VEGETABLE TIPS FOR THE GARDEN Bob’s Thoughts on growing some vegetates to avoid disappointment
CORN: Corn is first of all a heavy feeder so turn the soil with a little extra compost or chicken manure and be prepared to keep it well watered. As the silk appears on the ears, make sure that it is full and before turning brown. Remove the top of the plant and spread the pollen over the silk. Each strand of silk is attached to each cornel. Harvest when the silk is almost gone and you will get a full ear of corn, a thing to remember the sugar turns t starch as time goes by so have the pot boiling then harvest for the best flavor. If the weather is warn to hot and growth is fast, the better the harvest. Soak seeds overnight in hydrogen peroxide over night for better germination.
CARROTS: Most people have germination problems with seed. The seeds are so small it is impractical to soak them before planting. The package says bury the seed ¼ inch. I found this to be the problem. Because in our heavy soils this cover it too deep for the seed to show its fury head. I prepare the area and as deep as the roots should grow. The shorter the root the better success you will have at harvest time. To check if they are ready to harvest wash off the tops and that will tell you if they are ready by the size of the top.
ARTICHOKES: Because these plants are perennial they need at least a 3 x 3 foot area in which to grow and you have to commit for at least two years. Seeds are available and are easy to germinate. They are also available at bare root season in root form. I like the seed to start because it gives you one more year before transplanting. This is the case every two to three years. I would use chicken manure and alfalfa pellets in the hole as preparation for either the root or seed. You can soak the seeds the night before in hydrogen peroxide.
STRAWBERRIES: Strawberries are s three year propositions. You plant in the first year and plant the runners in the second year and the maximum production will be in the third year and then you start all over again. You do get fruit each year but the third year is the most productive. Most growers follow this procedure. My recommendation is to follow this method by having three beds so that the first year you plant and save the runners usually in the fall in a separate bed. In the meantime harvest fruit. The second year you are taking the runners and planting them. You just continue this as long as you wish. You also are conditioning the new bed each year before planting the runners.
Some of the problems with these plants is that slugs and snails and pill bugs love the fruit, If you don’t wish to use sluggo or other type of snail killers put excelsior under the fruit. You can also make wonderful moss baskets from these plants and nothing like plucking strawberries for breakfast from your deck or patio
Asparagus. Use material on web site
CUCUMBERS: One of the most dependable and less fussy and guaranteed sweet is the lemon cucumber. It can do well in cool climates and never has a problem with bitterness. It was my wife’s favorite. As to the regular green type the major problem many people have is bitterness. I used to think it was caused because of lack of pollination and that came about because my Uncle “Lefty” told me to plant nasturtiums with them so the bees would be attracted to them. I’m not sure that had anything to do with bitterness but it did work. That was sort of fake news. The vines of these plants is bitter which is the reason many animals leave the vines alone. (Deer. Rabbits, etc.) On the other hand if the vines are not properly watered and fertilized the bitterness of the vine enters the fruit. In such a case it will turn the fruit bitter. Here is my thinking. Step one: plant any variety with extra compost and chicken manure. The do their best in full sun, I think that early spring will produce the best results.
POTATOES: Digging potatoes out of the ground is not only an arduous task, but terribly inefficient. It leaves many small fruit in the ground that later will sprout or rot and for me just didn’t work properly. In a magazine I saw an article that grew potatoes I a garbage can with a little dirt and a lot of straw, and I thought to myself perhaps that would work in the garden for me. So here is what I have learned from a garbage can. I’m sure all of us have had sprouting potatoes, these are possible future crops in your garden. You can still do the garbage can trip by adding 4 to 5 inches of rich soil in a container and start your project form there. First cut out the sprouting eye and let it air dry for a couple of days. This seals the cut surface a chance to harden so that it just won’t rot when placing it in your growing medium. Ground preparation in your garden is pretty much the same as any vegetable crop. I prefer to mound the soil slightly this insures proper drainage. I then place the sprout on top of the soil and add a couple of inches of straw. The coarser the better. As the green starts to grow through the straw bring in more straw. As the green grows so does the straw. You continue the process until the plants start to bloom. At this time the plants stops growing and at this time you should reduce watering. Just keep the area moist, but not water saturated. As the blooms mature they will drop off and at this time you can lift the straw skirt and perhaps harvest some clean and wonderful potatoes. As the plant dies completely they are ready to harvest your clean fruit and put the straw in the compost or work it into the garden. Potatoes are a member of the night shade family, along with eggplant and tomato plants so think plant rotation and plant something else in this area
SQUASHES: We should start with zucchini because the only problem this plant has is dead ends that shrivel, this is caused by lack of bee activity. So do it yourself by finding the male and female flowers and dust the male into the female. The female has a bulb at her base, the male does not. Problem solved.
Winter squash usually are self-pollinating but here again keep on a look out for the same problem of pollination. Read the seed liable to make sure that you make room for the space of the fruit.
PUMPKINS: If you are just growing pumpkins to use and eat there are the same as other squashes
For the contest winners you should buy a book on the big squashes contest. I have judged many of these contests and the winners are usually big squashes. I think if we were to judge some of these events we would judge on the color as well as the weight. Most of the time we get winners that are nothing but pale squashes. (seeds for the big pumpkin are available at Territorial seeds)