The Blooms of December

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We have had an extraordinarily warm fall. Rosemary will generally bloom twice a year; once in the spring and then again in the fall. But this year has been so warm that the rosemary in the herb garden at Rutgers Gardens is still blooming in December. At home, my basil cuttings are doing so well that one has started to … Read More

DIY Vanilla Extract

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I do a lot of baking, especially during the holidays. Vanilla extract is an important part of my favorite sweet treats. It’s a “flavor potentiator” meaning it enhances other flavors including our perception of sweetness. Vanilla extract is usually made from ethyl alcohol, water and low grade vanilla beans. You can increase the quality and flavor by making your own … Read More

Wherein each child gets his own room

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Last year when I wintered over cuttings of Pesto Perpetuo basil, I put all 4 cuttings in one container and left them there until they outgrew the container and had to be separated. At that point, the root systems were large and tangled and hard to separate. The poor plants not only had to endure transplant shock but additionally having … Read More

Meanwhile, in the kitchen garden . . .

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I took a quick trip out to the EARTH Center to check on the garlic and strawberries that I had planted. Normally by November we have had at least one hard frost and I would have cut down all of the dead foliage on the herbs in the bed. It’s been so warm this fall that the herbs are still … Read More