Vegetable Gardening Wisdom: Daily advice and inspiration for getting the most from your garden 9781635861419

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Vegetable Gardening Wisdom: Daily advice and inspiration for getting the most from your garden
 9781635861419

Table of contents :
Cover
Title Page
Copyright
Contents
Grow Your Inner Gardener
Late Winter: Planning & Seed-Starting
Spring: Planting & Tending
Summer: Nurturing the Bounty
Fall: Harvesting & Preserving
Acknowledgments
Metric Conversion Charts
Index

Citation preview

Vegetable Gardening

Wisdom

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Vegetable Gardening

Wisdom Daily Advice and Inspiration for Getting the Most from Your Garden

KELLY SMITH TRIMBLE

ß

Storey Publishing

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For Derek Your support helps me grow through every season.

The mission of Storey Publishing is to serve our customers by publishing practical information that encourages personal independence in harmony with the environment. Edited by Carleen Madigan, Hannah Fries, and Corey Cusson Art direction and book design by Jeff Stiefel and Ash Austin Text production by Erin Dawson Indexed by Christine R. Lindemer, Boston Road Communications Illustrations by © Harriet Popham Text © 2019 by Kelly Smith Trimble All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages or reproduce illustrations in a review with appropriate credits; nor may any part of this book be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means — electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or other — without written permission from the publisher. The information in this book is true and complete to the best of our knowledge. All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of the author or Storey Publishing. The author and publisher disclaim any liability in connection with the use of this information. Storey books are available for special premium and promotional uses and for customized editions. For further information, please call 800-793-9396.

Storey Publishing 210 MASS MoCA Way North Adams, MA 01247 storey.com Printed in China by R.R. Donnelley 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data on file

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Grow Your Inner Gardener 7

LATE WINTER Planning & Seed-Starting 13

SPRING

Planting & Tending 65

SUMMER

Nurturing the Bounty 125

FALL

Harvesting & Preserving 233 Acknowledgments 284 Metric Conversion Charts 285 Index 286

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Grow Your Inner

Gardener

I

grew up in a small town in eastern Tennessee, and though my family didn’t grow our food, we were connected with those who did. One of my favorite weekly errands was stopping in the Ripe ’n’ Ready, a farmer’s co-op with rows of simple wooden bins filled with fresh vegetables and nuts, shelves of local honey and milk, and barrels of homemade jelly candies. Every summer, we’d load up paper bags with greens beans and sit on the front porch to string them. My mother and grandmother would make a pot of beans (cooked with ham and served with cornbread, of course) and then can the leftovers. It sounds idyllic and, looking back, it was. R

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I believe that you, too, can grow at least some of what you eat, no matter where you live and regardless of what else is requiring your time and attention.

Grow Your Inner Gardener

I took that sense of small-town connection with me to college, where I studied environmental ethics. When I was a senior, I went with one of my classes to visit a beautiful family farm tucked inside a cove beneath the Cumberland Plateau in middle Tennessee. I learned about rotational grazing, stood in awe of the fields of vegetables, saw cultivated mushrooms for the first time, and fell in love with the farm’s deep connection to the land. That experience showed me that growing food could be a deeply personal and satisfying way of connecting with and protecting the environment. As Wendell Berry in his essay “Think Little” writes: “I can think of no better form of personal involvement in the cure of the environment than that of gardening. A person who is growing a garden, if he is growing it organically, is improving a piece of the world.” In my cubicle at my first publishing job, in Birmingham, Alabama, I pinned up a photo I’d taken that day at the farm, hoping that I’d one day work my way back to that rural ideal. But what I’ve discovered over the past 15 years or more of gardening is that the backyard garden (or front yard, if that’s where your sun is) offers more opportunities than I’d ever imagined.

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The key is to start small and think of gardening as a lifelong education. Daily practice is essential to this education — in a practical sense, for more bounty, and in a deeper sense, for developing a connection with the garden as a tool for selfdiscovery and satisfaction. I know that your attention is likely divided among work, school, family, health, and other responsibilities. Mine is too. That’s why I wanted to create a book that

Grow Your Inner Gardener

It is possible for anyone to grow their own food, at least some of it; you don’t have to live in a small town or picturesque landscape. I’ve done it — at my third-floor urban apartment, where I planted tomatoes in pots in the parking area; at my first house, where I dug up the front yard to try growing a little of everything; and in my suburban backyard, where I currently garden in a series of raised beds.

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Grow Your Inner Gardener

presents bite-sized, seasonally appropriate advice and information that you can take action on immediately or recall when the opportunity arises. If your mind is scattered on a daily basis to the degree that recollection doesn’t come easy, flag the pages you’re most interested in, and I promise, over time, gardening will help focus your mind. You may even become like me and have to force yourself to think about anything else! I’ve organized this book generally by season, from late winter, when days start stretching and the ground wakes up from winter slumber, to late fall, when gardeners start thinking about what can overwinter (kale! parsnips!) and putting the rest to bed. Precise timing, from frost dates to planting times, varies depending on where you live, of course. Topics covered include organic gardening basics, like soil building and planting for pollinators; understanding, choosing, planting, and saving seed; growing in all seasons, climates, and spaces large and small; easy ideas for harvesting, cooking, and preserving produce; and much more. You will also find quotes from wise gardeners and cooks that are meant to nourish your hunger for connection with the

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ground and with your food. A common theme among these voices: Know you won’t be perfect, but if you truly care about your plants, you will be a good gardener. That’s something I’ve known to be true but had trouble expressing, so I was glad to read it so clearly in the words of Eliot Coleman in The New Organic Grower: “Quality is the result of the skill of the producer coupled with care. Experience will provide the skills, but caring must come from within.” For me, growing food has become not only a healthy way to connect with the land and what’s on my plate but also a means of meditation. My appreciation for the many acts of gardening has made me more mindful of how all food is grown, prepared, and wasted (or not). It may be helpful for you, too, to think of small acts in the garden, such as planting seeds or pulling weeds, as a mindfulness practice akin to yoga and meditation.

Grow Your Inner Gardener

Like making art or turning wood, planting and tending a garden — making compost, starting seeds, observing and identifying insects, and, yes, stringing the green beans — is really a series of small acts that add up to a lifestyle, and a life. My hope is that you will use this book to help guide you in a daily practice as you learn to grow your own food, eat what you grow, and develop a lifelong love of gardening.

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Late Winter Planning & Seed-Starting

A

fter holidays and hibernation, I find myself with a deep yearning for green things. Seed catalogs spark my anticipation, and I begin plotting, making new resolutions for the year’s garden, always vowing to try a few new plants, techniques, and recipes. This time is as much about devouring gardening wisdom as it is about enjoying the few precious plants we can grow.

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For gardeners, the arrival of mail-order seed catalogs signals the point when winter turns toward spring. Sign up for a few and experience this joy for yourself. Look for seed companies that focus

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on varieties for your region.

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I have seen women look at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they’re feeling because that’s how I read the seed catalogs in January. Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

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If there’s a “Ready, Set, Go” for the gardening season, it’s the last frost date. An estimation of the date when you can expect the final frost of the spring to occur, the last frost date varies from place to place. Mark yours on the calendar and start planning — the anticipation can get you through

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the late winter blues.

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Save wood ash from your fireplace, fire pit, or woodstove to use as a soil amendment. Ash contributes potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and other nutrients. It’s also very alkaline, so it can raise soil pH.

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YOU CAN GROW HERBS

year round indoors near

a sunny window. Use containers with drainage holes placed on saucers so you don’t damage a sill or table.

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Rosemary, oregano, basil, and sage thrive in the sunniest spots (six hours of exposure a day is ideal), but you can get away with mint, parsley, cilantro, and chives in lower-light conditions.

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z IN

THE KITCHEN z

Herb Butter This is a simple way to feel fancy without spending a lot of money or effort. Choose herbs based on what’s in season, and use the butter as a spread or topping, or to infuse baked goods with subtle herbal flavor. 1. Soften 1 stick (½ cup) of unsalted butter in a bowl. 2. Add chopped fresh herbs, such as sage, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, or oregano. Adjust the amount from 2 to 5 tablespoons depending on the potency you desire. 3. Combine the butter, herbs, and a dash of salt by hand with a spoon or spatula. 4. Store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days, or wrap in parchment or wax paper and freeze.

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Folk wisdom has it that a poor gardener grows weeds, a good gardener grows vegetables, and a very good gardener grows soil. Edward C. Smith, The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible

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Think of soil as a living being that needs food, water, and care like we all do. Compost provides food for earthworms and microbes, mulch gives protection against moisture loss, and not walking on or overworking your soil helps it thrive and grow.

Deeper soil is better. Whether you want to grow them in the ground, a raised bed, or a container, most vegetables need to be planted in at least 8 inches of loose soil. Anything less will stunt growth, and anything more will increase it. Late Winter 21

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CROP ROTATION

is the practice of

moving crops around the garden, largely by plant family, to avoid common pests and diseases and to account for what certain plants give to or take from the soil. It can get a bit complicated.

FOR SMALL GARDENS,

think about

dividing vegetables into these groups: legumes (beans and peas), roots, fruiting plants, and leafy greens, and rotate these crops around your

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garden from year to year.

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Treated wood isn’t ideal for building raised beds. The chemicals that make it rot resistant can leach into surrounding soil and affect soil microbes. Cedarwood naturally repels pests and, though pricey, is a better bet for long-term soil health. Late Winter 23

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Make your raised beds no wider than twice your arm’s length. You should be able to reach the center to harvest without straining. A 4 x 4-foot block

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is a good size to start with.

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How large the garden should be is often hastily decided when the gardener is in the flush of spring fever. That’s a bad time! It’s like going grocery shopping when you’re hungry. Mel Bartholomew, Square Foot Gardening

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Consider day length when choosing onion varieties. Short-day varieties will produce bulbs better in the South, where they get closer to equal amounts of light and dark. Long-day varieties are best in the North, where there are more hours of light in summer.

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Day-neutral varieties do well anywhere.

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LONG SUMMER DAYS —

with up to 20 hours of sunlight — help gardeners in Alaska grow off-the-charts-big vegetables, like cabbages and pumpkins. That increased photosynthesis also makes the veggies sweeter. It’s a nice prize for those with such a short growing season — only about four months from last frost to first. Late Winter 27

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Phenology, the study of weather and its effect on plant and animal cycles, looks at climate signs rather than a calendar to determine planting and harvest dates. For example, phenological wisdom suggests sowing beets and carrots when dandelions start to bloom and planting

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potatoes as the daffodils flower.

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z IN

THE KITCHEN z

Indoor Sprouts You can have a steady supply of homegrown greens even in the depths of winter by growing sprouts indoors. Use a jar with a mesh or perforated lid for draining. 1. Drop a spoonful of sprouting seeds, like alfalfa, radish, chickpea, or lentil, into the jar and cover with water. 2. Soak overnight, then drain. 3. Rinse and drain daily until sprouts fill the jar (approximately 3 to 7 days). 4. Give the sprouts a final rinse; then remove and dry them. Eat within a few days.

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In warmer climates, sow ‘Easter Egg’ radishes in late winter for harvest around Easter. The multicolored mix produces little oval radishes in red, white, pink, and

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purple, like dyed Easter eggs.

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Plant a few radish seeds along with carrot seeds. The radishes will break through the soil first and help carrots do the same.

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The “baby” carrots available in groceries are actually regular-sized carrots cut and smoothed down by a lathe. Grow your own baby-sized carrots by choosing small varieties,

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such as ‘Thumbelina’.

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Spinach grows just like lettuce but is hardier in cold weather. It bolts as soon as weather heats up and days get longer. Choose from Savoy types, which have crinkled leaves, or flat-leaved varieties.

Late Winter 33

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No gardener plants only one thing. Yes, industrial agriculture does that, but no gardener would think of such nonsense. Gardeners balance high plants with low plants, top growers with bottom growers, vegetables with flowers. The gardener learns about crowding plants, about earthworms, soil tilth, and a host of comparisons and contrasts that create a vibrant place. Joel Salatin, Folks, This Ain’t Normal

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Just as in a natural ecosystem or a human society, diversity will make a garden more stable and therefore sustainable. Grow a variety of plants in the same bed, rather than planting a bed with all one crop. Monoculture attracts pests, while diversity confuses them.

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PEPPERS and other summer

veggies need heat to get started indoors. A heat mat is worth the cost, but you can also look for warm spots in your house, possibly the top of your fridge

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or near an oven or heat vent.

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Use a soilless seed-starting mix instead of garden or potting soil to start seeds indoors. Seed-starting mix generally contains peat moss or coir along with vermiculite or perlite and has a fine, even texture that’s good for germination and early plant growth.

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Open-pollinated varieties are pollinated naturally, by insects, wind, or other factors. These varieties will produce a new generation similar to the previous one.

Heirlooms are a subset of open-pollinated varieties well known for their flavors and stories. Each heirloom variety can be traced back through families and written or oral history to the first gardeners who Late Winter

grew it and passed its seed along.

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An heirloom variety of seed, besides being a genetic resource, has another quality. It is a cultural resource. It has a story. The story changes as time passes. Janisse Ray, The Seed Underground

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HYBRID SEEDS are produced

by controlled methods using pollen from different varieties or species, with the aim of getting characteristics of both. Be aware that when you grow hybrids, you can’t save the seeds for next year and expect similar results. The offspring may be weaker and won’t have the same characteristics as the plant from which Late Winter

you harvested the seed.

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There are thousands of tomato varieties, both open pollinated (including heirlooms) and hybrid. Look for those adapted to your region’s specific conditions, with descriptions like “cool climate,” “heat tolerant,” “early maturing,” and “disease resistant.”

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“Hardening off” means acclimating seedlings from a regulated indoor environment to an unpredictable outdoor one. It’s preschool for plants, where they learn to deal with shifting sunlight, temperatures, and moisture levels. Before transplanting them, harden off your seedlings by placing them in a cold frame or shady spot

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outside for a few hours at a time over a few days.

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Like a mini greenhouse on the ground, a cold frame can be used to grow crops during winter and to transition seedlings from indoors to outdoors. DIY cold frames can be made from wood and old windows, or even with straw-bale walls and a window for a roof.

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Walking on soil compacts it, limiting movement of air and water and making it unfriendly for roots. When planning your garden, factor in walking space

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but keep it minimal.

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Avoid working in soppingwet soil: disturbing it too much can also cause soil compaction. Wait for the soil to dry out a little before digging and planting.

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I have become so confident of having a constant supply of food that often when I decide to grow things I can eat they have to transcend the ordinary: they must have a different color than the usual; they must have a different shape; they must come from far away; they must be the favorite food of the people in the countryside of France or Italy, or in the mountains of Peru. Jamaica Kincaid, My Garden (Book)

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Order seed potatoes from certified growers rather than trying to grow from supermarket potatoes, which can spread disease and might be treated with chemicals (to prevent sprouting). Seed catalogs are full of interesting varieties. Growing potato varieties that are hard to find or expensive to buy is well worth it.

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Handling a seedling by the stem can lead to harmful breaks or bruises. Instead, to transplant, scoop up a little soil under the seedling to support it from the roots. If you must, you can

Late Winter

lightly touch the leaves.

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true leaves

cotyledons

Most seedlings have two types of leaves: seed leaves, or cotyledons, which appear first, and true leaves, which appear second and look like mini versions of a plant’s mature leaves. After true leaves appear, you can consider carefully fertilizing, thinning, or repotting the seedlings.

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“Full sun” means at least six hours per day. Some vegetable plants grown for fruit, like tomatoes and eggplant, prefer more, while others grown for leaves, such as lettuce, survive with a little less.

Perhaps more than any other vegetable, eggplant needs hot summer weather to grow well. If you live in a northern climate with a shorter growing season, plan to grow eggplant in large containers, where the smaller amount

Late Winter

of soil will heat up faster.

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Some seed varieties, like some people, thrive best under specific conditions. Eliot Coleman, The New Organic Grower

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Broccoli grows best between 65˚F and 80˚F. An extended cold snap below 40˚F may cause it to bloom too early, and a heat wave can trigger

Late Winter

the same issue.

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Start cauliflower indoors and set out transplants after the This helps dodge two things cauliflower hates: hard frost and hot weather.

Late Winter

last frost date in spring so the plant will mature before summer.

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Try regrowing celery, whether homegrown or store-bought, from the base of the stalk, a part most people toss. Place the base in a shallow bowl of water indoors on a sunny windowsill. Refresh the water daily. Watch for signs of regrowth from the center. Transplant outside in spring when temperatures are staying

Late Winter

above 40˚F at night and 55˚F during the day.

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Each beet “seed” is actually a fruit that contains up to six seeds. They germinate better if soaked Late Winter

in water an hour or so before planting, either in summer for fall harvest or early spring for summer harvest.

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When beet greens are about an inch tall, thin them so plants are 4 inches apart. Mound soil around each plant, giving more coverage for roots to grow.

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Melons, including watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew, need two to three months of hot weather, making them harder to grow in northern climates. Give them a head start indoors on a heat mat, and use black plastic to heat the soil around them

Late Winter

after transplanting.

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ROW COVER,

a lightweight,

partially transparent fabric, can be a plant saver: use it to shield plants during frost, hold in warmth and moisture during a cold snap, and protect young plants from pests.

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‘Moon and Stars’ is a particularly interesting Amish heirloom watermelon variety with spots on the rind instead of stripes: one large yellow “moon” spot and several little

Late Winter

yellow “stars.”

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SEED LIBRARIES,

often housed in

public libraries or community centers, act as local seed banks. Gardeners can check out seeds and grow them for a season with the promise of saving and returning the seeds to the library at season’s end.

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Gently touching and even shaking your plants, particularly those grown indoors, can help them grow better. It encourages plants to respond as though in their natural habitat (for example, growing thicker, shorter stems

Late Winter

in the face of potentially damaging wind).

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No matter how the harvest will turn out, whether or not there will be enough food to eat, in simply sowing seed and caring tenderly for plants under nature’s guidance there is joy. Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution

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Spring

Planting & Tending

L

ike stretching for the race ahead, spring’s slower, simpler pleasures are an enjoyable way to gear up for summer. This season is all about rediscovering freshness and revitalizing my body, the earth, and my taste buds. For me, nothing rivals tangy, spicy arugula picked and eaten right there in the garden . . . unless it’s the first red radish plucked straight from the soil.

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Peas are one of the first things you can plant outside in early spring. Soak pea seeds for about 24 hours before planting to soften the hard seed exterior and speed up germination.

Sugar snap peas are a cross between garden (shelling) peas and snow peas, offering the best of both worlds: crunchy, edible pods, and sweet, succulent peas. Sugar snap seeds have only been

Spring

on the market since the 1970s.

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“ “

The garden is a lot like a puppy: it needs care and attention every day. And like a puppy, it pays you back with endless rewards, the kiss of bloom on fruit, the sweet fullness of a fresh pea. Deborah Madison, Vegetable Literacy

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Even dwarf varieties of peas grow best with some support from a trellis. Chicken wire is a good option, or make use of your tomato cages out of season and use

Spring

them for peas in spring.

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Try planting

carrots at the base of your pea trellis.

Getting along “like peas and carrots” isn’t just a cliché. The plants make good garden companions and can be harvested together.

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Remove blossoms from pepper transplants before setting them out in the garden and for a couple of weeks after planting. This gives the plant an opportunity to put energy into roots and

Spring

leaves before pumping out peppers.

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Keep in mind that despite their affinity for heat, peppers can suffer from sunscald (basically a sunburn) if leaf cover isn’t sufficient. Growing peppers near taller, Spring

leafier plants, like tomatoes, can help.

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Tomato varieties are generally classified in one of two ways: Indeterminate: The plant will grow indefinitely until killed by frost. Determinate: The plant will grow to a certain height and stop. Choose determinate tomato varieties (sometimes called “bush” or

Spring

“compact” tomatoes) for growing in containers.

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An early

tomato variety

typically matures in less than 60 days, as opposed to regular varieties that can take 75 to 100 days. Early tomatoes are best for gardeners in cool climates with a short growing season.

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The first rule of thumb for container gardening? Containers must have drainage holes. Beyond that, nearly anything can make a great container, not just flowerpots but barrels, buckets, and bins, even old toolboxes or furniture. Just add drainage holes

Spring

and you’re in business. Containers are a chance to be creative!

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Save money on potting soil and reduce weight in a large container by using filler material at the bottom, such as plastic bottles or leftover plant containers. Cover with landscape fabric and then soil. This method also helps with drainage and airflow to provide good habitat for growing roots. Just make sure drainage holes aren’t impeded and the plant still has the right amount Spring

of soil depth.

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MULCH SHADES SOIL

to reduce water

evaporation and limit weed growth, protects plants from soilborne diseases that can be transferred when water splashes onto leaves, prevents soil erosion, and

Spring

decomposes to add nutrients to the soil.

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Straw and hay aren’t the same thing. For mulch, use straw — hay contains seeds that will sprout in your garden.

Spring 77

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After compost itself, mulches in general are the subject most actively boring to the organic gardener’s friends. Eleanor Perényi, Green Thoughts

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Newspaper makes a good first-layer mulch. Conventional wisdom used to be to use only pages with soy-based black inks to avoid the petroleum-derived colored inks. These days, however, most newspaper inks of all shades are made from soy. If you’re concerned, check to be sure.

Spring 79

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Cabbage-family plants (a.k.a. “brassicas”) include cabbage, kale, cauliflower, kohlrabi, broccoli, rutabaga, and Brussels sprouts. All prefer cool weather and can be planted in early spring or

Spring

late summer for fall growing.

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Cabbage’s days to maturity vary widely among varieties, from as few as 50 days to as many as 125. Varieties called “late” take longer to mature but are great for the fall season and for storage and preserving, while those labeled “early” are best for spring and will be ready sooner for eating fresh. Spring 81

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Lettuce varieties come in two main types: heading and leaf.

HEADING LETTUCES need more space and are harvested at once, as a single head.

LEAF LETTUCES are good for containers and small spaces, making them perfect for growing on patios or balconies and in

Spring

window boxes, even those without full sun.

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Plant lettuce among cool-season crops, like carrots, beets, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and other cabbage-family plants, where the lettuce will keep the soil shaded, acting as a living mulch that reduces weed growth and maintains soil moisture.

Sow lettuce seeds on top of the soil and cover only lightly with soil or seed-starting mix – they need sunlight to germinate.

Spring 83

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Nestle thyme, mint, rosemary, dill, and sage among your cabbage-family crops — the strong scents of these particular herbs can repel the cabbage moths

Spring

that become hungry cabbage worms.

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Remember that mint grows “like a weed,” and many gardeners consider it invasive. Give it a spot of its own or plant it in a pot, where it won’t spread. If you want to grow mint alongside other plants to repel insect pests, you can partially bury the pot in your in-ground or raised-bed garden.

Spring 85

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Mix green and red lettuces with pansies for easy, cool-season color.

Leaf lettuces, spinach, chard, and mustard can be grown with the “cut-and-come-again” method. Cut all leaves to an inch above the soil and

Spring

allow them to grow back.

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Meal planning is simply more exciting and less bewildering when you wait for fruits and vegetables to come into season, eat them steadily when they arrive, and say a reluctant goodbye for another year when their season has passed. Joan Dye Gussow, This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader

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THE KITCHEN z

DON’T LIMIT YOUR PICKLING TO CUCUMBERS.

Spring crops, like carrots, beets, and radishes, also make great pickled veggies. Pair these earthy root vegetables with similarly grounding spices, such as cinnamon, clove, and ginger.

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RADISHES MAY LOSE THEIR FIRMNESS AFTER YOU BRING THEM INSIDE.

Soak them in ice water for a half hour or so (before or after slicing) and they’ll perk up.

BUTTER SOFTENS THE PIQUANCY OF RADISHES TO PERFECTION.

Fresh, raw radishes with butter and salt make a simple, classic combo, but also try sautéing or roasting the radishes with butter, finishing with coarse sea salt.

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Discovering the varieties of beans that were grown by gardening enthusiasts was like the first time I ate a ‘Cherokee Purple’ heirloom tomato. The skies cleared, the heavens opened up, and I was eating well. Heirloom beans have been an obsession ever since. Steve Sando, The Rancho Gordo Heirloom Bean Grower’s Guide

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Black-eyed peas (known as southern peas in the South) are actually beans, members of the cowpea family of legumes. Cowpeas originated in West Africa and also include crowder peas, pink-eyed peas, and asparagus (or yard-long) beans.

For small spaces, try “bush” varieties of beans, which don’t need to be staked or trellised. You can even grow some bush bean varieties in containers.

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June-bearing strawberry varieties ripen as one large crop in late spring to early summer, making them best for preserving. Ever-bearing varieties ripen in early summer and also in late summer and early fall, but never a lot at one time, making them better for picking

Spring

and eating fresh.

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mother plant

runner Daughter plant

crown

The thick center of a strawberry plant, called the “crown,” grows roots from its base and new leaves and flowers from its top. Be careful not to bury the crown when planting. It will send out runners that will root and form new plants, called “daughter” plants. To keep the “mother” plant healthy and producing well, clip back all or some of these runners.

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ASPARAGUS CAN PRODUCE in the same spot for up to 20 years, so choose carefully when planning and planting, and give it a dedicated spot without competition. In the early years, the harvest season may be only a few weeks, but established plants will

Spring

produce longer, up to 8 weeks.

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Most gardeners plant asparagus from crowns, typically one-year-old plants. This is easier than starting from seed and gives you a leg up toward harvesting, since asparagus spears shouldn’t be harvested until the plants are about three years old.

Spring 95

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THE DISTINCTIVE FLAVOR OF ASPARAGUS

is identified by food scientists as a fifth taste, umami, beyond the four long-recognized ones: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. Asparagus and its umami flavor are best fresh from the garden. If you must wait, store the cut spears standing up in a container filled with a few inches of water.

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Satisfaction was seeing the tips of the asparagus poke through the earth, coming all the way up, wonderfully whole, real, and without blemish, just the way they should be really, from the trenches into which I placed their roots. Jamaica Kincaid, My Garden (Book)

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A PH TEST

(available at garden centers)

measures whether soil is acidic (below 7.0), alkaline (above 7.0), or neutral (7.0). The recommended pH for general vegetable gardening is about 6.5. Organic material and agricultural sulfur will lower pH, while

Spring

lime and wood ash will raise it.

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Blueberries need much more acidic soil (pH 5.5 or lower) than most garden vegetables, so it’s best to grow blueberries in their own dedicated patch.

Spring 99

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A fertile soil, like an educated mind, is a cumulative process, and with care it is capable of continuous improvement. Eliot Coleman, The New Organic Grower

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Good compost has the right balance of “brown” and “green” materials, about two-thirds brown and one-third green. Slowerdecomposing browns include straw, leaves, and brown paper. Greens, which break down faster, include grass clippings and kitchen scraps. The most common mistake backyard composters make is to tip the ratio in their compost more “green” than “brown.” If your compost feels soppy or smells funky, try adding more brown materials, such as straw, dried leaves, or shredded newspaper.

Spring 101

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After cutting seed potatoes into pieces with a couple of eyes each, let the pieces dry out on the cut sides for a few days before planting them —

Spring

this helps retain moisture and prevent rot.

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In small spaces, grow potatoes in containers or in flexible, permeable bags. When it’s time to harvest, dump the bag out and collect your potatoes. Some even have a flap for checking on potatoes growing under the soil or harvesting a few early (or new) potatoes without disturbing the whole crop.

Spring 103

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GROW ONIONS

from seed

(which takes longest), from transplants (which are most susceptible to diseases), or from sets, immature bulbs grown the previous year (which are quickest and

Spring

easiest but prone to bolting).

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Scallions (or “green” or “spring” onions) are just immature onions. Double up your spacing for onions, then harvest every other one as a scallion during spring. Leave those left to reach full size.

Spring 105

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PLANT ONIONS among your

other crops for natural pest control. Onion-family plants (including garlic) have a characteristic smell that deters many garden pests,

Spring

such as aphids, ants, and flea beetles.

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THE KITCHEN z

The chemical compounds that make you cry when CHOPPING ONIONS are also what help onions store for so long. (Sweet onions taste milder because they have less of these compounds, but this, along with higher water content, means they won’t store well.) To reduce tears when chopping onions, cut the root end, where the compounds are concentrated, last. Chilling before chopping also helps.

Spring 107

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Plant sweet potatoes from slips, cuttings grown from a mature sweet potato. You can order these from catalogs or online, or buy transplants that have been grown using slips.

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SWEET POTATOES

aren’t related

to potatoes or yams but are members of the morning-glory family, and unlike regular potato leaves, which are poisonous, sweet potato leaves are totally edible. They’re also loaded with vitamins and are popular in Asian and African cuisine. To eat, remove the leaves from the stems and use them as you would spinach. For a simple Asian-inspired side, try sautéing them with sesame oil and ginger.

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“Pie” pumpkin varieties are small and dense, with more pulp per inch for making pie purée. The plants are also more compact than regular varieties, and they mature more quickly, making them an all-around good garden pick.

When planting squash, pumpkins, or melons from seed, create a mound of soil a few inches high and plant a few seeds in each mound.

Spring

This helps keep soil warm and well drained.

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However blessed you may be with imagination, and whatever may have been your many years of experience, it seems impossible, when you put in hills of squash in spring, for you to be able to visualize how far they will probably wander before frost. Ruth Stout, Gardening Without Work

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Even if pea pods are past their prime, remove them from the plant and compost them. Leaving overmature pods on the plant signals the

Spring

plant to stop producing more peas.

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z IN

THE KITCHEN z

Pea-Shoot Salad Make a pea-shoot salad using the tender, edible vines, leaves, and flowers. 1. Harvest the growing tips of pea plants you’re also growing for pods, or harvest some solely for their greens as you thin them. 2. Toss 5 to 6 cups of pea shoots with a little olive oil and lemon juice. 3. Top with shaved Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper.

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rosemary

lavender

Lemon balm

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Many favorite culinary herbs are members of the mint family, including peppermint, spearmint, bee balm, sage, lavender, basil, oregano, thyme, lemon balm, and rosemary. You can easily identify mint-family plants by their square stems.

Mints play an important role in gardens by attracting pollinators, including honeybees, with their fragrant leaves and flowers. The botanical name for lemon balm, Melissa, even means honeybee in Greek.

Spring 115

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Things want to grow, I’d discovered; you just need to learn how to stop getting in the way. Jeanne Nolan, From the Ground Up

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Plant rosemary, lavender, sage, tarragon, oregano, thyme, and most other herbs in a pot or somewhere in the garden where they will get good drainage, then leave them alone. These plants typically don’t need fertilizer or much water.

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CHIVES

deter pest insects

and grow well in pots. Trim them often, and they’ll grow back quickly for multiple harvests in a season. But also allow some to go to seed so you can enjoy the pretty purple blossoms, which attract pollinators and make a perfect edible garnish. Use them for a pop of color and flavor on luncheon favorites like cucumber sandwiches

Spring

and potato salad.

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DILL

serves as host plant for the beautiful

swallowtail butterfly (as does parsley). You may spot the black-, yellow-, and green-striped caterpillars along the plant’s stem. They’re worth the sacrifice of a little dill, which grows easily and abundantly in summer, attracting many other beneficial insects and pollinators.

Spring 119

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Insects are considered “beneficial” in the garden if they help with pollination, prey on garden pests, or decompose wastes to create soil and compost. Honeybees, ladybugs, green lacewings, and ground beetles are

Spring

some familiar beneficials.

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Attract beneficial insects with a diversity of flowers, creating a year-round habitat called an insectary. Include self-sowing herbs (like cilantro, chamomile, and dill) with annual and perennial flowers (like sunflowers, cosmos, zinnia, yarrow, black-eyed Susan, coneflower, coreopsis, and calendula). In larger spaces, plant a border garden or bed, but in smaller spaces, even a container insectary will make a difference.

Spring 121

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When soil has warmed up to about 60 ˚ F, heat-loving tomato transplants are ready for the outdoors. Plant them deep in the soil, burying all but about 4 inches of plant. The buried stems will become roots.

Place tomato supports, like stakes and cages, when you plant to avoid disturbing precious roots later on. Even smaller determinate plants benefit from support,

Spring

and for indeterminate plants, it’s a necessity.

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Most of the good gardeners I’ve met seem to possess a faculty, akin to empathy, that allows them to sense what their plants might need at any time. Michael Pollan, Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education

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summer nurturing the bounty

I

n summer, my endurance is put to the test by heat, drought, and associated challenges. But as tough as this season can be, it also tenders the best and most recognized rewards, like the first luscious tomato or crisp cucumber, sliced and served with nothing but a little sea salt. Summer reminds us that the best things in life are worth working for.

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Water plants early in the morning to reduce evaporation from heat. It can also be a nice, meditative way to start your day — think of it as a mindfulness practice.

Similarly, instead of thinking of weeding as a chore, think of weeds as metaphors for anything unwanted or unneeded, such as negative thoughts, relationships, or habits. Removing literal weeds may help you remove

Summer

figurative ones as well.

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Something happens to me when I garden. I am fully, reliably, blissfully present to who I am and where I am in that moment. Janisse Ray, The Seed Underground

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When weather heats up in late spring and summer, keep carrots well mulched to hold in moisture and prevent the soil

Summer

from getting too warm.

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For root crops, too much nitrogen results in lush green tops but meager roots that, in the case of carrots and parsnips, can be forked or twisty instead of long and straight. Be careful not to overfeed them or grow in too-rich soil.

Summer 129

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z IN

THE KITCHEN z

Carrot-Top Pesto Don’t toss carrot tops! These overlooked greens are completely edible and taste a bit like their cousin, parsley. Preserve raw carrot greens by making carrot-top pesto. 1. Pulse together 1½ cups coarsely chopped carrot greens, ¼ cup roasted nuts (such as pecans or cashews), 1 clove garlic, and ½ cup olive oil. 2. Add ¼ cup grated Parmesan.

Summer

3. Adjust the ingredients to get a consistency you like.

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WAIT TO PULL UP CARROTS until after the roots

begin to push up out of the soil. To keep the exposed tops from turning green, you can hill up a little soil around them until harvest.

Summer 131

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The reason

cauliflower

heads stay so white is a labor-intensive practice called blanching — the leaves are manually folded and secured over the head to block sunlight. If you’re not up for doing this by hand, choose self-blanching varieties with leaves that curl around the head naturally, or go for purple, green, or orange varieties that don’t require

Summer

blanching and look fun on the plate.

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Cut broccoli heads with a sharp knife at a slight angle to prevent moisture from pooling up and making the plant susceptible to fungal issues.

After you harvest the main head of broccoli, leave the plant to produce harvestable side shoots

Summer

with smaller heads.

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Beans and peas secure much of their own nitrogen requirements through bacteria called rhizobia that live in their roots. When the plants die, any nitrogen stored (or fixed) in the roots is released back into the soil. This is one reason peas and beans are often building blocks of a succession-planting plan — they enrich the soil for plants coming after, including nitrogen lovers, like tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers.

Summer 135

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As I think back, it seems clear that the first serious sign of our move toward vegetal self-reliance was when we stopped planting everything in the spring. Joan Dye Gussow, This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader

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Succession planting is the practice of staggering planting times to extend the season. For example, peas have a short life, so if you plant some every few weeks you can draw out the harvest window. This works for lettuces and greens, like arugula, too. The term can also mean replacing one crop with another as the seasons change, such as removing spring peas to plant heat-loving peppers.

Summer 137

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Coffee grounds are especially good for your compost pile or for working directly into garden soil. Alongside organic fertilizer, they’ll contribute nitrogen

Summer

and improve soil consistency.

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Nitrogen promotes green leaves. If plant leaves are yellow, it may be a lack of nitrogen in the soil. Add compost, blood meal (a by-product of the meat industry), or fish emulsion (a by-product of the fishing industry).

Phosphorus also keeps your leaves green. A purple tint to leaves, particularly leaf veins, may mean your soil needs more of it. Amend with rock phosphate or organic bonemeal before the next planting.

Summer 139

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LETTUCE grows best in cool weather but can grow through summer if given some shade. Plant it at the base of taller summer crops, like tomatoes, or in the shadow of a cucumber

Summer

or bean trellis.

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ARUGULA (sometimes called “rocket”) grows fast. Pick leaves when young and tender, as older leaves can be tougher and taste bitter. As the plant flowers and stops producing leaves, you can still snip and use the edible blooms, which retain some of the characteristic spicy arugula flavor.

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Pick greens, such as kale, collards, mustard, and Swiss chard, from the bottom of the plant up and from the outside in. Keep the top and center leaves in place, and

Summer

the plant will continue to grow.

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LEAFY GREENS, like lettuce and kale, will bolt and bloom when weather warms. If you have space, leave the plants to attract beneficial insects, and clip the tasty blooms for salad.

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Water is taken up by roots and drawn into a plant’s stems and leaves. Watering leaves isn’t necessary and can actually make plants more susceptible to disease, so water at the base of the plant to get moisture where it’s needed most: the roots.

Water the entire garden bed, not just the area directly around the plant. This will encourage roots to extend

Summer

far deeper and wider.

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If a plant is stressed from too little or too much water or not enough nutrients from the soil, it will be more susceptible to pests. The first line of defense against pests is to grow plants in the best possible conditions.

Summer 145

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“Burpless” cucumber varieties are bred to reduce the amount of cucurbitacin, a bitter-tasting natural chemical that may cause burping. These varieties are generally sweeter and thinner skinned than regular cucumbers but are

Summer

otherwise grown in the same manner.

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PICKLING CUCUMBER VARIETIES

are typically shorter and have rougher skin than varieties for eating fresh.

GROW DILL

alongside pickling cucumbers in

anticipation of making pickles. Sow the herbs in succession, seeding every few weeks, to ensure a constant supply well timed with your cuke harvest. When blooming, the dill will also attract pollinators to the cucumber plants.

Summer 147

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z IN

THE KITCHEN z

Refrigerator Pickles Making pickles doesn’t always mean a lot of time, supplies, or cleanup. Get some pickling practice with this easy refrigerator recipe, no canning required, and then adapt it for other veggies. 1. Combine 1 cup vinegar, ¼ cup water, ¼ cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt to make a brine. 2. Heat until the sugar dissolves. 3. Pack 2 cups sliced cucumbers into a jar, and add a few garlic cloves and some fresh dill leaves and flowers. 4. Pour the hot brine over the cucumbers so that they are completely covered with liquid. Screw on the lid. 5. Keep in the fridge for a month.

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Insecticides and fungicides, whether organic or not, should be sprayed sparingly and purposefully, as they could affect beneficial insects as well as harmful ones. Typically, the best time to spray is early in the morning or late in the evening when plants are shaded and will stay wet longer.

Neem oil is an organic insecticide and fungicide made from the neem tree of tropical Africa and Asia. It’s known to be safe for beneficial insects, including honeybees, as well as earthworms, and is a good solution to a range of common problems,

Summer

from aphids and mites to powdery mildew.

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Garlic RepellEnt Garlic repels many harmful bugs, including aphids, ants, and slugs, so it can make a useful insect repellent. 1. Steep a chopped garlic bulb in a quart of water to make a tea. You can also add onion and cayenne. 2. Mix the tea with a tablespoon of dish soap in a spray bottle. 3. Spray on undersides of plant leaves. Store extra in the refrigerator.

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GROW CORN IN BLOCKS

rather than rows

to promote complete pollination by wind and ensure fully formed ears. For example, in a small garden, grow 16 plants 1 foot apart in a 4 x 4-foot bed.

CORN IS WIND POLLINATED IN FIELDS,

but

you can hand-pollinate small amounts of corn by tapping the pollen-laden tassels over the silks at the

Summer

point where they emerge from the ears.

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I have never felt that a vegetable grown in an open field tastes as good as one grown in a small garden. Our garden, when I was a child, was a pampered piece of soil outside the kitchen window, nurtured with compost, ashes from the wood stove, and manure from the barnyard. Edna Lewis, In Pursuit of Flavor

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PLANTS IN THE GOURD FAMILY

(or cucurbits, including squash, cucumbers, melons, and pumpkins) produce both male and female flowers. Pollen is transferred (typically by bees) from the male flower to the female flower, where fruit develops. Female flowers are larger than males and have a small developing fruit between the bloom and stem.

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SQUASH VINE BORERS, a species of sesiid moth, overwinter in soil and then tunnel into squash stems and eat their way through, leaving sawdust-like frass (or waste) behind. Wrapping lower stems with a little aluminum foil may slow borers, but there’s really no way to stop them. If they’re a problem (particularly in warmer regions like the South), look for borer-resistant varieties, or plant summer squash in large containers, where they

Summer

will look great and thrive.

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The blossoms of all squash varieties are edible, but don’t pick them all or you won’t have any fruit. Male flowers arrive first — pick a few of these and leave a few to pollinate the female flowers that arrive later.

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You’ll know garlic is ready for harvest when some of the leaves start to turn from green to yellow. Loosen soil around the bulbs, if needed, and pull up the entire plant. You don’t need to wait until the tops turn brown and flop over

Summer

like onions, garlic’s cousin.

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MAKE YOUR OWN GARLIC POWDER

by drying sliced garlic cloves in a food dehydrator and then grinding them with a coffee grinder.

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Hardneck garlic varieties produce a stalk, called a scape, with a pretty seedpod at the end. Clip scapes off your plants to keep energy flowing to the bulb and use them to add garlic flavor in recipes.

ABOUT 1 TABLESPOON CHOPPED SCAPE = 1 CLOVE GARLIC

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Roasted Garlic Roasting whole garlic softens both the flavor and the texture, making it easier to use the cloves in a variety of dishes or to enjoy them alone or simply spread on toasted bread. 1. Remove much of the bulb’s papery outer skin. 2. Cut the top ¼ inch or so off the cloves so each is revealed inside its skin. 3. Place the bulb on foil in a skillet or muffin tin, drizzle with olive oil, close the foil around it, and bake at 400 ˚ F for 40 minutes. 4. Cool and unwrap. Remove caramelized cloves to spread on bread, mash into potatoes, mix in salad dressing, or eat on their own.

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When potato plants are about 8 inches tall, mound or “hill” soil around the stem, covering two thirds of the plant. Keep hilling as the plant grows, so the stem will produce more potatoes. Only the top 6 inches or so

Summer

should remain uncovered.

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How worms love these hilled-up crops to frolic in, leaving behind their own goodness as another thank-you note. Margaret Roach, And I Shall Have Some Peace There

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Potato blossoms indicate the skin color of the potatoes: tan potatoes have white flowers, blue have purple, and red have pink.

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GREEN LACEWINGS eat aphids, spider mites, caterpillar eggs, and many other garden pests. Their beautiful bright green color resembles so many plants’

Summer

leaves that you may miss them, but they’re worth observing. They may take care of an aphid problem for you.

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Every harmful insect has a mortal enemy. Cultivate that enemy and he will do your work for you. Eleanor Perényi, Green Thoughts

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MANY PARASITIC WASPS are

pollinators as well

as predators of garden pests like aphids,tomato hornworms, cabbage worms, and cutworms.

Summer

And, thankfully, they don’t sting humans.

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There are more than 450 species of

ladybugs in North America, some native and some introduced. Most are considered benign or beneficial in the garden, though a recently introduced Asian lady beetle species (identified by the white “M” mark behind its head) will move inside homes in winter and become a nuisance.

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Okra’s beautiful white bloom with a deep red center may look familiar — it’s a member of the mallow family, closely related to hibiscus and cotton. Like its cousins, it thrives in hot climates.

In many parts of the world, okra is referred to as gumbo, a word derived from West African languages. In the United States, gumbo also refers to a dish

Summer

that sometimes includes okra.

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CUT OKRA PODS when they’re 2 to 3 inches long, though some varieties will stay tender longer. Pods that are too long will be fibrous and tough. Pick daily when ripening — okra has a tendency to get away from you.

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Snipping the flower buds off herbs, such as basil and oregano, promotes fuller plants with more leaves for harvest, but it means you miss out on the edible flowers, which can attract beneficial insects. If you have space, maintain some herbs for their

Summer

leaves while letting others fully bloom.

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CILANTRO

THE KITCHEN z

grows best in cool weather

and bolts (or blooms) in warm weather, when you can harvest the seeds as they begin to turn brown. Grind the seeds into fragrant coriander spice using a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle.

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Plant basil near tomatoes — not only are they a great combo in the kitchen, basil’s smell confuses

Summer

some tomato-loving insect pests.

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Classic Basil Pesto Basil doesn’t do well in the refrigerator, developing black spots of fungus quickly. The best way to preserve basil is by making pesto, then freezing it in small bags or ice cube trays so you can thaw out small servings one at a time. Adapt this classic basil pesto recipe by changing up the greens and nuts, or omitting cheese. 1. Place ½ cup olive oil, ½ cup Parmesan cheese, 2 cups fresh basil leaves, 3 tablespoons pine nuts, and 2 to 3 garlic cloves in a food processor or blender, and process into a paste. 2. Add salt and pepper if desired. 3. Use a tablespoon or two fresh as a pasta sauce, to top grilled fish or chicken, or as an appetizer spread. Store the remainder in an airtight container in the refrigerator or in the freezer as noted above.

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Harvest garlic and onions when the soil is dry. Don’t wash the dirt off the bulbs. Either cure them with the dirt on, or gently remove the

Summer

dirt with your hands or a dry cloth.

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GARLIC AND ONIONS

need to be cured,

leaves attached, for two to three weeks, in a well-ventilated spot where they won’t get wet. A covered porch, barn, or garage will do. After the bulbs are cured, clip off the dry stems to about an inch.

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Garlic is divine. Few food items can taste so many distinct ways, handled correctly. Misuse of garlic is a crime . . . Please, treat your garlic with respect. Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential

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Choose a few prime bulbs from your garlic harvest to set aside for the next season’s planting. Store garlic bulbs in a dry, cool, dark place, preferably not in the refrigerator. Summer 179

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The blooms of some plants need to be clipped back often to keep them producing new flowers all season. This includes many flowers commonly grown alongside vegetables, like French marigolds, calendula, cosmos, borage, and zinnia. Don’t be shy about cutting the flowers and bringing them inside to enjoy — the more you snip, the

Summer

better for you and for the garden.

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PLANT NASTURTIUM to fend off a variety of

veggie pests, but don’t forget to harvest it as an edible, too. The pretty lily-pad-like leaves taste similar to arugula, and the delicate flowers make a lovely garnish that’s edible, too. Try making nasturtium-leaf pesto, replacing the basil with nasturtium, and decorate with a few spicy nasturtium blooms.

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Damp weather is the enemy of the tomato gardener because it fosters leaf spots and blights. Do some local research and talk to neighbors to find out what diseases are common in your area, then grow resistant varieties.

A black spot on the bottom of a tomato is likely blossom-end rot, a common condition caused by calcium deficiency from moisture fluctuations. Harvest the fruit and cut off the black portion (the rest is perfectly fine to eat); then make sure plants are well mulched and watered as consistently as possible. End rot also occurs on peppers,

Summer

eggplant, and melons.

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Tomato plants need a steady supply of nutrients, so plan on feeding every few weeks with organic fertilizer, such as fish emulsion.

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Paste (or plum) tomatoes are firm, contain less water and fewer seeds than most varieties, and are often determinate (as in the case of the popular Roma), meaning all the fruits ripen around the same time. These traits make them ideal

Summer

for making tomato sauce and salsa, fresh or canned.

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Eating locally in winter is easy. But the time to think about that would be August. Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

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Cherry tomato varieties produce clusters of small fruits that can be eaten whole. Their sweetness (because the sugars are more concentrated)

Summer

makes them irresistible.

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Dehydrated Cherry Tomatoes If you have a glut of cherry tomatoes, try dehydrating some. You can add salt or spices before drying, but it’s not necessary — the sugars become concentrated, and you’ll want to eat them as sweet snacks. 1. Halve each tomato and lay them cut-side up on dehydrator trays. 2. Dry for at least 8 hours at 125 ˚ F (or at least 4 hours on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a 200 ˚ F oven).

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It’s hard to think sad thoughts when you’re inhaling mint. Diane Ackerman, Cultivating Delight

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Make your own peppermint or bee balm tea by simply steeping the leaves in hot water.

A MINT NATIVE TO NORTH AMERICA, bee balm attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, and the leaves make a lovely menthol-like tea. It’s also known as bergamot because it has an aroma similar to that of bergamot orange, the distinctive ingredient in Earl Grey tea.

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CAPSAICIN is the compound in peppers

that makes them hot. Scoville heat units measure how hot a pepper is based on the concentration of the capsaicin in it, from bell pepper (0) to jalapeño (4,500), cayenne (50,000), habanero (350,000), and beyond.

The HEAT in hot peppers is mostly concentrated in the ribs, not the seeds as many people think. To tone down the heat, remove the white membrane that attaches the seeds to the flesh of the pepper. If a particularly hot pepper sets your mouth on fire, reach for milk instead of water. Capsaicin is fat soluble

Summer

and better diminished by fats than water.

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When the summer rains poured it on again so hard that I couldn’t keep up with my own backyard production of jalapeños, guajillas, serranos, and pasilla chiles, I wondered why so many people with yards, balconies, and windowsills still purchased herbs and spices. My garden beds were burgeoning with Mexican oregano, epazote, basil, chives, and mints. Gary Paul Nabhan, Coming Home to Eat

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PICK CUCUMBERS WHEN THEY’RE FIRM,

rich

green, and just to optimal size (depends on the variety). The bigger and yellower they get, the more watered down or bitter the flavor.

UNDER-WATERED CUCUMBER PLANTS

will also

produce bitter-tasting cucumbers, so be sure to water

Summer

your cukes often and well.

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Older

cucumber plants

often succumb to powdery mildew, a common fungal disease that looks like gray powder on leaves. Pull up and compost or discard affected plants.

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You are also far less likely to waste food when you have nurtured it from a seed into a plant. Darina Allen, Grow Cook Nourish

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Juice extra and overgrown cucumbers and freeze in ice trays. Use the refreshing cubes to flavor water Summer

and summery cocktails.

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Cut peppers from the plant using pruners or scissors to avoid snapping the stems.

All peppers — red, yellow, orange, purple, brown — start out green. Leaving the pepper to mature to its ripe color ensures that it will be as sweet or as hot as it can be.

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Roasted Peppers Roasting brings out a pepper’s sweetness and makes the skin easy to remove. It also softens the texture so you can easily purée peppers into a sauce or soup, or chop and add them to pasta or risotto. 1. Place whole peppers directly on a hot grill, no prep required. 2. Turn with tongs for a consistent char. 3. When blackened, move to a bowl and cover with a plate or plastic wrap until cool. 4. Rub off the charred skin. Raw, grilled, or roasted peppers freeze well. Just halve, slice, or chop them, and freeze in bags.

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SUCKERS ARE SIDE SHOOTS that grow on tomato plants between the main stem and branches in what’s called the crotch. They will grow to become new branches that flower and fruit. Some gardeners swear by pruning suckers regularly, especially

Summer

for indeterminate varieties, while others don’t bother, and still others believe that pruning decreases photosynthesis. Try each method and see what works best for you.

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The plus side of the do-it-yourself experience is that the lessons learned that way tend to stick. I generally encourage learning by doing, in part because I’ve found my own mistakes so instructive. Jeanne Nolan, From the Ground Up

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For storage, most vegetables need to be clipped off the plant with up to an inch of the stem intact, which helps them retain moisture during storage,

Summer

whether for two days or two months.

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After being picked, GREEN BEANS respire (release carbon dioxide) at a faster rate than any other vegetable, meaning they spoil quickly. Wrap them in plastic before placing in the fridge to slow respiration and keep them fresher longer.

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Pick a

tomato like a pro

by gently lifting up on the fruit so that the stem breaks at a natural point called the knuckle, leaving a short piece of stem and the calyx (technically part of the flower, though it looks like little leaves) attached. This will help you avoid inadvertently

Summer

bruising the tomato.

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DON’T REFRIGERATE YOUR TOMATOES —

it makes them mealy and flavorless. If you can’t eat or cook with them within about a week of harvest, preserve them by canning, freezing, or dehydrating.

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In terms of things you can do to have a better life, picking berries simply works. Barbara Pleasant, Homegrown Pantry

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Stop yourself from picking blueberries as soon as they turn blue. Instead, wait a few more days until the berries feel slightly soft and separate from the stems easily. To stop the birds from picking the blueberries Summer

before you can, cover your plants with bird netting.

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While tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant love heat, too much heat and humidity can prevent these plants from producing well. You may see flowers simply drop from plants without ever making fruit. Wait it out until the heat wave subsides, and plants should bounce back. If you typically have periods

Summer

above 90 ˚ F, plant heat-tolerant varieties.

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Tomatoes crack when they get an influx of water after a dry spell and the fruit fills before the skin can catch up. Cracks make the fruit susceptible to pests and diseases, so harvest cracked tomatoes quickly. If this is a consistent problem, plant varieties labeled as crack resistant. Summer 207

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Before oregano flowers in summer, cut the plant down to about 2 inches from the ground. It’ll produce another similar harvest before first frost. Summer

Oregano is easy to dry by hanging or by placing on a screen or in a dehydrator.

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I always think of my herb garden as a living extension of my pantry. Alice Waters, My Pantry

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Harvest broccoli when the heads are tight and green. Don’t wait for them to reach a certain size. If they go too long, the heads will open

Summer

and begin to flower.

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IF PREPPED CORRECTLY,

broccoli stalks are edible and tasty. First peel them to remove the tough skin, then chop or slice them to use alongside the florets.

Summer 211

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Pick corn when the husks feel full and the silks are brown and starting to dry. Harvest early in the morning

Summer

for the sweetest flavor.

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TO FREEZE CORN,

start by blanching the cobs in boiling water for a few minutes. Then remove the kernels with a knife. Place cooled kernels in a zip-top freezer bag, removing air before freezing.

Summer 213

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IF ONE FRUIT ON A MELON PLANT IS RIPE, THE OTHERS WILL FOLLOW SHORTLY.

You can be sure that cantaloupe and honeydew are ripe when the rind changes from gray-green to yellow-beige. Also, when ripe, the stem attached to the fruit may be cracked and should detach easily from the vine.

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TRY THE “THUMP” TEST

to see if a watermelon is ripe: when you tap it lightly, you should hear a thump instead of a ping. Test a few to get an ear for the difference.

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CANTALOUPE

is prone

to fast decay. To slow down this process, dip a newly harvested melon in hot water for a few minutes to kill any mold and fungus, then dry

Summer

before storing in the refrigerator.

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Melon rinds are a great addition to your compost. They’ll break down quickly and contribute phosphorus and potassium to the mix.

Summer 217

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Pick eggplant when the skin is tight and glossy. Dull-looking eggplant is past its prime and will have

Summer

bitter-tasting seeds.

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Baba Ganoush This easy-to-make Mediterranean dip with roasted eggplant and tahini (sesame seed paste) will convert even the most determined eggplant skeptic. Like hummus, it can be served as an appetizer, a side, or a spread on sandwiches or wraps. 1. Slice 1 medium-sized eggplant (or 2 to 3 smaller ones) and sprinkle with salt to soften. After 10 minutes, rinse and pat dry. 2. Cook on a hot grill 10 minutes, or roast at 450 ˚ F for 20 minutes, lightly browning both sides. 3. Remove the skin, if desired. 4. Purée the eggplant with 1 garlic clove, juice of 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons tahini, and a pinch of sea salt. 5. Top with chopped parsley, cilantro, basil, or mint. Serve at room temperature with pita or cucumber slices. Summer 219

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Do as little as possible to an ingredient when it’s perfect and at its peak. Sean Brock, Heritage

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SALTING EGGPLANT BEFORE COOKING

isn’t necessary, but some feel it tones down bitterness. Eggplant harvested at its peak shouldn’t taste bitter, but salting also breaks down eggplant’s spongy texture, helping it better absorb flavors.

Summer 221

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Hot-Pepper Vinegar Simple hot-pepper vinegar is a ubiquitous condiment in the South. It adds zip to everything from barbecue to catfish to beans and greens. 1. Pack hot peppers into a clean pint jar.

Summer

2. Heat 1 cup vinegar with 1 tablespoon each sugar and salt, and bring to a boil. 3. Ladle vinegar over peppers and let the jar sit at room temperature for at least a week before using. 4. Refrigerate after opening.

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IN ARID CLIMATES,

IN HUMID REGIONS,

dry hot peppers outdoors

dry peppers indoors,

on a screen, or make a

or use a dehydrator in a

pretty pepper string. Use a

well-ventilated space.

large needle to thread twine through the tops of long, Leave some space between each pepper to allow for airflow.

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Summer

skinny peppers, like cayenne.

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In a good year, a community or school garden, or even your backyard garden, can grow more than its members can eat. Make a shared commitment to donate any extra produce you won’t

Summer

preserve to a local food bank.

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The bounty of fall taught us how, by investing ourselves — our time, energy, and love — we were able to fulfill the promise of spring and share our harvest with others. Michelle Obama, American Grown

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When I found myself with a garden, faced with a surplus of cabbages and radishes, sauerkraut beckoned me. Our love affair endures. Sandor Ellix Katz, The Art of Fermentation

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z IN

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PLANT CABBAGES in late summer

for a fall harvest to make sauerkraut, a great entrée to fermentation. Up your game by also planting daikon radishes to make kimchi, the popular Korean ferment of cabbage, daikon radish, garlic, and spices.

In the process of FERMENTATION, healthy bacteria break down chemicals, primarily sugars, and help preserve food. Eating fermented foods can promote a healthy gut by cultivating beneficial bacteria in the belly. Summer 227

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z IN

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MAKE HOMEGROWN ZUCCHINI BREAD YEAR ROUND.

Grate zucchini when fresh, squeeze out some moisture, and freeze the right amounts needed for your favorite recipes in individual bags. Label clearly with the recipe name. Yellow squash

Summer

works great for baking, too.

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Gazpacho Traditional gazpacho is a perfect way to enjoy your summer yield. You can also play around with flavors and ingredients, such as swapping tomato for cantaloupe or watermelon and adding fresh herbs or some hot peppers. 1. Purée 2 pounds tomatoes, 1 bell pepper, 1 cucumber, ½ red onion, and 1 clove garlic. 2. Combine the purée with ¼ cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. 3. Chill before serving.

Summer 229

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BEET GREENS

THE KITCHEN z

have a texture and flavor

similar to chard’s. After harvesting beets, lightly sauté the greens, or save them in the fridge or freezer to use later in soups.

Many people don’t like greens because they’ve only eaten overcooked ones. But greens, like KALE, MUSTARD, and COLLARDS,

when lightly blanched for a

few seconds, are delicious. Of course,

Summer

you can also just sauté them.

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Start eating kale because it’s good for you, and you may end up eating it because it’s good. Ruth Page, Ruth Page’s Gardening Journal

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fall

harvesting & preserving

M

any new gardeners close up shop after summer, but I consider this folly. Fall is my favorite season. I revel in the cooling temperatures and crisp air, the easy maintenance of crops like greens and beets, and those cozy fall flavors. I also use this slower time to focus on preserving my harvest to use through winter.

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I remember my initial amazement when I learned that potatoes came from under the ground. I spent the harvest carving into just-dug potatoes with a pocketknife, drinking up the truffled aroma of the moist tubers mixed with earth and eating them raw, straight from the field. Sean Brock, Heritage

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Turn harvesting any underground crop, particularly potatoes, into a game for kids, like searching for buried treasure.

Harvest potatoes after the plant blooms and the leaves start to turn yellow and die back. Depending on your growing method, you can dump containers out to harvest or dig for the potatoes in the bed by hand. You can also dig with a garden fork, but you risk spearing some spuds.

Fall 235

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Cure potatoes for about a week in a dry spot away from the sun. Cover them with a towel to block light, which causes potato skin to turn green. Store them in a ventilated box or bag in the coolest place you can find, but don’t keep them in the refrigerator, which is too cold and

Fall

will cause potatoes to darken when cooked.

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Potatoes aren’t roots; they’re swollen stems (known as “stem tubers”), which is why they sprout. Roots don’t sprout.

Fall 237

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THE KITCHEN z

DON’T STORE VEGETABLES WITH APPLES —

apples give off ethylene gas, which causes nearby produce to decay more quickly

Fall

and even causes onions to sprout.

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Before storing pumpkins or winter squash, you can dip them in a diluted bleach solution — 1 PART BLEACH TO 10 PARTS WATER —

to remove any fungus or bacteria that would hasten rotting.

Fall 239

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A fun trick for storing onions and garlic: Drop them one by one in a pantyhose leg, tying a knot between each to separate them, and hang. The fine hose mesh will help maintain good airflow and keep the bulbs dry. When you want an onion, simply snip off the hose below the next knot.

Pantyhose aren’t a one-trick pony in gardening. Wrap them around melons and winter squash as they grow on the vine to shield the expanding fruit from squirrels and other nibblers.

You can also cut pantyhose into strips to use as ties for tomatoes. The soft, stretchy material supports without cutting into the tender

Fall

tomato stems.

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Plant lettuce of different hues and textures in stripes or blocks to create an edible quilt of color.

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‘Bright Lights’ Swiss chard is a beautiful choice for cool-season containers, with stems that grow in a rainbow of colors from yellow and orange to pink, red, and white.

Swiss chard seems like a cross between spinach and beets because it’s related to both — the green tops look and taste like spinach while the stems have a bright color and earthy flavor like beets. Grow and harvest it like spinach.

Fall 243

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Pick all your tomatoes before the first frost. Those partially ripened will continue coloring up indoors. Place green tomatoes in a cardboard box between layers of newspaper along with a banana or apple, which will release ethylene gas and

Fall

speed up the ripening process.

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z IN

THE KITCHEN z

TO PEEL TOMATOES FOR CANNING,

drop them whole in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then remove the peel with a sharp knife when the tomato is cool enough to touch.

Fall 245

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THE KITCHEN z

You can freeze whole, UNPEELED TOMATOES

in freezer bags or quarter them and freeze. After letting them thaw, remove the peel using a knife while holding the fruits

Fall

under warm water.

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Growing and preserving at least some of your own food will also make you feel more secure in a wild and ever-changing world. News of war, sickness, and economic collapse loses some of its punch when you are sitting in the shade with a basket of snap beans in your lap or lingering in the kitchen to hear the last canning lids pop. Barbara Pleasant, Homegrown Pantry

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Chinese cabbage (napa is a popular type) and bok choy (or pak choi) are Asian types of cabbage with looser heads and thick, succulent stalks. They mature more quickly than heading cabbages,

Fall

making them ideal for fall growing.

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Collards are a cabbage-family crop grown widely in the South (they were even named the state vegetable of South Carolina), but they can be grown anywhere. Plant them in fall and grow throughout winter and on into next summer. They’re more heat tolerant than their cabbage cousins, meaning the tender, nutritious greens can be harvested nearly year round. Fall 249

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Cold-loving Brussels sprouts form handfuls of mini cabbages along a thick stalk. Harvest Brussels sprouts when about 1 inch in size and still tight, before they begin to open. Remove the leaf below each bud in order to more easily snap or

Fall

cut off the mini cabbages.

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Kale needs to be covered during a hard freeze,

but it tolerates frost very well. In fact, like many cool-weather crops, it tastes better after a little frost. Lower-growing varieties of kale tolerate frost better than tall varieties.

Small, young kale leaves are the most tender and don’t need the center ribs removed before eating,

Fall

making them perfect for salads.

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Kale Chips Kale surprises and delights as a crisp chip. Make your own in a dehydrator or in the oven, playing around with spices to get a taste you love. 1. Remove stems, and tear leaves into smaller pieces. 2. Use your hands to work a little olive oil into the kale; a half tablespoon is plenty for 6 cups kale. 3. Add a dash of sea salt and, if desired, spices like garlic powder and cayenne. 4. Dry until crisp: 3 to 4 hours on trays in a dehydrator at 125 ˚ F, or about 20 minutes on a parchment-lined cookie sheet in a 250 ˚ F oven.

Fall 253

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BROCCOLI RABE’S

edible flower heads inspired

its name, but the plant is actually more closely related to turnips than broccoli, which is evidenced by its leaves. Broccoli rabe grows faster than its namesake and can tolerate a little frost, making it a good choice if you’ve had trouble with broccoli’s temperature sensitivity. You may hear it called just rabe or rapini, which can refer to any cabbage-family plant allowed to bolt and

Fall

eaten in its entirety — leaves, flower head, and all.

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PURPLE VARIETIES

of vegetables,

such as cabbage, cauliflower, snap beans, and carrots, lose much of their color when cooked, because the anthocyanins making the pretty purple hue decompose quickly when exposed to heat. Add an acid such as lemon juice or vinegar when cooking to help retain some of the color.

Fall 255

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BECOME SELF-SUFFICIENT IN GARLIC. Start in fall with quality seed garlic ordered from a seed company. Divide bulbs into individual cloves, and plant with pointed ends up. By harvest time in summer, each clove will have developed into a new full bulb. CHOOSE FROM THREE KINDS OF GARLIC:

Hardneck is the most winter hardy with a strong central stem. Softneck has a stronger flavor and softer stems that can be braided. Elephant produces fewer, larger cloves with

Fall

milder flavor.

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Rather than peeling a bunch of GARLIC CLOVES

one by one,

try this: Drop them in boiling water for 30 seconds, then quickly cool them over ice. The peelings will be easy to remove or practically remove themselves.

Fall 257

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Many medicinal plants have entered into the household via the kitchen door, ushered in by the Mistress of Spices, their healing spirits camouflaged in culinary garb. Rosemary Gladstar, Rosemary’s Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs

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z IN

THE KITCHEN z

AROMATIC ROSEMARY OPENS AIRWAYS. Heat a cup of water, add lemon juice, honey, and a sprig of rosemary, and breathe deeply before each sip to soothe sinuses.

Fall 259

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Let dill plants flower and allow the seeds to turn brown. Then cut the seed heads and continue drying them in a paper bag. Many seeds will drop into the bag, and the rest should be easy to remove from the

Fall

flower. Store dill seed in airtight containers.

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Fried Sage Leaves Frying fresh sage leaves in oil subdues the herb’s rich, earthy flavor. The crunchy sage leaves perfectly complement smooth vegetable soups and pastas such as gnocchi. 1. Harvest a bunch of garden sage and pinch off individual leaves. 2. Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. 3. Fry a few leaves at a time in oil for 2 to 3 seconds until crisp, then transfer with a fork to a paper towel. Sprinkle just-fried leaves with a little sea salt. 4. Use fried leaves to top a savory winter soup, like potato or pumpkin, or eat as a snack.

Fall 261

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HARVEST BEETS

when they’re 2 inches

wide, give or take a half inch. Larger beets will have a woody texture and less flavor.

After harvest, gently wash soil off beets, but don’t scrub them, which can remove too much skin. Cut off all but an inch of the tops, and leave the taproot intact to avoid the “bleeding” juices. Golden beets are milder in flavor as well as color and won’t “bleed” as much dye-

Fall

like juice as scarlet beets when cut and cooked.

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BEETS, CHARD, AND SPINACH,

as well as the

pseudo-grains amaranth and quinoa, come from the same plant family, named for amaranth. Quinoa and amaranth are grown for their edible seeds but are not cereal grains (from grasses).

Fall 263

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Cabbage-family plants are sometimes called “cole” crops, from the Latin word caulis, meaning stalk or stem. But it’s the leaves that destructive cabbage worms and loopers are after. If your leaves look like lace, look closely for green caterpillars on all parts of the plant and

Fall

pick them off by hand.

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The cabbage loopers are the paratroopers of the vegetable patch: their eggs are dropped on the cole crops by troop transports disguised as innocuous white butterflies. Michael Pollan, Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education

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I realize today as I wash the last of the just-dug carrots in the sink — cleaning up even the littlest ones because the crop was so bad this year — that what this is all really about is using up, making do, cutting down, even more than it’s about eating locally. . . . It is my meditation, my learning, my caring for each thing the earth has produced as if my life depends on it, because of course, in a larger sense, it does. Joan Dye Gussow, This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader

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DIG UP FALL-GROWN CARROTS before the ground freezes. Clip the green tops off, leaving about an inch of stem, to prolong storage life.

Fall 267

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z IN

THE KITCHEN z

MAKE YOUR OWN POWDERED GREENS

for smoothies by dehydrating leftover kale, mustard greens, carrot tops, or beet tops, grinding them into a powder in a blender or with mortar and pestle, and storing in an airtight jar

Fall

or zip-top bag.

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z IN

THE KITCHEN z

SAVE SCRAPS, like onion ends,

carrot peels, broccoli stems, celery ends, mushroom stems, extra herbs, and more, for making your own vegetable broth. Keep scraps in a freezer bag until you’re ready, then simmer the veggies in water on the stove or in a slow cooker for a couple of hours. Strain, cool, and store in the fridge or freezer. Your homemade broth will infuse cozy soups and stews with fresh-fromthe-garden flavor all winter long.

Fall 269

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Pumpkins and large winter squash growing all season with one side resting on the ground may develop a bit lopsided. Avoid this by turning the fruit every so often, being careful not to damage the stem.

The rind of most winter squash varieties is too tough to eat, but Delicata is a lovely, more tender variety that

Fall

can be sliced, seeded, roasted, and eaten — rind and all.

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Roasted Squash Seeds When cooking fall squash or pumpkins, don’t toss the seeds. Instead, roast them for a simple snack or salad topping. 1. Collect the seeds and rinse off the pulp. 2. Toss the seeds with a little olive oil and salt. 3. Spread them on a baking sheet and roast at about 400 ˚ F for 20 minutes.

Fall 271

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Beans and peas make good crops for first-time seed savers, in part because the seeds are so large. Just let the pods dry on the plant, then harvest the seeds inside,

Fall

and store until next year.

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If you save seeds from this year’s harvest, be sure they’re completely dry before storing. Try the snap test to be sure — a dry seed will snap or shatter, not bend, under stress.

Store saved seeds in a dry place without temperature fluctuations or direct sunlight. You can store in the refrigerator or freezer but only in airtight containers because the

Fall

humidity could cause rot or sprouting.

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Seed is not just the source of life. It is the foundation of our being. Vandana Shiva, “Seed Freedom: What Is at Stake”

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PARSNIPS AND LEEKS are two vegetable plants that will live through winter, even in cold climates. A thick layer of mulch helps keep them happy through winter and harvestable

Fall

come spring.

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Cut back asparagus ferns in fall when they are brown and dry. Amend the soil with compost, then cover it with straw mulch to protect the plants through winter.

Fall 277

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Clean up spent garden vegetables after the season has waned — don’t leave them in your garden. There are living things still on your plants, including pest eggs, fungus, and bacteria that can overwinter and cause problems next year. Toss or

Fall

compost the plants instead.

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Many gardeners won’t compost the roots of any plants in the cabbage family to avoid spreading common soilborne diseases.

Fall 279

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RETHINK FALL LEAVES ON YOUR LAWN. Rather than a nuisance, they’re a valuable crop ready to harvest and feed your soil. Shred them first with a leaf shredder or lawnmower, then use as mulch for winter insulation, to add carbon to compost, or to loosen the soil and

Fall

feed earthworms and microbes in garden beds.

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Grow cover crops (also called green manures) — such as peas, winter rye, and buckwheat — during downtimes, including winter, to enrich soil that would otherwise be bare. Rather than harvesting them for food, cut these crops back and work them into the soil as fertilizer.

Fall 281

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That promise, the return every spring of earth’s first freshness, would never be kept if not for the frosts and rots and ripe deaths of fall. Michael Pollan, Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education

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YEAR-ROUND GARDENING IS A NOBLE GOAL, and it can be rewarding to grow a few plants indoors and outdoors through winter. But there’s also something to be said for winter rest and restoration, both for the gardener and the garden.

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Acknowledgments

I feel so fortunate to have been raised by parents and grandparents who would never consider themselves makers or DIYers, just responsible humans. If self-reliance is hereditary, I happily accept this trait. If it’s learned, I’m obliged to have you as teachers. Thanks to my mom, Sharon, who taught me that a woman’s place is anywhere she wants to be, including the kitchen and the garden, and my dad, Floyd, who, as punishment after a fit of teenage rebellion, unwittingly taught me to work out my problems with a shovel and a pile of cow manure. The angst faded, but my respect for you, and for compost, endures. I also thank my grandfather, Floyd Sr., for always planting at least a few okra and tomato plants, no matter what, and my grandmother, Patricia, for introducing me to preserving at a young age. No one’s green beans are better than yours. A heartfelt thank-you goes to my sister, Bonnie, for leading the way by example and encouragement and for giving thoughtful notes and advice. I am also fortunate to have two parents by marriage, Mike and Deb, with green thumbs, curious minds, and an active kitchen. Someday, I will grow rhubarb for you. I couldn’t write a book about vegetables without acknowledging Lois Chaplin, who taught me so much in two years that she could’ve granted me a degree. Lois, when it comes to vegetable gardening wisdom, you are the sage. Thanks to everyone at Storey Publishing for their help and support. To Carleen, for helping shape the book and suggesting the addition of quotes. Spending a winter voraciously 284

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reading my favorite garden and food authors was a luxury I wouldn’t mind repeating. To Hannah, my editor, for bringing it all together. We’ve always been on the same page. To the art department for these beautiful pages and illustrator Harriet Popham for making gardening look as fun and full of color as I’ve found it to be. And to Alee and the PR team for promoting the book and introducing me to fellow Storey author Niki Jabbour, a truly generous soul and new friend. And finally, I must thank Derek. I’m so grateful for that 60-day return policy. You and Rufus are the best family I could imagine. Thank you for building all the things.

Metric Conversion Charts VOLUME US

Metric

1 teaspoon

5 milliliters

1 tablespoon

15 milliliters

1/4 cup

60 milliliters

1/2 cup

120 milliliters

1 cup

240 milliliters

LENGTH To convert

to

multiply

inches

millimeters

inches by 25.4

inches

centimeters

inches by 2.54

inches

meters

inches by 0.0254

feet

meters

feet by 0.3048

285

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A

amaranth family, 263 aphids, 150, 166 apples, storage tip, 238 arugula, 65, 141 ash, wood, 17, 98 asparagus, 94–97, 277 umami flavor, 96

B

Baba Ganoush, 219 basil, 174, 175 beans seed saving and, 272 succession planting, 135 varieties of, 90, 91 bee balm, 189 beets, 262, 263 greens of, 57, 230 “seeds” of, 56 beneficial insects, 119, 120– 21, 143, 150 green lacewings, 166 herb flowers and, 172 ladybugs, 169 pests and, 166–67 bergamot, 189 berries, 204–5 blueberries, 99, 205 strawberries, 92–93 blossom-end rot, 182 blueberries, 99, 205 “brassicas,” 80 broccoli, 52, 134, 210–11 edible stalks of, 211 broccoli rabe, 254 broth, vegetable, 269 Brussels sprouts, 250–51 Butter, Herb, 19 butterflies, attracting, 119

C

cabbage(s) sauerkraut from, 226, 227

Index varieties of, 81, 248 cabbage-family plants, 80, 84, 264–65, 279. See also collards cabbage loopers, 264–65 cantaloupe, 58, 214, 216 capsaicin, peppers and, 190 carrots, 31, 131, 266–67 baby-sized, 32 Carrot-Top Pesto, 130 mulching, 128 pea trellis and, 68–69 caterpillars, 119, 166, 264 cauliflower, 53, 132–33 celery, regrowing, 54–55 chard, 243, 263 chiles, hot, 190–91 Chips, Kale, 253 chives, 118 cilantro, 173 cleanup, garden, 278 coffee grounds, 138 cold frame, 42, 43 cole crops. See cabbage-family plants collards, 230, 249 color, cool season, 86 compost, 21, 101, 138, 217, 279, 280 container gardening, 72, 74–75, 117. See also indoor gardening container insectary, 121 corn, 152–53, 212–13 freezing, 213 cotyledons, 49 cover crops, 281 crop rotation, 22 cucumbers, 146–49, 192–95 disease, fungal, 193 juicing, 195 pickling and, 147, 192 Refrigerator Pickles, 148–49

watering, 192

D

dill, 119, 147, 260 disease-resistant varieties, 182 diseases composting and, 279 crop rotation and, 22 cucumber, fungal, 193 mulch and, 76 potatoes and, 47 soilborne, 279 watering plants and, 144

E

eating with the seasons, 87 eggplant, 50, 218–221 Baba Ganoush, 219 salting before cooking, 221 end rot, 182

F

fermentation/fermented food, 227 fertilizer, 117, 138, 183, 281 flowers, 121 clipping back, 180 edible, 157, 181 herbs and, 172 food banks, 224 frost, 16, 59 fungicides, 150

G

garden/gardening, 8–11 plant diversity, 34–35 raised beds, 23, 24 size of, 25 garlic, 176–79, 256–57 curing, 177 harvesting, 158, 176 peeling, 257

286

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planting, 179 powder, homemade, 159 Repellent, Garlic, 151 Roasted Garlic, 161 scapes, 160 storage of, 179 varieties of, 256 Gazpacho, 229 germination, seed-starting mix and, 37 gourd family, 155 green beans, 201 green lacewings, 166 green manures, 281 greens. See also specific type bolting/blooming, 143 cooking, 230 picking, 142 powdered, making, 268 growing season, day length and, 27

H

I

indoor gardening, 36, 37, 62

K

kale, 10, 230, 231, 252 Kale Chips, 253 kimchi, 227

L

ladybugs, 169 lavender, 114 leaf types, seedlings, 49 leeks, 276 lemon balm, 114, 115 lettuces, 82–83, 140 colors of, 86, 242 planting, 83 types of, 82, 86

M

meal planning, 87 medicinal plants, 258 melons, 58, 111, 214–17 harvesting, 214–15 mints, 85, 115, 188–89 bee balm, 189 mites, spider, 150, 166 monoculture, 35 mulch, 76 carrots and, 128 fall leaves as, 280 lettuce as living, 83 newspaper as, 79 straw as, 77 mustard, 230

N

nasturtiums, 181 neem oil, 150 newspaper, 79, 101 nitrogen, 129, 135, 138, 139

O

okra, 170–71

onions, 104–7, 176–77 chopping, 107 curing, 177 pest control and, 106 scallions, 105 storage tip, 240–41 varieties of, 26 open-pollinated varieties, 38, 41 oregano, 208

P

pansies, 86 pantyhose, garden uses for, 240 parsnips, 10, 276 peas, 66–68 black-eyed, 91 Pea-Shoot Salad, 113 picking past-mature, 112 seed saving and, 272 succession planting, 135 sugar snap, 66 trellising, 68–69 peppers, 196–97 heat/capsaicin in, 190 Hot-Pepper Vinegar, 222–23 Roasted Peppers, 197 starting indoors, 36 sunscald and, 71 transplanting, 70 pesto Basil Pesto, Classic, 175 Carrot-Top Pesto, 130 nasturtium-leaf, 181 pests, 168 beetles, 169 beneficial insects and, 120, 166–67 cabbage-family crops, 84, 264–65 crop rotation and, 22 garden cleanup and, 278 onion, 106 plant diversity and, 35

INDEX

“hardening off,” 42 heirloom varieties, 38–39, 41, 60, 90 herbs, 114–19 basil, 174 cabbage-family plants and, 84 chives, 118 cilantro, 173 dill, 119, 147, 260 flowers buds of, 172 growing indoor, 18 Herb Butter, 19 mints, 85, 115, 188–89 oregano, 208 rosemary, 114, 259 Sage Leaves, Fried, 261 self-sowing, 121 honeydew, 58, 214 Hot-Pepper Vinegar, 222–23

Indoor Sprouts, 29 insecticides, 150 insects. See beneficial insects; pests

287

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pests, continued row covers and, 59 squash vine borers, 156 tomato, 174 watering plants and, 145 phenology, 28 phosphorus, 17, 139, 217 pH tests, 98 pickling, 88 Refrigerator Pickles, 148–49 plants. See also seedlings; vegetables; specific type medicinal, 258 touch, motion and, 62 pollination, 152, 155 pollinators attracting, 115, 119, 121 parasitic wasps, 168 potassium, 17, 217 potatoes, 102–3, 162–63, 234–37 blossoms of, 165 curing, 236 hilling, 162 permeable bags for, 103 seed potatoes, 47, 102 sweet, 108–9 powdery mildew, 150, 193 pumpkins, 110, 111, 270 storage tip, 239 purple vegetables, cooking, 255

R

INDEX

radishes, 30, 65, 226, 227 in the kitchen, 89 raised garden beds, 23, 24 root vegetables, 88, 129. See also specific vegetable rosemary, 114 aromatic, airways and, 259 row covers, 59

288

S

Sage Leaves, Fried, 261 Salad, Pea-Shoot, 113 scallions, 105

seed(s), 38–41 heirloom varieties, 38–39, 41 hybrid, 40, 41 open-pollinated, 38, 41 saving, 272, 274 Squash Seeds, Roasted, 271 seed catalogs, 12, 14, 47 seed libraries, 61 seedlings, 48, 49 “hardening off,” 42–43 seed-starting mix, 37 soil, 21, 100, 281 compaction, 44–45 mulch for, 76 nitrogen surplus and, 129 pH of/pH testing, 98–99 soil amendments, 139. See also compost wood ash, 17, 98 soilborne diseases, 279 spinach, 33, 263 Sprouts, Indoor, 29 squash, 111, 270 baking with yellow, 228 blossoms, 157 Squash Seeds, Roasted, 271 storage tip, 239 squash vine borers, 156 strawberries, 92–93 succession planting, 135 sunlight day length and, 26–27 “full sun,” 50 sunscald, peppers and, 71 supports, 68–69, 122 sweet potatoes, 108–9 Swiss chard, 243

T

cracking, 207 Dehydrated Cherry Tomatoes, 187 determinate and indeterminate, 72, 122, 184, 198 freezing whole, 246 Gazpacho, 229 harvesting, 202, 244 refrigeration and, 203 ripening green, 244 suckers, 198 supports/ties for, 122, 240 transplanting, 122 varieties of, 41, 72, 73, 90, 184, 186–87

U

umami flavor, 96

V

vegetables. See also specific type harvesting, 200 heat and, 206 purple, cooking, 255 scraps for broth, 269 storage tip, 238 surplus, sharing, 224–26 Vinegar, Hot-Pepper, 222–23

W

watering plants, 126, 144–45, 192 watermelon, 59, 60, 215 weather heat waves, 206 phenology and, 28 weeding, 126

Z

zucchini bread, 228

tea, peppermint, 189 tomatoes, 182–87, 202–3 basil and, 174 blossom-end rot, 182 canning, peeling for, 245

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