Pumpkin

Common name: pumpkin Botanical names: Cucurbita maxima, Cucurbita moschata, Cucurbita pepo Origin: tropical America

Cucurbita Maxima

Varieties

Small pumpkins are grown primarily for cooking; intermediate and large sizes for cooking and for making jack-o'-lanterns; and the very large jumbo ones mainly for exhibition. The bush and semi-vining varieties are best suited to small home gardens. The following are a few of the varieties available, and unless otherwise indicated they are the vining kind. Ask your Cooperative Extension Service for other specific recommendations for your area. Small (four to six pounds, 100110 days): Early Sweet Sugar; Luxury; Spookie; Sugar Pie. Intermediate (eight to 15 pounds, 100-110 days): Cinderella (bush); Green-Striped Cushaw; Jack-O'-Lantern; Spirit (semi-vining). Large (15 to 25 pounds, 100 days): Big Tom; Connecticut Field; Halloween; White Cushaw. Jumbo (50 to 100 pounds, 120 days): Big Max; King of the Mammoths.

Description

Pumpkins are tender annuals with large leaves on branching vines that can grow 20 feet long. The male and female flowers — sometimes as large as eight inches in diameter — grow on the same vine, and the fruit can weigh as much as 100 pounds. The name pumpkin is also given to a number of other squashes and gourds — anything that's orange and hard. The harvest poem reference, "when the frost is on the pumpkin," means the first light frost, not a hard freeze. The first pumpkin pies were made by pouring milk into a pumpkin and baking it.

Where and when to grow

Pumpkins need a long growing season; they will grow almost anywhere in the United States, but in cooler areas you'll do better with a smaller variety. Pumpkins are sensitive to cold soil and frost. Plant them from seed two to three weeks after your average date of last frost when the soil has warmed up. Pumpkins are relatively easy to grow so long as you have space to accommodate them. They're not the vegetable to grow in a small home garden, although you can train them on afence or trellis, and the bush type requires less space than the vining varieties.

How to plant

Pumpkins can tolerate partial shade and prefer well-drained soil, high in organic matter. Too much fertilizer tends to encourage the growth of the vines rather than the production of pumpkins. 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 pumpkins in inverted hills, made by removing an inch of soil from a circle 12 inches in diameter and using the soil to build up a rim around the circle; leave six feet betvAeen hills. Plant six to eight seeds in each hill, and thin to two or three when the seedlings appear. When the seedlings have four to six true leaves, thin to only one plant in each hill. Cut off the thinned seedlings at soil level to avoid disturbing the roots of the chosen survivor. One early fruit can suppress the production of any more pumpkins. Some people suggest removing this first pumpkin, but this is a gamble because there's no guarantee that others will set. If you remove it, eat it like squash.

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.

Be generous with water; pumpkins need plenty of water to keep the vines and fruit growing steadily.

Pests

Squash vine borers attack pumpkins, and if the plant is wilting it may be that borers are to blame. Prevention is better than cure with borers, because once the pest is inside the plant, chemical controls won't help. IT you suspect borers are at work, apply carbaryl to the crown of the plant at weekly intervals. If the vine wilts from a definite point onward, look for a very thin wall or hole near the point where the wilting starts. The culprit may still

Pumpkin seedling be there, but you may still be able to save the plant. Slit the stem, remove the borer and dispose of it, then cover the stem with soil to encourage rooting at that point. Detailed information on pest control is given in "Keeping Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1.

Diseases

Pumpkins are susceptible to mildew, anthracnose, and bacterial wilt. Planting disease-resistant varieties when possible, maintaining the general cleanliness and health of your garden, and not handling the vines when wet will help cut down the incidence of disease. If a plant does become infected, remove it before it can 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 95 to 120 days. A 10-foot row may give you one to three pumpkins — when you're talking pumpkins, your back yard starts to look like small potatoes. Leave the pumpkins on the vine as long as possible before a frost, but not too long — they become very soft when they freeze. Cut off the pumpkin with one or two inches of stem.

Storing and preserving

Cure pumpkins in a dark, humid place for 10 days at 80° to 85°F; then store them at 50° to 55°F, in a dry place for three to six months. Do not refrigerate. Stored pumpkins will shrink as much as 20 percent in weight; they'll still make good pies, but they look sad if kept too long. You can dry or pickle pumpkin, or freeze or can the cooked pulp. You can also sprout pumpkin seeds. Detailed information on storing and preserving is given in Part 3.

Serving suggestions

Spice up the cooked pumpkin flesh for pie fillings, breads, or muffins; or use it in custards, or as a stuffing for meats or vegetables. Roast the seeds for a nutritious snack. If a pumpkin has served only briefly as a jack-o'-lantern, you can still use the flesh for cooking.

Radhh

Common name: radish Botanical name: Raphanus sativus (spring radish), Raphanus sativus longipinnatus (winter radish) Origin: temperate Asia

Varieties

Radishes can be grown for a spring or winter crop. Spring varieties are the commonly known small red varieties. Winter radishes are larger and more oval and can grow eight or nine inches long. The following are a few of the varieties available. Spring crop: Cherry Belle (22 days); Burpee White (25 days). Winter crop: Black Spanish (55 days); White Chinese (60 days).

Description

Radishes are hardy annuals or biennials that produce white, red, or black roots and stems under a rosette of lobed leaves. They're fun to grow, and youngsters get hooked on gardening after growing radishes more than any other vegetable. A bunch of radishes, well washed, makes a great posy to give away. Radishes are distant relations to horseradish.

Where and when to grow

Radishes are cool-season crops and can take temperatures below freezing. You can grow them anywhere in the United States, and they mature in such a short time that you can get two to three crops in spring alone. Start planting them from seed in the garden two or three weeks before the average date of last frost for your area. Radishes germinate quickly and are often used with slower-growing seeds to mark the rows. Spring radishes produce a crop so fast that in the excitement very few people ask about the quality of the crop. Radishes can also be grown in six-inch pots in a bright, cool window. They will grow in sand if watered with liquid, all-purpose fertilizer diluted to quarter strength.

How to plant

Radishes tolerate partial shade and like well-worked, well-drained 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. If you're planting winter radishes, be sure to loosen the soil well and remove soil lumps or rocks that might cause the roots to become deformed. Plant seeds half an inch deep in rows or wide rows 12 to 18 inches apart. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, thin them according to the variety; thin small spring varieties one to three inches apart, and give winter varieties a little more space.

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.

Give radishes enough water to keep the roots growing quickly.

Root CropsDeformed Horseradish Root
Overcrowding can ruin your root vegetable crops; thin radishes so that the roots have room to develop.

If the water supply is low, radishes become woody.

Special handling

Radishes sometimes bolt, or go to seed, in the summer, but this is more often a question of day length than of temperature. Cover the plants in midsummer so they only get an eight-hour day; a 12-hour day produces flowers and seeds but no radishes.

Pests

Aphids and root maggots occasionally attack radishes, but you harvest radishes so quickly that pests are not a serious problem. You can pinch out aphid-infested foliage, and drench the soil around the plants with Diazinon to control root maggots. Detailed information on pest control is given in "Keeping Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1.

Diseases

Radishes have no serious disease problems.

When and how to harvest

Time from planting to harvest is 20 to 30 days for spring radishes, 50 to 60 days for winter radishes. Pull up the whole plant when the radishes are the right size. Testpull a few or push the soil aside gently to judge the size, and remember that the biggest radishes aren't necessarily the best. If you wait too long to harvest, the centers of spring radishes become pithy.

Storing and preserving

Radishes will store for one to two weeks in the refrigerator. You can also sprout radish seeds. Detailed information on storing and preserving is given in Part 3.

Serving suggestions

Radishes can be sculptured into rosettes or just sliced into a salad. They are low in calories and make good cookie substitutes when you have to nibble. Put radishes on a relish tray, or on a platter of vegetables for dipping. Try "pickling" the excess crop by mincing them and marinating in vinegar.

Rhubanb

Common names: rhubarb, pie plant

Botanical name: Rheum rhaponticum Origin: southern Siberia

Varieties

Canada Red; MacDonald; Valentine; Victoria (green stalks).

A hardy perennial, rhubarb grows two to four feet tall, with large, attractive leaves on strong stalks. The leaf stalks are red or green and grow up from a rhizome or underground stem, and the flowers are small and grow on top of a flower stalk. Don't allow the plant to reach the flowering stage; remove the flower stalk when it first appears. You eat only the rhubarb stalks; the leaves contain a toxic substance and are not for eating.

Where and when to grow

Rhubarb is very hardy and prefers cool weather. In areas where the weather is warm or hot, the leaf stalks are thin and spindly. Rhubarb can be grown from seed, but the plants will not grow "true" — which means they won't be the same variety as the parent plant. Crow from the divisions that grow up from the parent stems for a close or exact copy of the parent plant. Buy divisions or divide your own plants in spring, about four to six weeks before the average date of last frost. The timing is not crucial, because you won't harvest rhubarb the first year. Refer to "Planting Your Garden" in Part 1 for information on dividing plants.

How to plant

Rhubarb likes rich, well-worked soil that is high in organic matter and drains well. Give it a place in full sun or light shade. 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.

Diced Vegetables
Rhubarb

you're ready to use them; in very cold areas, mulch them heavily. Store rutabagas in a cold, moist place for two to four months; do not refrigerate. They can also be frozen. Detailed information on storing and preserving is given in Part 3.

Serving suggestions

Peel rutabagas and steam or boil until tender; then mash them for use in puddings and pancakes. They can also be served sliced or diced. Add rutabagas to vegetable soups and stews. Saute them in butter with apples and brown sugar. Rutabaga is very good with lots of butter or sour cream; low-calorie alternatives are yogurt or low-fat cream cheese.

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.

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Responses

  • zak
    How to plant pumpkins?
    6 years ago
  • Bianca
    How to store pumpkins?
    6 years ago
  • JARI
    What size to pick connecticut field pumpkin?
    6 years ago
  • aden
    How to prepare the soil to grow pumpkins?
    6 years ago
  • ottavio
    How to thin radishes in garden?
    6 years ago

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