Sunday, 15 November 2015

How to Grow Turnips and Rutabagas

There is nothing in the garden quite as unromantic as a turnip, unless perhaps it’s a rutabaga. It is strongly flavored, good storing root vegetables; they are rarely invited to sit at formal tables. But they are good earthy peasant food. Most people insist on a bowl of buttered mashed turnips at thanks giving dinner, and they are also good cut up in soups.

Turnips are small, usually white, and have no necks rather like the children in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The leaves, which are green and fuzzy, sprout right from the root itself and are an excellent, nutritious cooked green especially tasty with pieces of ham, slab bacon added. Some turnips have yellow flesh, others have white. Some varieties are grown for the root, others for the greens, still others for both. Rutabagas, sometimes called “Swede Turnips”, are five or six inches in diameter and purplish in color. They look somewhat like a rounded sweet potato. 

The flesh inside is usually yellow. There is a neck or crown one or two inches long, from which sprout smooth bluish leaves. Once got through a rather lean winter on rutabaga crop; the tubers coated with paraffin and stored in the basement, lasted all winter long. Both turnips and rutabagas are cool weather crops that get tough and woody and go to seed in hot weather. Which to grow? If you want an early spring crop, or want to grow cooking greens, choose turnips. For a fall crop that will keep a while in the ground and for a long time in your cellar, rutabagas are a better choice, and to some palates they are sweeter tasting. But turnips are twice as fast to mature almost 35 to 60 days compared to rutabagas 90.

Select a Site

A sunny location is appreciated, but not essential. A 4 * 4 foot bed will give you up to twenty five rutabagas and up to thirty turnips.  Since both members are belongs to cabbage family, try not to plant either where other cabbage vegetables have recently grown.

Select a Soil

Soil texture is important for both turnips and rutabagas, as it is for any root crop. Make the soil loose, well drained, and well ventilated by incorporating plenty or organic matter into it. Moreover you should use rotted manure, compost or commercial bagged humus, and dig it in to a depth of at least seven inches, especially for rutabagas, whose tubers are larger and whose root systems go down several feet. Therefore, both like a neutral pH but will tolerate a pH as low as 5.5. Moreover lime the soil if it is more acid than pH 5.5. Turnips are not very heavy feeders as vegetables go; soil of moderate fertility is adequate with one exception. If you are trying to grow a spring turnip crop before hot weather comes, you do want fast growth. So give spring turnips a good dose of 5-10-10. Rutabagas like slightly richer soil than fall turnips. And make sure your soil has adequate phosphorus for foot development, no matter when you plant.

How to Plant

Well, spring turnips should be planted as early in spring as you can work the soil late winter in warm climates or set into pre dug furrows even earlier than that, for fall turnips, wait until mid or late summer in the north, and even until late fall and winter in the south. Well, you can plant rutabagas in spring when the ground has warmed or early summer in the north, allowing three months before the first average frost. You can plant them in mid or late summer farther south; to be sure the tubers are forming in cooler weather. Seeds are sown directly in the garden. They are very tiny, but try to get them about an inch apart. They should be sown ¼ inch deep in spring, but ½ inch deep in warm weather, in well moistened furrows. The seeds germinate quickly but do not like to come up through a crust, so just sift some compost or fine soil over the furrow and then keep it moistened.

Rows should be at least 15 inches apart for turnips, and at least 18 inches for rutabagas. When the seedlings are five to six inches high, thin them to three to four inches apart, eating the thinning as greens (young turnip leaves are even good raw in salads). Thinning is not as important if you are growing just for green; but tubers of both turnips and rutabagas need ample room to reach full size undisturbed, so be sure to thin if you want to harvest those. Rutabagas should be thinned to at least six to eight inches apart to permit good root development.


Both crops need careful but frequent cultivation to keep the weeds down. Mulch will help, but be sure to sprinkle some lime on the soil first if the mulch is an acid one like bark. Turnips appreciate a good, deep soaking with water once a week if the weather is dry. Rutabagas are drought tolerant within reason, since the roots go so deep. Top dressing should not be necessary with either turnips or rutabagas as long as your soil is moderately fertile, except perhaps with spring turnips. But if you do top dress, use a fertilizer that is high in phosphorus, and once that is high in phosphorus, and one that is high in nitrogen only if you are growing turnip greens not tubers.

Pests and Diseases

For the most part the same ills that beset cabbage and other members of that family afflict rutabagas and turnips. Control root maggots by dusting the soil with wood ashes, and if necessary by covering seedlings with cheesecloth to keep off flies that lay the eggs from which the maggots hatch. Small holes in the leaves indicate flea beetles, which can be hosed off or dusted with rotenone. Treat aphids the same way. Club-root and black-root are occasional problems. Rutabagas can rot in the center from insufficient boron in the soil, an affliction known as brown heart. If this condition appears, dig a little Borax into the soil and soak it thoroughly with a   hose.


Dig turnips when they are two or three inches in diameter. A few light frosts may improve the flavor of both tops and roots, but do not let them freeze solid. Cut off the tops and store the tubers in a cool place, just above 32 degree. Harvest rutabagas while the ground is still soft enough to dig, and cut off the tops and any long roots projecting from the tuber. Store them the same way you do turnips burying them in a container of barely moist sand will help keep them from drying out. 

Dipping them in paraffin will also prolong their keeping time, as it will keep moisture from escaping from the tubers. Just scrape off the paraffin along with the skins when you peel them for cooking. Turnip greens can be eaten as early as you do your thinning and as late as a month or so after planting. If you are growing a root turnip crop, you can still harvest a few outer leaves from the plants occasionally to make a meal of greens. But do not cut off all the greens if you want to harvest the tubers at least not until it is time to dig the tubers up.


For early turnip crops, grow all seasons, while flat, shogoin, Tokyo Cross, just right, Tokyo Market, Jersey Lily or Extra Early White. For greens grow Seven Top, Shogoin, all top hybrids or Just right, Purple Top White Globe and Aberdeen yellow are good for fall and for storage. The standard rutabaga varieties are American purple Top, Laurentian, Long Island Improved, and Macomber, a white fleshed type that keeps very well.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

How to Grow Parsnip, Salsify and Scorzonera

Parsnips take some patience. The seeds are slow sprouting, the plants are slow growing, and he whole crop can take a good year to produce if you do it right. But they’re easy, pest free and well worth the wait. They look like white carrots but are fatter on top and skinnier on the bottom Parsnips texture is somewhat potato like, and they are rather caloric as vegetables go, especially since they absolutely demand, in my mind, to be smothered in large amounts of butter. They are also sweet and flavorful in soups and stews.

Therefore, parsnips are biennials that would send up flower stalks and bloom the second season if you let them, but you don’t. You plant them very early in the spring, pick some in fall after a few freezes, and winter them in the ground for an early spring harvest. Parsnips actually turn sweeter after they have been frozen a few times, since the starch in them turns to sugar. So while they may look ready to dig, it is best to leave them in the ground for a while. Please be in mind that patience with parsnips pays off.

Salsify, or oyster plant, is often grouped with parsnip because it is closely related and is grown the same way. It looks like a slightly shorter, thinner parsnip. “Black Salsify” or “Scorzonera” is not even closely related to either, though it looks like black skinned, white fleshed salsify. It is grown like salsify, and it is convenient to put in next to parsnips and salsify in books and seed catalogs as well as in gardens. All three are more popular in cool climate than hot ones, but you can grow them in the south by planting them in early summer and wintering them in the ground.

Selecting a Site and Soil

Well, the site and space requirements for parsnips salsify and Scorzonera are the same as far carrots, except that they will occupy their plot for the whole growing season.  Moreover, the soil should very deep, moderately rich, and not too sandy, heavy or stony exactly what you would prepare for carrots except that you should pulverize the soil a bit deeper. Obstacles will cause distortion of the roots. Very sandy soil will encourage large, useless side roots to form, and heavy clay soil will be hard for the roots to penetrate. To correct either condition or plenty of organic matter until the texture is that a good average loam. Therefore, if you still suspect the soil is too heavy, make a large, parsnip shaped planting hole for each plant by plunging a crowbar into the soil, wagging it back and forth, and filling the hole with a a more hospitable material such as aged compost or light rich soil. Moreover, avoid too fresh manure or soil that it too rich in nitrogen, which will cause branching of the roots.

Being tap-rooted, these vegetables will accept slightly dry soils better than most, since they will dig down for water beneath the surface; they will also tolerate slightly poorer soils. But do not ask the impossible from them. What you want to give them is a moderate but consistent supply of water and nutrients, for a long, slow, steady season of growth. The pH can be anywhere in between 6-8.

How to Planting

Well, if you want to grow, and then sow the seeds outdoors in the garden as soon as the ground can be worked, usually early April where live. If you wait too long, the plants may not get the full growth they need before cool weather slows the growth down in fall. Parsnips and salsify take about three and a half months to mature, and Scorzonera takes four. It is recommended planting by the traditional row method to make mulching easier. Make the rows 12 to 18 inches apart. You can make this crop better pay for its year long stay in one spot by inter-planting the rows with an early crop such as spinach or lettuce. Moreover, you need to use fresh new seeds, and soak them overnight in warm water to shorten the two to three week germination period. They can be mixed with sand or coffee grounds for easier planting. Hence, make a furrow and moisten it well, then sow seed thickly because germination of parsnip and salsify is notoriously poor, even with brand new seed this is normally not a problem with Scorzonera. Also cover the seeds with a half inch of very light, fine soil, or even vermiculite, because they will balk and a surface crust just as badly as carrots will. Pat the soil lightly and water it well with a fine spray.

Keep the seed bed moist during the germination period. If you are like me, you can very easily forget to do this, but there are some tricks to make up for lack of vigilance. Put wet burlap, sphagnum moss or even wooden boards over the seeds till they come up. An even better trick is to plant radish seed mixed in with the parsnip seed. When the fast sprouting radish seedlings break the surface, they will also shade the spindly young parsnip seedlings, keeping them from drying out. By the time you’re pulling the radishes, the parsnips should be tall enough to thin four inches tall or more. If you have made crowbar holes, thin each cluster to one plant, snipping the extras with scissors.

How to Growing

Well, while they are growing, the plants cannot take much completion, so cultivate and weed often unless you have good thick mulch that is keeping the weeds at bay. But make sure the soil does not get too dry, especially if the bed is not mulched. Therefore, unless you have used pretty rich soil, or a slow release fertilizer, an occasional light top dressing during the summer will keep growth going, but do not overdo it.

Pets and Diseases

Neither insects nor diseases should be a problem. You might get celery leaf miners that tunnel into the leaves; if so scrape off the little blisters you will find on them. If your plants get canker, making the roots rot, combat it next time by planting a later crop, using no manure and checking the pH. If your soil is very acid, raise it to pH 7.0 by adding the appropriate amount of lime.


If you’re harvesting in fall, then dig the roots and store them as you would carrots. For overwintering in the ground, pile on at least a foot of leaves or straw or some other loose mulch, as soon as the ground threatens to freeze in earnest. During winter thaws you can pull a few up, but as soon as the ground has really softened in spring, harvest all of them. Do not let the tops start growing again or you will ruin the roots flavor.


Shopping for parsnip varieties is easy. The best variety is “Harris Model” “Hollow Crown” a faster crop, is also good. The standard salsify is “sandwich Island Mammoth”. The one name Scorzonera variety I have seen so far is “Gigantea”.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

How to Grow Worlds Healthiest Food Cucumbers?

Cucumbers have some a long way. If you grew them twenty years ago and gave because you got a lot scabby, pulpy, disease ridden fruits, or the fruit never set, or they turned out great but gave you indigestion, try again? But these days there are several good disease resistant varieties, seedless ones, less bitter ones, even burpless ones that you don't have to peel. There are also ones with new shapes, such as the skinny yard long cucumbers and the little yellow ones shaped like lemons. The sexual problem has been even solved, cucumber yields used to be diminished by the fact that each plant has separate male and female flowers. The males bloom first but near no fruit; the females bloom about a week later. New gynoecious varieties produce more predominantly female flowers than male for a bigger yield, but are sold with a few male bearing seeds to insure pollination. Some varieties do not even need to be pollinated at all. 

Select a Site:

Native to the tropics, cucumbers like warm weather but not intense, dry heat. They are not frost hardy, but since they grow and mature quickly 55 to 60 days usually. It is easy to get a crop even with a short season as long as you plant them in full sun. Well, before you decide where to put cucumbers, you need to think about how they are going to grow. The plants have long vines that take up a lot of room. They can be allowed to sprawl on the ground as they grow, but this way you will need to allow about 9 square feet per plant that's six foot by nine foot plot if you grow six plants an ample number unless you are doing a lot pickling; one cucumber plant can produce a lot of cucumbers.
Therefore, a nice way to grow them is to let them climb up the garden fence. Getting cucumbers off the ground not only saves space, but it gives me healthier, cleaner fruits. Also, with the fence method, normally do not have to erect a whole separate support structure. Some people grow them up stakes or up string or wire trellises, pinching the growing tip when it reaches the top and pruning side shoots to reduce the weight of the vine. Wire circular help up by metal stakes are a good method. Moreover, please be in mind that you will have big, heavy vine so whatever support you provide must be a very strong one. 

Select a Soil and Planting

Well, clay soils with plenty of humus in them give the highest cucumber yields, but sandy loam that warms up quickly will produce an earlier faster crop. You need to prepare the soil by adding plenty of organic matter, preferably a rich compost of well rotted manure, because cucumbers like fertile soil. The pH can be anywhere from 5.5 to 7.0 and add lime to raise the pH if it is lower that.

Therefore, cucumbers are often started indoors to extend the season, but don't bother unless you can keep your seeds at 70 to 80 degrees by day and no colder than 60 degrees at night. Otherwise it is better to wait until the soil has warmed up. If you do sow indoors, keep the planting medium moistened but well drained. It is suggested to use peat pots work best because i can later set them out in the garden without even having to disturb the roots something cucumbers particularly dislike. Sow a seeds to a pot without firming the soil and thin to the tallest seedling snipping, pot pulling the discards. They should be started about five weeks before planting time, which is usually the last average frost date. But if the ground and the air are still cold, harden them off for a while before you plant. Hence, presoaking the seeds will help them to germinate. 

If you sow directly in the garden, you can either plant in hills or rows. Therefore, rows work better if you're using a vertical support. Moreover, when the seedlings are a few inches tall thin to a foot apart in the row, or to three plants in a one foot hill. Make sure, you enrich the hill or row before you plant. A nice way to do this is to dig a trench, put a few inches of rotted manure in the bottom, and then cover the manure with an inch or two of soil so it cannot come in contact with the seeds. One other planting note, if the cucumber you are planting is a gynoecious variety, the seed packet will tell you so, and you will find that the seeds producing male flower plants are dyed a distinct color. Moreover, set aside 2 or 3 peat pots and plant them with only male seeds. Hence, then mark the pots containing them, and tie a colored string to the plants when you set them out. You need only one or two plants with male flowers for pollination, but yon don’t want to neglect to plant those or destroy them by mistake when thinning.  

Growing Cucumber

Well, you need to mulch is particularly worthwhile for cucumbers and for many reasons. Any that lie on the ground are better protected from disease and rot if there is mulch for them to lie on. Also since the fruits are mostly water the plants need an extra big water supply and mulch will support keep the soil evenly moist. Thus, mulch will also keep down the weeds. This is really an important because weeding can damage cucumber roots to the point where the whole plant dies. Moreover, you should be carefully weeding and cultivating are fine when the plant is small, but when it gets to the about a foot high give it a good top dressing of fertilizer of manure, and then mulch it.
You will still need to soak the plants in dry weather. If you have planted in hills, you might like to try the coffee method, putting a can in the center of each hill. For rows try a soaker hose along the row. But try not to brush against the plants when they are wet either from watering or from rain this is how disease spreads. And do not confuse steady moisture with standing water. The plants need good drainage. 

Pests and Disease

The worst cucumber pest is also the culprit behind some of the cucumber diseases. The cucumber beetle striped in the east, spotted in the west can damage the plants by chewing but does even more harm by spreading bacterial wilt and mosaic. Pick off any beetles you find, checking for them inside the flowers. You can also try hosing them off, covering plants with fine mesh netting, or spraying both sides of the leaves with a mixture of one handful of wood ashes, one handful or hydrated lime and two gallons of water. If this fails, dust with rotenone. Moreover, another safeguard is to make many plantings several weeks apart in case one whole planting is destroyed. If all the plants make it then you will just have an extra large harvest. Cucumbers are generally prone to certain fungus diseases such as anthracnose, downy mildew and powdery mildew. Fungicides will help but the best defense is to buy resistant varieties. However, do not use sulfur with cucumbers because it is toxic to this exclusive crop. 


Well, cucumbers are one of those vegetables that have to be picked, whether you have so many of them or not. However, feed them to the animals or the neighbors or the compost pile, but don't stop picking. If they yellow on the vine the plant will stop producing altogether. Check the seed packet to see how big each variety is supposed to get, and harvest them when they reach that size. Twist them off the vines gently or snip them off with clippers, but use two hands, and be very careful not to break the fragile vines. 


Most cucumbers are either slicing types for salads or cooking or pickling types. The pickling ones are smaller, faster producing and have little knobs all over them. Thus, good slicing varieties are open pollinated, Marketmore 70 and Burpee Hybrid. Supersett and Slicemaster are gynoecious, Sweet Success is said to be seedless, burpless, disease resistant and delicious as well, and it doesn't need pollinating. I haven't tried it but would like to. Moreover, some good pickling cucumbers are Wisconsin SMR 18, Ohio MR17 and West India Gherkin, Some bush cukes for small spaces are Bush Champion, Spacemaster and Bush Pickle, Patio Pik and Pot Luck are good for containers. Moreover, extra early express is a quick crop and a good producer. Victory is a disease resistant gynoecious variety that is good for northern climates. Thus, try the Armenian Yard Long and Lemon. And among the burpless, Burpless, Tastygreen Burpless and Sweet Slice Hybrid are good bets. 

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Succession Planting

Well, planting crops in succession is a good way to make the most of your precious garden space. Sometimes it means planting several successions of the same crop. However, in the small plan there is a spring carrot crop planted together with radishes to shade the carrot seedlings, then a summer carrot crop planted in another spot to mature in fall. There are also early and late beet and lettuce crops in different locations. The early crop of bush beans is harvested, and then a second crop planted in the same spot. The longer the growing season in your area, the more successions of the same crop you can have. 

Therefore, on the other way to plan succession is to have late crop of one vegetable follow an early crop of another. Cool weather spring crops such as peas, lettuce or turnips can then be followed by crops that do well late in the season such as escarole, cabbage or broccoli. Several gardeners do not realize that there’s a whole group of vegetables that can be planted in late summer to mature in time for a fall harvest; Brussels sprouts, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, parsnips, carrots, peas, radishes, turnips, spinach, Swiss chard, bush beans and kale do name some. Sometimes you can find started plants in garden centers in summer, but for good variety you usually have to grow them from seed starting in June or July. Some gardeners even have luck sowing seeds of certain crops just before frost so that they will be ready to sprout when the ground thaws, even if it is too wet to be worked. Lettuce, radishes, beets, onions and spinach are some you might try this way.

In the large garden plan there are many such successions, and you will no doubt find good combinations of your own. You will notice that some crops do not succeed each other but stay in the same place all season, such as eggplant and peppers. But even these crops that take a long time to mature can be part of successions in a climate with a more extended growing season. You need to pay attention to the needs of each vegetable as outlined in the section on each and allow plenty of time for the crop to mature before frost if it is not frost hardy, or before hot weather if it is not heat tolerant. For example, if you live in a very warm climate, you will grow your cool weather crops such as lettuce, peas, radishes, spinach, Brussels, sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and Swiss chard right through the winter, then follow them with warm weather crops like okra, sweet potatoes, eggplant and tomatoes. Source: Charismatic Planet

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Blueberries A Super Fruit, Everyone Like to Grow

Blueberries are so healthy, highly rich in nutrition, decrease the risk of colon cancer, and extremely good for brain power and decrease the belly fat. The antioxidants in the blue berry increase our energy levels and immune system this is really a world’s best healthy food. Blueberries seeds are inside the fruit, and it takes a very small work to separate them from the pulp. You can consume fruit from an existing bush or from those purchased at the grocers, but the results may be meager or non-existent. Blueberries do not self-pollinate, actually means they’re rather random and their offspring do not duplicate the parent. It is highly recommended to purchase viable blueberry seeds for planting from a nursery, but if you would like to experiment, here is how to prepare blueberry seeds for planting. Therefore, to prepare blueberry seeds for planting, the fruit will need to be macerated. This can be completed in a food processor, blender or with some old-fashioned elbow grease in a bowl. Moreover to add a small volume of water to the berries as you do this. Thus, once the fruit is mashed, take away the floating pulp, and then seeds will sink to the bottom. You may must to add water numerous times to remove the pulp totally. Hence, once you have gathered the blueberry bush seeds, they need to be scarified. You should place them in some damp sphagnum moss and put them in the freezer for at least 90 days. Moreover, scarification will break the seeds rest period so they are ready for planting.

Furthermore, once the 90 days have elapsed, the seeds can be used instantly or kept in the freezer until you are ready to plant them. Blueberry seed planting should begin in the fall in warm climates and in the spring in more northerly climes. However, you should plant the seed in dampened sphagnum peat moss in seed trays and cover them with ¼ inch of soil. You have to keep the medium consistently moist and have some patient in this regard; blueberry seed planting may take six to eight weeks to germinate, some not for three months. Once the blueberry bush seed plants are grow enough to transplant, move them into pots in a sunny, warm area and keep moist. The growing blueberry seed plants can be fertilized with a liquid fertilizer after two to three weeks in their pots. Thus, the resulting blueberry bush seed plants will bear fruit during two year when the plant is one to two feet tall. It may take quite a few years when growing blueberries from seed before the plant will yield any noteworthy amount of fruit. So, again, you should be have great patient, but once established, it will keep you supplied with this super food for decades to come.Source: charismaticplanet