Monday, November 22, 2010

Growing Radishes

Radish is a cool-season, fast-maturing, easy-to-grow vegetable. Garden radishes can be grown wherever there is sun and moist, fertile soil, even on the smallest city lot. Early varieties usually grow best in the cool days of early spring, but some later-maturing varieties can be planted for summer use. The variety French Breakfast holds up and grows better than most early types in summer heat if water is supplied regularly. Additional sowings of spring types can begin in late summer, to mature in the cooler, moister days of fall. Winter radishes are sown in midsummer to late summer, much as fall turnips. They are slower to develop than spring radishes; and they grow considerably larger, remain crisp longer, are usually more pungent and hold in the ground or store longer than spring varieties.



When to Plant

Spring radishes should be planted from as early as the soil can be worked until mid-spring. Make successive plantings of short rows every 10 to 14 days. Plant in spaces between slow-maturing vegetables (such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts) or in areas that will be used later for warm-season crops (peppers, tomatoes and squash). Spring radishes also can be planted in late winter in a protected cold frame, window box or container in the house or on the patio. Later-maturing varieties of radishes (Icicle or French Breakfast) usually withstand heat better than the early maturing varieties and are recommended for late-spring planting for summer harvest. Winter radishes require a much longer time to mature than spring radishes and are planted at the same time as late turnips (usually midsummer to late summer).


Spacing & Depth

Sow seed 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. Thin spring varieties to 1/2 to 1 inch between plants. Winter radishes must be thinned to 2 to 4 inches, or even farther apart to allow for proper development of their larger roots. On beds, radishes may be broadcast lightly and thinned to stand 2 to 3 inches apart in all directions.


Care

Radishes grow well in almost any soil that is prepared well, is fertilized before planting and has adequate moisture maintained. Slow development makes radishes hot in taste and woody in texture.


Radishes mature rapidly under favorable conditions and should be checked often for approaching maturity. Harvest should begin as soon as roots reach edible size and should be completed quickly, before heat, pithiness or seeds talks can begin to develop.



Harvesting

Pull radishes when they are of usable size (usually staring when roots are less than 1 inch in diameter) and relatively young. Radishes remain in edible condition for only a short time before they become pithy (spongy) and hot. Proper thinning focuses the harvest and avoids disappointing stragglers that have taken too long to develop.


Winter varieties mature more slowly and should be harvested at considerably larger size. Once they reach maturity, they maintain high quality for a fairly long time in the garden, especially in cool fall weather. Size continues to increase under favorable fall conditions. Daikon or Chinese radish can achieve particularly large size and still maintain excellent quality. Winter radishes can be pulled before the ground freezes and stored in moist cold storage for up to several months.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

One reason you Should Grow Vegetables

Starting a vegetable garden at home is an easy way to save money that $2 tomato plant can easily provide you with 10 pounds of fruits over the course of a season.


It also gives you the pleasure of savoring a delicious, sun-warmed tomato fresh from the garden. In almost every case, the flavor and texture of varieties you can grow far exceed the best grocery store produce.


Plus, growing vegetables can be fun. It's a great way to spend time with children or have a place to get away and spend time outdoors in the sun.


Growing vegetables is probably easier than you think. If you plan it right, you can enjoy a beautiful garden full of the fruits of your labor -- without having to spend hours and hours tending it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mulch Your Garden for Winter

Fall is upon us. Soon the snow will fall, and it's time to prepare your garden for its winter sleep. You will have more success with your hydrangeas, roses, and clematis next summer, if you insulate them now from winter's icy blasts. Every perennial appreciates a warm blanket for the winter, and many plants and shrubs require it.


What about that patch of weeds that you had sworn you would turn into a garden space? Is it too late to start? Will you just have to wait for spring and haul out the big tiller? Absolutely not! You can turn that questionable space into a garden plot, simply by utilizing one of the best blankets available - cardboard. Yes, that's right cardboard, along with a thick layer of shredded mulch, will do the tilling for you (You may also substitute several layers of newspaper). Come planting time, that weedy patch will be weed-free and soft enough to plant anything you like.


If you decide on cardboard, you need lots of it. Huge pieces. Refrigerator huge. Where can you find enough cardboard? Supermarkets, big chain grocery stores, furniture stores, and appliance dealers, all have lots of cardboard. All you have to do is call and ask nicely, or show up and ask in person. Just be certain to bring a pick-up truck or station wagon. You will find yourself with enough cardboard to put to bed every tree, shrub, and perennial in your yard. Be assured that you can order all your favorite plants and seeds throughout the winter, without wondering where to plant them in the spring.


How does it work? Well plants, even weeds, need light to germinate and grow. Cardboard blocks out that light, and it kills everything beneath it, except the worms. It keeps the ground from freezing tender perennials, and a two inch layer of shredded mulch on top will hide the unsightly evidence. Cardboard can be cut into any shape you want, or don't cut it at all. Spread it around in curves and circles, using the shredded mulch to shape the desired area. Do not, however, cover your perennials and shrubs with the cardboard! Simply place the cardboard around the plant (cut to fit) and pile-on leaves or pine needles, over the plants.


Cardboard slowly decomposes and enriches the soil. It is, after all, a paper product made from trees, and earthworms love to over-winter underneath its snuggly blanket. Best of all, cardboard kills weeds and grass. Come spring, you can simply cut through the soggy cardboard with your gardening knife, dig a hole, and easily plant your new perennials, shrubs, and annuals. You can even plant those sunflower seeds, simply by cutting an X through what's left of the cardboard, and you have a wonderful incubator for your new plants.


Make certain to overlap the edges of the cardboard, so that weeds have no light to germinate during those warm winter thaws. When first you lay it down, make certain to soak the cardboard with a garden hose, then pile on the mulch, and soak the mulch on top. No need to haul out the hose mid-winter. Your plants are safe. Keep adding shredded mulch throughout the next growing season, and by the time the cardboard has decomposed completely, you have said "bye-bye" to the weeds, roots, and its seed.


Cardboard retains moisture, and my plants have made it successfully through intense periods of drought. My gardens were a weedy expanse of clay and rocks that we laughingly referred to as topsoil, when we moved into our house 8 years ago. Now, we have a lush, landscaped, healthy front garden, over-flowing with shrub roses, lilies, spring flowering trees, and spring and summer flowering bulbs. It's like a miracle!


It wasn't long ago that I found out just how effective cardboard is for creating new gardens. Our neighborhood master gardener stopped by to, literally, smell the roses, and to inform me, jokingly, "You need to stop this, now. You're making the rest of us look bad!" High praise, indeed!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Container Gardening Tips

I'm a firm believer in container gardening. This type of gardening has many advantages, first you can control the amount of water the plant needs, and if the environment get bad like a storm you can move the plants to a safe place until the storm or whatever passes by. But the best part is you can be right there to watch them grow and develop. Now you want to make sure that your container is deep enough to contain the roots so you want to have enough room for the plant to grow. A good rule of thumb is the roots will grow down about half as far as the plant grows above ground. Another thing is please make sure your containers are clean and free of cleaning products. This will have a profound effect on how your plants do over the season because of the residual effect of cleaners.

I find it useful to use 5 gallon containers to grow most of my plants. This way you know the roots have plenty of room to grow. Be sure to put a layer of gravel on the bottom about one inch high and put about 8 to 10 holes in the bottom of the bucket to assure good drainage for the plant. And use the best soil you can get. I have found that a rich dark brown soil with some moisture makes the best medium for most plants. Before you put the gravel in the bucket make sure you rinse and clean the gravel to make sure it is free of contaminants.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Composting for Great Soil

Across the planet earth an amazing process is continuously taking place. Plant parts and animal leavings rot or decompose with the help of fungi, bacteria, and other microorganisms. Earthworms and an assortment of insects do their part digesting and mixing the plant and animal matter together. The result is a marvelous, rich, and crumbly layer of organic matter we call compost, which is nature's gift to the gardener.



Benefits of Compost

Compost encourages earthworms and other beneficial organisms whose activities help plants grow strong and healthy. It provides nutrients and improves the soil. Wet clay soils drain better and sandy soils hold more moisture if amended with compost. A compost pile keeps organic matter handy for garden use and, as an added advantage, keeps the material from filling up overburdened landfills.


How to Make Compost

Start with a layer of chopped leaves, grass clippings and kitchen waste like banana peels, eggshells, old lettuce leaves, apple cores, coffee grounds, and whatever else is available. Keep adding materials until you have a six-inch layer, and then cover it with three to six inches of soil, manure, or finished compost.


Alternate layers of organic matter and layers of soil or manure until the pile is about three feet tall. A pile that is three feet tall by three feet square will generate enough heat during decomposition to sterilize the compost. This makes it useful as a potting soil, topdressing for lawns, or soil-improving additive.


Your compost pile may benefit from a compost activator. Activators get the pile working, and speed the process. Alfalfa meal, barnyard manure, bone meal, cottonseed meal, blood meal, and good rich compost from a finished pile are all good activators. Each time you add a layer to your pile, sprinkle on some activator and water well.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Saving Tomato Seeds

This is a really simple process. Here's how you save tomato seeds:

1. Choose a ripe, perfect tomato.

2. Cut it across the center of the fruit.

3. Squeeze the seeds, gel, and juice out into a small cup or jar.

4. Cover the seed gunk with two to three inches of water.

5. Label your container so you know which variety of tomato you saved seeds from.

6. Set the labeled jar in an out-of-the way spot and wait.

7. After about three days, white mold will start to form on the surface of the water. This means that the gelatinous coating on the seeds has dissolved.

8. Once you see the white mold, pour off the mold, the water, and any seeds that are floating (floating seeds are bad - they wouldn't have germinated.) You want all of those seeds sitting at the bottom of the cup.

9. After you've poured the mold and bad seeds off, drain your seeds in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under running water. It's not a bad idea to move the seeds around with your fingers to remove any extra gel that may be clinging to them.

10. Dump your rinsed seeds onto a paper plate that has been labeled with the variety name. (Yes, paper plates. Not ceramic. You need something that will wick the water away from the seeds so they dry fast and don't get moldy.)

11. Make sure your seeds are in a single layer on the plate, and set it aside a few days so the seeds can completely dry.

12. Once they're dry, put them in a labeled envelope, baggie, or other container and store in a cool, dry spot. I like to keep mine in the fridge.


Tomato seeds will keep well and germinate reliably for up to ten years if stored properly.
So, there you have it. Save seeds from your favorite tomatoes, and grow them every year. You'll be helping to protect genetic diversity in our food supply and keep some great heirloom tomatoes growing. And you'll be rewarded each and every time you enjoy a ripe, juicy tomato straight from your own garden.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Saving Bell Pepper Seeds

You want to start with a fully grown, ripe bell pepper. Allowing the pepper to grow to maturity will help ensure your pepper has healthy, robust seeds, resulting in a higher germination rate when planted.


Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the pepper down the middle from top to bottom. This will leave you with two halves, both containing plenty of seed.


Now take the spoon and scoop the seeds out onto a paper towel. Try to separate them from each other as much as you can. Let them dry out for a few days in a cool, dry area.


To store your seeds for planting next year, place the dried out pepper seeds in a paper envelope. It is optimal to then place the envelope in the refrigerator or freezer to maximize their shelf life.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Try Fall Gardening

If you have had a successful summer growing season, you can continue growing vegetables with fall gardening. You shouldn’t have to stop growing because of a frost. There are many different types of vegetables that can be grown up until early winter. Fall gardening is a great way to get more from your garden area and increase your over all harvest. You will be able to enjoy fresh greens into the winter months and more importantly, you will save money on groceries.


The vegetables used during fall gardening are considered cold weather vegetables. This means that they have a higher tolerance for cooler temperatures and can live and thrive even after the first frost. These vegetables include most types of lettuce, spinach, mustard leaves and cabbage. If your pre winter temperatures do not go below 40 to 35 degrees, you can also grow broccoli and cauliflower. For cooler climates, you can include rutabagas, turnips and carrots. Fall gardening is basically the same as summer gardening. But there are a few tips that can make it a bit easier, so that you can have a bigger harvest.


You will never want to place seeds in the garden in the late summer. The temperatures are too hot and rain is usually scarce during this time. Garden pests can be another problem when the weather is hot and the newer plants will not do well under any of these conditions. It is a good idea to start the seeds indoors and start with a stronger, healthier plant to place in the garden.


Place your seeds in small cups of soil. You can use Dixie cups or yogurt cups but make sure that there are holes in the bottom of these containers for water drainage. Place a few seeds in every cup and cover lightly with a bit of soil. Keep these plants watered and in an area that has sunlight. A windowsill is a perfect place for your starter plants. The best time to do this is exactly 12 weeks back from your first predicted frost. But this also depends on how fast the plants grow. For example, lettuce grows at a fast rate, so always read the directions on the seed package to know exactly when to place them in your garden.


When the plants are 4 to 5 inches tall, they are ready for your garden space. Choose a cloudy cooler day to plant them and make sure that the debris from your summer garden is gone. Remove any dead or dying plants and give your new plants fresh soil to grow in. Completely saturate the soil a few times a week, while your new plants are growing.


You should make sure that the types of vegetables you are using are specifically used for fall gardening. Some brands of all of the winter vegetables are made for different climates or to be grown in milder temperatures. You can ask when purchasing these plants, if they are supposed to be used for cold weather crops.


Don’t forget your onions, garlic and asparagus. They should be planted between September and October and they should be even spaced apart to produce healthier plants in the spring. This way, as soon as spring starts, you can begin to harvest your freshly grown vegetables.


If you would like to take it one step further with your fall gardening, you can add an organic fertilizer to the soil. Manure, fish emulsion or compost is a great way to improve the soil and this helps to produce larger, healthier vegetables. Due to the cooler temperatures, you will not have to worry about pests and insecticides. This means that your vegetables will be considered organic and this will save you even more at the grocery store.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Your Own Survival Seed Bank

Now you can grow all the survival food you will ever need anywhere in the country with a kit that contains a special seed bank of hard to find, open pollinated... super seeds, grown by small, fiercely independent farmers.


Let's face it. If the stories coming out on the world's food supply are even half right, we've got real problems and they aren't going to go away quickly. Here are a couple stories that I ran across recently:


• WorldNet Daily cites strong evidence that some government agencies are stockpiling huge amounts of canned food.


• Jim Randas, former U.S. Intelligence officer, appeared on ABC telling Americans to start stockpiling food.


• Grocery store prices are rising faster than any time in U.S. history.


• Worldwide grain stocks are dropping precipitously as bio-fuels consume inventories... and on and on and on.


You don't have to be an Old Testament prophet to see what's going on all around us. A desperate lower class demanding handouts. A rapidly diminishing middle class crippled by police state bureaucracy. An aloof, ruling elite that has introduced us to an emerging totalitarianism which seeks control over every aspect of our lives.


As the meltdown progresses, one of the first things to be affected will be our nation's food supply. Expect soaring prices along with moderate to severe shortages by spring. If you don't have the ability to grow your own food next year, your life may be in danger. Supply lines for food distribution in this country are about three days, meaning a dependence on "just in time" distribution systems, which will leave store shelves empty in the event of even the smallest crisis.


Click Here for you Survival Seed Bank

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Get your Garden ready for next year

Give some thought to the size and location of your garden. Whatever your choices are, it’s wise to make them ahead of time. Plan for paths where you want to walk. Consider the type of plants you want, the conditions under which they thrive, and place your beds where the best combination of light, shade, moisture and drainage. Choose the right plant for each location.

The amount of shade cast by each plant in your garden should be considered when you plan your garden. Trees are most versatile, permitting plenty of light during the cool weather of early spring and fall, and providing shade in the summer. Evergreen trees and shrubs will provide year-round shade.


Low walls and evergreen hedges provide a pattern of part day shade and part day sun, except to the south side where sun falls all day. Buildings and high walls are opaque to light, providing dense shade to the north and very hot, bright conditions to the south. A building may provide protection for the tender plants in winter.


Remember the sun rises about 30 degrees higher in summer than winter. Observe how light falls in your yard over the course of a year, and plan your garden area to use this to your advantage in each season.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Starting your own Seeds


Starting seeds is actually an easy process, but success only comes through many years of trial and error. The obvious advantages are the cost savings and the variety as opposed to purchasing seedlings at the garden center.


Most vegetable and annual flower seeds need to be started 6-8 weeks prior to your last expected frost. The exact timing can be found on the seed packets, but 6 weeks is usually a good rule of thumb. Never sow seeds deeper than twice their diameter. For small seeds, place them on the surface of the growing medium, and then lightly sprinkle the mix over the seed until it is barely covered. Water from the bottom to avoid disrupting the seed germination process.


Seedlings need to be in simulated sunshine for at least 14 hours per day. They also need 8 hours of dormancy for good growth. You either need to invest in fluorescent bulbs called grow-lights which are as close to natural light as anything sold on the market, or substitute these with less expensive bulbs. By using one cool and one warm white fluorescent in combination, you will achieve the same effect.


If given the correct conditions, namely adequate moisture, strong light, and healthy soil, the seeds will germinate and grow to maturity with few or any problems. I grow my seedlings in seed trays with individual cell packs. After sowing the seeds, I cover them with a pre-fitted plastic dome. This is critical to keep the soil moist and the humidity high. But once the first seedlings sprout, it is important to remove the cover to avoid damping-off disease. This is a fatal fungus disease which only attacks young seedlings, and is caused by inadequate air circulation and non-sterile soil. That is why I advise all those who start seeds indoors to only use sterile, soilless mixes composed of vermiculite, perlite, and sphagnum moss. These mixes can be purchased at any reputable garden center.


Once the seedlings develop their second set of leaves, you can begin supplementing the plants with a diluted solution of fertilizer. Since you want to keep the nitrogen and salt levels low at this stage of growth, I highly recommend staying away from the chemical mixes. Rather, use a seaweed/fish emulsion formula at ¼ the recommended level. This will help the plants’ development and also help ward off disease. You can purchase these organic formulas at most garden centers or through online websites.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I love Green Onions

Growing green onions is fun and very good for your health. When I was growing up and my grandfather show me that onions are a great part of our diet. It has fiber and nutrients that are essential to our natural well being. I remember as a kid my grandfather would make bacon and eggs for breakfast and have sliced tomatoes with green onions. He ate these most every day and he was a very healthy man. But I always got caught up in his enthusiasm to grow his garden. Growing green onions in your garden is not only fun but it is beneficial to your health, and best of all it enhances the flavor of most foods.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Turnips for spring and fall

Select your turnip variety. Alltop, Seventop, Shogoin and Topper are turnip varieties that are grown primarily for the greens. Purple Top and White Globe are good for both the greens and the turnip root.


Prepare the seed bed. Your turnips will grow best in a light, rich, sandy loam soil with a pH of 5.5 to 7.5. Use your spade and garden rake to cultivate the soil thoroughly, so the turnip roots can develop fully. Form the soil into raised rows about 4 inches high and 12 inches apart.

Sow the turnip seeds in early spring, after danger of frost has passed, for a spring harvest, or in early summer for a late summer harvest. Spread the seeds evenly along the top of each row of the seed bed. Ultimately your turnip plants will be 3 to 4 inches apart, but turnip seeds are small and hard to dispense evenly, so spread the turnip seeds more densely; you will thin them later. Cover the seeds with 1/2 inch soil.


Water the turnip seeds, keeping the seed bed slightly moist until germination. The seeds will germinate in three to five days.


Continue to water the turnip plants evenly, about 1.5 inches of water every seven to ten days. Drip irrigation is ideal for turnip greens in the home garden.

Thin the seedlings to 3 to 4 inches apart when they are about 2 inches tall.


Cultivate the soil between the turnip rows weekly. Cultivate 2 inches deep as the turnip plants first begin to grow, and then more shallowly as the plants mature. Avoid disturbing the turnip's feeder roots.


Harvest the turnip greens when they are small--4 to 6 inches—for the sweetest flavor. Leave the inner; less developed leaf tips so that you can harvest a second round of greens in a few days. If you plan to also use the turnip root, only harvest the greens once before harvesting the root, since harvesting the greens inhibits the growth of the turnip root.


Harvest the turnip roots, if you plan to use it, when the roots are 2 to 3 inches in diameter. As the root grows larger, it will become less tender and sweet.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

There is still time for Radishes

Radish is a cool-season, fast-maturing, easy-to-grow vegetable. Garden radishes can be grown wherever there is sun and moist, fertile soil, even on the smallest city lot. Early varieties usually grow best in the cool days of early spring, but some later-maturing varieties can be planted for summer use. The variety French Breakfast holds up and grows better than most early types in summer heat if water is supplied regularly. Additional sowings of spring types can begin in late summer, to mature in the cooler, moister days of fall. Winter radishes are sown in midsummer to late summer, much as fall turnips. They are slower to develop than spring radishes; and they grow considerably larger, remain crisp longer, are usually more pungent and hold in the ground or store longer than spring varieties.


When to Plant

Spring radishes should be planted from as early as the soil can be worked until mid-spring. Make successive plantings of short rows every 10 to 14 days. Plant in spaces between slow-maturing vegetables (such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts) or in areas that will be used later for warm-season crops (peppers, tomatoes and squash). Spring radishes also can be planted in late winter in a protected cold frame, window box or container in the house or on the patio. Later-maturing varieties of radishes (Icicle or French Breakfast) usually withstand heat better than the early maturing varieties and are recommended for late-spring planting for summer harvest. Winter radishes require a much longer time to mature than spring radishes and are planted at the same time as late turnips (usually midsummer to late summer).

Spacing & Depth

Sow seed 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. Thin spring varieties to 1/2 to 1 inch between plants. Winter radishes must be thinned to 2 to 4 inches, or even farther apart to allow for proper development of their larger roots. On beds, radishes may be broadcast lightly and thinned to stand 2 to 3 inches apart in all directions.

Care


Radishes grow well in almost any soil that is prepared well, is fertilized before planting and has adequate moisture maintained. Slow development makes radishes hot in taste and woody in texture.


Radishes mature rapidly under favorable conditions and should be checked often for approaching maturity. Harvest should begin as soon as roots reach edible size and should be completed quickly, before heat, pithiness or seeds talks can begin to develop.

Harvesting


Pull radishes when they are of usable size (usually staring when roots are less than 1 inch in diameter) and relatively young. Radishes remain in edible condition for only a short time before they become pithy (spongy) and hot. Proper thinning focuses the harvest and avoids disappointing stragglers that have taken too long to develop.


Winter varieties mature more slowly and should be harvested at considerably larger size. Once they reach maturity, they maintain high quality for a fairly long time in the garden, especially in cool fall weather. Size continues to increase under favorable fall conditions. Daikon or Chinese radish can achieve particularly large size and still maintain excellent quality. Winter radishes can be pulled before the ground freezes and stored in moist cold storage for up to several months.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pole Beans

Beans are sensitive to cold temperatures and frost. They should be planted after all danger of frost is past in the spring. If the soil has warmed before the average last-frost date, an early planting may be made a week to 10 days before this date. You can assure yourself a continuous supply of snap beans by planting every 2 to 4 weeks until early August.

Plant seeds of all varieties one inch deep. Plant seeds of pole beans 4 to 6 inches apart in rows 30 to 36 inches apart along trellis, netting, fence, or poles; or in hills (four to six seeds per hill) 30 inches apart, with 30 inches between rows.

Seeds of most varieties tend to crack and germinate poorly if the soil's moisture content is too high. For this reason, never soak bean seed before planting. Instead water just after planting or plant right before a heavy rain.

Beans have shallow roots and frequent shallow cultivation and hoeing are necessary to control small weeds and grasses. Because bean plants have fairly weak root systems, deep, close cultivation injures the plant roots, delays harvest and reduces yields.

Harvest when the pods are firm, crisp and fully elongated, but before the seed within the pod has developed significantly. Pick beans after the dew is off the plants, and they are thoroughly dry. Picking beans from wet plants can spread bean bacterial blight, a disease that seriously damages the plants. Be careful not to break the stems or branches, which are brittle on most bean varieties. The bean plant continues to form new flowers and produces more beans if pods are continually removed before the seeds mature.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Container Gardening

Nearly any type of container can be used for growing vegetable plants. Old wash tubs, wooden boxes or crates, gallon-sized coffee cans, and even five-gallon buckets can be implemented for growing crops as long as they provide adequate drainage.


Regardless of the type or size of your container, drainage is vital for successful growth and the overall health of vegetables. If the container you have chosen does not provide any outlets for drainage, you can easily drill a few holes within the bottom or lower sides. Placing gravel or small stones in the bottom of the container will help improve drainage as well. You may also consider raising the container an inch or two off the ground with blocks.

Depending on the crops you selected, the size of the container will vary. Most plants require containers that allow at least 6- to 8-inch depths for adequate rooting. Smaller sized containers, like coffee cans, are generally ideal for crops such as carrots, radishes, and herbs; use medium sized containers, such as five-gallon buckets, to grow tomatoes or peppers. For larger crops, such as vine growers, beans, and potatoes, you want to implement something more suitable to their needs, such as a large wash tub.

The spacing requirements for most vegetables are usually found on the seed packet or you can find them in gardening resource books. Once the seeds have sprouted, you can thin the plants to the desired number suitable to the container.


Fill containers with peat moss and a suitable potting mix. Compost or manure should be worked in to achieve healthier plant growth. Do not add more than the recommended amounts of fertilizer, however, since doing so can burn the plants.


Where to Put Your Container Vegetable Garden

Once you have taken care of the basics, you’ll have to decide where to place your container garden. You want to situate the containers in an area that is close to a water source with sufficient sunlight, usually, at least five hours. Excessive wind can quickly dry container plants out, so you should consider this factor as well when choosing a site.

Set the larger pots furthest back or in the center, if your design permits, with the medium-sized containers placed in front or around the larger ones. Always place the smallest containers in the very front.

With containers, there is also the option of growing vegetables in windowsills or hanging baskets that can be placed right on the porch or balcony. Ornamental peppers and cherry tomatoes look good in hanging baskets as do trailing plants such as the sweet potato vine. Keep them watered daily, however, since hanging baskets are more prone to drying out, especially during hot spells.


Watering Container Gardening Vegetables

Generally, you should water container plants every few days unless it is quite hot; more frequent watering will then be required. Check containers at least once a day and feel the soil to determine whether or not it is damp. You also might consider sitting containers on trays or lids. Doing so will help retain moisture by holding excess water and allowing the roots to slowly pull it up as needed; check these plants often to make sure that they are not continually sitting in water. If sitting water becomes a problem, fill the trays with some type of mulching material, such as chips, to help soak it up. Apply water with a watering can or sprayer attachment on a garden hose. Also check that the water is reasonably cool beforehand as hot water may cause damage to root development. During the hottest part of the day or when severe weather is expected, you can move the containers for additional protection.


Tomato, Heirloom Taste Collection 4 Seed Pkts. (1 of each)"


"Simply, the four best varieties for taste, flavor and size. You get one plant each of: Black Krim- gorgeous dark color, tangy flavor. Burpee's Supersteak Hybrid- the original 'giant' with beefsteak flavor. Big Rainbow- yellow and red streaked flesh. Mild and sweet. Brandywine- one of the best tasting tomatoes of all time."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Saving Seeds

When acquiring seed to grow vegetables make sure you buy Heirloom seeds. Do not buy hybrid seeds because you cannot save these seeds. Once you grow them they will not reproduce. Heirlooms seed are the best because they are handed down from generation to generation with the same elements that helped our grandparents survive with a healthy diet and without all these problems we have today with our health. It’s time to get back to basics before it is too late. Gather seed even if you do not garden, In the near future you may need this seed to live on because it will keep for a few years.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Desert Gardening


Cool-Season Vegetables

Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and chard--along with lettuces, cabbages, broccoli, and root vegetables like carrots, beets and turnips--are cool-season veggies. Plant them in the desert as soon as the last frost date in the spring and again about eight weeks before the first frost date in the fall. The days getting shorter as fall approaches means less bolting and cooler temperatures at night. Two crops are possible with cool-season veggies.

Warm Season Vegetables
Summers are long in most desert regions, beginning in late April and often lasting well into October with temperatures reaching a high of 90 degrees or more. It may seem counter-intuitive, but select vegetables that are early ripening. As temperatures go over 90 degrees in June and July without much moisture, pollen dries out before it can fertilize the blossoms of tomatoes, peppers, corn and eggplants. That means warm season veggies--such as those just mentioned and including squash, beans and melons--should be planted as soon as the soil warms up. If daytime temperatures are in the 70s, the soil is most likely warm enough. Warm season veggies need warm soil to germinate and grow a healthy root system. If plants have made it through July, cut them back by at least half. They will put on a new flush of growth and it's often possible to get a second crop of warm-season vegetables.

Watering

Of course a water source is required for desert gardening. There isn't enough rainfall, even during monsoon season, to keep a vegetable garden alive. It may be necessary to water every other day during summer months. Quite a few veggies like eggplant and peppers will wilt even though the ground may be damp. That's okay, as the plants will revive in the evening and early morning hours.

Salts, and Fertilizing

Many desert areas have alkaline soil and the water is naturally salty. The salts build up in the soil and should be flushed out by watering deeply once a month. The soil is also deficient in iron. Plants show that deficiency by having green veins and yellow leaves. Nitrogen deficiency is shown by the leaves turning entirely yellow. Adding iron to amend the soil solves the problem. Fertilizing in the desert should be done more often, since the extra watering dissolves the fertilizer and it washes away. Use a water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks for more productive crops.

Protection from the Sun

During the summer months most veggies appreciate protection from the hot sun. If possible locate the garden where it receives eight hours of direct sunlight in the morning and shade in the afternoon.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

It’s time for canning again

In North America, home canning is usually done in Mason jars, which have thicker walls than single-use commercial glass jars. Unless the food being preserved has a high acid (pH <4.6), salt or sugar content (resulting in water availability <0.85), such as pickles or jellies, the filled jars are also processed under pressure in a canner, a specialized type of pressure cooker. Ordinary pressure cookers are not recommended for canning as their smaller size and the reduced thickness of the cooker wall will not allow for the correct building up and reducing time of pressure, which is factored into the overall processing time and therefore will not destroy all the harmful microorganisms. The goal in using a pressure canner is to achieve a "botulinum cook" of 121°C for 3 minutes, throughout the entire volume of canned product. Canners often incorporate racks to hold Mason jars, and pressure canners are capable of achieving the elevated temperatures needed to prevent spoilage.


The most common configuration is a Mason jar with a flat lid and screw ring. The lid is generally made of plated or painted steel, with an elastomeric washer or gasket bonded to the underside of the rim. The lid also incorporates a slightly dimpled shape, which acts as an indicator of the vacuum (or lack thereof) inside a sealed jar. The ring threads onto the top of the jar over the lid to hold it in place while the jar cools after processing; the ring can be removed once a vacuum has been established in the jar. Jars are commonly in either pint or quart capacities, with two opening diameters, known as "standard" and "wide mouth".


When a jar has cooled and is properly sealed, pressing the dimple on the lid will not make any sound. An improperly sealed jar will allow the dimple to move up and down, sometimes making a popping noise. Lack of this noise does not necessarily indicate that the food in the jar is properly preserved. Typically, during the cooling process, a properly sealed lid will pop once as the pressure inside the jar is reduced enough that atmospheric pressure pushes the lid inward.


Older variations had a ceramic seal inside a one-piece zinc lid. Other methods, especially for jams and jellies, may use a layer of hot paraffin wax poured directly over the top of the food to seal it from air, thus reducing growth of aerobic microorganisms like mold.


While it is possible to safely preserve many kinds of foodstuffs, home canning can expose consumers to botulism and other kinds of food poisoning if done incorrectly. Because of the high risk of illness or death associated with improper canning techniques, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) considers it critical that consumers who intend to can at home obtain proper and current information from a reliable source. At the basis of these recommendations is the balance between bringing the food to a high enough temperature for a long enough time that spoilage and disease-producing microorganisms are killed, while not heating the food so much that it loses nutritive value or palatability.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

You’re Soil for Next Season

Good soil grows healthy plants. You should prepare your soil well ahead of time to provide the right conditions for growth. We have had the best success getting beds ready in the fall, right after the summer’s garden is finished and when cool, dry weather permits.


Because roots like a soil that is conditioned enough to hold moisture, but porous enough to provide air spaces and good drainage, The best way to give soil this texture is by adding well rotted organic compost, as often as is practical. Good organics include peat moss, well rotted manure over your entire garden to a depth of several inches and mix it into your soil as deeply and thoroughly as possible.

If your soil still seems heavy and form clumps when wet or hard clods when dry mix in up to 2 inches of coarse sand as well as the organic compost.

Soils that are too sandy and drain too quickly can be made more productive through liberal amounts of organic compost.

After preparing your bed, cover with deep mulch over winter to protect the soil and hold weeds down in the spring. With a raised bed prepared this way, we are often able to plant straight into it in spring with no further tilling.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Try Growing Spinach this year

When to Plant

The first planting can be made as soon as the soil is prepared in the spring. If the soil was prepared in the fall, seeds can be broadcast over frozen ground or snow cover in late winter and they will germinate as the soil thaws. Plant successive crops for several weeks after the initial sowing to keep the harvest going until hot weather. Seed spinach again in late summer for fall and early winter harvest. Chill seeds for summer or fall plantings in the refrigerator for 1 or 2 weeks before planting. In southern locations, immature spinach seedlings survive over winter on well-drained soils and resume growth in spring for early harvest. With mulch, borderline gardeners should be able to coax seedlings through the winter for an early spring harvest. Spinach can be grown in hotbeds, sunrooms or protected cold frames for winter salads.

Spacing & Depth

Sow 12 to 15 seeds per foot of row. Cover 1/2 inch deep. When the plants are one inch tall, thin to 2 to 4 inches apart. Closer spacing (no thinning) is satisfactory when the entire plants are to be harvested. The rows may be as close as 12 inches apart, depending upon the method used for keeping weeds down. In beds, plants may be thinned to stand 4 to 6 inches apart in all directions. Little cultivation is necessary.

Care

Spinach grows best with ample moisture and a fertile, well-drained soil. Under these conditions, no supplemental fertilizer is needed. If growth is slow or the plants are light green, side-dress with nitrogen fertilizer.


Harvesting

The plants may be harvested whenever the leaves are large enough to use (a rosette of at least five or six leaves). Late thinning may be harvested as whole plants and eaten. Cut the plants at or just below the soil surface. Spinach is of best quality if cut while young. Two or three separate seedlings of short rows can provide harvest over an extended period. Some gardeners prefer to pick the outer leaves when they are 3 inches long and allow the younger leaves to develop for later harvest. Harvest the entire remaining crop when seeds talk formation begins because leaves quickly deteriorate as flowering begins.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Some Growing Tips for Sweet Corn

To ensure pollination plant several rows together in a block, Instead of one long row. Be sure and Side dress with fertilizer when the plants are 8 inches high. Keep well watered, from the time the tassels form up to harvest. Hill corn plants by pushing a few inches of soil up around the base of the plants when they are fertilized. This will provide more stability, but take care not to disturb the roots. Do not remove suckers, which are of shoots off the main stem. Regular sweet corn, super sweet, sugar enhanced, and most importantly popcorn should be isolated from each other to prevent cross-pollination.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tomatoes are Great!

When planting tomatoes be sure and set the plants deeper in the soil than in the original container. Be sure and use mulch or black plastic ground cover to maintain even soil temperature and moisture. A light side dressing of fertilizer may be applied when blossoms first appear. Also while plants are small you should put a tomato cage or some other type of support, so when the plant is mature it will not fall over from the weight of the tomatoes. Soil should be well limed before planting, this and even moisture levels will help prevent Blossom-End Rot. Select tomato varieties that are resistant to disease. Harvest tomatoes when red and juicy. A the end of the season, pick green tomatoes before the first frost and wrap in a single layer of newspaper and bring indoors to ripen.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Growing Garlic


Early autumn is the best time to plant - usually summer finishes and autumn races towards winter and I often find me planting cloves on the colder end of this season. If you really want a successful harvest of these alliums then the cloves NEED to be in the ground at the start of autumn when the ground still has some warmth in it.

The soil needs to be deliciously friable - I know, I know. All we're ever recommended to grow in is friable soil and whoever has that? Well, in the case of growing garlic it's more a necessity than a luxury. Those with clay soils will struggle equally as much as those with sandy soils. The clay soil will restrict the growth of the bulbs in the same way as they encourage bifurcation of carrots. And sandy soils just won't be able to retain the moisture or nutrients that these precocious vegetables demand.


If you want to grow a good crop of garlic then your soil needs to be a welcoming mat. They love a soil that is slightly on the acidic side so pouring compost and manures into your bed before planting will please them beyond imagination.

Keep the soil moist - if your autumn and winters are fairly dry then keeping some irrigation on your young bulbs will prove invaluable. Otherwise, you might just want to mulch the beds. They don't need heaps of water but they don't appreciate drying out either.


Source quality bulbs for planting - most often you can buy bulbs of garlic to grow straight from the supermarket. However, increasingly it seems that many producers are spraying bulbs with growth inhibitors to protect their stock. Your best source for quality bulbs would be from someone who has already grown their own from a past season or from organic producers.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Plan your Garden for next year

Give some thought to the size and location of your garden. Whatever your choices are, it’s wise to make them ahead of time. Plan for paths where you want to walk. Consider the type of plants you want, the conditions under which they thrive, and place your beds where the best combination of light, shade, moisture and drainage. Choose the right plant for each location.


The amount of shade cast by each plant in your garden should be considered when you plan your garden. Trees are most versatile, permitting plenty of light during the cool weather of early spring and fall, and providing shade in the summer. Evergreen trees and shrubs will provide year-round shade.

Low walls and evergreen hedges provide a pattern of part day shade and part day sun, except to the south side where sun falls all day. Buildings and high walls are opaque to light, providing dense shade to the north and very hot, bright conditions to the south. A building may provide protection for the tender plants in winter.

Remember the sun rises about 30 degrees higher in summer than winter. Observe how light falls in your yard over the course of a year, and plan your garden area to use this to your advantage in each season.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Celery Growing Tips

Celery requires a cool growing season and rich moist soil. Set plant in a trench 4 to 5 inches deep and fill in with soil as plant grows. If further blanching (whitening) is desired, hill plants by mounding additional soil around their bases. Apply soluble plant food every 2 to 3 weeks.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Carrot Growing Tips

For best carrots, soil should be loose textured and cultivated very deep. If you cannot cultivate very deep use short rooted types of seed. After germination, thin seedlings well. Sometimes these seedlings can be very sweet to the taste. Fertilize when foliage is 6 to 8 inches high. Harvest when carrots are about the size of your finger, up to about 2 inches in diameter.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Wheatgrass, What is it?


Wheatgrass will Increase red blood-cell count and lowers blood pressure. It cleanses the blood, organs and gastrointestinal tract of debris. Wheatgrass also stimulates metabolism and the body’s enzyme systems by enriching the blood. It also aids in reducing blood pressure by dilating the blood pathways throughout the body.
Stimulates the thyroid gland, correcting obesity, indigestion, and a host of other complaints.

Restores alkalinity to the blood. The juice's abundance of alkaline minerals helps reduce over-acidity in the blood. It can be used to relieve many internal pains, and has been used successfully to treat peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis, constipation, diarrhea, and other complaints of the gastrointestinal tract.
Is a powerful detoxifier, and liver and blood protector. The enzymes and amino acids found in wheatgrass can protect us from carcinogens like no other food or medicine. It strengthens our cells, detoxifies the liver and bloodstream, and chemically neutralizes environmental pollutants.

Fights tumors and neutralizes toxins. Recent studies show that wheatgrass juice has a powerful ability to fight tumors without the usual toxicity of drugs that also inhibit cell-destroying agents. The many active compounds found in grass juice cleanse the blood and neutralize and digest toxins in our cells.
Contains beneficial enzymes. Whether you have a cut finger you want to heal or you desire to lose five pounds...enzymes must do the actual work. The life and abilities of the enzymes found naturally in our bodies can be extended if we help them from the outside by adding exogenous enzymes, like the ones found in wheatgrass juice. Don't cook it. We can only get the benefits of the many enzymes found in grass by eating it uncooked. Cooking destroys 100 percent of the enzymes in food.

Has remarkable similarity to our own blood. The second important nutritional aspect of chlorophyll is its remarkable similarity to hemoglobin, the compound that carries oxygen in the blood. Dr. Yoshihide Hagiwara, president of the Hagiwara Institute of Health in Japan, is a leading advocate for the use of grass as food and medicine. He reasons that since chlorophyll is soluble in fat particles, and fat particles are absorbed directly into the blood via the lymphatic system, that chlorophyll can also be absorbed in this way. In other words, when the "blood" of plants is absorbed in humans it is transformed into human blood, which transports nutrients to every cell of the body.

When used as a rectal implant, reverses damage from inside the lower bowel. An implant is a small amount of juice held in the lower bowel for about 20 minutes. In the case of illness, wheatgrass implants stimulate a rapid cleansing of the lower bowel and draw out accumulations of debris.

Externally applied to the skin can help eliminate itching almost immediately.

Will soothe sunburned skin and act as a disinfectant. Rubbed into the scalp before a shampoo, it will help mend damaged hair and alleviate itchy, scaly, scalp conditions.

Is soothing and healing for cuts, burns, scrapes, rashes, poison ivy, athlete's foot, insect bites, boils, sores, open ulcers, tumors, and so on. Use as a poultice and replace every two to four hours.

Works as a sleep aide. Merely place a tray of living wheatgrass near the head of your bed. It will enhance the oxygen in the air and generate healthful negative ions to help you sleep more soundly.

Enhances your bath. Add some to your bath water and settle in for a nice, long soak.

Sweetens the breath and firms up and tightens gums. Just gargle with the juice.

Neutralizes toxic substances like cadmium, nicotine, strontium, mercury, and polyvinyl chloride.

Offers the benefits of a liquid oxygen transfusion since the juice contains liquid oxygen. Oxygen is vital to many body processes: it stimulates digestion (the oxidation of food), promotes clearer thinking (the brain utilizes 25% of the body's oxygen supply), and protects the blood against anaerobic bacteria. Cancer cells cannot exist in the presence of oxygen.

Turns gray hair to its natural color again and greatly increases energy levels when consumed daily.

Is a beauty treatment that slows down the aging process when the juice is consumed. Wheatgrass will cleanse your blood and help rejuvenate aging cells, slowing the aging process way down, making you feel more alive right away. It will help tighten loose and sagging skin.

Lessens the effects of radiation. One enzyme found in wheatgrass, SOD, lessens the effects of radiation and acts as an anti-inflammatory compound that may prevent cellular damage following heart attacks or exposure to irritants.

Restores fertility and promotes youthfulness.

Can double your red blood cell count just by soaking in it. Renowned nutritionist Dr. Bernard Jensen found that no other blood builders are superior to green juices and wheatgrass. In his book Health Magic Through Chlorophyll from Living Plant Life he mentions several cases where he was able to double the red blood cell count in a matter of days merely by having patients soak in a chlorophyll-water bath. Blood building results occur even more rapidly when patients drink green juices and wheatgrass regularly.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Gardening to Survive

Gardening today is the same as it was 100 years ago. You till the soil then you plant. What do you plant? In some cases you must save seed from the past season. This is Survival Gardening.
Hello, my name is Ron, welcome. This article is about gardening to survive. I hope to teach you on some of the ways to get food and prepare for emergencies that could last for years.
Gardening yourself is the best way to acquire fresh vegetables, because you know how they were grown and you determine if they are grown organically or if you use pesticides to control insects.
Now in a survival situation you may not have the luxury of the normal ways of gardening. So you must make do with what you have. The first thing you need is seed. Remember if you garden be sure to let some of your plants go to seed, or fully mature to a dried up state. And store them in a cool dry place.
Half of surviving is being prepared; if you don’t have the tools to help you survive you will perish. So do what you need to do for your own comfort level.
Now if you actually want to have a survival garden in the woods it must blend in with the landscape, no matter where you are at it must blend in so it will not be stolen. Some things to do are cover the soil with leaves or some type of cover to make them blend in. Now you have to remember exactly where they are at or you may walk right over them yourself. Also don't leave any trails to your garden and come in from a different direction every time you go there so you don't leave a trail.
You still want to plant this garden in a remote place where no one will find it. But you also want your garden to be close to where you are. So you can keep an eye on it, and keep it properly watered and also watch the health of your plants. Now make sure your garden gets plenty of sun, this is important for the growth and development of your garden. Make sure you plant this garden in a place where it drains well like on the side of a hill. If you plant it in a low lying area it may trap water and drown your plants. Or be washed away by running water that flows down hill. Just be careful where you plant.
These are just a few things to consider if you ever have to plant in the wild, But be sure to have seed handy even if you have to buy it from a seed company at least you will have seed to survive.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Growing Squash

Summer and winter squash are some of the most popular vegetables in the home garden. Summer squash can be eaten raw in salads, stir-fried, steamed, or cooked in various dishes. Winter squash can be baked, steamed, or boiled.

Summer squashes are large, bushy plants. The fruit of summer squash are harvested when they are immature and have soft skins. Fruit can be stored for 1 to 2 weeks. There are several types of summer squash. These include zucchini (cylindrical, club-shaped fruit), crookneck (long, tapered fruit with curved necks), straight neck (bottle-shaped fruit with straight necks), and scallop (flattened, roundish fruit with scalloped edges).

Most winter squashes are large, vining plants. (Several semi-bush varieties are available to individuals with small gardens.) Fruit are harvested when they are mature and have hard rinds. Winter squash fruit can be stored in a cool, dry location for 1 to 6 months. Various sizes, shapes, and colors of winter squash are available. These include acorn, buttercup, butternut, and hubbard.

Suggested Varieties

Summer Squash Winter Squash

Dixie - yellow crookneck Blue Hubbard

Elite - zucchini Burgess Buttercup

Goldfinger - golden zucchini Butternut Supreme

Jaguar - zucchini Sweet Mama - buttercup

Seneca Butterbar - yellow straightneck Table Ace - acorn

Spineless Beauty - zucchini Table Queen - acorn

Sunburst - yellow patty pan (scallop) Vegetable Spaghetti

Planting

Summer and winter squash perform best in fertile, well-drained soils containing high levels of organic matter. They also require full sun. Organic matter levels can be increased by incorporating well-rotted manure or compost into the soil. If a soil test has not been conducted, apply and incorporate 1 to 2 pounds of an all-purpose garden fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, per 100 square feet prior to planting.

Summer and winter squash are commonly planted in hills. Sow 4 to 5 seeds per hill at a depth of 1 inch in mid-May in central Iowa. Thin to 2 to 3 vigorous, well-spaced plants per hill when seedlings have 1 or 2 true leaves. The last practical planting date for summer squash is July 20. Winter squash must be planted by June 10.

For an early crop, start plants indoors 3 to 4 weeks prior to the anticipated outdoor planting date. Since squash seedlings don't tolerate root disturbances during transplanting, start seeds in peat pots, peat pellets (Jiffy 7's), or other plantable containers. Sow 3 to 4 seeds per container. Later, remove all but 2 seedlings. Harden the plants outdoors for a few days in a protected location prior to planting to lessen transplant stress.

Hills and rows of summer squash should be 3 to 4 feet apart. Hills of winter squash should be spaced 4 to 5 feet apart with 5 to 7 feet between rows.

Care

Control weeds with frequent, shallow cultivation and hand pulling. Water plants once a week during dry weather.

Squash bugs and squash vine borers can be serious pests. Squash bugs have piercing-sucking mouthparts. Heavy feeding causes entire leaves to wilt, turn brown, and die. Several methods can be used to control squash bugs in the garden. Adults and brick red egg masses on the undersides of leaves can be removed by hand. Adults can also be trapped under boards or shingles placed under the plants. Turn the objects over daily and collect and destroy the hiding squash bugs. Small, immature squash bugs (nymphs) can be controlled with insecticides, such as carbaryl (Sevin). In fall, remove and destroy plant debris to deprive squash bugs of overwintering sites.

Squash vine borer larvae bore into squash stems near ground level. Larvae feeding within the vines eventually cause the plants to wilt and die. Squash vine borers can be controlled with applications of insecticides (rotenone, permethrin, or marathon) at regular intervals beginning in mid-June. Apply the insecticide to the base of the vines. After the final harvest, remove and destroy the plant debris. Rototilling in fall or spring may destroy overwintering pupae in the soil.

Harvest

Harvest long-fruited summer squash varieties when they are about 2 inches in diameter and 6 to 12 inches long. Scalloped types are best when 3 to 5 inches in diameter. Fruit should have soft skins (rinds) that are easy to puncture with a fingernail. Seeds should be soft and edible.

Mature winter squash have very hard skins that can't be punctured with the thumbnail. Additionally, mature winter squash have dull-looking surfaces. When harvesting fruit, leave a 1-inch stem on winter squash. Store the fruit in a cool, dry, well-ventilated location.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Learn how to do Canning at Home


To preserve foods by canning two things must be done. First, sufficient heat must be provided to destroy all microscopic life that will cause spoilage in food; and second a perfect seal must be made which will prevent the re-entrance of microorganisms. These problems of preventing spoilage have been practically solved by the improved methods of canning which are explained below.


Only the freshest of fruits and vegetables should be canned. Canning does not improve the taste of the product; it only preserves it for future use.

Methods of Canning

Open Kettle: This method involves cooking the product completely and pouring it into sterilized jars, using sterilized equipment throughout. The jars are then sealed and stored. The open kettle method is recommended only for preserves, pickles, and foods canned in thick syrup. For other foods use the following methods.

Cold Pack: Cold, raw foods are put into jars and covered with boiling-hot syrup, juice of water. (Tomatoes are pressed down in the jar so they are covered with their own juice.) Jars are partially or completely sealed, following manufactures directions. Jars are then processed in boiling water or in steam to simultaneously cook the food and sterilize the jars.

Hot Pack: Fruits and vegetables are preheated before packing causing shrinkage before food goes into jars. This is the preferred method as preheating the food before packing prevents “floating”, (especially with fruits) and assures a full pack. Processing time is also lessened when food is hot-packed.



To learn how to do this Click Here