Growing Crops: Caraway

Caraway seeds, so prevalent in rye bread the world over, are not the only part of the caraway plant that can be eaten. The leaves and shoots make a tasty addition to salads, and the roots, much like carrots or parsnips, can be slivered or diced and added to soups.

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Growing Crops: Basil

Basil is an annual herb that is widely used in Mediterranean cuisine – you would be hard-pressed to find a pasta sauce that doesn’t have basil in it. Not to mention it is one of the staple ingredients in pesto (the others being garlic, olive oil, and pinons or walnuts).

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Growing Crops: Chinese Cabbage

If you are an Asian foodie, then this is the crop for you! Chinese cabbage (often referred to as Napa cabbage) is a staple of many Asian dishes, including stir-fries, soups, Spring rolls, and coleslaw with a twist of Thai Peanut Sauce.

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Growing Crops: Fava Beans

Also called Broad Beans, they actually aren’t beans at all – they’re a member of the pea family. Go figure. A bush plant rather than a climbing vine, varieties include Aquadulce, Broad Windsor Longpod, Bunyards Exhibition, Imperial Green Longpod, Futua RZ, and The Sutton.

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Growing Herbs 101

There’s nothing quite like an herb garden. Not only do herbs ward off some pests who are repelled by their strong scent, they just look beautiful, and the taste of fresh herbs in your cooking cannot be beat. You will wonder how you ever cooked with that dried stuff in the bottles at the supermarket.

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Growing Crops: Blueberries

Don’t try to grow blueberry bushes from seed – leave the propagating to the experts. Buy your blueberry bushes live, preferably already a year or two old – and get more than one variety for good cross-pollination. There are a large number of blueberry varieties to choose from, including Arlen, Berkeley, Bluecrop, Blueray, Brunswick, Duke, Earliblue, Jersey, Legacy, Northblue, Northcountry, Northland, Northsky, Patriot, Rancocas, and Tophat.

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Growing Crops: Citrus Trees

Grapefruits, Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Tangerines…they’re like little balls of sunshine, particularly during the Fall and Winter months, when a great many varieties produce fruit. Contrary to what you may think, you don’t have to live in California or Florida to grow citrus trees. Did you know that citrus trees are evergreens? No? Well…you do now.

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Garden Seeds – Planting Outdoors

Seeds need properly prepared soil, moisture, plenty of air, and mild temperatures (at least 45 degrees F) in order to grow. Presuming you have double-tilled – and hopefully raised – your garden bed, removed chunks of debris, and smoothed the soil with your garden rake, then your soil is ready. If your soil is dry, water it thoroughly about an hour before you intend to plant your seeds in order for it to drain. Use a fine spray so that you don’t have to go back and re-smooth the soil. You don’t want it water-logged, just good and moist.

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Composting – How to Compost 101

Compost is the absolute best fertilizer or soil amendment you can use in an organic fruit and vegetable garden. It helps create loam from sandy/silty or clay soils, prevents soil from becoming too acidic or basic, and is an excellent source of the proper balance of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.

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Growing Crops: Cherries

Cherry propagation, like that of apples, is done by grafting different varieties onto specific rootstocks that will determine how they grow. Cherries are susceptible to canker and silver leaf diseases. Do not attempt to grow cherry trees from seed; instead purchase young, healthy, disease-resistant varieties from a reputable nursery to transplant into your garden.

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