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Tales from a Plant Addict

Fun (& a few serious) facts, tips and tricks for every gardener, new and old.

Vanilla

Most of us don't give vanilla a second thought. Many people think of vanilla as a very "plain" flavor. But in fact, vanilla has a very colorful past that is anything but plain. Vanilla extract comes from the fruit of the Vanilla orchid, of which there are over 100 species known worldwide. Most of the vanilla grown commercially is the species Vanilla planifolia , also called "Ma...

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Cranberry Production

The lowly cranberry doesn't get much attention through the year except at holiday time. During the holiday season, fresh cranberries are once again available in the grocery store. How in the world do they get there? Do they grow on a tree, a plant, or what? The answer may surprise you. Cranberries are native to North America, making them a true "American" fruit. Back in the 1600's, Engl...

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Indian Corn

With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, somewhere along the line we are bound to see what we commonly call "Indian Corn" used as a symbol of the harvest. What makes Indian corn special? Does it even have anything to do with Native Americans? Ask people to describe Indian corn, and most will explain that Indian corn has multiple colors of kernels on the same ear–yellow, white,...

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Wooly Worms & the Weather

Each fall, it's hard not to notice them–little wooly worms crawling across roads, sidewalks, and paths everywhere. Where ever they're going, they seem very determined. More than one person in recent weeks has asked me what they actually are. Do they stay as they are, or morph into something entirely different in time? And how does a wooly worm forecast the winter weather? Differen...

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Garlic

Fall is the perfect time to plant your own crop of garlic. There is an "old wives' tale" that says to plant garlic on the first day of school and harvest it on the last day of school. It turns out this makes sense in light of how garlic grows. Technically you can plant garlic in the very early spring with good yields, but most experts agree that yields are more reliable with a fall planting....

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