Where do I Start?..................

Even though it is increasingly possible to purchase commercially grown native plants (flowers, grasses and shrubs) in reputable nurseries, they cannot be thought of as 6-packs of petunias or pleasant pots of geraniums. Pennington County Master Gardener and native plant authority, Louise Engelstad,lists some reference books that are helpful guides and indicates her favorites in parenthesis. (All books are available from Amazon.com or other online sources.)

 Growing trees on the Great Plains. Brazell, Margaret. Fulcrum Publishing, 1992. (one of my favorites) Even though this book is out of print, thankfully it is still available from on-line vendors. This is to "go-to" book for establishing and growing trees in the demanding Great Plains setting.

Denver Water. Xeriscape plant guide: 100 water-wise plants for gardens and landscapes. Fulcrum Publishing, 1996. (one of my favorites)

The American meadow garden: creating a natural alternative to the traditional lawn.By John Greenlee and Saxon Holt. Photographs by Saxon Holt. Timber press, 2009. (one of my favorites)

Ornamental grasses for western gardens. Raff, Marilyn. Johnson Books, 2005. (one of my favorites)

Natural landscaping: gardening with nature to create a backyard paradise
.  Sally Roth. Rodale Press, 1997. (one of my favorites)

Sunset Western garden book. 8th edition. Sunset Publishing, 2007. (one of my favorites)

Best perennials for the Rocky mountains and High Plains. Tannehill, Celia and James Klett.Bulletin 573A. Colorado State University, 2002.

Gardening with prairie plants: how to create beautiful native landscapes
.Wasowski, Sally. University of Minnesota Press, 2002.

Creating the prairie xeriscape: low-maintenance, water-efficient gardening. Williams, Sara. University of Saskatchewan, 1997.



Summer Food in Wintry February


16 Popular Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze

1. Garlic – You can freeze whole garlic, garlic cloves or chopped fresh garlic. Frozen garlic does lose some of its texture, but the flavor remains intact.

2. Corn – You can freeze fresh-picked corn on the cob for up to one year. Pack it in freezer bags — husk and silk and all. For store-bought corn, husk and blanch it before freezing.

3. Avocados – The bad news is that frozen avocados lose their consistency. The good news is that they do not lose their taste, so you can use them for guacamole or dressing. Wash and halve them before peeling. Freeze as halves, or puree them with lime or lemon juice and then store for up to eight months.

4. Mushrooms — You can freeze raw button, creminis and portabellas mushrooms for later use. Chop and slice mushrooms and then spread them on a cookie sheet. Freeze. Then transfer the pieces to bags or containers.

5. Onion – You can save chopping time – and tears – by freezing onion for cooking later. Store peeled, chopped onion in plastic freezer bags. The best part is you can just toss them into your recipes without thawing them first.

6. Hummus – Scoop your fresh hummus into plastic containers. Then drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on the top to keep it from drying out. Thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before mixing and serving.

more such winter gardening from Off the Grid News