Organic gardener Jeanne Nolan demonstrates more ways to get the most out of your vegetable garden.
This week, we harvest red onions, garlic and scallions as well as edible dandelion leaves. Nolan also shows us the correct way to prune basil.
Nolan says it’s important to store onions and garlic properly after they’ve been harvested. She recommends using a brush or a washcloth to wipe off any loose dirt, and then storing them in a cool, dry place like a garage or shed where they don’t get direct sunlight. After about a month, they’ll be fully dry and can then be used throughout the rest of the year.
When harvesting basil, Nolan says the key is to leave the plant looking like it has not been touched by cutting right above where new leaves are forming.
“You can really cut back basil really hard,” Nolan said. “It’s actually going to stimulate the plant to grow more. … Basically, when you do this type of cutting you want it to look like you’ve done nothing.”
An unusual addition to the garden this year: dandelions. While most gardeners do everything they can to keep them at bay, Nolan has chosen to cultivate them as just one example of edible weeds.
“I wanted to do it because there are cultivated weeds that are actually more nutrient dense than spinach or kale and dandelion is one of them – they are really, really good for you,” said Nolan. “It’s a slightly different variety from what is growing in our lawn – we bought seeds for it.”
Nolan said the dandelion leaves can be easily harvested and used as a substitute for spinach but notes that uncooked the leaves can be a little bitter.
“But as a cooked green they are really quite nice,” she said.