Candoon

Common name: cardoon Botanical name: Cynara cardunculus Origin: Europe

Varieties

Large Smooth; Large Smooth Spanish; Ivory White Smooth. Grow any variety available in your area.

Description

Cardoon is a tender perennial grown as an annual for its young leaf-stalks, which are blanched and eaten like celery. It looks like a cross between burdock and celery but is actually a member of the artichoke family and has the same deeply cut leaves and heavy, bristled flower head. Cardoon can grow to four feet tall and two feet wide, so it will need plenty of space in your garden.

Where and when to grow

Cardoon will grow anywhere in the United States. Plant it from transplants in the spring.

How to plant

Transplants should be moved to the garden three to four weeks after the average date of last frost in your area, so if you're growing your transplants from seed you'll need to start them six weeks ahead of your planting date. Cardoon prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade and grows quickly in any well-drained, fertile soil. When you're preparing the soil, dig in a complete, well-balanced fertilizer at the rate of one pound per 100 square feet or 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Space the young plants 18 to 24 inches apart, with 36 to48 inches between the rows.

Fertilizing and watering

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 Part 1.

Allow the plants to dry out between waterings.

Special handling

Cardoon is usually blanched to improve the flavor and to make it more tender — the stalks can get very tough. Blanch when the plant is about three feet tall, four to six weeks before harvesting. Tie the leaves together in a bunch and wrap paper or burlap around the stems, or hill up the soil around the stem.

Pests

Aphids may be a problem. Pinch out infested foliage or hose the aphids off the cardoon plants. Control aphids chemically with Malathion or Diazinon. Detailed -• information on pest control is given in "Keeping Your Garden Healthy" in Parti.

Diseases

Cardoon has no serious disease problems.

When and how to harvest

Harvest the plants four to six weeks after blanching. Cut them off at ground level and trim off the outer leaves.

Storing and preserving

Keep stalks on root, wrap, and refrigerate; they will keep for one to two weeks. The plants can be kept for two to three months in a cold, moist place. Cardoon freezes fairly well and can be canned or dried; handle it like celery. Detailed information on storing and preserving is given in Part 3.

Serving suggestions

Cut the stalks into sections and parboil them until tender — the time will depend on the size of the stalks. Serve cardoon stalks cut into pieces and chilled with an oil and vinegar dressing, or hot with a cream sauce. Dip chunks into batter and deep-fry them. The Italians are fond of cardoon.

Comot

Common name: carrot Botanical name: Daucus carota Origin: Europe, Asia

Varieties

Short (two to four inches): Goldinhart (60-65 days); Amstel (60-65 days); Gold Nugget (60-65 days); Sweet and Short (60-65 days). Finger (three to four inches): Little Finger (60-65 days);

Minipak (60-65 days); Tiny Sweet (60-65 days). Half-iong (five to six inches): Danvers Half-long (75 days); Royal Chantenay (70 days); Gold King (70 days).

Cylindrical (six to seven inches): Nantes Coreless (68 days); Tuchon Pioneer (75 days); Royal Cross Hybrid (70 days). Standard (seven to nine inches): Tendersweet (75 days); Spartan Bonus {77 days); Gold Pak (75 days); Imperator (75 days).

Description

Carrots are hardy biennials grown as annuals. They have a rosette of finely divided fernlike leaves growing from a swollen, fleshy taproot. The root, which varies in size and shape, is generally a tapered cylinder that grows up to 10 inches long in different shades of orange. Until the 20th century and the discovery of mechanical refrigeration techniques, root crops like carrots were almost the only vegetables available in the winter. They are cool-weather crops and tolerate the cold; they're easy to grow and have few pest problems, so they're good crops for the home gardener. The carrots we grow today originated in the Mediterranean. By the 13th century the Europeans were well aware of the carrot's food value. The first settlers brought them to America, and the Indians were quick to recognize their potential.

There are all sorts of carrots — long, short, fat, thin — but basically they differ only in size and shape. However, the sort of soil you have will influence which variety you choose. The shorter varieties will better tolerate heavy soil; the long types are more particular about their environment. Finger carrots can be satisfactorily grown in containers.

where and when to grow

Carrots are a cool-weather crop and fairly adaptable. Plant them in spring and early summer for a continuous crop, starting two to three weeks after the average date of last frost. Although carrots are tolerant of cold, the seeds take a long time to germinate, and when they're planted in cold, raw weather they may give up before they come up. Starting two to three weeks before the average date of last frost for your area, plant successive crops every two to three weeks until three months before the average date of first fall frost.

How to plant

Carrots need a cool bed. They prefer full sun but will tolerate partial shade. Before planting, work half a cup of low nitrogen (5-10-10) fertilizer into the soil, and turn the soil thoroughly to a depth of about 10 or 12 inches. This initial preparation is vital for a healthy crop; soil lumps, rocks, or other obstructions in the soil will cause the roots to split, fork, or become deformed.

Sow the seeds in rows 12 to 24 inches apart. Wide-row planting of carrots gives a good yield from a small area. When you're planting in early spring, cover the seeds with a quarter to a half inch of soil. Later, when the soil is dryer and warmer, they can be planted a little deeper. When the seedlings are growing well, thin to two to four inches apart.

Fertilizing and watering

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.

To keep carrots growing quickly, give them plenty of water. As they approach maturity, waterless — too much moisture at this stage will cause the roots to crack.

Special handling

In areas with high soil temperatures, mulch to regulate the soil temperature; otherwise, the roots will grow short and pale. Carrot seedlings grow slowly while they're young, and it's important to control weeds especially during the first few weeks. Shallow cultivation is necessary to avoid damaging the roots.

Pests

Carrots have no serious pest problems. They're a good crop for the organic gardener.

Harvesting Carrots

Diseases

Carrots have no serious disease problems.

When and how to harvest

Time from planting to harvest is from 55 to 80 days, depending on the variety. Small finger carrots are usually ready to harvest in 60 days or less; other varieties need longer. When you think they're ready, pull a few samples to check on their size. If they're three quarters inch thick or more (for regular varieties), they're ready to harvest. Pull them up by hand, or use a spading fork to lift them gently out of the ground. Pull carrots when the soil is moist — if you try to pull them from hard ground you'll break the roots.

Storing and preserving

Carrots are most obliging vegetables when it comes to preservation — most methods can be used. They'll store for one to three weeks in plastic bags or aluminum foil in the refrigerator, or for four to five months in a cold, moist place. They can also be canned, frozen, or dried. Detailed information on storing and preserving is given in Part 3.

Serving suggestions

Carrots fresh from the garden are wonderful raw. Shredded raw carrots are delicious with a touch of oil and lemon; or add raisins and fresh pineapple for an exotic flavor. Add shredded carrots to a peanut butter sandwich. Carrot cake is a staple American confection; try it with a cream cheese frosting. There are any number of ways to cook carrots; perhaps the best treatment for very young fresh carrots is simply to boil them and toss with a respectful touch of butter. You can also try them boiled, then rolled in breadcrumbs and deep-fried, or served with a marmalade glaze. Most herbs complement the taste of carrots; parsley is the most common, but try cooked carrots and peas with a touch of mint to enhance the flavor.

Common name: cauliflower Botanical name: Brassica oleracea botrytis Origin: Europe, Mediterranean

Varieties

Super Snowball (55 days); Snowball Imperial (58 days); Snowball M (59 days); Self-Blanche (70 days); Greenball (95 days); Royal Purple (95 days).

Description

Cauliflower is a single-stalked, half-hardy, biennial member of the cole or cabbage family. It's grown as an annual, and the edible flower buds form a solid head (sometimes called a curd), which may be white, purple, or green. Cauliflower and broccoli are easy to tell apart until you meet a white-flowered broccoli or a green cauliflower. Both also come in purple, and even the U.S. Department of Agriculture can't always tell one from the other.

Cauliflowers are prima donnas and need a lot of the gardener's attention. Mark Twain described a cauliflower as a cabbage with a college education.

Cauliflower has four stages of growth: (1) rapid growth of leaves; (2) formation of the head (which is the part you eat); (3) a resting period while the embryonic blossoms are being formed; and (4) development of the stalk, flowers, and seeds. The head formation stage is essential for the production of the vegetable, but not at all necessary for the survival of the plant. Cauliflower that's held in check by severe frost, lack of moisture, or too much heat will bolt, which means that it will go directly to seed without bothering to form a head at all.

Where and when to grow

Cauliflower is more restricted by climatic conditions than other cole family vegetables like cabbage or broccoli. It's less adaptable to extremes of temperature; it doesn't like cold weather, won't head properly if it's too hot, and doesn't tolerate dry conditions as well as broccoli.

Cauliflower needs two cool months in which to mature and is planted for spring and fall crops in most areas. Plant for a winter crop if your winters are mild. For a spring crop, plant transplants four to six weeks before the

Cauliflower seedling

Caulif>lowen average date of the last frost in your area. If you're growing your own transplants from seed, start them about six weeks before your outdoor planting date.

How to plant

Cauliflower likes fertile, well-drained soil with a pH within the 6.5 to 7.5 range — this discourages disease and lets the plant make the most of the nutrients in the soil. Like other cole crops, it's usually grown from transplants except where there is a long cool period, in which case you can sow seed directly in the garden in fall for winter harvest. 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. If you have sandy soil or your area is subject to heavy rains, you will probably need to supplement the nitrogen content of the soil. Use about a pound of high-nitrogen fertilizer for a 10-foot row. Plant transplants that are four to six weeks old, with four or five true leaves. If the transplants are leggy or have crooked stems, plant them deeply (up to the first leaves) so they won't grow to be top-heavy.

Plant the seedlings 18 to 24 inches apart in rows 24 to 36 inches apart. Plan for only a few heads at a time, or plant seeds and transplants at the same time for succession crops; you'll get the same result by planting early and midseason varieties at the same time. If you're planting seeds, set them half an inch deep and space them three inches apart. Thin them when they're big enough to lift by the true leaves, and transplant the thinned seedlings.

Fertilizing and watering

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.

Abundant soil moisture and cool moist air are needed for the best growth; do not let the ground dry out. The plants must be kept growing vigorously; if growth is interrupted by heat, cold, damage, or lack of water, the head will not form properly.

Special handling

Cultivate cauliflower regularly to diminish weed competition and prevent a crust from forming on the soil's surface. Take care not to damage the roots.

The objective with cauliflower is to achieve a perfect head, with all the flowerets pressed tightly together. Unless it's supposed to be green or purple, the color should be untinged creamy-white, and too much sun or rain can

Vegetable Garden Pics Color

damage the head. To prevent this, you blanch (whiten) it. Blanch the cauliflower when it gets to be about the size of an egg, by gathering three or four leaves and tying them together over the head. If you secure the leaves with colored rubber bands you can keep track of cauliflowers tied at different times. Check the heads occasionally for pests that may be hiding inside. The self-blanching cauliflower doesn't need to be tied, but it will not blanch in hot weather. Blanching cauliflower is a cosmetic procedure; the flavor is not significantly improved, as is celery's, by blanching.

Pests

The cabbage family's traditional enemies are cutworms and caterpillars, and cauliflower is particularly susceptible to them. However, cutworms, cabbage loopers, and imported cabbage worms can all be controlled by spraying with bacillus thuringiensis, an organic product also known as Dipel or Thungicide. Detailed information on pest control is given in "Keeping Your Garden Healthy" in Parti.

Diseases

Cauliflower may be susceptible to root rots; the first indication of this disease is yellowing of the leaves. 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.

When and how to harvest

Time from planting to harvest is 55 to 100 days for cauliflower grown from transplants and 85 to 130 days for cauliflower grown from seed. Under good growing conditions the head develops rapidly to about six or eight inches in diameter. The mature head should be compact, firm, and white. Cut the whole head from the main stem. The leaves can be cooked like collards or cabbage.

Storing and preserving

Unwashed and wrapped in plastic, cauliflower can be stored for up to one week in the refrigerator, or for two to three weeks in a cold, moist place.

Cauliflower freezes satisfactorily and can also be dried or used in relishes or pickled. Detailed information on storing and preserving is given in Part 3.

Serving suggestions

Boil the whole cauliflower head just until the base yields to the touch of a fork. Add lemon juice to the boiling water to preserve the curd's whiteness. Coat the head with a light cheese sauce or simply with melted butter and parsley. Tartar sauce is an original accompaniment to cauliflower, or sprinkle it with browned breadcrumbs for a crunchy texture. The flowerets can be separated, too, and french fried. Raw cauliflower lends a distinctive flavor to salads and is good served with other raw vegetables with a mustard- or curry-flavored dip. Cauliflower pickles are good, too.

Lemon Seed Germination Process
Ce/eriac

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Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

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