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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 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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Posts Tagged ‘flower’

Peonies at Cornell Plantations

Peonies at Cornell University Plantations

A few planting beds at Cornell University’s Plantations hold a variety of peonies unlike any I or my dad have grown over the past 50 years.

Please forgive me for stepping away from my kitchen garden. I’m still working on my dad’s house in Ithaca, and on this trip I discovered Cornell Plantations was running a plant sale. Of course, I went, and it was hard to resist buying. There were so many plants I’d love to have taken home, and all at great prices!

I exercised self-control, and I also grabbed some photos. Cornell Plantations is a show and research garden. It hosts a huge collection of plants. Themed gardens show off plants from all over the world, and it’s easy to spend several days exploring. Along the walk from my car to the plant sale, there were several raised beds planted in peonies.

Heucheras at the Cornell University Plantations plant sale

Cornell’s plant sale offered many shades of heucheras, the most dramatic of which was the particularly red-leafed plant in this photo.

When I was a kid, peonies were floofy, aromatic, gorgeous flowers at the back of the yard near the rhubarb patch. I used to watch ants crawl around on the peony buds and later I’d marvel at the giant flowers that bowed their supporting stalks to the ground. Years later I encouraged my wife to plant peonies, and we had three varieties until this past winter – one of them didn’t survive. All three varieties were just like my dad’s but in three colors: pinkish-purple, pink, and creamy white with pink inclusions.

Cornell’s peonies have peony leaves and stalks, but the flowers are barely like my dad’s peonies. I captured a whole bunch in pixels along with a few photos of the area hosting the plant sale. The photos tell the story, though the embedded slideshow at the end simply glorifies peonies!

Plant collection at the Cornell University Plantations

An enormous pergola housed a huge collection of what must have been shade-loving plants adjacent to the plant sale. Unrelenting sunlight cast shadow stripes onto everything beyond a rope we were not permitted to pass.


And the peony slideshow:

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Onion Stalk Mischief

OnionFlower in a Small Kitchen Garden

In late spring or early summer, a starburst flower explodes on the top of an onion plant’s center stalk.

I hope you’re growing onions in your small kitchen garden. Onions provide a rather poor return on your gardening investment: if you don’t have much space for a garden, you’d do well to consider other plants that produce more food per square inch. However, onions put on an impressive display.

Most gardeners start with sets which are essentially tiny onions. Once planted, a set sprouts fleshy green shoots that grow a foot-and-a-half long and longer. Then, a ball starts to form with its top showing just above the soil’s surface. Through the growing season, that ball grows larger as the plant produces a starburst flower on its tallest stalk.

Onion in a Small Kitchen Garden

By the time the onion flowers, a ball has probably started to form between the stalk and the roots.

The flower eventually fades, leaving new onion plants ready to go in the soil. Finally, the fleshy green stalks wither, leaving only the onion itself stuck partway into the soil.

Life-Changing Onion Folklore

When I was a kid, my grandmother demonstrated a characteristic of onions that I’ve seen presented nowhere else. To impress upon you the full impact of this life-changing onion lore, I prepared a short video of the presentation she gave me those many years ago.

Please take two minutes to learn about this remarkable characteristic of onions so you can apply the knowledge in your own small kitchen garden:


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