Go Organic

Go Organic
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Pansies

Pansies

These happy little faces are harbingers of spring and this year the National Gardening Bureau has announced that 2017 is the Year of the Pansy.

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Sure Signs of Spring

Sure Signs of Spring

Spring is in the air… although Mother Nature has certainly been teasing us! In my Maryland zone 7 garden, we had a fairly mild winter with much less precipitation than we have had in many years...

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California Farmers Markets

California Farmers' Markets

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In Maryland, my local farmers' markets close up for the winter season. In warmer climes like California and the southern states, markets go on year round. For we gardeners who are awaiting the growing season with baited breath--here are some mouthwatering shots of produce taken at the Santa Cruz farmers' market.

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Coastal California

Coastal California

On my recent visit to California, I hiked in the majestic redwood forest, walked on the beaches of the Pacific Ocean, and visited gardens from the San Francisco Botanic Garden to the arboretum at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Come take a little trip with me...

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 Favorite Gardening Tool: Hori Hori Update

Favorite Gardening Tool: Hori Hori Update

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I've had my hori hori (Japanese weeding knife) for more than 25 years. It is the tool that I use most often in the garden other than my Felcos. I have bought many of these useful tools for gifts. This past summer I went online to order one for a gift and found a new and improved model... read all about it...

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Cilantro & Citrus--Great Salad Combo!

Cilantro & Citrus--Great Salad Combo!

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It is January and here in my zone 7 garden, my fall-sown coriander seed is still producing cilantro leaves. While they are not huge and hearty as they are in spring and fall--I am still gathering fresh leaves to brighten winter salads. Here is one of my favorite salad recipes.

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Cilantro & Coriander, Herb of the Year 2017

Cilantro & Coriander, Herb of the Year 2017

This year we celebrate Cilantro & Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) as Herb of the Year 2017. The leaf of the coriander plant is known as cilantro throughout much of the western world. It is often called coriander leaf and Chinese parsley in other parts of the globe. The seed is known as coriander and has been used as a spice--from as far back as the ancient Egyptians and was mentioned in the Bible. It's time to order your seed to have it in time for early spring planting!

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Seed Catalogs for 2017

Seed Catalogs for 2017

My first seed catalog for 2017 arrived before Christmas. I enjoy sitting by the woodstove with the catalogs and perusing the photos and descriptions of mouthwatering herbs, vegetables and fruits, dreaming of this year's garden-to-be. Admittedly, I have been receiving fewer catalogs every year since I tend not to order from many of them--and I am sure seed companies need to save the expense of printing and shipping color catalogs to folks who don't place orders. Here are a few that I will be ordering from soon--as well as a few that I order from online.

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Cucurbitas: Winter Squash and Pumpkins

Cucurbitas: Winter Squash and Pumpkins

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One of the best things about fall and winter seasons is that we get to eat seasonal foods--root vegetables, winter squash and pumpkins, brassicas, cool-weather greens, apples, pears, pomegranates, persimmons, all sorts of nuts and more. Most of these foods store well, so we are able to enjoy them during the cold weather. I especially like winter squash and pumpkin; their bright orange and yellow flesh brightens our meals and nourishes us. Here are a few that I have grown, or are easy to get at your farmers' markets, local farm stands, organic markets and even the grocery store.

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Sweet Potatoes and Apples

Sweet Potatoes and Apples

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It's that time of year that we want to eat warming comfort foods. I try to use vegetables, fruits and nuts that are in season. This recipe features two of my favorites--sweet potatoes and apples--in a simple yet scrumptious dish. It is easily prepared in a crockpot, although it can be made in a dutch oven or covered casserole in the oven.

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Have you planted your garlic yet?

Have you planted your garlic yet?

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It's that time of year again... as the leaves begin to fall, it is time to think about getting your garlic bed ready to plant. It is so worthwhile to grow your own because there is such a vast array of types to choose from, which you just cannot get at the grocery store. I personally prefer hardnecks over softnecks, although I always grow some of each for their flavor and for storage.

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The Burren Perfumery Garden

The Burren Perfumery Garden

Here's one last garden for you to see from my recent trip to Ireland, the Burren Perfumery. It is a unique and lovely place to visit with its shop full of fragrant botanical products, informational video of the burren and its plants, soap room, distillery, cafe and herb gardens.

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Another Look at Lasagna Mulching

Another Look at Lasagna Mulching

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The idea of a no-dig garden that builds rich soil sounds like a perfect solution for organic vegetable gardeners. But does lasagna mulching really work?

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Herbal Harvest: Basil and More...

Herbal Harvest: Basil and More...

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It's that time to gather in the last basil harvest--as well as any other tender herbs--because they will go with the first frost. Here's a few things that I do with an abundance of basil.

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September Garden Harvest

September Garden Harvest

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Well the late September garden is full of chiles as well as herbs to harvest and preserve... that's what I've been doing the past few days. And the annual flowers are blooming their hearts out--getting the last of the calendula flower heads and gathered the nasturtiums for a lovely, peppery vinegar. I also sowed some lettuce seeds, cold-weather spinach, cilantro,kale and radishes; I am not sure whether they will germinate and produce before the cold weather sets in, though I decided to take a chance. If they do germinate, I'll be covering them with floating row cover for sure.

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Last Day of Summer

Last Day of Summer

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Today is the last day of summer and tomorrow heralds the autumnal equinox. The summer garden is definitely looking like fall is in the air. See what my zone 7 Maryland garden looks like and what I'm harvesting and preserving.

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DeBaggio Herb Farm and Nursery

DeBaggio Herb Farm and Nursery

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Last, though not least, I want to write about the last herb farm that we visited on our IHA field trip, DeBaggio Herb Farm and Nursery. Although they are closed for the season, they weeded their gardens and opened up for us to visit.

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Blooming Hill Lavender Farm

Blooming Hill Lavender Farm

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The IHA post-conference fieldtrip went to Virginia. One of the highlights of the tour was a visit to Blooming Hill Lavender Farm with an herbal lunch catered by Kim Labash, proprietress of Loudon Valley Herbs. Cyndi and Peter Rinek are collectors of many things besides lavender and you will enjoy the photos herein of their delightful farm in Philomont, Virginia.

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The Green Farmacy Garden

The Green Farmacy Garden

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The Green Farmacy Garden is Dr. Jim Duke's medicinal herb teaching garden (his book the Green Pharmacy published by Rodale in 1997 has sold over a million copies) used by the Maryland University of Integrative Health, located in Fulton, Maryland. Recently, the International Herb Association went on a field trip there--read all about it here!

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The Blooms in June

The Blooms in June

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Tomorrow is the summer solstice--the longest day of the year--and this date heralds the arrival of summer in full swing. We gardeners are diligently tending our pieces of earth, delighting in each bloom or growth spurt and anxiously awaiting the ripening of our summertime bounty.

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