Homegrown and homemade adds a little something extra

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 6, 2013

Homegrown and homemade are definitely popular items nowadays. Who doesn’t like something grown from their own garden or delicious goodies made by hand?
Herbs, fruits and vegetables are great homegrown and in handmade sauces, desserts and festive drinks. Some of the most common items grown are apples, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, squash and herbs.
Using your own apples to make apple pie, cider or juice can make that treat even better. Having control over what you make gives the dish greater importance and makes you proud of your creation, but only if the guests enjoy it.
Herbs such as dill are great in dips and roasted vegetables — it is not only used in making pickles.
Probably the best part is that most of the ingredients in your favorite holiday dishes can be grown yourself. For herbs, vegetables and fruits, essentially you need to have a site that receives full sun, meaning that the location needs to have at least six hours of sunlight. Before you plant, especially with perennials such as rosemary, thyme, apples, peaches and pecans, you need to take a soil sample.
These crops prefer a pH of around a 6.5 and it is much easier to improve the soil before you plant so you don’t have to worry about soil headaches in the future. Once your soil is amended to the crop you want to plant, select the variety that suits your needs. For example, if you like a sweet apple, choose a sweeter variety instead of a tarter one.
For more information on plant selection, soil sampling or deciding what is the best plants to grow for your holiday party, contact your local Cooperative Extension agent at 704-216-8970.