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DELICIOUS EDIBLES TO PLANT THIS FALL
Top Picks from White Flower Farm
Get a jump on next year's best edibles by planting them in your kitchen garden this fall. All you need are the plants, bulbs, and growing instructions, available from White Flower Farm (www.whiteflowerfarm.com).
Here are some of White Flower Farm's favorite flavorful and good-for-you edibles to plant now:
**Blueberry Trio - Highbush blueberries are beautiful plants, with graceful upright structure and gray-green foliage that turns shades of burgundy or orange in fall. Blueberries require cross-pollination to produce heavily, so White Flower Farm offers three varieties.
'Bluetta' will start the season with its medium-size, deep blue fruit. 'Blueray' is an early midseason variety whose large, powdery blue berries consistently rate high in taste tests. Lastly, but well worth the wait with the biggest berries (about the size of quarters), 'Bonus' is excellent for fresh eating. Our plants will fruit their second year and will really hit their stride in another year or two. This trio has been selected for areas where the temperatures dip below 45° F for at least 5 weeks in the winter.
** Raspberry Sampler - Raspberries are easy to grow, just provide sun and space and you will be eating fresh red fruit throughout the growing season.
'Nova' is a hardy, high-yielding, midseason variety with medium-size, rich red fruit. A fine berry for the home table, fresh market, pick-your-own farms, and for freezing. 'Encore' is a large red raspberry that matures in late midseason, from late July to early August, extending the summer harvest season. It's a vigorous, upright, nearly spineless selection from the Cornell Small Fruit Breeding Program in Geneva, NY. For years the standard, fall-bearing red raspberry, 'Heritage' finishes the season (late August to frost) with medium to large, firm fruits that are delicious for eating fresh, making jam, and freezing.
** Fraises des Bois - The small pointed fruits of woodland strawberries, known in France as Fraises des Bois, have an intense flavor that is positively addictive. Fraises make fine edging plants for perennial borders or paths because they form clumps, not runners. Plant this tiny tasty treat and enjoy fresh delicious strawberries in early summer.
** Saffron crocus - Grow your own saffron to use in cooking. We rarely think of bulbs as edible, but this showy fall-blooming Crocus is the source of saffron, the quintessential seasoning for paella and other dishes from the Mediterranean and Asia. Each lilac-purple flower produces three showy red stigmas, which have been used for flavoring and coloring food since Roman times. Crocus bulbs are only available in fall, so this is a must for planting now.
** Italian Late Garlic - A softneck variety that's good for braiding, 'Italian Late' produces about 6-8 round, fat cloves per head. Their tight skins help make it a good keeper (6-9 months). Wait until you taste your own homegrown garlic -- and fall is the only time it can be planted.
** German Porcelain Garlic - For plump, crisp garlic bursting with flavor, grow your own -- it's easy. Plant individual cloves in the fall and then harvest full heads from each one the next year. A good keeper with rich flavor, hardneck 'German Porcelain' produces 4-5 fat cloves per head. The parchment-like white skin with fine purple lines makes it a beauty, too. Yield will be about three times the weight of the cloves you plant.
White Flower Farm also offers some quick tips for success when growing edibles. Water after planting – especially if you are having an extended dry period. Amend your soil with compost and provide plenty of space for your edibles – plan for growth! Make sure your garden area has lots of sun for best results. Leave plant labels in the soil as garden markers so next spring you will know each variety's location.
Barb Pierson, the nursery manager at White Flower Farm, is available for interviews upon request, as are other experts.
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White Flower Farm is a family-owned nursery located in northwest Connecticut. Since 1950, they have been gathering, evaluating, growing, and selling a wide range of annuals, perennials, shrubs, vines, bulbs, and houseplants representing the very best varieties from around the world. Plants shipped are true to name, free of disease, and in prime condition for growing. While in the area, stop by White Flower Farm with its five acres of display gardens, or visit www.whiteflowerfarm.com, where you will also find helpful gardening information including a how-to video library. Join our E-mail list for gardening advice and tips, From the Farm monthly newsletter, announcement of events at the White Flower Farm Store, and special offers not in our catalogues or on our Web site. White Flower Farm -- we make your garden grow.