Posted in Artichoke, Asparagus, Aspirin, Baking Soda, Community Gardens, Determinate, Disease Resistant, Fertilizer - Sidedressing, Foliar Feeding, Fertilzer, Floating Row Covers, Germinate, Greenhouse, Heat Tolerant, Heirloom, Home Remedies, Indeterminate, Lettuce, Manure, Mildew, Nonfat Powdered Milk, PreSoak, PreSprout, Seeds, SeedSaving, Tomato, Varieties, Veggies!, Winter Plants - Cool Season, tagged All America Selections, artichoke, asparagus, aspirin, baking soda, bare-root, beets, bolt, brocs, bush, cabbages, canning, cauliflower, celery, chard, clean up, coast, community garden, cycle, disease, divide, February, foliar, fungicide, garden, garlic, germicide, germination, Greenhouse, grow light, growth, hardening, harvest, heat, heirloom, horse, humus, hybrid, immune system, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, maintenance, manure, March, Mediterranean, mildew, moisture, Peas, peat, pest, pole, potatoes, potting soil, powdered milk, presprout, pruning, radish, rain, resistant, root, seed, seed soaking, seed-saving, seedling, sidedress, snail, Society, Soil, space, spinach, steer, summer, table eating, tolerant, turnips, Varieties, vegetable, veggies, winter on January 26, 2012 |
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This is your last chance to plant more rounds of winter veggies you love the most, and the littles that grow year round. Peas are especially heat sensitive, but we Coastie pea lovers can get one more round! At this time be sure they are mildew resistant varieties! But it’s really time to think in terms of those summer treats you love too! Space is an issue now unless you have fields! Those of us in 10’ X 20’ Community Garden plots need to reserve space and prepare those soils. I plant some of the smaller border plants, like lettuces, where they will be on the sunny side, then add the bigger plants that need more heat behind them in March.
Plant LETTUCE, beets, brocs, cabbages, cauliflower, celery, chard, kale, kohlrabi, potatoes, radish, spinach, turnips. Asparagus and artichoke bare-root. Or put in asparagus from seed in March.
Clean things up. Prune your trees, remove dead wood in your herbs. Divide clumps of Society garlic. On ground that needs more humus, lay down some bagged steer or well aged horse manure, let the rains wash the nutrients down, in about 2 months dig it in.
Continue with your harvesting, sidedress your producing plants, do your snail prevention. After rains, foliar apply another batch of aspirin – stimulates growth, boosts the immune system, and baking soda and powdered milk to boost their immune system and act as a germicides. Don’t forget to add a dash of liquid soap to make the mix stick! Hold off on watering for a few days to let the potion do its job. Your plants will thrive!
Select your plants Mindfully! This takes more than a quick trip to the Nursery and buying whatever they have on hand. But, hey, if that’s all the time you have, then go for it! If you have the time, do some quick online comparisons at Universities that specialize in Mediterranean climates. Check out this year’s All America Selections! Ask at your local nursery why the varieties they have are their choices.
- What pests or diseases did your plants have last year? Select for resistance or tolerance.
- Is that plant heat tolerant, bolt resistant?
- What is the disease or pest cycle? Can you plant at another time, just a few weeks later to avoid them?!
- Is it a long producing pole plant, or a heavy one-time bush producer?
- How much space will that amazing plant take up versus it’s return?
- Is that variety better for canning or table eating?
- Do you want a hybrid, or will you be seed saving and need an heirloom that plants true year to year? In a community garden, with all kinds of plants close together, few true seeds can be saved.
Start Your Seedlings! If you have a greenhouse, and it can be a very small humble enclosure, even a row cover setup, start your seedlings now to plant mid to late March! At home? Easy! Use flats, peat pots, six packs, punctured-for-drainage plastic containers reused from your kitchen. Sterilized potting soil holds moisture and is easy for tiny roots to penetrate. Put them in your greenhouse or with grow lights 7 to 10 inches above, on 14 to 16 hours a day. Put a plant heating pad underneath, a heat cable, or a moisture protected 15/20 watt bulb in a ‘trouble light,’ for warmth, 70 degrees F. For better germination, spray aspirin on your seeds before planting! Another great trick is seed soaking and presprouting!
When they are ready, let them sit outdoors in the daytime shade for a week, then in the sun for a week, then all day the 3rd week. That process is called hardening off. The beauty of seeds is you can get the very best plants, and varieties your nursery doesn’t carry!
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Posted in All Season Plants, Bean, Beets, Broccoli, Community Gardens, Corn, Cucumber, Disease, Eggplant, Harvest, Lettuce, Melon, Pepper, Pests, Radish, Seeds, SeedSaving, Squash, Tomato, Veggies!, Watering, Watermelon, tagged abundance, all season, Aubergine, baking, basket, bean, beets, birds, blossom, bolt, brinjal, broccoli, bugs, can, cantaloupe, carrot, cob, compost, corn, crisp, crookneck, crop, cucumber, cuke, damage, dill, disease, dry, eggplant, elders, farm, Foodbank, freeze, fresh, fridge, garden, green, growth, hairy, harvest, herbs, Hollister, husband, hybrid, India, Indira, juice, kernel, leaf, lettuce, Mahanandi, mice, Modoc, Neighborhood Food Exchange, organic, overripe, pepper, pest, pickle, pickling, Pilgrim Terrace, pod, Portesuello, preserve, pull, radish, recipe, Red, refrigerate, salad, Santa Barbara, seed, seedy, share, shiny, shouldersoil, side shoot, silk, slip, small, spade fork, split, squash, starch, steam, stew, stuffing, summer, sweat equity, temple, tender, tendril, thump, tomatoes, traditional, veggies, Vijay, water, watermelon, white, wilt, winter, zucchini, zuch on July 15, 2011 |
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Yummerlicous basket of summer veggies grown near Mahanandi, a peaceful temple town in India. Indira and her Husband Vijay share the traditional recipes of their families. Brinjals, btw, are eggplants!
Each of your plants has special harvest needs and techniques to get continuing excellent returns!
- Be gentle in closely planted areas. Leaf damage opens your plant to diseases and pests. Breaking off new tender shoots stops that point of growth.
- Harvest when your plants are dry, before you water, to reduce disease spread.
Beets Pull when they are small and tender. Steam the leaves too.
Broccoli Though thought of as a winter crop, All Season brocs are perkin’ right along, prolific with side shoots! Keep them picked to keep them coming. Get them to the fridge ASAP because they wilt fast.
Cantaloupe is ready when it ‘slips’ from the plant – no pulling, it just comes off in your hand.
Corn is ripe when the silks turn crispy brown, and the juice is white when you pierce a kernel with your finger nail. Corn pretty much comes in all at once. Get ready to feast, invite friends! Corn turns starchy immediately, so get it to the fridge, or into that boiling water ASAP! Cut the kernels off the cob to sprinkle over salads, freeze for winter stews.
Carrots Poke around with your finger to see if the shoulder, the top of the carrot, is the size you want. Loosen the soil with a spade fork if necessary, pull, rinse, eat! I mean take them home to share with your family! If they are hairy and forked, your soil was too rich. If the shoulders are green, they needed to have been covered with soil.
Cucumbers! Harvest at will. Your choice, but big ones can be seedy. And if you wait too long, the plant thinks it’s done and stops producing. Harvesting smaller is better. Keep your cucs well watered – they make a watery fruit. Pickle some! Grow dill beside them to be ready for pickling.
Eggplant, Aubergine. Shiny. When they are shiny and they don’t spring back when you press them. The more you clip, the more you get. Another no-store-on-the-plant!
Green Beans Or any kind of bean! Pick, pick, pick, carefully so as not to damage your plant, to keep them coming! Pick when the leaves are dry, so you don’t spread diseases, and before the pods get bumpy.
Lettuces Crisp summer lettuce salads hit the spot! Pick the leaves last, just before you head for the fridge. Keep taking the lower leaves. If your plant starts to bolt (grow upward), take the whole plant right away unless you want it to seed for you, otherwise, it’s compost.
Peppers! When they are big and they’ve got that great pepper shape! Peppers have a specific number they reach and they won’t make any more until you pick some!
Radish Keep them well watered for fast growth, pull before they split. They are usually a bit hotter in summer.
Summer Squash (zucchini, crookneck, etc.) Cut them off at your preference, but when it’s hot, keep a watch under those leaves! Giant squash sap the strength from your plant and keep younger fruit from developing. Harvest small for salad slices. When you find a giant hiding, use it for stuffing and baking. If you are getting too many, pick the blossoms off to slow them down; eat the blossoms!
See ALL about SQUASH at On The Green Farms!
Tomatoes! Red on the vine, before the bugs, birds or mice get them.
Watermelon When the tendrils start to dry and the bottom of the melon turns creamy color. If it makes a dull sound when you thump it, it’s overripe.
SEEDS! Seeds are another kind of harvest! Let your best plants flower and seed. Collect those seeds for planting next year! But not the seeds of hybrids or corn unless your corn in no way can hybridize with anyone else’s corn!
Preserve! If you have a great abundance, start preserving! Dry, freeze, can!
Share! Have extra tomatoes, beans, cukes, zuchs, and you don’t have time or inclination to preserve?! Share your abundance! Here’s how!
- Give to Pilgrim Terrace residents! Take your veggies to the office 8 AM to 5 PM (Modoc/Portesuello). They watch the garden for us, so it’s good payback! The elders really appreciate fresh veggies and herbs!
- Santa Barbara County’s Foodbank Drop off M-F 7 AM – 3:30 PM at 4554 Hollister Av.
- Share at weekend Neighborhood Food Exchanges! Dates and locations
Thanks for your generosity when so many really need your kindness. Just a quick stop among your errands….
Organic garden-fresh produce can’t be beat! Enjoy every life-giving luscious bite!
Next week: August in Your Garden!
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Posted in Antioxidant, Aphids, Blood Meal, Brassicas, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Cilantro, Community Gardens, Companion Plant, Compost, Fertilizer - Sidedressing, Foliar Feeding, Fertilzer, Fish - Kelp, Heat Tolerant, Lettuce, Manure, Mycorrhizae, Nutrition Specifics, Pests, Seeds, SeedSaving, Soil, Teas- Compost, Manure, Worm, Varieties, Veggies!, Watering, Winter Plants - Cool Season, tagged 35, A, ACS, AK, Alaska, American Cancer Society, anthocyanins, anticancer, antioxidant, aphid, apples, blindness, blood meal, bolt, brain, Brassica, broccoli, bud, cabbage, Cabbage Moth, Calabrese, calcium, cancer, cauliflower, Center, cilantro, clubroot, cold, cole, companion, compounds, confuse, cool, cross, Cruiser, days, DeCicco, disease, dry, enegy, ethylene, eyes, fertilizer, fish emulsion, flavor, flower, foliage, fruits, garden, gas, genus, glutamine, Green Comet, Green Goliath, ground, harvest, head, health, heat, hybrid, January, John Evans, kelp, lb, leaves, lettuce, loam, macular degeneration, manure, maturity, moist, moose, mulch, mycorrhizal fungi, N, Nitrogen, Nutribud, nutritious, older, organic, pack, Packman, Palmer, pears, peppery, pH, pods, poison, pollinate, purple, rate, respiration, salad, sandy, seed, seedbed, seedling, shade, short, side shoot, sidedress, Soil, spacing, sprouts, stalk, stir fry, summer, sun, tall, tolerant, tract, transplant, University of Connecticut, urinary, valuable, variety, vegetable, vegetarian, veggie, Vitamin, Waltham 29, water, weather, weed, well-drained, winter, yellow, yield on January 14, 2011 |
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Broccoli may be the most nutritious of all the cole crops, which are among the most nutritious of all vegetables. Broccoli and cauliflower (and other members of the genus Brassica) contain very high levels of antioxidant and anticancer compounds. These nutrients typically are more concentrated in flower buds than in leaves, and that makes broccoli and cauliflower better sources of vitamins and nutrients than cole crops in which only the leaves are eaten. The anti-cancer properties of these vegetables are so well established that the American Cancer Society recommends that Americans increase their intake of broccoli and other cole crops. Recent studies have shown that broccoli sprouts may be even higher in important antioxidants than the mature broccoli heads. Other research has suggested that the compounds in broccoli and other Brassicas can protect the eyes against macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older people. If you choose to eat broccoli leaves, you will find that there is significantly more vitamin A (16,000 IU per 100 grams) versus flower clusters – the heads (3,000 IU per 100 grams) or the stalks (400 IU per 100 grams).
Vegetarians rely heavily on broccoli because it’s high in calcium.
Tasty Image from PlantGrabber.com – Bonanza Hybrid Broccoli
IN YOUR GARDEN….
- Companions: Cilantro makes it grow REALLY well, bigger, fuller, greener! Lettuce amongst the Brassicas confuses Cabbage Moths which dislike Lettuce.
- Brocs prefer full sun, though partial shade helps prevent bolting (suddenly making long flower stalks).
- Brocs LOVE recently manured ground. Well-drained, sandy loam soils rich in organic matter are ideal. Broccoli plants will grow in almost any soil but prefer a pH between 6.0 and 7.0 for optimum growth. A pH within this range will discourage clubroot disease and maximize nutrient availability.
- Seedlings should be 8″-10″ apart with 30″-36″ between the rows. Broccoli yields and the size of broccoli heads are affected by plant spacing. The tighter the spacing the better the yields, but the broccoli heads will be smaller. If you intend to keep your plants for side shoots, plant taller varieties to the northmost so they won’t shade shorter summer plants you will soon be planting.
- Mulch will help keep the ground cool and moist as well as reduce weed competition.
- An even moisture supply is needed for broccoli transplants to become established and to produce good heads. Never let the seedbed dry out. In sandy soils this may require two to three waterings per day.
- Put a ring of nitrogen around cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower plants, to grow bigger heads.
- The center head produced by broccoli is always the largest. The secondary sprouts produce heads about the size of a silver dollar. Sidedressing with fertilizer can increase yields and size your side shoots.
- Cool weather is essential once the flower heads start to form. It keeps growth steady.
Brocs are truly susceptible to aphids. Yuk. Grayish greenish soft little leggy things that blend right in with the side shoot florettes. If you snap your fingers on the side shoot, you will see the aphids go flying. Those side shoots I remove. If aphids are in curled leaves, I hold the leaf open and hose them away with a strong burst of water! Then I keep my eagle eyes on them, each day, checking to get rid of them before another colony forms.
Important planting tip: There are less aphids when you plant different varieties of brocs together!
Broccoli varieties vary considerably, tall, short, more heat tolerant or cold tolerant, some make tons of side shoots, small heads, large heads! For smaller heads, grow quick maturing varieties. Packman is the exception!
Cruiser 58 days to harvest; tolerant of dry conditions
Calabrese 58 – 80 days; Italian, large heads, many side shoots. Loves cool weather. Does best when transplanted outside mid-spring or late summer. Considered a spring variety. Disease resistant.
DeCicco 48 to 65 days; Italian heirloom, bountiful side shoots. Produces a good fall crop, considered a spring variety. Early, so smaller main heads.
Green Comet 55 days; early; hybrid, 6” diameter head, very tolerant of diseases and weather stress. Heat tolerant.
Green Goliath 60 days; heavy producer, tolerant of extremes. Prefers cool weather, considered a spring variety.
Nutribud, per Island Seed & Feed, is the most nutritious per studies, having significant amounts of glutamine, one of the energy sources for our brains! Purple broccoli, in addition to this, contains anthocyanins which give it its colour. These have antioxidant effects, which are thought to lower the risk of some cancers and maintain a healthy urinary tract as well.
Packman 53 days; early hybrid, 9” head! Excellent side-shoot production.
Waltham 29 85 days; late, cold resistant, prefers fall weather but has tolerance for late summer heat.
If you still want to plant broccoli now, January, be mindful of the days to maturity, and when you think you will be wanting space to start your spring for summer plants. When it gets late in their season, cut lower foliage off so small summer plants can start under them while you are still harvesting your winter plants. The days to maturity on seed packs starts with when you put the seed in the soil. The days to maturity on transplants is from the time of transplant. And broccoli is notorious for uneven maturity, so you will often see a range of days to maturity, like DeCicco above. So don’t expect clockwork.
Harvest the main head while the buds are tight! Cut about 5” down the stem so fat side branches and larger side shoots will form. Cut at an angle so water will run off, not settle in the center and rot the central stalk.
The respiration rate of freshly harvested broccoli is very high, so get it in the fridge asap or it goes limp! It should not be stored with fruits, such as apples or pears, which produce substantial quantities of ethylene, because this gas accelerates yellowing of the buds.
Dying parts of the Brassica family of plants produce a poison that prevents the seeds of some plants from growing. Plants with small seeds, such as lettuce, are especially affected by the Brassica poison. A professor at the University of Connecticut says Brassica plants should be removed from the soil after they have produced their crop.
If you didn’t harvest your side shoots and your broccoli has gone to flower, harvest the flowers and sprinkle them over your salad, toss them in your stir fry for a little peppery flavor! You won’t get any more side shoots, but if you want seeds, leave the flowers, let the seeds come. Fine long little pods will form. Let them stay on the plant until dry, then harvest your seeds. Pop the pods, remove the seeds so no moisture will remain to rot them. This large species crosses easily though, so probably best to buy sure seeds unless you don’t mind mystery results!
The trick to producing excellent broccoli heads is to keep the broccoli plants growing at a strong steady pace. Top-dress the plants with compost or manure tea; or side-dress with blood-meal or fish emulsion; and water deeply. Repeat this process every 3-4 weeks until just before harvest! John Evans, of Palmer, Alaska, holds the world’s record for his 1993 35 lb (no typo) broc! He uses organic methods, including mycorrhizal fungi! And, yes, moose eat broccoli!
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Posted in Bean, Cabbage, Carrot, Celery, Cucumber, Eggplant, Event!, Garlic, Green Beans, Heirloom, Hybrid, Nematode, Onion, Peas, Pepper, Potato, Pumpkins, Seeds, Squash, Tomato, Veggies!, Watermelon, Yam, tagged 90%, anise, bargain, bean, bite, bulb, cabbage, carrot, celery, clove, colonial, cost, crust, cucumber, dollarwise, edible, effective, eggplant, farmers market, filling, flower, freckles, garden, garlic, ginger, Greek, green, greens, grocery, Halloween, heirloom, horseradish, hybrid, Lane Farms, largest, local, medicine, melon, Native Americans, nematode, onion, organic, Pat Veretto, peanuts, Peas, pepon, pepper, pie, pod, popcorn, potassium, pumpkin, radiation, roadside, roasted, root, season, seed, sesame, set, snack, snake, Soil, spice, spring, sprout, squash, stand, tomatoe, tuber, untreated, vegetable, Vitamin A, water, watermelon, wheat berries, word, yam on October 30, 2010 |
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Fat Pumpkins & Fun Hay Rides, Lane Farms, Goleta CA
Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites!
Pumpkin flowers are edible.
Pumpkins are 90% water.
Pumpkins are used for feed for animals.
Pumpkin seeds can be roasted as a snack.
Native Americans used pumpkin seeds for food and medicine.
In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling.
The name ‘pumpkin’ originated from ‘pepon,’ the Greek word for ‘large melon.’
Pumpkins contain potassium and Vitamin A.
DollarWise – From Grocery to Garden!
Adapted from Pat Veretto’s article….
Beans, Garlic, Tomatoes and more
Beans being beans, you can plant the ones that come from the grocery store. Eat half the beans, plant the rest! Beans are seeds and seeds grow. So do whole peas, raw peanuts, popcorn, wheat berries, raw untreated spice seed (celery, anise, sesame, etc.)… well, you get the idea. Vegetables like peppers, tomatoes and fruits like watermelon, have seeds in them that will grow. Eat the food, then plant the seeds of the food you like!
Note: Green beans of any kind, or peas in the pod bought at the produce counter, will not grow. They’re “green” – immature seed.
If you don’t know the general planting rules for a vegetable, read seed packet at the nursery, or check online. Easy.
√ In addition to seeds, the grocery store is a source of tubers like potatoes, yams and fresh ginger, sprouting plants like garlic and onions, and plants you can sometimes regrow, like celery, cabbage and carrots (carrot tops only, for edible greens – you won’t get another carrot).
If you’d like to save tomato seeds to plant, first remember that tomatoes from the grocery are hybrids, unless you get heirlooms. Hybrids mean the plant and tomato you get may not be what you expect (but it will be a tomato!). Scoop the seeds from a cut tomato and save with the liquid surrounding them, or mash a whole tomato and let it set at room temperature two or three days, then rinse gently and dry for storage, or plant them right away.
Peppers, cucumbers, squash, pumpkin, and eggplant should be allowed to mature before using the seed, as the seed matures along with the vegetable. Planting these can be an adventure, as it’s not possible to know with what or if they’ve been cross pollinated, but try it anyway.
Garlic will grow happily in a container on your windowsill or in the ground. Buy fresh garlic and use the largest cloves to plant. Put the unpeeled clove, pointed side up, in light soil with the tip just showing. Keep the soil damp and in a few days you should see a green shoot. You can eat this top, but if you let it grow, it will eventually turn brown and dry up. That means the garlic is “done” – you can dig it up and you should have a whole bulb of garlic, from which you can choose the largest clove and start the process again. If you plant garlic outside, you can leave it over winter for a spring harvest, or plant in the spring for a late summer or early autumn harvest.
Root Crops from the Produce Department
Did you ever sort through one of those tubs of “onion sets” looking for ones that looked alive? Then you know what a bonus buying onions that are already growing can be! Green onions, the kind packaged or rubber banded and ready to eat, can be put back in the ground and grown to full size onions. Look for onions that have a round bulb because flat or thin bulbs may be another type of onion that never grows any larger, like a winter or spring onion. Set the onions upright in two or three inches of water for a couple of hours before planting, then keep the soil damp until the roots have been reestablished.
√ Most full sized onions will regrow if you cut the root end off along with an inch or so of onion. Plant the root in good ground, and keep it watered. It will begin to sprout within a few days and you’ll have green onion shoots, and sometimes a new onion bulb.
About the only difference between “seed potatoes” and the eating kind of potatoes from the grocery store is the size – government specifications are between 1 ½ and 3 ¼ inches diameter. Other than that, the rules are that they can’t be affected by nematode injury, freezing or various rots, soil or other damages… I truly hope that the potatoes we buy to eat are of such high quality.
Some potatoes are treated to keep them from sprouting – you’ll want the ones that sprout. Look out for the radiation symbol on the package. Irradiated potatoes are dead – they won’t grow.
Most sprouting potatoes can be cut to get more than one plant. Just be sure to keep enough of the potato flesh to nurture the sprout until it can develop roots. Plant potatoes when the weather is still cool, barely below ground in light, sandy or straw filled soil.
√ Is it cost effective to buy groceries to garden with? Well, you’ll usually get enough seed from one squash to plant 15 to 20 hills. One potato is enough for three to four plants each of which should produce at least a meal’s worth in a poor season. And remember the “seed quality” beans? How much does it cost for a whole pound of beans? Buy local – farmers market, roadside stands – for seeds adapted to our area. Buy organic for untreated seeds! Once you grow your own, harvest the seed of your best plants, specifically adapted to your very own garden!
Creative Home & Garden ideas says ‘If you buy some foods, such as horseradish, with the tops (or at least part of the top still attached), you can cut off the top, plant it in the ground, and it will reproduce another horseradish root just like the one you bought. The next year it will divide, and soon from only one top you will have an entire patch of horseradish.
And that’s a bargain. When was the last time you bought something, ate it, and still had 200 of them left over?
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Posted in Aphids, Brassicas, Broccoflower, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Collards, Fusarium Wilt, Kale, Kohlrabi, SeedSaving, Verticillium Wilt, White Fly, Winter Plants - Cool Season, tagged aphid, bolt, broccoflower, broccoli, cabbage, Calabrese, cauliflower, cold, companion, Curly, cut and come again, DeCicco, Dinosaur, disease, Elephant, F, fly, folklore, fusarium, Goliath, head, heirloom, hybrid, Irish, Italian, kale, Lacinato, leaf, maggots, Pilgrim Terrace, purple, Raab, Red, resistant, Romanesco, Russian, Saga, spiral, spring, sprout, tolerance, Vitamin A, Waltham, white, wilt, yellow, YR on September 4, 2010 |
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Broccoli, the Crown Jewel of Brassicas!
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kales, kohlrabi!
Fall Broccoli Broccoli is not only beautiful, but one of your best garden investments per square foot since it continues to produce after the main head is taken! Grow large headed varieties, sprouting varieties, Romanesco spirals, or loose leafy Raab with ‘pleasantly bitter and peppery highlights!’ Plant a variety of types! One of the best fall large head varieties is Waltham 29. Green Goliath is good spring, summer or fall; tolerant of extremes. Saga has good tolerance for late summer heat. Cut and come again! When the main head forms, before the buds start to loosen up, cut off the head at an angle so water doesn’t go down the core of the plant and rot it out. Let the side shoots grow and harvest, harvest, harvest. OR, plant the best sprouting varieties, which produce no main head but lots of sprouts, they are DeCicco and Green Sprouting Calabrese. If you let your broc flower, production stops. The flowers are edible, though, and pretty salad toppers! If you let it go that far, let the seed pods form, then collect them for the next round of planting.
Fat Cabbage Tips! Low calorie slaws, soup greens, sauerkrauts, stir fry! Red or green. Firm the soil, that means walking on it, before you plant, and around the plant when you plant, because cabbages get heavy! Because they are making a very dense head all in one place, they need all the nutrients they can get right at their fingertips, I mean root tips! It helps them make their compact heads, and if you do it right, prevents cabbage maggots – see this link for how to do it. Cabbages like water, but not having soggy feet, and they should not be watered when their heads are getting mature. Cabbage is a cut and come again though in a different way than broccoli and lettuces. When you harvest the head, cut carefully just beneath the solid head leaving the loose, older leaves uninjured. Sprouts will grow in the axils of these remaining leaves, forming several mini heads! Seeds up to 4 years old can be used. Plant a variety! Enjoy green, red, Savoy, or Chinese cabbages! If you overplant, thin, and use the tasty little greens in salads!
Would you believe now is the time to plant spring cabbages?! They are named for the season they are harvested in! As some plants bolt (go to seed stalks) in warming weather, cabbages can bolt going into cooler weather! Get disease and bolt resistant varieties. Yellow or Fusarium wilt (F on a nursery tag means your plant is resistant to this) is a relatively common disease, we have it in the soil at Pilgrim Terrace, that causes the leaves of plants to wilt and die. The first sign of the disease is yellowing and browning of the lower leaves. The plants are stunted before wilting occurs. Grow yellows-resistant (YR) or yellows-tolerant varieties. Most modern hybrids have this tolerance or resistance bred into them.
A bit o’ Irish folklore: Country girls were blindfolded then led into a field where they pulled the first cabbage they could find. If the cabbage head had a lot of dirt attached to the roots, their future loved one would be wealthy. And eating the cabbage would reveal his nature – bitter or sweet!
Cauliflower, Broccoflower: I read they are hard to grow, but I’ve never had trouble and I see lots of our gardeners have success with them! Maybe we’re just good! It isn’t necessary to tie up the leaves to get a good white head, but you can do it if it makes you happy! Get some of those pretty purple ones, or yellow! Once they have headed up, that’s it. Sadly, they don’t make side shoots like brocs do, nor do they ‘come back’ like cabbages. Steam the leaves or chop and drop or compost.
Kale is King! Cut and come again, high in Vitamin A. Lots of fun varieties – colorful fringy more tender flat leaved Red Russian; bumpy grayish long leaved Italian heirloom Lacinato/Elephant/Dinosaur; Curly Leaf – almost twice as much leaf per leaf compared to flat leaved greens and in a smaller space! Harvest lower leaves, let your Elephant and Curly Leaf keep growing vertical year after year, plant other crops under them. Truly efficient use of your land. Stake to be wind safe. A blue-green color is associated with greater cold tolerance.
Keep a keen watch for aphids, from the very beginning. An infestation can stunt and even kill baby plants. Also watch for little white flies coming out from under the leaves. Hose aphids and flies away immediately. It’s much easier to take care of them early on, your plant will get a better start, and your neighbors’s plants won’t be infested.
Click here for Brassica Companion Plants, see last paragraph please
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