GARDENING TIPS: If you didn’t get around to cleaning your gardening tools before putting them up this winter, do so now at the beginning of the season. Look them over and give them a good cleaning. Sharpen the business edges of shovels and hoes. Sand down wooden handles and then rub them down with linseed oil.
Here’s one way to keep trowels, shovels, and other tools from getting rusty: Fill a 5-gallon bucket with sand almost to the top and then sprinkle some motor oil over the top. Stick the sharp ends of your tools in there when they’re not in use and they won’t get all rusty.
Victory Garden Kits
The Durham County 4-H Club has been encouraging families to grow their own food, and for the second time this year, they will be distributing Victory Garden Kits on Tuesday, September 15, 9am–6pm. Included in the kit are three 3-gallon pots (for container gardening); tomato, pepper, and basil starter plants; bagged compost; potting soil; and gardening tools. The regular cost is $20 per kit, but they’re free for families in need. The 4-H Club has already posted instructional videos, teaching how to plant and care for your young plant, and also how to prepare meals. Click here for more info, and click here to let the 4-H Club know that you’d like to get a Victory Garden Kit.
Here’s the link for ordering a Victory Garden Kit for pickup on Tuesday, September 22, 9am–6pm.
Gardening for kids
Durham Parks and Recreation will offer the All About a Garden series on Wednesdays in September (starting September 2), 5–6pm, for boys and girls ages 5 to 12. Outdoor activities at Edison Johnson Recreation Center (500 W Murray Ave) will include planting flowers and learning how to garden. Everyone will wear face masks and will practice social distancing. Please have your kids take a water bottle and wear closed-toe shoes. A hat and/or sunglasses might come in handy as well. The fee is $6; click here for more info and to sign up. (activity code #12536)
Sarah P Duke Gardens
Duke Gardens now offers demonstrations and classes as online events; click here to register (even for the free events):
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and the Prairie Ridge Ecostation will cohost a “How to Avoid Being Eaten by Bats” Live Chat with Scientists on Friday, September 4, 11am–noon. Learn the many ways (some sneaky) that moths escape being dinner by bats. Feel free to ask questions. Visit the Facebook event page for more info and to attend this free online event.
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Prairie Ridge Ecostation, and ecoEXPLORE Central NC will cohost Dazzling Dragonflies on Wednesday, September 9, 3:30–4:30pm. Learn all about dragonflies, how to tell them from damselflies, and how to attract them to your garden. Visit the Facebook event page for more info, and click here to sign up for this free online event.
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences will host its Virtual Science Café on Thursday, September 10, 7–8pm. This month’s topic will be Hurricane Track Analysis Research, with Dr Stephany Taylor from Shaw University leading the conversation. Learn about all the ways hurricanes are tracked and the challenges of forecasting their intensity. Click here to attend this free event on YouTube.
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and the Prairie Ridge Ecostation will cohost the “Dragonfly Swarm Project” Live Chat with Scientists on Friday, September 11, 11am–noon. Talk and learn about dragonflies and damselflies, and feel free to ask questions. Click here for more info and to attend this free online event.
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the Prairie Ridge Ecostation, and ecoEXPLORE will cohost Meet the Caterpillars on Friday, September 11, 4:30–5:30pm. Students in kindergarten through grade 8 are invited to learn all about caterpillars—some fuzzy and cute and some that don’t even look like caterpillars. Click here for more info and to attend this free online event.
The Weekend Gardener
WPTF’s Weekend Gardener radio show has been on the air since 1985 and is a wonderful 3-hour exploration of flower and lawn care, soil improvement and pest control ideas, and much more. It airs every Saturday, 8–11am, on 680am AND 98.5fm. If you were too busy to listen, you can always click here and listen to past shows.
Free online ‘Backyard Naturalist’ course
The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, in partnership with government agencies and universities, will be running a 14-week, online webinar series open to anyone interested in learning about North Carolina’s biodiversity, ecosystems, and conservation efforts by concerned residents and organizations. The Carolina Backyard Naturalist Online will be held on Zoom, and you can attend just for fun or to earn North Carolina Environmental Education Continuing Education credits. Here’s the program schedule:
Click here for more info and to register (scroll down and click on “Register Online.” You’ll be sent a Zoom link every week for your class.
How to run a community garden during the pandemic
The North Carolina Cooperative Extension has put together a guide for managers of community gardens who want to maintain successful community gardens while practicing proper social distancing. Some of the topics include planning the garden, how to build a handwashing station for less than $20, and how to keep everyone safely engaged. Click here to read “Steps for Garden Managers and Gardeners.”
How to tell certain ‘flying things’ apart
NC State’s ‘Extension Gardener’
Here’s the Winter edition of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s online publication, “Extension Gardener”:
Digging Durham Seed Library
A creative partnership of the Durham County Library, SEEDS, the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, NC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners, and the Durham Library Foundation has resulted in the Digging Durham Seed Library. Now you have a place to get free seeds to start your garden, including flowers, vegetables, and herbs. The South Regional, East Regional, North Regional, and Southwest Regional libraries have seed libraries. Contact Margaret Anderson at 919-560-8598 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Tell us your success story about planting a garden using seeds from the Digging Durham Seed Library:
Main Library—300 N Roxboro St, 919-560-0100 [closed; under renovation]
South Regional—4505 S Alston Ave, 919-560-7409
East Regional—211 Lick Creek Ln, 919-560-0203
North Regional—221 Milton Rd, 919-560-0231
Southwest Regional—3605 Shannon Rd, 919-560-8590.