Grapevine by Rosalyn Queen Alonso

It is now time to get serious about planting and getting our gardens ready for the growing season. Custom has it that Good Friday is the time to plant our potatoes.

Arbor Day is April 8 and this is the time to plant trees.  You should also fertilize your lawn this month and start your compost pile. If you have summer blooming bulbs this is the month to plant them.  In our area it will still be too cold to put plants out, but if you have a green house or a place to keep them, start your plants from seeds and let them grow until about May 15 when the weather should allow us to plant them outdoors. Buying plants from the local nurseries can get expensive, so it is best to wait until we are sure the frost is gone or you can lose a lot of money and of course, the hard work it takes to set them out.

April is also the month of the ramps.  I understand the crop is good this year and if you have a patch somewhere, go get them now so that you can plan your favorite ramp dishes. Many places have their annual ramp dinners this month, but it seems that they are getting more and more expensive.  It does take a lot of work, so it depends on just how much you want to prepare them yourself or just go to a local restaurant and pay the price.

The other wonderful plant coming up this month is the dandelion.  Folk lore has it that the dandelion is a spring remedy for all that ails us.  They certainly are not easy to pick and clean, but they are sure worth it.  The greens are wonderful prepared just anyway you do any other greens and they preserve well in the freezer if you are lucky enough to get extra.    They also make a good minsestra.  They are a member of the endive family and if you are not able to go out in the woods and get a mess, you can substitute them with endives, but I think they are more tender and have a better taste.    The blossoms are good breaded and fried and the blossom makes a great wine. For years the dandelion was used for medicinal purposes. It was used to treat kidney problems, as well to ease digestive problems.  No matter what you need it for, be sure to get your spring tonic. It used to be a spring ritual that fathers took their sons ramp hunting and mothers took their daughters out to get a mess of dandelion greens; great way to reconnect with the family.

Easter is here and it is a great time to celebrate new beginnings.  I hope you and your family will have the opportunity to observe this most holy holiday together.

There is an abundance of Easter bread out there and it would not be Easter if you did not have a loaf at your home.

A Happy Easter to you and yours from our family and until next week “Now You Have Heard It Through The Grapevine.”