Food Gardening Network

Growing Good Food at Home

Time to Do the Maypole Dance!

Bill Dugan - Executive Editor

Bill Dugan, Executive Editor of Food Gardening Network

Bill Dugan - Executive Editor

Bill Dugan, Executive Editor of Food Gardening Network

When I was a kid in school, we were assigned to read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “The May-Pole of Merry Mount”—a narrative that takes place in 1600s Colonial Massachusetts at Mount Wollaston in Quincy, the neighboring city to where I grew up in Weymouth.

Hawthorne described a wedding celebration taking place with dancing around a Maypole, until Puritan Governor John Endicott arrived to stop the partying and cut down the pole. The Puritans weren’t really known for their sense of fun, that’s for sure!

But what Endicott failed to recognize is all the symbolism of the Maypole—ignoring the meaning, origin, and traditions of the spring ritual that dates back a thousand years to Germanic Europe.

Some say that the Maypole, and dancing around it, was a way to recognize and celebrate the seasonal change—a return to warmth and planting for the next set of crops. Just as Thanksgiving evolved to celebrate the harvest, Maypole festivals celebrated the beginning of planting.

So, I’m all for celebrating this time of year to get your home food garden started!

Welcome to the May 2021 issue of Food Gardening Magazine, to help you focus on all of your spring food-gardening efforts!

In this edition of Food Gardening Magazine, you’ll discover lots of valuable and helpful content and advice, with some of my favorites including:

Gardening with Amanda articles—Amanda McArthur is one fabulous food gardener! She takes gardening seriously, makes it fun, and delivers some great content—including companion videos to show you, not just tell you, exactly what to do. Check out these three helpful articles, with videos, from Amanda this month:

  • “10 Herb & Vegetable Seeds to Plant in May”: With the threat of frost gone by May, now is the time to sow seeds directly in the ground. Get specific advice from Amanda about ten herb and vegetable seeds to plant outdoors—they prefer to be sown directly in the ground. And you’d have a hard time starting these plants indoors, mostly due to fragile roots. Read about these ten herb and vegetable seeds now!
  • “How to Plant a Bare Root Apple Tree”: In this article, Amanda explains how different it is to plant a bare root apple tree from planting a two-gallon bucket sapling apple tree. Learn all about bare-root-plant details that Amanda has curated for you, from weeks of research and interviews with an arborist and botanical garden experts. And you get full instructions about the tools and process for planting your own bare root apple tree—from digging and planting to staking and pruning. Video included!
  • “Grilled Rosemary Asparagus with Candied Garlic Kumquats”: All I can say about this is “Wow!” Get Amanda’s quick-and-easy recipe for this unique and delicious dish that goes well as a side dish with, say, lamb chops or a good steak!

And this issue of Food Gardening Magazine includes details on our three featured foods this month—concurrently with publishing this issue of our magazine, we’re publishing three brand-new gardening guides on asparagus, rosemary, and kumquats. As a premium member of Food Gardening Network, you get full access to the magazine and these gardening guides:

I’ve read all three new gardening guides, and I learned so many things about asparagus, rosemary, and kumquats. Consider some of these tidbits that I discovered while reading these gardening guides, to get you thinking about what you might want to plant this year.

Did you know that asparagus is a perennial plant that is related to the lily? And that female asparagus plants produce red berries that are toxic to humans? Or how about that asparagus has long been considered an aphrodisiac? I didn’t know any of these asparagus facts! Read all about the history and background of asparagus now!

Or, did you know that rosemary’s scientific Latin name translates to “dew of the sea,” a reference to its native habitat on the seaside cliffs of the Mediterranean? And that ancient Greeks and Egyptians used rosemary for perfumes and incense? Read about some of the other unique historical uses of rosemary that don’t involve cooking!

Or how about that kumquat means “golden orange” in Chinese? And that there’s actually a scientific debate about whether kumquats should be classified as citrus plants? Or how about that a kumquat’s skin is the sweetest part? Who knew!

To help guide you about these three foods and our gardening guides, you’ll find in this edition of Food Gardening Magazine Gardening Guide Close-Ups that focus on asparagus, rosemary, and kumquats—these in-depth articles give you valuable tips and advice about these three foods, and you’ll have instant access to the premium gardening guides themselves, too. Be first to read these Gardening Guide Close-Ups, to get a head start on how to grow these foods:

  • “The Best Type of Asparagus to Grow: Green, Purple, or White?”: Do you know the differences between these three colors of asparagus? Which type is the best for home food gardeners? Do you need female versions of asparagus plants for your asparagus garden? Get all the answers now in this article.
  • “Growing Rosemary From Cuttings”: Learn all about this quick-and-easy way to get started with rosemary plants, without the long waiting game of beginning from seeds—or having to buy starter plants from a nursery. The four-step method for growing rosemary from cuttings is fully explained, plus eight tips from nurturing your rosemary from cuttings once they’re in the ground. Read all about it in this article.
  • “How to Grow a Kumquat Tree Indoors”: Find out how similar growing a kumquat tree indoors is to growing lemons or oranges in your sunroom—with some modifications. With a little TLC, you can grow delicious kumquats almost anywhere! Discover whether starting from seed, cuttings, or young trees is best for your indoor kumquat trees. And, finally, get seven tips for success when growing kumquat trees indoors—when you read this article now.

And then there are the recipes you’ll find in the three gardening guides —here are three of my favorites that are tasty, unique, and easy to make:

  • Sheet Pan Eggs with Asparagus—There’s something about eggs and asparagus that makes them perfect culinary companions. In this recipe, they are joined by cherry tomatoes to create an easy, nutritious, and colorful dish you can serve for breakfast, brunch, or even a light dinner mid-week. Roasting the asparagus makes it sweeter, and all the flavors are so complementary!
  • Walnut-Rosemary Crusted Salmon—You can’t beat this delicious dish for good nutrition, since both salmon and walnuts are great sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. This is a simple salmon recipe that will wow your family and impress your friends. I can’t wait to serve this to one of my fish-averse friends—she’ll be begging for salmon this way all the time, I bet!
  • Kumquat Scones—Scones are such a basic, yet luxurious, breakfast item. With more personality than toast and more complex flavor than an English muffin, a scone just makes breakfast a joy. Add the sweet-tart goodness of kumquats to the mix, and you’ve got a great breakfast! Finally, a scone recipe with fruit that doesn’t involve blueberries, currants, or raisins!

There’s a lot of work to do in our gardens right now, to ensure we harvest bountiful crops later—so, take some time to do a Maypole dance, to celebrate the gardening season. But then, get to work and make it happen—and you’ll enjoy a productive garden that delivers some delicious and healthful foods for you.

Happy gardening—and happy eating!


Bill Dugan
Executive Editor

P.S.Please enjoy this issue of Food Gardening Magazine, and let me know what you think about it by commenting below with your feedback! Your input is valuable to us and can help us make improvements.

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