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[ Cucumber (Cucumis sativus 'Muncher') | Posted on July 28, 2018 ]

Very crunchy cucumbers with good flavor and thin, smooth skin with no bitterness. Leave the skins on. I've been harvesting at about six to eight inches so not sure if they develop bitterness with age. They also make good bread and butter pickles. Will definitely plan to grow these again next year. Vines grew about five feet long.

[ Lindenleaf Sage (Salvia tiliifolia) | Posted on May 26, 2018 ]

This is one of those plants that show up every year somewhere in the garden when the temps warm up from self-sown seed; but not in an aggressive way. A welcome sight.

At one time (or maybe still) this plant was used by Tarahumara Indians as a source of energy for marathon runners and hunters. The seeds were also used by Aztec Indian Warriors. Seeds can be harvested and used just like the more popular variety of chia (salvia hispanica). They are considered beneficial and medicinal food rich in antioxidants and high amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids as well as calcium, iron and fiber. Once harvested, the seeds are roasted and crushed then mixed with water, making a gel containing a concentrated source of energy.

[ Japanese Spirea (Spiraea japonica 'Shibori') | Posted on May 6, 2018 ]

Purchased this plant about 5 years ago (2013) from a local box store. Long blooming from spring (May) into the fall. The only downside for me is that I was hoping for a good nectar source for hummingbirds and other pollinators but they aren't interested at all. I've seen hummingbirds (and various insects) approach the flowers but they quickly move on. The plant must be sterile or it has nothing to offer by way of nectar or pollen. So, Shibori is just eye candy.

[ Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Amethyst Cream Cherry') | Posted on September 19, 2017 ]

My favorite thing about this tomato is how pretty it looks. It made some really nice looking salads and looked elegant on a snack tray. The flavor was a little on the mild side, a little sweet and a little tang. It's going on my grow again list.

[ Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Chocolate Pear') | Posted on September 19, 2017 ]

This is easily the most productive tomato I've grown. I mean it pumped out hundreds of yummy, sweet cherry sized tomatoes and didn't stop for months! We had a hard time keeping up! Definitely a keeper.

[ Bell Pepper (Capsicum annuum 'Quadrato D'Asti Giallo') | Posted on September 11, 2017 ]

This is a slow growing bell pepper variety. Once it begins to fruit, it's also slow to ripen. But, it does produce a decent crop of flavorful, sweet and crispy peppers. I will save seeds and probably grow again.

[ Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Amish Paste') | Posted on January 6, 2017 ]

We especially enjoyed this tomato low roasted in the oven with olive oil and a splash of Balsamic vinegar, then stored in olive oil in the fridge or in the freezer for long storage. Wonderful flavor. Amish Paste delivered a good harvest.

[ Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Ananas Noire') | Posted on August 22, 2016 ]

This was probably my most productive tomato growing this year, with tons of really large fruits. Unfortunately, the flavor wasn't all that impressive for us: kind of one-note sweet with none of the tang or acid that we like in tomatoes. They were juicy. Made most of the tomatoes into a canning sauce. These tomatoes also had very woody stems and large woody core; the fruits had to be cut from the bush. The best thing about this tomato is how pretty it is to look at.
Not on our favorite list.

I'm taking back what I said about not liking this tomato very much. It turned out to make a really delicious sauce that we enjoyed over winter and into 2017. Rethinking growing this one again for it's plentiful and juicy fruits.

[ Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Kellogg's Breakfast') | Posted on June 24, 2016 ]

I've tried growing this variety a couple of times before but they didn't produce much at all. Nothing like the plants growing this year! Two plants are pumping out so many huge fruits that we are sharing them with friends. Seeds from Trish and Dave in the "Beta Seed Swap." It sure makes a difference getting good quality seed! Juicy tomatoes are full of flavor.

This is hubby's new all around favorite tomato.

[ Scabious Flowered Zinnia (Zinnia violacea 'Scabiosaflora Mix') | Posted on June 3, 2016 ]

My second year growing Scabiosaflora Mix. It has a variety of colors, shapes and sizes, making it a very fun annual to grow. Collect the seeds to grow again the following year for more surprises. Attracts lots of butterflies and other pollinators.

[ Hummingbird Sage (Salvia coccinea 'Coral Nymph') | Posted on September 11, 2015 ]

I've been enjoying Coral Nymph Salvia in my garden for many years. First planted from seed, I almost gave up on it because it was so slow to show up. Now it self seeds and comes back every year late spring or early summer, depending on warmth -- it likes it warm. Deadheading keeps the flowers coming all summer into fall, when you can leave some to go to seed. I also grow Coral Nymph in a pot that I put in the garage over winter (my pretend greenhouse), where it keeps like a perennial. Hummingbirds love it too.

[ Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Carnival') | Posted on August 3, 2015 ]

This is a very productive and tasty hybrid tomato. One of the few hybrids I've grown, but I give it higher marks on flavor than the infamous Celebrity. I grew them both in 2013 (after losing most of my heirlooms to a late freeze) and although Celebrity outperformed in volume, Carnival had the best flavor! I'm surprised this one isn't more popular, but maybe it's the fact that it's a determinate or maybe it's just not available. Carnival is so good that I'm planning to grow it again next year, if I can find plants or seeds. It is a recommended variety for Texas and other hot southern areas.

[ Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Lillian's Yellow Heirloom') | Posted on July 13, 2015 ]

This is a lovely yellow heirloom tomato that has been quite productive in my garden. A beefsteak that produced many large tomatoes but also many that are more medium sized. The best way for me to describe this tomato is sumptuous and de-luscious. It has a bright flavor, a little citrusy with a velvety texture. Makes a beautiful summer gazpacho. Finest yellow tomato I've tasted.

[ Tree Basil (Ocimum gratissimum) | Posted on February 7, 2015 ]

In its native range, India and Africa, and in tropical America, Vana Tulsi grows as a perennial up to 4 feet tall. Sow seeds in spring, just under the surface. The essential oil contains eugenol, which is also found in cloves, and chewing the plant can relieve toothaches. It has many other medicinal virtues, which have been verified through studies of the plant over the years, including strong antioxidants.

[ Myrtle (Myrtus communis) | Posted on February 5, 2015 ]

Myrtle is a sweetly scented shrub that makes a lovely container plant in cooler climates, where it can be brought indoors over winter. Leaves, flowers, and berries are all edible; the leaves can be used as a substitute for bay leaves. Also, the leaves are very aromatic and are used medicinally and in aromatherapy.

[ Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) | Posted on February 5, 2015 ]

V. thapsus grows wild throughout much of Texas and the South. The biennial plants form a rosette of large velvety leaves the first year and the flower stalks emerge the second year, growing up to 6 feet tall. Mullein tea has traditionally been used as a treatment for upper respiratory problems.

[ Betony (Stachys officinalis) | Posted on February 4, 2015 ]

A hardy and adaptable herbaceous perennial. Can be found growing in woods and shady places. A delicious tea can made from the leaves of woundwort and half an orange. Good for warming and strengthening; also used to relieve aches and pains. Sow seeds in early spring.

[ Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) | Posted on February 3, 2015 ]

Blessed milk thistle is an important medicinal herb that is used to regenerate damaged liver cells and is used for cirrhosis, hepatitis, jaundice, and poisoning by drugs or alcohol. It's the only known antidote to the deadly death-cap toadstool (Amanita phalloides). The young leaves can be cooked or eaten raw in salads.

[ Blackseed (Nigella sativa) | Posted on February 3, 2015 ]

A good candidate for fall seed sowing, when it will send down a tap root and form its rosette to overwinter. Come spring when the temps warm, it will grow stalks and flowers.

This is the true Nigella, which is native to the Middle East, where it's commonly called haba al-barakah, or gizhah in India. The seeds are prized for their healing properties and known as "a remedy for all diseases except death."

Also known as Kala jeera or Kalonji, Charnushka, Kalajira, Kalijeera, Krishna Jiraka, Niguilla (Spanish), Nigelle (French), Ketsha (Hebrew).

[ Yarrow (Achillea x serrata) | Posted on January 16, 2015 ]

This is a culinary variety of yarrow with sweet scented leaves that is used like the herb Mace. The flowers are a cream or ivory color and attract many beneficial insects, just as other species of yarrow do.

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