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I wrote a book about preserving food. The same step-by-step instruction and full-color photos you find in my blog. Buy it at Yes, You Can 

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Sprouts

Amazon.com is a terrific source for certified organic seeds intended for home sprouting. Dress up salads, stir-fry, sandwiches, spreads, and other dishes with homegrown sprouts of all kinds. Follow this link to order your sampler or to find home sprouting kits.

 

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September 2010 Bloom Day in my Small Kitchen Garden

Autumn is but days away in my small kitchen garden, and frost won’t be far behind. That being the case, vegetable plants really have no reason to bloom. There simply isn’t enough time for a flower to produce fruits, seeds, pods, or anything else I’d want to eat before cold weather shuts it down.

Of course, my plants don’t know this, so they continue to convert sunshine into food and show off their reproductive junk. Don’t blush; here’s what’s exposed on this late-summer Garden Bloggers Bloom Day:

There is a most unexpected display in my small kitchen garden: Lupine blossoms. I thought these were a springtime phenomenon, but this year several plants decided that once around wasn’t enough. This year, the springtime display was a bit lame, so it’s nice to see more blossoms now. Why are there lupines in my kitchen garden at all? In a moment of weakness some years ago, I set perennials at one end of my planting bed… and I added a few flowers “just cuz.” Had I to do it over, the lupines and hollyhocks would be asparagus. I set only three asparagus roots, and two failed. My “official” recommendation: if you ever start an asparagus bed in your home kitchen garden, set a dozen or more roots. Never mind ending up with more than you can consume; it’s especially frustrating to grow so little that you can’t make a meal of it.

 

I might have overstated the futility of mid-September vegetable blossoms. There’s some chance that this bean blossom will produce a decent bean pod before frost kills the plant. Still, there are so few blossoms left on the bean plants that if I do get a bean out of this one, it’ll be the only bean in the garden.

 

The pepper plants seem to be eternal optimists. There are dozens of pepper blossoms in my small kitchen garden. I may carry a few of the potted peppers inside when frost threatens. On the other hand, there are still hundreds (I’m not exaggerating) of peppers ripening. If I can, freeze, and dry batches of them, I’ll have more than I’m likely to use before the first peppers are ready next summer.

 

With goldenrod in full-bloom, it’s hard to imagine a broccoli blossom drawing this kind of attention. Perhaps the nectar has a more subtle flavor than that of goldenrod? No clue, but the bee insisted on participating in my Bloom Day photo shoot.

 

What, no blossoms? Oh, and more broccoli? You see, there’s this broccoli plant that just hasn’t stopped growing. I harvested in late spring, and the plant went crazy. It now towers more than eight feet, and has become a nature preserve in my kitchen garden. This grasshopper suns itself lazily as the ants go about storing food for the long winter to come.

 

This tiny red flower is really pretty. I think my wife planted it in the ornamental bed across from my raised bed vegetable garden. No, ornamentals haven’t leaped across the lawn to grow among my vegetables. Rather, this little beauty is growing in my excavation. You see, I started digging a new planting bed in early spring and then lost interest in it. I left a hole adjacent to the ornamental bed and a mound of soil next to the hole. My wife’s ornamentals have grown across the hole onto the mound, suggesting that my future herb garden may have issues with my wife’s pretty plants.

 

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