National Garden Month

A look back at a National Garden Month week:

It's National Gardening Month, 2016! Each week this month we will share our favorite articles about growing different kinds of plants. Our third week this month will focus on herbs and fruits.

Week 3: Celebrating Gardening with Herbs and Fruit

Thumb of 2016-04-13/dave/87704cBlueberries

Fully ripened blueberries have sweetness and aroma that store-bought blueberries cannot match, and the attractive shrubs are easy to grow and maintain.

Thumb of 2016-04-13/dave/8c31f1Strawberries

Probably nothing beats the taste of a just-picked, sun-ripened strawberry. Strawberries are loaded with natural sugars, but these sugars rapidly convert to starch once the berry is picked. So it is not mere pride that makes a freshly picked home-grown strawberry taste better -- it really does. The fresher the berry, the sweeter the taste.

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Best Herbs for Teas

An herb tea should never be flat and flavorless. Whether it's fruity or spicy, soothing or lively, simple or sophisticated, it needs taste and personality.

I found my homegrown mint, lemon balm and chamomile were more flavorful than the herbal ingredients I could buy. I also learned that many of the old-fashioned beverage flavorers, such as rose petals and toasted sunflower hulls, are still delightful additions. And for simple pleasures, few things equal the fragrance and flavor of a few fresh leaves of lemon verbena steeped in boiling water.

Basil Varieties

Common basil (Ocimum basilicum) includes a number of different basils most commonly used for cooking.

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Growing Mint

The mint family offers a tremendous diversity of refreshing scents and flavors for cooking, beverages, and potpourris. Bumblebees and other pollinators are attracted to the delicate flowers that appear in mid- to late summer. Some varieties sport variegated foliage for added interest in the herb garden.

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Growing Rhubarb

Although technically a vegetable, rhubarb is generally used as a fruit in desserts and jams. Attractive and easy to grow, rhubarb has a place in every home garden.

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Blackberries

Blackberries are among the easiest fruits to grow at home, and their attractive berries are a welcome midsummer treat.

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Raspberries

Delicate raspberries are highly perishable and difficult to ship, making them an expensive treat if purchased at a grocery store. However, they are easy to grow in a home garden, providing abundant harvests of mouthwatering fruit in midsummer.

Want more Gardening Ideas? See our past weeks:

Week 1: Flowers
Week 2: Vegetables

When You Garden, You Grow!

Every April communities, organizations, and individuals nationwide celebrate gardening during National Garden Month. Gardeners know, and research confirms, that nurturing plants is good for us: attitudes toward health and nutrition improve, kids perform better at school, and community spirit grows. Join the celebration and help to make America a greener, healthier, more livable place!

About National Garden Month

Why Garden?

"The great people in my life, gardened. The first time I planted a garden on my own, I did it to become a better person.... Gardening people ARE just good people!"

-- TomatoGirl (Alainia Hagerty), farmer, owner, Tomato Baby Company

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