Gardening with Sylvia 2016 Articles

Don’t let beans over-mature

By Sylvia Stockill 
Friday, August 19th, 2016

TIMMINS – Beans (wax, string,) should never be allowed to over-mature on the plant. They will become tough and almost ‘woody’ to the taste.

Keep an eye on your bean plants and harvest the mature beans regularly (every few days at least). Harvesting the mature beans will encourage the plant to produce more.

Beans should never be picked when the plants are wet, either after a rain or early in the morning when they are still wet with dew. Doing so causes rust, and may cause or spread disease.

Driving rain can cause rust, as well, by splashing soil up onto the beans. Be careful not to damage immature bean pods and blossoms when picking.

Kale should be harvested by removing the large leaves near the bottom of the stem, leaving the plant to produce more.

Kale can be left in the garden well into the fall. It is very hardy.

Cabbage too can be left to grow well into the fall. If you harvest a head of cabbage early, try leaving the root and stem in the ground, and score the top of the cut stem with an x, using a sharp knife (a quarter of an inch — one centimetre — deep is plenty).

The stem will then grow three to four mini-cabbages on it.

Carrots too can be left in the ground well into the fall. While they can be pulled at any time once they are large enough to utilize, they can be left in the ground until temperatures drop to the point where the ground starts to freeze.

Potatoes, typically are harvested when the green, above-ground plant dies back. These too can be dug earlier for baby potatoes.

When judging if your corn is ripe and ready to pick, there are a few things to look for. The silks on top of the cob dry up when the ear is almost ready to be picked.

Feel the tip of the ear. If it feels rounded instead of pointed, the ear is mature.

While peeling back a bit of the husk and having a look seems like the easiest way, you may be inviting bird or insect damage to the ear if you must leave it to continue maturing.

As soon as you pick an ear of sweet corn, the sugars in the kernels begin to convert to starch. For the sweetest corn, pick as close to consumption time as possible.

This process slows with cooler temperatures, so if you’re not eating your corn right away, refrigerate the ears.

Corn is not hardy, and a frost will kill your plants quickly.

Brussels sprouts are actually tastier if left on the plant until after the first fall frosts or snows. They will not be as bitter.

Once the sprouts begin to form, removing some of the lower, larger leaves is usually suggested, so they are not robbing nutrients from the developing sprouts.

The sprouts at the bottom of the stem mature first. Once the bottom-most sprouts are near maturity (about one-inch diameter and firm) removing the top of the plant as well will encourage the remainder of the sprouts to mature.

Onions can also be left in the ground well into the fall.

If your onion begins to go to seed, (tall, tough stem bearing a flower) break the stem off.

Many chose to top their onions as a rule. Bend or break the green above-ground leaves about three to four inches (seven to10 centimetres) above ground level.

This allows nutrients to be utilized to grow the onion, not just a lot of top. If you are not using the onions immediately, hang them to air dry. This will dry the outer layer of skin and allow you to store your onions.

For more information on the fall fair or gardening, visit www.fallfair.info.

Link to original article can be found here: http://www.timminspress.com/2016/08/19/dont-let-beans-over-mature

Most vegetables prefer sun
By Sylvia Stockill 
Friday, July 8th, 2016 

TIMMINS – Vegetables in general prefer full sun, however, they will also do fine in partial shade.

When planning your garden, be mindful of the height of the mature plants.

Keep taller vegetables (corn, pole beans, peas, broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts) to the north end of the garden (or up against the wall or fence if that is where your garden is situated.

This way they will not throw a shadow over the shorter vegetables in your garden.

When choosing what vegetables to plant from seed, be mindful of the days to maturity stated on the packet.

This number usually refers to the number of days required after germination. Sometimes it’s the number of days from a specific leaf-stage transplant. This should be indicated on the packet.

Our growing season is not particularly long, so purchasing plants already started from a greenhouse may be a solution to growing certain types of vegetables.

The seed packet will indicate sowing depth, as well as seed and row spacing. Try to follow these instructions.

Overcrowding will result in stunted plants and lower yields.

Cover the seed with loose soil and pat down very lightly and gently, and water your garden.

Keep the soil moist during the germination period, which can vary widely between different types of vegetables.

Certain seed varieties (lettuce, radish) will germinate well only under cool soil conditions. Others (beans, corn, carrot) require a higher soil temperature.

If an extended period of cold weather occurs immediately after planting these, the germination percentage will decrease and some seeds will simply rot before germinating.

Warming the soil with strips of plastic and planting the seeds in holes made in the plastic is one method that will allow earlier planting of some of these.

Be sure to leave sufficient room between your rows for you to walk and work.

Root crops, especially, should be given sufficient room so that the soil around them will never be compacted.

Some crops mature much quicker than others.

Radish comes to mind. Try mixing the radish seed with another seed when planting.

If mixed with parsley or dill it could serve a dual purpose.

All three will germinate well in cool soil, however, radish germinates quickly, while parsley and dill can take three weeks or more.

The radish will mark the row until the parsley germinates and will keep the soil from crusting.

Then, in three to four weeks, when the radish is mature and you harvest them, the space in your garden will already be producing something else.

If you are planting a small quantity of a large seed (peas, beans, corn), you will achieve faster germination if you soak these seeds in water overnight before planting.

It may be necessary to thin rows of vegetables with small seeds after they germinate.

Carrots come to mind.

If you are not using a seeder it can be difficult to space these tiny seeds out. As long as you have not sown too thickly, wait until the carrots are baby size and you can enjoy these while leaving the rest of the crop to mature.

When planting pole beans (which can be a real space-saver in a small garden when compared to bush bean varieties) it is usually easier to place the pole first, then plant your seeds around it.

The same is true if you are erecting a trellis, mesh, or fence, for peas or cucumbers.

Simply cutting some branches and shoving them into the ground will give peas enough support to keep them off the ground.

For more information visit www.fallfair.info

Link to original article: http://www.timminspress.com/2016/07/08/most-vegetables-prefer-sun