Archive | March 2016

New Edibles to grow for your Table


Posted with permission of the National Garden Bureau:

 

From Containers to Your Table – New Edibles to Enjoy!

#Garden2Table

Take a moment to look through National Garden Bureau’s Member’s New Varieties for delicious and exciting new edibles for 2016!

Don’t have the room for a garden? Don’t worry as the varieties shown below (and many others) grow spectacularly well in containers for urban/patio gardening.  Give them a try and experience something new!

Each year, NGB’s members submit their best new varieties for inclusion in NGB’s exclusive assortment of annuals, perennials, edibles and other plants that are new for your 2016 gardens.

Stunning images along with descriptions and growing information of over 100 exciting new ornamentals, flowers and edibles are now available on the National Garden Bureau website.

Here are just a few that say “Plant Me, I’m Delicious!”

Cabbage Caraflex F1

Cabbage Caraflex F1

Shape and tenderness of leaves are the ideal option for making wraps or coleslaw.  Sweet flavor and crisp texture combine to make Caraflex an ideal choice for slaw.
Kale Black Magic

Kale Black Magic

Strap like blue green leaves 3 inches wide by 10 inches long, ornamental as well as edible, flavor is enhanced by frost, extremely winter hardy
Lettuce Bistro Blend

Lettuce Bistro Blend

Gourmet kitchen mixture of best tasting lettuce varieties. Matures in 30 days for baby leaf. Leaf colors range from red, bronze, dark green to bright green with a mixture of leaf textures.
Melon Mouse

Cucamelon Mouse

Cute, grape-sized fruits look like tiny watermelons but have a cucumber flavor, often with a hint of tartness. Also called sandita or Mexican sour gherkin.
Pac Choi Li Ren Choi F1

Pac Choi Li Ren Choi F1

Unlike most Pac Choi, the heads are proportional and filled out when the plant is at the baby stage. Excellent for cooking whole or cut in half.
Pea Masterpiece

Pea Masterpiece

A wonderful addition to your kitchen garden or window-box! The pea foliage is ready in a month’s time for a delicate pea-like flavor as an edible green.
Pepper Majestic Red F1

Pepper Majestic Red F1

The huge, smooth fruit mature to a bright red, have a thick wall, and crunchy texture. Fruit are blocky, firm, and heavy for their size and set quickly to ensure a good yield.

Welcome Spring with Beautiful Flowers


Posted with permission of the National Garden Bureau:

 

Welcome Spring!

Welcome New 2016 Flower Varieties! 

Take a moment to look through the National Garden Bureau’s New Varieties for exciting new flower varieties that will make your home garden a stand-out!

Each year, NGB’s members submit their best new varieties for inclusion in NGB’s exclusive assortment of annuals, perennials, edibles and other plants that are new for your 2016 gardens.

Stunning images along with descriptions and growing information of over 100 exciting new ornamentals, flowers and edibles are now available on the National Garden Bureau website.

Here are just a few that say “Plant Me!” 

Viola Gem Rose Antique F1

Viola Gem Rose Antique F1

Rose Antique lends a unique color for early spring or fall gardening. Gem Viola features a compact habit with many flowers that begin early in the spring through late May.
Begonia Marshmallow

Begonia Marshmallow

Lots of two-tone blooms cover this strong-performing, compact begonia. The flowers start out white/cream and mature to a pink/rose hue.  Perfect for 2016 The #YearOfTheBegonia
Cosmos Xanthos™

Cosmos Xanthos™

Cosmos Xanthos is an amazing new Cosmos. It has an unique soft yellow color never seen before in early flowering Cosmos bipinnatus. Nice compact and well-branched plants for tubs, borders and bedding.
Petunia Limbo *GP* Blue Veined™ F1

Petunia Limbo *GP* Blue Veined™ F1

Lavender blue flowers with dark blue veining, very attractive color. The Limbo *GP* series of hybrid Petunias was bred to be compact in the garden.
Spiraea First Editions® Pink Sparkler™ Birchleaf Spirea

Spiraea First Editions® Pink Sparkler™ Birchleaf Spirea

Pink Sparkler™ blooms in early summer with large pink flowers. In autumn, new smaller flowers bloom adding pink color to the fall landscape.

Why Kill the Asian Lady Beetles?


A lot of people have told me lately that they are ‘saving’ the ‘ladybugs’ in their house to ‘help the farmers’. I am sorry, but are you nuts???

Like wine? Clean food and air? The roof over your head? Then read on!

Melissa Watkins's photo.

FYI folks: These are not traditional lady bugs, but a species known as Harmonia axyridis (Asian Lady Beetle, Harlequin Ladybug, Multicolored Lady Beetle, among others) that was introduced by the USDA and chemical companies into the Midwest in the 1990s. Reportedly, Asian Lady Beetles have heavily fed on soybean aphids (yet another happy little pest introduction from the USDA chemical companies), supposedly saving farmers vast sums of money. However, most farmers I have talked to never see them and neither do their crop scouts. But guess what they do see? Lots of aphids!  What do they do?   Spray just as heavily as before.

Er, ok, so where are the little Asian Lady Beetles if they are not in the field?

If you grow grapes, cherries, or any type of berry, you already have the answer…

images 2imagesIMGA0401

(Photos used with permission of the Universities of Illinois, Minnesota, and California Extensions, respectively)

To read more on this issue, check out Influence of Berry Injury on Infestations of the Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle in Wine Grapes over at the Plant Management Network site.

So now you are saying, well, Mertie, that’s great and all, but why should I kill them in my house?

1. They get into food, leave their waste products on your plates, and stain fabric. Eat one and you will never let another live.  As a person that has the misfortune of having them live in the home during the winter, I can tell you that we have at least a couple episodes happen each winter. Most recently I ate one in a grilled cheese. I had four sandwiches to make, and in that small window of prep time, one snuck in. YUCK!

2. They bite and many people have allergic reactions.  It’s like getting a mosquito bite if not allergic, but much worse if you are (a Facebook friend from MN recently had anaphylaxic shock from a bite).

3. Over years, they become a fire hazard. How? Check the insulation in your home. Believe it or not, their dead little carcasses (because most that come in die in your home) are very flammable. Chalk this up to life experience on the time my Grandpa swept them up by the 5 gallon pails and put them out on the burning pile…

4. The bacteria that lives on their dead carcasses is harmful to humans.  The substances cadaverine and putrescine are produced during the decomposition of Asian Lady Beetles and transported throughout the home via ductwork..  A 2005 study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Human Health found a fourfold increase in cadaverine and putrescine in homes in Iowa with high levels of dead Asian Lady Beetles (in excess of 100 bugs per cubic meter of the home; it is estimated that many homes in rural areas of Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota far exceed 100 bugs per cubic meter).  This would put the levels well above recommended levels within a home

Feel like saving those bugs now?

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2016 is the Year of the Carrot!


Posted with permission of the National Garden Bureau:

 

2016 is the Year of the Carrot!
Year of the Carrot

While carrots are one of the top 10 most economically important vegetable crops in the world, they also are one of the most popular vegetables to grow in home gardens – and for good reason.

Carrots are delicious, nutritious, versatile, and with just a little bit of know-how, this root crop is easy to grow.

It is “root” to tell a lie: While Vitamin A that is derived from Beta Carotene found in orange carrots does aid in overall eye health, you won’t be able to have full-fledged night vision from eating an abundance of carrots, as some have purported.

Your skin, however, CAN turn yellow from eating an abundance of carrots! Not to worry though, the yellowing will go away after a few weeks as long as you cut down on the carrot intake.

Jonathan Bardzik, youtube video
Watch this video to find out more about carrot recipes from Jonathan Bardzik. Jonathan is a DC-based cook, author and storyteller sharing joy in the kitchen through easy, seasonal farm and garden-fresh recipes

History:
The ancestor to the modern day carrot is believed to have originated in Afghanistan and was purple, scrawny, and pungent. Over time, cultivation by Greeks and Romans resulted in roots that were plumper, tastier, and came in shades of purple, red, and black. It wasn’t until the late 16 or early 17th century that the orange, appetizing carrots that we know today were bred by the Dutch in Europe.

Basic Types:
Carrots (Daucus carota) are members of the Apiaceae family, which also includes culinary plants such as anise, celery, coriander (cilantro), dill, and parsnips. They are biennials, meaning that they will flower in the second year of growth, but are typically grown as annuals (grown and harvested in the same year).  There are several different carrot types and they are primarily divided up by shape.

Variety/Series Names:
The following are some of the more well-known types, along with their characteristics and links to NGB members websites for more information on ordering.

Chantenay – Conical, triangular shaped roots with broad shoulders and rounded tips. Sweet flavor makes it good for eating fresh.

Varieties include:

Danvers – Cylindrical, thick roots that are often used to make carrot juice due to the high water content and low sugar content.

Varieties include:

Imperator – Long, tapered roots with narrow shoulders. These are typically the carrots you would buy in a plastic bag at the grocery.

Varieties include:

Miniature/Baby – Either small round roots (also called Planet-types) or cylindrical and short.

Myth debunked: Baby carrots that are purchased in a bag at the grocery are actually made from long, skinny carrots that have been cut.

Varieties include:

Nantes – Cylindrical, “cigar-shaped” roots that are sweet and crispy.

Varieties include:

Successful How-To-Grow:
Carrots are easy to grow from seed and perform best when directly sown into a garden bed or patio container.  National Garden Bureau Members not only provide great products, but also great growing information.

Here are links to some of their websites that help to explain how to grow carrots: