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Mother Earth Gardener

Mother Earth Gardener

Summer 2020

Mother Earth Gardener is your complete guide to the rich past and traditional uses of time-tested edible, medicinal and ornamental plant varieties.

United States
Ogden Publications, Inc.
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4 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
no shortage of dirt

I’VE BEEN GOING THROUGH my personal stash of seed packets, and I’m wondering if I’m a hoarder. As I write this, the world is still battling the coronavirus pandemic. Some people have been stockpiling toilet paper, cleaning products, and even cat litter. In light of widespread seed shortages (see Page 12), could I be accused of hoarding? You may be wondering the same about your own seed reserves. Once, I would’ve considered throwing out older seeds because I could always replenish them with fresh ones, but not these days. Every packet is treated as sacred, and considered viable until proven otherwise. The big sack of buckwheat that I’ve kept for five years will be planted as a cover crop soon, and carefully — no more lackadaisical scattering of seeds. And I’m…

4 min.
mother earth gardener advisory board

ANDREW MOORE Andrew Moore is a writer and gardener in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b). He’s the author of Pawpaw: In Search of America’s Forgotten Fruit, a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award nominee in the Writing & Literature category. The book is available on Page 72. Although he’s now considered an authority on pawpaws, Andrew grew up just south of that native fruit’s range, in Florida. He's currently at work on a book about large mammal reintroductions in the eastern United States. His work has been published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Daily Yonder, and American Gardener. His stories on North America’s native fruits have also appeared in Gardener’s sister magazines Mother Earth News and Grit. Follow his foraging adventures on Instagram @TheAndrewMoore. In this issue: You can check out another of Andrew’s foraging passions…

2 min.
feedback from our readers

BRINGS BACK MEMORIES I’m really enjoying the Spring 2020 issue of Mother Earth Gardener. There are so many great articles that it’s hard to decide which one to read first. I never had much luck with carrots, but Andrew Weidman’s article (“Growing Great Carrots”) has inspired me to give it another try. I can’t remember the first time I helped my mom in the garden. It was always just part of every day during the summer months when I was young. I may not have been much help in the beginning, but I was always in sight of Mom while she gardened and I played in the dirt. When we moved from the farm to the city, the house came with about an acre of land that was always planted in crops.…

3 min.
join the conversation!

OUR FACEBOOK GARDENING GROUP allows you to connect with other gardeners around the world. You can ask the group’s help identifying plants, seek advice on growing techniques, or simply enjoy photos of beautiful gardens. Ask to join at www.Facebook.com/groups/OrganicGardenGroup. Each issue, we’ll select our favorite questions and answers posted to the group and print them here. I’m having a hard time finding organic seeds this year. Will my old seeds packed for 2018 and 2019 grow? Is there a way to see if they’re viable?— Sheila Davis Benson • Keep seeds cool and dry. Some seeds only last a year or so, but some seeds last 10 years or more. – Shelley Pederson • To check viability, put them in a single layer on a piece of wet paper towel. Fold it over…

2 min.
recommended garden products for summer

~ King Stropharia, also known as “Garden Giant,” is one of the easiest mushrooms for beginners to grow. Experienced growers have also been known to use it as a learning tool for cultivating fungi on hardwood chip beds or mulch in the garden. Gardener editor Rebecca Martin has used this kit to grow King Stropharia on wood chips in her Midwestern garden (Zone 6a), and describes the flavor as “almost beefy.” Others say the mushroom’s taste resembles potatoes cooked in a mild red wine sauce. The stem can be stringy, like asparagus, so it’s best to sauté it lightly in a little salted butter. For a treat, serve it on mashed potatoes or on toast with eggs. Also known as “wine cap” for their reddish color, these fungi are easily recognizable.…

5 min.
up-to-date news on how the pandemic has affected seed companies.

THE CORONAVIRUS has upended business for our seed company friends. Due to wildly increased demand, many have had to shut down website orders and stop answering phone calls and emails. Four companies answered our questions about the dramatic changes currently affecting their businesses. When did you realize something was up? When the national emergency was declared on March 13, we experienced a 250 percent surge in visitors to our website, our phones were ringing nonstop, and orders came flooding in. — Johnny’s Around St. Patrick’s Day, we noticed a jump in online sales, as well as increased traffic in our small retail shop in Asheville, North Carolina. It became clear that people were panic-buying when we had to enlist a bouncer to limit the number of folks in the seed shop! — Sow…