Seed Saving Time: What’s in a Name?

The heart of every fruit is its seed.by Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

If you garden, I’ll bet you’ve talked to your plants before.  Don’t worry, I do it, too. It’s perfectly normal. Common even. People talk to all kinds of animate and sometimes inanimate things – they also give them names.  Take trees and fast cars, for example.  It doesn’t matter if anyone knows you talk to your plants or not, we’ll keep that our little secret.  But if you are a gardener trying to save pure seed, you’ll want to take those pet names and give them some botanical teeth!

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Garden Time: Walking Onions

Egyptian Walking onions in early spring beginning to set bulbils. Image copyright Jill Hendersonby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Growing up in the heart of Cajun and Creole country, I learned early on that no dish is truly complete unless it begins with a mess of sweet and savory onions.  Of course, when I began to garden it was only natural to want to grow my own.  But I soon found out that good cooking onions aren’t necessarily easy to grow. They come with very specific needs, including the perfect conditions for long-term storage, that I just couldn’t seem to provide.  For years I limited myself to the growing of onion chives and leeks to satisfy my need for easy-to-grow oniony flavor.  And then I found Egyptian walking onions.

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Seed Saving Time: Legumes

Snow peas will cross with snow, snap and shell peas.By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz 

If you’re planning on saving some of your own seeds this summer, the very best time to start is before a single seed goes in the ground.  In fact, your seed saving efforts should begin with that catalog you’ve been perusing all winter.  In addition to a myriad of valuable information such as germination times, growth characteristics, suggested planting dates and so on, many seed catalogs now list each vegetable’s Latin botanical name, as well.  You know the one I’m talking about…those two  little words written in italics and perched between parenthesis can mean the difference between seed saving success or seed saving failure.

Demystifying Tomato Sizes

Demystifying-Tomato-Sizes-Poster.jpgBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Have you ever perused a seed catalog looking for the perfect tomato and been a little confused by the size descriptions? I have. And as someone who recently has had to learn a whole lot about writing short variety descriptions, I appreciate what information I do get from seed packets and catalogs. But I also don’t have time to sift through all the varied ways that tomatoes are described in terms of size. What I needed a way to compare tomato sizes at a glance: Is tomato A bigger or smaller than tomato B? So, I set out to make some sense of all the numbers, weights, measurements and obscure descriptives for comparing various sizes of tomatoes.

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Why You Should Grow Heirloom Seeds

2015 1-25 Seed Packing Party (5)Guest Post by Sam at Organic Lesson

Those who are unfamiliar with the seeds industry would be unaware of the growing battles between the types of seeds that exist in the market today. In general, seeds can be categorized into the following three categories: heirloom, hybrids, and GMO. It is important to understand each type of seed because they provide different pros and cons. For a more visual representation, you can check out the infographic below by Organic Lesson which highlights the main differences between heirloom, hybrid, and GMO seeds. Continue reading

Harvesting and Using the Flowers of Herbs

2014 6-27 (11) Garden Walkby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

After a long, cold winter, spring has finally arrived in my neck of the woods.  At long last, the dormant herbs in the garden have erupted in a wave of fresh green leaves that brighten the garden path.  And dotted here throughout, are winter hardy alliums, which will soon bear the very first herbal flowers of the season.  And while I will relish their beauty, herb flowers are more than just pretty – they are downright tasty, too.

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Fun in the Garden with Critters

Male Pileated WoodpeckerBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Ahhh! Who doesn’t love a spring day? The birds are singing and the flowers are blooming and it’s just a beautiful free for all.  We’ve spent a lot of time in the garden recently, planting and weeding and the general stuff.  I was standing there in the garden, when a beautiful pileated woodpecker sailed by me and beyond, into the woods.  I suddenly thought of an interesting gardening experience from some years before – and in another garden. It involved a pileated woodpecker, a hollow tree, a mess of squirrels, and me.

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Don’t Let Your Garlic Die! Make the Most of Your Winter Stash

Don't let your stored garlic go to waste!by Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Every summer, Dean and I spend a measurable amount of time harvesting, cleaning, curing, and braiding the organic garlic we produce in our garden.  We use garlic in almost every dish we prepare at home and often utilize its amazing curative powers, as well.  I like garlic braids because they are beautiful to look at and compact enough to hang in the kitchen pantry without cluttering things up.  But no matter how and in what conditions you store your garlic, there comes a time when the living bulbs begin to sprout and slowly rot. But you can salvage the wonderful flavor and medicinal properties of garlic before it’s too late…

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