Nasturtium

Genus:

  • Tropaeolum majus

LIFECYCLE:

  • Nasturtiums are annual

Height:

  • 12 inches for a bush, 72 inches for vines

Spread:

  • 18 inches for bush

Description:

  • Distinctive, blue-green circular leaves are held up on fleshy stems. These annuals come in a variety of types ranging from compact bushes to long-spreading vines. They make an eye-catching addition to any garden. In addition, they have large attractive blooms that range in color from palest yellows, pinks, and apricots to deep, rich yellows, oranges, and burgundy. The vining types are great in hanging planters, window boxes, or for use on trellises and fences.

Ease of care:

  • Easy

How to grow:

  • Plant in full sun to partial shade in average to poor, moist soil.

Propagation:

  • By seed in late spring. They’re large and can be planted individually where the plants are going to grow

Pests:

  • Aphids love nasturtiums, so be on the lookout for them.

Uses:

  • Fresh leaves and flowers-salads
  • Fresh flowers-floral arrangements
  • Unripe seeds and flower buds-pickled for salads

Preservation:

  • Pickle unripe seeds in vinegar and use them in salads.

How to Grow Tepary Beans In Your Garden

Tepary beans are native to the Americas and have been planted by the local people for thousands of years. Tepary beans are creamy and nutty in flavor, and they can be used in any dish. They are perfect for soups and stews. Though they are small in size, tepary beans are dense and meaty. They are easily grown in Sunset climate zones. They are rich in nutrients and grow from 1 to 3 feet tall with a foot spread of 3 to 4 foot. They are known as the most heat-tolerant crop in the world. They are mostly planted during summer and monsoon season which produces infrequent rains from July to August. Let’s see how to grow tepary beans?

Advantages Of Growing

Growing is one of the most popular hobbies in America these days. Growing and gardening are considered the best way to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Growing gives the gardener, the ability to experiments with new seeds and new varieties. Growing plants at your home can provide you more control over the quality and longevity of the plants. Growing plants is an art; one can use many different techniques.

Direct Sowing

Direct sowing is also known as direct seeding, which means that you directly start planting seeds in the garden than buying plants and transplanting the plants. Sowing seeds directly do not mean that you just plop some seeds in the ground and leave it for the results. You need to take care of some of the factors before sowing, make sure that the area is weed-free, though there is competition for water and nutrients; it’s quite easy to mistake sprouting weed seed for your flower or vegetables and accidentally pulling out them. Make sure you plant seeds 3 times deep as their circumference is. Some seeds require light to germinate. Then, what you need to do is gently press into the damp soil so that they can make good contact with light and air. Always mark the spot first where you want to sow the seed because you may think you remember, but you don’t so it’s better to mark the spot. Don’t wash the seeds away, water gently. It is crucial to keep the soil moist, but not soaking, until the seeds germinate. Once you have had good germination, continue to pamper the seedlings until they become mature plants.

Growing seedlings

A seedling is a young plant which develops from a plant embryo from a seed. Development of a seedling starts with the germination of the seeds.

  • Deciding the best time to plant your seeds: When you start your plants too late, it may not have enough time to get mature so start your plants a little early so that it gets enough time to get mature.
  • Gather all the supplements you need: Germinating healthy seeds require quite a few things. First of all, you need seeds, a seedling tray or a food storage container, a plastic wrap, a small fan, and a timer. If you have used the supplies before make sure to clean them before using them again.
  • Plant your seeds: Before you start planting your seeds, soak the Rockwool cubes for at least half an hour. Make sure to plant the appropriate number of seeds based on their crop types.
  • Ideal Conditions for germination: Once you are done with the planting of seeds, it’s time to provide them with ideal conditions for germination. Green leafy seeds and herbs germinate well in the range of 55-75degree F, whereas fruity crops require upper range. Also, make sure that you cover the seedling tray with a plastic wrap.
  • Keep your seedlings healthy: As soon as you see something green coming out of the seeds, make sure to give them proper light, especially in winter. If it’s too cold outside to place your plant outside, use fluorescent bulbs and keep it inches away from your plants.
  • Strong seeds: Make your seeds strong by performing some tasks such as set a small fan and gently blow on them, make sure they get proper sunlight.

Transplanting seedlings

Transplanting the seedlings should be done with a very gentle hand and not roughly. Use a blunt knife ease the seedlings without disturbing the preceding seedlings in the line or tearing out the seedlings.

To transplant, the seeds, loosen the soil and fill each container with planting mix. Handle seedling by their leaves and make sure that you do not damage the soft stems of the plants. Poke a hole into the planting mix and place the seedling over there. Water it right away and keep it out of direct sunlight for a few days. After 10-11 days the seedlings are ready to be kept outside.

Insect and pest control

Insect and pest control treatment for seeds includes the application of pesticide to the surface to reduce or control the pests. Apply a chemical barrier to the seed so that it can protect the young seedlings from getting damaged by the insects. You may use systematic pesticides.

Controlling Diseases and Problems

Tepary beans, in my experience, don’t have many problems and the few they have can be handled like any other garden bean.  However, there is one really important thing to remember, which is that tepary beans are a desert bean and are water misers, so, they need minimal water and certainly much less than other traditional garden beans.  Actually, tepary beans tends to be more productive and mature earlier if once established and flowering, if they experience some mild lack of water stress.

When are tepary beans ready to harvest ripe?

The days of maturity depends on the cultivator, but can range from 60 – 120 days to harvest as dry beans.  Tepary beans are harvested for their dry bean seeds, so don’t get in a hurry to harvest them and let them dry on the plant, if possible.

Harvesting

Begin harvesting of tepary beans seeds a the bean pods dry out.  Keep in mind that tepary beans are most a wild beans and will shatter and drop their seeds if left too long. Also, the bean pods will be brittle when dry, so, harvest gently to minimize your bean seed loss.  You will want to shuck the bean pods after allowing them to finish drying in a cool try environment to be sure they are completely dry.   The dry tepary bean seeds can be stored in a cool place and saved for cooking until the for food purposes for up to five years.

Related references

How to Grow Runner Beans

How to Grow Runner Beans

Actually, runner beans are very easy to grow. Summer is incomplete without the runner beans for many people. Many people love to garden as a favorite pastime.  

Runner beans are very nutritious and healthy. Runner beans are good to eat and can be used and preserved in all the ways you can use string beans. If you wish to use runner beans as green or string beans the younger you pick them the more tender they will be.

The seeds from the older pods can be harvested and eaten or dried stored for later use. This is an opportunity most American gardeners miss, but will to the store and by Cannellini beans.  Cannellini beans, as it happens, are variety runner beans.

I once had a friend (knowing that I would not mind) who would come over and raid my runner beans when it looked like I was too busy with the day job to keep up with the harvest.  Both our families cook and use runner beans like lima (Butter Beans). 

 It does not need a proper place to grow up. It can grow among flowers and all. It can reduce the risk of heart disease. It can also prevent the chance of colon cancer. It can control diabetes. It can boost your immunity. For the good eye health, runner beans are very good. It can also help you to improve the bone health of your body. This vegetable helps you to keep your stomach working properly.

Runner beans can grow in a container. The container can dry out easily. So, you need to water them frequently. According to the size of the container, a very small amount of runner beans can grow in a single container. Pots can also restrict the growth of the plant.

Direct Sowing:

  • Direct sowing is an easy process. It can be done at any time of the whole year. This process means to plant the seeds directly into the soil of the garden. There are actually three main parts of direct sowing such as preparation, sowing the seeds and taking care of it.

Soil Preparation:

  • It is important to set the bed for the seed. It should be done before a couple of weeks of sowing.
  • Amend the soil means to add valuable and vital nutrients to the soil. The soil analysis is very much needed in this stage.
  • After the amending part, you will have to wait for a few days for the weeds to sprout and after that remove them with the use of a small hoe.
  • Then layout your bed.

Sowing the seeds:

  • Before doing the direct sowing, you will have to decide how the vegetables will grow and use for. You should have to give water to the soil before the day of planting. After the sowing procedure, you will have to provide the seeds with enough water to drink. Seeds basically need three valuable things to germinate such as moisture, light, and temperature.

Care:

  • Caring for runner beans after sowing consists of weeding the bed, re-sowing and weather protection for the crops and plants.

Growing seedlings:

  • Seedlings need more micro-climate to grow than older plants. If you are planning to grow seedlings of runner beans, then you will have to take some special care.

Transplanting seedling:

  • To transplant seedlings, you will have to fill each new container with the moist planting mix. You will have to loosen the soil around the seedlings by using a kitchen fork. You will have to take special care of handling the seedlings by their leaves to avoid the damage.

Succession Planting:

  • Succession planting is a very efficient way to grow runner beans and other vegetables. The methods of succession planting increase the availability of crops.
  • Insect and Pest Control: For any kinds of sowing, it is essential to do insect and pest control. By controlling the pest, you can ensure the growth of the crops. You can use many DIY methods to control the pest and insects. You can also hire pest control to remove and kill them.
  • Controlling Diseases and Problems: By using proper medicines, you can control diseases and other problems related to this. Fungi used to take their energy from the growing plant. These fungi are mainly responsible for the damage of the crops and plants. You will have to identify the problem that causes hamper to your plant and solve it accordingly.

When are bush beans ready to harvest ripe?

  • Generally, bush beans should be ready in 50-55 days. The maturity time depends on the variety of its growing.
  • Green beans: Green beans are tender and tasty. Your plants provide a continual production all the seasons.
  • Dry beans:
  • These beans are ready for harvest in 70-120 days. Dry beans are actually growing to full maturity.

Harvesting:

  • Weeding, watering, and mulching are essential until the runner beans are harvested. You will have to apply an occasional liquid to fertilizer feed them. This procedure will begin in the mid-summer and continue to the first frosts. Runner beans actually crop just after the French beans. It is a very productive, beautiful and delicious vegetable to grow. You will have to pick the beans regularly to encourage future production.

Storing Runner Beans:

  • Runner beans are actually prolific. You can store it for a long time depending on the method used.
    • Blanching, then freezing the runner beans as green beans is an easy option. Once frozen runner beans can be safely stored up to nine months in an ordinary freezer, and fourteen months in a deep freeze in a vacuum-packed bag. 
    • You can keep fresh runner beans in the salad drawer of the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. You will have to use the oldest beans at first.
    • It takes a week actually to dry runner bean seeds at home, but once dry and stored the dry beans in an airtight container in a cool, dry spot, runner beans can be safely kept for up to five years, then cook much like dry lima beans.
    • Young Runner beans can also be dried as leather breeches beans (dry green beans) a heritage method, which is nearly forgotten, then rehydrated and eaten for up to two years.

Related references

WHAT ARE HERBS?

Herbs are one of the fascinating plant species on the planet. Humans have grown herbs for millennia and eaten herbs from the very beginning of time. They have added to our lives in several different ways. The humble little plants have been utilized in the following areas: flavoring food, medicinal remedies, fragrances, dyes, landscaping, pest control, and industrial uses. In recent years growing herbs has experienced a giant leap in popularity. One major factor is that they provide an attractive method of entry into the gardening fraternity because they are so easy to grow.

There are many plants that are included in the herb family. This causes a little bit of a challenge in defining members of the family. The strict botanist school definition of an herb is that it is a plant that does not form woody tissue. Ergo the name herbaceous to describe such a plant. Practical herb gardeners are a little more liberal in their definition of herbs and include plants with flowers, leaves, roots, stems, or fruits that provide any of the manifestations ascribed to herb plants. These qualities include ornamental, aromatic, medicinal, culinary, and household uses. Many plants with woody stems are included in the definition of herbs. Cultivated types (cultivators) such as thyme, lavender, and rosemary along with vines, trees, and shrubs are in there. Many cultivators are included in the legion of herb plants on the market today.

Under the right conditions, herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow. They can do well in a wide range of growing conditions and soils, but the key factor is drainage. Herb plants do not like “wet feet,” and they must be planted in well-drained soil, or they will not live. Richer soils will cause   the plants to grow larger stems and roots rather than the oils which produce the desired flavors and aromas. When planning an herb garden, consider the native origins of the herbs to be included in the garden. Herbs originally from the Mediterranean Sea area will vary in their requirements from East Asia.

Annual Herbs

Annuals herbs are plants which go through their whole life cycle from seed to flower, and again to seed in one growing season.  Once this happens, the plant dies.  If you collect seeds, you can replant in the same year (e.g., spring and fall), or save and replant the following year. Common annual herbs are:

  1. Basil
  2. Cilantro
  3. Chervil
  4. Summer Savory

Biennials Herbs

Biennials are plants which require two years to complete their life cycle.  The top of the herb may die, but the herb will overwinter with proper protection in most areas, here are a few:

  1. Dill (this herb is a biennial but is normally grown as an annual.
  2. Parsley (often grown as an annual)
  3. Sage (hardy for longer in zones 5-8)
  4. Stevia

Perennials Herbs

Perennials herbs, if well cared for, can last for years in the correct climate conditions.  This makes them an excellent investment in both time and money. Of course, you may end up with more of them than you could possibly eat, which is the case with all the large rosemary bushes in my landscape. We use what we want, and the rest look good and attract pollinators.

In cooler climates, the plant to may die back in the winter  and will return in the following spring; assuming cold temperature do not exceed their tolerances.  Perennials herbs will continue growing through the winter if you live in some of the more temperate zones. Some common perennial herbs are:

  1. Bay leaves
  2. Chives
  3. Fennel
  4. Lavender
  5. Marjoram
  6. Mint
  7. Oregano
  8. Rosemary
  9. Tarragon
  10. Thyme
  11. Winter Savory

Related References

How To Grow Lima Beans

Lima beans are native to South and Central America and often grow best in temperatures from 15 to 20 degrees. In addition to being delicious and nutritious, lima beans are not challenging to grow. No matter if you are a beginner or not, it is simple to plant, take care, and harvest lima beans. Keep reading to learn how to grow lima beans and get the best results.

Choose lima bean seeds

Lima beans can be divided into two varieties: vine beans and bush beans, which are usually labeled indeterminate and determinate, respectively. They are annuals that only grow in a single season of the year. You can easily find the seeds at any garden supply or nursery store. Bush beans typically mature quickly and are called determinate since they yield all of the beans at the same time. The bushes can grow up to 30 to 90 cm in height. If you grow lima beans in a pot, it is better to go for bush varieties like Fordhook or Henderson. Vine beans grow more slowly, but they can produce more yield. Also, they can ensure diseases and pests better. With a height of around 2 to 4 meters, vines are ideal for small gardens.

Prepare the seedlings

After purchasing lima bean seeds, you should germinate them by wrapping in a wet paper towel and seal in an airtight bag. Wait for a few days before they sprout small roots and stems. If you are living in an area with short growing seasons, start bean seedlings in pots roughly 3 to 4 weeks before the final spring frost. Bury each seed under 1 to 2 inches of loose soil and keep them in a moist, warm environment. Consider using paper or biodegradable peat pots. Lima bean seedlings could be delicate and hard to transplant, so you should use one which you could directly plant to the ground. Avoid planting a plastic or clay pot because it would limit the growth of your plants.

Sow

Sow the seedlings or seeds in the mid-spring. Since Lima beans are native South and Central America, they often thrive in warm climates where the temperatures range from 15 to 20 degrees during the growing period. Start planting the seeds 2 to 4 weeks after the last spring frost when the weather gets warm. If you start them indoors, then just sow the seeds or seedlings. Avoid planting the seeds too early because they might rot in moist and cool soil. However, if you grow them too late, high temperatures might interfere with their growth.

Grow

Plant the lima beans 1 or 2 inches deep in the ground. Set bush varieties 4 to 6 inches apart, while vine beans will need a space of around 8 to 10 inches. Make sure the eye faces downward to the soil. In case you are growing multiple rows, keep in mind leave sufficient space, from 24 to 36 inches, between each row for unrestricted growth and easy access. The perfect site for growing lima beans is moderately fertile, well-drained, and sunny. Choose an area with acidic soil, with a pH of 6 to 6.8. Avoid planting in high-nitrogen soil or using a fertilizer which has been mixed with extra nitrogen, which can limit the growth of your beans. That’s why it is essential to test the soil for pH levels before starting.

Set up support structures

For vine varieties, you need to set up some support structures such as a trellis or a pole for them to reach the full growth potential. Make sure to build them as soon as you grow the seeds to avoid damaging their delicate roots. A metal or wooden pole should be at least 5 feet tall, and less than 1 inch in diameter. Also, you need to stake the support securely in the ground near the plant. When the beans grow, you will have to guide the vine patiently so that it starts to wrap around the structure.

Water regularly

Make sure the soil is always damp. However, avoid watering too frequently or heavily because it can drown your seedlings. Ideally, you should provide around 1 inch of water per week, from irrigation or rain, during the pod development and blossoming stages. Pour the water at the plants’ base rather than the top because mildew and disease could develop in wet foliage. To conserve moisture, especially during the summer, you can spread mulch at the base. This can also help prevent weeds.

Pest control

Inspect your lima beans regularly to look for signs of insects and bugs or their damage. If you see nonbeneficial bugs or their damage, try to identify the exact species so that you could find the best method to eliminate them. Some common types of pests on lima beans include mites, aphids, and flea beetles. In some cases, you can control the pests just by spraying with a water hose, which will knock them off the lima bean plants. But if it doesn’t work, you can use diatomaceous earth or insecticidal soap.

Harvest

Bush beans often mature in 60 to 70 days, while vines varieties can be harvested after 85 to 90 days of planting. At that time, the plants will flower, then the flowers die, and pods appear. You should harvest only when the pods are filled-out and bright green. Thus, make sure to be patient, but don’t wait too long because the beans would dry out, making them tough and inedible. You can test by gently tugging a pod. If the beans come off easily, then it is ready. Ideally, you can suck the beans out of the seed pods by pulling the string. Though this method can be time-consuming, it will ensure the quality of your beans.

Dry and store

Lima beans can be dried out for storage in the long term or prepared to cook immediately. In most cases, freshly-picked beans can last for around 2 weeks in the fridge. But you should blanch and freeze them first to ensure the overall quality and freshness. For long-term storage, consider shelling and drying the beans thoroughly. Keep them in a dry and cool airtight container that is carefully cleaned and sanitized so that they can last for around 8 to 10 months.

Related References

How To Grow Okra

Okra Pods On Plant
Okra Pods On Plant

Growing Okra

It is exciting to grow your own okra. The okra vegetable is delicious, and the plant produces the most gorgeous flowers. Planting okra in your garden is simple and will enhance its beauty exponentially.

Okra comes in many varieties. Okra pods can be green, red, pink, and white. They come in a plethora of lengths and shapes. Some are short and stout while others are long and spindly. The okra plant grows quite tall, usually between 4-6 feet, so make sure you allow adequate space in your garden.

Planting Okra

The okra plant takes on average 2 months to reach maturity. They need consistently warm days to thrive, which means in many climates they cannot be planted until mid-June. For the seeds to germinate, the soil needs to be at least 65F. It is best to start by planting okra seeds indoors to get a head start on the season.

Plant the okra seeds in containers filled with rich potting soil. Put seeds in 1/2-1 inch deep. Once the seedlings have grown at least 3 leaves and there is no more chance of frost, they can be transplanted outside. Space them out 2 feet from each other with 2-3 feet between the rows.

Okra Irrigation

Okra plants should be kept well watered for the best pod production. They are quite hardy, however, and will survive minor dry spells.

When To Harvest Okra

The pods are best harvested when they are 2-3 inches long, depending on the variety. If they grow too large, they will get tough and woody. When they reach that point, they are basically inedible. Cut the pods off with a knife or shears as the stems are very tough. It is also recommended to wear gloves when cutting off the pods as many okra varieties have little spines that can cause skin irritation. Harvest the pods continuously to keep the plant producing and thriving. Okra can be harvested every day in the height of the growing season. Remove and discard any that have grown too big so the plant can focus its energy on producing new growths.

Storage Of Okra

Okra stores well at room temperature for a few days. It can also be stored in the refrigerator. Okra pods keep well in the freezer which means this wonderful vegetable can be enjoyed year-round.

 

 

Growing the Kahari Melon

Kahari Melon
Kahari Melon

The melons are a rust or copper-red with stripes of in green and cream, making this an unusually and beautiful melon. The pale green flesh is sweet, aromatic and slightly musky in taste, similar to a honeydew melon.

Planting Instructions

  • Sow in place about two weeks after the last frost of spring.
  • Plant seed about one inch deep, 12 inches apart, in rows 5 feet apart.
  • Or plant in hills, 4-5 seeds per hill, with hills about 5 feet apart.
  • In a four by four foot raised bed, I usually, plant plant a hill in a short way from each corner and let them spill over the edges and pathways. So, an out of the way bed is recommended.
  • In short-season climates, grow trans- plants indoors, starting about 1 week before last frost date and set out about 2-3 weeks after sowing; never let transplants become root-bound in their container.
  • These Melons may be trellised, but larger fruit may need a cloth sling to support each fruit ant to prevent wind damage.

Gardeners Note:

  • You may want to consider succession planting these melons, so, that you get a new harvest every two to three weeks.  Otherwise, you may find with an oversupply when they start to produce and with will allow you to pull up any vine, which may succumb to pest and/or disease.

Kahari Melon Size

  • The vines produce an abundance of 2 to 4 pound fruit.

Kahari Melon Storage

  • The melon does not store long and, therefore, should be used as soon as possible upon harvesting.

Kahari Melon Uses

  • Eaten as fresh fruit or in fresh fruit salad
  • As fresh water (our favorite method) or mixed in a smoothie