There are very few varieties of artichokes; Green Globe is the variety commonly grown.
The artichoke is a thistlelike, tender perennial that grows three to four feet tall and three to four feet wide. It is grown for its flower buds, which are eaten before they begin to open. The elegant, architectural leaves make the artichoke very decorative, but because it is tender and hates cold weather, it's not for al! gardens. Artichokes, an ancient Roman delicacy, were introduced to France by Catherine de Medici. Later they were taken to Louisiana by the French colonists.
Artichokes have a definite preference for a long, frost-free season with damp weather. They cannot handle heavy frost or snow, and in areas where the temperature goes below freezing they need special care and mulching. Artichokes grow best in the four central California counties and on the southern Atlantic and Gulf coasts. In the North, artichokes must be grown in a protected location — the temperature should not be over 70°F by day, or under 55°F at night. Plant them on the average date of last frost for your area.
Artichokes are grown from offshoots, suckers, or seed. For best results, start with offshoots or suckers from a reputable nursery or garden center; artichoke plants grown from seed vary tremendously in quality. Artichokes need rich, well-drained
Globe artichoke seedling
Globe artichoke seedling
soil that will hold moisture, and a position in full sunlight. When you're preparing the soil for planting, work in a low-nitrogen (510-10) fertilizer at the rate of one pound per 100 square feet or 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Too much nitrogen will keep the plant from flowering. Space the offshoots or suckers three to four feet apart in rows four to five feet apart.
Fertilize before planting and again at midseason, at the same rate as the rest of the garden. Detailed information on fertilizing is given in "Spadework: The Essential Soil" in Parti. Keep the soil evenly moist.
For the roots to survive the winter in cooler areas, cut the plant back to about 10 inches, cover with a bushel basket, and then mulch with about two feet of leaves to help maintain an even soil temperature. Artichokes bear best the second year and should be started from new plants every three to four years.
Aphids and plume moths plague the artichoke. The plume moth is not a serious problem except in artichoke-growing areas. Aphids can be controlled chemically by spraying the foliage with Malathion or Diazinon or nonchemically by hand-picking or hosing them off the plants. Detailed information on pest control is given in "Keeping Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1.
Crown rot may occur where drainage is poor or where the plants have to be covered in winter. To avoid this problem, don't mulch until the soil temperature drops to40°F, and don't leave the mulch in place longer than necessary.
Cut down on the incidence of disease by planting disease-resistant varieties when they're available, maintaining the general health of your garden, and avoiding handling the plants when they're wet. If a plant does become infected, remove and destroy it so it cannot spread disease to healthy plants. Detailed information on disease prevention is given in "Keeping Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1.
Time from planting to harvest is 50 to 100 days for artichokes grown ' from suckers; at least a year until the first bud forms when they're grown from seed. To harvest, cut off the globe artichoke bud with one to 11/2 inches of stem before the bud begins to open.
Artichokes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, or in a cold, moist place up to one month. Artichoke hearts can also be frozen, canned, or pickled. Detailed information on storing and preserving is given in Part 3.
Cook artichokes in salted water with a squeeze of lemon juice to help retain their color. With hot artichokes serve a Hollandaise sauce; a vinaigrette is delicious when they're cold. They're not as messy to eat as you may imagine — anyway, it's quite legitimate to use your fingers. Stuff artichokes with seafood or a meat mixture and bake them. To stuff, spread open the leaves and remove some of the center leaves; cut off some of the hard tips of the outer leaves. An interesting Italian-style stuffing mix is seasoned breadcrumbs with anchovies, topped with a tomato sauce. For an Armenian-style dish, try ground lamb and bulgur (cracked wheat). Baby artichokes are delicious in stews, or marinated in olive oil, vinegar, and garlic as part of an antipasto. The Romans used to bottle artichokes in vinegar and brine.
Common name: asparagus Botanical name: Asparagus officinalis Origin: Mediterranean
Paradise, Mary Washington, and Martha Washington are all rust-resistant varieties.
Asparagus is a long-lived hardy perennial with fleshy roots and fernlike, feathery foliage. The plant grows about three feet tall, and the part you eat is the tender young stem. It takes patience to establish an asparagus bed, but it's worth it; once established, it's there for the duration. Fresh asparagus is a delicacy that commands a devoted following— the first asparagus is as welcome to the gourmet as the first crocus is to the gardener.
Asparagus grows well in most areas of the United States, with the exception of the Deep South. It likes a climate where the winters are cold enough to freeze the top few inches of soil and provide it with the necessary period of dormancy. Advance planning is essential when you're starting an asparagus bed, because it's virtually impossible to move the bed once it's established. You'll probably have to order asparagus crowns by mail through a nursery catalog; order early, and plant asparagus four to six weeks before your area's average date of last frost.
Asparagus needs well-drained , soil, with a pH over 6. Full sun is best, but asparagus will tolerate a little shade. When you're preparing the soil, spade down eight to 10 inches, and dig in one to 11/2 pounds per 100 square feet of a complete, well-balanced fertilizer. Asparagus is usually grown from crowns; look for well-grown, well-rooted specimens, and be sure they don't dry out. To plant asparagus crowns, dig out a trench or furrow 10 inches wide and 10 to 12 inches deep, and put in two to four inches of loose soil. Space the crowns in the prepared bed in rows 18 inches apart, leaving 12 to 18 inches between plants. Place the crowns
See Jerusalem artichoke dápanaquá
on the soil, with the roots well spread out, and cover with two more inches of soil. As the spears grow, gradually fill in the trench to the top.
Apply a high-nitrogen (15-10-10) fertilizer after harvesting the spears, at the rate of one pound per 100 square feet or 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Detailed information on fertilizing is given in "Spadework: The Essential Soil" in Parti.
It's important to give asparagus enough water when the spears are forming. The plant is hardy and will survive without extra watering, but the stalks may be stringy and woody if you don't keep the soil moist.
Do not handle the plants when they are wet. Asparagus does not relish competition, especially from grass plants. Weed thoroughly by hand; control weeds conscientiously, or they will lower your yield considerably.
The asparagus beetle may attack your plants, but should not be a problem except in commercial asparagus-growing areas. If you do encounter this pest, pick it off, or spray with carbaryl. Detailed information on pest control is given in "Keeping Your Garden Healthy" in Parti.
Asparagus can develop rust; you can lessen the incidence of disease by opting for a rust-resistant variety. Generally, asparagus is a problem-free crop and suitable for the organic gardener. Detailed information on disease prevention is given in "Keeping Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1.
Asparagus should not be harvested until it's three years old; the crowns need time to develop fully. During the third season, cut off the spears at or slightly below soil level. Move a little soil gently aside as you cut the spears so you can see what you're doing — if you cut blind you may damage young spears that have not yet pushed through the surface. Harvest asparagus when the spears are eight to 10 inches tall; if the stalks have started to feather out, it's too late to eat them. Stop harvesting when the stalks start coming up pencil-thin; if you harvest them all, you'll kill the plants.
The Romans began to dry their asparagus for out-of-season dining as early as 200 B.C. These days, you can store it up to one week in the refrigerator — keep it upright in an inch or so of water, as you'd keep flowers. You can also freeze or can It, but it's best eaten fresh. Detailed Information on storing and preserving is given in Part 3.
In the first century the Emperor Augustus told his minions to carry out executions "quicker than you can cook asparagus," and they knew they'd better get the job done fast. One of the earliest records of asparagus being eaten in America recommends it with "oil and vinegar," which is still one of the best ways. Steam asparagus quickly, or cook it upright in a pan, so the stems cook faster than the tender tips. Fresh asparagus adorned with nothing but a little melted butter is superb — or try it with creamed chicken on toast or laid on toast and topped with a thin slice of prosciutto and cream sauce. Chive mayonnaise, mustard butter, or a caper butter sauce are all splendid alternative dressings for asparagus.
Common names: bean, broad bean, horsebean, fava bean, Scotch bean, Windsor bean Botanical name: Vicia faba Origin: Central Asia
Long Pod (55 days); Broad Long Pod (57 days). Few varieties are available; grow the variety available in your area.
The broad bean is a bushy, hardy annual that grows three to four feet tall; it has square stems with leaves divided into leaflets. The white flowers are splotched with brown. The pods are six to eight inches long and when mature contain four to six or more light-brown seeds. The broad bean has quite a history. Upper-
class Greeks and Romans thought that eating "horse beans" would cloud their vision, but class Greeks and Romans thought that eating "horse beans" would cloud their vision, but
the species became a dietary staple of the Roman legionnaires (who knew them as fava beans) and later of the poor people in England. In fact, they're not true beans at all but are related to the vetch, another legume.
Broad beans will grow in cool weather that would be unsuitable for snap beans. They like full sun but need cool weather to set their pods. They prefer temperatures below 70°F and should be planted very early in the growing season; they will not produce in the summer's heat. In areas where winters are mild, plant broad beans in the fall for a spring crop. In cold areas they can be grown instead of lima beans, which require a warmer and longer growing season.
Plant broad beans very early in spring. Choose a location in full sunlight with soil that is fertile, high in organic matter, and well-drained. Broad beans prefer an alkaline soil. When you're preparing the soil for planting, work in a complete, well-balanced fertilizer at the rate of one pound per 100 square feet or 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
Plant broad bean seeds one to two inches deep in rows four feet apart. When the seedlings are growing strongly, thin them to stand eight to 10 inches apart.
Beans set up a mutual exchange with soil microorganisms called nitrogen-fixing bacteria, which help them produce their own fertilizer. Some gardeners recommend that if you haven't grown beans in the plot the previous season, you should treat the bean seeds before planting with a nitrogen-fixing bacteria inoculant to help them convert organic nitrogen compounds into usable organic compounds. This is a perfectly acceptable practice but it isn't really necessary; the bacteria in the soil will multiply quickly enough once they've got a growing bean plant to work with.
Fertilize before planting and again at midseason, at the same rate as the rest of the garden. Detailed information on fertilizing is given in "Spadework: The Essential Soil" in Parti.
Water broad beans before the soil dries out, but don't overwater — wet soil conditions combined with high temperatures are an invitation to root diseases.
Beans are attacked by aphids, bean beetles, flea beetles, leafhoppers, and mites. Aphids, leafhoppers, and mites can be controlled chemically by spraying with Malathion or Diazinon. Bean beetles and flea beetles can be controlled chemically by spraying with carbaryl. Beans are almost always attacked by large numbers of pests that cannot be controlled by organic methods; this doesn't mean they can't be grown organically, but it does mean that yields may be lower if only organic controls are used. Detailed information on pest control is given in "Keeping Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1.
Beans are susceptible to blight, mosaic, and anthracnose. You can cut down on the incidence of disease by planting disease-resistant varieties when they're available, maintaining the general health of your garden, and avoiding handling the plants when they're wet. If a plant does become infected, remove it and destroy it so it can't spread disease to healthy plants. Detailed information on disease prevention is given in "Keeping Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1.
Broad beans can be harvested when the beans are still the size of a pea and used like snap beans. It's more usual, however, to let them reach maturity and eat only the shelled beans. Time from planting to harvest is about 85 days.
Unshelled beans can be kept up to one week in the refrigerator. You can freeze, can, or dry the shelled beans. Dried shelled broad beans can be stored in a cool, dry place for 10 to 12 months. Detailed information on storing and preserving is given in Part 3.
Broad beans are good steamed and served with a light white or cheese sauce. Or top steamed broad beans with a little sauteed parsley, garlic, and onion. Use them in a casserole with onions, tomatoes, and cheese, or add them to a hearty vegetable soup along with any other vegetables you've got on hand. You can prepare broad beans any way you prepare lima beans.
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