Grow It Eat It - Master Gardener Demo Gardens

 Herb garden at the Derwood Demo Garden

Herb garden at the Derwood Demo Garden

For inspiration and information on creating your own food garden visit the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden located at the Agricultural Farm History Park, Derwood, MD.  The garden is open to the public from dawn until dusk, 365 days a year for self-guided tours.  Created and cared for entirely by volunteers, this garden is a great place to get ideas.  The gardeners here try new techniques and plants year to year and are a wealth of knowledge.  This  year, for example, you can see an African keyhole garden -- perfect for urban limited space or building a garden over cement or other impervious surface.   

 African keyhole garden made of compost bins linked by zip ties with a central area for composting to "feed" the garden.

African keyhole garden made of compost bins linked by zip ties with a central area for composting to "feed" the garden.

 Strawbale garden with pallets used for greater structural integrity.

Strawbale garden with pallets used for greater structural integrity.

The demo garden shows multiple techniques for gardening  in creative ways in sunny urban spaces where access to garden soil might be limited.  With strawbale gardening you can build the garden in any sunny spot, including the edge of a parking lot.  Talking with volunteers who have experience in these techniques can save you a year or two of trial/error.  Visit the garden on Tuesday mornings and you'll find volunteers there at work and willing to answer questions.

 Even with no more than recycled containers you can create a patio or balcony garden.  Be sure the recycled containers are safe to use as food growing containers.

Even with no more than recycled containers you can create a patio or balcony garden.  Be sure the recycled containers are safe to use as food growing containers.

I was interested to see how they've given up tomato cages for bamboo poles and string with tomato plants in rows.  I can see that walking along and picking might be easier -- and the supplies to build the structure are a way to recycle the invasive bamboo found in most of our communities.  

 A printable map of the garden is available at http://mcmgdemogarden.com/

To schedule guided tours by a Master Gardener, call 301-590-9650 Monday – Friday, 9 am to 1 pm, March though October. This approximately quarter acre site contains 11 small gardens, each with a different theme.

General information about all of the state Master Gardener programs is available at:

http://extension.umd.edu/mg