Small garden plots are available to residents on River Towers’ grounds at the rear of the property. The plots may be used to grow fruit, plants, flowers, and vegetables, but trees may not be planted. (See the garden rules for more information.) Garden tools are available in the garden shed. Hoses are provided as well.
To request a garden plot, residents should submit a completed application, which is available at the condo office or on the “residents only” page of the website. A $30 annual fee is payable by check or money order for a garden plot. The Chair of the Garden Committee will review applications and assign plots to residents on an “as available” basis. If you have questions, please contact Dianne Snyder, the Chair of the Garden Committee.
2017 Garden Timeline
March 25 - final day for submitting an application
Wednesday, March 29, 7:30 pm - meeting of all gardeners in the club room
Friday, March 31 - deadline for paying garden plot fee ($30)
Saturday, April 1 - plot selection for new gardeners, starting at 10 am in the garden. If you can't make it, contact the office to arrange an alternative date.
Saturday, April 8, 9-11 am - spring cleaning of common areas
Saturday, September 9, 10 am - committee meeting
Messages from the Garden Committee Chair
Please save Saturday, Sept. 9, for a meeting of all RT gardeners at 10 am in the garden. In case of rain, we’ll meet in the Club Room. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss some common concerns, such as getting rid of bamboo grass and other invasive weeds, as we head into the fall. The agenda for the meeting is in the next section. Please let me know of any items you’d like to add to the agenda.
The RT board has agreed to assign grounds staff to mow and weed whack the garden. I reviewed the assignment with Craig during a recent walk-through of the garden. We agreed it will include all unmaintained plots, as well as common areas. I expect it will start next week.
Those of you who have been battling the weeds, please remember to clean the soil from the roots before bagging them. Neglecting to do so doubles the weight of the trash bags and makes hauling them away a back-breaking job, not to mention the waste of soil.
As you harvest all those luscious tomatoes, squash, peppers, herbs, etc., please consider offering any excess to your fellow gardeners. I’ll be happy to post your offers, or anything else you want to share.
See you Sept. 9—if not in the garden before then!
Agenda for Garden Committee Meeting 9/9/17
(Note: Anyone who actively gardens at River Towers community garden and attends the meeting is a de facto member of the garden committee.)
1. Responsibilities—clarify the maintenance responsibilities of RT grounds workers vs. gardeners
2. Peripheral areas—what is going on in areas adjacent to the garden? How does it affect the garden?
3. Best practices—tips for new gardeners from the pros and Craig
4. Bamboo grass and other invasive plants—use of Roundup or other weed killers
5. Abandoned plots—establish a procedure for managing unmaintained plots so that they don’t intrude on neighboring plots
6. Garden map—form a committee to create a new map, drawn to scale
7. Raspberry patch—add plants or keep as is?
8. Tree nursery—any additions? How to transplant
9. Communal gardening resources—identify which items not kept in lockers are for community use; clarify use of rototiller and weed whackers
10. Community compost pile—any interest in starting one?
11. Tasks for fall/winter closing—set up task forces; decide date of Nov. work session to close up for winter.
If you have any items you would like to add, please let me know. Dianne
Please email your submissions (text and photos) to Dianne.
- The next note is from Clare Shea, who is moving away to tend to an ailing sister. Clare is a long-time dedicated gardener at River Towers, someone who has always made the extra effort to tend to the communal areas as well as her own. Among other things, we owe her a big debt ofgratitude for contributing the two new Adirondack chairs and the flowers in the floor boxes by the shed. The care she has taken in clearing out her garden is a model for us all.
- Message from Clare: I worked on cleaning-up my garden plot for its next "user." The new user can rototil the garden now or in October or in spring.
I removed most of the tiny stones in the walkway. Veggie gardenershate stones in their gardens. Jennifer Smith took the little rose bushes yesterday & wants the bricks which I put to one side. I helped transplant lots of the daylilies & all the iris onFriday to Montessori schoolgarden plots in Silver Spring. I pulled the gladiolas thathad bloomed & anybody else can pick the 2 remaining in next week or so. There are still some liriope that other gardens may transplant. Guess that's it.
FYI- Unless that crape myrtle tree is severely trimmed or cut down, my plot & many other nearby plots will be completed shaded.... no good for vegetable & no good for flowers. You can see the large, old rose bush in my plot has completely contorted itself seeking sun by branching only to North for a few rays of afternoon sun. Its Southside branches turned to grow straight-up. Whatshame. I kept clipping them to assist, but alas !
Dianne, enjoy your duties as Garden Czar . Farewell, my fellow gardeners. I've enjoyed our garden chats.
- Message from Ginger Rosa: "I saw a small bag of gypsum in the shed. It didn't have a name on it, and it was in the common area. Is it free for the taking?"
Places to Purchase Plants
- Green Spring Gardens' Garden Gate Plant Shop
- Greenstreet Gardens
- Holly, Woods, and Vines
- Home Depot in Mt. Vernon Plaza
- Lowes in Beacon Center
- Nature By Design
- Old Town Ace Hardware
- Whole Foods
Local Plant Sales
- American Horticultural Society's Spring Garden Market at River Farms in April
- Friends of Carlyle House's Garden Day Herb and Craft Sale in April
- Green Spring Gardens' Annual Plant Sales in May and September
- Mount Vernon Historic Plant and Garden Sale in April and May
- Old Town Farmers Market (a few vendors often have plants)
- Fairfax County operates a brush grinding operation which produces double-shredded wood mulch for residents. You can pick it up at multiple locations.
- If you have a friend who lives in Alexandria, you can ask them to go with you to pick up free mulch at 4215 Eisenhower Avenue.
* Note that you'll need to bring your own shovel and bucket.
- Fairfax County Master Gardeners
- Fairfax County Office of Virginia Cooperative Extension and their Vegetable Planting Guide and Recommended Planting Dates
- Green Spring Garden
- Master Gardener help line at Virginia Cooperative Extension: 703-228-6414
- Virginia Native Plant Society
- Don't forget about your fellow gardeners. Many of the experienced gardeners are generous with their advice and tips.