Tag: Grow (page 2 of 3)

September in the Piedmont: Monthly Planting Guide

You may have thought September marked the winding down of the gardening season as fall quickly approaches…  but you couldn’t be further from the truth!

It’s true that the time to plant any summer crops (with the exception of snap beans) has now passed, but for the fall garden, September is prime time!  And it’s also your last chance for most fall crops…  Note all the green highlighted rows in our guide below.

It’s past time to start your fall seedlings indoors, but there is still plenty of time to purchase transplants from your local garden center or direct seed many others.  Some plants that we generally think of growing only from transplants can actually be direct-seeded in the fall, such as cauliflower and kohlrabi.  Who knew?

So take advantage of the milder weather fall brings, and start sneaking in some fall crops between your dwindling summer plants!  Don’t forget to give them a good helping of compost or well-aged manure.  Your garden will need a little pick-me-up after the toll summer production can take on it.

September Planting Guide

 

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Monthly Planting Guide: August in the Piedmont

If you’re not too buried in a pile of tomatoes or zucchini this time of year to think about planting more in your garden, August can be an exciting time to plant!  There are still a few “quick maturing” crops you can get in the ground for summer – like bush beans and cucumbers.  But I think the really exciting things are the fall crops!  Think of almost everything you might have put in your spring garden – peas, cabbage, broccoli, greens…  All of this has another chance to be planted now for a fall (and even into winter) harvest!

See our Monthly Planting Guide for August below for the details.  If you don’t have an empty bed, stick fall crops in around your summer ones – they’ll appreciate a little shade.  When it’s time to pull out the no-longer-productive summer crops, your fall crops can have all the space and all the light!

August Planting Guide

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Monthly Planting Guide: July in the Piedmont

Some like it hot! And that’s the truth for the July issue of our Monthly Planting Guides!  July is the last chance for some heat-lovers like tomatoes, melons, and sweet potatoes.  But don’t think it’s the end of planting season!  It’s also time to start thinking about your fall garden with cool weather crops like brussels sprouts, beets, and carrots.

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Sea Salt, Rocket, & Roses… Piedmont Picnic goes to the beach

That’s right!  We just got back from the beach, but don’t worry, we didn’t take the week off.  To keep you entertained, while we were on vacation, we looked into things to forage on the beaches of NC…  What did we find?  We foraged seaweed for extra nutrients in the compost pile, picked sea rocket and wild roses, and made our own sea salt!  All things you can try out next time you pop over to the beach.  Check it out below.

Wild sea rocket…  like arugula, but the leaves are more like a succulent…

Wild beach roses were turned into an infusion and then into a yummy beachy cocktail (of course!).  

The #wildfoodlove #harvest continues even on #beach #vacation. #TopsailIsland #beachrose A photo posted by Piedmont Picnic Project (@piedmontpicnicproject) on

“The #Wild #Rosy #Pear” – wild #beachrose #infusion+ pear syrup courtesy of #grandma’s #homecanned pears + #gin + lemon

A photo posted by Piedmont Picnic Project (@piedmontpicnicproject) on

Finally, our grand finale…  If you are trying to eat more locally, how do you localize your salt intake?  Well, if you live in the NC Piedmont, in less than 150 miles, you can make your own local sea salt!  We just strained the seawater and then dehydrated it until nothing was left but the salt!  

Why yes! This is the start of our #homemade #seasalt evaporated from #foraged #seawater! #TopsailIsland

A photo posted by Piedmont Picnic Project (@piedmontpicnicproject) on

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Monthly Planting Guide: June in the Piedmont

 

 

Wondering what you can still plant this month in the Piedmont, Zone 7B?  We’ve got you covered!  There’s still time to put out a few key summer transplants like tomatoes and peppers…  but it’s also time to think about starting those fall transplants from seed indoors!

June Planting Guide

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Pollinator Picnic was all the buzz!

Piedmont Picnic Project hosted our Pollinator Picnic this past Saturday as part of the Second Saturday events in Raleigh and as part of our Pollinators in the Piedmont blog series!    Special thanks to all those who came out for the event!  See full gallery here.

Pollinator Picnic

PapaSpuds_logoSpecial thanks to Papa Spuds for providing all of the honey for the event!  If you’re interested in Papa Spuds local foods delivery service, they’ll waive your enrollment fee and give you $5 off your first order when you use the coupon code PICNIC.  

If you couldn’t make it out, here’s what you missed…

A full bee buffet of honey and wildflower drinks and treats, including Honeygirl Meadery mead and Brothers Vilgalys Spirits krupnikas cocktail!

#yogurtcheese flavored with #honey and #foraged #hickorynuts decorated with more nuts, #nativehoneysuckle and #wildroses at the #PollinatorPicnic!

A photo posted by Piedmont Picnic Project (@piedmontpicnicproject) on

#trappist #honeybread at our #PollinatorPicnic! #likethebeesdoit A photo posted by Piedmont Picnic Project (@piedmontpicnicproject) on

A pollinator garden demo including a good dose of bee history and recommendations for pollinator plants.  This berm is stuffed full of BREW coffee grounds and compost from a kindly CompostNow customer!

Our best helpers! #PollinatorBerm #startemyoung #givebeesachance

A photo posted by Piedmont Picnic Project (@piedmontpicnicproject) on

Stay tuned to our Pollinators in the Piedmont series to see what’s next – like our upcoming Wild History walking tour – learning more about pollinators, bee history, and forageable wildflowers!

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This May: Pollinators in the Piedmont

For the month of May, Piedmont Picnic Project will be focusing on pollinators, all they do for us, and what we can do for them!

pollinators_black

What can you expect from our Pollinators in the Piedmont series?

Pollinator Picnic | Saturday, May 9th, 2-4 PM | 308 Colleton Rd. (parking on street)

Pollinator Picnic

Come have a picnic provided by the bees while we create a picnic for the bees!  Learn how to install a pollinator garden at a personal residence while enjoying a light picnic of wildflower & honey drinks and treats.


Wild History Pollinator Walk | Saturday, May 23, 2-4 PM | Surprise Location TBA

Join Piedmont Picnic on another Wild History walk where we’ll point out wild edibles along the way while we share the history around our topic and location!  This month’s theme will be… what else?  Pollinators!  So we’ll talk bees, stings, pollinator habitat, honey, and wildflowers…  of course!

Our TBA location will be at a surprise location along part of Raleigh’s greenways, as part of our on-going 100 Miles in 100 Days series, walking and foraging all 100 miles of Raleigh’s greenways in the 100 days of spring!

100 Miles3


Blogging Series

Our blogging will also be following our pollinator theme – looking into all things wildflower, bee, and honey!  Topics will include any and all of the following, and more!

  • Get the buzz on Honeygirl Meadery
  • Queen Bee: A history of women and honey
  • Bee keeping and hive removal
  • Baking and preserving with honey
  • Piedmont Picnic tries their hand at mead
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Monthly Planting Guide: May in the Piedmont

Check out our latest installment of our Monthly Planting Guides!  May is an exciting month!  It’s too late for most of your spring crops at this point, but summer crops are now all fair game…  including heat-lovers like okra and peanuts!  But be sure to get those in fast – your window is short.

May Planting Guide

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Monthly Planting Guide: April in the Piedmont

April is a very exciting time for planting, as you can see by how long our list grows!  Since April 5th is this zone’s average last frost date, summer crops can start going out into the garden from mid-April on…  but make sure you keep an eye on those evening low temps!  Late frosts are not unheard of, and can decimate summer transplants.  If a late frost does happen, cover summer transplants with overturned cups, jars, or buckets.  Getting closer every day to that first ripe tomato…

April Seed Guide

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Fresh Herbs in Winter: Wild and Homegrown Alternatives to the Supermarket

You may not think of winter as a time to write a post about fresh herbs, but that’s exactly why these beauties below fit into our Feasting in Times of Winter Scarcity series.  Winter may seem like the hardest time to find fresh herbs, making us all resort to those horrible clam shell herb containers at the store where you pay five dollars for a bundle of herbs you know you could grow so easily in the summer or find a bundle four times that size for half the price at your local farmers’ market.

This may lead you to attempt growing herbs indoors, something I have had mixed success with, often resulting in scraggly, slow-growing plants.

Alternatively, you may notice that many of your perennial herbs, although slow growing, live on outdoors well beyond the first frost date.  The piles of mint, onion grass, bee balm, catmint, and lemon balm below were all picked in January, well after many frosts.

Winter Herb Harvest

Another option is to attempt a cold frame or low tunnel outdoors to keep a few small stashes of herbs growing through the winter.  Cilantro does particularly well in that environment, like my little almost-picked-to-death cilantro in my low tunnel below.

Low Tunnel Winter Cilantro

If none of these options sound appealing to you, don’t count out the wild herbs!  Below are two of the most common wild herbs you’ll find around – two that I’ll bet you’ve either eaten or at least crushed and smelled before – noting their aromatic properties but hesitating to cook with them.  Why hesitate?

Onion Grass (aka Wild Garlic)

When I first moved down here, I remember someone pointing out “onion grass” to me, and I thought, no no, that’s just chives that have gone rogue into someone’s yard.  I didn’t realize that chives had a more wild cousin that really likes to get around.  It’s an easy mistake to make, and a happy one!  Because it shows how interchangeable the two can be in cooking – why spend $4.99 on that clamshell of “fresh chives” when you probably have a patch of onion grass in your lawn you’ve been trying to eradicate for years?

Wild Garlic

Description and Habitat.  “Onion grass” grows in clumps of green chive-like tops with a bulb at its base made of several smaller “cloves,” much like garlic.  You can find it in just about any lawn or field or along any roadside.  The strong onion/garlic scent is a good indicator that you have the right plant.

Harvest.  To harvest, you can simply cut off whatever leaves you need.  Feel free to give it a full haircut; it will grow back.  Alternatively, if you want to harvest the bulb below, you can pull up the whole plant. Just be sure to leave a couple bulbs from the clump in the ground so you can come back to your spot in years to come.

Flavor and Use.  You can use the grass like you would chives, and the bulbs like you would garlic (although their small size makes this difficult).  The grass itself is much more garlicky than chives, so I like to use it to lend that flavor to some classically garlicky uses – like this pesto below and the seasoned salt at the end of the post.

Wild Greens & Nuts Pesto

Warning:  This pesto is addictive!  You will scoop it on everything, and if you take it to a party, it will not come back with you.  It may just be my favorite wild food recipe I have under my belt so far…

Wild Greens and Nuts Pesto

Recipe:

2-3 handfuls of wild garlic greens, roughly chopped

2-3 handfuls of wild cress greens

1-2 handfuls of wild nuts (hickory, pecan, and/or black walnut)

2 large pinches salt

olive oil

Combine wild garlic greens and wild cress in a food processor with wild nuts of your choosing.  Salt well.

Pulse until they are well mixed, and then begin to drizzle in olive oil while the food processor runs.  I like mine heavy on the olive oil until the mixture turns from looking like separate ingredients into a smooth creamy paste, as the oil emulsifies into a totally different texture (see picture above – there’s nothing dry or leafy about that pesto!).

Scoop into a bowl and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, some wild leaves, and/or nuts.

Note: if you don’t have a chance to forage wild herbs for this, arugula and garlic with sunflower seeds will make another delicious version.

Ground Ivy 

One of my uncles was visiting a few months ago, helping us out on some backyard constructions projects.  When those were in ship shape, he asked, now what are you going to do about all this ground ivy?  (Our entire back “lawn” is ground ivy).  To which I replied, eat it!  We love our ground ivy lawn…  it’s beautiful covered in purple flowers in spring, durable, and smells delightfully herby when you walk on it or mow it.

Even better yet, you can eat it, and it’s tasty!  It could have made it into our Wild Winter Teas post, as it’s a member of the mint family, high in vitamin C, and brews a good cup.  But I like it even better featured as an herb for cooking.  Historically, it was used for eating, as medicine, in the beer making process by Saxons before hops were introduced, and by various other peoples in cheese making as a substitute for rennet.  How versatile!

Ground_Ivy

Description and Habitat.  Ground ivy grows in trailing runners up to about four inches tall.  Leaves are roughly heart-shaped and scalloped (see picture above), stems are square shaped (due to its membership in the mint family), and it gets small purple flowers in spring.  Ground ivy gives off a distinctly herby, almost minty sent when crushed.  You’ll find it in your lawn, along greenways and roadsides, and in fields, particularly where it is somewhat cooler and shady.

Harvest.  You can pull up entire runners of ground ivy or snip off individual leaves.  I generally “harvest” when weeding it out of my vegetable beds.  Ground ivy is considered a non-native invasive species in the U.S., so harvest away!

Flavor and Uses.  Ground ivy has a scent/flavor somewhere between mint and a mild, greener rosemary.  You can put it in soups and salads, make tea out of it, or use it as a fresh or dried herb.  The flowers look particularly pretty in salads in spring.

Wild Seasoned Salt Rub

This recipe for wild seasoned salt has about a million and one uses.  Rub it on chicken, lamb, or beef before roasting.  Toss it with pasta and Parmesan for a great side; add white beans, and it’s a main course.  Dry it and bottle it for a unique wild holiday gift!  Another bonus:  this is one more way to use your citrus peels.  Zest peels before juicing (it’s very difficult to do after) and dry to be used later in seasoning rubs like this one or in desserts.

Wild Seasoned Salt

Recipe:

Zest of 2 lemons, grated

1 bunch of Ground Ivy leaves

1 bunch of Onion Grass

2 Tbsp Sea Salt

If using immediately, mince ground ivy and onion grass and combine with lemon zest and salt (pepper optional).

Wild Seasoned Salt Ingredients

If you’d like to dry and store this as a wild seasoned salt, dry grated lemon zest, whole ground ivy, and onion grass (in your oven or toaster oven on its lowest setting is one good way).

Crumble ground ivy and onion grass (or pulse in a coffee grinder), and combine with dried lemon zest and sea salt.

Store in an airtight container somewhere dark and cool.  Use as you would the fresh version.

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