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Mar 182014
 

Socrates

Large Beit Alpha for colder conditions.

Socrates CucumberDark green, thin-skinned, 7-8″ fruits are tender, sweet, and seedless. Suitable for growing indoors with temperatures ranging from 50-82ºF/10-28ºC. Parthenocarpic. Intermediate resistance to powdery mildew.

CULTURE: Requires warm, well-drained soil high in fertility, with a pH of 6.8-7.2. Consistent, adequate irrigation is needed to produce an abundant crop. Cucumbers are very sensitive to cold. Make sure both soil and air temperatures have warmed prior to planting. The use of poly mulch and row covers will greatly enhance the vigor and potential yields of cucumbers by providing warmth and insect protection. For greenhouse or high tunnel production the use of gynoecious and parthenocarpic varieties are highly recommended.

TRANSPLANTING: Sow indoors in 50-cell plug trays, 1-2 seeds/cell, 3-4 weeks before transplanting. Keep temperature above 70°F (21°C) day and 60°F (16°C) night. Transplant 12″ apart in rows 5-6′ apart. Do not disturb roots when transplanting.

DIRECT SEEDING: Wait until soil is warm, at least 70°F (21°C). Cucumber seeds will not germinate at a soil temperature below 50°F (10°C). Sow 2 seeds/ft., 1/2″ deep, in rows 6′ apart. Thin to 12″ apart.

DISEASES: Practice crop rotation, residue sanitation, and choose disease-resistant varieties. Control insect pests to prevent bacterial wilt.

INSECT PESTS: Exclude cucumber beetles with row covers at planting, or control with pyrethrin or azadarachtin.

HARVEST: Once fruit bearing begins, pick daily.

STORAGE: Hold cucumbers at 45-50°F (7-10°C) and 90% relative humidity for up to 2 weeks.

DAYS TO MATURITY: 52 From direct seeding; subtract about 10 days if transplanting.

AVG. DIRECT SEEDING RATE: 30 seeds sows 15′, 100 seeds/50′, 250 seeds/125′, 500 seeds/250′, 1,000 seeds/500′, 15M/acre at 2 seeds/ft. in rows 6′ apart.

TRANSPLANTS: Avg. 85 plants/100 seeds.

Buy from: Johnny’s Seeds

Mar 182014
 

Growing GarlicGarlic is used to make a variety of dishes more succulent, it has wonderful health benefits and it can be dried to last for a long time. Growing garlic is easy and inexpensive, and one growing season produces so much garlic that you’ll have plenty to share with your friends. Read on for information on sourcing garlic to plant, cultivating the garlic, harvesting it at the end of the growing season, and storing it properly.

Preparing to Grow Garlic

In general, the best times for planting are mid-autumn or early spring. Garlic grows well in a wide range of climates. It does less well in areas of high heat or humidity, or where there is a lot of rainfall.

Choose a planting spot and prepare the soil. Garlic needs a lot of full sun, but it might tolerate partial shade provided it’s not for very long during the day or growing season. The soil must be well dug over and crumbly. Sandy loam is best.

  • Ensure that the soil has good drainage. Clay-based soils are not good for planting garlic.
  • Use compost and manure to add nutrients to the soil before planting the garlic.

Source fresh garlic. Garlic is grown by planting the cloves – called seeds for our purposes – so to get started all you need to do is buy fresh garlic. Choose garlic from a store, or even better, a farm stand or the local farmers market. It’s very important that the garlic bulbs chosen are fresh and of high quality. If you can, avoid garlic that has been sprayed with chemical sprays.

  • Choose fresh garlic bulbs with large cloves. Avoid garlic that has become soft.
  • Each clove will sprout into a garlic plant, so keep that in mind when you’re figuring out how many heads to buy.
  • If you have some garlic at home that has sprouted, that’s great to use.
  • Nurseries also offer garlic bulbs for planting. Visit a nursery if you want to get a specific variety or to get advice on local conditions for garlic.

Planting the Garlic

Break the cloves from a fresh garlic head. Be careful not to damage the cloves at their base, where they attach to the garlic plate. If the base is damaged, the garlic will not grow.

  • Plant the larger cloves. The smaller cloves take up just as much space in the planting bed, but they produce much smaller bulbs.

Sprouting GarlicPush each clove into the soil. Point the tips upward and plant the cloves about 2 inches (5cm) deep.

  • The cloves should be spaced about 20cm (8 inches) apart for best growing conditions.

Cover the planted cloves with mulch. Suitable toppings include hay, dry leaves, straw, compost, well rotted manure or well rotted grass clippings.

Fertilize the cloves or top-dress with compost. The planted garlic needs a complete fertilizer at the time of planting.

  • Fertilize again in the spring if you are planting your garlic in the fall, or in the fall if you’re planting it in the spring.

Caring for Garlic Plants

Water the plants often. Newly planted garlic needs to be kept moist to help the roots to develop. Don’t overdo the water, as garlic does not grow well, or may even rot, if sodden during cold months.

  • Water deeply once a week if rain has not fallen. Watering garlic is not necessary unless there is a drought, in which case water sparingly, as garlic hates wet soil.
  • Reduce the watering gradually as the season warms up. The garlic needs a hot, dry summer to allow the bulbs to mature.

Take care of pests. Insects, mice and other creatures may come to eat the garlic or make a nest among the plants. Beware the following pests:

  • Aphids seem to enjoy garlic leaves and the flower buds. They’re easy to dispense with – simply rub your fingers over them and squash them or apply a
  • Many people tend to plant garlic underneath roses to deter aphids; the roses benefit from the aphids being drawn away.
  • Mice and other small creatures sometimes nest in mulch. If you have a problem with mice in your area, consider using a type of mulch that doesn’t attract them.

Harvesting the Garlic

Note the signs of readiness for harvesting. Garlic bulbs are ready to be harvested when you can feel the individual cloves in the bulb, and the leaves turn yellow or brown.

  • Once the scapes start to dry, it is important to harvest the garlic or the head will “shatter” and divide into the individual cloves.
  • Begin harvesting at the end of the summer. Harvesting can continue well into autumn in most places.
  • Some warm climates may enable earlier harvesting of garlic.

Loosen the area around each bulb with a shovel. Pull the bulbs out of the ground.

  • Be careful with the digging process, since garlic tends to bruise easily.
  • Wash them and leave to dry in a well-ventilated space or in the sun for a few days if rain is guaranteed not to fall. Garlic can get sunburned, so don’t leave them outside for too long.

Storing Garlic

Store garlic in a cool, dry place in your home. Dried bulbs can be kept in a garlic keeper (usually made from pottery), and individual cloves can be pulled off as needed.

Make a garlic plait or braid. The dried leaves can be kept back and plaited or braided into a strand, from which you can hang the garlic bulbs in your pantry or kitchen. This is both decorative and useful.

Store garlic in oil or vinegar. Garlic cloves can be kept in oil or vinegar. However, to avoid the potential for bacterial growth, keep in the refrigerator and consume quickly.

GarlicTips

  • For clay soil get sand, mix it in and plant the clove. It really works!
  • Big cloves tend to equal big bulbs.
  • Save a bulb or two of garlic from this year’s harvest to break into cloves and plant next fall.
  • While it’s perfectly all right to plant grocery store or farm stand garlic, you may want to try other varieties. Visit nurseries or nursery websites for many more options, including other colors.
  • Garlic is very cold-hardy. You can plant it in the fall, leave it in the ground over the winter and harvest at the end of the next summer.

Warnings

  • Don’t let the garlic dry out in the ground. This will cause the bulb to split.
  • Don’t freeze garlic bulbs. They will turn to mush and be unsuitable for reuse.
Thanks to WikiHow and their authors.