USF Garden Project


Vegetable Reports

This was an assignment during our first semester to research a vegetable and share what we learned to the rest of the class. So here it is! If you feel like YOUR favorite vegetable has been left out, please leave a comment saying what it is, a planting description, a picture, or a recipe. Thanks and enjoy!


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Mmmm Mmmm Kale by Lindsey Pappas

KALE

Characteristics:

Appearance:

· Green colored

· Type of cabbage – but unlike cabbage, its central leaves do not come into the shape of a head

o Different kinds of kale can be classified by leaf type: curly leaved=Scots Kale Lutes; plain leaved; rape kale lutes, leaf and spear (cross between curly and plain); Cavolo Nero= black cabbage, Tuscan kale, Lacinato and dinosaur Kale Lutes)

o More closely related to wild cabbage

Cultivation Info:

· Most robust cabbage type

· Tolerant towards nearly all kinds of soil, as long as drainage is satisfactory

· Rarely suffers from pests/diseases that other members of the cabbage family face

· Grows best in cool, moist soil enriched with compost

o Temps around: 60°-65°

· pH of soil should be between 5.5-6.5

· requires moderate amounts of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium

· space 8”-12” apart in rows 18-3” apart

o gives plants more room to grow and allows kale to grow longer without needing to be harvested

Locations Best to grow Kale:

· Europe

· North America

· Rarely in tropical areas

· Prefers cooler regions

o Hot weather produces tough, bitter leaves

· Grows best in cool, moist soil enriched with compost

Times Best to Grow Kale:

· Kale Lutes grows well into the winter time

· Does really well in fall frost

· Cold days/nights sweeten kale

Nutrition:

· One of the best veggies as far as nutritional value goes

· Powerful antioxidant properties

· Anti-inflammatory

· High in beta carotene – can be stored in liver and turned into vitamin A

· High in vitamin C – helps metabolic reactions, prevents scurvy, is an anti-oxidant, protects the body against oxidative stress which can damage DNA

· High in lutein – good for sight

· High in zeaxanthin – helps prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD) (prevents diseases f the eyes)

· Rich in calcium – good for bones, can help prevent cancer

Culinary Uses:

· Freezes well

o Tastes sweeter & more flavorful when exposed to frost

· Tender kale yummy in salads

o Especially when in combination with other strongly-flavored ingredients like red pepper flakes, tamari-roasted almonds, dry-roasted peanuts

o Young kale leaves good for salad

o Older kale leaves good for cooking, but too tough for salad making

· An entire culture in North-Western Germany has developed around kale

Some Other Information:

· Decorative kale (aka: “flowering kales”) used mainly for its ornamental leaves

o Colors: brilliant white, red, pink, lavender, blue, violet

Comment by usfgardenproject

Artichokes

Description
* Plants grow up to 2 meters (or 6 feet) tall
* If buds are allowed to open, will bloom purple thistle like flowers
* Green
* Many different varieties and plants grown should be chosen depending on climate
* Growth time is ~100 days, but no bulbs the first year
* Seeds are in the poky flower part in the middle

How to Plant/Maintain/Harvest

* Soak seeds in water for 8 hours and then refrigerate them in a jar of damp sand for 2 weeks to quicken the flowering process
* If not starting from seeds, then can buy plants from nurseries and plant them after the winter frost
* Dig into the soil deeply in a colder region. In a milder region you can plant just beneath the service or about 1 inch deep.
* Plant either half a foot apart for seedlings or at least 2 feet apart for small plants in rows that are 5 to 6 feet apart
* Keep soil moist (by using mulch) and use organic fertilizers from spring to midsummer
* In milder regions, the plants should be cut back in mid to late fall. If very mild winter, no protection is needed. If it is really cold, you can cover the plants with a basket with pine needles or leaves on top.
* The plants are ready to be harvested when the buds are tight and green and have not yet opened. The central ones ripen first and then the ones on the side.
* Should water plants every week during growing season
* Plant on mounds or with irrigated rows

Soil Requirements and Other Factors

* Needs full sun
* Soil with high pH (6.5-7)
* Soil should be well drained
* Should have compost or organic matter high in phosphorous and potassium.
* Watch out for slugs, they like the seeds. Solution: copper strips

Nutritional Values

* Artichokes benefit the liver with a compound called cynarin in their leaves and another compound called silymarin which helps the liver regenerate tissues because of its strong antioxidant properties
* Full of lots of nutrients, for every 25 calories of artichoke, you get 16 vital nutrients (6% of the Recommended Daily Value of phosphorus, 10% of magnesium, 8% of manganese, 10% of chromium, 5% of potassium, 4% of iron and 2% of calcium and iron.)
* Also good source of fiber, Vitamin C, and folate
* Are low in calories and sodium, and have no fat or cholesterol
* Was used in ancient times as blood purifier, deodorant, choleric, to improve bile production and secretion, and detox liver and skin.

Comment by usfgardenproject

SNAP! PEA by Nalini Bholanauth

Pea, Snap — Pisum sativum L. (Macrocarpon group)

Snap peas are a group of edible-podded peas differing from snow peas in their round instead of flat pod shapes. An edible-podded pea is similar to an ordinary garden (English) pea. The pod of the English pea is lined on the inside with a thin, hard, tough membrane which contracts as the pod ripens and dries, causing the pod to open, twist, and expel its seeds. In contrast, pods of the edible-podded pea, including snap peas , do not have the membrane and do not open when ripe.

DESCRIPTION
Pods are soft, tender, and edible. Snap peas are so crisp, sweet, and succulent that they may be snapped into pieces and mixed into salads or eaten whole as an appetizer. Like snow peas, they also may be stir-fried or steamed.

Snap peas have a distinctive appearance and flavor. The pods are round and reach a length of 2½ to 3 inches at maturity. Pod walls are rather thin in comparison with snow peas. Mature pods require “stringing,” which is the removal of a membranous thread-like string running the length of the pod on top and bottom. This is similar to the string in the pods of early bean varieties that gave them the name “string beans.” Occasionally there will be overgrown, fibrous pods that may be shelled and combined with other more tender edible pods.

CULTURE
There are several varieties of snap peas, including `Sugar Rae,’ `Sugar Bon,’ `Sugar Ann,’ and `Sugar Snap.’ Probably the most notable of these is `Sugar Snap’ because of winning an All-America Gold Award in 1979. `Sugar Snap’ has a vining plant character. Plants may reach a height of 6 feet or more, but usually are about 4 feet high. A trellis or other support system is required. To grow snap peas, follow the same cultural procedures as for pole beans.

Snap pea is a cool season vegetable, best grown in Florida from plantings in September through March. It has been reported to recover from frost and from cold down to 20°F. Unlike English peas, however, snap peas have a wider adaptation and tolerate higher temperatures than garden peas. Florida gardeners planting it in March generally observe some drop-off in pod production because of higher temperatures of late spring. `Sugar Snap’ matures in 70-75 days following seeding.

USE
Gardeners who are aware of the nutritional aspects of vegetables will be delighted with snap peas. The peas are nutritious and filling, but are not as high in total carbohydrates and fats as green shelled English peas. The crunchy pods contribute mostly water and vitamins to the diet.

Overcooking the pods will make them come apart. They should be lightly steamed or quickly fried in oil to retain a touch of crispness. Snap peas may be frozen but should not be canned since high temperatures destroy the structure of the pods.
Snap peas may be used in a salad, omelet, soup, or stew. By themselves, they can be eaten as a substitute for french fries, stuffed, or batterfried.

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/MV109

PLANTING REQUIREMENTS
Peas are a cool-season crop and may be planted in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked. Sow seeds about one inch deep and two inches apart in the row. Low-growing varieties can be grown in rows 18 to 24 inches apart. Climbers need three feet between rows, or plant a double row six inches apart on either side of trellis.

Beans are a warm-season crop and should be planted after danger of frost has passed. Sow seeds one inch deep in heavy soils and 1-1/2 inches deep in sandy soils. Bush beans should be spaced three to four inches apart in the row. Space pole beans six to ten inches apart along a trellis or plant several beans to a pole.
Both peas and beans can be grown in a variety of soils, but good drainage is essential. Peas require a pH of 6.0 to 6.7. Beans prefer a slightly more acid condition of pH 5.8 to 6.3.

FERTILIZATION
Specific application rates are best determined using the results of a soil test. Contact your local County Extension office for information on soil testing. Fertilizer may either be broadcast and worked into the soil before planting time or banded two inches to the side and three inches below the seed at the time of planting. A later side dressing, after pods begin to form, may be necessary if plants appear yellowish or are not growing well.

CULTURAL PRACTICES
Weed control is essential especially in the first six weeks after planting. Shallow cultivation and hand-pulling are the preferred methods. The soil should be kept evenly moist. Overhead watering should be done early in the day to reduce the incidence of leaf diseases that occur when the leaves remain wet overnight. An organic mulch about two inches deep will conserve soil moisture and reduce weed problems.

Diseases that may attack beans include anthracnose, bacterial blight, mosaic, root rot and rust. Pea diseases include powdery mildew, root rot and wilt. If possible, rotate the location of peas and beans in the garden to reduce the incidence of soil-borne diseases that can build up over time.

Insect pests of peas and beans include aphids, Mexican bean beetles, leafhoppers, seed corn maggots and mites. Contact your local Cooperative Extension office for identification and control recommendations.

HARVEST AND HANDLING
Once peas and beans begin to reach the appropriate stage for picking, harvesting will continue on a daily basis for several days or even weeks with succession planting. Peas and beans are best used as soon as possible after harvest, but may be stored in the refrigerator for a few days if cooled immediately. The same applies for freezing and canning. For best quality, freezing and canning should be done within a few hours after picking.

http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1617.html

SNAP PEA RECIPE
Sugar Snap Peas

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 8 Minutes
Ready In: 20 Minutes
Yields: 4 servings

“Shallots and a little thyme are sprinkled over irresistible sugar snap peas!”

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 pound sugar snap peas
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped shallots
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
kosher salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
2. Spread sugar snap peas in a single layer on a medium baking sheet, and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with shallots, thyme, and kosher salt.
3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in the preheated oven, until tender but firm.

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Sugar-Snap-Peas/Detail.aspx

Comment by usfgardenproject

Turnip by Valeria Vital

The turnip is a root vegetable. Small varieties are grown for human consumption and large varieties are grown as food for livestock. Some turnips are purple, red, or greenish wherever sunlight has hit them. The interior is entirely white. The leaves grow above the ground. \Turnips are easy to grow; and may be planted in the spring, late summer, or fall for roots or greens. Turnip is a cool-weather crop and well adapted for the northern parts of the United States. However, truck-growing areas of the South also produce turnip roots and greens in all seasons for human consumption. Turnip is a biennial, which generally forms, seed the second year or even late in the fall in the first year if planted early in the spring. Brassicas are both cold hardy and drought-tolerant. The leaves maintain their nutritional quality even after repeated exposure to frost. Like other Brassicas, turnip grows best in a moderately deep loam, fertile and slightly acid soil. Turnip does not do well in soils that are of high clay texture, wet or poorly drained. For good root growth turnip needs a loose, well-aerated soil.

Comment by usfgardenproject

Beets

Description:
Beta vulgaris (Beet) is a herbaceous biennial or rarely perennial plant with leafy stems growing to 1-2 m tall. The leaves are heart-shaped, 5-20 cm long on wild plants (often much larger in cu ltivated plants). The flowers are produced in dense spikes, each flower very small, 3-5 mm diameter, green or tinged reddish, with five petals; they are wind-pol linated. The fruit is a cluster of hard nutlets.

Nutritional Information:
Beet roots contain significant amounts of vitamin C, whilst the leaves are an excellent source of vitamin A. They are also high in folate, soluble and insoluble dietary fibre and antioxidants…Beetroots are rich in the nutrient betaine. (Betaine supplements, manufactured as a byproduct of sugar beet processing, are prescribed to lower potentially toxic levels of homocysteine (Hcy), a naturally occurring amino acid that can be harmful to blood vessels thereby contributing to the development of heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease).
(Wikipedia.com)

Beet Growing:
Soil: Beet plants will grow in almost any soil but are sensitive to soil acidity. A low soil pH results in stunted growth. Beets prefer a pH of 6.2 to 6.8 but will tolerate 6.0 to 7.5. Loose, well-drained, sandy loam soils rich in organic matter are ideal for beets. As with all root crops, remove stones and debris since these will hinder growth. If you have heavy soil, amend it well with compost prior to planting. Break up large clods of soil and rake the area smooth prior to planting your beet seeds.

Spacing: Beet seeds are actually a cluster of seeds and will produce more than one plant. While spacing is flexible, it is recommended that you allow 2″-4″ between seeds.

Direct Seeding: Sow beet seeds 1/2″ deep, 2″-4″ apart within rows spaced at 12″-18″ apart. Sow beet seeds as soon as the soil has warmed somewhat after thawing. Do not thin. The tighter spacing is encouraged if you want smaller beets and/or just the beet greens.
An alternate spacing of roughly 10 seeds per foot is great when combined with thinning as the greens become of edible size.
If seeding for baby beets, beets that are no thicker than a pencil, sow seed at 30-35 seeds per foot of row and space the rows at 10″-12″.
Avoid seeding during daytime temperatures of 80°F or more.
Seeding For Transplants: Beets are not normally transplanted. If, however, you want to give it a go, sow beet seeds in flats or in a cold frame 5-6 weeks before you expect the soil to be workable. Sow beet seeds 1/4″ deep, 3 seeds to the inch.

Germination: These seeds germinate best in soils around 75°F-85°F.
Germination will take 5-16 days.

Transplanting Into the Garden: Transplant beet plants at 5-6 weeks, 3″ between plants within rows 12″-18″ apart.

Watering: Beets need consistent moisture especially during the early part of their development. Take care not to over water beets. Over watering can cause beet leaves to turn red and plants to stop growing for a time.
Too much water early in beet development can result in damping-off and other seedling disorders. Water deficiency, however, can aggravate boron deficiency.
Harvesting: Beets and beet greens can be harvested at any time. To harvest beets, pull the entire plant up. Beet greens are best when four to 6″ tall. Beets are generally most tender after growing for 40 to 50 days. Full-grown beets can be the size of a tennis ball depending upon variety. Cylindrical beets will grow to be about 5″ long and 2″ in diameter.
Flavor and vitamin levels are at their peak immediately following harvest.
(http://www.farm-garden.com/growing-vegetables/beets)

Beet Recipes:
Roasted Beets: Just cut them into chunks and roast them with olive oil, S & P until they are tender.
Simple Beet Salad With Onions: Grate scrubbed beets or cut into julienne; toss with chopped green onions and a vinaigrette you make or from a bottle in your fridge. Add toasted nuts and/or a sharp cheese (blue, Parmesan, feta). Serve alone or with lettuce.
Simple Summer Beet Soup: Boil and peel beets. (can use both kinds). Whirl in food processor with orange or lemon juice, small amount of fresh mint leaves if you have some, and black pepper. Chill. Serve with plain yogurt or sourcream.
(http://www.mariquita.com/recipes/beets.html)

Comment by usfgardenproject

Bok Choy!

Bok Choy is a cool season annual vegetable. Spring and fall crops are best. It grows best with short days and moderate to cool temperatures ranging from 60 to 70°F mean temperature.

Bok Choy is fairly quick maturing. It varies from 40 days from sowing to harvest for some cultivars, to 75 days for the longer maturing ones. With a 45-50-day cropping cycle 7 to 8 crops are possible annually.

Planting information

Space or thin plants to 6″ – 10″ apart in rows 18″ – 30″ apart. The plants should be spaced 8-12 inches on 24×24 inch wide rows. The seeds germinate in 7- 10 days. The seeds can be directly seeded into your garden, or seeded indoors for transplanting later.

Plant Bok Choy in rich,well-drained, moist soil with a recommended pH of 5.5 to 7.0. Like all cabbages, bok choy should be encouraged to grow briskly. This is best accomplished with sufficient moisture and nitrogen. You can fuel fast growth with an early application of fertilizer.

Water regularly; do not overwater. Bok Choy requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings. Apply at least one inch of water weekly.

Disease

Bok Choy is susceptible to rotting during hot and humid weather. It is strongly recommend that you don’t plant Bok Choy in an area where other members of the cabbage family have been grown in the past two years. This will help to minimize plant disease.

Harvesting

Bok Choy is a non-heading plant. Leaves and stalks will form close together, similar to celery. Harvest the plants when they have reached 12″ – 18″ tall. Cut the entire plant just above the soil line. Old, ragged, and decayed outside leaves are removed. Remove the outer leaves. Wash leaves before eating.

Nutrition

About one cup shredded Bok Choy, or 70 grams provides:

Protein: 1.05 g Carbohydrates: 1.53 g Fiber: 0.7 g Sugars: 0.83 g Total Fat: 0.14 g
Calcium: 74 mg Iron: 0.56 mg Magnesium: 13 mg Phosphorus: 26 mg Potassium: 176 mg
Sodium: 46 mg Zinc: 0.13 mg Vitamin C: 31.5 mg Thiamin: 0.028 mg

Source of Information: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference

Baby Bok Choy stir fry

Baby Bok Choy has a sweeter flavor than adult varieties. For a lighter taste, feel free to stir-fry the baby Bok Choy in olive oil. Low-sodium chicken broth can be used in place of water.
INGREDIENTS:

* 4 bunches baby Bok Choy (basically, 1 bunch per person)
* 2 slices ginger
* 2 tablespoons soy sauce
* 1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
* 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
* 1/4 cup water
* A few drops sesame oil
* 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil for stir-frying

PREPARATION:
Wash the baby Bok Choy and drain. Separate the stalks and leaves. Cut the stalk diagonally and cut the leaves across.
Heat wok and add oil. When oil is ready, add ginger and stir-fry briefly, for about 30 seconds, until the ginger is aromatic.
Add the Bok Choy, adding the stalks first, and then the leaves. Stir in the soy sauce, sugar, and salt, and stir-fry on high heat for 1 minute.
Add the water, cover the wok and simmer for about 2 minutes. Stir in the sesame oil and serve. Serves 4.

Comment by usfgardenproject

Crazy Cool Cauliflower!

Cauliflower
“Brassica Oleracea”

Climate:
– Cauliflower thrives in cool weather and can withstand light frosts.
– Does not tolerate wide temperature fluctuations very well
– Should be grown where the soil temperature is within two degrees of 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

Soil:
– Crop rotation is especially important with Cauliflower; 2 – 4 years between plantings of the same family is recommended.
– Cauliflower plants will grow in most soils but prefer a pH between 6.4 and 7.4 for optimum growth.
– Soil should be able to maintain moisture and thus must be chock-full of organic matter (ie. compost and mulch).

Spacing:
– Plants should have 12” – 18″
– Place 24″-36″ between the rows.

Growth:
– Blanching: To get those prized white heads of cauliflower, commercial growers practice a method called ‘blanching’. When small white cauliflower heads become visible through the leaves, gather the outer leaves over the head and tie them in place with a string, twine, or large rubber band. This practice will not harm the growth of the head since it is the leaves that conduct photosynthesis.
– Cauliflower may form heads early as a result of being stressed. Early head formation results in a small plant with small `curds’ often referred to as “buttoning”. Cold temperatures, a lack of fertility or water, the use of transplants with poor root growth, root bound transplants, insect damage, and disease often cause plant stress.
Mulch will help keep the ground cool and moist as well as reduce weed competition.

Nutrition of Cauliflower:
– Cauliflower is low in fat, high in dietary fiber, folate, water and vitamin C, possessing a very high nutritional density.
– Contains phytochemicals which are beneficial to human health, including sulforaphane, an anticancer compound released when cauliflower is chopped or chewed.
– Holds the compound indole-3-carbinol, which appears to work as an anti-estrogen, seems to slow or prevent the growth of tumors of the breast and prostate.
– Contains other glucosinolates besides sulfurophane, substances which may improve the liver’s ability to detoxify carcinogenic substances.
– A high intake of cauliflower has been found to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

Comment by usfgardenproject

Red Leaf Lettuce by Jazz Johnson

Red leaf lettuce is a loose-headed type of green leaf lettuce. It’s available all year long and is at its peak from mid-winter to early spring. Lettuce is a fairly hardy, cool-weather vegetable that thrives when the average daily temperature is between 60 and 70°F. It should be planted in early spring or late summer. At high temperatures, growth is stunted, the leaves may be bitter and the seed stalk forms and elongates rapidly. Leaf lettuce, the most widely adapted type, produces crisp leaves loosely arranged on the stalk.
Soil preparation, liming, fertilization, and most other cultural practices are about the same as for other types of lettuce. The soil should be well prepared, fertilized lightly but adequately, and kept moistened. Mulching for weed control and the many other benefits works particularly well for romaine.
Romaine may be started directly in the garden by using seeds or transplants. Seeds are small so should be sown shallowly and lightly covered with a sprinkling of soil. A burlap bag and other materials are often used over the planted seeds as moisture-holding devices until the seeds germinate.
Because lettuce has shallow roots, it should be hoed or cultivated carefully. Frequent light watering causes the leaves to develop rapidly, resulting in high-quality lettuce. Over watering, especially in heavy soils, can lead to disease, soft growth and scalding or burning of the leaf margins. Organic mulches can help moderate soil temperature and the microenvironment to produce quality lettuce in less than ideal weather conditions.
After sowing seeds in the row or within a given space, thin out the seedlings when they are about 3 inches tall to prevent crowding. Allow enough space between plants for the size of plant desired. Small plants will develop at 4-inch spacing, while 8-12 inches are required for larger romaine plants. When transplanting into the garden, keep these same spacing guidelines in mind. Rows should be 12 inches apart.

Nutritional Highlights
The nutritional value of lettuce varies with the variety. Lettuce in general provides small amounts of dietary fiber, some carbohydrates, a little protein and a trace of fat. Its most important nutrients are vitamin A and potassium. The vitamin A comes from beta carotene, whose yellow-orange is hidden by green chlorophyll pigments. Beta-carotene, of course, is converted to vitamin A in the human body. The darker green, the more beta-carotene. According to the American Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society, foods rich in vitamin A and C (antioxidants) offer protection against some forms of cancer. Along with other phytochemical, antioxidants reduce the risk of cancer of the respiratory system and intestinal tract. Lettuce, except iceberg, is also a moderately good source of vitamin C, calcium, iron and copper. The spine and ribs provide dietary fiber, while vitamins and minerals are concentrated in the delicate leaf portion.

Mixed Green Salad with Red and Yellow Pepper Vinaigrette

4 cups mixed fresh greens (combine a leaf lettuce with crisp varieties) romaine, Boston, with red leaf or Oak Leaf or your favorite lettuce
0. 4 tablespoons Red & Yellow pepper vinaigrette
0. 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese or goat cheese (optional)
Wash and dry lettuce leaves. Tear into bite size pieces. Place in an oversized bowl with room for tossing. Place in refrigerator until ready to toss and serve. Can be prepared up to 2 hours in advance. Makes one cup of vinaigrette.
Pour 4 tablespoons of vinaigrette over the greens and toss well with two large forks to coat. Add crumbled cheese, if desired and toss to combine. Serve immediately. Yields 4 one-cup servings.
Red and Yellow Pepper Vinaigrette
0. 1 small yellow bell pepper, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
0. 1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
0. 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
0. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
0. 2 teaspoons warm water
0. Pinch of sugar
0. 1/2 teaspoon salt
0. Freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients until combined well. This vinaigrette will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for 3 days. Recipe may be doubled. Makes one cup. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Bibliography:

1. Wolford, Ron. “Lettuce.” University of Illinois Extension. 2007. University of Illinois. 24 Sep 2007 .

Comment by usfgardenproject

The Potato by Stasie Smith

There is general agreement among contemporary botanists that the potato originated in the Andes, all the way from Colombia to northern Argentina. Potato plants grow high to the ground and bear yellow to silver flowers with yellow stamens. A major pest of potato plants is the Colorado potato beetle. It is a worm that thrives on the roots and causes the potato plants to wilt. Its eggs can survive in the soil for several years. Also, watch out for blight fungus Phytophthora infestans! (Potato famine, 1845) Potatoes are generally grown from the eyes of another potato and not from seed. Home gardeners often plant a piece of potato with two or three eyes in a hill of mounded soil. Commercial grower’s plant potatoes as a row crop using seed tubers, young plants or microtubers and may mound the entire row. The planting season for potatoes extends from about April 15 to June 15. Harvesting depends; it could be any where between July or early September (usually 90 to 120 days from planting).

Potato, raw, with peel
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Energy 80 kcal 320 kJ
Carbohydrates 19 g
– Starch 15 g
– Dietary fiber 2.2 g
Fat 0.1 g
Protein 2 g
Water 75 g
Thiamin (Vit. B1) 0.08 mg 6%
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.03 mg 2%
Niacin (Vit. B3) 1.1 mg 7%
Vitamin B6 0.25 mg 19%
Vitamin C 20 mg 33%
Calcium 12 mg 1%
Iron 1.8 mg 14%
Magnesium 23 mg 6%
Phosphorus 57 mg 8%
Potassium 421 mg 9%
Sodium 6 mg 0%

Growing Potatoes in San Francisco:Area: A large area is required for growing potatoes but they can be cultivated successfully using cages made up of mesh supported by wire frames. The cages prevent the potato vines from spreading laterally, thus saving space. Soil: Plants require lots of organic nitrogen the first month. As plants grow, the Master Gardener potato team recommends the soil around the plant be mounded until at least 6 inches of the stems are covered. Soil should be kept moist until the plants surface. After that, give them occasional deep soakings. Wire Cages: When growing in wire cages, find cages that are at least 2 feet in diameter and 4 to 5 feet tall. Dig a circular hole 8 inches deep and a bit wider than the diameter of the cage. Plant four pieces of seed potatoes in a square with 18 to 20 inches between each piece. Cover with soil to ground level, then place the wire cage on the soil above the planted area. The soil should be moist but not wet when planting. As the plants sprout and surface, place straw around them, leaving only the tops exposed and add straw as plants grow. Water from the top of the straw, moistening the soil at bottom of the cage. Care and Maintenance of Caged Potatoes: As the potato plants sprout and emerge, straw is placed around the plants leaving the tops of the plants exposed. As the plants grow, keep adding straw. It is important to pack the straw tightly in the cages. Watering is done from the top of the straw and allowed to moisten the soil at the bottom of the cage. Use a moisture meter to determine when the straw is dry. Be careful not to over water.Weather: Potatoes are a cool weather crop. If you live in a cool climate, plant potatoes in early spring three weeks before the last frost. If you live in a warm to temperate region, plant your potatoes in late winter. In a truly hot climate, plant potatoes in the fall to grow over the winter.Watering: Potatoes planted in a hill will dry out quicker so watch the soil moisture carefully. Keep potatoes evenly moist and water deeply during dry spells.

Harvesting: Potatoes are mature when the leaves die back. New potatoes are immature potatoes picked several months after planting but before the potato plants reach maturity. New potatoes can often be found when the potato plants blossom.

Mature Potatoes: Once the leaves of the plants have died back, use a garden fork to gently loosen the potatoes from the ground. You will see why it is important to have well drained, light soil- it makes the harvest a lot easier. New Potatoes: Carefully poke around in the potato hill (or under the mulch) by hand to see what’s there. New potatoes are often harvested as small as a marble up to the size of a golf ball. If you find something worth taking, pluck it gently from the roots so as not to disturb the rest of the potato plant.

In either case, drier soils are an advantage to harvesting potatoes.

Comment by usfgardenproject

Amazing Carrots! by Mark Thoma

Looks like carrots might like our USF soil:

* A cool climate vegetable; sow in early spring

• Health Benefits: high in carotene—converted by the body into vitamin A. Also good source of vitamins B, C, D, and E. Also a good source of potassium and folic acid. Also rich in phytochemicals—may reduce risk of cancer and stroke, contribute to hormonal balance, slow the aging process.
o Varieties:
• Amsterdam and Nantes: fast maturing
• Stump Root Varieties—Early French Frame
• For small gardens or planter boxes (at least 12 inches deep): Rondo, Suko. Baby varieties include Thumbelina, Orbit, Parmex, Oxheart, Little Finger
• Power Carrots: Juwarot—high in carotene; Ingot (very sweet); Beta Champ (good for juicing); Healthmaster (slow growing but sweet)
• For allergy to carotene, grow White Fodder
• Purple variety: Dragon
• Growing
o Seeds are tiny and are produced on the plant in its second year.
o Carrots like light sandy soil with lots of organic matter, not soil high in clay or stones.
o Ideal temperatures for color = between 70 degrees F and 60 degrees F.
o Too much water reduces the carrot’s color
o Sow seeds in shallow bed with even moisture. Do not overload with high nitrogen sources, which will cause the roots to burn off or fork.
o Thin the carrots to 8 cm apart.
o Apply straw mulch to keep weeds down, help the soil retain moisture.
• Harvesting
o Carrots can be harvested within three months. Largest carrots will have dark green tops.
o Most varieties reach their prime at 2.5 cm at the crown.
o A bushy top does not always mean the carrot is ready.
o Water the bed before harvesting to make the carrots easier to pull.
• Pests
o The Carrot Fly: Psila rosae—fly’s grubs eat into the carrot’s roots. Often difficult to see signs until harvesting. Severe infestation causes leaves to turn an orange or yellow color. Prevention: cover the crop with Enviromesh or similar product. Avoid breaking or crushing carrot leaves; flies are attracted to the scent. Can also sow the seeds in February or early March to avoid the carrot fly egg laying season. (Source: http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/cultivation.html)

Comment by usfgardenproject

Broccoli by Brittany

Broccoli is a hardy vegetable of the cabbage family that is high in vitamins A and D. It develops best during cool seasons of the year. When broccoli plants of most varieties are properly grown and harvested, they can yield over an extended period. Side heads develop after the large, central head is removed. Two crops per year, spring and fall, may be grown in most parts of the country. (3)

Soil Prep
If the ground has never been worked, use a rototiller to break up and loosen the hard-packed soil. If the garden has been worked before, it is best if you use a spade fork and turn the soil over one time to loosen the compacted soil. For the existing garden, spread one inch of compost across the top of the ground. For new gardens, spread two inches. Add soft rock phosphate for overall plant health and flowering, greensand for micronutrients and green foliage, humate to make other things work better, dry molasses to feed the microbial life and make the vegetables taste better, and cornmeal for nitrogen. Spread them across the top of the ground as you did your compost. With a spade fork, or your tiller, work all of the above into the top 6-12 inches of soil. When planting seed, first soak them for 2-3 hours in liquid seaweed before you plant. When planting starter plants, give them a good soaking of liquid seaweed after you get them in the ground. (2)
When to Plant
Transplant young, vigorously growing plants in early spring. Plants that remain too long in seed flats may produce “button” heads soon after planting. For fall crops, buy or grow your own transplants or plant seeds directly in the garden. For fall planting, start seedlings in midsummer for transplanting into the garden in late summer. To determine the best time for setting your fall transplants, count backward from the first fall frost in your area and add about 10 to the days to harvest from transplants. Remember that time from seed to transplant is not included in this figure. (3)

Types:
Cruiser (58 days to harvest; uniform, high yield; tolerant of dry conditions)
Green Comet (55 days; early; heat tolerant)
Green Goliath (60 days; spring, summer or fall; tolerant of extremes)

How to Plant
Plant seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep, or set transplants slightly deeper than they were grown originally. Plant or thin seedlings 18 to 24 inches apart in the row and allow 36 inches between rows. Broccoli plants grow upright, often reaching a height of 2 1/2 feet. Space plants one foot apart in all directions in beds. (3)

Care for your Broccoli
Side-dress with nitrogen fertilizer when the plants are half grown. Provide ample soil moisture, especially as the heads develop. (3) As the plants grow, you will need to fertilize every week or two. Simply foliar feed them by spraying their leaves with a combination of liquid fish emulsion and seaweed. Mulch your plants; pine needles work great. (2) Watch for aphids and cabbage worms around the leaves for they can damage or kill a broccoli plant. (3)

Harvesting
The edible part of broccoli are compact clusters of unopened flower buds and the attached portion of stem. The green buds develop first in one large central head and later in several smaller side shoots. Harvest when the head is large and firm, with a compact cluster of small flower buds with none open enough to show bright yellow flowers. Look for bright green or purplish-green heads. Yellow flowers and enlarged buds are signs of over-maturity. Cut the central head with 5 to 6 inches of stem, after the head is fully developed, but before it begins to loosen and separate and the individual flowers start to open, or show bright yellow. (3) Pick them in the morning (1), but do not wash until right before use. Wet broccoli becomes limp and moldy. Store for three to five days, after that it begins to loose its taste and nutritional value. (3) Leave the small leaves on broccoli stems intact—they’re very nutritious. (1) Removing the central head stimulates the side shoots to develop for later pickings. These side shoots grow from the axils of the lower leaves. You usually can continue to harvest broccoli for several weeks. (3)

Nutritional Information
A member of the cabbage family and a close relative of cauliflower, broccoli packs more nutrients than any other vegetable. Broccoli contains large amounts of vitamin C and beta carotene which are important antioxidants. Researchers have concluded that broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables should be included in the diet several times a week. Consuming foods high in antioxidants can reduce the risk of some forms of cancer and heart disease. One half cup cooked broccoli contains the following nutrients as well as many other trace nutrients and phytochemicals (3) :
Nutrition Facts (1/2 cup cooked fresh broccoli)
Calories 23

Dietary fiber 2.4 grams

Protein 2.3 grams 

Carbohydrates 4.3 mg 

Beta carotene 

Vitamin C 49 mg 

Folic Acid 53.3 nanograms 

Calcium 89 mg

Iron 0.9 mg

Recipe
Herbs and spices that enhance the flavor of broccoli include basil, dill, garlic, lemon balm, marjoram, oregano, tarragon and thyme.
Steamed Broccoli with Lemon-Dill Dressing
1 bunch broccoli (about 2 pounds)
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 -inch strips

Lemon-Dill Dressing
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
zest of one lemon, grated or minced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon dried dill weed or 3 teaspoons fresh dill
salt to taste

Wash, trim stems from broccoli and peel, cut into strips the same size as carrots. Cut florets into small uniform pieces and set aside. Prepare carrots and set aside. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. (Or prepare the steamer) Add carrots and broccoli stems. Cook for one minute. Add broccoli florets and boil two minutes longer. Do not over cook. Drain, and rinse under cold running water, drain again. Place in a large bowl and gently toss with dressing. Serve immediately.
Makes six servings. (3)

Work Cited

1. Ernst, Matt. “Picking At The Peak.” Organic Gardening 09 Sep 2007 .
2. Bridges, Steve. “Soil Prep for the Fall Garden.” Organic Farming Articles & Tips. Texas Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association. 24 Sep 2007 .
3. “Broccoli.” Watch Your Garden Grow. University of Illinois Extention. 24 Sep 2007 .

Comment by usfgardenproject




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