Rainy days and Sundays always get me down when I can not garden!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

THE ANTS AND THE BEES



Did you know that PESTICIDES & SPRAYS that harm or kill ANTS also harm BEES?






Tuesday, July 14, 2015

WHAT'S IN A NAME???



What does scallions, green onions, spring onions and onions have in common?  They are all part of the Allium (Latin for garlic) family along with garlic, leeks, shallots, chives  etc.  Allium are edible perennial plants. Although it is unclear how many species exist, the average is about 750 (250 on the low end to 900 on the high end).  About a dozen are of importance to the gardener or farmer.  Others are important for their ornamental value.




To me, scallions are just underdeveloped onions, sort off.  Very young onions are scallions in which the white root part has not developed into a bulb.  Green or spring onions are slightly more rounded then scallions and are on their way to maturing into fully grown onions.

All can be eaten raw or cooked (leaves to root), however, there are differences in taste ranging from strong to week.  Scallions are milder then onions, but stronger in flavor then chives.  Green onions take on the flavor of their fully grown counterpart.

 Never feed dogs or cats Alliums due to its potential for toxicity!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Turnip Cabbage, German Turnip...

Also known as kohlrabi, it is a  member of the cabbage family.  With a look of a turnip (growing above ground), the spherical shape bulbs are actually swollen stems. Both the bulb and leaves are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked.   Although there is debate about its origins, the name comes from the German "Kohl" (cabbage) and Latin "Rapa" (turnip), and is a staple in German speaking countries.  Kohlrabi is low in calories, a good source of fiber, calcium and potassium, and a anti-oxidant, with Vitamins A & C.  

When the bulbs reach about 3" in diameter, it is time to start harvesting your Kohlrabi.  They can be cut about an inch below the bulb or pulled.  Remove the leaves (to be used later) and any remaining root.  Peel back the outer, fibrous layer before eating or cooking.  (Unpeeled bulbs can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 weeks).  

I find the vegetable easy to grow and does well in early spring and in the fall.  Although is can be started indoors and transplanted into the garden, I have good success with direct sowing in a sunny location.  Floating row covers can be used for pest management, if needed.  

The biggest problem I find with growing Kohlrabi is that the groundhogs love it!!!  Luckily, some of the leaves can actually be removed prior to harvesting the bulbs for sauteing etc.  So, although the damaged looked bad, the actual veggie was fine. 


Caught in the act!

Yum!!!

The "damage"

Ready for harvesting.



Root and leaved removed.

Peel to reveal a crisp fleshy 

I decided to eat them raw!




Tuesday, June 16, 2015

LET'S HERE IT FOR THE BEES.........

and the BUTTERFLY'S, BIRDS, BAT'S and other INSECTS!!!!



 
In 2006, the U.S. Senate declared a week in JUNE as "National Pollinator week".  Now celebrated internationally, it addresses the declining population of these pollinators.

About 85% of the worlds flowing plants, along with 2/3rd of the worlds crops rely on pollinators.  In the U.S. alone, there are roughly 100 different plants that need to be pollinated by these pollinators.  Without them, a majority of our fruits and vegetables,  seed crops, and alfalfa would be greatly diminished or lost. A decline in alfalfa would impact the dairy and beef industry, increasing prices and deceasing supply of milk, cheese, ice cream, meats etc.   Almond orchards will produce less then 1/6 of their normal harvest. Imagine a world with out chocolate (apples, strawberries, peaches, figs, blueberries, melons, pumpkins, and tomatoes)!!!  How different the supermarkets would look?  Not to mention the economic impact!!!

The use and misuse of pesticides, insecticides and weed killers, loss of habitats and natural vegetation, and the desire for a perfect manicured lawn are all contributing factors to pollinator loss.

Please join me in stopping the use of these chemicals, providing gardens and green spaces for native, nectar producing flowers, trees for birds, bats, and bees, and realizing that there is more to a yard then green grass!  These pollinators are vital to our delicate ecosystem and to our lives.







Friday, May 22, 2015

DON'T TOSS THOSE TOPS!!!


Radishes are one of the earliest veggies to come out of your spring garden.  The seeds can be sown as soon as the ground can be worked.  They germinate and grow quickly and tolerate cold weather.  Radishes come in a number of varieties, sizes, colors and flavors, and are a good source of water, fiber and vitamin C.  And after a long, cold winter, I love to see those beautiful green leaves atop a lovely round, red (white, purple, or black) radish pushing its way up out of the ground!  

The radish itself is crunchy, with a flavor that ranges from mild to hot.  But, did you know that the greens are edible?   The leaves are a bit tangy, somewhat pungent, and prickly.  They can be sauteed, stir-fried, used in soups, salads or smoothies, or eaten raw.  

(Other edible greens include beets, carrots, turnips, brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower.) 







Every radish I ever pulled up seemed to have a mortgage attached to it.
Ed Wynn

Monday, March 9, 2015

SEED DORMANCY and GERMINATION

Seeds remain dormant until suitable conditions come together and trigger them to start growing.  This germination is based on both the internal physiology of the seeds along with external or environmental conditions.  Internal triggers are the age of the seed, it's food storage, health, seed condition, etc.  But more important may be the external conditions........


1.  WATER- Dormant seeds are dry seeds.  They require a significant amount of water to soften the seeds and expose the embryos to moisture.  As the seeds absorb the water they swell and break their seed coats.  Food reserve in the seeds are activated by the water and provide nourishment for the seedlings.

2.  OXYGEN (respiration)-Oxygen is needed for metabolism and energy.  Seeds that are buried to deep, are planted in heavily compacted, or overly wet soil,  will be oxygen deprived.

3.  TEMPERATURE- The temperature of the soil at which seeds germinate can range from the low 20's to high 80's.  If the soil temperature is to hot or to cold, then the seeds will have a lower success rate, a longer germination period or not germinate at all.  Some seeds need to go through a cold snap or even the heat of a fire before they will germinate!

4.  STRATIFICATION (preconditioning)- Altering the seed coat to make it permeable to water.  This can be done by roughing up seeds or soaking them in water prior to planting.  The seed coat is weakened making germination easier.

5.  LIGHT-Most seeds will germinate in the dark.  Some seeds need to be exposed to light for a length of time before they will start to germinate.  There are some seeds that will germinate in both. Check your seed packet for light requirements and planting depth.   Seeds that need light can be placed on top of the dirt.  Seeds that need darkness should be planted 2 to 3 times their diameter, placed in darkness, or covered to block out the light (until germination starts).


There is nothing more exciting then seeing the seeds you have planted start to grow!