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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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Spring is Bustin Out all Over!

Spring is Bustin' Out all Over!

Today celebrates the vernal equinox--the first day of spring. We gardeners rejoice that we are able to start sowing seed and soon will have out hands in the garden earth. For some of us, in warmer climes we are enjoying the harbingers of spring in their full regalia, while others in the northern states are looking forward to spring as the winter storms still continue with howling winds, rain, snow, sleet and even hail. Enjoy these photos from Brookgreen Garden in Murrell's Inlet, South Carolina and imagine your gardens to come!

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Plant a Seed with Slow Food USA

Plant a Seed with Slow Food USA

Vegetable gardeners across the country can join a global food campaign by planting a special trio of companion plants. Slow Food USA’s Plant a Seed kit connects the Three Sisters to gardeners around the world.

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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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Lunar Happenings

Lunar Happenings

What the heck is a Super Blue Blood Moon? The moon was officially full this morning at 8:27 am EST. This is a particularly eventful full moon in that it is the second one this month, so called a blue moon, since we already had a full moon on the first of January. The Farmers' Almanac names it a Full Old Moon and it is the only lunar eclipse in North America this year , which was visible to those living west of the Mississippi in the U.S. and Western Canada before dawn this morning.

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Winter Musings

Winter Musings

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We have had very cold weather this month and now we have warmed up just a bit--enough to tease us--and make us think spring is in the air. Not. However we can dream of spring and our gardens to be, especially with the seed catalogues coming in and seed sales offered in our emails almost daily.

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Container Gardening Complete for Small Vegetable Gardens

Container Gardening Complete for Small Vegetable Gardens

Small-space vegetable gardeners will surely want to try the many creative projects in Jessica Walliser’s new book. If you’d like to learn how to plant a bean trellis bin, a bike-rim sweet potato trellis or a pollinator garden in an old trash can, it’s all right here.

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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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Currant Liqueur Makes for a Happy New Year

Currant Liqueur Makes for a Happy New Year

When it’s time to welcome a new gardening year, nothing says “cheers” like a glass of homegrown and homemade liqueur. Here’s how to grow your own currant liqueur.

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Roadside Attractions: Seasons Greenings at the United States Botanic Garden

Roadside Attractions: Season's Greenings at the United States Botanic Garden

Went for my annual visit to view the U.S. Botanic Garden's Holiday Show and I wasn't disappointed! This year's theme is Roadside Attractions and it is a fun exhibit. Besides that, it is always lovely to enter the conservatory where it is delightfully warm to come in out of the cold and full of tropical blooms, stunning array of poinsettias, and impressive holiday decorations from decorated trees to hanging baskets, wreaths and more. Don't miss a chance to visit this live or go online and check it out. https://www.usbg.gov/plan-your-holiday-visit

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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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How to Decorate Your House Like the White House

How to Decorate Your House Like the White House

Everyone knows the holiday decorations at the White House are spectacular. That’s because it takes a year of planning, an army of volunteers, thousands of ornaments, and miles and miles of lights. But you don’t have to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to have a lavish display, you just need Laura Dowling's new book.

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Smoked Chiles en Adobo

Smoked Chiles en Adobo

It is easy, though a bit time-consuming to smoke your own chiles and make this adobo sauce--however the end product is well worth it--wicked good stuff!

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Smoking Chile Peppers

Smoking Chile Peppers

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Chipotle peppers are smoke-dried jalapeno peppers. The latter are thick-walled and do not dry well, so they have been smoked-dried for centuries. Recently, I decided to try smoking an assortment of chile peppers in a smoker and make my own chiles en adobo.

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How to Decorate with Vegetables for Thanksgiving

How to Decorate with Vegetables for Thanksgiving

We all know vegetables are an important part of the Thanksgiving feast, but they make gorgeous table decorations, too. Here are some special ways to use fruits and vegetables with plants and flowers to celebrate the harvest holiday.

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Botanical Notecards: Make your own holiday cards and gifts

Botanical Notecards: Make your own holiday cards and gifts

It's not too late to press flowers and leaves of annuals and perennials to make your own botanical cards for holiday greetings or gift giving.

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6 Ways to Reuse Halloween Pumpkins

6 Ways to Reuse Halloween Pumpkins

Instead of throwing that Halloween pumpkin away, put it to good use. There are plenty of ways for recycling that winter squash instead of letting it go to waste.

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End of Gardening Season: Celebrate the Harvest!

End of Gardening Season: Celebrate the Harvest!

We have had our frost warning in my zone 7 Maryland area and I went out the day of the prediction and gathered all of the green tomatoes still on the vine and harvested a large number of chile peppers still hanging on the plants. The chiles still need to be processed; I will dry some of them, make salsa and hot sauce with some and of course eat them every day with every meal. I cut annual flowers and herbs and filled the house with bouquets of zinnias, nicotiana, marigolds and nasturtiums and basil—all of them will turn black with a frost.

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Cilantro Substitutes or Similars

Cilantro Substitutes or Similars

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This year we are celebrating Cilantro & Coriander as Herb of the Year for 2017. This herb has a very distinct flavor—there are a number of plants that have many of the same chemical constituents as Coriandrum sativum and sort of mimic the flavor --these herbs are culantro, papaloquelite, pipicha and Vietnamese coriander.

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Herb Harvest Fall Festival Celebrates Central America, the Caribbean Basin and Mexico

Herb Harvest Fall Festival Celebrates Central America, the Caribbean Basin and Mexico

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Every year at the Ozark Folk Center's HHFF, we celebrate different regions of the globe and see how they relate back to the Ozarks. This year we celebrated some of the tropical areas and had a Caribbean-Style Lavish Herbal Feast and two days of inspiring educational programs featuring Mexico, the countries on the Isthmus of Central America and the many islands in the Caribbean. Read about all of the fun that we had.

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