Cqqplant

Common names: eggplant, aubergine, guinea squash Botanical name: Solanum melongena Origin: East Indies, India

Varieties

Black Magic Hybrid (73 days); Jersey King Hybrid (75 days); Black Beauty (80 days). Long slender fruits: Ichlban (70 days); Slim Jim (75 days).

Description

Eggplant is a very tender perennial plant with large grayish-green hairy leaves. The star-shaped flowers are lavender with yellow centers, and the long, slender or round, egg-shaped fruit is creamy-white, yellow, brown, purple, or sometimes almost black. Eggplants will grow two to six feet tall, depending on the variety. They belong to the solanaceous family, and are related to tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers, and were first cultivated in India.

Where and when to grow

Eggplant is very sensitive to cold and needs a growing season with day temperatures between 80° and 90°F and night temperatures between 70° and 80°F. Don't plant eggplant seedlings until two to three weeks after your average date of last frost, or when daytime temperatures reach 70°F.

How to plant

You can grow eggplant from seed, but you'll wait 150 days for a harvest. It's easier to grow from transplants, started inside about two months before your outside planting date. Don't put your transplants into the garden until two or three weeks after the average date of last frost for your area — eggplants won't be rushed, and if you plant them too early they won't develop. Eggplants

Vegetable Plant

Eggplant

Eggplant seedling

Eggplant must have full sun. They'll grow in almost any soil, but they do better in rich soil that is high in

Eggplant seedling organic matter, with excellent drainage. 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. Set the plants 18 to 24 inches apart in rows 24 to 36 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.

Eggplants are very fussy about temperature and moisture and must be treated with solicitude until they're well established. Try to maintain even soil moisture to ensure even growth; eggplants are susceptible to root rot if there's too much moisture in the soil.

Special handling

If you live in an area where an unpredictable late frost may occur, provide protection at night until all danger of frost is past. In hot climates the soil temperature may become too warm for the roots; in this case, mulch the plants about a month after you set them outside. Plants that are heavy with fruit may need to be staked.

Pests

Eggplants are almost always attacked by one pest or another, so they're not the ideal crop for the organic gardener. The pests you're most likely to encounter are cutworms, aphids, flea beetles, Colorado potato bugs, spider mites, and tomato hornworms.

Hand-pick hornworms off the plants; control aphids and beetles by hand-picking or hosing them off the plants and pinching out infested areas. Collars set around the plants at the time you transplant them will discourage cutworms. Spider mites are difficult to control even with the proper chemicals; spray the undersides of the foliage with Diazinon before the populations get too large. Detailed information on pest control is given in "Keeping Your Garden Healthy" in Parti.

Diseases

Fungus and bacterial diseases may attack eggplants. Planting disease-resistant varieties when possible and maintaining the general cleanliness and health of your garden will help lessen the incidence of disease. If a plant does become infected, remove it before it can spread disease to healthy plants. Protect the plants against soilborne diseases by rotating your crops and planting vegetables from a different plant family in the eggplants' spot the following season. 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 100 to 150 days from seed, 70 to 85 days from transplants. Harvest the fruit young, before the flesh becomes pithy. The fruit should be firm and shiny, not streaked with brown. The eggplant fruit is on a sturdy stem that does not break easily from the plant; cut it off with a sharp knife instead of expecting it to fall into your hand.

Storing and preserving

Whole eggplant will store up to one week at 50°F; don't refrigerate it. You can also freeze or dry it. Detailed information on storing and preserving is given in Part 3.

Serving suggestions

Eggplant is very versatile and combines happily with all kinds of other foods — cheese, tomatoes, onions, and meats all lend distinction to its flavor. The French use it in a vegetable stew called ratatouille, with tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic, and herbs. Ratatouille is a good hot side dish or can be served cold as a salad. Eggplant is also a key ingredient of the Greek moussaka, layered with ground meat and topped with a bechamel sauce. Or coat slices in egg and breadcrumbs and deep-fry them. To remove excess moisture from eggplant slices before you cook them, salt them liberally, let them stand about half an hour, wash them, and pat them dry. Or weight the slices with a heavy plate to squeeze out the moisture.

Endive

Common names: endive, escarole Botanical name: Cichorium endivia Origin: South Asia

Varieties

Full Heart Batavian (90 days) has smooth leaves. Salad King (98days) has curled leaves.

Description

Endive is a half-hardy biennial grown as an annual, and it has a large rosette of toothed curled or wavy leaves that are used in salads as a substitute for lettuce. Endive is often known as escarole, and they're varieties of the same plant; escarole has broader leaves. Endive should not be confused with Belgian endive, which is the young blanched sprout of the chicory plant. Both endive and chicory, however, belong to the genus Cichorium.

Where and when to grow

Like lettuce, endive is a cool-season crop, although it's more tolerant of heat than lettuce. Grow it from seed planted in your garden four to six weeks before your average date of last frost. Long, hot summer days will force the plants to bolt and go to seed. If your area has a short, hot growing season, start endive from seed indoors and transplant it as soon as possible so that the plants will mature before the weather gets really hot. Sow succession crops, beginning in midsummer. In a mild-winter climate, you can grow spring, fall, and winter crops.

How to plant

Endive needs well-worked soil with good drainage and moisture retention. 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. If you're using transplants, start them

Deep Dig Vegetable Garden

from seed eight to 10 weeks before the average date of last frost in your area. If you're direct-seeding endive in the garden, sow seeds a quarter inch deep in wide rows 18 to 24 inches apart, and when the seedlings are large enough to handle, thin them to nine to 12 inches apart. Thinning is important because the plants may bolt if they're crowded. Plant transplants nine to 12 inches apart in rows 18 to 24 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.

Water regularly to keep the plants growing quickly; lack of water will slow growth and cause the leaves to become bitter.

Special handling

Endive tastes better in salads if you blanch it to remove some of the bitter flavor. Blanching deprives the plants of sunlight and dlk)

Endive seedling discourages the production of chlorophyll. Blanch two to three weeks before you're ready to harvest the plants. You can do this in several ways: Tie string around the leaves to hold them together; lay a board on supports over the row; or put a flowerpot over each plant. If you tie the endive plants, do it when they're dry; the inner leaves may rot if the plants are tied up while the insides are wet.

Pests

Cutworms, slugs, and snails can be troublesome. You may also have to deal with aphids. Put a collar around each plant to discourage cutworms, and trap slugs and snails with a saucer of stale beer set flush to the soil. To control aphids, pinch out infested foilage, or hose the aphids off the plants. You can also spray them with Malathion or Diazinon, taking care to spray the undersides of the leaves. Detailed information on pest control is given in "Keeping Your Garden Healthy" in Parti.

Diseases

Endive has no serious disease problems.

When and how to harvest

Time from planting to harvest is 90 to 100 days from seed. To harvest, cut off the plant at soil level.

Storing and preserving

Like lettuce, endive can be stored for up to two weeks in the refrigerator, but you can't freeze, can, or dry it. Share your harvest with friends. Detailed information on short-term storage is given in Part 3.

Serving suggestions

Chill endive and serve it with an oil-and-vinegar dressing; add chunks of blue cheese or croutons. Mix it with other salad greens to add a distinctive flavor. The French use endive in a salad with heated slices of mild sausage, diced bacon, and croutons.

Cûcanole,

See Endive

7ennel

Common names: fennel, Florence fennel, finocchio, fenucchi Botanical name: Foeniculum vulgaredulce Origin: Mediterranean

Varieties

Few varieties are available. Crow the variety available in your area.

Description

Florence fennel or finocchio is the same as the common or sweet fennel that is grown for use as a herb. The leaves and seeds of both are used the same way for seasoning, but Florence fennel is grown primarily for its bulbous base and leaf stalks, which are used as vegetables. Florence fennel is a member of the parsley family. It's a stocky perennial grown as an annual, and looks rather like celery with very feathery leaves. The plant grows four to five feet tall and has small, golden flowers, which appear in flat-topped clusters from July to September. The whole plant has an anise flavor.

Where and when to grow

Fennel will grow anywhere in the United States. It tolerates both heat and cold, but should mature in cold weather. Grow it from seed sown two to three weeks before your average date of last frost.

How to plant

Fennel needs well-drained soil that's high in organic matter. 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 the seeds a quarter of an inch deep, in rows two to three feet apart, in full sun. When the seedlings are growing strongly, thin them to stand 12 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.

Keep fennel on the dry side.

Special handling

Fennel plants grow four to five feet tall; you may need to stake them if they are becoming unwieldy. It's not often necessary, so don't bother to set stakes at the time of planting.

Pests

Since fennel is a member of the parsley family, the parsley caterpillar may appear. Remove it by hand. It has no other serious pest problems, so fennel is a good bet for the organic gardener.

Diseases

Fennel has no serious disease problems.

When and how to harvest

You can start harvesting a few sprigs as soon as the plant is well-established and growing steadily; use them for flavoring. Harvest the bulbous stalk when it is three inches or more in diameter; cut the whole stalk like celery, just below the point where the individual stalks join together.

Storing and preserving

Fennel leaves can be frozen or dried as herbs; crumble the dried leaves and store them in an airtight container. You'll probably want to eat the stalks fresh; store them in the refrigerator up to one week or in a cold, moist place for two to three months. The stalks can also be frozen or dried; handle them like celery.

Serving suggestions

Fennel is featured in many Italian dishes. The leaves add flavor to soups and casseroles, and fennel goes well with fish. You can prepare Florence fennel in many ways as you do celery. Cut

How Cook Fennel Vegetables

the fennel stalks into slices, simmer them in water or stock until tender, and serve buttered. Bake slices of fennel with cheese and butter as an accompaniment to a roast, or eat the stalks raw as a dipping vegetable. French and Italian cooks have been using fennel for generations — hence the variety of names by which it's known. The French served grilled sea bass on a bed of flaming fennel stalks, and the dried stalks can be used for barbecuing, too.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

How would you like to save a ton of money and increase the value of your home by as much as thirty percent! If your homes landscape is designed properly it will be a source of enjoyment for your entire family, it will enhance your community and add to the resale value of your property. Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement or organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment