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Starting Peppers and Eggplants from Seed

Posted: February 23, 2017

Peppers (both hot and sweet) and Eggplants are two crops from the Solanaceae family that have similar seed starting characteristics and are generally started around the same time. They are both frost sensitive annuals which require a fairly long and hot growing season. For this reason, they are starting indoors under controlled conditions and.....
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Arugula Sprouting Winter Green in Asheville NC

The Joys of Arugula

Posted: January 18, 2017

The little leafy green called arugula, or rocket, is really much more versatile than just for salads. I grow a little patch of cold-loving arugula outside my kitchen door, and when I need a quick parsley substitute…there it is. When I need a handful of tender greens to add to a soup or stew…there it is. When I need a crispy filler for a sandwich…there it is. Tremendously healthy – it is a.....
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Red Russian Kale growing from seed in oval beds

Growing Winter Kale

Posted: November 8, 2016

…and kale can take your garden right through the next spring and perhaps summer as well. This super-hardy, easy-to-grow leafy vegetable can tolerate a range of temperatures but it really loves cool weather. To my surprise and delight, after I planted a packet of dinosaur kale seeds (Lacinato), sometimes called black kale, in the late fall of 2015, it came into its own last spring. Rather than bolting to seed in the hot summer weather, it just kept producing flawless leaves. .....
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Fall Greens from Nan Chase

Fall Gardening Know How (Part III): Greens

Posted: August 18, 2016

With the first official day of fall just a month away, many gardeners are looking forward to the changing season and a reprieve from the heat and pests of summer. While gardening in cooler temperatures under the azure sky of fall, my attitude improves as I slow down and spend more time pondering my garden. What about those pesky winter annual weeds, you say? No problem! Their wimpy, shallow roots pull easily. Oh no, there are cabbage looper worms on your broccoli, you point out. .....
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Early Wonder Beets Freshly Harvested

Fall Gardening Know How, Part II: Root Crops

Posted: August 5, 2016

Earthy. Sweet. Pungent. Sifting through gardening blogs and seed catalogs, these are some of the many adjectives used to wax poetic about the flavors of root vegetables. If asked about their importance to modern cuisine, a chef would likely add versatile and nutritious to their description. Root vegetables like beets and rutabagas can be steamed or roasted slowly until their sugars caramelize. Carrots and radishes, also delicious cooked, are most often enjoyed raw. No matter.....
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Romenesco Broccoli on a Table

Fall Gardening Know How (Part I): Growing Brassicas

Posted: July 22, 2016

Brassica oleracea. Some forms of this amazingly diverse species are prized for their large leaves, others their swollen stems or clusters of unopened flower heads. Think broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards, kale, and kohlrabi. Known collectively as the brassicas, these descendants of a wild Mediterranean plant all thrive in cool temperatures. Fall is a particularly good time to grow brassicas; plants can mature as cooling daytime temperatures give way to the l.....
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Herb Fennel Flower - a delicate yellow umbel

Grow Your Own Fennel – it gets better all summer!

Posted: July 19, 2016

We tend to grow Florence fennel for its yummy bulbous stem. Pale green and delicately flavored like licorice, this stem is a culinary gem. But did you know that if left to flower and set seed, this same fennel yields a lot of aromatic seeds that can be “put by” for winter use in baking, stews and soups, sausages, and even savory syrups? In the process of setting seed, the glorious flower heads draw in all kinds of sma.....
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Growing big sweet potatoes

5 Tips to Growing Big Sweet Potatoes

Posted: May 15, 2016

Besides being delicious in almost every possible way, sweet potatoes are one of the most nutritious veggies we eat. Luckily for us gardeners, they’re also extremely easy to grow! We only need to follow a few key tips and at the end of summer we can harvest enough sweet, juicy big sweet potatoes to last all winter. 5 Tips to Growing Big Sweet Potatoes .....
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Nancy Hall Sweet Potatoes Growing Happily Photo Credit: Slow Food Asheville

Sweet Potato Greens – Eating and Growing

Posted: May 13, 2016

Growing sweet potatoes requires somewhere between 90 and 120 days to harvest. The slips are generally planted in May but are not harvested until just before the first frost. The long growing season is totally justified by the delicious and storable crop you get at the end, but some gardeners with limited space may struggle to justify allocating the time and space to a single crop. That is where sweet potato greens come into play! .....
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Giant Elephant Garlic Stalks produce massive garlic bulbs

How is your Elephant Garlic growing?

Posted: May 11, 2016

My Elephant Garlic I had never grown elephant garlic before, but there were some leftover seed garlic after last year’s Sow True Seed garlic festival in September and I got a few. Subjecting them to my usual “Xtreme gardening” measures, I shoved each seed clove into a patch of the sorriest soil that’s still in my garden: dry and pretty dense with high clay content. Nonetheless, they started growing right away and made it through the winter without much in the way of mu.....
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