Garden Journal

Flavor saver: Looking for a handy way to dry herbs? Clip basil, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage or any other leafy stems, secure bunches with rubber bands or twist ties and put them in brown paper bags, stems up. The paper enclosure keeps dust and light out while catching the drying foliage as it desiccates and crumbles. In a few weeks, you can squinch the bags and withdraw the stems through the loosely gripped top. Transfer herbs to lidded containers or leave them in the bags for later use.

Late bloomer: A good way to attract bees to a late-summer garden is to plant a bee-bee tree (Tetradium daniellii or Evodia daniellii). Blooming in August and September, this handsome mid-size tree with large clusters of stinky blossoms is irresistible to nectar gatherers.

Rooty toots: While potatoes are best dug soon after the plants die back (to avoid consumption by hungry voles), Jerusalem artichokes (or “sunchokes”) are better left in the ground until the first frost has passed. These sunflower roots tend to be crunchier and tastier after cold weather has set in and are best used immediately, since they tend to turn bitter after long exposure to air. While some folks enjoy “chokes” raw, cooking somewhat reduces the apparently unavoidable flatulence associated with consumption of the tasty tubers.

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About Cecil Bothwell
A writer for Mountain Xpress since three years before there WAS an MX--back in the days of GreenLine. Former managing editor of the paper, founding editor of the Warren Wilson College environmental journal, Heartstone, member of the national editorial board of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, publisher of Brave Ulysses Books, radio host of "Blows Against the Empire" on WPVM-LP 103.5 FM, co-author of the best selling guide Finding your way in Asheville. Lives with three cats, macs and cacti. His other car is a canoe. Paints, plays music and for the past five years has been researching and soon to publish a critical biography--Billy Graham: Prince of War:

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