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Weeds: The Gardeners Never-Ending Task

Weeds: The Gardener's Never-Ending Task

We have had lots of rain here in my Maryland, zone 7 garden. And with the rain, the weeds and grass have grown in leaps and bounds--way bigger than all of the carefully planted vegetables, herbs and flowers. So I spent the last three days weeding, which gave me lots of time to reflect on the subject.

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Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture

Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture

While in Tarrytown, New York, attending the HSA Conference, we made a visit to Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, which was well worthwhile the trip. If you are in the area, by all means, make an effort to visit these handsome gardens and experience the many aspects of a well laid out and attractive, yet working farm from greenhouse crops to field crops and orchard to flower and herb gardens.

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The Glories of Spring in the Garden

The Glories of Spring in the Garden

This is a thrilling time of year for gardeners. Each day we delight in the plants around us--what is popping up, producing food,budding, then flowering--not to mention what we are sowing and transplanting baby seedlings. It is both a relief and great joy to finally have our hands in the earth and have to scrub the dirt from our hands and tools. Now, if only the rain would give us a break, so I can get back out there!...

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Celebrate National HerbDay with a Dozen Favorite Perennial Herbs

Celebrate National HerbDay with a Dozen Favorite Perennial Herbs

On this last day of April, we are heading into the merry month of May and spring has finally arrived for real. Gardeners across the country are rejoicing--and I am delighted to see perennial herbs popping up here and there in the kitchen garden--these plants are fairly hardy so most of them make it through the cold of winter. We anxiously await their leafing out and we welcome them every spring, dear old friends that they are.

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Everyday is Earth Day in the Garden

Everyday is Earth Day in the Garden

After a very cold spring, this gardener decided to spend Earth Day in the garden with my hands in the earth. It was a perfect spring day--sunny and cool--at least the gale-force winds seem to have abated. Yesterday and today up until 1:09 pm this afternoon, we were in a 2nd quarter moon, in the sign of Cancer, which is a fruitful planting sign, so I wanted to get my aboveground plants transplanted and seeds sown before the moon traveled into Leo which is a barren sign.

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Cultivating and Harvesting Hops (Humulus lupulus)

Cultivating and Harvesting Hops (Humulus lupulus)

Since hops are Herb of the Year for 2018, I figure I ought to tell you about growing them--actually they are fairly easy to cultivate. Some gardeners find them to be invasive, since they send out underground runners and are a rapid-growing vine; they definitely need support and room to spread.

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Saint Patrick’s Day kicks off Gardening in March

Saint Patrick’s Day kicks off Gardening in March

Many folks practice planting potatoes on Saint Patrick's Day, and some plant peas and/or onions too. This is a tradition for many gardeners who live in warmer climes, although I’ve seen hardcore gardeners get out there even in frigid weather and work the cold earth to get their first crop of potatoes in on St. Paddy’s Day.

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It’s Potato Planting Time

It’s Potato Planting Time

If you haven’t eaten a homegrown potato, you don’t know what a real potato tastes like. Spring’s the time to plant potatoes in the vegetable garden. Here’s everything you need to get your potato crop off to a good start.

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Six Seed Selections to Sow for the Summer Season

Six Seed Selections to Sow for the Summer Season

While you are considering which seeds to order for this coming season, here are a few favorites that I have been growing for many years. While I try new plant seeds each season--these are must haves--ones that I really don't want to be without.

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Tortilla Soup--Comfort Food

Tortilla Soup--Comfort Food

There is nothing like a bowl of nourishing hot soup on a cold winter day, especially a grey, damp rainy day that sort of seeps into the bones in your body that seem to complain about the weather. I add enough capsicum and allium to make me sweat a little and I feel warm to the very core of my body. Try some tortilla soup—it is warming comfort food.

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Snow:  Poor Man’s Fertilizer

Snow: Poor Man’s Fertilizer

Is this familiar adage an old wive’s tale? In fact, snow does contain nitrogen and other particulates like sulfur, which it collects as it falls through the atmosphere, however so do rain and sleet, and believe it or not, lightning.

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Seeds

Seeds

If you haven’t ordered your garden seeds for 2018, now is the time. As I sit by the woodstove looking out on another grey, cold day, the precipitation is coming down heavily. It started out as freezing rain, now it is rain and once the temps start to drop this afternoon, who knows what it will turn to? The back porch steps, the deck and even spots on the packed gravel drive are like a skating rink—so I am not going anywhere.

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Make some Healthy and Hearty Soup for the New Year

Make some Healthy and Hearty Soup for the New Year

This soup blog was inspired by our recently departed, Dr. James Duke, an inspiration and mentor to many of us--and a master soup maker. There is nothing like a warm bowl of soup on a cold winter day. What better way to start off this auspicious New Year's Day (with a full Wolf moon to boot) than with a healthful, warming winter soup? This split pea soup sticks with you--chockablock full of vegetables--as well as roots and herbs that will build up your immune system and keep you healthy during the cold and flu season.

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Tools for the New Year

Tools for the New Year

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Here are a few gifts that I ask for every year--as well as a few new tools that I received this holiday season. These are items that I find essential to help me during the year, both in the garden and everyday.

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Early December Garden to Kitchen

Early December Garden to Kitchen

We have had a mild autumn/winter season thus far in my zone 7 Maryland garden. Still able to do chores in the garden and bring in bounty to create warming seasonal dishes. Time for harvesting whatever is still available, cleaning up the garden, last-minute planting, getting ready for the holidays and wood chores. What are you up to in your garden and kitchen?

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New Idea for Detecting Potato Growing Problems

New Idea for Detecting Potato Growing Problems

The Organic Potato Plant Detective, by Wood Prairie Family Farm, is a winner of the coveted 2018 Green Thumb Award by the Direct Gardening Association. The kit includes two different potato varieties that help growers and gardeners diagnose their potato growing problems.

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Sage--Its not just for turkey!

Sage--It's not just for turkey!

Every year when Thanksgiving rolls around, folks get out their spice jars of neglected, little used sage--albeit some buy it fresh for the holiday, and then there of those of us gardeners who grow sage--and we go out to the herb bed and cut branches to use in our dinner. Sage is the most commonly used herb in turkey stuffing... and not much else. I think of sage as a cool-weather herb and use it often as a cooking ingredient in the cold fall and winter months.

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Use the last of your tomato harvest to make: Tomato Bisque with Curry and Coconut Milk

Use the last of your tomato harvest to make: Tomato Bisque with Curry and Coconut Milk

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During our recent celebration of the Herb Harvest fall Festival at the Ozark Folk Center, we had a Caribbean-influenced menu. The following soup recipe was one of the favorite menu items--and it it season appropriate--just in time to make a delicious hearty soup and use up the last of the garden harvest of summer tomatoes. Make this soup soon--you will be glad that you did!

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Is it Welsh Rabbit or Rarebit?

Is it Welsh Rabbit or Rarebit?

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Rarebit or Rabbit--it's basically a cheese sauce over toast. I made this for the Great Hops Cookoff (had just 10 minutes) at the IHA conference and of course, I added herbs and a good hoppy IPA for maximum flavor, along with a dead ripe summer tomato. This is a quick and easy dish to make when you don't know what to have for lunch or supper and you don't feel like another sandwich.

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Chile Pepper Season: Heres a Trio to Try

Chile Pepper Season: Here's a Trio to Try

Being a confessed chilehead, I have grown many varieties for over 40 years. Here are a few that might be new to you, that I think are worthwhile growing.

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