One of the pleasures of edible gardening for me is growing new plants and finding ways to incorporate their uniqueness into meals. Sometimes the anticipation is better than the reality (New Zealand Spinach, I'm talking to you) and sometimes you find something new that adds a different twist to favorite dishes and inspires creativity in the kitchen. Shiso, or Perilla, is a new herb in my garden this year and has been fun to grow and experiment with.
Rhode Island folks, the September issue of RILocal Magazine is now available. Look for it at your local supermarket and cafe. My column this month is on transplanting strawberry runners and taking advantage of the cooler, wetter weather in September to make changes in your garden - planting new perennials and shrubs,or moving old ones.
Some of the happiest plants in my garden right now are the jalapeno peppers. They are loving the hot weather and producing like crazy. I am growing a 'giant' variety and the peppers are living up to their name - they are huge and very spicy. My family loves 'hot' food so preserving this crop for us to add to our winter meals is a must.
The sunflowers in my front yard edible landscape bloomed this week. This has made me ridiculously happy. They really are a joyous flower. I planted the variety Sunseed, specifically because it is a heavy seed producer. Once the seeds start forming, I will have to cover the heads with a paper bag if I want to harvest any of the seeds (sorry birds and squirrels). Until then, I am soaking up their yellow goodness. Apparently, I am not the only one. As soon as the petals started to open I began to see a new variety of bee in the garden which seems especially enamored with the sunflowers.
In the middle of July my garlic was looking a bit brown and droopy, which meant it was ready for harvest. After gently freeing the bulbs from the earth, I hung them in my garage to cure. It has now been several weeks and the garlic is completely dry and ready for storage.
It is the middle of August and I have a love/hate relationship with my garden right now. On the one hand, all the hard work is paying off and the garden is productive and thriving. On the other hand, the garden is productive and thriving, which means an endless stream of edibles piling up in the kitchen waiting to be cooked, processed and preserved! As they say, be careful what you wish for.
Here at Less Noise, More Green, I blog about home food production in my urban gardens, as well as cooking and preserving. I'm striving to find new meaning in old skills and believe they have a place in our modern world.
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To see all the posts concerning my Edible Landscape Project, click here.
To see a complete plant list with photos for this project, click here to go to my 'My Edible Landscape Project' Pinterest site.
To see the online version of the article, click here.
One of the joys of this summer has been watching the insect activity around my flowering plants. As you know, this is my first year as a beekeeper and I have been mindful of my little friends as I chose plants for my gardens. What has been unexpected is the variety of insects I see every day on the flowers. Over the course of a couple of days I took photos of as many different pollinators as I could. Identification of some of these insects is tricky, so if you know what they are, please let me know!
This is the first in an occasional series highlighting edible landscapes in my home state of Rhode Island. I find looking at other people's gardens inspiring. I hope you do, too!
In Barrington, Rhode Island, there is a typical ranch house in a peaceful neighborhood, with a garden flaunting character all of its own. My friend and fellow Master Gardener, Cyndee Fuller, has turned her 7,500 square foot property into a beautiful mix of fruits, flowers, vegetables, herbs and shrubs. Her garden is designed around where the plants will best thrive, regardless of whether that is in the front or the back of the house.
When I was creating a plant list for my Edible Landscape Project I knew I wanted to include milkweed. Not only is it a native plant and a great source of quality nectar for pollinators, it is key to the survival of one of our most beloved and easily identifiable insects - the Monarch Butterfly. These beautiful creatures are in real danger of extinction and as gardeners, we can do something about it.
Have you tried pickling nasturtium seeds? I came across this idea while reading a fermentation book and immediately looked up some recipes online. Nasturtium "capers" are supposed to taste like, well, capers! As I have many nasturtium plants growing in my gardens this year I thought I'd give pickling the seeds a try.
My deadline for the feature story I am writing for the Providence Journal is later this week and these are the final updated photos to be added to my "My Edible Landscape Project" Pinterest Board. I will be directing readers to this blog and the board for more information on the Project. I can't believe how much the garden has grown over the last month. Looking at photos taken at the start of June, the beds were empty with just the hint of seedlings pushing through the earth. Now it is so full and lush I am pushing my way through the plants!
Over the next couple of days I will be posting updated photos of some the plants in my edible landscape. I am writing a story for the Providence Journal about the garden and need to update the Pinterest Board that goes with this project. You can see the board here. The story will run at the end of August!