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Juicy Fruits: From Scuppernongs to Peach and Blackberry Crumble

Juicy Fruits: From Scuppernongs to Peach and Blackberry Crumble

The seasonal fruits of summer are at their peak and I've been enjoying wild and domestic berries, the stone fruits and melons. I've been slurping up juicy melons, dead-ripe peaches, nectarines, plums and plump berries and cherries--I delight in fruits that squirt and run down your chin and drip from your hands. Just talking about them makes my mouth water. They are refreshing besides being so delicious. Eating them out of hand is best... or more civilized on a plate is an alternative. However, now is the time to make some splendid simple desserts, preserves and conserves.

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Fire Fly Tomatoes Light Up the Garden

Fire Fly Tomatoes Light Up the Garden

Fire Fly tomatoes live up to their All-America Selections billing as 2019 winners. It’s easy to see how these yellow-white fruits earned their name.

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Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

In my last blog, I promised to post a recipe for my stuffed zucchini--so here it is. This is a great way to use any size zucchini or summer squash and is tasty and filling; it is a very versatile recipe.

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Squashes and Tomatoes and Corn, Oh My!

Squashes and Tomatoes and Corn, Oh My!

It's that time of year gardening friends--we're up to our ears in squash, tomatoes, cukes and corn! Oh what a lovely dilemna. Revel in the garden bounty--eat it everyday, share it when you can--and preserve the harvest by canning, fermenting, freezing and drying.

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Slow Food Nations Grows Healthy Kids

Slow Food Nations Grows Healthy Kids

As in past years, the Slow Food Nations festival featured special displays to encourage kids to eat their vegetables. Part of that strategy is to help them learn to grow their own gardens and prepare their own meals and snacks with the harvest.

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Midsummer Garden Harvest

Midsummer Garden Harvest

Today is the first day of August, also recognized as Lammas Day (which is the celebration of the wheat harvest in parts of the Northern Hemisphere where English is traditionally spoken)and we are well into the summer gardening season. Every year by this time, the weeds are in fierce competition with the crops--sometimes even bigger than the crops. However, I did manage to harvest the root crops last week when we were in the fourth quarter root moon. Look at my onions and potatoes. Zukes and cukes are coming in fast and furious and need to be picked everyday.

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Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums

One of my very favorite flowers that I grow in all of my gardens for many reasons—are nasturtiums—and I affectionately refer to these garden rowdies as “nasties”. They are easy to cultivate, and effortlessly fill in garden space, with their mounds of fun foliage even before their showy colors appear. In the kitchen, you can use both the fresh foliage and flowers to add a pleasant hint of heat and pungency (this dissipates when cooked so I use them mostly fresh) to many summer dishes.

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Edible Flowers that are Safe to Eat

Edible Flowers that are Safe to Eat

Upon request after a recent webinar on flowers in the kitchen, I am posting a list of some flowers that are safe to eat. You are responsible for proper identification.

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Incredible Edibles: Flowers in the Kitchen

Incredible Edibles: Flowers in the Kitchen

I recently did a webinar for the Herb Society of America by the same title. Right now we are in the height of the summer season and our gardens are full of flowers in bloom--many of them are edible. Bring these into the kitchen for fragrance, flavor and fun!

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Whats Bugging You in the Garden?

What's Bugging You in the Garden?

Summer is in full swing and that means the biting insects are out, too. If you've always been a favorite mosquito meal, this one’s for you.

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Its Summertime in the Garden

It's Summertime in the Garden

We recently celebrated the summer solstice as well as St. John's Day (sometimes referred to as Midsummer) and the hot weather has arrived here in Maryland. We haven't had much rain so plant growth, especially flowering, has progressed rapidly--it seems a lot of plants are flowering earlier than usual. Before we know it, we'll be harvesting summer veggies! Right now, a lot of herbs need to be cut back and harvested.

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Four Elements Organic Herbals: Growing Medicinal Herbs in Wisconsin

Four Elements Organic Herbals: Growing Medicinal Herbs in Wisconsin

On a recent visit to Madison, Wisconsin, a group of herbal enthusiasts went to visit the medicinal herb gardens of HSA speaker, Jane Hawley Stevens, proprietress of Four Elements Organic Herbals. Here are some photos of her prolific gardens located near the Baraboo Bluffs in Wisconsin and her apothecary shop, which is in North Freedom.

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Summer Solstice: Time for Farmers Markets, Gardening, Seasonal Bounty and Weeds

Summer Solstice: Time for Farmers' Markets, Gardening, Seasonal Bounty and Weeds

It is that time of year again already! Today we celebrate the true arrival of summer with the solstice--the longest day and shortest night of the entire year. Not that summer weather hasn't already been here for some time--it is hot here in Maryland!

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Herbs with Anise-, Fennel-, and Licorice-Like Flavors

Herbs with Anise-, Fennel-, and Licorice-Like Flavors

I recently did a program at the annual Herb Society of America conference in Madison, Wisconsin thus titled; this is a modified version of the handout. Since we are celebrating Agastache as Herb of the Year for 2019 and Anise Hyssop is the most popular of this genus, I figured I’d explore some of the other herbs in this flavor category. Anise hyssop is not related to anise (Pimpinella anisum), or hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) for that matter. It does however, smell and taste somewhat like anise. When we speak of anise flavor, a few other herbs come into play: fennel and licorice. These three herbs have similar aromas and tastes due to a few shared chemical constituents. And these three herbs are used to describe the flavor profiles of some other well-known herbs.

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Simple Steps to Prevent Powdery Mildew

Simple Steps to Prevent Powdery Mildew

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If you grow common vegetable garden crops -- like beans, peas, squash, pumpkins, melons and cucumbers –- you might see a powdery white coating on leaves and stems during the growing season. Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that doesn’t kill plants, but it can affect production. Here’s how to prevent it in your garden.

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Watering Plants with Sunlight and Air

Watering Plants with Sunlight and Air

A demonstration garden at the Denver Botanic Gardens uses a solar-powered atmospheric water harvesting system to irrigate a honey of a vegetable garden. The process uses solar energy to drive passive condensation to create high-quality fresh water from air.

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Artichokes are in Season

Artichokes are in Season

Spring is the season for asparagus and artichokes, rhubarb and strawberries, spring onions and baby salad greens and foraged wild weeds. It is a joyous time in the garden as well as in the kitchen—with so many delightful flavors and textures. I don’t think that folks eat enough artichokes. Perhaps, some have just never eaten one, or do not know how to prepare them.

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Grow an Herbal Tea Garden

Grow an Herbal Tea Garden

Is there anything more refreshing than a glass of iced tea on a hot summer day? What makes that tea even more delicious is growing your own herbs to prepare the perfect cup. Here’s what you need to know to plant your own herbal tea garden.

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Spring in the Vegetable Garden

Spring in the Vegetable Garden

It has been a very wet spring here in the Mid-Atlantic. I’m not complaining—always thankful for the precipitation—it makes it challenging for planting when the garden is soggy. Everything is verdant green and growing so fast you can see plants change daily.

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How to Shrug Off Arthritis in the Garden

How to Shrug Off Arthritis in the Garden

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May is National Arthritis Awareness Month, so let’s celebrate by looking at ways to keep vegetable gardeners gardening in spite of arthritic hands and knees. Here are ways to garden smarter with adaptive tools and easier techniques.

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