Monthly Archives: April 2011

Propagating Herbs: Division

5638123732_b9c6e5f532_mBy Jill Henderson

By now your garden honey-do list is probably getting pretty long, but if you haven’t done it yet, now is the absolute best time to propagate perennial herbs and flowers through cutting, layering and division.  Vegetative propagation is best achieved during periods of active growth such as spring and fall, with spring being the best season overall.  During this time the plant is filled with growth hormones in the stems and roots, and you can take advantage of those natural growth stimulators to multiply your mature plantings.  This article on herb propagation comes from my book, The Healing Power of Kitchen Herbs. Continue reading

Pokeweed: Good Green or Toxic Weed?

Poke Salat copyright Jill Henderson

By Jill Henderson – - – Show Me Oz

Spring in the Ozarks wouldn’t be the same without gathering and preparing at least one pot of poke.  At our house, this leafy perennial ranks right up there with other spring edibles such as asparagus.  This week I was planning on writing an article on how to prepare poke for consumption, when  a colleague pointed out an article written by Dr. Jean Weese, a Food Scientist with the  Alabama Cooperative Extension Service entitled, Don’t Eat Poke Salad.  As the title suggests, Dr. Weese attempts to dissuade people from eating poke in any form, noting that it contains “at least three different types of poison”.  The controversy over whether poke’s is toxic or edible has been going on for a very long time, but who is right?  Is poke poisonous or is it safe to eat?  Fodder for this week’s Show Me Oz.

A Walk on the Wild Side: Pokeweed

"Pokeweed" Copyright 2008 Jill HendersonBy Jill Henderson

April does something me that no other month can, probably because I was born under her stars.  The lengthening days and warm, stormy weather bring a rush of growth in my garden and throughout the woods and fields.  And for those Ozarkers who like to eat on the wild side, the warmer weather is more than accommodating, as the wild greens of black mustard, dock, lambs quarters and poke are already up and at their peak of flavor.   Pokeweed, better known as poke, is one of our favorite spring greens and when cooked properly, nothing beats it for a scrumptious pot herb. Continue reading

Say Cheese: A Dying Family Industry

Photo by Jared Benedict - http://redjar.org/By Jill Henderson

At one time in the not so distant past, the central Ozark region was well-known for its rich and productive dairy farms.  As few as ten years ago, you didn’t have to travel far before coming across rolling pastureland dotted with the distinctive black and white patches of Holstein heifers grazing the green, green grass of home.  Continue reading