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While you can plant garlic in the very early spring, between now and late October is the best time to get your garlic bulbs in the ground. By planting garlic now, you can get bigger, better quality bulbs next summer.
There are several basic types of garlic:
- Softneck: This variety of garlic generally does not produce scapes, those delicious edible flower stalks, but is great for braiding. You have to be cautious when selecting a variety with softneck types as not all varieties can handle our cold climate.
- Hardneck: These do produce scapes, and generally handle our cold climate well. One of my favorite types of garlic, the purple stripe variety, is a hardneck garlic.
- Elephant: This variety of garlic is related to leeks, and is famous for its large, mild cloves. Does need a mulch to make it through the winter.
Continue Reading: Now is the time to plant garlic
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 09/23, 2014 at 08:29 AM
As we wind down a summer that will go in the weather record books as one of the top five wettest summers in the 119-year history of weather records at State College, gardeners face a late-season challenge to their plots. Along with all that rain, we’ve had a cool but humid summer. These are just about perfect conditions for all sorts of garden fungal diseases to lay waste to your remaining garden season.
There are plenty of fungal diseases that can lay a hurt on your home garden production, but I am going to focus on two common and particularly destructive plant illnesses, late blight and powdery mildew.
Continue Reading: How to deal with two devastating late-season garden fungal diseases
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 08/25, 2014 at 08:50 AM
While many of us have a full garden by now, there may still be holes to fill due to rascally rabbits, devious deer, disastrous disease. Or, you just haven’t had a chance to get out and plant certain parts of your yard. No worries, believe it or not, there’s still time to plant summer vegetables (and soon time to plant fall vegetables, more about that in a future post). And there are bargains to be found at local garden centers/greenhouses.
For vegetables, we basically have about 80-90 days left in our growing season, depending on where you live. So, any plant that matures by that time, you can plant and harvest.
Continue Reading: Believe it or not, still time to plant summer vegetables/herbs/flowers
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 07/07, 2014 at 09:25 AM
Two members of the Mount Nittany United Methodist Church have led an effort to create a “Giving Garden” on the church grounds to help address the issue of hunger in our community.
Robert and Joanna Jones of State College got a double dose of inspiration from the documentary “A Place At the Table”, about food shortages in the United States, and a TED Talk by fashion designer and activist Ron Finley about guerrilla gardening in South Central Los Angeles. So, they decided to take action themselves and help address our local food shortages here in Central Pennsylvania with local food from a garden on the church grounds.
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 06/26, 2014 at 11:00 AM
This weekend you can enjoy a summer celebration at Tait Farm, experience a garden via your five senses, meet PBS Kids’ very own Daniel Tiger, enjoy free wine and cheese tastings, and go back in time musically with The Dustbowl Revival.
Continue Reading: Your Local Food Weekend for June 21-22
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 06/20, 2014 at 09:44 AM
This is a really exciting time to be a local foodie, as the warm season is finally here (even though most mornings we still need a jacket). Because this is the time of farmers markets, outdoor festivals, etc. we are bringing back the Local Food Weekend feature. Each Friday we help you plan your weekend by highlighting some of the local-food related events going on Saturday and Sunday.
Our first event is put on by one of our hubs of local food, Tait Farm, which is holding their Gardener’s Open House. Click the link below after “Continue Reading” to find out more about that event and others…
Continue Reading: Your Local Food Weekend for May 3-4
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/02, 2014 at 08:59 AM
It’s almost May, and garden preparations are in full swing. Like anything else, a successful garden can really rely on a good start. There are multiple mistakes that can set your garden back that can be easily avoided. Here’s some tips to help you avoid five of the most common early season garden mistakes:
Continue Reading: Five tips to help you avoid early season gardening set-backs
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/28, 2014 at 09:43 AM
There is no doubt that Anthony Hopkins is one of the finest actors of all time. In fact, he is so good, he actually managed to ruin the reputation of one tasty vegetable—fava beans.
Even if you haven’t seen his role as the cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lector in the film The Silence of the Lambs, unless you live under a rock you’ve probably heard Hopkins’ character’s infamous quote about one of his devious meals, and how he accompanied it with fava beans and a nice Chianti. To this day, I’ve noticed that whenever you mention fava beans, that scene is mentioned. However, fava beans are not a horror, they are a tasty vegetable that has a long history as a food, going all the way back to the Romans and Ancient Greeks.
Continue Reading: Taking back the reputation of fava beans
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/03, 2014 at 08:45 AM
Referring to this winter as “freezing” would be an understatement. The snow was relentless, not to mention temperatures were lower than I had ever experienced. Nevertheless, as brutal as Pennsylvania winters may be, I try to remind myself, while laboriously scraping the ice off my windshield, that spring will arrive in just a short while. In fact, farmers in the area are also anticipating warm weather by planting their spring harvest right now! Greenmoore Gardens, an organic farm located just outside of State College, began planting this week in hopes of a healthy spring harvest.
Laura Zaino, an employee of Greenmoore Gardens, gives the ins and outs of preparation. “We seed onions in mid-February, which is the first of the spring crops to get seeded.” Using their own potting mix, the seeds are planted in a greenhouse where the seedlings germinate and begin to grow. “Then we either put them into bigger pots or transplant them outside in the fields. The larger pots are for plants like tomatoes that need warm soil to grow,” explains Laura.
She goes on to further explain that the bigger pots allow for longer time in the greenhouse, hence, more growth before being transported outside. “Other crops, like turnips, carrots and beets, we seed directly into rows in the fields,” she says.
Posted by Jordan Reabold on 02/25, 2014 at 11:04 AM
Despite the relatively mild weather outside melting the snow, if we are being truly honest with ourselves, we know that winter is not over. Far from it, based on where we live. We know that it can snow into late April and even early May here in Central PA.
The good news for gardeners is that despite the snow-covered yards, it’s soon time for us to start gardening. We need to start certain things from seed inside, giving the plants adequate time to sprout, grow, mature, and produce fresh goodness by the time summer ends. In fact, certain things can be started very soon or even right now, depending on your last frost date.
Continue Reading: Believe it or not, gardeners, it’s soon time to start seeds
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 02/20, 2014 at 02:24 PM
Earlier this week, the coldest air in 20 years overspread Central Pennsylvania, dropping temperatures below zero. While shivering through a cold snap like that, it’s hard to imagine doing garden work. But there are still some chores you can do, either in the comfort of your living room or during one of our inevitable thaws that we have most every winter and will have this weekend. Getting them done now can help ensure a better harvest this spring and summer.
Here’s 10 garden chores you can do this winter:
Continue Reading: 10 garden chores you can do in the winter (and probably should)
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 01/10, 2014 at 09:50 AM
When central and eastern Europeans emigrated to Pennsylvania in the 19th and 20th Centuries, one of the dishes they brought with them was haluski (or as some spell it, halusky). The dish is a simple one with some variations. Traditionally, haluski referred to the homemade noodles/dumplings, which were potato based much like gnocchi. However, today you can either purchase dried haluski noodles in any grocery store, or use any medium-wide egg noodle.
Growing up in York County, which is Pennsylvania Dutch country, I had very limited exposure to haluski, but when I went to Pittsburgh for college and eventually to live, I was introduced to the dish at a Polish Catholic church fish fry, which is just about the best place to have your first taste of haluski. Haluski has just a few ingredients, and the one I learned to make includes noodles, cabbage, onion, bacon, butter, salt, pepper..and that’s it. You can also make a vegetarian version by leaving out the bacon and a vegan version by using vegan-friendly noodles and olive oil instead of butter.
The flavors combine to make a fantastic dish, especially if you are a gardener like me and use a fresh-harvested garden cabbage that has been sweetened by frost. And speaking of frosty weather, this is a great cold-weather dish that’s a snap to make.
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 11/06, 2013 at 09:52 AM
Kale is a superstar in the fall garden. The plant is tough as nails, able to take some very cold temperatures. In fact, myself and many other gardeners have harvested kale from under the snow.
Along with its toughness, kale has many other good properties. It’s very easy to grow, can grow in part shade, and is quite tasty. It is best after a couple of good frost/freezes, which give the leaves a sweet flavor and cuts down on the bitterness.
There are many varieties of kale, and here are a few of my favorites:
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 10/28, 2013 at 08:15 AM
We are getting an extended summer, with temperatures that feel more like August. Looks like our run of summer weather ends today, but the threat of a killing freeze that ends the growing season for tender plants still seems at least a week or more away as per the weather forecast, which is quite unusual for October. Of course, as any gardener in Central Pennsylvania knows, that will not last forever. So, here’s a list of tips to help you prepare for when the ground is coated in frost and your tomato plants finally succumb:
Continue Reading: Take advantage of extra time and plan now for killing frost
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 10/07, 2013 at 08:55 AM
Last night was quite chilly for a lot of people in central PA but it seems that many of us escaped frost. However, the slow march of the seasons are inevitable, and eventually there will be frost on the Happy Valley pumpkins. Frost or even temperatures below 40 are very bad for plants like tomatoes, basil, beans, cucumbers, etc. On the other hand, a lighter frost is okay for plants like beets, chard, broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, carrots, etc.
Here are some tips for both figuring out when your garden might get hit by frost, and what to do when it does.
Continue Reading: How to plan for frost in your garden
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 09/06, 2013 at 09:49 AM
I know that lots of people turn their thoughts to football and raking leaves once the days getting shorter and mornings are foggy and cool, but fall is really a good time to grow certain vegetables. While a lot of vegetables thrive in summer heat, there are a fair amount that prefer fall’s cool weather. And it’s not too late to plant; if you plant this weekend, you have anywhere from 37 to 52 days before this area’s average first freeze, depending on where you live.
Continue Reading: You can still plant fall crops for a tasty end to the garden season
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 08/22, 2013 at 09:26 AM
This weekend I was at a very nice event, a barn dance. In between promenades, I was chatting with some people about gardening, one of my favorite small talk subjects. As often happens when talking gardening, tomatoes came up. And as often happens when talking tomatoes, concerns about fruit not ripening came up. So, are there any ways to speed up the process?
Continue Reading: “Why won’t my tomatoes ripen?”
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 08/12, 2013 at 09:42 AM
Originally published on the WPSU blog and broadcasted on WPSU-FM:
A new gardening concept is sprouting in Central Pennsylvania. Woody Wilson, a graduate of Penn State, took an idea he entered in an agriculture competition and made it his business. Wilson’s Home Farms gives State College area residents another way to bring local vegetables to their kitchen tables. WPSU intern Jessica Paholsky went along with Wilson to find out more.
Continue Reading: A startup gardening service makes getting fresh vegetables easy
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 07/23, 2013 at 10:04 AM
This summer has definitely been a wet one so far, and gardeners and farmers alike across Central PA know that wet weather also means plant diseases. Cloudy, humid, and downright wet conditions provide ideal conditions for these diseases to strike. However, if your plants are under the disease gun, there are ways to save your plants and ensure a good harvest, even in a less-than-ideal year like the one we are currently having. Here are some tips:
Continue Reading: Fighting the good fight against garden diseases
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 07/22, 2013 at 09:03 AM
Oh, man! A rabbit ate half your annual bed…your tomato plants got trashed by a storm…the neighbor’s dog dug up your favorite herb plant…too late to plant something new now, right? Actually, that’s not the case. You can can still plant flowers, vegetables, herbs, etc. and still get beauty and flavor from your 2013 garden.
Continue Reading: Not too late to get plants in the garden
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 06/28, 2013 at 01:37 PM
Despite last night’s deluge that soaked many a garden and farm around the area and a forecast for a lot more rain, summer almost always has at least a few dry spells. Those are the days when the sun bakes the soil to a crispy golden brown dry, and your plants sometimes do things in desperate self-defense, like curl up leaves in the case of corn. You really have no other alternative but to give your plants the life that only good old water can give them.
Continue Reading: Water your garden the right way during next dry spell
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 06/26, 2013 at 02:58 PM
Tucked into a beautiful slice of Pennsylvania known as the Big Valley, Belleville is a small town around 25 miles to the southeast of State College in Mifflin County. Belleville is a community with a variety of different Amish and Mennonite groups. One of the groups of Amish are known as the Peachey or Renno Amish, also known as “black-toppers”. Named after the Peachey family, the Peachey folk are industrious with a variety of businesses in the general Belleville area carrying the Peachey name. Two of my personal favorites are local food related—Peachey Greenhouse and the famous A.J. Peachey and Sons. This past Saturday, I decided to take a drive and pay a visit to both of them.
Continue Reading: Things are just Peachey in Belleville
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 06/03, 2013 at 11:33 AM
I didn’t care how many times Popeye beat Bluto after downing a can of spinach, as a kid I just plain HATED spinach. But as my culinary horizons broadened as I grew up, I quickly learned that spinach didn’t have to be a lifeless splatter of lumpy green on a plate. In fact, spinach has become my favorite salad green, and since it is a spring crop, we are in spinach season here in Central Pennsylvania.
Continue Reading: Recipe: Spinach salad with bacon and smoked cheese
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/29, 2013 at 12:42 PM
You just made a big pot of soup with all sorts of stuff you got from the farmer’s market. Now you have carrot tops, potato peels, yellowed greens, etc. Throw them in the garbage? No way! You have compost, not trash.
Continue Reading: Five Reasons to Compost
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/22, 2013 at 03:01 PM
Even though winter is hanging around this week like a lazy brother-in-law who just won’t get off the couch, those of us who garden turn our thoughts to planting seeds. While many gardeners have already started seeds indoors in trays under artificial light, we are really one warm spell away from being able to plant seeds outside.
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/03, 2013 at 02:30 PM
Recently, several fellow gardeners and I discussed something that ended up being very interesting: how do you define a successful garden year?
We came to a conclusion—it’s all subjective. When you garden, you go into it with a variety of goals in mind. These might include fresh-grown herbs and veggies, saving money, or just making the yard look prettier. These are the yardsticks to measure a good garden year.
Continue Reading: Measure of garden success?
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 08/24, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Right now, people are beginning to harvest all sorts of stuff from the garden. Some of it is conventional stuff, like tomatoes. However, there’s a lot of food in gardens that many people ignore. Some of these may sound outright, well, weird—but give them a shot. They are the “best kept secrets” of the garden.
Continue Reading: Five Unusual Edibles from the Garden
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 07/18, 2012 at 08:50 AM
I have heard before that a mild spring means a lot of rabbits the following summer. 2012 seems to be proving this true, as we have had both a warm spring and seemingly, a lot of rabbits.
Continue Reading: Rabbit vs. Gardener
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 06/25, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Please welcome our newest contributor, Dana Stuchul, founder of VeggieCommons—a resource for Growing Food Where We Live. At her home in State College, Dana has backyard chickens, a small apiary, a front-yard terrace garden, a backyard “mini-farm,” numerous fruit trees and shrubs, a roof-top water collection system (and bici-bomba, a bicycle powered pumping system), and a wood-fired bread oven. Take it away, Dana!
Continue Reading: VeggieCommons
Posted by Dana Stuchul on 06/03, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Beans are a popular garden plant, with good reason—they are one of the tastiest vegetables in the garden. They are also pretty easy to grow, and with a little bit of TLC you can get quite a yield of tasty pods or shelled beans that can be used in all kinds of recipes. Beans are also a perfect garden crop for vegetarians because of their high protein content. What’s not to like?
Continue Reading: Diverse Beans a Warm-Weather Garden Star
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/31, 2012 at 09:31 AM
It’s mid-May, which is peak time for “putting in the garden,” an old saying that means planting your frost-sensitive plants now that we are mostly past the risk of frost. (Although not completely, more on that later.)
Whether you started tomatoes from seed or bought the plants at your favorite garden center or farmer’s market, transplanting them the right way is very important.
Continue Reading: How to Transplant Tomatoes Now for Great Harvests Later
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/23, 2012 at 09:43 AM
Despite some recent backsliding into winter, spring weather is mostly here to stay. If you are like me, you are steadily spending more and more time in the garden, getting things growing to start the season. A good start is very important for a successful gardening season, as your plants are very young and tender at this point.
Here are ten tips, in no particular order, to get your garden off and moving toward a big harvest.
Continue Reading: Ten Tips to Get Your Garden off to a Great Start
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/07, 2012 at 01:45 PM
In my last post I talked about planting seeds indoors. And given that we are four to six weeks away from the last frost as I write this, you should have seedlings growing somewhere in your house.
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/20, 2012 at 09:00 AM
As you probably noticed, the weather in mid-March was more along the lines of early June. This caused some absolutely incredible early spring scenes as spring growth is about a month ahead of schedule—blossoming trees, daffodils in full display, and perennials peaking out of the dirt at a much earlier date than normal.
For us gardeners, it was so tempting to get out there and plant something. So I did. I planted several rows in my garden, knowing full well that they would need protection later from the inevitable cold snap. If you still haven’t planted, no worries—you still have lots of time to plant cold-hardy vegetables in your garden.
Continue Reading: Planting Cold-Hardy Veggies for Spring Crops
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/05, 2012 at 03:18 PM
If you followed my last blog post, you should be ready to plant some seeds indoors. First things first, fill your cell flats with moistened potting soil or seed starting mix. You want it moist, not saturated.
Next, plant the seeds. This is by far one of the most important tasks of your gardening year, and you need to make sure you do it correctly because, well, you want them to germinate.
Continue Reading: Starting Seeds is Easy: How to Plant the Seeds
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 03/23, 2012 at 01:07 PM
The weather has been warm lately, warm enough to start thinking about gardening. However, while the mild weather is great for daffodils, crocuses, and forsythia, it’s still too chilly to plant vegetables, especially frost-sensitive types like tomatoes and beans. You want to hold off planting those outside until early-mid May.
Continue Reading: Starting Seeds is Easy: How to Set Up
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 03/16, 2012 at 09:00 AM
In my last post, I talked about the benefits of freezing vegetables to use in the winter. Now let’s look at another way of preserving your garden harvest—canning.
Canning for me brings back memories of my mother and grandmother, who both canned. They canned stuff like pears, green beans, tomatoes, etc. Pretty much straight up, old-fashioned canning.
Continue Reading: Take a Jar of Summer off the Shelf
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 02/22, 2012 at 02:50 PM
During my garden harvest season, which stretches from summer through much of fall, I preserve a lot of what we get from our backyard in two ways—canning and freezing.
I like to do both because of cooking flexibility. You can do a lot of great things with canning: sauces, relishes, pickles, etc. But freezing for me tends to be about just the vegetable/fruit.
Continue Reading: Pulling Summer from the Freezer when it’s Freezing Outside
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 02/07, 2012 at 11:09 PM
We are in the heart of winter, so buying garden seeds may not be the first thing on your mind. However, if you are planning on ordering seeds online (you will more choices online than you will in a store), now is the time to do so.
Continue Reading: Don’t wait to make online seed orders for 2012 garden season!
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 01/18, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Going to go a bit off-topic here, but I had to share this story with everyone who reads this blog. Gardening is something that often is done together by couples and who knows how many relationships are sparked at a plant sale or garden center. However, gardening is not really thought of something as romantic, per se.
Continue Reading: Sowing the Seeds of a Great Marriage
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 11/16, 2011 at 10:00 AM
This week as we are adding more fall greens to the selection of choices, we are embarking on a project that will provide us with the ability to extend the season and have even more greens!
Continue Reading: Field Notes
Posted by Erin McKinney on 10/25, 2011 at 07:00 AM
While we haven’t quite yet had a true killing frost, it’s inevitable - at some point, your 2011 garden will be covered in frost, and soon after, snow. The garden will go to sleep until it warms again, but there is some work yet to do on your garden that will make things easier next spring. Time to put it to bed.
Continue Reading: Get your garden ready for a long winter’s nap
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 10/21, 2011 at 07:00 AM
Just 20 years ago, the selection of produce was nothing like it is today. Iceberg lettuce, round red tomatoes, green bell peppers, regular orange carrots, and plain potatoes ruled the supermarket shelves.
However, today the expansion of the American palate is quite evident. Sushi is found in supermarkets. An imitation of a latte can be found at a convenience store. Ethnic restaurants such as Indian, Thai, Austrian, and Korean can be found in central Pennsylvania. And the broadening selections for the home chef have expanded culinary horizons, as well.
Continue Reading: Broaden Your Culinary Horizons
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 09/16, 2011 at 10:52 AM
Home vegetable gardens are an ideal and super-local way to get fresh, delicious produce, but they can also be a beautiful addition to your yard. Many vegetable plants not only taste great, they look great, too—and not just on a plate.
Continue Reading: Useful Beauty
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 08/23, 2011 at 01:29 PM
Please welcome Jamie Oberdick to the Local Food Journey! Jamie is an enthusiastic home gardener who grows a variety of plants from around the world in his Centre County backyard. Take it away, Jamie!
A lot of people think of vegetable gardening as a spring/summer thing, and you shut it down in the fall with the exception of the last pumpkins. Actually, there are plenty of different vegetables that thrive in the cooler conditions we have in fall in central Pennsylvania.
Continue Reading: Plant Now for Garden-Fresh Fall Harvest
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 08/19, 2011 at 01:40 PM
Early this May we purchased a square raised container to plant peppers and tomatoes. We would much prefer to compost and till our own plot of land, but we live in a rental townhouse, and so our humble front porch garden will have to suffice this year.
Continue Reading: How Does Your Garden Grow?
Posted by Emily Wiley on 06/30, 2010 at 06:56 PM
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