Tag Archive | Pumpkins

Longevity of Ripe Red Peppers


“Hi Mertie,

I was wondering if you could help me out with a pepper question that we had happen last fall. I like to let my peppers stay on the vine until they are red, but find that they rot in no time at all ones they are picked. For example, if on Saturday I picked 4 peppers that had just finished turning red, they were mush by Monday night. The green peppers I picked on Friday are still nice. What gives? We have had some wet weather, but the plants did not have any diseases and the fruit was not laying on the ground.

Thank you,
Barb in Powersville, MO”

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Hi Barb,

Thanks for your question regarding peppers.

Red Peppers

Your experience with your peppers last fall is a great example of the damage that can be done to a fruit by the presence of ethylene gas.

As a fruit ripens, the process is aided along by the naturally-occuring plant hormone ethylene.  This hormone is released by the plant to soften the fruit tissue, convert various compounds in the fruit from acids to sugars, and degrades the chlorophyll that makes the fruit green so that the other pigments that were always in the fruit (but had chlorophyll blocking them out) are able to be seen.  Once the process has completed, you are left with fruit tissue that is somewhat softer and much sweeter.  This is a FEAST for bacteria and mold, and, as you experienced, your pepper fruit does not last too long after that.

While this process occurs in all fruits, some are able to deal with it better.  For example, apples have a tough skin on them and acids that remain in the flesh of the fruit once it has ripened.  Squashes and pumpkins have a hard rind.  Citrus have a thick skin studded with oil pores that contain essential oils full of d-limonene, which is substantial anitmicrobial properties.

Unfortunately, fruits like peppers don’t have much to protect them.The high sugar and water content of the fruit sets it up for disaster.  Also, green peppers contain 1-2% more oxygen in their air cavity than red peppers.  Although that doesn’t seem like much, it is just enough to prevent the anaerobic respiration that is preferred by bacteria.

So, unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that red peppers usually go soft in the fridge after about 2 days, while green peppers go soft in a week or two in the fridge.  I find that if you want to have red peppers to use in the kitchen, it is best to freeze them or eat them raw in a very short amount of time.

Sorry I don’t have a better answer.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Pumpkins for Dry, Short Seasons


“Last year we planted ‘Neon Orange’ and ‘Long Face’ pumpkins because we Have a short season here and it is very dry. We had good luck with the Neon and no luck with the Long Face. Do you also know of a pumpkin that would be Jack-o-lantern size but would grow in a dry climate and a short season. We use a drip system and watered about 600 gallons per day for a 1/2 Acre.

Thanks,

Bret Wade
Wade Acres
Simla, CO.
http://www.wadeacres.com

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02050253

Hi Bret,

Thank you for the email regarding pumpkins.  Hmmm, that’s a tough one.   The only one that would be large enough in size and have a chance of doing well in that type of an environment would be Autumn Gold.  It is a good size pumpkin, short day  compared to other varieties (90), and no matter how  dry the summer is, has a good crop.

I hope this information helps you out.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Fertilizer Basics


“Dear Horticulturist,

My garden is growing great, but I know I need to fertilize my plants. I know it needs to be done with the right product at the right time or you can kill or mess up your plants, but I just don’t know what the right time is for the various vegetables I have. Do you have a table or something that you could send me or post that would give me a better idea of what we should be doing?

Thanks,

Carrie”

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Hi Carrie,

Thanks for the email. Yes, fertilizing is important — not only in the doing, but also in the ‘doing it right’. Here goes:

Beans

Pre-plant: If necessary, use 5-10-10, 3-4″ deep, at the rate of 1 1/2 lbs. per 100 sq. ft. Side-dress: 1 T. of 5-10-10 per plant every 3-4 weeks or generous scoop of rotted manure.
Beets
Pre-plant: Work aged manure or com post into top 8″, or 3-4 cups 5-10-10 into top 4- 6″ for every 20-foot row. Side-dress: If growing slowly, use 2 cups 10-10-10 per 20-foot row.
Broccoli
Pre-plant: 3-4 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. Side-dress: 3 weeks af ter transplant with 1 T. high nitrogen fertilizer.
Brussels Sprouts
Pre-plant: 2-4 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. Side-dress: Once a month with 5-10-10, 1-2 T. per plant.
Cabbage
Pre-plant: 3-4 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. or 3-4 shovels of aged manure or com post. Side-dress: Month after transplant, 1 lb. 10-10-10 per 25-foot row.
Chinese cabbage
Side-dress: 1/2 lb. 10-10-10 per 25-foot row when plants are 4-6″, then every three weeks thereafter.
Carrots
Pre-plant: 1 lb. 5-10-10 per 50 sq. ft. Side-dress: W h en 6″ tall, use natural fertilizer such as dried manure or f i sh fertilizer. Thin layer hardwood ash, 4″ deep, for potash (for sweetness).
Celery
Fall of year: Generous amounts of com post and/or manure in top 3″. Side-dress: Every 2-3 weeks with manure tea or 1 tsp. 5-10-10 per plant.
Corn
Pre-plant: 3-4 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. Side-dress: 2 lbs. high nitrogen fertilizer (urea or ammonium sulfate), per 100 sq. ft. when plants are 8-10″ tall. Use again when silks appear, adding superphosphate to N.
Cucumbers
Pre-plant: Use plenty of compost or well-rotted manure. Side-dress: 4 weeks after planting, just as vines begin to run, use 2 handfuls compost or 1 T. 5-10-10 per plant.
Eggplant
Pre-plant: Mix 1″ well rotted manure or 2-3 lbs. 5-10-5 per 100 sq. ft. Side-dress: When plants set several fruit, use 1 T. 5-10-5 or 10-6-4 per plant.
Lettuce
Pre-plant: 1 lb. 10-10-10 per 25 sq. ft. Side-dress: 3-4 weeks after planting, use 1 tsp. 10-10-10 per plant. May also use fish or seaweed fertilizer.
Melons
Pre-plant: Generous amounts of rotted manure or compost. Side-dress: Mulched – Use liquid fertilizer (fish, seaweed, manure tea) Unmulched – Use 1/2 cup 5-10-10 for every 4-5 plants. Again in 3 wks.
Okra
Pre-plant: 1/2 lb. 10-10-10 per 25-foot row. Side-dress: 1/2 lb. 10-10-10 per 25-foot row or aged manure or rich compost. (Side- dress three times: 1. After thinning; 2. When first pods begin to develop; 3. At least once midway through the growing season.)
Onions
Fall: Mix rich compost or manure into soil. Pre-plant: 1 lb. 10-10-10 per 20 sq. ft. Side-dress: 1 lb. 10-10-10 per 20-25 foot row when plants are 4-6″ tall and when bulbs swell.
Parsnips
Pre-plant: Use a slow-release fertilizer. Side-dress: If a slow-release fertilizer has not been applied, use 1-2 cups 5-10-10 per 25-foot row or its equivalent after 1-2 months.
Peas
Pre-plant: 1-1 1/2 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. Side-dress: When 6″ tall, use 1/2 lb. of a 1:1 mixture of ammonium sulfate and dehydrated manure per 25 foot row.
Peppers
Pre-plant: 1 1/2 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. Side-dress: Monthly with 1 T. 5-10-10 per plant.
Potatoes
Pre-plant: In an 8″ trench or hole, mix 5- 10-10 at the rate of 1 lb. per 25-foot row with 2 inches of soil. Side-dress: When hilled for the 2nd time, use 1 lb. 5-10-10 per 25-foot row or compost, seaweed, or fish emulsion.
Pumpkins
Pre-plant: Mix rotted manure and a handful of 5-10-10 into top 6-8″ of soil. Side-dress: Use 5-10-10 on hill and side roots.
Radishes
No special fertilization necessary.
Rhubarb
Pre-plant: Mix well-rotted compost or manure into soil. Fertilize early spring each year with 2-3 shovels of well-rotted manure per plant or 1/2 cup of 5-10-10. Side-dress: At the same rate in early summer after the main harvest period.
Spinach
Mix compost, manure, and/or 10-10-10. No additional fertilizer necessary.
Squash
Pre-plant: Work plenty of good com post or aged manure into 1 of soil. Side-dress: 1 T. 5-10-10 per plant. Summer squash – When 6″ tall. Again when they bloom
Winter squash
When vines start to run. Again when small fruit form
Sweet potatoes
Pre-plant: 3 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. of row, plus fine com post. Side-dress: 3-4 weeks after transplanting with 3 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. (Use 5 lbs. if soil is sandy.)
Tomatoes

Pre-plant: 3 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. Side-dress: 3 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. after fruit sets

© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Powdery Mildew on Pumpkin Leaves


“Ok gardeners, what is this growing on my pumpkin leaves and how do I treat it organically ?

Photo: Ok gardeners, what is this growing on my pumpkin leaves and how do I treat it organically ?

~Melissa, High School friend via Facebook”

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Your pumpkin is suffering from powdery mildew and can be treated with baking soda.  Baking soda makes an inexpensive control for powdery mildew on plants. The baking soda fungicide is mostly effective as a preventative, offering only minimal benefits after your plants have become infected. Weekly spraying of susceptible plants during humid or damp weather can greatly reduce the incidence of powdery mildew in your garden.

To control powdery mildew on plants, mix together:

1 tablespoon of baking soda
½ teaspoon of liquid soap
1 gallon of water
Do not store unused mixture. While this recipe has been known to be effective, it can burn the leaves of some plants. It is recommended that you water your infected plants well a couple of days before applying this mixture, and don’t apply it in full sun. Try on a small area first, to test the plant’s response before spraying the entire plant.
Some recipes also recommend applying 1 tablespoon of ultralight horticultural oil to the mixture. The oil coats and smothers the fungi. The soap is added to help the mix spread and cling to the leaf surface. Be sure to apply to lower leaf surfaces as well.

Researchers are still studying the effects of using a baking soda mixture on other fungal diseases such as: black spot, rust and anthracnose.

 

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.