Tag Archives: herbs

Cranberry Sauce – For your special holiday season table

harvesting cranberry's
New crop cranberry’s will soon be arriving in your local supermarket. Purchase cranberry’s early in the season to insure you are getting the best and freshest berries.

Cranberry sauce goes well with any type poultry or water fowl as well as many pork dishes.

Galaxy Class Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry’s – Tangerine – Cinnamon – Cloves – Nutmeg with or without added sugar, it’s still the best Cranberry sauce this side of Venus and Mars.

You can add either white cane sugar or dark brown sugar. Make this sauce as sweet or tart as you like.
If you like the tart bite of cranberry’s then omit most of the sugar.

If you do add sugar, start with 1/2 the amount given in this recipe and continue tasting and add sugar until you get the amount of sweetness that is to your liking.

Wash cranberries and tangerine’s well. Dump cranberries into a bowl of cold water, pick out any damaged berries.

In a large sauce pan add 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed tangerine juice with pulp, be sure to remove any seeds that may get into your tangerine juice. [Save tangerine rinds].
Note: Oranges are Not the same thing as tangerines! If your use oranges it will produce a totally different tasting sauce.

Add 1/2 cup cold water
Bring to a slow simmer
Add cranberries
Wrap in cheese cloth: 4 whole cloves, 1 stick cinnamon, 1 anise star add to pot
1/8 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg
3/4 cup dark brown sugar – Start with 1/3 cup sugar – add more as needed to your taste
Simmer 5 minutes Note: stir pot often
Decide at this point by tasting if more sugar is needed.
Adding sugar until it is as sweet as you like.

At some point cranberries will start to pop open, this is a good thing, stir to prevent sticking to bottom of your sauce pan.

Cranberry sauce is ready when all or at least most of the cranberries have popped open and the juice has become very thick.

Grate 1 table spoon of tangerine rind into mix.

Remove from heat, remove whole cloves, star anise and cinnamon stick. ‘Carefully’ spoon cranberry sauce into hot sterile canning jar(s), seal and allow to cool.
Under Refrigeration this sauce will keep for several weeks.

Better yet process in boiling water bath for 20 minutes. Remove from water bath, allow to cool, check jar for proper seal. Will store well for 2 years or more in a cool dark pantry.

This sauce can be placed in zip-lock freezer bags and stored frozen for a year or more.

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Something for ‘almost’ every gardener

April was an unusually cool April for my tiny zone 7b garden.

60 degrees F is kind of, sort of the magic soil temperature needed for many garden vegetable seeds to germinate. It was the last week of April before we approached the 60 degree soil tempeture.

May arrived and my soil has warmed to 71 degrees F and it is still a month until the start of the summer gardening season. Leaving plenty of time for most gardeners to plant summer and fall producing vegetable gardens.

I’m happy with our bamboo project. We planted bamboo in a well contained garden plot about 25 feet long by 12 feet wide near Christmas time 2015 and I have been concerned that I wasted my money on two 6 inch pots of bamboo. However after 2 summers of putting down a good root system this spring bamboo canes have jumped up and some canes are more than 11 feet tall and still growing taller everyday.

I invite new visitors to my tiny blog to search my previous posting. At sometime in the past I have information about almost every vegetable from A – Z as wells as info on raising chickens, rabbits, composting and water saving irrigation ideas.

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Better Late Than Never, Spring Is In The Air

It’s a week past my normal last frost date and maybe, just maybe I have had my last spring frost. A few nights ago it went down to 26 degrees F. and did a lot of damage to tender new plant buds and plants that had leafed out. It, the frost, has set my grapes back at least 1 if not 2 weeks.

Hummingbirds have started arriving. Everyday it seems that I have one or two more than the day before visiting my feeders.
Just my opinion but I think it is a good investment to buy feeders with what sellers call bee and wasp guards. After replacing my old style feeders with new feeders with bee guards having bees and wasp feeding at my hummingbird feeders is no longer a problem me and the hummingbirds must contend with.

The Purple Martin house is open and raise to a height of about 12 feet. My first pair of Martins arrived Saturday and have given their nod of approval.

Chicken have finished molting and have started laying about 1 egg per bird everyday. Just for the record I have 4 hens that are now 4 years old and 3 that are 2 years old.
Grin … now me and extended family have more eggs than we can eat every week and that’s a good thing.
Smiling… as my hens get to old to be useful egg producers, I keep putting out feed and they become yard ornaments for my viewing pleasure.

Cataract surgery on my left eye went well. I’m seeing things that I have not seen well for at least 4 or 5 years. I have a followup doctors visit set for the 18th and he will operate on my right eye on the morning of the 25th.

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Vinegar as a herbicide – Not what you may think

Available alternative products, non-glyphosate based products rarely generate 100% weed control. They perform better on broadleaf weeds than grassy weeds. They are best used in conjunction with optimizing cultural practices such as improving soil health, turf/plant nutrition, irrigation, cultivar election, proper moving, and seeding/plant establishment and overseeding. Avoiding conditions that favor weeds (compacted soils, overwatering, excessive or ill-timed nitrogen applications) and adjusting soil pH to favor desirable plants over weeds increased effectiveness. Most alternative herbicide products are not chemicals, so they are exempt from EPA pesticide registration.

Alternative herbicides fall into 7 product categories: Natural acids (vinegar + citric acids), Herbicidal soaps, Iron-based herbicides, Salt-based herbicides, phytotoxic oils (clove, peppermint, pine, citronella), corn gluten, and combination products (including ingredients from multiple categories).

Alternative herbicides may not be regarded as long term single application herbicides like glyphosate, but as short term “burn-down” products. An initial germination treatment followed by spot treatments later in the season is necessary to minimize persisting perennial weeds. A single application once (or twice) a year is not sufficient to keep “trim” areas (pavement, sidewalk cracks, skin surfaces on playing fields, etc) weed free. Moreover, the cost of alternative products may be higher compared to glyphosate:
higher per application and more applications per year , resulting in higher labor expenses. Alternative herbicides also require higher volumes of water, higher volume pumps and larger nozzles on sprayers.

Ways to improve effectiveness when using alternative herbicides include:
•Thorough spray coverage (to runoff); A large, flat nozzle (ie. 8006) is preferable in turfgrass production
•Add the high label amount of surfactant/adjuvant to improve control
•Treat when weeds are small (2-5 leaves)
•Repeat applications for larger weeds are necessary in most instances.
•Lower concentrations at high spray volumes (i.e. 10% concentration in 70 gallons per acre) appear to be more effective than high concentrations at low spray volumes (i.e.20% concentration in 35 gallons per acre).
From an economical perspective, alternative herbicides cost more than chemical herbicides due to the concentrations and number of applications required. For example, a lawn study in NY found that acetic acid herbicides were more than three times more costly on a square foot basis than glyphosate.

Another study by the U. Mass Transportation Center, showed that glyphosate cost ~$20/mile to control weeds along roadways. They also found that alternative materials (Citric Acid, Acetic Acid, Clove Oil, Scythe® , etc) varied in cost from $360 to $2400 per mile.

Vinegar – Acetic acid, commonly known as vinegar, but also known as ethanoic acid, affects the cell membranes of a plant, causing rapid breakdown/desiccation of foliage tissue on contact.
Herbicidal vinegar is stronger than household vinegar, the acetic acid concentration for herbicidal use is 10 -20%, compared to 5% (household) acetic acid. Acetic acids of 8% or less inert ingredient are exempt from registration by the EPA as a pesticide under EPA Minimum Risk Pesticide, FIFRA. Most states require registration for use of acetic acid as a pesticide.

PROs:
•Excellent control when contacting very small annual broadleaf weeds
•Rapid kill rate (Over 90% of treated plants should die within 24 hours).
•Acetic acid products break down quickly in the environment.
•Most useful for managing weeds in gravel and on patios/sidewalks.
•These contact herbicides fit into an integrated pest management program; although weeds require monitoring for best control timing.
•Non selective, but mainly kill broadleaf weeds. Burns back grasses temporarily.

CONS:
•No residual activity. Will kill or damage any plants they touch.
•Weeds must be small (timing is important – within 2 weeks of germination)
•Roots are not killed; repeat applications are needed for larger weeds and perennial weeds
•Good spray coverage is essential (70 GPA+)
•Sharp vinegar odor may be unpleasant
•Spray equipment must be cleaned after application, particularly metal equipment. Avoid using spray equipment with metal working parts such as metal spray lines or metal nozzles.
•Spray drift may damage desirable plants.
•Do not apply to reactive metals such as aluminum, tin, iron, and items such as fencing or lawn furniture. Avoid spraying the material onto masonry sidewalks and structures. If the product contacts these surfaces, staining, mottling, etching, or other harm to the finishes or surfaces may occur.
•Do not apply more frequently than every two weeks
•Treatments must be delayed 24-48 hours or more after rain
•Severe eye irritation, burns, and possible irreversible damage potential. Vinegars with acetic acid concentrations of 11% or greater can burn the skin and cause severe eye injury, including blindness.
•Severe skin irritation and possible allergic sensitization.
•Prolonged or repeated exposure may cause dermatitis, chronic bronchitis, and erosion of teeth.

SUMMARY
Research has found that 5-10% acetic acid herbicide products can give viable control of very small, young weeds that have only 1-2 leaves (or within 2 weeks of germination). Larger weeds (with 3-4 leaves) are likely to survive treatment, but using higher (20%) concentrations of acetic acid and increasing the application volume (from 20 to 100 gpa) can improve weed control. Total crabgrass and grass weed control in a 2006 USDA study occurred with 20% acetic acid applied at 100 gpa, resulting in weed control that ranged from 28 to 45%. Multiple applications improve long term control. Broadleaf and annual weeds tend to be more susceptible than grassy weeds and perennial weeds, which show initial signs of damage but generally recover. Nonetheless, using acetic acid on weeds with tap roots (dandelions, Canada thistle), may only result in top kill unless the weed is very young.

COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE ACETIC ACID PRODUCTS
Check with your state to determine if a product is registered to be used as a pesticide.
Bradfield Natural Horticultural Vinegar – 20% vinegar (acetic acid) + yucca extract. (Bradfield
Organics) NOT OMRI Listed Burn-out – 25% acetic acid (St. Gabriel Laboratories).

Grotek Elimaweed Weed And Grass Killer – 7.15% acetic acid (GREENSTAR PLANT PRODUCTS)

Maestro Gro’s Organic Vinegar. 20% acetic acid (Ag Organics/Nature’s Wisdom) 1 gal %15.79

Natural Weed Control – 0.2% citric acid, 8% acetic acid + water. (Nature’s Wisdom/Ag Organics).

Soil Mender 10% Vinegar – 10% acetic acid (made from grain alcohol and not from glacial acetic acid), orange oil, molasses, and a natural surfactant.

Vinagreen Natural Non Selective Herbicide- 20% acetic acid (CMC Chemical)

Weed Pharm Fast Acting Weed And Grass Killer – 20% vinegar (acetic acid) (PharmSolutions.

Things you may or may not know about Glyphosate

Glyphosate was patented by Monsanto under the trade name ‘RoundUp’ in 1974. Glyphosate is now widely available from many manufacturers under numerous trade names after patent protection ended in 2000: RoundUp, KleenUp, Accord, Imitator, Eraser, Pronto, Rodeo, etc.. There are over 750 products containing glyphosate for sale in the U.S according to the National Pesticide Information Center.

As a non-selective herbicide, glyphosate will kill most plants it contacts. Accordingly, it can be used for vegetation cleanup prior to all types of planting, e.g. field/bed/turfgrass preparation or renovation. It can be spot sprayed for general weed control or sprayed directly over top of specific crops at certain times of year (e.g. over Christmas trees/conifers in the fall). No other herbicide works as well on perennial grasses as glyphosate particularly late in the season.

Glyphosate does not leach through soil like some herbicides and has low mammalian toxicity, it has been considered to be very safe toxicologically and environmentally, with hundreds of studies showing the active ingredient to be less acutely toxic than common table salt or aspirin.
The EPA does not consider glyphosate to be a human carcinogen.

If you have a problem with the Glyphosate information above, take your concerns to the USDA, FDA, EPA or Monsanto

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Garlic – Spring planting for Fall harvest

For my gardening friends. You can still plant garlic for late summer and fall harvest. If your soil is not frozen solid. Dig and loosen your soil, till in compost if you have access to compost. Else stir in a little 5-10-5 or similar N-P-K rated fertilized. Plant your garlic cloves, [Don’t laugh, pointed end up] 2 to 2 1/2 inches deep. Measure from the top of your garlic clove. Space cloves about 4 inches apart.
Cover with mulch if you can. Other wise, wash your hands and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
Growing Hint: Garlic needs from about 180 to 210 growing days from planting to harvest mature garlic bulbs.

Garlic types are either Hard Neck or Soft Neck.
Generally speaking, Hard neck varieties are better suited to be grown in the northern 1/2 of the U.S. Unless you want to harvest ‘garlic ‘scapes’, Soft neck varieties seem to be better suited to the southern 1/2 of the U.S. and seem to store for a longer period of time than hard neck garlic.

Going against what many gardeners say. I have never had any problems planting garlic that I picked up at my supermarket.

Garlic Nutrition :
Raw Garlic – 6 cloves – About Calories: 27
* manganese 15% —– * vitamin B6 13% —– * vitamin C 7%
* copper 6% —– * selenium 5% —– * phosphorus 4%
* calcium 3% —– * vitamin B 13%

There has been many millions of pages written about the good health benefits of garlic. Who am I to go against the opinions of so many expert gardeners and health specialist. A touch of garlic makes everything, except scotch wiskey, taste better.

Hint garlic can be harvested at any size. Try fresh young garlic in your recipes for a different and refreshing flavor. * Use tender young garlic tops finely chopped as a garnish to add flavor and color to pasta dishes.

I didn’t know this: Elephant garlic is not a true garlic, but actually a variant of the garden leek.

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Bonding with your garden – Seeds and Seedlings

This article appeared in the May 2002 web issue of Horticulture Update,
edited by Dr. William C. Welch, and produced by Extension Horticulture,
Texas Cooperative Extension, The Texas A&M University System, College Station, Texas.

How to Start Seeds Indoors

Gardening is a wonderful pastime and filling your garden with plants you started yourself from seeds simply doubles the pleasure. If you think growing from seed is difficult and takes too much time and equipment, the steps and tips here will dispel those apprehensions.
Basically all you need to know about specific seeds is whether or not they require light to germinate and the number of days germination takes. With a fluorescent light or a very sunny window, a few containers – purchased or found – and a good germinating mix, you will be on your way.

The magic: watching a seedling push up above the soil surface creates a bond between you and your garden.

Materials You Need

Containers: any shallow receptacle that holds soil, such as flats with or without individual cells, peat or paper pots, egg carton bottoms or halved milk cartons. For transplanting seedlings, 2-1/2 to 4-inch diameter plastic, clay or peat pots. To ensure even moisture for seeds – and save yourself time – look for self-watering seed-starting kits.

Germinating mix: commercial or homemade.
DIY: Mix your own seed starter soil, with a 50-50 combination of fine sphagnum peat moss and vermiculite.

Transplanting mix: A good potting soil will do, but a mix specifically formulated for young seedlings is better. The latter usually contains a coarser grade of sphagnum peat moss than a germinating mix and often contains fertilizer.

Fertilizer: balanced all-purpose fertilizer. If you prefer to grow with organic rather than chemical fertilizers, use fish emulsion is very odoriferous but nutritious for plants.

Getting Started

Wet the germinating mix thoroughly and let it drain. It should be moist but not soggy.
Fill flats or individual pots with the mix to within about an inch of the top.

Make shallow row indentations with a ruler or your finger in the flats. It’s easier to separate seedlings when transplanting time comes if you sow in rows. Sow thinly so you do not waste seed. If using pots make shallow holes and set 3 to 4 seeds in each.

Check your seed packet to see if the seeds need light to germinate. If they do, press them lightly into the surface. If they require darkness, cover with l/4 to l/2 inch of mix or vermiculite and tamp it down.

Mist the surface with water to settle the seeds.

Cover the flats with a sheet of plastic wrap or set them in plastic bags. Set pots in plastic bags and close with twist ties. This keeps the mix from drying out while the seeds germinate, but check the mix occasionally and moisten if necessary by spritzing with water.

Place the flat in a warm, bright location or under a fluorescent light. Check the seed packet for specific soil temperatures for germination. Generally, seeds germinate with soil temperatures of 70-75 degrees F.
Hot peppers sometimes will not germinate until soil temperatures reach 80 to 85 degrees F.

When the seedlings emerge, remove the plastic covering. Seed packets give you an idea of germination time, usually 7 to 10 days, sometimes as long as 2 to 3 weeks.

Keep the mix evenly moist, not soggy. Water from the bottom by setting flats and pots in a sink filled with a couple of inches of water; remove them when you see moisture on the surface of the mix.

The first leaves on a seedling are cotyledons, not true leaves. Their shapes usually do not look like the plants familiar leaves. When seedlings in flats grow at least two sets of true leaves, transplant them into larger pots.

Moisten the transplanting mix and let it drain. If you use an all-purpose potting soil, add a handful of vermiculite for each quart of mix to lighten the texture.

Fill 2-1/4 inch pots about three-quarters full.

Use your fingers or a pencil to pick each seedling out of the flat, carefully holding each by the leaves not the stem (plants readily grow new leaves but not broken stems).

Set the transplant in the pot, filling in around the roots with more mix and firming the mix down.

Place pots on a sunny windowsill or under a fluorescent light.

Water transplants regularly from the bottom until they grow 3 to 4 inches tall. Then you can begin to water from the top.

Feed as you water by diluting a water-soluble fertilizer, such as fish emulsion, to half the strength recommended on the label. Or, feed at regular strength every week to 10 days.

You do not need to move most flowering plants into larger pots before setting them outdoors in the garden. Some vegetables, such as tomatoes, produce extensive root systems and grow quickly into lush plants; transplant them at least one more time into larger pots before the weather warms up enough to put them in the garden.

To encourage compact, bushy plants, occasionally pinch off the growing tips of herbs and most flowering plants.

Many seeds germinate best – more quickly and more abundantly – if you do not cover them with a mix when you sow.

Ageratum Lettuce Begonia
Nicotiana Coleus Petunia
Columbine Parsley Dill
Feverfew Savory Salvia
Gaillardia Impatiens Yarrow

A Few Do’s

Know the date of the average last spring frost in your area; you need to start most plants indoors a certain number of weeks before that date. Seed packets include that information.

Give pots on windowsills a quarter turn every week so plants grow straight instead of bending towards the light.

Opt for the easiest plants to start indoors if this is your first attempt.
These include basil, coreopsis, dianthus, gaillardia, gloriosa daily, marigold, oregano, yarrow and zinnia.

Label your seed containers as you sow.

A Few Don’t s

Combine different varieties of seeds in one flat unless they germinate in the same number of days.

Let seedlings in flats grow large before you transplant them. Their roots become too entwined, making them difficult to separate without damage.

Start root vegetables indoors.

Over water seedlings. Soggy soil promotes fungus and root rot.

Outdoor Preferences

Some plants resent being transplanted, but if your growing season is short, you can start them indoors in individual peat or paper pots, which biodegrade; set plant in its pot in the garden.

Annual Phlox Fennel Chervil
Lupine Cucumber Nasturtium
Dill Poppy

Avoid Poisoning Your Children Or Pets

Dumb cane will make you speechless. If you get any of its sap inside your mouth, it can cause your tongue to swell, possibly blocking the way for breathing.
If you do ingest some of the sap, you might experience: intense burning, mouth pain, irritation of the surrounding mouth or lips, tongue swelling, excessive drooling in pets, gasping and difficulty breathing or swallowing.

Oleander Every part of an oleander plant is toxic to humans and pets. It’s so toxic, in fact, that even honey made from it can pose dangers.
Symptoms if ingested include skin rash, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, fainting or general weakness, headache, dizziness, or drowsiness. If you or a loved one happens to consume this poisonous plant, you will need emergency medical attention.

Calla lily You might be surprised to know that plants with the name lily attached usually have some level of toxicity. Calla lilies make no exception, although this pretty Easter plant isn’t a true lily.
These flowers have dangerous calcium oxalates that make nearly every part toxic to humans and animals. Oxalates may also cause mouth burning, swelling, irritation, and difficulty swallowing.

Easter lily Easter lilies are highly toxic, especially to cats. Cat owners, you simply do not want these around the house. Just one or two leaves can prove fatal to your feline friends. Specifically, the toxins in the plant can cause severe kidney damage and kidney failure in cats.
Symptoms for cats include decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of urination, lethargy or depression.
In humans, worrisome symptoms include stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhea, blurred vision or weakness. In either case, you should get medical help for the victim immediately.

Daffodils Many people have mistakenly used daffodil bulbs in place of onions, and the bulbs have the most concentrated amount of lycorine, a toxic chemical.
According to the National Poison Center, the chemical doesn’t usually cause fatality unless it’s consumed in large amounts. Symptoms include the usual nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea. More concerning symptoms might include low blood pressure and drowsiness in animals or throat pain and difficulty swallowing in humans.

Philodendrons This plant group is widely used as a houseplant. Philodendrons do contain the nasty calcium oxalate, causing burning, mouth irritation, tongue swelling, vomiting and diarrhea. Philodendrons will cause the most irritation in large quantities so curious toddlers and pets are the most at risk.

English ivy English ivy can cause stomach upset in small children and pets who don’t know better than to taste it. Symptoms include skin rash, burning, mouth or throat irritation and fever.

Merry Christmas and to all a good night.

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Winter Solstice, December 21, 2017

FYI New Picture of the day has been posted.

To be more precise Winter Solstice (shortest day of this year) will arrive at:
11:28 am EST – 10:28 am CST – 9:28 am MST – 8:28 am PST, December 21, 2017

After Winter Solstice, day by day we will have a minute or so longer daylight hours as we move slowly thru Winter and seek the longer warming days of Spring planting time.

Meantime evaluate what plants did well in your garden during the 2017 growing season. What you did right and not so right. Carefully consider what vegetables, fruits, nuts, berries are well suited to your USDA hardness zone and length of your growing season.

Get out your Big Chief note pad and purple crayola sketch out you 2018 garden plan. Try not to plant the same crops in the same location year after year. Consider adding a few rows of nitrogen fixing plants to your garden.

* Useful nitrogen fixing plants for your consideration.
Alfalfa, Clover, Cowpea(Black eye pea), Peanut, Snap pea, Snow pea, Soybean.
Clover will tolerate light foot traffic and maybe well suited to sow between rows of vegetables. Used as a ground cover clover will help shade and crowd out undesirable weeds as well.

Merry Christmas and to all a good night.

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Pepper – Easy to grow

Easy to grow peppers is the last of this ‘Easy to grow’ series … really. I won’t bore you with any more Easy to grow post. 🙂 Thank you for taking time to visit my little blog.

Peppers are a warm season crop. Red and green peppers are good sources of vitamin C, some vitamin A, and small amounts of several minerals. Red peppers have more vitamin A than green peppers.

Peppers are good consumed raw or cooked. Eat them as a snack, use them to decorate food, add them to salads and casseroles. You can also stuff peppers with seasoned bread crumbs and or meat and bake them. Of course you may want to pickle some of your pepper crop.

Peppers grow in all types of soils but do best in heavier, well drained soils. Plant them in areas that receive at least 6 hours of sunlight each day.

Work your soil 8 to 10 inches deep and rake it several times to break up the large clods. Work the soil only when it is dry enough not to stick to garden tools. Incorporate large amounts of organic matter into the soil, especially if you are planting in heavy clay soil. You can use compost, peat moss, rotted hay, or other organic matter.

Only a few pepper plants will feed most families, it maybe best to buy pepper plants rather than grow them from seed. Buy healthy plants that are 4 to 6 inches tall. About three to four hot pepper plants and eight to ten sweet pepper plants usually are enough for a family of four.

If you plant from seed, soil germination temperature for pepper is 70 F to 95 F. Pepper will not germinate when the soil temperature is below 55 F.
Tip Sweet peppers may germinate well when soil temperature reaches 70 or 75 degrees F, however the hotter your pepper variety the higher the soil temperature must be for good seed germination. Hot peppers may not germinate below 80 or 85 degrees F soil temperature.
Days to emergence: 7 to 10 with a soil temperatures around 85 F.

Peppers can be temperamental when it comes to setting fruit if temperatures are too hot or too cool. Daytime temperatures above 95 F or nighttime temperatures below 60 F or above 75 F can reduce fruit set.
Too much nitrogen fertilizer may promote lush vegetative growth but fewer fruits. Peppers usually responds well to phosphorus fertilizer. Look for something NPK 5-10-5.

At planting time add 2 to 3 pounds of fertilizer such as NPK 10-10-10 per 100 square feet of garden area. Spread the fertilizer evenly over the garden. Work it into the soil.

If you will plant single plants, place about 2 level tablespoons of fertilizer on the soil in the planting area. Mix it well with the soil.

Water the plants enough to keep them from wilting. Slow, deep watering helps the root system grow strong. Do not let pepper plants wilt because this will reduce yield and quality of the fruit.

After the first fruit begins to enlarge, place about 2 tablespoons of fertilizer, something like NPK 5-10-5, around each plant about 6 inches from the stem. Water the plant after adding the fertilizer. This will increase the yield and the quality of the peppers.

Peppers can be harvested at any size. If you pick the peppers as they mature, the yields will be greater. The first peppers should be ready 8 to 10 weeks after transplanting.

Pick bell peppers when they become shiny, firm, and dark green. If left on the plant, most peppers will turn red and are still good to eat.

Harvest most hot peppers when they turn red or yellow, depending on the variety. Jalapeños are mature when they reach good size and develop a deep, dark green sheen.
Note Hot types will be much milder when harvested small, young and tender. They will become hotter if left on the plant and began to mature.

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Mustard and Turnip greens – Easy to grow

Turnips and mustards, members of the cabbage family, cool season crops that must be grown in the cool temperatures of early spring and fall.

Mustard is grown only for it’s leaves. Turnip is a dual purpose crop the leaves are used for greens, and the root is cooked similar to potatoes and beets.
When cooked properly, mustard and turnip greens are high in minerals and vitamins A and C.

Turnips can be used either for greens or for roots.
A variety developed for root production can be harvested for greens.
However, a variety developed for greens will not produce a good root.
Mustard varieties can be broadleaved or curled. Broadleaved mustard has a wide, flat leaf. Curled leaf mustard produces narrow, wrinkled leaves like those of spinach. Curled mustard will stand colder temperatures and can be grown later into the winter than can broadleaved mustard.

Mustard and turnips like a full sun location. For best production, they also need well drained soil.

Hint Mustard works well as a border to a flower bed or sidewalk. Both the broadleaf and curled leaf varieties are attractive and add green to a flower bed.
Mustard and turnip greens are also easily grown in window boxes and containers on an apartment balcony or patio.

Mustard and turnip seeds will sprout if the soil temperature is 40 degrees F or higher.
For a fall crop, start planting 8 to 10 weeks before the first expected frost. Sprinkle the row regularly with water to prevent soil crusting until the small plants break through. Under good conditions, most of the plants should be up in 3 to 7 days.
For a continuous supply of fresh, tender mustard and turnip greens, make two or three plantings 10 days apart.

Turnips and mustards need adequate nitrogen to develop a dark green color. At planting scatter 2 to 3 pounds of complete garden fertilizer such as NPK 15-5-10 over each 100 square feet. If only one row is to be planted, use 1 cup of fertilizer for each 10 feet of row.

Spring planted mustard and turnip greens are good until the weather gets hot. Too much heat causes them to be tough and strong flavored. Harvest mustard greens when they are young and tender. Cut the large outer leaves and leave the inner leaves to continue growing.

Turnip varieties produce greens in 40 days.
Turnip roots generally take 50 to 60 days to produce. Harvest turnip greens by pulling the entire plant when the leaves are 4 to 6 inches long. Turnip roots can be harvested when they are 2 inches in diameter. If left longer they will get tough and stringy.

Tip Cook greens in 1 tbs olive oil and 1 tbs butter. (Optionally add 1 whole clove peeled garlic.) Use only the water that remains on the leaves after washing. Cook greens in a pan with a tight fitting lid until they are tender. (Do not overcook them.)

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Why is common sense so uncommon?
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