Safety First! As lovely as eating flowers can be, it can also be a little ... deadly! Not to scare you off or anything.
-Eat flowers you know to be consumable and preferably flowers you have grown yourself.
-Do not eat roadside flowers or those picked in public parks. Both may have been treated with pesticide or herbicide, and roadside flowers may be polluted by car exhaust.
-Eat only the petals, and remove pistils and stamens before eating
As with any new food, use caution.
Some of the varieties listed are "leafy" crops that bolt (flower) and the flowers are edible. JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE
Often used for pickling purposes. Fresh tuber tastes like a water chestnut and is used in salads. Tubers can also be cooked like potatoes. The edible portion is the tuber or swollen end of an underground stem, which in some respects resembles a potato.
Flowers resemble small sunflowers or large daisies. Ripens in late fall.
Both flowers and leaves have a subtle anise or licorice flavor.
Petals are edible. Avoid the bitter calyx.
Blossoms come in a variety of colors, from white to pink to lavender
Blossoms are a lovely blue hue and taste like cucumber!
Small and daisylike, the flowers have a sweet flavor and are often used in tea. Ragweed sufferers may be allergic to chamomile.
I hope you have enjoyed another educational article. if you have additional questions, please leave a comment below or send an email to email@example.com
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~~~SALE EXTENDED THRU MARCH 2ND~~~
I love these announcements!!!
Greens and squash are a few of our garden favorites. They are easy to grow and usually offer a tremendous harvest. Swiss Chard for example can be harvested for months (even a year). Our squash is usually so prolific that we are constantly giving it away by the bucketful!
Take a look at these beautiful new varieties.
They're only 99 cents a pack thru MARCH 1st.
COCONUT COIR PELLETS are also on sale thru March 15
45 days. Bibb is a fabulous tasting lettuce that is crisp, clean and easy to grow. Bibb will hold longer in the heat than Buttercrunch Bibb, yet still grows quickly in our cool weather.
90 days. Banana Melon produces a fruit that is long (18"-20") and shaped sort of like a torpedo. Not what you would normally think of as a melon shape. Fruit can weigh in excess of 5lbs. It has blue-grey skin that turns yellow as it matures. Banana melons are smooth with very little netting. In 1889 it was commonly available at farmer's markets in Philadelphia, New York and Boston.
An early ball-head type heirloom cabbage, Copenhagen Market is an excellent cabbage that has been an favorite of gardeners, market growers and cabbage fans all over the world. Copenhagen Market has literally set the standard as the model for all commercial cabbage varieties developed since.
Copenhagen Market produces a heavy yield of 4 to 5 pound, 7 inch round heads of cabbage. Height of the plant is about 12-14" and width is about 25".
(Indeterminate) Heirloom from farmers in a Lebanese hill town. Huge pink beefsteak tomato: fruits typically weigh 16-24 oz., or even larger when well grown. A good choice for a gardener’s boast or county fair entry. Has a multidimensional sweet flavor that seems to be expressed best in northern areas. In southern areas the quality is more variable. Good foliage disease resistance.
55 days. This patty pan type of squash dates back to the early 1900s. The fruits are a greyish-green tint and have deeply scalloped edges.
Benning's Green Tint Scallop Squash can get pretty big but they are best harvested around 3-4 inches in diameter.
55 days. Sugar Ann is considered one of the best early snap peas around.
Dwarf vines only reach 2' long (not a bush), but are loaded with sweet, crisp, 2 1/2" peas. Perfect for those with limited planting space. We simply cannot get enough of these for stir fries. They are so crisp and sweet we eat them raw in salads as well.
2 VARIETIES that aren't NEW but we've decided to offer
on sale as well thru MARCH 1st.
Don't miss out on our special on
THAT'S ALL FOR NOW! HAPPY PLANTING!
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We sent this out yesterday to our e-mail list but thought it would be nice to share to our blog as well. Happy Planting!
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A few favorites @MARY'S HEIRLOOM SEEDS
We are SUPER excited to announce the addition of several new (to us)
As promised, we're continuing to add heirloom varieties to our already unique selection at Mary's Heirloom Seeds. As an added bonus, the varieties we are announcing today are on Sale thru February 19th!
HEIRLOOM TOMATO SEEDS added today!!!
Seeds listed in this section are ON SALE thru February 19th.
We have a $10 order minimum
with the free shipping option.
*Excellent for HOT climates*
If you're wondering what to plant,
check out our
Also ON SALE thru February 19th @ Mary's Heirloom Seeds
I've shared previous "best of" articles from Mary's Heirloom Seeds such as Mary's Top 10 with Companions and Heat Tolerant Veggies.
But how about homesteaders? Some of you, myself included, are growing to become more self-sufficient. We're also working on a soil-prep article so stay tuned for that
What are the Best Veggies for Homestead Gardens?
I'm starting with Radish because it's one of the first crops to mature in our garden. As long as your soil has balanced organic matter, Radish is an easy crop to grow and usually pest resistant. The Early Scarlet Globe Radish is heat tolerant and matures in as little as 22 days. The German Giant Radish matures in as little as 29 days and can be harvested small and early or let them grow as large as a tennis ball (no joke. I've done it)
If you're looking for a good dual-purpose crop, Beans are your go-to homestead crop. Some varieties can be picked early as a snap bean or left on the plant to mature for a nice dry bean (for soups, etc).
While it's listed as a GREEN on our site, we're separating Swiss Chard from lettuce because it's a MUST on our homestead.
-We use Swiss Chard fresh in our salads
-We give some away for my sister's goats and chickens
-We sautee swiss chard with garlic and onions as a meal or snack AND use sauteed swiss chard in crustless quiche. YUM!!!
Here's another dual purpose for your homestead. Glass Gem corn for example is a great popping corn and can also be ground to make cornmeal. Floriani Red Flint Corn is a very unique, strong variety for cornmeal. Blue Clarage Dent Corn can be picked and eaten in the earlier stages or grown longer to use as a cornmeal OR chicken treat. Sweet Corn varieties can be used right away, frozen or canned. So many possibilities!
Even the pickiest of eaters might enjoy a nice beet green salad. We grow beets almost year round here on our homestead. The tops make a great salad. Beets can be eaten fresh, roasted or canned. Most Beets mature in 50-60 days, and are somewhat pest resistant. Even if bugs eat the tops, the bulb usually survives. Detroit Dark Red, Chioggio and Golden Beets have been our best producers so far. The Early Wonder is a great early maturing variety.
Onions take about 5 – 8 months to mature from the time the seeds are planted, so you’ll want to begin them early in January or February. If you are in an area that gets frost in winter, plant them indoors in pots or in a greenhouse to give them protection. Bunching onions are a faster maturing option.
Determinate VS. Indeterminate Tomatoes
Determinate varieties of tomatoes, also called "bush" tomatoes, are varieties that are bred to grow to a compact height (approx. 4 feet). They stop growing when fruit sets on the terminal or top bud, ripen all their crop at or near the same time (usually over a 2 week period).
Indeterminate varieties of tomatoes are also called "vining" tomatoes. They will grow and produce fruit until killed by frost and can reach heights of up to 10 feet although 6 feet is considered the norm. They will bloom, set new fruit and ripen fruit all at the same time throughout the growing season.
HOT peppers are tougher to pick. We grow as much as possible for hot sauce, pickling and our Organic bug spray.
Corbaci is a new, mild-hot pepper that we're growing this year.
Ghost Peppers are the hottest pepper we carry and they are not to be taken lightly. They can cause severe reactions/discomfort if you're not careful.
Summer squash are usually a faster maturing option. Summer Squash take longer to mature but usually store for longer than summer varieties. Squash is a great addition to your homestead garden since they are heavy-producers and make seed saving a bit easier IF you are mindful of cross-pollination. Black Beauty Zucchini and Golden Crookneck are our homestead favorites. Spaghetti Squash and Butternut Squash are Winter Squash favorites.
Give Peas a chance! But first, decide what type of pea you'd like. Southern Peas, also called Crowder Peas are not your garden variety peas. Southern Peas are used like you would a dry bean. Our homestead favorite is the Whippoorwill Southern Pea. Then you have Garden Peas, also called Shelling Peas, and these are great for canning and soups. Sugar, Snow and Snap Peas are useful for homesteaders as well.
There are so many unique veggies available, too many to list in a single article. We've gone over a few of our favorites. We'd love to hear from YOU about your favorite homestead crops.
Does the thought of sweet and Juicy summertime Watermelon get your mouth watering? We love watermelon! Mary's Heirloom Seeds offers several varieties of Watermelon.
Planting Watermelon Seeds
If you have a short growing season or want to get a head start, plant watermelon seeds indoors in individual containers or pots. We recommend using coconut coir pellets, which can be planted directly in the garden with minimal transplant shock. Plant one to two seeds per pot.
Sow watermelon seeds in hills or rows. For regular watermelons, sow three to four seeds per hill, spacing the hills eight to ten feet apart. Space the rows ten feet apart or more, if you have room. Thin watermelon seedlings in each hill, to two seedlings one week after they have germinated. When planting in rows, space the seeds four to six inches apart and thin seedlings to ten to twelve inches apart. For bush varieties, final spacing can be cut in half or even more if you are tight for space.
Days to Germinate: 3-5 days
Days to Harvest: 65-85 days
Growing Conditions for Watermelon
Watermelon prefers full sun for healthy, strong vines.
Companion plants for Watermelon
Planting corn with your watermelon will provide shade for the plants during the hottest time of the day. Allow about a foot between the corn plants so the watermelon plants still receive enough sun. Young melon plants are susceptible to insect invasion, especially cucumber beetles. Once the plants mature, they can tolerate some leaf loss due to insects, but keeping companion plants nearby helps control swarms of pests. Cass County Master Gardeners recommend marigold, oregano and nasturtium as companion plants for melons. Diatomaceous Earth is a great organic tool to kill and deter pests. Fertilize Watermelon as the vines begin to spread out and then again in a month. Use Mary's Organic Plant food and Organic Alfalfa Meal Tea for all-around, organic nutrients.
, Dr. Bill Rhodes, professor of horticulture at Clemson University, offers the following advice on how to tell if watermelons are ripe:
- Thump it. If the watermelon sounds hollow, it's ripe.
- Look at the color on the top. The watermelon is ripe when there is little contrast between the stripes.
- Look at the color on the bottom. A green watermelon will have a white bottom; a ripe melon will have a cream- or yellow-colored bottom.
- Press on it. If the watermelon sounds like it gives a little, it's ripe. (Rhodes doesn't like this method because it can ruin the quality of the fruit.)
- Check the tendril. If it's green, wait. If it’s half-dead, the watermelon is nearly ripe or ripe. If the tendril is fully dead, it's ripe or overripe; it’s not going to get any riper, so you might as well pick!
- Stems should be cut with a sharp knife close to the fruit.
- Watermelons can be stored uncut for about 10 days. If cut, they can last in the refrigerator for about 4 days. Wrap tightly in plastic.
Garden Huckleberries produce fruit the first year which is why they are a great berry to try in your home garden.
I grow everything from seed! It's not that difficult and that way I know exactly what I'm getting from start to finish. All of the seeds I plant (from Mary's Heirloom Seeds) are untreated, organic, non-gmo heirloom seeds.
Starting Garden Huckleberry from Seed Plant seeds in moist soil and cover with approx 1/4 inch of soil. Seeds should germinate within 2 weeks. Seedlings should receive at least five hours of sun every day. I start seeds in my laundry room where I have large windows and plenty of space. Once the seedlings grow about 2 inches tall they will be transplanted to large pots.
Growing Conditions for Garden Huckleberry Garden Huckleberries like rich soil and partial shade. Adding compost or chicken manure will increase the plant yield. I plant my Huckleberry when I plant my tomatoes and fertilize the same as well. Growing Huckleberries are very easy and not much bothers the plant. The plants have some cold tolerance and fruit may continue to ripen after light frosts.
|Plants should be bushy. This one needed more fertilizer or compost.
Green fruit are mildly poisonous, just like potato leaves or green potatoes. The fruits do not taste like much when picked, sometimes they can can be bitter. A pleasing berry taste does come through surprising well when it is cooked with sugar. It can be used as a viable substitute for blueberries in pies, jams and syrup.
|Small basket of berries from 1 bush
Pests This year I have found several tomato hornworms on my huckleberry plants. I recommend planting Borage (an edible herb) around your Tomatoes AND Huckleberry plants to deter hornworms.
Diatomaceous Earth will help with any aphid issues you might have in the garden.
|THESE are Tomato Hornworms and they get even bigger!
Garden huckleberry can be mistaken for deadly nightshade, which is poisonous, so make sure of its identity before eating. I grow mine from a trusted seed source. • Garden huckleberry's self-sown seedlings will provide you with new plants. Pull out all unwanted seedlings each year or they'll be everywhere.
Harvesting Garden Huckleberries Pick the berries when they are no longer shiny; ripe berries are usually a dull black or blue-black. Cook the fully ripe berries before eating; they may need a pinch of baking soda to remove bitterness. Add sugar to taste and some freshly grated lemon zest and lemon juice to brighten the flavor.
You can purchase heirloom Garden Huckleberry seeds