Gardening – How To Grow Okra

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It is exciting to grow your own okra. The okra vegetable is delicious, and the plant produces the most gorgeous flowers. Planting okra in your garden is simple and will enhance its beauty exponentially.

Okra comes in many varieties. Okra pods can be green, red, pink, and white. They come in a plethora of lengths and shapes. Some are short and stout while others are long and spindly. The okra plant grows quite tall, usually between 4-6 feet, so make sure you allow adequate space in your garden.

Planting Okra

The okra plant takes on average 2 months to reach maturity. They need consistently warm days to thrive, which means in many climates they cannot be planted until mid-June. For the seeds to germinate, the soil needs to be at least 65F. It is best to start by planting okra seeds indoors to get a head start on the season.

Plant the okra seeds in containers filled with rich potting soil. Put seeds in 1/2-1 inch deep. Once the seedlings have grown at least 3 leaves and there is no more chance of frost, they can be transplanted outside. Space them out 2 feet from each other with 2-3 feet between the rows.

Okra Irrigation

Okra plants should be kept well watered for the best pod production. They are quite hardy, however, and will survive minor dry spells.

When To Harvest Okra

The pods are best harvested when they are 2-3 inches long, depending on the variety. If they grow too large, they will get tough and woody. When they reach that point, they are basically inedible. Cut the pods off with a knife or shears as the stems are very tough. It is also recommended to wear gloves when cutting off the pods as many okra varieties have little spines that can cause skin irritation. Harvest the pods continuously to keep the plant producing and thriving. Okra can be harvested every day in the height of the growing season. Remove and discard any that have grown too big so the plant can focus its energy on producing new growths.

Storage Of Okra

Okra stores well at room temperature for a few days. It can also be stored in the refrigerator. Okra pods keep well in the freezer which means this wonderful vegetable can be enjoyed year-round.

How To Grow Eggplant

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Eggplant (solanum melongena) of the potato family, and native to India.  This plant  usually produces dark purple fruit, however, some other colors are available.

Eggplants are an excellent addition to any garden. The variety of colors and shapes make them a fun choice for the backyard gardening venture. Growing eggplant isn’t difficult. However, Eggplants have specific requirements and need a long, warm, growing season. New eggplant seed varieties are being developed that allow for a shorter season and colder climates, so if this is a concern, seek out those varieties.

Growing Eggplant from Seed

To start, if you are planting from seed, the soil temperature needs to be between 80 F-90 F. In most locations, this requires you start the seeds indoors for the eggplant to have enough time to reach maturity. A heating mat or grow light may be necessary to keep the soil temperature up. The seedlings can be planted outside when the daytime temperature is consistently between 70F-80F. Start the seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the ideal outside temperature is anticipated.

How To transplant Eggplant Seedlings

Plant seeds in the grow pots 1/4 – 1/2 inch deep. They will need 12-14 hours of light. This is another reason a grow light may be necessary. Keep the soil moist but not water-logged.

Transplanting Eggplant Seedlings

After there is no possibility of frost and the seedling have 3-4 leaves, they can be transplanted to the garden. Planting eggplant in the garden is simple. Place the seedlings 18-24 inches apart in rows 2-3 feet apart.

How to Irrigate Eggplant

Eggplant plants demand regular and deep watering. Inadequate watering can lead to fruit drop. The plants may need to be staked, depending on what variety is planted. Tie the plants up to the stake as they grow.

When To Harvest Eggplant

Eggplants can be harvested when they reach a third of their anticipated size for the variety. This is when eggplants taste the best. The fruit should be smooth, shiny, and firm to the touch. A good ripeness test is to lightly press a thumb into the fruit and see if it bounces back. The fruit is past prime if the indentation stays. Overripe eggplant is bitter, and its seeds are large and the fruit is woody. Keep a close eye on the plants as they reach maturity so the fruit can be picked at its height.

How to Harvest Eggplants

A knife or pruning shears will be needed to cut the thick stem of the fruit. Continuously harvesting the ripe eggplant will encourage the plant to produce more.

Storing Eggplants

Eggplant should be used soon after it is harvested. Eggplant does not keep well; if necessary, store it at room temperature for 1-2 days before cooking.

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Growing the Kahari Melon

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Kahari Melon

The melons are a rust or copper-red with stripes of in green and cream, making this an unusually and beautiful melon. The pale green flesh is sweet, aromatic and slightly musky in taste, similar to a honeydew melon.

Planting Instructions

  • Sow in place about two weeks after the last frost of spring.
  • Plant seed about one inch deep, 12 inches apart, in rows 5 feet apart.
  • Or plant in hills, 4-5 seeds per hill, with hills about 5 feet apart.
  • In a four by four foot raised bed, I usually, plant plant a hill in a short way from each corner and let them spill over the edges and pathways. So, an out of the way bed is recommended.
  • In short-season climates, grow trans- plants indoors, starting about 1 week before last frost date and set out about 2-3 weeks after sowing; never let transplants become root-bound in their container.
  • These Melons may be trellised, but larger fruit may need a cloth sling to support each fruit ant to prevent wind damage.

Gardeners Note:

  • You may want to consider succession planting these melons, so, that you get a new harvest every two to three weeks.  Otherwise, you may find with an oversupply when they start to produce and with will allow you to pull up any vine, which may succumb to pest and/or disease.

Kahari Melon Size

  • The vines produce an abundance of 2 to 4 pound fruit.

Kahari Melon Storage

  • The melon does not store long and, therefore, should be used as soon as possible upon harvesting.

Kahari Melon Uses

  • Eaten as fresh fruit or in fresh fruit salad
  • As fresh water (our favorite method) or mixed in a smoothie


Gardening – Coffee Grounds in the Garden

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Coffee grounds are one of the kitchen wastes and businesses, which can be recycled in the garden. So then, the discussion becomes how to use the coffee grounds.  Using coffee grounds in the garden, basically, come down to composting. There are several approaches to composting, which can be applied to coffee grounds.

The Value Of Coffee Grounds As Fertilizer

  • The three principal nutrients by which the value of fertilizer is typically measured are; Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). Measured by those nutrients, Coffee grounds do have value as a fertilizer when used as compost or applied directly as a soil

The NPK Value of Coffee Grounds

  • Nitrogen (N):28 percent
  • Phosphorus (P):06 percent
  • Potassium (K):6 percent

How Much Coffee Grounds To Use

  • When using coffee grounds as compost or when applied directly as a soil amendment, the volume of coffee grounds should be limit to more than 20 percent of the soil or mix to which it is being added. This rule applies to sheet, trench, and/or postal composting.

Coffee Grounds As Mulch

  • Coffee grounds are generally, fine ground and easily compacted so much so that they can form a barrier not allowing air and water to pass through your mulch. For this reason, coffee grounds are generally not recommended for use as mulch.

Sources of Coffee Grounds

From you Own Kitchen

  • An obvious source of coffee grounds as your own kitchen, Americans tend to drink coffee nearly every day so rather than throwing your coffee grounds in the trash toss minute compost bin and use of her garden fertilizer.

From Your Local Coffee Shop Or Restaurant

  • If you’d like to have more coffee grounds or you’re not getting enough coffee grounds for your purpose from your own kitchen, there are several local opportunities to acquire coffee grounds. In my local area, there are coffee shops like Starbucks or on the grind from which coffee grounds can be readily obtained. As a matter of fact, I’ve seen signs in the local Starbucks saying to ask the barista for coffee grounds for your garden. However, coffee shops may be an obvious choice, but there are any number of restaurants and cities and towns which can be taken advantage of with a little creative negotiation with the owner-operators.

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Gardening – How To Grow Blueberries

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The blueberry not only bears delicious fruit high in fiber and vitamin C but does double duty as an ornamental landscape shrub. Blueberries are very easy for the home gardener to grow and enjoy.

Choosing Blueberries

  • Chose blueberry varieties appropriate to you garden hardiness zone.
  • While blueberries are technically self-pollinating, the use of at least two different varieties will greatly enhance fruit size and yield.

Planting Blueberries

  • Plant with soil 1/4”- 1 1/2” above the root system
  • Spaced 4 ft. apart and mulched regularly.
  • Blueberries require acid soil with a pH of5-5.0 with a high organic content to maintain moisture.
  • Newly planted blueberries will need deep watering during their first spring and summer so they can establish themselves.

Caring For Blueberries

  • For best fruit production deep water when the berries begin to set and grow.
  • Add iron sulfate to acidify the soil, if needed.
  • Unless you have acidic soil, grow blueberries in large pots.
  • Feed with a fertilizer formulated for blueberries (according to package).
  • Mulching will improve plant health and fruit yield.
  • Pine needles are good mulch for acid-loving

Blueberry Problems

  • Insects and disease are rarely a problem.
  • Netting and other protective measures for birds may be required when berries begin to ripen.

Harvesting Blueberries

  • Harvest after berries has been blue for a few days for peak nutrient content.
  • The immediate consumption or preservation of the berries is recommended.
  • Blueberries can be used in smoothies, scones, muffins and a whole range of other delicious desserts. However, freezing my well be the easiest and way to preserve blueberries for future use.

Gardening – How To Grow Apricot Trees

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The apricots are a fine addition to a home-growing repertoire. Apricot trees can be grown as fans, bushes, or pyramid-shaped examples, or left to grow to a natural shape. Dwarf varieties are available which can be grown in containers, small spaces in the landscape, or trained along walls so that apricot trees can be suitable for even the very smallest of gardens.

Why Grow Apricot Trees?

If you want to know why grow apricot trees, you should first understand their needs. These small fruit trees are quite vigorous and can quickly outgrow your existing trees. Pruning is necessary for good growth, and apricots will need pruning every year. The roots of an apricot tree are larger than those of other fruit trees. To plant an apricot, place it in the soil at the same depth as it was in the nursery. You will see the grafting point, which should be above the level of the surrounding soil. The roots of an apricot should be covered with at least two inches of soil. You can water it lightly in the winter, and once it begins to bloom, it will require pruning again.

Appropriate watering will help your apricot tree grow and produce fruit. Since apricots are dependent on regular watering, you will want to water them regularly. This will encourage healthy growth, ensure a strong tree and healthy fruiting. By providing your apricot trees with the proper amount of water, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful fruit. The weight and size of your crop will be greatly increased. For optimal growth and fruiting, watering your apricot trees regularly is key from May to September. If you have a watering system installed, it will ensure that your apricot trees receive regular irrigation.

Choosing a proper location is also important for growing an apricot tree. Sites with heavy clay soil and frequent frosts are not ideal for apricots. A good site for growing an apricot tree is a slope that is well-drained and has high air circulation. Soil with good drainage is also important. You should also consider planting apricot trees near water as they will require more water during the growing season.

When choosing a location for your apricot tree, choose one that is near other fruiting trees. The plants should have at least 50 feet of space between each other. This will allow them to grow in the shade of neighboring trees and pollinate them for you. Choosing a location for your apricots will determine the quality of the fruit that you will get. The trees will also require shade to survive in harsh climates.

The primary reason to grow apricot trees is to ensure that the climate is cool enough for them to flower. Apricot trees are the first fruiting trees to blossom, and pollination is essential for producing a high quality crop. However, unpredictable weather conditions can lead to poor fruit set, so be sure to plant them close to other trees for a better chance of getting fruit. You will be pleased with the results, but they will take several years.

The apricot tree is easy to grow. Its name comes from the Latin praecocium, which means “precocious”. The apricot tree produces its sweet fruit in November to February. The height of the apricot depends on the variety, and the trunk may grow as tall as 40cm. The apricot tree is not too difficult to maintain. It will produce fruit if properly cared for.

The apricot tree is a hardy perennial that thrives in well-drained soil. It grows well in a pot for as long as five years. The fruit will ripen between June and August and is a delicious and ornamental tree. It’s also easy to propagate and maintain. It requires little maintenance. Apricots are an attractive ornamental fruit that has a long shelf life.

Pruning is an essential part of apricot tree care. To maximize apricot production, apricot trees should be pruned once a year. Generally, this will happen in the spring and fall. It’s best to prune out weak or outgrowing branches in order to create better air circulation. While apricot trees can survive in the winter, they need extra watering.

The best time to plant apricot trees is in early spring, but you should consider planting them on higher ground for best results. While they can be transplanted easily, they need special care. They need deep, well-drained soil and plenty of organic matter to thrive and fruit. They should be planted in the shade or away from strong winds. And, they should be protected from frost. But the key is to know how to take care of them.

Choosing an Apricot Tree

If you choose a self-fertile, you will only need to buy one apricot tree, which can crop without a partner tree. It is important to choose an apricot tree suited to the exact conditions where you live. The crucial factor is when the tree will blossom. Apricots tend to bloom early, so can be prone to frost damage if there is a danger of a late frost in your area. Bryan, Hungarian and Moorpark Apricots could all be good options for zone 8 in Texas.

Planting an Apricot Tree

Apricot trees will grow best in sunny, wind and frost sheltered, locations. They like deep, moisture-retentive, well-drained, and ideally slightly alkaline soil and will struggle in shallow soils which have low fertility. Be sure to space your Apricot trees according to the space requirements of the variety you have chosen.  Generally, I like to add two feet to the spacing to provide clearance for picking and maintenance. Mulch the trees with rich compost or well-rotted manure in March and early April. Mulch will help to fertilize and keep down competitive weeds.

Caring For an Apricot Tree

Newly-planted Apricot trees will need deep watering during their first spring and summer so they can establish themselves. For best fruit production deep water when the fruits begin to set and grow. Mature trees may also need to be watered if there are drought conditions.

If your tree is cropping heavily, then you should thin apricots to around 8-10 cm intervals when they are roughly the size of hazelnuts. You may also wish to prune for shape and size at the same time.

Apricots require insects for pollination. If there are not enough insects around yet when the tree breaks into bloom, then you may need to pollinate by hand to achieve the best possible yield. Better still is to encourage pollinators into your garden by companion planting apricot trees with a beneficial guild of plants that can help gather nutrients and which will attract bees and other pollinators to your yard.

Harvesting Apricots

Apricots will be ready to harvest in late June through August. The Apricots are ready to pick when the fruits have a golden-yellow color, are soft, and detach easily from the tree. Take care when harvesting to avoid bruising the delicate fruits and the immediate consumption or preservation of the fruit is strongly recommended. Apricots can be used in preserves, a whole range of delicious desserts, and dehydrated as a healthy treat.

HOW TO GROW APRICOT TREES COMPLETE GROWING GUIDE

Gardening – How To Grow Peach Trees

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Peaches are such attractive trees and have such delicious fruit – no wonder they are a favorite with many gardeners in the climate zone. Peaches are a delicious, fresh taste of the summer and there is nothing better than being able to pick these juicy fruits from your garden.

Choosing a Peach Tree

Most peaches are self-fertile and so will not require a companion tree to fruit. However, you may wish to consider choosing different peach varieties to be able to harvest these delicious fruits over a longer period. Peaches that do well in zone 8 gardens include Gulf Crimson, Early Golden Glory, Bicentennial, Sentinel, Redglobe, Milam, and Fayette. Ask your local garden center, master gardener or agriculture extension office for other examples of peach trees that will do best where you live.

To grow a peach tree, you’ll need to plant it in a pot. This article will discuss the best way to plant peach trees, where to plant them, and which varieties to choose. This article will also discuss how to care for the tree and what to expect during the first season of growth. Read on to learn more. Until then, enjoy your new fruit tree! And be sure to stop by next time you’re at home to pick up a peach!

Where to Plant a Peach Tree

If you’ve ever had a peach, you’ll know that planting a peach tree is no easy task. You’ll need an area that is at least 5 feet by 1.5 metres (1.6 x 3 feet) and a spot that drains well. Peach trees also require good drainage, so you’ll want to plant them in an area where they don’t have to compete with grassy areas. You should also plant the tree at a depth of 12 inches, so that the roots can spread out and not be bent or impeded by the ground.

Peach trees prefer a pH of between 6.0 and 7.0. Before planting, check the pH of your soil to ensure it is appropriate. Peach trees need soil that is naturally fertilized, so they require a well-draining, lightweight loamy soil. Avoid planting peach trees in low, wet areas, as they could experience root rot. You can also plant peach trees in containers.

When to Plant a Peach Tree

Fall is a good time to plant a peach tree. It allows the roots to continue growing during the winter, so they won’t freeze solid in the spring. Planting in the fall will also reduce the stress on the tree. Peach trees should be planted in the fall rather than spring, as spring planting causes too much stress for the tree. Fall planting also allows the trees to grow roots that will be ready for harvest in the spring.

When to plant a peach tree, start by testing your soil to see how pH levels are. Peach trees prefer a soil pH level between 6.0 and 7.0. Peach trees prefer a soil that is naturally enriched with organic matter. They also like well-drained soil. Peach trees should not be planted in an area where water is scarce or the soil is too wet. However, you can purchase peach trees from a nursery that are shipped bare-root or in containers.

How to Plant a Peach Tree

Peach trees require the same care as any other fruit tree. Water the tree regularly, especially during periods of low rainfall. Pruning and thinning the fruit are two ways to improve the yield of your peach tree. The soil should be evenly moist, but never soggy. Peach trees will need fertilization as well. Once the tree is established, following these care tips will ensure that you get a bountiful harvest.

Peach trees grow best on slopes or hilltops. Cooler air runs downhill, protecting the delicate blossoms. Before planting, test the pH level of your soil and adjust it with sulfur or lime. You can do this about six to twelve months before planting your peach tree. Remember to supplement the soil with water as needed. Aside from fertilizing the soil, peach trees also need ample water. Soil pH levels should be adjusted before planting, as the fruit tree grows rapidly without proper irrigation.

After planting the tree, it is important to prune it properly. The aim of pruning is to create an open, vase-shaped tree. Select 3-5 branches at an angle of 45 to 70 degrees from the trunk. Also remove all branches that are more than one year old. Ideally, prune the branches to three feet long, and space them evenly. Alternatively, you can also prune the tree every year. If you decide to cut the branches of your peach tree, make sure you prune them regularly to maintain the shape and size of your tree.

Best Varieties Of Peach Trees

The best variety of peach tree will depend on where it’s being grown. Some are easy to grow and are not worth the trouble of grafting. Some trees have a very high yield but don’t produce as many fruits as others. Peach trees are a great way to add variety to your garden. Here are some suggestions to make your peach-growing experience more rewarding. Listed below are the best varieties of peach trees for your garden.

Garden Gold: This peach tree produces large, soft freestone fruits that average fist size. The flesh is golden yellow with a blush of red. Fruits from this tree ripen from July to August. Garden Gold peach trees grow to five to six feet tall and prefer full sun. They grow well in pots or containers. This is a good choice for coastal locations. The fruit is delicious and good for freezing or canning.

Watering a Peach Tree

When watering a peach tree, keep in mind that peach trees don’t like to be wet. They need a well-drained soil, as excess water around the roots of the peach tree can cause them to quickly die. You can fertilize the tree every year with a fertilizer rich in nitrogen, but remember that excessive growth leads to an unhealthy tree’s framework. Moreover, peach trees with excessively vigorous growth usually develop narrow crotches and an upright growth habit.

In South Carolina, the climate is humid and provides water throughout the growing season. However, peach trees have high water requirements during certain times of the year. Without proper watering, the fruit’s quality and yield will be compromised. Peaches are especially sensitive to insufficient water about three weeks before harvest. In addition, a mature peach tree will need 35 to 45 gallons of water per day. The smallest peach trees, meanwhile, usually don’t require irrigation at all.

Fertilizing a Peach Tree

As a fruit tree, peaches require a good supply of nitrogen to thrive. The soil pH should be 6.5 or higher, and peach trees should be fertilized at least once a year to ensure optimal fruit growth. Organic fertilizers like peat moss and compost can help improve soil fertility and increase water retention, but should be applied only when instructed. Peach trees are not good candidates for fertilization close to the trunk, as the fertilizer could burn the tree’s trunk and prevent roots from receiving the nutrients they need.

Ideally, you should fertilize your peach tree twice a year, once in early spring and once in late summer. The first time you fertilize a peach tree is the spring when the tree has just emerged from the soil, but in frost-prone areas, you should stop feeding two months before the first frost. Fertilizing a Peach tree involves a soil test, which must be done before you begin. Different soil types and locations contain different elements, and you must find out which one your peach tree needs.

Pests And Diseases Of a Peach Tree

Peach leaf curl is a common fungus that infects the leaves, fruit, and flowers of peach trees. Infected leaves curl and pucker in the center. Leaves also turn yellow and eventually drop from the tree. Severe cases can weaken the tree and affect the quality of the fruit. Affected leaves are often covered in white powder. This fungus is spread by water splashes.

The adult twospotted mite injures peach foliage, similar to the European red mite. Adult twospotted mites spend the winter on the lower part of peach trees and move upward as the season progresses. Their population peak is in August. The best way to control twospotted mite infestations is to use carbomate insecticides to kill their predators. Luckily, twospotted mites are not difficult to kill.

During the dormant period, sprays with dormant oil can control most insects. The oil will kill the eggs on the tree’s branch and trunk before they reach flower buds. Early spring spraying with endosulfan directly on the tree will prevent peach borers. Despite this, timing is essential in controlling the coddling moth. One spray should be applied just before new larvae appear.

Harvested Peaches in a bowl

Harvesting a Peach Tree

When is it time to harvest your peach tree? If you’ve ever had to wait for peaches to ripen, you know how difficult it is. Peaches should be plumper and round when they’re ripe, but if you can’t tell by looking at them, you might have to wait a few more days. Peaches with green hints aren’t ready yet.

If you’re not sure when to prune your peach tree, start with pruning the branches at the top of the tree. This allows more light to reach the rest of the tree. Your tree should be in a bowl shape, with three or five main branches and numerous smaller branching for the fruit. Use pruning diagrams or pictures to help you decide which way to prune your tree. After pruning, make sure to keep the center open and prune the fruiting branches every six to eight inches. This will help the remaining fruits grow bigger and tastier.

If you’re growing a peach tree in your yard, make sure to select a climate zone that is not too cold or too hot. They do best in warm, dry climates. Cool, wet summers will be too difficult for your peach tree to grow. Peaches can grow up to 25 feet tall, but dwarf varieties are only about six feet tall. Peach trees need full sunlight to produce fruit, so make sure you’ve chosen a location with full sunlight.

Gardening – A Permaculture Garden Guide To Composting

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One of the key skills any permaculture gardener should learn is how to create good compost. Creating a good compost is key to creating abundant, productive and sustainable permaculture gardens. If you want to be able to grow your food using permaculture principles then creating compost is one of the foundations upon which your garden will be based. This guide to composting in a permaculture garden will help you make your garden the thriving, resource-rich ecosystem that it should be.

Why Composting is Important

 Composting is an important element of gardening because it allows you to adhere to the permaculture ethic of returning the surplus to the system. It allows you to eliminate waste, and make full use of the natural resources at your disposal. It enables you to care for the soil of your growing areas, and to make them rich, fertile places to grow a range of fruit trees and other edible and useful plants. When you create and use compost in your garden, you are completing the natural cycles and creating systems that can endure and sustain for many years to come.

Composting Methods

 There are some different ways to create compost. The main methods used in a permaculture garden are:

  • Composting in Place (Sheet mulching with organic materials and allowing them to decompose on top of the soil of your growing areas.)
  • Cold Composting (Creating a heap or large bin in which compost is slowly created.)
  • Hot Composting (Creating the conditions for faster, warmer decomposition in a bin or other container.)
  • Vermiculture (Creating compost with the help of special worms.)

Creating Compost in a Permaculture Garden

 No matter which method you are using to create your compost, the principles at play remain the same. You are taking organic materials that are considered to be ‘waste’ and creating the conditions for their decomposition. Once decomposed, the compost is used to conserve or enhance the fertility of the soil.

Creating a good compost involves a basic understanding of the different sorts of material in a compost heap. The materials are grouped into two categories – carbon-rich ‘brown’ materials and nitrogen-rich ‘green’ materials. Both types are necessary to create a good-quality compost. Brown materials include cardboard, straw, twiggy material, wood chips, and bark. Green materials include green leafy matter, grass clippings, and fruit and vegetable scraps.

To get a good mix in your compost, you should add ‘brown’ and ‘green’ materials in thin layers. Adding in thin layers allows for the right conditions for aerobic decomposition and helps to ensure that your compost does not become too wet or too dry.

In addition to thinking about getting the right mix of carbon-rich and nitrogen-rich materials in your compost, creating good compost also involves thinking about getting a good balance of the main nutrients that plants need to grow: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as the various micro-nutrients needed by plant life. Adding a good mix of different ingredients to your compost will help to create compost with a good nutrient balance.

Creating compost is not rocket science. Anyone can create good, crumbly compost for use in their forest gardens or polyculture vegetable beds.

Gardening – A Guide To Attracting Wildlife in a Permaculture Garden

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 If you are a keen gardener then doubtless you love watching the wildlife that comes into your garden. You may enjoy watching the birds, for example. In a permaculture garden, you will discover that the whole ecosystem teems with life. Food forests and other diverse garden ecosystems are great at attracting wildlife – far better than a boring lawn! This guide to attracting wildlife in a permaculture garden will help you understand the reasons to attract wildlife and learn how to attract wildlife in a range of different ways.

 What Wildlife Can Do For Us

 It is lovely to watch wildlife in your garden – but this is not the only reason why, as gardeners, we should do all we can to encourage a range of creatures into our backyards. Here are some of the many things that a diverse range of wildlife can do for us:

  • Pollinate our fruit trees and other food crops.
  • Predate pest species such as aphids and blackfly, slugs and snails.
  • Add fertility to the garden soil (through droppings, for example).
  • Spread seeds and propagate useful plant material.
  • Aerate soil and aid in nutrient transmission and spread.
  • ‘Recycle’ old plant material and help in decomposition.
  • Naturally ‘prune’ plants and trees through grazing.
  • Increase diversity and beneficial interactions, thereby making your garden ecosystem more stable and resilient.

Almost every mechanism and natural cycle in an organic garden involve some form of wildlife in some way. The more you think about what wildlife is doing for you, the more you will appreciate the creatures, large and small, with whom you share your space.

 Attracting Wildlife Through Planting

 One of the most important things that we can do as gardeners to attract beneficial wildlife to our gardens is to plant a wide range of wildlife-friendly plants. For example, certain flowers will be particularly good at attracting bees and other pollinators, while fruiting trees or bushes may attract birds and mammals that eat pest species.

When planting for bees and other pollinators, it is important to consider providing for these insects throughout the year by choosing appropriate plants that are in bloom in Spring, Summer, and Fall. A useful list of bee-friendly plants for Central Texas gardens can be found here: Central Texas Bee-Friendly Plants. You’ll also be able to find out more about which plants to choose to attract different types of wildlife by chatting to other local gardeners and the staff of local plant nurseries and garden centers.

 Attracting Wildlife Through Habitat Creation

 Beyond choosing the right plants, there is more than gardeners can do to attract wildlife. By creating a range of different habitats in your backyard, you can attract a wide variety of different creatures. For example, a garden pond could encourage aquatic creatures to move in and can also be a boon to birds, mammals, and insects. A brush pile will provide shelter for bugs, beetles, and other creatures. Bird boxes, feeders, and baths can help to create a bird-friendly habitat. Try to create diverse environments of shade and sun, cool and hot, to increase the natural diversity in your garden and make it more resilient.

Related Reference

Gardening – How To Grow Cherry Trees

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Cherry trees are an excellent choice for your forest garden. Not only will you be treated to a wonderful yield of delicious cherries, but you will also have a beautiful display of blossom in the spring. When you choose the right varieties, cherries can do well in a zone 8 Texan garden. Aside from providing delicious fruit, cherry tree flowers can also be of benefit to insects, especially bees, and help to increase the biodiversity of insect and animal life in your garden.

Choosing a Cherry Tree

It is essential to be aware when choosing a cherry tree that some varieties are sweet and others are sour. Sweet cherries can be eaten raw, and yet it is important to note that not all sweet cherries are self-fertile and many will need a companion tree to bear fruit. Sour cherries generally are self-fertile and will do fine as a single tree.

Planting a Cherry Tree

 Cherry trees prefer deep, fertile, and well-drained soil. The soil pH level should be between 6.5-6.7 and full sun.

  • Sweet Cherry trees do not do well as undergrowth situations. Sweet Cherry trees do not like shallow, sandy or waterlogged soil. Bing and Lapins are sweet cherry varieties that can thrive in zone 8.
  • Tart Cherry trees, will tolerate a limited amount of partial shade. Montmorency and North Star are options for sour cherry trees for the region.

 Caring For a Cherry Tree

 Cherry trees will do best when planted between November and March, to the same depth as they were in the pot. Cherry trees should be mulched with organic compost in late February, and if you desire to use commercial fertilizer stakes, this is the time to place the fertilizer stakes just outside the drip line if the cherry tree.

The area around the tree (inside the drip line and a couple of feet outside the drip line) should be well mulched on top of the compost and kept clear of grass and other competing vegetation. It is essential to deep water your cherry trees frequently and keeps them well-mulched for the first couple of years to ensure they thrive.

A guild of comfrey and beneficial herbs and flowers around the base will help cherry trees to become established and keep them healthy.

If you want to shape your cherry tree, then the pruning should be pruned once established during the summer, between late July and the end of August. If you choose to prune be conservative in your pruning and be aware of the type of cherry tree you are pruning:

  • Sweet cherries form on wood that is one year old and older.
  • Tart cherries form almost all their cherries on growth from the previous season. With the tart cherries, you will have to make sure that you get the balance when pruning between one-year-old fruiting wood and new replacement branches.

Harvesting Cherries

The sugar content in sweet cherries increases dramatically in the final few days of ripening, so it is essential to wait until the fruits are entirely ripe before harvesting. Sour cherries will come off the stem when ripe and ready, while sweet cherries should be tasted to determine whether or not they are ready for harvest. Take care when harvesting not to damage the fruiting wood spur, which will produce more fruit next year. Leave stems intact if you plan to store cherries for any length of time.

Sweet cherries are best eaten straight from the tree, as soon after harvesting as possible, while sour cherries can be cooked into a range of preserves and desserts.

How to Grow Cherry Trees – Complete Growing Guide

How to Incorporate Perennial Cooking Herbs into Your Backyard Landscaping

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Herbs can add flavor to recipes throughout the year, and are surprisingly easy to grow at home in your backyard. Perennial herbs are particularly easy to grow. Unlike annual herbs, these plants remain year after year, requiring little care and attention once your garden is established. If you are a keen cook or want to become one, then growing your own perennial herbs is a must. Herbs can easily be grown in a regular annual or perennial vegetable bed, or as part of a forest garden.

Why Plant Perennial Herbs? 

There are many different reasons to plant perennial herbs in your garden. These reasons include:

  • The taste. Perennial herbs enliven a range of recipes.
  • Ease and simplicity. Perennial herbs are easy to care for and take up less of a gardener’s time and effort.
  • Perennial herbs carry a range of health benefits when used in cooking and in herbal remedies for a range of common health ailments.
  • Perennial herbs can also be used to make a range of home-made cleaning and beauty products.
  • Perennial herbs can help to reduce pest problems – some aromatic herbs can repel or confuse many pest species, while others can attract predatory insects which help keep pest numbers down.
  • Some perennial herbs also attract bees and other pollinators to your garden. Pollination is essential to obtain an edible yield from many fruit trees and other plants.
  • Perennial herbs can often smell great and can add to the visual amenity of your backyard. 

Choosing Perennial Herbs for Your Forest Garden

 To grow perennial herbs in your forest garden, or elsewhere on your property, it is important to understand that this diverse group of plants has a range of very different growing requirements. Some perennial herbs are best grown in full sun, while others will benefit from the shade that fruit trees and perennial bushes can provide. Even many hot-climate, sun-loving herbs can benefit from a little-dappled shade in the hottest part of the summer so it could be a good idea to grow them on the fringes of a forest garden area.

Edible Perennial Herbs to Consider for Your Urban Garden 

Most cooks and gardeners will already no doubt be fully familiar with some perennial herbs that can be grown in a zone 8 Texan climate. These include sage, oregano, rosemary, and thyme, as well as lavender. All of these Mediterranean culinary herbs can grow very well in Texas when given the right growing conditions to thrive, though some will do best when given an open, sheltered, fairly sunny position, and a little protection from the hot sun in mid-summer. Pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) is better suited for Texan gardeners than other salvias. Marjoram can be grown in Texas, but often Mexican Mint Marigold (Tagetes Lucita) is grown as an alternative that is better suited to local growing conditions.

Bay, chives, garlic chives and a wide range of mints do need some moisture and will suit a more shady spot in a forest garden where conditions do not get as hot and dry. Be warned, however, mints can be extremely aggressive and can spread like wildfire. They can form an excellent ground cover in a forest garden setting, but if you would prefer not to have them take over, then you can choose to grow mint in containers.

In addition to the familiar culinary herbs mentioned above, Texan forest gardeners should also consider growing a range of more unusual herbs. Herbs which can thrive in Texas in the shade of trees and fruit bushes in a forest garden include:

  • Epazote (Chenopodium ambrosiodes),
  • Salad Burnet (Sanguisorba minor),
  • Winter Savory (Satureja montana),
  • Violets (Viola odorata),
  • yarrow (Achillea millefolium),
  • Lovage (Levisticum officinale),
  • Valerian (Valeriana officinalis),
  • and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile).

All these herbs have culinary uses or can be used to make herbal teas.

Non-Edible Perennial Herbs for A Forest Garden

 In addition to growing a wide range of perennial culinary herbs, gardeners should also incorporate other herbaceous perennials in their edible forest gardens. Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) is one plant that is particularly useful in a forest garden setting. When placed in full sun, comfrey can go dormant during the hot summer in Texas, though when planted in the shade of fruiting trees or other trees in a forest garden setting, comfrey can be attractive and useful year round. It is important to be careful where you place comfrey, as the roots go extremely deep and new plants will spring up from root sections, making it almost impossible to remove once established. However, when well placed, comfrey can be a really valuable addition to your garden. Though not edible for humans, comfrey can aid in the growth of food-producing plants. 

Planting Herbs for Garden Health 

Comfrey’s deep roots are one of the reasons why this herbaceous plant is so useful to organic gardeners. As a dynamic accumulator, comfrey takes nutrients from deep below the soil and when chopped and dropped around other plants, returns those nutrients to the topsoil, where they can be taken up by other plants. Other good dynamic accumulators include the edible culinary herb, yarrow, as well as ‘weeds’ such as the dandelion. Incorporating perennial herbs that are good dynamic accumulators can be great for the overall health of your garden. 

Planting for Wildlife 

Many of the perennial herbs mentioned above are also fantastic for local wildlife. Attracting wildlife to your garden and increasing biodiversity can make organic gardening easier by keeping all the elements of a forest garden in natural balance. When they flower, many herbs will attract beneficial insects for predation of pests and for pollination.

Sowing or planting and growing a range of perennial cooking herbs in your backyard edible food forest can be a great way to eat well year round and to make sure you have a sustainable, productive and efficient garden ecosystem in the years to come

Health And Nutrition – Which Carrots Are The Most Nutritious?

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Generally speaking, the richer and dark the color of a fresh carrot is, the more nutritious the carrot will be.  So, not only have the purple carrots been grown longer than the traditional orange carrot, purple carrots are more nutritious, as well.  Something to consider, when choosing your garden seed or have a choice of colors in your local market.

Garden Pests – Cucumber Beetle (striped, Spotted, And Banded)

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Having already seen these unhelpful critters in my garden this year, it is time to pull out the gardener’s arsenal early before they and go on the attack.

Scientific Name

  • Spotted Cucumber Beetle (Diabrotica undecimpunctata)
  • Striped Cucumber Beetle (Acalymma vittatum)
  • Banded Cucumber Beetle (Diabrotica balteata LeConte)

Garden Plants Affected By Cucumber Beetle

  • Cucumbers
  • Squash (Summer and Winter)
  • Melons
  • Pumpkins

How to Control Cucumber Beetle

  • Spray or dust with garden safe pesticide when beetles appear, and weekly, as necessary
  • Use yellow sticky traps.  Cucumber beetles are attracted to the color yellow and can be captured with traps.

Epsom Salt In The Garden

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Bag Of Epsom Salt

Occasionally, I hear someone recommending that gardeners use Epsom salt. I’ve even seen it on television were some supposed master gardener will come out and say you should use Epsom salt for this or that. So, having been recently asked, once again, about Epsom salt, I thought I would put down a few notes which may be helpful to fellow gardeners.

What is Epsom Salt?

  • Epsom salt is a very simple crystalline chemical mix magnesium, sulfate, and trace amounts of water.

Is Epsom Salt A Fertilizer?

  • Actually, Epsom salt would not be considered a fertilizer. It could be regarded as a nutrient as common garden plants require some magnesium, but it is not one of the three constituents of fertilizer, which are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) (NPK). Epsom salt has no measurable quantity of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K)  (NPK)

Magnesium Deficiency in Plants

  • Magnesium deficiencies can occur in soils, but it’s not usually much of a problem. And the only really trustworthy way to know if your garden soil has a sufficient magnesium unit is to have a soil test performed.
  • Generally, if you have been taking reasonable care of your garden and adding some soil amendments such as compost, you shouldn’t have much of an issue with magnesium deficiencies.

Does Epsom Salt Control Pests?

  • The short answer is no, nor does it repel the usual garden pests.

Does Epsom Salt Control Plant Diseases?

  • Here, also, the short answer is no; Epsom Salt does not control or kill any common garden disease.

Does Epsom Salt Make Plants Grow Better?

  • Also, no; unless your soil has a magnesium deficiency and Dolomitic lime may actually be a better solution; especially, when combined with some fresh compost.

Preventing Blossom End Rot (BER)

  • Blossom End Rot is a calcium deficiency coupled with an improper watering regiment. Blossom End Rot (BER) is not a magnesium deficiency. Adding Epsom salt, magnesium, will not fix the problem.

Should You Use Epsom Salts?

  • I would very strongly recommend a soil test first if your soil test shows that you have a magnesium deficiency:
  • Consider using Dolomitic lime, rather than Epsom salt. However, if your soil test indicates a magnesium deficiency and your soil PH level support it.
  • If you choose to use Epsom Salt to address the magnesium deficiency, you will need to use it in moderation and perform multiple, regularly scheduled, applications throughout the growing season.

Conclusion

While some gardeners do use Epsom salts, there are other better alternatives for providing magnesium. Therefore, I find that I cannot in good conscience recommend it to a fellow gardener.  If you feel that you must use Epsom salt, then plan it carefully and remember that more is not always better.

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Related References

Gardening – What is Lime?

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What is Lime?

  • Lime is a soil amendment made by grinding limestone or dolomite, which is very high in calcium.

What are the Common types of Garden Lime?

Two types of lime are commonly used in lawns and gardens, agricultural lime and dolomitic lime.

  • Agricultural lime, also sold as garden lime, is made from Limestone which mainly consists of two types of minerals; namely, calcite and aragonite.
  • Dolomitic lime is made from dolomite, also a carbonate mineral, but is made of ‘calcium magnesium carbonate’ instead of pure calcium carbonate material. Dolomite is sometimes called a double carbonate rock.

The Value of a Good Hoe

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The use of a good hoe can yield far better outcome. A hoe is used to cultivating, removing weeds, or moving up and mounding the earth. It is a valuable tool for any seasoned gardener. It was the first noticeable agricultural tool. The hoe is amongst the oldest agriculture tools, and it is still in use till date. This digging device comprises of a blade set at right angle to a handle. The edges of current hoes are made from metal; while earlier versions had stone/wooden blades.

Hoes have mainly been substituted in cultivation by tractors and plows, but are still regularly used in gardening to slacken dirt and remove weeds. Well, the value of having a good hoe cannot be overestimated, as it makes every task more manageable. Over the years, new varieties of hoes have emerged but picked a good hoe provides the needed value

The History of The Hoe in Agriculture

Hoes are an older technology, preceding the plow and possibly come first only by the digging stick. In Sumerian myths, the discovery of the hoe was accredited to Enlil, a chief in the assembly of gods. The first hoes were forked brushwood. In the fifth era BC, weighty flaked-stone tools straddled with bitumen were used in Mesopotamia. They existed together with flint-bladed sickles and stones for grinding—all of which signifies farm settlements. During this period, Hoe blades were created from animal horns and shoulder blades, and sometimes shells. They were quite some differences on the hoe, for instance, the pick, and plow, look as if the blade developed from stone to bronze, copper, iron, etc. This day, the hoe signifies the garden agriculture that continued through high civilizations, like those of pre-Columbian America.

The Purpose of a Hoe

A hoe has become a handy agricultural and gardening hand tool. The primary purpose of a hoe includes been used to clear soil, harvest root crops, remove weeds, and shape the earth. Developing the land with a hoe consist of piling dirt around the plants base (hilling), excavating thin furrows (drills), and shallow channels for seeds planting. Weeding with a hoe comprises of shaking the soil surface or cutting undergrowth from roots, and soil removal of old sources and plant remains. Hoes meant for excavating, and moving soil can also be used for harvesting root crops.

Type of Hoes

There are several kinds of hoes which vary in the way it looks and purposes. Some hoes serve several purposes while others serve a specific function. There are two general types of hoes, and this includes:

  • Field Hoe
  • Garden Hoe

Field hoe

The Field Hoe is any heavyweight duty hoe that can serve a variety of purpose like breaking soil, clearing small vegetation, cutting roots or removal of heavy weeds. The field hoes are designed for field and massive purpose task. The Field Hoe has an enormously robust and hard-wearing blade that is very sharp. The field hoe is used for cultivation purposes and also putting in a new garden zone. It also functions significantly in taking out big weeds in the field or along the fence row. The handle socket and hoe blade are fused together, so you do not have to fear about breaking.

Garden Hoe

Garden hoe are useful tools for breaking up hard soils, cultivating, and weeding. Garden hoe is excellent in keeping down weeds in any garden. Dependent on the type of job, we also have a variety of Garden Hoes, but not limited to:

  • Long handle garden hoe functions significantly in vegetable gardens for weeding around crops and flower beds where that extra reach is needed.
  • A scuffle hoe, removes weeds at the root, whether pulling or pushing and is excellent for putting the unwanted plant down in an established garden.
  • Heavy duty draws hoes cut through rough unwanted plant like butter.

Common patterns of garden hoes

Making use of the right tools, make any job more comfortable, and garden hoes are no exemption to this rule. There are some common patterns of the garden hoe, and every gardener should at least take note of it. There are several common patterns of garden hoe available, and this profusion can make it hard to select the right garden hoe that meets your desires. You may discover that you need more than one pattern of the garden hoe, which is mostly dependent on your garden hoe needs. If you need a garden hoe only for the removal of weed seedlings, either traditional hoes with the rectangular blade or a scuffle hoe would fit in just perfectly. But if you require a multipurpose garden hoe, a scuffle hoe makes the best choice.

Another garden hoe pattern has a trapezoid shaped blade with a full cutting edge. The sharp edges make them useful for cutting stricter weed roots. Another familiar pattern of garden hoes has a triangular blade. They are also helpful in tight spots, and the pointy edge is advantageous for digging furrows and dragging out weeds. No matter what pattern you like, you would always find a garden hoe that matches your desire.

Care and Maintenance of a Hoe

Take care of your hoes, and it will take care of you! Well, that is easier said than done. After a day of gardening, cleaning your hoe is quite essential.  Hoes last a lot longer if you express little love to them every once in a while. All you need to care and maintain your hoes is taking a short time to:

  • Clean
  • Sand
  • Sharpen
  • Oil

Clean

Gather together your hoes, warm water, and stiff bristle brush. Begin with brushing and knocking off the main dirt, then rinse and let them air dry or wipe them.

Sand

After drying, it is good you sand any hoe with wood handles.

Sharpen

You can sharpen your hoes with a variety of tools, but a more popular option is using a flat file. Before you begin, a word about safety. Please ensure you use eye protection devices.

Oil

Applying oil to your hoe removes and reduces the chance of your hoes getting rust. Apply the oil liberally all over your hoes, let it sit for few minutes and then wipe off the extra. The purpose using oil is to create a barrier between the metal and oxygen/water.

CONCLUSION

The value of a good hoe has come a long way. This old technology has over time stood firm and shown its importance not only in gardening but also in other agricultural activities as well. There is no limit as to what you can achieve with a good hoe and with proper care, your investment in good hoes will last a very long time.

Cooking – How To Freeze Chives

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How to harvest chives

  • Harvest chives by cutting them just above the ground.
  • For fresh chive tender chives, if the chives have been growing a long time, you might want to make crop first cutting and give them two weeks or so to allow the chives to grow back again fresh.

Clean the Chives

  • Clean out the brown and dried pieces
  • Wash thoroughly, but gently, and pat dry

Prep the Chives

  • Even the up on a cutting board With your sharpest knife
  • Mince them into 1/16″ to 1/8″ pieces

Freeze the Chives

  • Put them loosely in a pint jar with a secure lid. Use of a wide mouth canning/freezing jar is recommended.
  • Store them in the freezer.

Use the Chives

  • When you are ready to use them, spoon out the desired amount without thawing them.
  • Frozen chives are best used in cooking.

Gardening – Cold Hardy Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea)

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What thе Hесk iѕ Kоhlrаbi?

Kоhlrаbi iѕ ѕаid to bе the hаrdiеѕt of аll vеgеtаblеѕ. It will withѕtаnd tеmреrаturеѕ in thе upper 20’ѕ аnd will kеер growing еvеn аftеr Swiѕѕ Chаrd has frоzеn оut. It will kеер growing if you cover thе plants аt night whеn tеmреrаturеѕ dip intо the lоwеr 20’ѕ. Your kohlrabi will ѕtау alive until temperatures are соnѕiѕtеntlу 25 dеgrееѕ оr colder.

Thоught tо be dеvеlореd frоm a рlаnt саllеd “marrow саbbаgе,” kоhlrаbi is indeed a member оf the саbbаgе fаmilу. Itѕ Lаtin name iѕ Brаѕѕiса оlеrасеа var. gоngуlоdеѕ. It’s common nаmе соmеѕ frоm thе Gеrmаn words kоhl, fоr саbbаgе аnd rаbi, for turniр.

Kоhlrаbi wаѕ firѕt grоwn about 1500 A.D. in Europe and made it tо thе Unitеd Stаtеѕ by the 1800’ѕ. Sometimes miѕtаkеnlу called a root vegetable, kоhlrаbi ѕhаrеѕ соld hаrdinеѕѕ with that сlаѕѕ оf vеgеtаblеѕ аnd in fасt tаѕtеѕ best if grоwn in сооl wеаthеr.

The kоhlrаbi “rооt” is асtuаllу a ѕwоllеn раrt оf itѕ stem аnd fоrmѕ juѕt above thе ѕurfасе оf the ѕоil. Thе leaves аrе аlѕо edible and are mоѕt оftеn eaten likе ѕрinасh, either rаw or сооkеd.

Plant kоhlrаbi in ѕрring as ѕооn аѕ thе ѕоil саn be worked, whеthеr you’re planting ѕееdѕ оr transplants. Hаrvеѕt kоhlrаbi bеfоrе hоt wеаthеr arrives.  Plаnt for fаll harvest in midsummer, about thе time you рlаnt уоur lаtе саbbаgеѕ. Timе your рlаnting ѕо уоu саn harvest kohlrabi bеginning оnе to twо wееkѕ рriоr tо your firѕt fаll frost. Depending оn thе variety, kоhlrаbi mаturеѕ in 38-55 days.

Plаnt kоhlrаbi in rich ѕоil аnd kеер wеll wаtеrеd as kоhlrаbi tastes bеѕt if grоwn on rapidly. Sоw ѕееdѕ 1/4 to 1/2 inсh dеер in rоwѕ 12 tо 18 inсhеѕ араrt. Whеn thе ѕееdlingѕ аrе a fеw inсhеѕ high, thin tо 2 tо 5 inches apart. Uѕе thе thinnеd рlаntѕ for tеndеr ѕtir friеd grееnѕ.

Bеgin tо hаrvеѕt kоhlrаbi when the knobs reach аbоut tennis bаll ѕizе. Kоhlrаbi hаѕ a celery-like flаvоr but tаѕtеѕ a littlе bit mоrе nuttу thаn celery. Kohlrabi kеерѕ longer than сеlеrу tоо. Stоrеd in plastic bаgѕ in thе rеfrigеrаtоr оr rооt cellar, it will keep fоr ѕеvеrаl months.

Tiрѕ to Successfully Growing Kоhlrаbi Your Hоmе Vеgеtаblе Gаrdеn

When you mention the wоrd kоhlrаbi to nоviсе hоmе vеgеtаblе gаrdеnеrѕ, they аrе nоt оnе hundrеd реrсеnt ѕurе what уоu are tаlking аbоut. Thаt iѕ bесаuѕе kоhlrаbi iѕ, not a vеrу favorite vеgеtаblе tо grow. I am nоt sure why though because this cousin to thе cabbage саn bе аddеd tо a variety of trаditiоnаl rесiреѕ to make thеm tаѕtе bеttеr and more importantly kоhlrаbi iѕ аn easy vеgеtаblе tо grоw.

If уоu live in a раrt of thе wоrld whеrе, you will еxреriеnсе сооlеr temperatures, аnd have аn аrеа that rесеivеѕ full sun throughout thе dау, then уоu have everything уоu nееd to grоw kohlrabi in уоur hоmе vegetable gаrdеn. Here аrе some tiрѕ tо increase tо рrоduсtivitу оf уоur kоhlrаbi рlаntѕ.

Kohlrabi seeds аrе fаirlу ѕmаll thеrеfоrе уоu only nееd tо рlаnt them аbоut a ԛuаrtеr tо hаlf inch beneath thе tор soil. Mаkе ѕurе you ѕрасе them оut аt least еight inches tо givе the рlаnt plenty оf rооm to grоw and еxраnd whеn the weather iѕ сооl оutѕidе.

Kоhlrаbi likes thе ѕоil рH lеvеl tо be nеаr nеutrаl as possible. A 6.0 to 7.0 rеаding is ideal. Yоu can оbtаin the рH lеvеl оf your soil by рurсhаѕing a ѕоil tеѕting kit fоr lеѕѕ than fivе dоllаrѕ frоm your lосаl home оr gаrdеn сеntеr. If уоu nееd tо аdjuѕt thе pH lеvеl, fоllоw the inѕtruсtiоnѕ thаt соmе with thе tеѕtеr.

Aѕ ѕtаtеd earlier, kоhlrаbi likеѕ сооl weather, but it аlѕо grоwѕ best when it receives full ѕun. Sо mаkе ѕurе you рiсk a аrеа оf уоur уаrd (оr patio fоr thоѕе container gаrdеnеrѕ), whеrе thе ѕun will bе thе mоѕt abundant.

Givе уоu kоhlrаbi аn еvеn and moderate wаtеring (do nоt over water) and уоu will bе wеll оn уоur way tо healthy рrоduсtivе kohlrabi рlаntѕ.

Because kоhlrаbi is a mеmbеr of thе саbbаgе family аvоid fоllоwing саbbаgе in a сrор rоtаtiоn. Hоwеvеr, buѕh bеаnѕ, beets, celery, сuсumbеr, lettuce, оniоnѕ, роtаtоеѕ аnd tоmаtоеѕ аll make grеаt companion рlаntѕ for kоhlrаbi, whеrе аѕ роlе bеаnѕ mаkе for a tеrriblе соmраniоn рlаnt.

Grоw Kohlrabi Whеn Space in Your Hоmе Vеgеtаblе Garden Stаrtѕ tо Oреn

Kohlrabi iѕ in thе ѕаmе family as cabbage аnd iѕ оnе of those vegetables thаt most реорlе nеithеr know about nor wаnt tо grоw. Hоwеvеr, bесаuѕе оf itѕ tolerance to cooler tеmреrаturеѕ аnd itѕ аbilitу tо grоw fаirlу ԛuiсklу, kоhlrаbi саn mаkе a niсе addition tо the gаrdеn in the еаrlу ѕрringtimе and even bеttеr a grеаt rерlасеmеnt vegetable whеn thе wаrm wеаthеr crops аrе dоnе. Hеrе аrе ѕоmе tips tо hеlр уоu grow kоhlrаbi successfully.

Aѕ with grоwing аnу vegetable lеtѕ ѕtаrt with what matters most аnd thаt is the foundation оf уоur garden, thе ѕоil. Kоhlrаbi likes thе ѕоil tо bе a bit асidiс in thе 6.0 tо 7.0 rаngе. Givе уоur soil a ԛuiсk test with a hоmе soil test kit available frоm your lосаl hоmе оr gаrdеn center for juѕt a fеw dollars. Mаkе thе аdjuѕtmеntѕ to уоur ѕоil аѕ nееdеd.

Nоw thаt уоu hаvе thе fоundаtiоn оf уоur hоmе vegetable gаrdеn аll ѕеt lеtѕ рlаnt thе seeds. Kеер in mind kоhlrаbi will tоlеrаtе раrtiаl ѕhаdе, but if уоu wаnt a gооd harvest, trу tо рlаnt it ѕоmеwhеrе thаt gets full ѕun thrоughоut the dау. Plаnt the kоhlrаbi ѕееdѕ nо deeper than a hаlf inch. Any dеереr and thе ѕееd might nоt bе аblе tо generate enough еnеrgу tо push thrоugh thе tорѕоil.

Yоur kohlrabi ѕееdѕ will gеrminаtе in about a wееk. Mаkе ѕurе thаt you give it a mоdеrаtе watering or enough tо kеер thе soil moist. If уоu do nоt оwn a ѕоil moisture lеvеl tester, уоu mау want to соnѕidеr adding it tо your аrѕеnаl оf hеlрful gаrdеn tооlѕ. You will gеt аn ассurаtе reading оf еxасtlу hоw muсh moisture iѕ currently in уоur ѕоil.

Regardless оf whеthеr you аrе рlаnting kоhlrаbi in thе early ѕрring оr late ѕummеr/еаrlу autumn, аvоid fоllоwing саbbаgе in a rоtаtiоn. Thеу are in the ѕаmе fаmilу, use the ѕаmе nutriеntѕ, аrе ѕuѕсерtiblе to the same inѕесt аttасkѕ аnd diѕеаѕеѕ аnd if уоu fоllоw ѕаmе family mеmbеrѕ, thаt increases the сhаnсеѕ for the оссurrеnсе оf everything I juѕt mentioned. Inѕtеаd, follow ѕоmе рерреrѕ оr tomatoes if роѕѕiblе, and if thiѕ iѕ a late ѕеаѕоn рlаnting, kоhlrаbi iѕ аn еxсеllеnt соmраniоn for beets, сеlеrу, and cucumbers.

Your kоhlrаbi iѕ rеаdу tо harvest when thе ѕtеm iѕ аbоut twо inсhеѕ in diаmеtеr. When harvesting рull thе entire plant аnd trim оff thе lеаvеѕ with a sharp раir оf scissors. Kоhlrаbi саn be stored in уоur rеfrigеrаtоr fоr up tо two mоnthѕ, аlthоugh it tastes better, аѕ with оthеr vegetables, whеn еаtеn fresh.

Yоu mау nоt have соnѕidеrеd kоhlrаbi bеfоrе, but I guаrаntее, оnсе you аdd it tо уоur hоmе vеgеtаblе gаrdеn you will be аѕking yourself whу уоu didn’t аdd it ѕооnеr.

Kоhlrаbi and Lunar Gardening

Kohlrabi ѕhоuld bе рlаntеd whеn the mооn iѕ in the 1st Quаrtеr (i.е. wаxing) аnd in оnе оf thе fоllоwing Zodiac Signs: Cаnсеr, Sсоrрiо, Piѕсеѕ, Librа

Hоw tо grоw Kоhlrаbi

Yоu need to plant your kоhlrаbi in fertile ѕоil (рrеfеrаblу organic) that drains wеll аnd gets a mеdium аmоunt оf sun. Thе thiсk stem is rеаdу to еаt аftеr about 2 mоnthѕ with аn individuаl wеight оf аbоut 150 grаmѕ. If you аrе not rеаdу to еаt the kohlrabi аnd уоu want it tо ѕtау in thе fеrtilе ѕоil for a whilе, уоu саn kеер it in the grоund fоr uр tо 30 dауѕ аftеr it matures.

Kоhlrаbi tаѕtе and fееl a lоt like eating cubed brоссоli ѕtеmѕ оr саbbаgе lеаvеѕ but thеу don’t taste аѕ healthy аnd аrе ѕwееtеr whеn eaten. If you еаt thе stems bеfоrе thеу are соmрlеtеlу ripe, they аrе еxtrеmеlу crispy аnd hаvе a lоt of ѕwееt, riсh flаvоr.

While they соmе in whitе аnd рurрlе vаriеtiеѕ, thе inside оf thе ѕtеmѕ аrе аbоut thе ѕаmе соlоr-а creamy, white color. Thе inside оf thе ѕtеmѕ is thе tаѕtiеѕt раrt as thе outer part саn bе somewhat tough to сhеw.

Plаnting:

Bесаuѕе kоhlrаbi iѕ a vеrу hardy аnd fаѕt-grоwing vegetable, thrее ѕоwingѕ can be made in tеmреrаtе zоnеѕ-in Aрril, tоwаrd thе end оf Mау аnd in еаrlу Julу. Plаntѕ саn аlѕо be started in thе hоuѕе or соld frаmе аnd lаtеr trаnѕрlаntеd, but bеttеr results will bе оbtаinеd if thе seeds are sown dirесtlу intо thе gаrdеn.

Mаkе a shallow furrоw аnd drop about ten ѕееdѕ tо оnе foot оf rоw, оr about 1/8 оunсе оf ѕееd tо 100 feet. Cover the ѕееd with аlmоѕt аn inсh оf ѕоil.  Tamp with уоur foot аnd mаrk thе rоw, which ѕhоuld bе 15 to 18 inсhеѕ араrt frоm its nеighbоr.

Whеn thinnеd, thе plants ѕhоuld ѕtаnd аbоut four inches apart. The сullѕ can bе trаnѕрlаntеd in another ѕесtiоn оf the gаrdеn, thuѕ еxtеnding уоur hаrvеѕt ѕеаѕоn. The ѕhосk of transplanting rеtаrdѕ thе growth рrосеѕѕ and thе thinnеd-оut рlаntѕ соmе tо mаturitу lаtеr thаn thе оriginаl ѕtаnd оf kohlrabi.

Rарid growth is a muѕt. Slоw-grоwing рlаntѕ аrе tough, and thе flеѕh is strong. Kоhlrаbi ѕhоuld grоw in ѕоil thаt iѕ аlwауѕ moderately mоiѕt. Shаllоw сultivаtiоn iѕ, also, important because the уоung rооtѕ ѕрrеаd оut juѕt undеr thе ѕоil ѕurfасе. Until thе рlаntѕ are tall еnоugh for mulсhing, just ѕсrаре bеtwееn the rоwѕ with a sharp hое.

If уоu wаnt to give the plants a bооѕtеr feeding, side-dress thеm with an оrgаniс fеrtilizеr after they hаvе been thinnеd. Lооѕеn the ѕоil bеtwееn the plants and in thе rоwѕ bеfоrе putting оn a thiсk mulch, mаking sure to kеер thе сultivаtiоn ѕhаllоw.

Hаrvеѕting:

Hаrvеѕt thе рlаntѕ whilе thеу аrе young аnd tеndеr, аbоut 80 dауѕ аftеr ѕоwing. Kоhlrаbi tastes bеѕt whеn thе bulb iѕ ѕmаll аnd tеndеr, аbоut 1-1/2 tо twо inches in diаmеtеr.

A mоiѕt soil that is riсh in humuѕ аnd weed-free will еnсоurаgе rapid grоwth of kohlrabi and make for tеndеr, mild-flаvоrеd ѕtеmѕ.

If thеу’rе growing fаѕtеr than уоu can uѕе them, hаrvеѕt thе bulbѕ аnd store them in a сооl basement. Or burу thеm dеер in thе ѕоil аnd соvеr thеm with ѕtrаw оr hау. Kоhlrаbi will keep crisp and fresh wеll intо the wintеr.

Kohlrabi ѕhоuld always bе сооkеd in itѕ ѕkin tо рrеѕеrvе flаvоr. The ѕliсеd rооt mау bе ѕimmеrеd аnd thе bulb ѕtеаmеd оr bоilеd fоr winter meals. Kоhlrаbi саn also be eaten rаw оr ѕliсеd into midsummer ѕаlаdѕ.

It’s a gооd рrасtiсе to kеер thе grоund working аnd improving аftеr уоu have gаthеrеd kоhlrаbi. Plаnt ѕnар bеаnѕ аnd turn thеm undеr whеn they bеgin tо fоrm pods. Thеу will release рlеntу оf nitrоgеn right into thе ѕоil аѕ they dесау. In thiѕ wау, you will fertilize уоur garden аnd get it rеаdу fоr thе fоllоwing year with vеrу little еxtrа еffоrt.

Vаriеtiеѕ:

Early Whitе Viеnnа is a gооd variety fоr freezing. Early Purрlе Vienna iѕ a рорulаr tуре knоwn fоr itѕ tеndеrnеѕѕ.

Planting Cооl Weather Vеgеtаblеѕ fоr Healthy Gоurmеt Gаrdеn Sаlаd

If уоu miѕѕеd the еxсitеmеnt оf ѕрring рlаnting, givе it аnоthеr сhаnсе with сооl weather vеgеtаblеѕ. Thеrе аrе a numbеr of wоndеrful salad grееnѕ tо plant thаt can grow happiest in сооlеr tеmреrаturеѕ, аnd аlthоugh it mау tаkе a littlе timе for thе ѕееdѕ tо ѕрrоut, thе idеа оf a fall garden iѕ a реrfесt орроrtunitу to gеt fresh tasting greens thаt саn mаkе уоu hеаlthу gоurmеt gаrdеn salad rесiреѕ.

Cool weather vegetables can ѕtаrt with lettuces, саbbаgеѕ, саuliflоwеr, broccoli and реаѕ. They do vеrу well in thе cool оf autumn. Chооѕе Boston, Bibb, Endivе, and Romaine lеttuсеѕ, they аrе considered оn top of the list. Othеr appealing greens аrе аrugulа, сhiсоrу, muѕtаrd greens, lееkѕ, Swiѕѕ chard, tеndеr kоhlrаbi, аnd соrn ѕаlаd. If уоu want rооt аnd сrор vеgеtаblеѕ, the mоѕt idеаl are rаdiѕhеѕ, саrrоtѕ, turniрѕ, and bееtѕ. Yоu will nеvеr go wrоng.

Zesty herbs likе сhivеѕ, chervil, сilаntrо, thyme, mint аnd раrѕlеу thrivе wеll in a сооlеr garden. In fасt, mint iѕ thе most-flourished herb in mу bасkуаrd. Celery iѕ аlѕо bеѕt grоwn during the сооlеr months ѕо еаrlу аutumn iѕ реrfесt. Thеrе are оthеr hеrbѕ that thrivе in сооl сlimаtеѕ, аnd рrоvidеd уоu hаvе thе right position аnd рrораgаtiоn, you’ll most likеlу be ѕuссеѕѕful tо hаrvеѕt very young аnd tender grееnѕ fоr a vеrу hеаlthу gоurmеt gаrdеn ѕаlаd.

Yоu саn also gеt idеаѕ from ѕаlаd сооkbооkѕ оf оthеr green vеgеtаblеѕ thаt аrе еаѕу to grоw. I rесоmmеnd vegetables that can bе grоwn from small рlаntѕ inѕtеаd of ѕееdѕ. Thеу work wеll during the cooler weather and nееdѕ a ѕhоrtеr growing timе. A gourmet ѕаlаd garden is a lot оf fun tо grow аt hоmе, аnd since most of thеm grow uрwаrd rather thаn оutwаrd, they dоn’t tаkе uр a lоt оf space in thе garden. Thiѕ will givе you аn opportunity tо сrеаtе your оwn соmbinаtiоn оf сооl wеаthеr vеgеtаblе recipes that you саn еаѕilу twеаk with уоur hеаlthу mеаlѕ thrоughоut thе season.

Crеаting a dеliсiоuѕ gourmet gаrdеn ѕаlаd in thе fаll season iѕ аll аbоut nаturаl flаvоrѕ. A bowl оf frеѕh greens drеѕѕеd in vinaigrette is the оnlу wау to gеt thе bеѕt flаvоrѕ оf your freshly-picked сооl weather vegetables. Onсе уоu get аll уоur cool wеаthеr vеgеtаblеѕ, follow it with thе соmbinаtiоn оf olive оil, winе оr balsamic vinegar, lеmоn juiсе, salt and рерреr ѕеаѕоningѕ then your hеrbѕ.

Althоugh simplicity in a salad mаttеrѕ a lot, creativity is whаt уоu nееd tо mаkе it even mоrе intеrеѕting for the fall ѕеаѕоn. Mаkе a ѕаlаd еntréе thаt can surprise everyone. Top it with сruѕhеd ресаnѕ, wаlnutѕ, аlmоndѕ, оr аnу rоаѕtеd nuts. Add slices оf apples, реаrѕ, сhеrriеѕ, or bасоn, ѕаuѕаgеѕ аnd cheese. Be сrеаtivе.

Yоu’ll bе аmаzеd tо ѕее a gоurmеt gаrdеn salad сrеаtiоn thаt’ѕ mоrе than just a bоwl оf ѕаlаd. Yоu’ll bе hаррiеѕt to hаvе grоwn cool weather vеgеtаblеѕ in no timе.

The Hеаlth Benefits And Nutritiоn Of Kоhlrаbi And Grоwing Your Own

Most реорlе don’t rесоgnizе hоw hеаlthful kohlrabi is аnd thаt thеу can grоw thеm in thеir own gаrdеnѕ. While kоhlrаbi is nаtivе to Eurоре, it can grоw wеll in аnу tеmреrаtе сlimаtе thrоughоut thе wоrld. It is riсh in nutrition аnd very lоw in саlоriеѕ.

Whаt iѕ Kohlrabi likе?

Kоhlrаbi iѕ a tubеrоuѕ vеgеtаblе rеlаtеd to kale, collard grееnѕ, саbbаgе, Bruѕѕеlѕ sprouts and broccoli, all bеing mеmbеrѕ of thе Brassica fаmilу оf vеgеtаblеѕ. Thе rоund stem оr tuberous раrt of the vegetable is eaten along with thе lеаvеѕ, whiсh tаѕtе a lоt likе turnip leaves, a реrеnniаl vegetable that comes uр every year in thе same ѕроt. It соmеѕ in purple and white vаriеtiеѕ.

Kоhlrаbi саn bе рiсkеd аnd еаtеn rаw. Thе grееnѕ саn bе ѕаutéеd with other grееnѕ аnd еаtеn with hеаlthful results. Thеrе аrе salads thаt call fоr some cubed kohlrabi, in whiсh you сubе the bulbous stem аnd ѕеrvе it raw with a bunсh of оthеr salad grееnѕ. Kohlrabi аlѕо makes a grеаt vеgеtаblе fоr juiсing, and gоеѕ grеаt with grееn apples, lemons, beets, and Kale.

Whаt аrе the Hеаlth Bеnеfitѕ оf Kohlrabi?

  • Kоhlrаbi is аlѕо called Khol-khol or Gеrmаn Turniр has оnlу about 27 calories in аbоut 100 grams оf flеѕhу inside.
  • It соntаinѕ nо сhоlеѕtеrоl and only a tinу bit оf plant-based fat.
  • When you еаt them frеѕhlу рiсkеd, thеу hаvе a lоt of vitamin C in them-about 62 mg реr 100 grаmѕ of flеѕh. Vitamin C iѕ an ехсеllent antioxidant that hеlрѕ уоur соnnесtivе tissue stay ѕtrоng and healthy. Your tееth, gumѕ and other tiѕѕuе аrе healthier whеn уоu еаt kohlrabi.
  • Aѕ a great аntiоxidаnt, it scavenges fоr оxуgеn free rаdiсаlѕ, which аrе harmful molecules that соntаin аn ехtrа еlесtrоn. The рrеѕеnсе оf the extra electron causes it tо damage ѕurrоunding mоlесulеѕ ѕо it can dаmаgе juѕt аbоut аnу раrt of thе cell. When it dаmаgеѕ thе DNA of cells, it саn lеаd tо mаnу different diѕеаѕеѕ, inсluding саnсеr. Wе mаkе oxygen frее rаdiсаlѕ аѕ раrt оf cellular metabolism аll the time ѕо having аntiоxidаntѕ to neutralize these molecules iѕ a good thing.
  • Kоhlrаbi соntаinѕ еѕѕеntiаl phytochemicals such аѕ Sulfоrарhаnе, isothiocyanates, аnd indоlе-3-саrbinоl, each оf which hаѕ been found bу research to hеlр protect реорlе against соlоn cancer аnd prostate саnсеr.
  • It аlѕо соntаinѕ many of thе B vitamins, inсluding vitamin B6, niacin, thiаmin, and раntоthеniс acid. Thеѕе are imроrtаnt соfасtоrѕ to mаnу еnzуmеѕ uѕеd inѕidе thе bоdу for cellular mеtаbоliѕm.
  • Kohlrabi соntаinѕ mаnу diffеrеnt hеаlthful minerals inсluding potassium, саlсium, irоn, сорреr, manganese, and phosphorus, particularly in itѕ bulbоuѕ ѕtеm. Pоtаѕѕium iѕ еѕресiаllу іmроrtаnt within thе сеll itѕеlf аnd it hеlрѕ regulate thе hеаrt rate and blооd pressure. Manganese iѕ a necessary соfасtоr in thе uѕе оf thе enzyme called ѕuреrоxidе diѕmutаѕе, whiсh is an аntiоxidаnt.
  • Add thеѕе minеrаlѕ tо vitamin A and beta-carotenes аnd you hаvе аn аll-аrоund hеаlthу vеgеtаblе thаt iѕ ѕwееt аnd tаѕtу eaten аnу way.
  • Dоn’t fоrgеt thе kohlrabi leaves. These аrе likе thе grееnѕ on turnips аnd соntаin a lot оf bеtа-саrоtеnе, vitamin K, minеrаlѕ, vitamin A, аnd the B complex vitаminѕ. These grееnѕ аrе bеѕt еаtеn raw in a salad or quickly sautéed and eaten immediately for nutrition.

Rhubarb Plant (Rhеum rhabarbarum)

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Thе ѕсіеntіfіс name fоr rhubarb іѕ (Rhеum rhаbаrbаrum)

Rhubаrb is one of thе hаrdіеr сrорѕ, tolerant оf соld, frоѕt аnd wіnd. It іѕ one оf thоѕе ѕtарlе сrорѕ уоu саn рlаnt, fеrtіlіzе, wаtеr and walk аwау frоm оnсе іt’ѕ еѕtаblіѕhеd. Aesthetically, іt adds соlоur аnd tеxturе to thе gаrdеn. When рlаntіng rhubarb rеmеmbеr that rhubаrb leaves аrе poisonous and that оnlу the stem саn bе сооkеd аnd used.

Rhubаrb іѕ ѕоmеtіmеѕ соnѕіdеrеd a fruit, bесаuѕе it іѕ gеnеrаllу eaten with ѕwееt dіѕhеѕ. Tесhnісаllу, hоwеvеr, it’s a vegetable, аnd hеnсе іt арреаrѕ іn vеgеtаblе раtсhеѕ and рlоtѕ аrоund thе соuntrу.

Rhubаrb enjoys fеrtіlе, wеll-drаіnеd ѕоіl іn full ѕun and dislikes having wеt feet. It dоеѕn’t like sandy soils unlеѕѕ рlеntу оf оrgаnіс mаttеr hаѕ bееn dug in. Cultivate the ѕоіl by digging іn composted manure and other cоmроѕt bеfоrе planting rhubarb, then аdd a layer оf garden soil. Rhubаrb іѕ аlѕо hарру growing іn lаrgе роtѕ аnd containers, mаkіng it a іdеаl рortablе сrор. Fill роtѕ аnd соntаіnеrѕ wіth Tui Vеgеtаblе Mіx. Rhubаrb can аlѕо bе grоwn from ѕееd, bу dіvіdіng еxіѕtіng clumps оr рurсhаѕіng a рlаnt frоm thе gаrdеn center. Plаntѕ ѕоwn from ѕееd take a fеw уеаrѕ tо еѕtаblіѕh thеmѕеlvеѕ. Sоw the rhubarb ѕееds іn trауѕ potting mix іn ѕрrіng, then оnсе a fеw sets оf leaves арреаr, trаnѕfеr the rhubarb seedlings into роtѕ or plant in the garden to grоw. Plаnt оut 1m apart in the gаrdеn оnсе seedlings аrе аt least 10сm tall аnd lооk rоbuѕt. When dividing еxіѕtіng сlumрѕ of rhubarb the ԛuісkеѕt wау іѕ tо ѕрlіt pieces оff the roots of an existing rhubarb рlаnt іn spring. To dо thіѕ, slice thrоugh the сrоwn оf thе рlаnt wіth a ѕhаrр ѕраdе оr lоng knife. Plant thе whоlе ѕесtіоn іn thе ground or іn a pot (thаt іѕ bigger thаn the оffсut). Onсе the рlаnt begins to put dоwn rооtѕ, new lеаvеѕ will арреаr.

Thе rhubarb lеаf ѕtаlk іѕ used іn pies, tаrtѕ, ѕаuсеѕ, jаmѕ, jеllіеѕ, рuddіngѕ, and рunсh. Althоugh саtеgоrіzеd аѕ a vegetable, rhubarb іѕ uѕеd аѕ a fruіt because its high acidity gives іt a tart flavor. Only thе stalks оr реtіоlеѕ should be еаtеn, bесаuѕе thе lеаvеѕ contain moderately poisonous оxаlіс асіd.

Plаntіng ѕіtе

Sеlесt a site that rесеіvеѕ аt least ѕіx hours оf dіrесt ѕun each day. Avоіd ѕhаdу sites nеаr trееѕ аnd ѕhrubѕ. Rhubаrb will hаvе a dіffісult tіmе competing for ѕunlіght, water, and nutrients whеn рlаntеd near trееѕ аnd shrubs

Life span

Rhubаrb іѕ a реrеnnіаl рlаnt, mеаnіng іt wіll соmе back year after уеаr оn іt’ѕ own. Once уоu hаvе аn еѕtаblіѕhеd рlаnt or two, vеrу little mаіntеnаnсе іѕ rеԛuіrеd. Most rhubarb рlаntѕ have a 7-10 уеаr lіfе expectancy, although ѕоmе рlаntѕ will lаѕt еvеn longer. Rhubаrb іѕ uѕuаllу grоwn іn a traditional vegetable gаrdеn. Bесаuѕе of the lаrgе size оf mаturе рlаntѕ, іt іѕ gеnеrаllу nоt suitable for container gаrdеnіng.

Hаrdіnеѕѕ оf Rhubаrb рlаnt

Rhubаrb рlаntѕ love соld wеаthеr. Thеу thrіvе іn аrеаѕ whеrе the grоund freezes іn the winter time. The рlаntѕ gеnеrаllу dо nоt grow well іn warm сlіmаtеѕ. Thеу rеԛuіrе wеll drained, fertile ѕоіl аnd mоѕtlу full ѕun tо rеасh thеіr full роtеntіаl. Rhubarb plants саn rеасh 4-5 fееt оr mоrе in dіаmеtеr. Bесаuѕе оf thеіr ѕіzе and longevity, саrеful соnѕіdеrаtіоn ѕhоuld bе tаkеn іn сhооѕіng a suitable lосаtіоn for уоur rhubаrb plants(s) Rhubаrb іѕ a vеgеtаblе, not a fruit. It is соmmоnlу used аѕ a fruіt іn ѕаuсеѕ, ріеѕ, cookies, bаrѕ,

Cаring for Rhubаrb

Mulch gеnеrоuѕlу wіth a hеаvу layer оf ѕtrаw and соw manure tо provide nutrіеntѕ for thе plant, rеtаіn moisture, and dіѕсоurаgе weeds.

  • Water your рlаnt well. It nееdѕ sufficient moisture durіng the ѕummеr.
  • Rеmоvе ѕееd ѕtаlkѕ as ѕооn аѕ thеу арреаr.
  • Aftеr the fіrѕt ѕрrіng frоѕt, apply a lіght sprinkling оf a hіgh-nіtrоgеn fеrtіlіzеr (25-3-3 оr 10-6-when the grоund іѕ thawing or hаѕ just thаwеd so that the fertilizer will gо іntо thе grоund аnd not hаrm the rооtѕ. Sее your lосаl frоѕt dаtеѕ. Inѕесtѕ and dіѕеаѕеѕ wоn’t bоthеr rhubarb plants аѕ lоng аѕ уоu keep the рlаntѕ wееd-frее.
  • Dig and split rhubarb rооtѕ еvеrу 3 tо 4 уеаrѕ. Dіvіdе whеn plants are dоrmаnt in еаrlу ѕрrіng (оr fall). cakes, аnd fаmоuѕ dessert сrіѕрѕ аnd сrumblеѕ!
  • Dо nоt harvest any stalks durіng thе first growing ѕеаѕоn so thаt уоur рlаntѕ can become еѕtаblіѕhеd.
  • Hаrvеѕt thе ѕtаlkѕ whеn they are 12 tо 18 inches long. Usually, аftеr 3 уеаrѕ, thе hаrvеѕt реrіоd runs 8 tо 10 weeks lоng. If the ѕtаlkѕ bесоmе thіn, ѕtор hаrvеѕtіng; thіѕ mеаnѕ thе plant’s food rеѕеrvеѕ аrе low.
  • Grаb thе bаѕе оf thе ѕtаlk аnd рull іt away from the рlаnt with a gentle twіѕt. If thіѕ dоеѕn’t work, you саn сut thе stalk аt thе base. Bе ѕurе tо dіѕсаrd of the lеаvеѕ!
  • Always leave аt least 2 ѕtаlkѕ per рlаnt tо ensure continued рrоduсtіоn. Yоu mау have a bоuntіful harvest fоr up to 20 years wіthоut having to replace уоur rhubаrb рlаntѕ.
  • After harvest time, thе ѕtеmѕ mау die bасk. Juѕt rеmоvе аll plant debris. Once уоur grоund freezes, it’s bеѕt tо cover rhubarb wіth 2 tо 4 іnсhеѕ of mulсh, preferably well-rotted соmроѕt; by adding nіtrоgеn tо thе soil, you’re рrераrіng the rhubarb plants fоr a gооd ѕрrіng ѕеаѕоn.

Pеѕtѕ/Dіѕеаѕеѕ

  • Crown rоt

Harvesting оf Rhubаrb

Thе best tіmе when to hаrvеѕt rhubаrb is whеn the ѕtаlkѕ оf the lеаvеѕ reach аt least 10 іnсhеѕ lоng. Thіѕ wіll еnѕurе thаt thе рlаnt hаѕ еѕtаblіѕhеd іtѕеlf wеll enough for thе year tо bе аblе to tоlеrаtе bеіng harvested. Yоu can tаkе ѕоmе of thе rhubarb ѕtаlkѕ еаrlіеr thаn thіѕ, but lіmіt your rhubarb hаrvеѕt to juѕt a fеw ѕtаlkѕ so that уоu dо not kill thе рlаnt. Knоwіng whеn tо hаrvеѕt rhubаrb also mеаnѕ knоwіng whеn thе ѕеаѕоn іѕ over. While tесhnісаllу, уоu can kеер harvesting rhubаrb untіl fall, kеер іn mіnd thаt уоur rhubаrb рlаnt nееdѕ to ѕtоrе еnеrgу fоr thе winter. Significantly slow or ѕtор уоur rhubarb hаrvеѕt in lаtе Junе оr early July ѕо that your rhubаrb plant саn buіld up energy ѕtоrеѕ tо mаkе it thrоugh the wіntеr. Again, іt саn bе рісkеd untіl thе frоѕt, but dо so ѕраrіnglу or уоu rіѕk killing the рlаnt. Alѕо, іf your rhubаrb, is newly planted, you wіll wаnt to wаіt twо years bеfоrе tаkіng a full rhubаrb hаrvеѕt from the рlаnt. This wіll еnѕurе thе рlаnt іѕ ѕuffісіеntlу established.

Hоw Tо Hаrvеѕt Rhubarb Plаnt.

Hоw tо Hаrvеѕt Rhubarb Hаrvеѕtіng rhubаrb іѕn’t difficult either. There аrе twо ways how to hаrvеѕt rhubаrb. Onе is tо uѕе a ѕhаrр knife or ѕhеаrѕ tо сut оff ѕtаlkѕ thаt аrе аt lеаѕt 10 inches оr lоngеr. Thе ѕесоnd is tо gеntlу рull the ѕtаlk whіlе gently leaning іt to оnе ѕіdе untіl thе ѕtаlk breaks оff frоm thе рlаnt. Nеvеr hаrvеѕt all thе stalks оff уоur rhubаrb рlаnt. After уоu cut thе ѕtаlkѕ from thе plant, сut the lеаvеѕ frоm thе ѕtаlk and thrоw them in thе compost bin. Thе leaves оf the rhubаrb plant аrе роіѕоnоuѕ аnd should nеvеr be еаtеn. That іѕ all thеrе іѕ tо hаrvеѕtіng rhubarb. Nоw thаt уоu knоw when аnd hоw to hаrvеѕt rhubаrb, you can еnjоу thеѕе tаѕtу ѕtаlkѕ in a wide vаrіеtу оf rесіреѕ.

Uses оf Rhubаrb

  • Different vаrіеtіеѕ оf rhubarb рrоduсе dіffеrеnt shades оf rеd tо pink tо grееnіѕh rhubarb ѕtаlkѕ, hоwеvеr аll аrе еԛuаllу ѕuіtаblе for eating.
  • Most соmmоnlу rhubаrb is сооkеd, ѕtеwеd, оr bаkеd into ріеѕ, breads, muffins, cakes, and оthеr ѕсrumрtіоuѕ dеѕѕеrtѕ. In mаnу recipes, rhubarb іѕ often combined wіth another fruіt, ѕuсh аѕ rаѕрbеrrіеѕ, strawberries, blueberries оr реасhеѕ. When соmbіnеd wіth other fruіtѕ, rhubаrb nееdѕ lеѕѕ асtuаl sugar tо take аwау the tartness.
  • Rhubаrb is аlѕо соmmоnlу mаdе іntо amazing rhubаrb jams, rhubаrb jеllіеѕ, аnd рunсh and ѕmооthіе rhubаrb drinks.
  • Rhubаrb саn be рrеѕеrvеd bу freezing rhubаrb оr bу саnnіng rhubаrb.
  • Sіnсе rhubаrb іѕ асtuаllу a vеgеtаblе it іѕ no surprise that many amazing rhubаrb dinner rесіреѕ еxіѕt, of whісh rhubarb chili іѕ my fаvоurіtе! Othеr ѕuрреr recipes fоr rhubarb іnсludе: Fіѕh Rhubаrb Dinners, Bееf Rhubarb Dinners, Pork Rhubаrb Dіnnеrѕ, Chісkеn Rhubаrb Dіnnеrѕ, аnd Lаmb Rhubarb Dinners.
  • Rhubarb саn аlѕо bе uѕеd tо mаkе rhubarb wine.
  • Rhubаrb lеаvеѕ саn bе used tо mаkе аn natural insecticide.
  • Frеѕh рісkеd rhubаrb (lеаvеѕ removed) wіll ѕtау frеѕh іn thе rеfrіgеrаtоr fоr 3 – 5 dауѕ.
  • When cooking wіth rhubarb, it is bеѕt tо use “non-reactive” сооkwаrе thаt dоеѕ not rеасt wіth the асіd іn thе rhubаrb. Tеflоn оr ѕtаіnlеѕѕ-ѕtееl cookware is рrеfеrаblе оvеr аlumіnum аnd сорреr. Cооkіng rhubаrb in аlumіnum оr copper may саuѕе “stains” оn the раnѕ.

Rhubarb іѕ оnе оf thе only twо vegetables that grоwѕ соntіnuеѕ tо grow, аnd рrораgаtе unlike other vegetables that nееd tо bе ѕоwn еасh уеаr. Thе оthеr реrеnnіаl vеgеtаblе is аѕраrаguѕ.

Wild Rhubаrb іѕ nоt tо bе соnfuѕеd with gаrdеn varieties of rhubаrb. Wіld Rhubаrb іѕ аnоthеr nаmе fоr Common burdосk, a wееd whісh lооkѕ somewhat ѕіmіlаr to rhubаrb іn арреаrаnсе, but is not edible.

Cooking with Rhubаrb

Rhubarb іѕ a ѕоur-tаѕtіng plant, whісh can bе соmbіnеd wіth ѕugаr tо mаkе dеlісіоuѕ recipes. Althоugh thіѕ plant wаѕ оrіgіnаllу grоwn fоr its medicinal properties, іt hаѕ bееn a fаmоuѕ ріе ingredient ѕіnсе the еаrlу 1900s. Thе first rесоrdеd rесіреѕ fоr it dаtе back tо thе 1600s in Englаnd аnd thіѕ іѕ when sugar bесаmе widely available.

Thіѕ ingredient is dірреd іntо ѕugаr аnd еаtеn raw іn Swеdеn, parts of the UK аnd ѕоmе other соuntrіеѕ. It mаkеѕ аn есоnоmісаl sweet ѕnасk. Yоu саn also uѕе thіѕ fruіt to mаkе wіnе.

Yоu саn mаkе a delicious dessert bу cutting rhubаrb ѕtаlkѕ into оnе іnсh pieces and boiling thеm іn wаtеr. Add half a сuр оr three ԛuаrtеrѕ оf a сuр оf white sugar fоr еvеrу роund оf rhubarb. Yоu wіll nоt nееd muсh water bесаuѕе there іѕ a lоt іn thе fruіt іtѕеlf. Add ѕоmе nutmeg оr cinnamon tо taste and a tablespoon оf lеmоn juice or lime juice іf уоu lіkе.

Whеn the ѕtаlkѕ are ѕоft, thеу аrе done. A ѕlіghtlу dіffеrеnt сооkіng method is to ѕіmmеr thе fruіt slowly wіthоut аddіng wаtеr аnd lеt іt cook in іtѕ own juice іnѕtеаd. You can add аррlеѕ or ѕtrаwbеrrіеѕ whіlе cooking it, to mаkе іt ѕwееtеr, оr add some ginger іf уоu wаnt tо mаkе jam.

Mаkіng Homemade Jam

Yоu саn аlѕо add other kinds оf fruіtѕ tо the mixture tо make jаm. If уоu аrе using оnеѕ, which dо nоt соntаіn muсh ресtіn, you might nееd tо add ѕоmе. Pесtіn іѕ what mаkеѕ the jаm set. Fоr jаm, uѕе two ounces оf fruit for еvеrу оunсе оf rhubarb. Chооѕе frоm рlumѕ, apples, apricots, rаѕрbеrrіеѕ оr ѕtrаwbеrrіеѕ. Yоu wіll nееd tо bоіl thе mіxturе for ten mіnutеѕ or mоrе, untіl еvеrуthіng іѕ ѕоft.

Making Sаuсе Or Pіе Fіllіng

Rhubаrb sauce іѕ another рорulаr rесіре аnd to make this you will nееd tо simmer the аbоvе mixture fоr аbоut аn hоur оr until іt іѕ ѕmооth аnd уоu саn ріеrсе аll thе fruіt easily with a fork. Yоu саn kеер the rеѕultіng ѕаuсе іn thе rеfrіgеrаtоr and eat іt cold. Cook it for twenty minutes, іnѕtеаd оf аn hоur, іf you want to make a tаrt fіllіng оr pie filling. Yоu саn аdd strawberries tо іt if уоu want tо mаkе strawberry and rhubаrb pie.

Recipe Fоr Rhubаrb Cake

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup brоwn sugar
  2. 3/4 сuр whіtе ѕugаr
  3. 1 1/2 сuрѕ finely сhорреd raw rhubаrb
  4. 1 teaspoon vаnіllа extract
  5. 2 cups all-purpose flоur
  6. 1 teaspoon baking ѕоdа
  7. 1 cup applesauce
  8. 1 еgg
  9. 1/2 teaspoon grоund сіnnаmоn
  10. 1/2 сuр buttеr
  11. 1/2 tеаѕрооn salt

Hоw To Mаkе It

Preheat the оvеn tо 375 dеgrееѕ F. Cream thе buttеr with the brown ѕugаr аnd half a cup оf thе whіtе ѕugаr, thеn аdd the ѕаlt аnd egg. Stіr іn thе vanilla extract, flоur, applesauce, and bаkіng soda.

Stіr іn thе fruit and роur the batter into a prepared nіnе bу thirteen іnсh baking раn. Sрrіnklе the сіnnаmоn and remaining whіtе ѕugаr over thе tор. Bаkе thе cake for about half аn hоur. It іѕ rеаllу moist ѕо уоu wіll not nееd tо frоѕt іt.

Harvesting оf Rhubаrb

Thе best tіmе when to hаrvеѕt rhubarb is whеn the ѕtаlkѕ оf the lеаvеѕ reach аt least 10 іnсhеѕ long. Thіѕ wіll еnѕurе thаt thе рlаnеt hаѕ еѕtаblіѕhеd іtѕеlf wеll enough for thе year tо bе аblе to tоlеrаtе bеіng harvested. Yоu can tаkе ѕоmе of thе rhubarb ѕtаlkѕ еаrlіеr thаn thіѕ, but lіmіt your rhubarb hаrvеѕt to juѕt a fеw ѕtаlkѕ so that уоu dо not kill thе рlаnt. Knоwіng whеn tо hаrvеѕt rhubаrb also mеаnѕ knоwіng whеn thе ѕеаѕоn іѕ over. While tесhnісаllу, уоu can kеер harvesting rhubаrb untіl fall, kеер іn mіnd thаt уоur rhubаrb рlаnt nееdѕ to ѕtоrе еnеrgу fоr thе winter. Significantly slow or ѕtор уоur rhubarb hаrvеѕt in lаtе Junе оr early July ѕо that your rhubаrb plant саn buіld up energy ѕtоrеѕ tо mаkе it thrоugh the wіntеr. Again, іt саn bе рісkеd untіl thе frоѕt, but dо so ѕраrіnglу or уоu rіѕk killing the рlаnt. Alѕо, іf your rhubаrb is newly planted, you wіll wаnt to wаіt twо years bеfоrе tаkіng a full rhubаrb hаrvеѕt from the рlаnt. This wіll еnѕurе thе рlаnt іѕ ѕuffісіеntlу established.

Hоw Tо Hаrvеѕt Rhubarb Plаnt.

Hоw tо Hаrvеѕt Rhubarb Hаrvеѕtіng rhubarb іѕn’t difficult either. There аrе twо ways how to hаrvеѕt rhubаrb. Onе is tо uѕе a ѕhаrр knife or ѕhеаrѕ tо сut оff ѕtаlkѕ thаt аrе аt lеаѕt 10 inches оr lоngеr. Thе ѕесоnd is tо gеntlу рull the ѕtаlk whіlе gently leaning іt to оnе ѕіdе untіl thе ѕtаlk breaks оff frоm thе рlаnt. Nеvеr hаrvеѕt all thе stalks оff уоur rhubаrb рlаnt. After уоu cut thе ѕtаlkѕ from the plant, сut the lеаvеѕ frоm thе ѕtаlk and throw them in thе compost bin. Thе leaves оf the rhubarb plant аrе роіѕоnоuѕ and should nеvеr be еаtеn. That іѕ all there іѕ tо hаrvеѕtіng rhubarb. Nоw thаt уоu knоw when and hоw to hаrvеѕt rhubarb, you can еnjоу thеѕе tаѕtу ѕtаlkѕ in a wide vаrіеtу оf rесіреѕ.

Perennial – How To Grow Elephant Garlic

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Elephant Garlic (Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum) is a perennial plant belonging to the onion genus. It is not a true garlic, but are a variant of the garden leek. It has a tall, solid, flowering stalk and broad, flat leaves much like those of the leek, but forms a bulb consisting of very large, garlic-like cloves. The flavor of these, while not exactly like garlic, is much more similar to garlic than to leeks. The flavor is milder than garlic, and much more palatable to some people than garlic when used raw as in salads. It is sometimes confused with solo garlic.

The mature bulb is broken up into cloves which are quite large and with papery skins and these are used for both culinary purposes and propagation. Also, much smaller cloves with a hard shell grow on the outside of the bulb. Many gardeners often ignore these, but if they are planted, they produce a nonflowering plant in their first year, which has a solid bulb, essentially a single large clove. In their second year, this single clove then, like a normal bulb, divides into many separate cloves. While it may take an extra year, it is desirable to plant these small bulbils (several can be produced by each bulb) and the harvest increased, though delayed a year.

Elephant garlic or Giant garlic as it was originally called was first introduced to the commercial and gardening market in 1941 by Nicholas Garden nursery in the Willamette Valley of Oregon in the United States. The nursery noticed the enormous garlic was being grown by local immigrants from Czechoslovakia and Northern Yugoslavia who had brought it with them from their homeland. Seeing the market potential for such a unique shaped and flavored allium they purchased twelve pounds to cultivate for commercial distribution. After 10 years of growing, it was given the name Elephant garlic and Nicholas Garden placed newspaper ads to promote it and began selling it throughout the United States and Canada. Since that time it has grown in popularity and seeds have been sold around the world in Europe, South America, South Africa, Australia, and Russia.

Unlike many kinds of garlic, elephant garlic does not have to be harvested or divided each year but can be ignored and left in the ground without much risk of rotting. The plant, if left alone, will spread into a clump with many flowering heads (one stalk and flower from each clove, once the bulb divides). These are often left in flower gardens as an ornamental and to discourage pests. Of course, once they get overcrowded, the plant may not do as well, and growth is stunted, with some rotting.

Elephant garlic is not generally propagated by seeds.

The immature plant tops can be topped off (cut) when the plant is young and they are still tender, as can be done with onions, and chives, along with the very immature flower bud, and are called scapes. They can be pickled, Lacto-fermented, stir-fried, added to soups, etc. The scapes (whether elephant garlic, garlic, onion, chive, or garlic chive) can also be frozen without any cooking, and generally, remain fresh for a year or so without freezer burn, to be added to any soup, stew, stir-fry, etc. Topping the plants off also helps more of the plant’s energy to be directed toward the bulb. Since the seed is not generally gathered from elephant garlic, this is the best use of resources and helps the bulb, though it does detract from the aesthetic value. A few scapes can be left to mature to into stalks to flower.

Like regular garlic, elephant garlic can be roasted whole on the grill or baked in the oven and then used as a spread with butter on toast. Fresh elephant garlic contains mostly moisture and foams up like boiling potatoes, whether on the stove or in a glass dish in the oven. Drying in the basement for a few months reduces the moisture content, and bring out a fuller flavor.

How To Plant Elephant Garlic

With elephant garlic planting, most any soil will do, but for the largest bulbs begin with a well-draining soil medium. Dig down a foot into the soil and amend with a 1.5-gallon bucket of sand, granite dust, humus/peat moss mix per 2’x 2’to 3’x 3′ section and mix in well. Top dress with some well-aged manure and mulch around the plants with chopped leaves and/or sawdust to keep weeds at bay and also to nourish as the amendments decompose or break down.

Hardiness

  • Zone 3-9

Location

  •  Elephant Garlic prefers full sun and can be grown in temperate regions all the way into tropical zones.

Size

  • Height 18 inches,

Days to Maturity

  • 120 day to mature.

When to Plant

  • Can be planted fall, summer or early spring.  In cooler climates, plant in the fall or spring while in warmer regions the herb can be planted in spring, fall, or winter. Break up the bulb into cloves for propagation. Some cloves are much smaller and are called corms, which grow on the outside of the bulb. If you plant these corms, they will produce a non-blooming plant in the first year with a solid bulb or single large clove. In the second year, the clove will begin to separate into multiple cloves, so don’t ignore the corms. It may take two years, but eventually, you will get a good head of elephant garlic.

Attracts

In my experience, elephant garlic attracts:

  • Bumblebees
  • Honeybees
  • ladybugs
  • Butterflies

How To Use Elephant Garlic

When cooking with elephant garlic, remember that it is not a substitute for the ordinary form. Instead, it should use where a subtle hint of garlic is wanted without overpowering the rest of the food. Treat it as a “similar but different” ingredient when creating or experimenting with recipes.

There are many uses for elephant garlic. It’s often served raw in salads or it can be sliced and sautéed in butter (be careful when cooking, it browns very quickly and can turn bitter). It’s also frequently used to give a hint of flavor to soups and stews.

Roasted Garlic Recipe

Arguably the best and simplest way to enjoy Elephant Garlic. Is just by roasting it whole!

Ingredients

  • 1 bulb elephant garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 390 degrees Fahrenheit (200C).
  • Chop your elephant garlic bulb in half horizontally.
  • Drizzle the exposed cloves with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Put the bulb back together, loosely enclose in foil and place in the preheated oven. Depending on the size of the bulb it will take between 40 minutes and 1 hour to roast.
  • Turn down the oven to 355 degrees Fahrenheit (180C) and leave for an extra 30 mins to get a more caramelized flavor.
  • Once roasted it can be simply spread on bread, served as a side to barbecued or roasted meats or added to sauces and soups.

Cooking Substitution

Elephant garlic produces milder flavored garlic than its relatives. Generally, you will need to use more elephant garlic to achieve an approximation for soft neck garlic, about double.  Many people do not fin elephant garlic to be a satisfactory substitute for soft neck garlic.  I would use them according to taste rule and do some experimentation.  However, if you are looking for a general guideline are some.

Cooking Substitute For Elephant Garlic

  • Regular garlic (stronger) = about one half the volume
  • Equal amounts of chopped leek + minced garlic clove of an equivalent volume

Cooking Equivalents by Approximate Size

  • 1 clove elephant garlic = 2 medium cloves of regular garlic

Gardening – Controlling Compost Odor

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You have probably heard that it’s important to order a compost bin if you want your yard waste to be composted correctly. But what exactly is this process and what do you need to do to make it happen? Here are some helpful tips to get you started. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to making a healthy pile of compost. Before ordering your bin, read these tips to find out more about composting.

First, remember that the compost pile needs moisture to decompose. But if you overwater it, you’ll drown all the bacteria and microbes. This will result in a stinky, slimy pile. You’ll also need to make sure that you don’t mix too much or too little water, as either will kill the bacteria. Keep the amount of water you add to the pile constant and consistent.

A compost pile should be located in a shady area. Avoid placing the bin too close to trees, as tree roots can attracted to loose organic matter. If the compost is too dry, you’ll have a difficult time turning the heap. So, before you start, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly and turn the pile regularly. If the compost bin is too wet, it may have animal products, which are harmful to the environment.

The best composting location is a sunny spot. During summer, avoid placing the bin too close to a tree. The roots of the trees can be attracted to the loose organic matter at the bottom and cause the compost pile to smell and be difficult to turn. It may also be too dry. To solve this problem, moistening the pile will increase airflow and encourage decomposition. And finally, remember to wash your hands after turning the pile.

Using a compost bin with a lid is crucial to ensuring that your compost is properly composted. Choosing the right type is essential to the successful completion of your compost. To avoid disease, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after turning your compost pile. The best compost bins should be dark brown and smell earthy. So, use them to enhance the health of your yard and garden. You’ll love your garden.

Before you order a compost bin, you’ll need to prepare the pile. If you’ve never done this before, it’s important to know your yard’s soil type. If your yard is not a shaded area, you can start a compost pile in a shaded area. For better results, make sure you cover the pile with a dark plastic tarp to raise the temperature and allow air circulation.

Compost Decomposing

A compost pile should be placed in a shaded area. During summer, you should place the bin in a shady area. During the winter months, the pile should be turned at least once a year. A compost bin should be placed near a tree. If you don’t have a tree, the roots of the trees might be attracted to the loose organic material in the bottom of the bin.

Once you’ve added compost, it’s time to add more organic material to the pile. The materials you add should be evenly distributed. The compost should be dark brown, smell earthy, and dry. The more moist material you put in the pile, the better. When it’s ready to use, you should check it with a meter. You can also check its moisture content by smelling it. During summer, your bin should be in a shaded area to provide better air circulation.

Before you start a compost pile, you should learn about its composition. A compost pile should be able to decompose organic material quickly. You should add plenty of compost if you want to get the best results. A well-rotted pile is also a great place to add additional organic materials. Adding more organic matter will improve the soil’s quality. However, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t add too much water.

A compost bin is the best way to compost materials in your backyard. You can also use heaps to create a compost pile. But you’ll need more space than a compost bin to make a compost pile. You should start by setting up a heap that is about 5 feet wide and three feet high. You can add more materials as you have access to them. A large pile can grow over time, so if you don’t want it to get too big, you should start a second one.

How to Fix Composting Problems: Smelly, Slimy, or Slow Compost Bins

Which Tomato to Grow?

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Something to consider is, which variety of tomato to Grow.  The tomato may well be the most beloved plant among American gardeners. So, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of varieties to choose from and simply ordering from a catalog will not necessarily ensure you’ve chosen the best tomato for purposes.

Grow tomatoes which your family uses tomatoes

Growing a tomato, which is intended for the way your family uses tomatoes, most of the time would be a good choice.   Does your family uses tomatoes as:

  • A sauce for cooking?
  • A thick slice on top of their favorite sandwich?
  • Topping for salad?
  • A dry food snack (e.g. sun-dried tomato)?
  • As canned tomatoes for meals over the winter?

choose a determinate or indeterminate tomato

Lastly, should you choose a determinate or indeterminate tomato?   This choice is often overlooked by home gardeners. However, it is an important choice, as it will drive your behaviors in terms of food preparation and your window of opportunity to use your fresh tomatoes.

Determinants, basically, produce one crop which matures within a couple of weeks and they are done for the year; so, if you’re planning to preserve them (e.g. can then, store tomato paste, and/or tomato sauces), and you want volume in a short period of time to do your canning and be done with it, then a determinate variety may be best for you.  This applies, even if you do a bit of succession planting, where you may plant more than one set of plants to mature at different times (say, two or three weeks apart) if you have a long enough growing season to use this approach.

Indeterminates will still provide some density of harvest based on your planting strategy, but will, with care, throughout more of the garden season.  These tomato varieties, work well, if,  you’re looking for a tomato from which to make sandwiches from throughout the summer,  want a few tomatoes from time to time to add to the top of a salad, or perhaps, to dry some tomatoes in small batches to use as snack or in cooking later.

For some additional advice you may, a couple of good sources, which can help you with choice are your local agriculture extension office and/or master gardening group.

Related References

Perennial – Mexican Oregano (Poliomintha longiflora)

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Mexican Oregano is a culinary herb and native to North America,  even though in central Texas you are more likely to see it in landscaping that in the vegetable or herb garden.   Mexican Oregano has a very different flavor than Mediterranean oregano. Mexican Oregano stronger and more bitter, this more robust flavor makes a good companion for the spicier and stronger flavored seasons used in Mexican cooking. peppers, cumin).

Common Name

  • Rosemary Mint

Origin

  • Mexico and the southwest United States

Hardiness

  • Perennial
  • Evergreen
  • Drought tolerant
  • USDA hardiness zones: 9-10

Height

  • 2 – 4  feet

Spacing/Spread

  • 3 – 6 feet

Flower Color

  • Tubular lavender flowers, about,  1 inch long

Season

  • Blooms Spring until frost

Repels

  • Deer Resistant

Attracts

  • Butterflies
  • Bees

Requirements

  • Full to Partial Sun
  • Well-drained soil

Propagation

  • Easy to grow from root cuttings
  • Like Rosemary, the branches can be rooted and, pruned and transplanted.  Basically, scrap the bottom of a branch, cover with soil,  weight/pin it to the ground, and keep moist (don’t over water) it roots.  Then, prune the branch from the parent plane, gently dig it up (if you didn’t root it in a transplant pot), plant in new location water regularly, until the transplant has set in for the first season.

Use

Culinary Use

  • Frequently used as a replacement for oregano, although not botanically related. It is sweeter and less bitter than oregano. Used to flavor marinades, meats, tomato dishes, bean dishes, eggs, soups, and stews.

Medicinal Use

  • Used as a tea for respiratory infections, gastrointestinal tract disorders, nervous system complaints, and a palliative for sore throats. The plant was said to contain oils that had bacterial fighting properties.

Landscape Use

  • In central Texas, popular in landscaping as a middle tier perennial.  I usual plant them in groups of three to five plans, about 18 inches to two feet apart.

Gardening – Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

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Balm (Melissa officinalis)

Balm (Melissa officinalis), often called lemon balm, because of the fragrance of its light green leaves. Small white or pale yellow flowers, produced in spikes or clusters, at or near the top of the plant, appear in late summer and early fall and are highly attractive, Thus, the generic name Melissa, from the Greek for “honey- bees. The stalk is four-sided, branching, and from two to three feet high; leaves opposite, in pairs, ovate, toothed on the borders.

Origins

  • South of Europe.

 Uses

  • Leaves lend gentle flavor to puddings, soups, stuffing, punch, and other summer drinks. Pleasant garnish for fish and shellfish. Brew leaves to make excellent mild tea, which acts as a gentle sedative.
  • The plant has a pleasant, lemon-like odor; an agreeable, aromatic taste; and, in flavoring certain dishes, is used as a substitute for lemon-thyme.
  • It is beneficial in hemorrhage, and other diseases of the lungs; and, in the form of tea, constitutes a cooling and grateful diluent in fevers.
  • A mixture of balm and honey, or sugar, is sometimes applied to the interior of beehives, just previous to receiving the swarm, for the purpose of “attaching the colony to its new settlement.

Substitutions

  • Balm, like Angelica, can replace some of the sugar in fruit pies.
  • Balm used as a substitute for lemon-thyme

Hardiness

  • Hardy perennial

Height

  • 2-4 ft.

Spread

  • 12-18 in.

Requirements

  •  Any warm, mellow, garden soil is suited to its growth, having good drainage;  full sun or partial shade.

Planting

  •  It is generally propagated by dividing the roots, which may be done either in spring or in autumn. After thoroughly stirring the soil, set the roots in rows fifteen inches apart, and a foot apart in the rows. Under good management, the plants will soon completely cover the surface of the ground, and the bed will not need renewal for many years.
  • Sow tiny seeds in a pan in late spring. Thin established seedlings to 2 in. apart. When they are about 4 in. tall, plant in the garden, 1 ft. apart. Set out nursery-grown plants in mid-spring

Harvesting

  • Cut shoots individually as soon as flowers appear, continuing until mid-fall.
  • If cut for drying, the plants should be cut as they come into flower, separating the stems from the surface of the ground. They should not be exposed to the sun in drying, but placed in an airy, shady place, and allowed to dry gradually.
  • The leaves, in their green state, may be taken directly from the plants as they are required for use.

Preserving

  • Dry or freeze leaves
Gardening – Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

Related References

Perennial – How To Grow ‘Common’ Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

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Common Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)  is a hardy, bulbous-rooted, perennial plant, indigenous to France and Great Britain. The leaves, which are produced in tufts, are seven or eight inches in length, erect and cylindrical, or awl-shaped. The bulbs are white, oval, and of small size; usually measuring about half an inch in diameter. The flower-stalk rises to the height of the leaves, and produces, at its extremity, a globular group of purplish, barren flowers.

Uses

  • Leaves have mild onion flavor. Chop them and add to salads egg and cheese dishes, cream cheese, mashed potatoes, hamburgers, sandwich spreads, soups, stews, and sauces.
  • Chive bloom in mid to late summer make this an attractive border and edging plant.

Companion Plant

  • Bulbs exude a substance that makes plants good companions for carrots by discouraging a harmful fungus.

Hardiness

  • Hardy perennial.

Height

  • 6-10 inches

Spread

  • 12 inches Location

Requirements

  • Chives grow best in full sun in a fairly rich, moist soil, which is high in organic matter and has a pH of 6 to 8. Chives will, however, tolerate partial shade and most soil types. Chives should be fertilized several times during the growing season with a balanced commercial fertilizer or bone meal and manure.

Planting:

  • Sow seeds in spring or fall, in. deep in rows 12 in. apart. As soon as seedlings are established thin to 6 in. apart. Or set out nursery grown plants in early spring,

Harvesting:

  • Leaves can be cut 4-6 mo, after sowing: then cut often and close to ground. 

Preserving:

  • Leaves lose color in drying. Instead of drying, grow winter supplies indoors by potting a few clumps in fall and keeping them near a sunny window, Can also be preserved by deep freezing

Propagation

  • Lift and divide clumps every 3 or 4 yr.

What Are Hardiness Zones?

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USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

The Plant Hardiness Zones are defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA map, which map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperatures, and is the generally accepted standard in the United States by gardeners, farmers, growers and sales of seeds and plants can determine which plants are most likely survive and be productive in an area.

USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Hardiness Zone Map

Specific details regarding the map can be obtained on the USDA site at: