Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Growing Peas

Pea is a frost-hardy, cool-season vegetable that can be grown throughout most of the United States, wherever a cool season of sufficient duration exists. For gardening purposes, peas may be classified as garden peas (English peas), snap peas and snow peas (sugar peas). Garden pea varieties have smooth or wrinkled seeds. The smooth-seeded varieties tend to have more starch than the wrinkled-seeded varieties. The wrinkled-seeded varieties are generally sweeter and usually preferred for home use. The smooth-seeded types are used more often to produce ripe seeds that are used like dry beans and to make split-pea soup. Snap peas have been developed from garden peas to have low-fiber pods that can be snapped and eaten along with the immature peas inside. Snow peas are meant to be harvested as flat, tender pods before the peas inside develop at all. The Southern pea (cowpea) is an entirely different warm-season vegetable that is planted and grown in the same manner as beans.




Recommended Varieties

The following varieties (listed in order of maturity) have wrinkled seeds and are resistant to fusarium wilt unless otherwise indicated.

Early

Daybreak (54 days to harvest; 20 to 24 inches tall, good for freezing)

Spring (57 days; 22 inches tall; dark green freezer peas)

Main Season

Sparkle (60 days to harvest; 18 inches tall; good for freezing)

Little Marvel (63 days; 18 inches tall; holds on the vine well)

Green Arrow (68 days; 28 inches tall; pods in pairs; resistant to fusarium and powdery mildew)

Wando (70 days; 24-30 inches; withstands some heat; best variety for late spring planting)

Sugar

Snowbird (58 days; 18 inches tall; double or triple pods in clusters)

Dwarf Gray Sugar (65 days; 24 to 30 inches)

Snowflake (72 days; 22 inches to harvest; high yield)

To be continued

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Growing Turnips

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 25, 2010

Learn how to do Canning at Home

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

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

Methods of Canning

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

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

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

To learn how to do this Click Here

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Carrot Growing Tips

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

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Growing Lima Beans


When summer temperatures warms the soil beans can go from seed to table in about 60 days. Of the many types of beans, the two most frequently grown by home gardeners are snap beans and lima beans. Each of these can be divided into two types. Low growing plants and tall growing plants. The legume family also contains many delicious vegetables that have beanlike seeds but that only remotely resemble the familiar type of beans.


Both the bush and pole types of lima beans have larger and more spreading vines than their snap bean counter parts. Lima beans do best in areas where summers are long and rather warm. Limas are panted like snap beans except they need more space. Plant them 4 to 6 inches apart in a row. In clay soils plant them on edge to improve the chance of germination.

Planting

Plant beans from seeds sown in the ground as soon as the soil has warmed up. Beans are frost tender and require a soil temperature of 65 degrees to sprout reliably. Either check the soil temperature with a soil thermometer or wait until late leafing trees (oaks, hickories, and pecans) uncurl new spring foliage. Successive crops can be planted until midsummer. Plant seeds of bush beans 3 inches apart in rows 18 inches apart. Pole bean plants are much larger, requiring 3 feet between rows and 9 to 12 inches between plants. If you want to run the vines up tepee shaped supports, dig holes in the corners of a 3 foot square and plant three pole bean seeds in each. Cover seeds 1 inch deep in clay soils, 1 ½ inches in sandy soils.

Care

To avoid the spread of diseases from plant to plant, cultivate shallowly and only when the foliage is dry. Water frequently by soaking the soil instead of sprinkling. Moist foliage invites bacterial disease in humid areas. High nitrogen fertilizers and heavy application of compost will encourage more foliage growth than vegetable production. Use a fertilizer with a nitrogen phosphorus potassium ratio of 1:2:2, applying it every three to four weeks in a shallow furrow about 6 inches away from the plants. Cover the fertilizer band with soil. If you furrow irrigate apply the fertilizer in the furrows so water can carry it into the root zone of the bean plants.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Celery Growing Tips

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