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
Most of us who have watched old movies may have heard the term “mayday” being used as a distress call. While the pure, unending frenzy of spring and the beginning of the garden season may have this extension agent screaming “Mayday! Mayday!” from time to time, that’s not what this article is about. The May Day I’m talking about is an old holiday that is … Continue reading Celebrate Gardening on May Day
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! If you are out and about looking for a four leaf clover on this auspicious day, keep in mind that the thing that makes them lucky is that they are hard to find. A true four leaflet (a clover technically only has a simple leaf with multiple leaflets) clover is a four-leaved variation of the usually 3-leaflet white clover (Trifolum repens). Why … Continue reading What makes a four-leaf clover a lucky legume?
Peas just don’t get any respect. They may, in fact, be the Rodney Dangerfield of the garden. Sugar snaps and snow peas do seem to rank well, but few people grow them, or at least grow them successfully. Even fewer people grow the old English type pea that you have to shell out and cook without the pod. But peas, and fresh peas, are delicious … Continue reading Give Peas a Chance
Every generation has its public scientific figures — the thinkers, tinkerers and discoverers. These days, the public face of science can be found in the likes of Neil deGrasse Tyson or Stephen Hawking, and we look back through the generations at great minds like Albert Einstein, Alan Turing and Isaac Asimov. We see innovation from modern-day tinkerers in programming that gives rise to new ways … Continue reading A 19th Century Garden Hero: Hero or villain today?
This post was originally published as a guest post on The Art of Manliness on April 5, 2013. It refers to warm weather, but it is never to early to start planning the garden. With warm weather upon us and summer just around the corner, it’s time to think about gardening. “Gardening?” you say. Yes, gardening. If the mention of it has you thinking of … Continue reading 7 Reasons to Become a Gentleman Gardener
Where does this tradition of giving someone an innocent (or not-so-innocent) peck on the cheek whenever you find yourselves beneath the mistletoe come from? And just what is mistletoe anyway? Continue reading Norse Legend Leads to Christmas Tradition
This article was originally published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail on Dec 8, 2013. Perhaps the most widespread symbol of the celebration of the Christmas holidays is the Christmas tree. Storied with lore, both ancient and modern, the Christmas tree finds itself in homes, stores, offices, churches and public squares. How did an evergreen tree become the center of attention for a religious holiday? And … Continue reading TBT: Christmas trees (real ones) have tradition, lore
Cranberry salad … cranberry sauce … cranberry relish … cranberry juice … cranberry cocktails — aah, the holidays are upon us. There are many ways to enjoy this tart native fruit during the holidays and the whole year-round that don’t include cutting off a slice from a jiggling cylinder of cranberry goo. You can even grow your own cranberries at home, no bog required! Vaccinium … Continue reading Local gardeners grow cranberries “the size of quarters”
Family and friends are gathered ’round the table. The dog sits patiently below, waiting for a morsel dropped by accident or on purpose. Platters and bowls fill the table, a reminder of the bounty that sustained our forebears when they first arrived on this continent — and a current testament to overabundance and gluttony. My mom gets so excited about Thanksgiving dinner that she can’t … Continue reading Thanksgiving flavor from ancient herbs