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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

Make it Last
Freezing fruits and vegetables to extend your harvest

There is a fine line in a productive summer garden where the harvest goes from plentiful to growing “out your ears.” Of course, you can give extra produce away or donate it to a local soup kitchen, but another option is to freeze the abundant harvest. I grew up on a rural farm where food preservation was a way of life. From snapping green beans for canning to washing blackberries for freezing, we learned to help from a young age. Here are tips to help you get started with freezing produce at home.

>> read “Make it Last”       #Edibles   #Fruit   #Recipes
Fruit Tree Friends

Companion planting is the idea that certain plants attract beneficial insects and fix soil nutrients in the edible garden. It’s not a dog-eat-dog world out there; it’s a bug-eat-bug world that forms the food chain that feeds us.

Fresh fruit picked off your own trees is a hot horticultural pursuit these days. Homeowners envision delectable apples, pears, peaches, plums and cherries dripping from their trees. Well, truth be told, there’s a lot of work that goes into those beautiful fruits. Bumps and blemishes from an army of fruit tree pests are the reality of the orchardist.

>> read “Fruit Tree Friends”       #Beneficials   #Fruit   #Trees
Tomato: Fruit or Vegetable?

When I want to get a room full of gardeners engaged in a lively debate, I bring up the topic of tomatoes. A question that transforms shy, reserved types into outspoken, opinionated verbal wranglers is this one: “Is the tomato a fruit or a vegetable?”

>> read “Tomato: Fruit or Vegetable?”       #Fruit   #Misc   #Unusual   #Vegetables
The Top 10 Reasons Your Tomatoes Fail

Anyone who has ever grown a backyard tomato knows that there is no comparison to the flavor and quality of a freshly grown tomato compared to one purchased at the supermarket. While tomatoes are arguably the king of the vegetable garden, they can be challenging at times because this tropical fruit can be finicky. By far, tomato problems exceed those of any other vegetable. Whether that is because they just have more problems or because of how popular they are, they are definitely not easy to grow. Here I will outline what I see as the top 10 issues that can lead to tomato failure in the garden.

>> read “The Top 10 Reasons Your Tomatoes Fail”       #Advice   #Edibles   #Fruit   #Vegetables
Shishito Peppers

While on a food and native plant pilgrimage to Austin, Texas, I was offered a small plate of charred, wrinkly green peppers sprinkled with sea salt. The waiter said that the peppers were called shishitos and that they were native to Japan. Within a few minutes, I had devoured the entire plateful and was clamoring for more. These odd looking little peppers were seriously addictive.

>> read “Shishito Peppers”       #Edibles   #Fruit   #Vegetables
Exotic Flavors
Growing some out-of-the-ordinary seasonings

If, like many of us, you have been trying to eat more locally produced food lately, no doubt you have already learned how to keep the produce bin stocked with beans, tomatoes, lettuce and corn by growing them at home or visiting the local farmers’ market. Nothing beats local produce for flavor and nutrition, and eating close to home helps conserve the fuel that would have been used to transport the food across the country. But what about those wonderful, exotic flavors like ginger? They will always have to come from far away, right?

>> read “Exotic Flavors”       #Edibles   #Fruit   #Herbs   #Unusual
Perpetua Blueberry
Vaccinium corymbosum

Gardening in 2016 should be inspirational and eclectic and fun! What better plant to add to your garden than one that exhibits four seasons of interest and produces fruit for your cereal bowl! No more boring gardens stuffed with static plants that are not earning their keep – plant a new blueberry to spice it up.

>> read “Perpetua Blueberry”       #Blue   #Edibles   #Fruit   #Hot Plants
Loquat
Eriobotrya japonica

Kerry Heafner profiles the loquat (Eriobotrya japonica). Watch as he tells us all about this underused fruit tree that makes an excellent (and delicious) addition to the landscape.

>> read “Loquat”       #Fruit   #Plant Profile   #Video
Chinese Che Tree
Cudrania tricuspidata

Grape-size red fruits catch the eye starting in late August on this uncommon but commendable fruit tree known as Chinese che. At first it is slow to grow, a few inches at best. Just be patient – as with many plants three years seems to be the charm ...

>> read “Chinese Che Tree”       #Edibles   #Fruit   #Trees   #Unusual
Pink Velvet Banana

The cinnamon scent, exotic leaves and exceptional fruit color of Musa velutina (pink velvet banana or hairy banana) will add a tropical flair to any garden and are hard to resist once you have seen them. With adequate winter mulch, its cold hardiness makes it possible to be grown outside tropical zones.

>> read “Pink Velvet Banana”       #Edibles   #Fruit   #Unusual
Plant The Yard For Beauty and Food

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of shady overhanging trees can keep these five fantastic edible landscape plants from becoming standards in the Southeastern garden: crabapple, yucca, sunflower, native rose and pawpaw.

>> read “Plant The Yard For Beauty and Food”       #Edibles   #Fruit   #Vegetables