Thursday, August 25, 2016

Peas, peas and more peas...please.

by Michelle L. Dauberman

When I was a very small child, growing up in central PA, I remember how accessible home vegetable gardens were and in the beautiful garden that my parents planted I recall running through rows of string beans, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, radishes, beets, peas and even several 30’ rows of sweet corn.

I bring up the past in today’s post because I remember with fondness how close we were to our food (literally and figuratively) and I recall, with a wink, how I would help with the harvest and by harvest I mean picking and immediately eating the yields, especially the sweet peas.

In this year’s PSU Edible Demonstration Garden you will find some tasty and tempting peas as well.  Sugar Snap Peas to be exact.  To get these wonderful green peas and pods plant them in average garden soil, full sun, don’t let them dry out completely and remember to support your plants.  As it is with most plants in the pea family they are climbers and welcome the support.  For vegetable gardeners with limited space you can grow your peas in pots and containers but make sure that you get the bush-style variety.

Enjoy your peas and I don’t know about you but I can’t wait for the harvest!

For more information on peas check out this PSU Extension publication:

HortLine New email address for all Philadelphia Gardeners

Penn State Extension Philadelphia Master Gardeners' Horticultural Hot Line -- HortLine -- has a new email address.

Send your questions about flowers, vegetables, fruits, trees, soil health, pruning and all other horticultural topics to this email address. A qualified and knowledgeable Master Gardener will answer your email and help to solve your problem, or find someone who can.If you have photos to illustrate your problem, please send these, too.

Not a Philadelphia County gardener…….check you local or state Extension for their Hot Line. Master Gardeners are always ready to help with your questions.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Kalette - A New Addition to the Garden

 By Michelle L. Dauberman

As I was walking through the PSU MG Edible Demonstration Garden this week I noticed an unfamiliar plant tag.  At first I wasn’t sure if I was reading it correctly but there it was plain as day, “Kalette.”  Hmm, Kalette.  Now if you’re a plant geek like me a name like this rates high on the curious meter so off I went to do some research.

This is what I found:  Kalette is the brainchild of British seed house Tozer Seeds and it is a hybrid cross between the Brussels Sprout and English Kale thus making it a very interesting vegetable indeed.  According to the plant’s website (yes, Kalette has its own website - sponsored by Tozer Seeds America) it is sweet and nutty and it can be sautéed, roasted, grilled or eaten raw.  Sounds pretty good, right.

Truly what’s not to like yet the appearance of this new vegetable lead my thoughts to GMOs.  These days when anyone mentions GMOs an ominous tone of dread sets in and I had to curtail my kneejerk reaction upon learning about this hybrid and recall that gene crossing through traditional, non-GMO, hybridization and open pollination has a rich, deep, safe and tasty history in the garden.
A history that is alive and well and it is showing up in the form of plants like the Kalette.

Want to learn more about other, traditional, non-GMO hybridizations (like the apple tree and a couple canopy trees)?  Check out this PSU Extension online publication:

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Is kale still the new “it” vegetable? You bet it is!

By Michelle L. Dauberman

Kale has been a regular in our PSU MG Edible Demo Garden for years now but what’s keeping it around?

First off, kale is a member of the cabbage family, Brassica oleracea, and it is related to other cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and brussels sprouts.  Not surprisingly then Kale shares their health benefits and it contains antioxidant (disease fighting), high fiber (digestion aid), high iron (great for the liver), calcium, and vitamin A (immune system aid).

As we all become more and more health conscious foods that have this kind of an impact on our overall systems are bound to stick around.

Secondly, kale is a beautiful addition to any vegetable or ornamental garden.  It is easy to grow and it comes in so many striking red, green, blue and purple hues that it’s sure to make a visual impact wherever it is planted.

Thirdly, kale makes a great chip!  Cut the main vein out of the leaf and then dice or tear what is left of the leaf into smaller pieces.  Drizzle these kale pieces/chips with olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes and voila, a healthy snack!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Edible Flowers?!

By Michelle L. Dauberman

Yes, that’s right, edible flowers.  The folks in charge of the PSU Master Gardeners Edible Display Garden have added something fun to the garden this year:  A container full of plants with edible flowers.  With a special thank you to Clearview Nursery, who donated several of plants, here’s what you’ll find in our garden this year.

Anise Hyssop (Agastache ‘Blu Boa’)
Scented Geranium (Pelargonium spp.)
Nasturtium (Tropaelum majus)
Nodding Wild Onion (Allium cernuum)
Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Give them a try in your garden today and for more inspiration here are a couple of quick and tasty recipes:

Anise Hyssop Tea
Steep 2 teaspoons of fresh or 1 teaspoon of dried flowers in a mug of hot water for 7-10 minutes.  Serve hot or cold.

Nasturtium Omelet:
Serves 1
                50g/2 oz tender runner beans
                2 eggs
                30ml/2 tablespoons milk
                2 nasturtium seeds
                2 young nasturtium leaves
                4 nasturtiums, petals only
                Freshly ground salt and black pepper, to taste
                15ml/1 tablespoon butter
Parmesan cheese, grated, to taste

For an additional blog on edible flowers  Grow, Then Eat your flowers