Lichens: A lesson on how to get along

They’re delicate, but tough; beautiful, yet crusty. They’re also found almost everywhere, but you probably don’t pay them much attention. They grow in patches on rocks, trees, buildings and just about every other surface. They’re under-researched and misunderstood. Most people probably don’t even know their name, which is lichen, by the way. I’ve written about lichens before (after a trip to Seattle, where they are … Continue reading Lichens: A lesson on how to get along

Sunchokes – Trendy food from flowers

During the summer, a giant found a home in my garden. Standing tall near the back gate of the house, the green giant reached at least 12 feet in the air — sticking its arms out wildly and looking like it could use a good tidying up. Sure, my giant was unwieldy and perhaps not all that attractive, but it gave me some great treasure … Continue reading Sunchokes – Trendy food from flowers

Good eats or evil spirits: Origins of the pumpkins we eat and the ones we don’t

Some of our pumpkin consumption is purely ornamental — pumpkins to decorate our porches and to carve into spooky or cute characters (more on that in a bit), but 80 percent of the crop grown in the United States is meant for processing into canned pumpkin, manufactured pumpkin foods and more. So only 20 percent of the annual crop doesn’t go into the food system. Continue reading Good eats or evil spirits: Origins of the pumpkins we eat and the ones we don’t

A sustainability tour of West Virginia farms

First, when someone hears the term sustainable agriculture, they automatically assume that it means organic or environmentally focused. While environmental stewardship is a part of sustainable agriculture, it is only one area of focus for those who try to educate about the practice. Environmental stewardship is held in balance with economic viability and quality of life. Continue reading A sustainability tour of West Virginia farms

Planting garlic, shallots, and perennial onions

Autumn is probably my favorite season. The cool, crisp air and the colors are definite big reasons, plus it is a season where great things happen — like my birthday. The cool weather last week prompted me to make the final shift between the summer and winter garden. It’s almost like pulling the boxes of winter clothes out of the attic to switch places with … Continue reading Planting garlic, shallots, and perennial onions

Preserving the harvest – canning, drying, freezing

Canning and dehydration are great ways to preserve almost any food — vegetables, fruits and even meats. The Extension Service provides one of the most comprehensive go-to sources of information for home canning and food preservation. Here are some of my recent adventures in home canning and drying. Continue reading Preserving the harvest – canning, drying, freezing

Pickin’ up a pawpaw, put it in the garden

Pawpaws are a native fruit that grows throughout the woods in the eastern U.S. The scientific name (Asimina triloba) comes from the Native American term assimin and Latin for three referencing the three petals on the brown, nondescript flowers of the tree that have a slight rotten smell to attract pollinating flies. Continue reading Pickin’ up a pawpaw, put it in the garden