Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Black Walnut – Juglans Nigra

Blacknut, “Juglans nigra”, is a species of deciduous tree in the walnut family, Juglandaceae, native to North America. This is stately forest tree ranges from Massachusetts to Minnesota and Nebraska, south to Florida and Texas. It does best in a rich loamy soil and is often seen along fences, roadsides, and the borders of woods. Squirrels and other animals buried the nuts along fences where young trees appear. Of course, it was initially a forest tree, common on hillsides and rich bottom lands; but now we rarely see it in the dense woods. The black walnut was introduced into Europe in 1629 and is also cultivated in Hawaii.

The pioneer farmers, in clearing the land, seldom allowed the Black Walnut to grow in the fields and about their homes, and some were probably planted. In many places this tree is becoming scarce on account of being cut for its valuable wood. Under favorable conditions; the walnut may reach an extreme height of nearly a 100 feet and a trunk diameter of 6 feet. In the open, it develops large branches and is wide-spreading.

The bark is dark brown with prominent ridges and deep furrows. The large compound leaves are very similar to those of the butternut. The staminate catkins, which appear with the leaves, also resemble those of the butternut. The fruit is nearly round, yellowish green, roughly dotted, an inch and a half to nearly three inches in diameter. Nutritionally, the black walnut kernel is high in unsaturated fat and protein. 

The husk does not split open like that of the hickory nut. The nut within is dark, rough, very hard or bony, nearly round, only slightly compressed, and an inch and a quarter to nearly two inches in diameter. The sweet, edible, four-celled kernel has a pleasant but strong taste and is quite oily. The Black Walnut is one of the most important of our native nut-bearing trees. The walnut shells are frequently used as an abrasive in sand blasting or other circumstances where a medium hardness grit is necessary.

Large quantities of the nuts are gathered for home use, and many are sold in the markets. The American Indians made great use of them as an article of food. The husk has an aromatic odor and is sometimes used for dyeing and tanning. The mere name of Black Walnut brings pleasant recollections to the minds of many grown folks who spent their youth in the country. Also, the tree wood has in the past been used for gun stocks, furniture, flooring, paddles, coffins, and many other wood products.

The writer recalls that three quite large trees stood along the fence that enclosed the grounds of the school he attended when a lad. The trees gave us exercise in climbing. When we returned to school in autumn, the nuts on the branches were excellent targets for our marksmanship. They were gathered and carried home by the boys who did not naturally fall heir to such articles of diet. The Black walnut drupes contain juglone, plumbagin, and tannin.

In the adjoining field, a few rods from the fence stood a great spreading walnut tree, presumably the parent of all the others in the immediate neighborhood. The ground was often nearly covered by the un-hulled nuts. The fanner owning the land always left the nuts for the boys. Here during the noon hour of pleasant autumn days, we often congregated to eat walnuts or shuck them to take home. Black walnut is also used in allelopathic releases chemicals from roots and other tissues. These are harmful for some other organisms and give the tree a competitive advantage.  Also this is time and again undesirable as it can harm garden plants and grasses.

Our fingers were stained a dark brown the skin almost tanned. With all the washing with soap and water, we could not remove the color and our fingers carried the telltale stains for a week or two. But what a good time we had! Sometimes in the spring we tried the nuts but then after being moist with rain and snow all winter, they were getting ready to grow and had a peculiar sweet taste. The Black walnut is at present under immense pressure from the thousand of cankers disease that is causing decline of walnuts in a number of areas.

I am informed by a friend that even the nuts of the Bitter-Fruited Hickory lose their bitterness, or most of it, after being buried or left out for a winter. I have not verified this by experiment. The Texas Walnut, “Juglans rupestris”, which grows along canons and streams of the Southwest, has small thick-shelled nuts much esteemed by the Mexicans and Indians. The California Walnut, Juglans californica, is a beautiful tree growing along the west coast.

The nuts are small, thin-shelled, and sweet. The Persian or English walnut, “Juglans regia”, is grafted on its roots so that it can be grown farther north. Another species, “Juglans kindsii”, is found about old Indian camp sites in central California. Moreover the black walnut is an imperative tree commercially, as the wood is a deep brown color and easily worked and cultivated for their distinctive and desirable taste. The U.S. national champion black walnut is on a residential property in Oregon. It is 8 ft 7 inches diameter at breast height and 112 ft tall, with a crown spread of 144 feet. Read More - How to Grow Sweat Peas?

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Tuesday, 13 August 2019

How to Grow Sweet Peas?

Common names: pea, sweet pea, garden pea, sugar pea, English pea
Botanical name: Pisum sativum
Origin: Europe, Near East
Varieties Shelling types: Little Marvel (62 days); Frosty (64 days); Wando (75 days); Dwarf Grey Sugar (65 days). Edible-pod types: Giant Melting (65 days); Melting Sugar (69 days); Oregon Sugar Pod (75 days); Sugar Snap (65 days).

Peas are hardy, weak-stemmed, climbing annuals that have leaf like stipules, leaves with one to three pairs of leaflets, and tendrils that they use for climbing. The flowers are white, streaked, or colored. The fruit is a pod containing four to 10 seeds, either smooth or wrinkled depending on the variety. Custom has it that you can make a wish if you find a pea pod with nine or more peas in it. Edible-pod peas are a fairly recent development. Grow them the same way as sweet peas, but harvest the immature pod before the peas have developed to full size.

Peas have traditionally been a difficult crop for the home gardener to grow, with yields so low that it was hardly worth planting them. The introduction of the new easy-to-grow varieties of edible-pod peas has made growing peas a manageable undertaking for the home gardener, and no garden should be without them. All you need to grow peas is cool weather and a six-foot support trellis.

Where and when to grow
Peas are a cool-season crop that must mature before the weather gets hot. Ideal growing weather for peas is moist and between 60° and 65°F, Plant them as soon as the soil can be worked in spring about six weeks before the average date of last frost.

How to plant
Peas tolerate partial shade and need good drainage in soil that is high in organic material. They produce earlier in sandy soil, but yield a heavier, later crop if grown in clay soil. Although soaking seeds can speed germination, a lot of seed can be ruined by over soaking, and peas are harder to plant when they're wet, because the seeds tend to break. Before planting, work a complete well-balanced fertilizer into the soil at the rate of one pound per 100 square feet or 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Plant the peas two inches deep, one to two inches apart, in rows 18 to 24 inches apart.

Fertilizing and watering
Fertilize before planting and again at midseason, at the same rate as the rest of the garden. Detailed information on fertilizing is given in "Spadework: The Essential Soil" in P a r t i. Peas need ample moisture; don't let the soil dry out. When the vines are flowering, avoid getting water on the plants; it may damage the flowers and reduce the crop.

Special handling
Provide trellises to support the pea vines. Cultivate very gently to avoid harming the fragile roots.

Aphids, rabbits, birds, and people are attracted to pea vines. Control aphids by pinching out infested foliage or by hosing them off the vines. Fence out the rabbits, and discourage birds with a scarecrow. Stern words may do the trick with human trespassers. Despite this competition, peas are an excellent crop for any garden.
Peas are susceptible to rot, wilt, blight, mosaic, and mildew. New, highly disease-resistant varieties are available; use them to cut down on disease problems in your garden. You will also lessen the incidence of disease if you avoid handling the vines when they're wet, and if you maintain the general health and cleanliness of the garden. If a plant does become diseased, remove and destroy it before it can spread disease to healthy plants.
When and how to harvest

Time from planting to harvest is from 55 to 80 days. A 10-foot row may give you about three pounds of pods. Pick shelling peas when the pods are full and green, before the peas start to harden. Over mature peas are nowhere near as tasty as young ones; as peas increase in size, the sugar content goes down as the starch content goes up. Sugar  will also begin converting to starch as soon as peas are picked. To slow this process, chill the peas in their pods as they are picked and shell them immediately before cooking. Harvest edible-pod peas before the peas mature. Pods
Should be plump, but the individual peas should not be completely showing through the pod.

Storing and preserving

Storing fresh shelling peas is seldom an issue for home gardeners; there are seldom any left to store but they can be stored in the refrigerator, unshelled, up to one week. You can sprout, freeze, can, or dry peas. Dried peas can be stored in a cool, dry place for 10 to 12 months. Edible-pod peas are also so good raw that you may not even get them as far as the kitchen. If you do have any to spare, you can store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for seven to 10 days. Edible-pod peas also freeze well and, unlike shelling peas. lose little of their flavor when frozen. Detailed information on storing and preserving is given in Part 3.

Serving suggestions
Freshly shelled peas are a luxury seldom enjoyed by most people. Cook them quickly in a little water and serve them with butter and chopped mint. Or add a sprig of mint during cooking. Fresh peas and boiled new potatoes are the perfect accompaniment for a lamb roast. Toss cold, cooked peas into a salad, or add them to potato salad — throw in diced cooked carrots as well, and you've got a Russian salad. Simmer peas in butter with a handful of lettuce tossed in at the end of the cooking time or try lining the pot with lettuce leaves and cooking the peas briefly over low heat. Add a few sautéed mushrooms or onions for a sophisticated vegetable dish. Add edible pod peas to a stir-fry dish — the rapid cooking preserves their crisp texture and delicate flavor. Eat them raw, or use them alone, lightly steamed, as a side dish.

Pea Black Eyed
Common names: pea, black-eyed pea, cowpea, chowder pea, southern pea, black-eyed bean, China bean
Botanical name: Gigna sinensis
Origin: Asia
Varieties; California Black Eye (75 days); Pink Eye Purple Hull (78 days); Mississippi Silver (80 days).
Black-eyed peas are tender annuals that can be either bushy or climbing plants, depending on the variety. The seeds of the dwarf varieties are usually white with a dark spot (black eye) where they're attached to the pod; sometimes the spots are brown or purple. Black-eyed peas originated in Asia. Slave traders brought them to Jamaica, where they became a staple of the West Indies' diet.

Where and when to grow
Unlike sweet peas, black-eyed peas tolerate high temperatures but are very sensitive to cold — the slightest frost will harm them. They grow very well in the South, but they don't grow well from transplants, and some Northern areas may not have a long enough growing season to accommodate them from seeds. If your area has a long enough warm season, plant black-eyed peas from seed four weeks after the average date of last frost.

How to plant

Black-eyed peas will tolerate partial shade and will grow in very poor soil. In fact, like other legumes, they're often grown to improve the soil. Well-drained, well-worked soil that's high in organic matter increases their productivity. When you're preparing the soil for planting, you have to work in a complete, well-balanced fertilizer at the rate of one pound per 100 square feet or 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Sow seeds half an inch deep and about two inches apart in rows two to three feet apart; when the seedlings are large enough to handle, thin them to three or four inches apart.

Fertilizing and watering
Fertilize before planting and again at midseason, at the same rate as the rest of the garden. Detailed information on fertilizing is given in "Spadework: The Essential Soil" in P a r t i. Don't let the soil dry out, but try to keep water off the flowers; it may cause them to fall off, and this will reduce the yield.

Beetles, aphids, spider mites, and leafhoppers attack black-eyed peas. Control aphids and beetles physically by hand-picking or hosing them off the plants, pinch out aphid-infested vegetation, or using a chemical spray of Diazinon or Malathion. Hose leafhoppers off the plants or spray with carbaryl. Spider mites are difficult to control even with
The proper chemicals; remove the affected plants before the spider mites spread, or spray the undersides of the foliage with Diazinon.

Black-eyed peas are susceptible to anthracnose, rust, mildews,mosaic, and wilt. Planting disease-resistant varieties when possible and maintaining the general cleanliness and health of your garden will help cut down the incidence of disease. To avoid spreading disease, don't work with the plants when they're wet. If a plant does become infected, remove it before it can spread disease to healthy plants.

When and how to harvest
Time from planting to harvest is from 70 to 110 days. You can eat either the green pods or the dried peas. Pick pods at whatever stage of maturity you desire — either young and tender or fully matured to use dried.

Storing and preserving

Unshelled black-eyed peas can be kept up to one week in the refrigerator. Young black-eyed peas can be frozen, pod and all; the mature seeds can be dried, canned, or frozen. Dried shelled black-eyed peas can be stored in a cool, dry place for 10 to 12 months.

Serving suggestions
Eat young black-eyed peas in the pod like snap beans; dry the shelled peas for use in casseroles and soups. Combine cooked black-eyed peas and rice, season with red pepper sauce, and bake until hot; or simmer the peas with pork or bacon for a classic Southern dish.

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