How to Make Venison Sausage and Kale Quiche with a Side of Lemon-Ginger Beet Salad

While I think that there is a wide variety of reasons why we garden, arguably the biggest one is to have fresh homegrown food. I really enjoy cooking, and the appeal of growing my own quality ingredients was what got me started on the path to being a gardener. We didn’t keep a garden this winter so¬†our own ingredients have…

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How to Grow Sweet Salad Turnips (with Recipes)

If you’ve never eaten a salad turnip, and you probably haven’t, it’s unlikely you think they sound very exciting. Back when the Organic Growers School was Saturday only, they did an experimental Sunday session in Burnsville, NC. Among skills like how to build hoop houses and grow through the winter, I mostly remember taste-testing the ‘Hakurei’ turnips that Patryk Battle…

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How to Grow and Use Achocha/Caigua (a Problem-Free Cucumber Substitute), with Recipes

Organic gardening often produces healthier, more easily grown vegetables and fruits than the same crops grown with “conventional” methods. There are, however, a few crops that have a pouty reputation for organic growers. The cucurbit family claims most of these weak-kneed plants. I count on summer squash and cucumbers to be riddled with squash vine borer, cucumber worms, and fungal…

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How to Find Hedgehog Mushrooms (and Eat Them: With Recipes)

Even though it’s getting late in the edible mushroom season, we found a nice little haul of sweet tooth hedgehog mushrooms after the rain last weekend: Daytime temperatures were reaching the upper 40’s to 50 F when we found them under oaks in a South Carolina forest. The entire slope seemed to be covered with them but we only picked…

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How to Grow and Use Amaranth Greens (w/Recipes & Sources)

You can have leafy summer salads in the hot southeast! Though “heat resistant” lettuce only gets you so far into the season before bitterness and bolting set in, you don’t have to go without greens until fall. Amaranth greens are by far my favorite lettuce substitute. The first time I tasted it I was trying too hard to compare it…

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How to Grow and Use Papalo (w/Recipes & Sources)

Once I got frustrated with cilantro’s reluctance to grow at the same time that I have piles of fresh tomatoes to turn into salsa, I started researching heat-loving substitutes for it. Papalo is a frequent recommendation and it certainly survives our hot summers. Papalo (Porophyllum ruderale) is also called papaloquelite, poreleaf, mampuito, summer cilantro, and Bolivian coriander. It doesn’t taste…

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How to Grow Peas as Quick Harvest Greens (and Use Up Old Seed Packets)

I am a seed hoarder. I still have packets from 2000 in my seed box because they might germinate whenever I get around to planting them. I don’t like to take risks with my vegetables though, so I make sure to have a fresh seed supply. Peas are not great seeds to save, the older they get the less vigor…

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How to Find Edible Morel Mushrooms (With Recipes)

I promised! Here’s the morel hunting post. If you don’t want to hunt for your morels you can still use the recipes by buying fresh morels here, buying dried morels here, or by checking the dried mushroom section at your local grocery store. If you’re really lucky you might find them at your farmer’s market. If you just want to…

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How to Select and Use Basil Varieties (w/Stuffed Artichoke Recipe)

Nothing goes better with fresh garden tomatoes than fresh garden basil. It’s likely these two plants are responsible for the majority of intrepid forays into vegetable gardening. Cooks and gardeners quickly find there is more to basil than the overpriced “sweet” grocery store blister packs or the spice aisle’s jars full of lifeless confetti. Basil is quick and easy to…

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How to Grow and Use Tea Hibiscus/Florida Cranberry

I get excited about foods I’ve never grown before and for a few years now I’ve tried my hand at growing Hibiscus sabdariffa, which you may be familiar with as the “zinger” in Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger tea. H. sabdariffa is also known as tea hibiscus, red tea, Florida cranberry, roselle, and sorrel (unrelated to the leafy French sorrel). It…

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How to Grow Yardlong Beans

Who needs fertilizer? Heat and humidity seem to be the recipe for lush, productive yard long bean vines. They’re tasty, too — this is one oddball veggie you won’t just try once for novelty’s sake. The elongated pods really can reach a yard in length, though they are best at around 18″ or less, when they are still thinner than…

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How to Grow More than “Green” Beans (Other Colors of Snap Beans)

If ordinary snap beans are getting boring, it’s time to try purple or yellow ones! Many people are hesitant to try unusual vegetables but let me offer reassurance that they’re just as easy and tasty as the green versions. In fact, they are so similar that you can mix and match what you grow and use a potpourri in the…

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