our meal preparation.

Helpful tips from NGB and our members:

Tips on selecting the right container can be found here from National Garden Bureau.

Johnny’s Seeds has a blog post about mixing vegetables herbs and flowers all in the same container for a very trendy look.

Burpee has this assortment of vegetables selected explicitly for containers. They also offer these tips on which herbs and vegetables grow well together.

A large selection of suitable containers can be found here from Gardener’s Supply as well as a helpful selection of self-watering containers for vegetables.

American Meadows offers a hanging garden, perfect for lettuce or strawberries, to utilize wall space.

Botanical Interests offers some tips for growing vegetables in shady areas as well as a container vegetable seed collection.

For more reading, here are some great books on growing vegetables from St. Lynn’s Press:
No Nonsense Vegetable Gardening by Donna Balzer and Steven Biggs
Plants with Benefits by Helen Yoest
The 20-30 Something Garden Guide by Dee Nash
Tomatoes Garlic Basil by Doug Oster

For more on growing container edibles, click here for the “Veggies in Containers” article from NGB.

For proven performers, check our these AAS Winners perfect for growing in containers:
Basil Dolce Fresca
Bean Mascotte
Cucumber Parisian Gherkin
Cucumber Pick a Bushel
Eggplant Patio Baby
Pepper Pretty N Sweet
Squash Butterscotch
Tomato Terenzo

Happy Gardening, Cooking, and Eating!