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

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Annual Garden Day and Plant Sale Announcement

The Annual garden day is once again being held at the Horticulture Center in Fairmount Park.
The entrance is off Montgomery Drive near Belmont Plateau. Upon entering the park follow the road
around and behind the center. 

At this years event there will be testing of soil for lead and a speaker on soil health and testing.
Directions for sample taking is below.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Tree Recycling

Lauren Krohn

My favorite part of the holiday season has always been picking out the tallest, fullest, grandest Christmas tree and squishing it into my South Philly row home to live with us for a month.  Everything about it has that special magic: the lights, that piney smell, the promise of gifts underneath, plus an excuse to pack my house with another unnecessary plant (something of a special talent of mine).  Lately, however, I've been feeling guilty about the Christmas tree.  These are beautiful trees, who spend their whole lives growing into their beautiful selves just to be chopped and eventually sent to a landfill.  And landfills, unfortunately, are not very magical.

Thankfully, Philadelphia offers a FREE tree recycling program!  This Saturday, January 16, is the last day for it, so if you're like me and can't let go of your tree until the last possible moment then now is that moment.  So don't end the holiday season feeling guilty, and drop your tree off to be recycled!

See the chart below for the drop-off locations provided on the website:

Please drop-off your tree at any of these 23 locations from 9am to 3pm [on Saturday, January 16th, 2016]:
66th & Haverford Ave. 
American & Thompson St.
1400 Cottman - Pennway & Cottman Ave. (Jardel Rec.)
54th & Woodbine Ave. 
Graver Lane & Seminole 
2901 Princeton Ave. (Mayfair Rec.) 
43rd & Powelton Ave. 
Cathedral & Ridge Ave. 
7901 Ridgeway St. (Fox Chase Rec.) 
72nd & Buist Ave. 
Washington Ln. & Ardleigh 
8101 Bustleton Ave. 
Broad & Christian St. 
Upsal & Lowber St. 
2900 Comly Rd. – Palmer Playground 
20th & Hartranft St. 
Fisher & Ogontz Ave. 
7231 Torresdale Ave. – Russo Park 
15th & Bigler St. 
5th & Chelten Ave. (water reservoir) 
Intersection of Wayne Ave & Logan St.
Corinthian & Poplar St. 
Castor & Foulkrod St. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Wild Flowers??

Alexander Grimwade

It is hard to remember sometimes that every ornamental and flowering plant we grow in our gardens and houses has its origin in a plant that grows wild somewhere in the world. This was brought home to me when hiking in southern Italy this fall.

Ivy-leaved cyclamen
Along the sides of the roads and carpeting the oak forest floor are thousands of wild cyclamen in various shades of pink. Gardeners are most familiar with the fickle florist’s cyclamen -- Cyclamen persicum -- with its gaudy and large white, red, or pink flowers. The wild Italian plants are ivy-leaved cyclamen – Cyclamen hederifolium. There are some reports that it can be hardy in our area. Older plants have tubers of as much as 10 inches in diameter, and are known in Italian as “pan porcino”, as they are a favorite food of pigs, including the wild boar that frequent Italian oak forests.

Sternbergia lutea

Rocky limestone slopes are often carpeted with beautiful yellow fall crocuses – Sternbergia lutea. Although not related to true crocuses they are similar in flower structure. These can be grown in our region if you can find the bulbs, and have an alkaline patch of soil, for example, near a wall.

Autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale)

Finally, a fall favorite everywhere is the autumn crocus -- Colchicum autumnale. We came across several patches of these poking through the leaf litter. They are easily recognized by the pale violet or pink flower with no accompanying leaves. The leaves, which emerge then die back in summer, are extremely poisonous and are the source of the drug colchicine. They are easily grown in our area.