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Articles by Maria Price

September may be your last chance
      Drying herbs creates savory seasonings, teas, aromatic potpourri and delightful herbal wreaths. We’re entering the late-harvest season, when both the intense heat that September can bring and the acute crispness of the night air tell us that the first frost is not too far away.
      Follow these basic guidelines to capture the most flavor and fragrance.
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Eat these fall favorites for good taste and good health

Pumpkins come in many varieties. There are Jack-o-lanterns bred for stronger handles for Halloween. There are giant pumpkins; the current world record is an Atlantic Giant of over 2,000 pounds. There are pie pumpkins, heirloom edibles and specialty pumpkins in many different shapes and colors, all to match the autumn landscape.
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You can have salad days in fall as well as spring

     With August comes your second chance to grow fresh lettuce for your salads. Growing a variety of lettuces makes a wonderful blend of slightly different tastes and textures.
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You can eat the fruit and the flower

     My neighbors run away when they see me coming with armloads of zucchini. Yes, zucchini grows fast. But it is also a wonderful vegetable. Not only are the zucchini edible, so are the flowers.
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Plants bring you shade, color, fragrance, flowers and fruit
     This summer has brought some of the hottest temperatures ever recorded. Having a pool or some body of water, even a kiddie pool, can help you get through the summer and not melt when you come outside. Getting wet enables you to tolerate the excessive temperatures our summers are bringing.
     The plants you place around your pool area can make it look like a tropical getaway.
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There are many good bugs ready to help you and your garden thrive
     Before you spray your garden for those pests that seem to sample everything you like to grow, learn who the good guys are, as they will be your allies in the long run. The less insecticides you use, the more a natural balance of predators will occur. There are many good bugs out there ready to help. It may take some time, as they need to be encouraged. 
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Abundant vegetables approve of our gardening strategy

 

 

 

In starting this column last January, I challenged you to grow a garden and to eat a primarily plant-based diet. The goal was to make our beautiful Bay area a Blue Zone of long-lived happy people. 

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Choose organic, as many flowers are sprayed with toxins

 

      Flowers have been used in cooking since antiquity. The flower is simply another edible part of a plant. They have been enjoyed not only by the royal and the wealthy but also by our frugal agricultural ancestors. Before the 16th century, most parts of a plant — shoots, leaves, roots and bark as well as flowers — had uses. They were used to make food, drink, medicine, fragrant concoctions and flavored vinegars.

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These red, white and blue flowers love growing together

 

     Your garden can give you red, white and blue flowers to celebrate our nation’s independence. Plan and plant this year for flowers that bloom near the end of June and early July. Then fashion your homegrown arrangement for a Fourth of July picnic. 

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They’re tasty and good for you 

 

      Our native berry has minimal disease problems. It doesn’t take up a lot of room. It’s good for you and tastes great. Eating them puts you in harmony with native Americans, who foraged them for centuries.

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