Melons – Easy to grow

Melons, pumpkins and squash are all easy to grow and have similar growth habits, water and fertilizer needs. However they do require a lot of garden space for their vines to spread.

Melons grow best on a deep, well drained, sandy or sandy loam soil with plenty of organic matter. Heavy soils with a lot of clay often cause small, weak plants that produce fewer melons. Melons prefer soils with a neutral pH, and if the soil is too acidic the plants will drop their blossoms.

Apply manure or compost at 50 to 100 pounds per 1,000 square feet, or about 2 to 4 tons per acre, to build the organic matter content of the soil. Turn the soil over so all organic matter is covered completely.

Melons require well drained soils, work the soil into ridges or hills 4 to 8 inches high and 12 to 14 inches wide for planting. Heavier soils require higher ridges.

Place the rows of muskmelons and honeydews 6 to 8 feet apart.
Rows of irrigated watermelons 10 to 12 feet apart, and rows of un-irrigated watermelons 12 to 16 feet apart.

Melons are warm-season crops and are easily injured by frost. Do not plant seeds until the soil warms in the spring and all danger of frost is past. Plant the seeds in hills. Plant groups of six to eight seeds at a depth of 1 to 1-1/2 inches. Fine sandy soils or heavy clay soils often crust when dry, so if the weather is dry after planting, the hill may need moistening to soften the soil.

Melons do best with small amounts of fertilizer in two or three applications. Apply fertilizer in a band along the row for best results.

For watermelons, apply a fertilizer high in phosphorous, such as 10-10-10, at a rate of 4 pounds per 1,000 square feet (60 to 90 feet of row). Make a trench on the planting bed 4 to 6 inches deep and 2 inches from the side of the row. Cover the fertilizer and plant so seeds do not touch the fertilizer. Before the runners on the vines are about 6 inches long, scatter 2 to 3 pounds of fertilizer per 60 to 90 feet of row 2 to 3 feet to the side of the row and mix it lightly with the soil.

Fertilize muskmelons and honeydews with 2 to 3 pounds of fertilizer for every 60 to 70 feet of row. Phosphorous, the second number on the fertilizer label, is most important for muskmelons at planting, and nitrogen is important when the vines begin to run. Make the second fertilizer application to the side of the row when vines begin to run.

Judging the ripeness of watermelons requires skill and experience. Some signs of ripeness in watermelons are:

Dull sound when thumped. This varies with the gardener and the size and type of melon and often is inaccurate.
Change in color of rind. Ripe melons often lose their glossy color.
Change in color of soil spot. The spot where the melon rests on the soil takes on a creamy, streaked color.
Death or drying of the tendril. The tendril near the point where the melon is attached to the vine dries when ripe. This is the most dependable sign.

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Ginger – Easy to grow

Ginger is grown for its aromatic, pungent, and spicy rhizomes, which are often referred to as ginger roots.

Active components in ginger are gingerols, which are responsible for its distinct fragrance and flavor.
Gingerols are powerful anti-inflammatory compounds that can help alleviate the pain caused by arthritis.
Studies have also shown that ginger helps boost the immune system, protect against colorectal cancer, and induce cell death in ovarian cancer.

Depending on the variety, the flesh may be yellow, white, or red. The skin is cream-colored to light brown and may be thick or thin, depending on the plant’s maturity at harvest.

Ginger thrives best in warm, humid climates. Choose a site that provides plenty of light, including 2 to 5 hours of direct sunlight. Ideal spots are also protected from strong winds.

The best soil for ginger is loose, loamy, and rich in organic matter. Loamy soils allow water to drain freely, which will help prevent the rhizomes from becoming waterlogged. Thick mulch can also provide nutrients, retain water, and help control weeds.

Before planting, cut the ginger rhizome into 1- to 1½-inch pieces, and set them aside for a few days to allow the cut surface area to heal and form a callus. In early spring, plant ginger rhizomes. Each piece should be plump with well developed growth buds, or eyes.
Note: If you are buying ginger from a store, soak the rhizomes in water overnight because they are sometimes treated with a growth retardant.

Plant the rhizomes 6 to 8 inches apart, 2 to 4 inches deep with the growth buds pointing upward. They can be planted whole or in smaller pieces with a couple of growing buds. Ginger plants will grow to about 2 to 3 feet tall.

Add a slow release organic fertilizer at planting. Afterward, liquid fertilizer may be applied every few weeks.

Soil amendments are especially needed in regions of heavy rainfall, where rain can leach essential nutrients from the soil. You can also add compost, which will supply nutrients as well as retain water in the soil. Ginger roots benefit from fertilizer containing high levels of phosphorus (P), something like NPK 5-20-5.

Do not allow the plants to dry out while they are actively growing. As the weather cools, reduce watering. This will encourage the plants to form underground rhizomes. In dry areas, mist or spray plants regularly. Avoid overwatering.

Ginger is typically available in two forms:
Young ginger is usually available only in Asian markets and does not need to be peeled.
Mature ginger is more readily available and has a tough skin that needs to be peeled.

Ginger is a good source of copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and vitamin B6. Historically, it has been used to relieve symptoms of gastrointestinal distress.

The level of flavor that ginger delivers to a meal depends on when it is added during the cooking process. Added early, it will give a hint of flavor; adding it toward the end will bring about a more pungent taste.

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Dill – Easy to grow

Dill is a perennial herb that typically reaches 2 to 4 feet tall at maturity. Its leaves are used fresh or dried as an herb in dips, soups, salads, and other dishes. The seeds are used as a spice for pickling and for adding flavor to stews and roasts.

Dill will grow well in poor soil conditions. But it grows best in well drained, sandy or loamy soil that is slightly acidic (pH 5.8 to 6.5). Dill likes a soil temperature near 70°F.

Dill can also be easily grown in containers, both indoors and outdoors. Choose a deep container to accommodate the tall plant and its long roots. Use normal potting compost and keep the plants well watered.

If the container is inside, place the plants where they will receive at least 5 to 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. You may need to support the plants with a stake. Dill plants will be ready for harvest within about 8 to 12 weeks after the seeds were sown.
Dill contain the most flavors if picked before flowering begins.

Fertilizer may be broadcast (spread on the surface throughout the planting) or applied as a side dressing (applied to the soil on or around the sides of the plant).

In general, apply a formulation such as NPK 20-20-20 once in late spring at the rate of 0.70 pound per 100 square feet. A better formulation that doesn’t apply too much phosphorus is 15-5-10, and it is available at most garden centers. When using 15-5-10, apply 1 pound per 100 square feet.

To save Dill seed and the flowers form, they will bloom and seed. Cut the seed heads 2 to 3 weeks after bloom. Place the cuttings in paper bags, and allow to dry. The seeds will fall off when they are ready to be used.

Dill is a member of the parsley family. While it is possible to buy and use dried dill, dill is one of those herbs that loses its flavor rapidly, so fresh is always your best choice.​

Dill is an herb that is particularly tasty with salmon. It can be paired with salmon in any number of ways.

Dill Sauce for (fish) Salmon. Stir half a cup of finely chopped dill into a cup of plain yogurt. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and optionally a clove of minced garlic. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.

Dill flavored vinegar.
1 – cup dill weed add 2 cups 2-1/2 percent acid rice vinegar
* Optionally use 1 cup water with 1 cup 5 percent acid white vinegar.
Allow to set 5 – 7 days in a dark cool place.
This will keep for a month or more.

Dill flavored oil.
1 – cup dill weed add 2 cups olive oil.
Allow to set 5 – 7 days in a dark cool place.
Strain out dill weed. This will keep for 1 or even 2 weeks.

Hint Posted by wordsfromanneli | November 21, 2017
Dill freezes nicely. I put a clump of leaves and seeds into a ziploc and keep it on the door of my fridge freezer. I take it out when I need it and use the scissors (or a knife) to snip the amount I need. Then I wrap it up again and put the rest back in the freezer. Very handy and almost as good as fresh.

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Eggplant (Aubergines) – Easy to grow

Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family, which includes potato and tomato. It is a great source of fiber and has a fair amount of iron, potassium and protein.

Eggplant prefers well drained, fertile, sandy loam soils with a pH between 5.5 and 7.2. The higher the organic matter content of the soil the better, so incorporate a 3 to 4 inch layer of compost if possible.

There are many different varieties of eggplant, including the small, round, green ‘Kermit’ eggplants, the skinny, long Japanese pickling eggplant, and the traditional large ‘Black Bell’ eggplant.

Although eggplant can be seeded directly into the garden, it is better for the beginning gardener to use transplants. If you can’t find the varieties you want in garden centers, make sure you start seeds 6 to 8 weeks before they are to be transplanted outside. Grow the seeds indoors. They will germinate in 5 days if kept at 86 degrees F, but could take up to 14 days at 65 degrees F. Eggplant is a tropical plant, so it is very sensitive to cold and should not be planted outside until after all risk of frost has passed and daytime temperatures are at least 65 degrees F. The plants will grow to 2 to 4 feet, so space them 24 to 36 inches apart.

Eggplant needs a consistent supply of nutrients. Add a total of 2 to 3 pounds of a complete fertilizer (6-12-12, 10-10-10, or 9-16-16) per 1,000 square feet. Apply half the fertilizer before planting and the other half after the first fruits appear.

It is helpful to pour 1/4 cup of starter solution around each plant. Make a starter solution by dissolving 2 tablespoons of a complete fertilizer in 1 gallon of water.

Eggplant also needs consistent water, at least 1 inch per week. It is better to give one thorough soaking than several frequent, short waterings, frequent watering promotes shallow roots. Weather and soil type, of course, will affect water demand. High temperatures, high winds, and sandy soils will all increase the need for watering.

The fruit can be harvested when they are 1/3 to full size. Harvest before the skin becomes dull and the seeds become hard. General rule is if you lightly press the side of the fruit with your thumbnail and the indentation stays, then the fruit is ripe and ready to be picked.
Handle the harvested fruit gently so they don’t get bruised.

Eggplant can be cooked many ways. It can be baked, stewed, sautéed, fried or stuffed. It can be cooked whole or in pieces. It can be cubed and used in curries and stews. Eggplant Parmesan is always a dinner time success dish.

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Artichoke – Easy to grow

Artichoke, a member of the thistle family. It is a nutritious vegetable and a beautiful landscape plant. Plants can reach 3 feet in height and width, and the flower, if allowed to bloom, can be 7 inches in diameter.

Globe artichoke produces best in deep, fertile, well drained soil, but will grow in a wide range of soils. Avoid very sandy soils.

Artichokes grow well when fertilized regularly.

If manure is available, mix 100 to 140 pounds of composted manure per 100 square feet into the soil before planting.

Phosphorus and potash are best applied before planting and should also be worked in. Apply about 0.25 pound of P205 and 0.25 pound of K2O per 100 square feet. Artichokes require about 0.1 pound of nitrogen (N) per 100 square feet. Apply an additional 0.3 pound per 100 square feet 6 to 8 weeks later.

Foliar feeding of a liquid fertilizer containing calcium and zinc are recommended every 2 weeks during active growth begins in early spring.

Artichokes are deep-rooted and require adequate moisture when growing and producing fruit. Moisture stress may result in black tip, which is only cosmetic damage because the edible portion of the bud is not affected. Black tip is most common when conditions are sunny, warm and windy. Note: Artichokes are susceptible to root rot, so do not let the soil become too wet.

A healthy plant should produce six to nine buds per plant. All buds of suitable size should be harvested by cutting the stem 2 to 3 inches below the base of the bud. Old stems should be removed as soon as all buds have been harvested to allow new stems to grow.

Artichoke is a perennial plant so once the harvest is finished cut the plant back to soil level. This will put the plant crown into a dormant stage during the summer. The plant will send out shoots in the fall. The new shoots can be dug out to be replanted into a new location in the garden or left in place to produce another year.
Make sure you leave only the most vigorous shoot on the old plant for production next spring.

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Diseases

Rosemary – Easy to grow

Rosemary is an excellent choice for any fish, poultry or pork dish.

Rosemary is relatively easy to grow, making it a good choice for any home herb garden. Its pungent flavor and pine like scent make rosemary a popular ingredient in foods.

Rosemary pairs particularly well with, honey, garlic and lemon.

Rosemary can be grown as an annual (completes its life cycle in 1 year) or a perennial (completes its life cycle in 3 or more years). In herb gardens, it is often planted along with thyme, oregano and sage. When planting, choose a variety that is suitable to your climate, soil, and desired use.

Scented rosemary is best for cooking because of its excellent flavor and soft leaves.
Blue Boy, Spice Islands, and White rosemary are also used in cooking.
Arp, Dancing Waters, Golden Rain, Pink, and White varieties are more often used as landscape plants.

Rosemary can be grown in containers or in an herb garden. Most varieties grow best in well drained, loamy, slightly acidic soil. They preferred a soil between 6.0 and 7.0.

Rosemary should receive at least 6 hours of sun each day, however it grows best in full sun. If you plan to use rosemary as a perennial plant, choose a site where it will not be disturbed.

Like most herbs, rosemary is fairly drought resistant and, if healthy enough, can tolerate a light freeze. It is most successful when grown from cuttings or transplants. Although seed is readily available and usually inexpensive, its germination rate is usually only about 15 percent.

The best way to propagate rosemary is by taking a cutting from an already vigorous plant:

Clip a 3-inch branch from the stem of the plant.
Trim off most of the lower leaves to 1½ inches up the stem.
Plant one or two cuttings into a 3-inch pot.
Water the cuttings.
Place the pot in a windowsill with indirect sunlight and temperatures between 60° and 70°F.
After about 8 weeks, the cuttings will be rooted and ready for transplanting to their permanent location.

Rosemary seldom needs fertilizer. But if growth is slow or the plant appears stunted or pale yellow, apply fertilizer once in early spring before new growth appears. Any allpurpose fertilizer in dry or liquid form is suitable as long as it is applied correctly. To prevent leaf burning, avoid applying fertilizer directly onto the plant.

Too much water can cause root rot. Sometimes it can be difficult to determine when a rosemary plant needs water because its needles do not wilt as broad leaves do. On average, water rosemary every 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the plant size and climate conditions. Allow the plants to dry out thoroughly between watering.

Rosemary plants can be harvested several times in a season, but they should be allowed to replace their growth between harvests. Some varieties are valued for their small flowers, which are harvested for use in salads.

The clippings can be used fresh or dried for later use. Fresh cuttings will retain their best flavor for 2 to 7 days in the refrigerator. To store rosemary for longer periods, hang it in bundles to dry.

* Rosemary as a scented bath oil or flavored salad oil.
A rough rule of thumb, use two cups of oil to one cup of Rosemary.

Make your own rosemary infused oil, place a sprig or two of completely dry rosemary leaves into a glass jar, (the more rosemary leaves the stronger the flavor and scent) top with olive oil, replace the lid, and shake lightly. Store in a warm, dark place for two weeks, strain your oil and pour back into the glass jar.
Use ¼ cup for a fragrant bath.
Blend with balsamic vinegar to drizzle all over a salad for a delicious dressing.

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Turkey Deep Fried – Do’s And Don’ts

Butterball website is a great source of information on Deep Frying Turkey.

Butterball said: FROZEN WHOLE TURKEY 10 TO 32 LBS.
Thaw in refrigerator (not at room temperature). Place unopened turkey, breast side up, on a tray in refrigerator and follow our refrigerator thawing instructions. Allow at least 24 hours for every 4 pounds.

To thaw more quickly, place unopened turkey breast down in sink filled with cold tap water. Allow 30 minutes per pound. Change water every 30 minutes to keep surface of turkey cold.

When thawed, keep in refrigerator up to 4 days until ready to cook.

Deep Frying turkey turns out an irresistibly tender and delicious turkey, and is a great alternative to traditional cooking methods.
Caution It is especially important to follow instructions carefully and take extra precautions.

Every year there are a number of needless house fires and injuries caused by improper use of deep fryers to cook turkey’s.

Propane deep fryer can be very dangerous. Never leave your deep fryer unattended and be sure to carefully follow these instructions:

To start, take the wrapper off of the turkey, and remove and discard the neck and giblets.
Deep-fry your turkey outside on a flat surface, far away from homes, garages, wooden decks, etc.

If your turkey is 14 lbs. or less, you can deep-fry it whole. If it’s 15 lbs. or more, separate the legs and thighs from the breast and fry them separately.
Be sure your turkey is completely thawed.
Remove any excess fat.
Do not stuff you turkey when deep-frying. Cook the stuffing separately.
To minimize sticking to the basket, submerge the empty basket in the hot oil for about 30 seconds; remove and place turkey inside and slowly submerge your bird in the cooking oil.

To determine how much oil is needed for frying, place the thawed turkey in the fryer basket and place it in the fryer. Add water until the top of the turkey is barely covered. Remove the turkey, allowing the water to drain from the turkey back into the fryer. Measure and mark the water line, and use that line as a guide when adding oil to the propane fryer.

Important Pat the turkey dry with paper towels.
Add oil to the fryer (based on the water line).
Preheat oil in the fryer to 375° F. (Use a thermometer to check oil temperature.)

While the oil is heating, prepare your turkey with any seasonings, marinades, or injected flavor that you desire.

Safety Warning When the oil is hot, turn the burner off and slowly lower the turkey into the hot oil. Slowly lowering the basket helps prevent the oil from bubbling over. Then and only then you can turn the burner back on.
This will prevent a flash fire.

Set your timer and cook the turkey about 3 to 4 minutes per pound.

Use a thermometer. Your turkey is done when the dark meat is at an internal temperature of 175° F to 180° F and all white meat is at an internal temperature of 165° F to 170° F.

Safety Warning When the turkey is done, turn the burner off and slowly lift it from the pot and place it in a pan or on paper towels to drain. Let the turkey stand for 20 minutes before removing it from the rack or basket.

Thank you Butterball

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Aspirin In The Fight Against Cancers

Researchers followed the progress of more than 600,000 people in the largest study to date looking at the link between cancer and aspirin.

They found that people who had taken the drug every day for an average of seven years were:
47 percent less likely to develop liver or oesophageal cancer.
38 percent less likely to be diagnosed with gastric cancer.
34 percent less likely to develop pancreatic cancer.
24 percent reduced risk of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
35 percent reduced lung cancer risk.
24 percent reduced leukaemia risk.
14 pedcent reduced prostate cancer risk.

Cardiff University found that a daily aspirin increased the chance of surviving bowel, breast and prostate cancer by 20 percent.

The findings demonstrate that the long-term use of aspirin can reduce the risk of developing many major cancers.

Thanksgiving Food Safety

turkey
Butterball Turkey Talk provides a free service to answer your questions about proper handling, thawing and cooking Turkey.
You can reach them by telephone, email or via live chat line.
Butterball also has a informative page of FAQ’s that you may find useful.

Butterball said:
FROZEN WHOLE TURKEY
Thaw in refrigerator (not at room temperature). Place unopened turkey, breast side up, on a tray in refrigerator and follow our refrigerator thawing instructions. Allow at least 24 hours for every 4 pounds.

To thaw more quickly, place unopened turkey breast down in sink filled with cold tap water. Allow 30 minutes per pound. Change water every 30 minutes to keep surface of turkey cold.

When thawed, keep in refrigerator up to 4 days until ready to cook.

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) has a nice and very informative fact sheet as well as a useful PDF file on the safe handling, cooking, Storage and re-heating of Turkey.

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) A Consumer Guide to Safely Roasting a Turkey USDA’s information applies to any poultry, Turkey, Chicken, Duck, Goose and so on that you may plan on cooking and serving to your family.

For more information about food safety, call: USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854). 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or
E-mail: mphotline.fsis@usda.gov Or “Ask Karen,” FSIS’ Web-based automated response system – available 24/7 at http://www.fsis.usda.gov.

Hints:
Allow 1 pound of turkey per person.

Thawing In the Refrigerator (40 °F or below)
Allow approximately 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds
4 to 12 pounds 1 to 3 days
12 to 16 pounds 3 to 4 days
16 to 20 pounds 4 to 5 days
20 to 24 pounds 5 to 6 days
Roasting Time
4 to 8 pounds (breast) 1½ to 3¼ hours
8 to 12 pounds 2¾ to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 to 3¾ hours
14 to 18 pounds 3¾ to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds 4¼ to 4½ hours
20 to 24 pounds 4½ to 5 hours

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) Alternate methods to cook Turkey / poultry Grilling a Turkey, Covered Gas Grill, Covered Charcoal Grill, Smoking a Turkey, Deep Fat Frying a Turkey.

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) Basics: Safe Cooking Turkey A PDF file. Great 1 page tip sheet on cooking Turkey / Poultry.

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) Turkey Roasting Chart Everything you will ever need to know about Roasting your Turkey.
Hint:
Reheating Your Turkey
In the Oven
Set the oven temperature no lower than 325 °F.
Reheat turkey to an internal temperature of 165 °F. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature.
To keep the turkey moist, add a little broth or water and cover.

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures Use this chart and a food thermometer to ensure that meat, poultry, seafood, and other cooked foods reach a safe minimum internal temperature.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC 24/7: Saving Lives. Protecting People. Safely Prepare Your Holiday Meal Important cooking information to providing Safe food preparation information.

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Buttermilk Cornbread

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups yellow or white cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
or
* 6 tablespoons dry cultured buttermilk mix
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* optional 1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
If using dry buttermilk powder add 1 1/2 cups milk or water to make a thin batter.

Heat oven to 425°F.
Heat oil on stove top to near smoking temperature in a 10 inch or larger cast iron skillet.
In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients with spoon until blended.
Beat eggs and add to milk or water, mix batter quickly. Don’t over work(mix) your batter.
Carefully pour batter into your very hot skillet. Transfer skillet to your preheated oven.
Bake at 425 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown.

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