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February is an in between time of year for gardeners. Warm breezes tease yet freezing cold catches us. Can we clean up a bit? Is it going to be cold again? Will the warm winds stay? Last year was quite warm. This year has us on a seesaw temperature wise.

I thought I would go underground for February and visit the world of roots. Many roots harvested, chopped and dried can be brewed into a strong tea or taken medicinally. Roots that are varied and vitally important to plant growth teem beneath our feet. Winter is a time when the energy of the plant is focused in its roots as it gets ready for spring’s leap. We do that too don’t we? We clean up the shed, fix any tools that need repair, order seeds, revisit our garden plans all in preparation for that delightful day we begin again.

“Root structure and growth habit have a pronounced effect on plant size and vigor, how a plant is propagated, how well the plant adapts to certain soil types, and how the plant responds to cultural practice and irrigation. The roots of certain vegetable crops are important as food.”

(Adapted from the Virginia Master Gardener handbook)

There are several types of root structures we’ll look at this month and I’ll give you some suggestions on recipes for using those wild edible roots. Packed with vitamins/minerals roots are paramount to the life of the plant and amazing storehouses of energy and food.

If should be able to take a walk today, what roots do you see? What web of interlocking structures lies beneath your feet? While winter seems quiet, there is lots of activity going on in the root systems of trees and plants. I hope you will take a moment to appreciate the intricacies of our forests, pastures, meadows and gardens.

Enjoy your day. Judith

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