Kale The ‘New’ Supper Green Garden Vegetable

kale1 Kale seems to have come out of know where and is quickly becoming one of American gardeners favorite green vegetables.

Lettuce and spinach are being replaced by Kale as a favorite fresh salad and cooked table green.

Growing Kale Old Farmers Almanac said ” Kale likes Full Sun and grows best in a loamy soil with a neutral pH to slightly alkaline soil.”

Kale is a hardy, cool-season green that is part of the ‘cole’ cabbage family. It grows best in the spring and fall and can tolerate all fall frosts. Kale can be used in salads or as a garnish and is rich in minerals and vitamins A and C.

You can plant kale anytime from early spring to early summer. If you plant kale late in the summer you can harvest it from fall until the ground freezes in winter.
Mix 1-1/2 cups of 5-10-10 fertilizer per 25 feet of row into the top 3 to 4 inches of soil. Plant the seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep into well-drained, light soil. After about 2 weeks, thin the seedlings so that they are spaced 8 to 12 inches apart.

Water the plants regularly but be sure not to over water them. Mulch the soil heavily after the first hard freeze. The plants may continue to produce leaves throughout the winter.

Kale is ready to harvest when the leaves are about the size of your hand. Pick about one fistful of leaves per harvest. Avoid picking the terminal bud (found at the top center of the plant) this will help to keep the plant productive.
The small, tender leaves can be eaten uncooked and used in salads. Cut and cook the larger leaves like spinach, remove the large tough ribs before cooking. Store kale as you would any other leafy green. Put kale in a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator. It should last about 1 week.

Consider planting,
* ‘Vates’, which is a hardy variety and does not yellow in cold weather. It also has curly, blue-green leaves.
* ‘Winterbor’, which resembles the ‘Vates’ variety, and it is frost tolerant.
* ‘Red Russian’, which has red, tender leaves and is an early crop.

Kale with Lemon and Garlic
Potato and Kale Soup
Killer Kale salad thanks to Gardener Next Door blog.

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Peppers – Some Like It Hot – Some Don’t !

Your perfect Burn A pepper lovers blog.
Red-Peppers So you want to grow pepper! FAQ’s and Pepper History – Pobept said
TG Seed Supply has huge selection of different sweet and hot types of pepper seed to choose from and is a good reference source.
Sweet Pepper Seed
Hot Pepper Seed
Their site has pictures of each pepper type and a bit of information on each peppers size, taste, growing requirements and how Sweet or Hot each variety is. DISCLAIMER: I am not endorsing any company over another. As with any on-line purchase, check out the company Before you send money or use your credit card to make a purchase.

If your needing only a few ‘commonly’ grown pepper plants it may be best for your to buy started seedlings from your local nursery.

Small Children and Girley Man safe peppers.

All of the sweet(bell) pepper no mater it’s color are low or no heat peppers.
** Here is a small selection of Child Safe Peppers for your consideration.

Bounty Hybrid #9366 – hybrid version of a Sweet Banana.
Carmen Hybrid #9088 Sweet peppers in the Italian bull’s horn style.
Corno di Toro Yellow #9603 Italian ‘bull’s horn’ colorful sweet pepper.
Corno Verde Hybrid #9108 This is a long, fleshy pepper shaped like a bull’s horn.
Flexum Hybrid #9807 4 oz. cone-shaped peppers start out ivory then mature to yellow, orange, and finally red.
Giant Aconcagua #9146 Oblong fruit grows up to 12 inches long and is produced in great abundance.
Gypsy Hybrid #9056 Outstanding yield, good looks and flavor combine with earliness to make this pepper a winner.
Jimmy Nardello #9303 Technically a frying pepper, this is one of the sweetest non-bell peppers you’ll ever taste. Bright red, 6 to 7 inch long peppers.
Sweet Cayenne #9614 Long, sweet, cayenne shaped peppers to 1 foot long turning crimson red when ripe. Productive bearing loads of these crinkly, thin walled peppers.
Sweet Pickle #9520 Compact plants are crowned by a profusion of upright peppers in colors of red, orange, yellow, and purple, all at the same time.

If it’s important to you TG seed does not sell any GE/GM or GMO pepper seed.
All of their seed is natural hybrid or open-pollinated [heirloom] varieties.

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Bad Little Girls And Boys Get Zucchini

Zucchini squash

Zucchini squash

Zucchini can do it all. Bread, muffins, baked, boiled, broiled, fried, grilled(BBQ grill) pickled, pizzas, stuffed, soup, stews, raw in salads. Is there no place safe from being served Zucchini? A few Zucchini Recipes

Zucchini is a productive spring and summer squash. Maybe you should consider Zucchini Patties, Zucchini Pizza, Stuffed Zucchini, Zucchini Soup, Zucchini Casserole, any number of Zucchini Bread’s! How about thin sliced, dried Zucchini chips for healthy snacks! You can freeze and can Zucchini for winter consumption. You can make and can Zucchini pickles. As a last resort, cut them up into chunks and feed them to your poultry or pigs!

Zucchini a juggling act!

Zucchini a juggling act!

Grin ….. of course you can always use a few of them to fine tune your juggling abilities or try sending a few to school with your children for show and tell day. You can attempt to trick your dog, fry them in bacon fat and try feeding them to your pets! Set a few bags near your driveway or gate, with a sign reading ‘Free Food.’

Carry a large Zucchini in your purse or briefcase to fend off muggers! Cheaper and more effective than a stun-gun!

priapos

priapos

Priapos {What Have I Done To Offend You?} Greek God of gardens, was the rustic god of the bounty of the vegetable garden. He was also honored protector of sheep, goats, bees, the vine and of all garden produce.
Why do you give me so many Zucchini’s?

Fear not, I have done the research for you and here are a few things you can do with zucchini until your muster enough courage to pull the zucchini vines and put then on top of you compost pile.

University of Nebraska Food Nutrition and health. Has a few ideas what to do with zucchini.

That British Woman Blog Has a list of 50 + 1 things to do with zucchini.

AllRecipes.com claims to have more than 600 zucchini recipes! You should be able to find a few recipes to use up some of your excess zucchini here.

Don’t neglect to freeze and make zucchini pickles from at least part of your harvest to feed your family during the cold months of winter when you are longing for the warm productive days of working in your summer garden.

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Asparagus Plant Once For Years Of Fine Dining – 2010 (Updated)

Most of this information originated from the University of Michigan and as such it will sometimes talk about growing Asparagus in that state. That’s OK, with few exceptions this same information is applicable to where you live as well.
The information I present has been heavily edited of use on my blog.

Reference Document MSU Extension
Asparagus Plant Once For Years Of Fine Dining Once established Asparagus is easy to grow and harvest and a true luxury make you feel good food. Plant one or more rows and you will be harvesting Asparagus for many years to come with a minimum of effort.

Preparing the Soil For planting asparagus should have begin last year, but that’s no big problem if you use common sense this year. Asparagus has some unusual nutrient requirements and it may take you a while to build your soil up. Shoot for a soil pH of about 7.0. Asparagus will grow at lower pHs, but research shows that lower pHs are more conducive to the growth of the Fusarium fungi. Although asparagus prefers sandy soil, anything you can do to raise the organic matter of the soil before planting will also pay big benefits. Compost is probably the easiest way to do this, manure would be beneficial as well.

Choosing a variety to plant Mary, Martha or Waltham Washington. These are unimproved, non-hybrid varieties. What hybrid means in the case of asparagus is “all-male” hybrids. In a non-hybrid bed you will have an equal number of male and female plants. While female plants generally produce larger spears, they also produce fewer spears. Gardeners grow mostly hybrid asparagus, chiefly Jersey Giant, Jersey Knight, Jersey Supreme and Jersey Gem.
Increasingly growers are planting more Canadian hybrids, especially one called Teissen, which test show is more productive.
Jersey Knight is what growers here generally use for fresh market. Most of the rest of the varieties mentioned are mostly processing varieties. These varieties are bred for northern climates. I am less familiar with some of the varieties used in the southern United States, but UC 157 is widely grown in places like California and Mexico. It comes from the University of California breeding program.

Transplanting the asparagus Asparagus crown needs to be planted deeply so that you don’t have spindly spears. It is strongly recommend using year old nursery grown crowns. They are small enough that they don’t suffer so greatly from transplant shock.
Asparagus needs to be planted in a trench. In sandy soil, that trench needs to be 8-10 inches deep. Clay soils should have shallower trenches, about 6 inches in depth. Rows are planted from 4 to 5 feet apart to give fern room to grow in the summer. Crowns should be planted between 8 and 12 inches apart on center. A little phosphate fertilizer should be put in the trenches before the crowns are set. Be careful that the fertilizer you use does not also have enough potassium or nitrogen to burn the crown. Triple super phosphate, also known as 0-46-0, is a good choice if you are going to use dry fertilizer.

Do not fill the trenches in completely, although that is sometimes done successfully on very sandy soils. The best approach is to cover the crowns with about 3 inches of soil. Let the new plants grow through that soil for about 6 weeks and add another 3 inches of soil. Wait until the plants have gone dormant in the late fall or in the spring before growth begins to finish filling the trenches.

Commercial grown Asparagus beds (rows) usually lasts between 12 and 15 years. A few people have asparagus beds that are over 50 years old. However, spear diameter can begin to drop as the bed ages.

Harvesting Asparagus Do not harvest your asparagus the year you plant it or the year following planting. The asparagus plant needs to grow and establish a healthy crown and it will need all of its energy to do that. The third-year after transplanting we generally harvest the field for about two weeks. Try to harvest fields 8 to 12 times the first year of harvest. Which number we use depends on the strength of the field. A picking is taken whenever the spears get tall enough to harvest, usually between 8 and 10 inches, which may be every day in warm weather or every four days in very cool weather. One thing you can use as a guide is the number and diameter of the spears you are harvesting. If the number of spears in a harvest drops off dramatically beyond 15 pickings or so, or if the spear diameter drops, you may want to consider ending harvest early.
Growers should harvest all of the spears that come up until the end of the harvest period, even the small diameter ones call “whips”. You will find that whips are generally higher in fiber and tougher to eat than large diameter spears. That is because most of the fiber in asparagus is in the skins, making the larger spear the more tender.

After the end of the harvest season, the spears should be allowed to grow. A spear is really just a plant shoot, and the shoots will grow into the mature fern that re-charges the crown for the next harvest season.

Insect control Asparagus is attacked by a number of insects. The first one you will notice in the spring is the cutworm. The white cutworm over-winters as a larva and can begin attacking spears as soon as they emerge in the spring. The usual damage that results is that they eat the tip off the spear.

The common asparagus beetle is the next major pest in our timeline. This beetle is uniquely colored with a black and white checkerboard pattern set on a field of maroon. Its chief damage during the harvest season is to glue black eggs to spears. These eggs, which can be numerous, are oblong and stick out from the spear. This pest lasts through harvest season and hatching larvae feed on growing fern, often browning the fern completely off if left uncontrolled.

Dark-sided cutworm also arrives during harvest, usually a couple of weeks after the white cutworm, since in over-winters as an egg. This cutworm feeds on the side of the spear as it grows causing it to bend, often in a corkscrew shape. At present, carbaryl, the active ingredient in most garden dusts, is often used by homeowners to control all of these pests. Follow all label directions when applying any pesticide.

Disease Control Diseases are often the most damaging pests to asparagus plants. There are two major foliar diseases in asparagus rust and Stemphylium purple spot. Sanitation is an important tool in controlling these diseases. Since both of these diseases need moist conditions to grow, another cultural practice can be to plant beds so that prevailing summer winds can blow the length of the row and dry out the fern rapidly. Fern may be treated with a fungicide on a regular basis, every two weeks is often used in preventative treatments, throughout the summer.

Purple spot disease is not generally a problem for gardeners, since cooking usually causes the spots to disappear from the spears. Purple spot during the fern season is more serious. Lesions have a brownish-purple color and are usually irregularly shaped and sunken.

Non-pathogenic asparagus problems Frost can also be devastating to asparagus beds, causing spears to first take on a glassy, dark-green color and then to shrivel and turn black. In both of these situations affected spears should be removed and new ones allowed to grow. Spears can also come up bent and twisted if they are being grown in rocky soil. There is very little that can be done about this situation and the bending does not affect the eating quality of the spear.

Fertilizer Generally do not give asparagus fertilizer unless they are based on a soil test three or less years old. In general, asparagus is a big user of potassium, uses very little phosphorus other than in the year crowns are set, and uses small amounts of nitrogen.

Irrigation Most of the eastern United States, irrigation is completely unnecessary. That is because asparagus is extremely deep rooted. In deep soils, roots often reach 10 feet in depth. In more arid regions some irrigation may be necessary, although overhead irrigation makes an ideal environment for foliar diseases.

White asparagus Contrary to popular belief, white asparagus is not a variety. It is simply asparagus spears grown in the absence of sunlight so that chlorophyll does not develop. White asparagus does have a slightly sweeter taste and has less fiber than green asparagus. In parts of Europe, especially Germany and the Netherlands this is the primary way that asparagus is grown and consumed.

The traditional way to grow it is to plant crowns on the soil surface instead of trenches and to mound dirt up over the rows. During harvest pickers walk between the mounded rows and when they see an asparagus tip just cracking through the soil they dig the spear out of the dirt and cut it off. An alternate way to raise white asparagus was developed by Dr. Jim Motes, an Extension Specialist from Oklahoma State University. His system is to place bent iron hoops over flat rows and cover them with thick black plastic. The plastic blocks sunlight and the pickers can then just lift up the plastic and snap off the white spears.

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Dupont – Monsanto – GM, GMO – Hybrid Food Crops

My Monsanto, GM / GMO thread has taken an unexpected turn and a life of it’s own. It seems that it has generated many ‘Emotional based’ as well as well researched, proven/provable, scientific documented comments.
Before commenting Please engage brain before operating mouth or keyboard.

Just for the record book I trust government agencies and bureaucrats less than I trust big business like Monsanto, Dupont and others.
I am pro-business, free enterprise, anti-big intrusive, power hungry government kind of person. I neither like nor hate Monsanto, Dupont or other food crop seed producing companies.

I have no problem with Monsanto/Dupont and others patenting, trademarking or copyrighting their research, development and products.
Agricultural business has the same rights and even responsibilities to protect their companies cost of development of new products and to make a profit from selling these products. Whether that product is herbicides, pesticides or seed. Share holders have the right to expect to gain a profit from their investments in these companies.

Note You never hear any thinking person making the claim that Kellogg, General Mills, Apple, Microsoft, Intel or other companies should not be allowed to patent their foods, research or technologies or that they do no have a right to make a profit selling their products. Agra-business planting, growing, harvesting food products is no different.

Research and development of a new or improved food crop seed is not fast nor cheap. It can easily take 10 years of research, development and may cost a $100 million dollars or more from concept to USDA, FDA and EPA approval to market a new, modified or improved food. Be that a cereal grain, vegetable, or fish(GM salmon).

FYI As a young boy in the late 1940′s I was hearing the very same mostly ‘emotional based’ comments about how hybrid seeds development was destroying our food crop seed supply. How hybrid seed developing seed companies now owned and controlled our food supplies.
It was not a true fact then nor is it a true fact today.
No one is holding farmers, ranchers or home gardeners at gun point forcing them to buy or plant GM food crop seed.

Like or hate GM foods, they are here today and GM foods are here to stay.
If you eat you are consuming at best some GM foods. If the food(s) you eat contain any form or by product of Canola (rape seed), corn, corn starch, corn oil, corn based syrup/sweeteners, corn meal or soybean meal, oils, tofu, sauce. Poultry and livestock (beef or pork) are being fed feeds containing GM grains and hay. You are eating GM foods.

I look forward to your comment(s). However this is MY blog and I reserve the right to edit or in some cases delete comment(s). Making physical threats, comments full of profanity will surely be sent to my junk file, (wordpress comments filter) sometimes without me ever seeing or reading them.

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Leading UK Scientist Said – Stop Trying To Save The Planet

Source James Lovelock said give up trying to save the world from climate change

Before you beat me up this is a fun posting with opinion(s) from ‘Me’ and UK Scientist James Lovelock.

James-Lovelock UK scientist and inventor James Lovelock claims we should stop trying to save the planet from global warming and retreat to climate controlled cities. Saving the planet from climate change is ‘beyond our ability’ and we should stop wasting time trying to tackle global warming.

James Lovelock, who first detected CFCs in the atmosphere and proposed the Gaia hypotheses, said “society should retreat to ‘climate-controlled cities’ and give up on large expanses of land which will become uninhabitable.”
I don’t think it’s time to through in the towel just yet.

“Britain is no longer a world power and we need to leave such schemes to the USA, Japan or China. We should spend out efforts adapting Britain to fight climate change.” James said that ‘Not Me!

“We may have wasted valuable time, energy and resources by trying to grapple with climate change on a global scale.

“It sounds good to try to save the planet, but in reality we are not thinking of saving Gaia, we are thinking of saving Earth for us, or for our nation. The idea of ‘saving the planet’ is a foolish extravagance of romantic Northern ideologues and probably much beyond our ability.”

“In a changing climate cities are most less vulnerable to external heat than our individuals. If most of us lived in cities, as it seems we soon will do, the regulation of the climate of these cities might be far easier, more economic and safer option in a hot climate than the regulation by geoengineering of the whole planet.”

Big Smile In my humble opinion James is spending far to much time in his favorite Pub debating climate change with his bartender and not enough time in his lab doing ‘real’ climate research.

Special thanks to: Funny Gardening
FAQ’s
Q: What do you call a grumpy and short-tempered gardener?
A: A Snap Dragon.

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Monsanto – GMO – GM – Heirloom – Hybrid – Organic – Get It Right

For the gazillion time, I am not a fan of Monsanto, GM or GMO plants or seed. However almost every Monsanto rant I read the writer has only about 1/2 half or less of their information right. Often quoting third hand hear say, or unproven unreliable research report(s).

A blog I read stated as a fact that GM cotton requires more water. Get your head back into the real world. Sure GM cotton may require more water, but it is also producing twice as many pounds of cotton per acre. I and you should as well, expect that crop to require more water.
No thinking person should expect a single bowl of ‘GM’(developed by Monsanto) golden rice to provide ‘ALL’ of your vitamin A (or any other vitamin) daily needs.

Just for a point of reference In the late 1940′s and early 1950′s I heard the very same fear tactics, when hybrid grain maize, soybean, corn and vegetable seeds first entered our food chain.

USDA and FDA said Natural and Organic Foods PDF
* It is important to keep in mind that the term “organic” does not necessarily mean “healthier.” The USDA makes no claim that organically produced food is safer or more nutritious than conventionally produced food. Consumers will still need to read nutrition labels and make wise selections to maintain an overall healthy diet. Keep in mind that the words “natural” and “organic” are not interchangeable. Only food labeled “organic” designate that the product meets the new USDA organic standards.
Organic Nutrition Labels

USDA certified Organic Organic / Organic Grown is ‘most’ likely not what you think it is and has little or nothing to do with the plants or the seed they come. The term Organic has much more to do with the growing conditions and methods used in growing that crop. Use of man made fertilizers, insecticides, and fungicides.
If a product does not carry the USDA certified Organic Label, the term natural or organic has no real meaning.

Organic farming, agriculture conducted according to certain standards, especially the use of stated methods of fertilization and pest control.
Organic certification, accreditation process for producers of organic products.
Organic horticulture, the science and art of growing fruits, vegetables, flowers, or ornamental plants by following the essential principles of organic agriculture.
Organic food, food produced from organic farming methods and often certified organic according to organic farming standards.

Heirloom seed / varieties much like Organic has no ‘real’ provable definition, but is subject to the opinion of the seller or grower.
The definition and use of the word heirloom to describe plants is fiercely debated.

One school of thought places an age or date point on the cultivars. For instance, one school says the cultivar must be over 100 years old, others 50 years, and others prefer the date of 1945 which marks the end of World War II and roughly the beginning of widespread hybrid use by growers and seed companies.
Additionally, there is another category of cultivars that could be classified as “commercial heirlooms”, cultivars that were introduced many generations ago and were of such merit that they have been saved, maintained and handed down even if the seed company has gone out of business or otherwise dropped the line. Additionally, many old commercial releases have actually been family heirlooms that a seed company obtained and introduced.

Most authorities agree that heirlooms, by definition, must be open-pollinated. They may also be open pollinated varieties that were bred and stabilized using classic breeding practices. Generally speaking heirlooms have adapted over time to whatever climate and soil they have grown in. Due to their genetics, they are often resistant to local pests, diseases, and extremes of weather.

Hybrid seed is seed produced by cross-pollinated plants. Hybrid seed production is predominant in agriculture and home gardening. It is one of the main contributors to the dramatic rise in agricultural output at the end of WWI and again after WWII ended.
The alternatives to hybridization are open pollination and clonal propagation.

Controlled hybrids provide very uniform characteristics because they are produced by crossing two inbred strains. Elite inbred strains are used that express well documented and consistent phenotypes (such as high yield) that are relatively good for inbred plants.

An important factor is the heterosis or combining ability of the parent plants. Crossing any particular pair of inbred strains may or may not result in superior offspring. The parent strains used are therefore carefully chosen so as to achieve the uniformity that comes from the uniformity of the parents, and their superior performance.
In the US, the commercial hybrid market was launched in the 1920s, with the first hybrid maize.

Monsanto Goes Organic A must read for Monsanto haters and those ‘like me’ that are not fans of GM / GMO products.

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