Monthly Archives: March 2013

Shiitake Mushroom Production Workshop – Tues April 2, 1 – 4 pm

Register now for a public workshop on Shiitake Mushroom Production, Tuesday April 2, 1 – 4 pm sponsored by the Arlington Office of Virginia Cooperative Extension with support from Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia.  The workshop is at Potomac Regional Overlook Park.

Shiitake Log – by Rob Hille

Dr. Marcus Comer, Extension Specialist, Natural Resource Management, Virginia State University (Petersburg), leads this hands-on workshop on growing shiitake mushrooms in your backyard.  You’ll learn how to inoculate logs with mushroom spawn, care for your log and harvest the mushrooms.
A $35 fee covers all supplies.
Register by sending a check made out to Virginia Cooperative Extension for $35  and mail to Arlington County VCE, 3308 S. Stafford St., Arlington, VA 22206.
For information about Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia, visit

Photo attribution

Bon Appetit

ANR Starts to Bloom

It is said that March, “comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb”. They were talking about the weather and not about our Agriculture Natural Resource (ANR) program schedule, but we are just roaring along and the end of March will feel completely different. Our big plans for March include the major presence of Master Gardeners and interns at the Arlington Home Show and Landscape Expo. This annual event that is held at Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 S. Second St. Arlington) will feature Urban Agriculture techniques including vertical gardening, low tech irrigation techniques, and container gardening of all kinds. Please plan to visit us between 10 AM and 5 PM on March 9!

On March 14,  Virginia Tech Turf Specialist, Dr. Mike Goatley, will present a program entitled “Beautiful Greens” Spring Lawn Care for Northern Virginia. This FREE program is a very high level education from a nationally recognized educator. Check his Lawn care podcasts here.

March 13 and continuing weekly through October, the Wednesdays in the Garden demonstration programs at Arlington Central Library will start up. This series of programs that are delivered by VCE volunteers and Arlington Food Assistance Volunteers, is centered on the library’s beautiful edible landscaping.

March 20 you can catch either a composting and soil fertility program at
Arlington’s Westover Library or you can learn about gardening from VCE
volunteers at the Arlington public schools Adult Education program on Seed
starting and Vegetable gardening. Go here for a full line up of VCE-ANR
programs taught in the Arlington Adult Education Program.

March 21 VCE hosts the Arlington Egg Project here at Fairlington at 7:00 pm.

Master Gardeners also has a Speakers Bureau.  We provide programs on a range of
topics for garden clubs, scout groups, special events, schools, and more. For more
information about any of our gardening programs please contact the Master
Gardener Help Desk at 703 228 6414 or by email at
You can also see a full schedule of events at

Sharp rise in requests for financial and nutrition programs – book now!

Jennifer Abel and volunteers fulfilled 45 program requests in the month of February. Programs included two Kids Marketplace financial simulations at Glebe and Drew Elementary Schools, a two-day Reality Store at Wakefield High School, and cooking and nutrition classes at Colonial Village Apartments, Clarendon House, Gates of Ballston Community Center, Langston-Brown Senior Center, and Virginia Gardens Apartments.

Financial counseling was conducted at the tax clinics in Arlington and Alexandria. Nutrition education was provided at four AFAC food distribution sites. Volunteers taught a four-session money management class at the Macedonian Apartments, and Energy Masters made improvements at Harvey Hall Apartments.

The fast pace continues in March with nutrition class series planned for four different classes at TC Williams High School, Master Food Volunteer training, a spring break financial camp in Alexandria, a class on cooking with less salt at Langston-Brown Senior Center, a money management class series at Arlington DHS, another Energy Masters work day at Harvey Hall Apartments, and an energy conservation presentation at Walter Reed Community Center.

We are grateful for the help of our many volunteers and always eager to have more, so
if you are not already involved in these programs and would like to be, contact
Jennifer at

Take a LEAP – Literacy, Eating and Activity for Preschoolers

During the month of February, Megan Mauer conducted 3 LEAP
(Literacy, Eating and Activity for Preschoolers) trainings for the Campagna Center, Alexandria Head Start programs.

Head Start Teachers and Assistant Teachers at Jefferson Houston, John Adams, NOVA and Early Head Starts all in Alexandria are now beginning the LEAP program with their students. Fridays in March, Megan will assist with the Master Food Volunteer Trainings being held in Fairfax and Arlington.

4-H Summer Camp – information is on the website

It’s almost that time of year! Yes, 4-H camp is just around the corner. As of now we are accepting applications for camp counselors and C.I.T’s (Counselors in Training). Later this month we will start accepting applications for 4-H campers. This year camp will be held from Sunday, July 7 to Thursday, July 11. This popular camp is the ultimate camp experience. 4-H camp programs consist of leadership, environmental and aquatic science, performing arts, forestry, outdoor adventures, animal science, horsemanship, science, and technology. Youth will have the opportunity to learn and have fun in a safe environment.

For more information and applications for 4-H camp
visit our website at under the news section.

Master Food Volunteers Training – Doubles in Size!

This March, Katie and Jennifer couldn’t be happier to be
training such an exciting group of Master Food Volunteers.
Thanks to referrals from our partners and enhanced marketing
strategies, we have doubled the size of this year’s training class!
Volunteers will help residents learn practical skills to eat healthy
and be active, through educational partnerships with childcare
providers, community gardens, senior centers, and more.

A Warm Welcome to Dan Redmond

My name is Dan Redmond, the interim VCE Master
Gardener Coordinator. I had the pleasure of completing the
Master Gardening training course in 2012, and I am currently a
VCE MG trainee. Although I have only taken the MG course,
I have gardened for food production about eight years, the last
four of which was used for distribution to those in need at my
son’s elementary school. I remember my preschool days in the
vegetable garden with my mother, and enjoy seeing my young
boys delight in the fruits of their garden labors.
In 2012, I also completed a graduate degree in
Sustainability and Environmental Management, researching
water use for energy production and community resilience to
climate change. Other interests are urban agriculture, solar
power, and electrical vehicles. Our home and car are partly
powered by energy from the sun. I also regularly go on
gleaning excursions for AFAC to local farms; with a corps of
other volunteers, we can often harvest 1,000-2,000 pounds of
fresh produce on a Saturday morning. Feel free to ask me
questions about these topics if we share similar interests.
I look forward to working with you on VCE
programming as the growing season commences!