I'm a Southern woman with family roots in farming. An Appalachain State University graduate, married, and the mother of two grown, and very nice, children. I am recently retired with a long-time hobby of growing flowers, vegetables and houseplants. Now a Master Gardener intern, earned in April 2017, I am excited to give to my community through gardening and gardening related events.
To learn more about the North Carolina State University sponsored Master Gardener program contact your county North Carolina Cooperative Extension office.
But, you don't have to be have certifications to be a good or even great gardener. Nor do you need a class to have fun and have a beautiful garden. Just go outside dig a hole and pop in some seeds and life will happen! Just do it!
All is well in the garden. The summer vegetables are gone. Bugs got zapped by frost a few weeks ago so the greens are growing undeterred by pesky pests.
We have Tuscan kale (and tuscan salts), mucho beautiful, mucho delicious lettuce, broccoli, mustard, turnips and brussels. It is so much easier to garden without bugs. I have been seed saving as the summer plants matured and died for a few years now. I saved field peas and marigolds this year, and will soon be bringing in the okra seeds. 2012 seeds from Summer Crisp seeds sprouted and will soon be transplanted into the garden. Freeeee foooood! Garlic is our oldest saved plant. We've been growing from one grocery store bought clove for about seven years now. Each year the crop gets bigger a crazy experiment in exponential growth. Pay it forward, garden style.Therapeutic the first year planted, still providing years later, I am especially fond of the stinky root.
How much do we harvest? Hmmm. I counted. We have ten kale plants growing in a 4' x 4' raised bed. I harvest once a week and share each picking with a neighbor. Lettuce grows in two raised beds. We have a salad every night and have for weeks now. We always share it also. Same with the mustard. Rarely do I buy vegetables. It's all we can do to eat what we grow.
I have discovered herb salt. Well, not so much discovered as learned how to make. Coastal North Carolina is the New World Mediterranean. Herbs like thyme, rosemary and parsley and sage grow year round here. My friend, Joy, uses rosemary as skewers for her marinated grilled chicken. Too fun, right?! I could write about longitude and latitude but instead I will share what I have learned making herb salts. Easy, yummy, herbs and salt.
1/4 cup kosher and sea salt (or just kosher) This is important.
2 cups chopped herbs
Sheet of aluminum foil
Time-up to two days
Harvest fresh herbs, chop, spread out on aluminum foil, sprinkle salt on top. Occassionally swirl it around with your fingers over the next two days. The herbs change color and the house smells delicious. Use the foil as a funnel and slowly cascade the salted herbs into a glass jar. Breath deeply. Use in cooking as you would regular salt. Sparingly.