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Cocozelle Zucchini SUmmer Squash

What do I do with so many zucchini?

Posted: June 8, 2017

Originally published in Smoky Mountain Living Magazine, Gardener’s Corner (a Q&A series for gardeners by Chris Smith). When I go to the store I can buy just what I need to eat, when I need it! I like the idea of growing my own food, but one month of eating zucchini for three meals a … Continue reading

Hill Country Red Okra

Growing, Eating and Appreciating Okra

Posted: April 27, 2017

Orignally published in Plough to Pantry. My first experience with okra was in a roadside greasy spoon somewhere near Clayton, GA. It was slimy, greasy, tasteless and only good for playing tricks on tourists. Okra was not being taken seriously. I understand why some people never give it a second chance. The second time I … Continue reading

Portuguese Kale (or collards)

COLLARDS and Portuguese Kale

Posted: April 7, 2017

(Originally published in Asheville’s Plough to Pantry) A long time ago, through selective breeding, the wild species of Brassica oleracea began to take on many faces: broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and collards. Today, most supermarket shoppers wouldn’t recognize these crops as direct relatives, but the budding botanist can tell! Note the four little … Continue reading

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 then … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

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. … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

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, … Continue reading

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