Tuesday, March 31, 2009
The kaffir lime (Citrus hystrix DC., Rutaceae), also known as kieffer lime, porcupine orange, and limau purut is a type of lime native to Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine, and the increased demand for it in North America is relatively recent. It is widely grown worldwide as a backyard shrub. The kaffir lime is a rough, bumpy green fruit that grows on very thorny bush with aromatic and distinctively shaped "double" leaves. It is well suited to container growing. The tree is not tall and grow about 9-18 ft. The green lime fruit is distinguished by its bumpy exterior and its small size (approx. 4 cm wide).
How to grow
It needs tropic climate, well-drained moist soil. Sow the seed directly into the fertile soil 1/2 inches deep and cover it lightly. Keep the soil moist for germination and temperature must at least 24 degree Celsius. It takes about 7-10 days to germinate. Spacing is 1 meter and 1 meter for rows apart. USDA zone 9-10.
The Kaffir Lime is among the most unusual cultivated citrus. The leaves are used extensively in Asian cooking - particularly in Thai cuisine (Tom-yam soup and curry). The smooth aromatic foliage of the Kaffir Lime is high in volatile oils, which gives it a mysterious and distinctive flavor that cannot be duplicated. The flesh and rind from the green bumpy fruit can also be used in cooking
To alleviate colds, lack of energy and tiredness, the juice extracted from the fruit is mixed with plain water and drank three times a day. The juice is quite sour with a bitter aftertaste!
Kaffir Lime contains tannin, triterpenouid and saponin. It is used in herbal medicines and traditional treatments, as the fruit and especially its leaves, have those special properties to encourage the growth of skin.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Slow release pellets
This is one of the pellet forms of slow release fertilizer with its nutrients are encased in a resin coating which allows the food to leach through at a rate depending on the temperature, the higher the temperature the faster the release of the food - most of these are designed to release the maximum food levels of NPK at around 21 degrees C. It is ideal for bonsai, flower bulbs and seedlings in your gardening pots.
How to apply
Just sprinkle 1/4 tea spoons directly to the soil surface of the plant. Watering after each application to facilitate the nutrients release. The plant will get nutrient every time you watering. This application assist you not to over-fertilizer your plant. Each application could last for 3 to 6 months
Botanical name: Petunia hybrida
Petunias, native to Argentina, are one of the most popular bedding annual flowers with wide trumpet shaped flowers and branching foliage that is hairy and somewhat sticky. It can grow up to 12 inches tall. Petunias are popular low-lying annuals that brag of their diversity of brilliant color and attractive green foliage. They bloom all summer with little maintenance and make perfect centerpieces to containers and hanging baskets and serve as good low bordering color to gardens. This petunia rainbow mixed seeds packet contains seeds mixture of color in Petunia Multiflora Single and Petunia Grandiflora Single series. Each packet has 200 seeds, you can expect good variation.
How to grow
Seeds can be started indoors about 8 weeks before transplanting to the outdoors. Sprinkle the tiny seeds onto the soil surface and gently press them into the soil. Do not cover with soil. Give them lots of light and warmth of about 70 to 75 degrees F. When planting the Petunias outdoors, wait until after the last frost and choose a full-sun location, either in a garden, pot or planter. New plants require plenty of water and regular fertilizer for continuous blooms. Space plants about 12 to 18 inches apart in garden beds, or place 1 to 3 plants in the center of each 10-inch container. Petunias require soil that is a peat based mix containing perlite or vermiculite for drainage. They grow best in full sunlight but will survive in shaded areas that provide at least 6 hours of full sunlight daily.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Sweet peppers are plump, bell-shaped vegetables featuring either three or four lobes. They usually range in size from 2 to 5 inches in diameter, and 2 to 6 inches in length. Inside the thick flesh is an inner cavity with edible bitter seeds and a white spongy core. Bell peppers are not 'hot'. They contain a recessive gene that eliminates capsaicin, the compound responsible for the 'hotness' found in other peppers. They are native to Mexico, Central America and northern South America and largely cultivated in European and Asia countries. It is an evergreen perennial growing to 1m by 1m .
How to grow
The plant prefers full sun, light sandy, moist and loamy with well-drained rich soil with slightly acidic. Peppers are best started indoors, eight to ten weeks or more before the last frost date for your area. Sow the seed on the moist soil and soil temperature should be at least 20 degree Celsius. The seed usually germination in 2 weeks time. Transplant when the plant with a pair of true leaves to individual pot or ground. Space 18-24 inches apart, in rows 24 to 36 inches apart.
Approximately 80 to 90 days.
Peppers can be picked as soon as they reach a size which is edible.
Green peppers are a very good source of fiber, folate, and vitamin A, C & K as well as the minerals molybdenum and manganese.
It can be stir-fried with meat slice, stuffed with meat, eat raw with salad, baked or roasted.
Eating bell pepper may help prevent cancer in organ and glands lined by epithelial tissue due to its high Vitamin A content. It also help to benefit those who has liver disease, obesity, constipation, arthritis, and high blood pressure.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Italian large leaf fragrant basil grows 18" to 24" high and 12" - 15" wide. Dark green, shiny leaves grow up to 3" long on a tall, erect plant that is slow to bolt. This basil is regarded as the essential variety for true Neapolitan cuisine, especially pesto.
How to grow
It is not hard to grow from seed, which germinates readily at temperatures between 75-85 degrees, usually within 2 weeks. Contrary to most cultivation information on basil, it does not mind slightly acid soil or partial shade. As a matter of fact, it will do best in an area protected from the wind and scorching midday sun. It likes rich, well-drained soil and will grow best in soil enhanced with well-composted manure. It hates cold and should be planted out only when night temperatures reach 50 to 55 degrees. If you practice companion planting, plant basil near tomatoes and peppers to enhance their growth. Pinch out growing tips to encourage bushier plants and to delay flowering.
Pick the extra large leaves and use fresh or dried in tomato dishes, pasta sauces, vegetables and soups. Fresh basil makes a nice tea, an excellent vinegar, and tastes great fresh with fish, poultry, rice, mild vegetables, eggplant and many others. You can also use basil in the garden as a companion plant to repel aphids, mites, and tomato hornworms.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
The Globe Artichoke (Cynara cardunculus) is a perennial thistle originating in southern Europe around the Mediterranean. It grows to 1.5-2 m tall, with arching, deeply lobed, silvery glaucous-green leaves 50–82 cm long. The flowers develop in a large head from an edible bud about 8–15 cm diameter with numerous triangular scales; the individual florets are purple. The edible portion of the buds consists primarily of the fleshy lower portions of the involucral bracts and the base, known as the "heart"; the mass of immature florets in the center of the bud is called the "choke". The plant normally produce the edible flower only during the second and subsequent years. The globe artichoke is also an attractive plant for its bright floral display, sometimes grown in herbaceous borders for its bold foliage and large purple flower heads.
How to grow
Globe artichokes grow best in a warm climate and most varieties need at least 100 frost-free days to produce their edible flower buds. It requires good soil, regular watering and feeding plus frost protection in winter. Sow seeds one inch deep, spaced 5-6 inches apart. Rows should be spaced 5-6 feet apart. Thin plants to two 2/12 feet apart. The peak season for artichoke harvesting is the spring, but they continue to be harvested throughout the summer, with another peak period in mid autumn. USDA zone is 6 to 7.
Approximately 90 to 100 days. But remember, most Artichoke do not produce buds the first year.
When harvesting, they are cut from the plant so as to leave an inch or two of stem. the large thistle-like heads which develop should be cut just before they open. Cut the main head, known as the king head, first. Secondary growths will then develop, each of which will produce a tender flower head. These are cut when they are the size of a large hen's egg. For better flavour, cut no more than 1 hour before you intend to cook them.
Artichokes are a good source of potassium and one large artichoke contains 25 percent of the RDA for folacin.
The globe artichoke can be broiled, steamed, roasted, stuffed and deep fried. Artichoke is the primary flavor of the Italian liqueur Cynar. Artichokes can also be made into an herbal tea and juices.
The medical properties of globe artichoke stimulates the metabolization of the cholesterol in the liver; it is diuretic, tonic, depurative, hypoglycaemic. artichoke preparations may be used for treating cardio-vascular, liver, kidney disorders, eczemas, diabetes, podagra, hemorrhoids and for regenerating hepatic cells.
Hyssop is a compact, shrubby perennial that grows between 40-60cm high. Its smooth, narrow leaves taper to a point at the end and grow opposite one another on the woody stems. Their color is dark, glossy green and they have a pungent aroma and resinous taste. The small flowers blue and appear profusely between July and November in spikes at the ends of stems. They are attractive to bees and butterflies. Planted with cabbage, it helps to ward off cabbage moths.
How to grow
Grow hyssop in full sun and light, well drained soil that is slightly alkaline. New plants may be grown from seeds sown in moist soil in the spring. Keep the soil moist during germination, it takes about 1 to 3 weeks. Spacing is 6 to 12 inches apart and temperature is 15 to 21 degree Celsius. Once established, hyssop will reseed itself.
Hyssop and its oil are mainly used to treat respiratory problems. The Greek Hippocrates already recommended hyssop to treat bronchitis. Today, hyssop is used for the treatment nasal congestion and mild irritations of the respiratory tract. The hyssop essential oil has stimulant and antiseptic affects. Hyssop can also be used in the kitchen. The hyssop flowers and leaves can be used to flavour dishes, including soups, salads, sauces, meat dishes, vegetable dishes and fruit salads. Fresh and dried hyssop flowers are also used as decoration
Summer savory (Satureja hortensis), also known as bean herb, is an anual herb which grow to 1 to 1.5 feet tall. It has small, aromatic leaves that are shiny and green; about 1/2 inch long, are entire, oblong-linear, acute, shortly narrowed at the base into petioles, often fascicled. The hairs on the stem are short and decurved. It flowers in July, having small, pale lilac labiate flowers, axillary, on short pedicels, the common peduncle sometimes three-flowered. It attracts to bees and causes them to make flavorsome honey.
How to grow
Broadcast seeds in early to mid spring, in rows 1 foot apart. Allow 2 to 3 weeks for germination at 18-20 degree Celsius. Thin established seedlings to 6 to 9 inches apart. The plant prefers full sun, in rich, light, well-drained soil. Pinch mature plants often to discourage flowering. If plants get floppy, mound soil slightly around their bases. Leaves are most flavorful before flowers form in midsummer. Cut plant partially back for second crop. You can begin harvesting leaves when plants are 6 inches high.
The leaves have a peppery, somewhat mintlike flavor. Traditionally, it is used to season beans. It can also be used in sausages, stuffings, meat pies, soups, stews, rice and sauces for pork, lamb, veal and poultry. Add fresh leaves to salads, fish dishes and omelets. Brew into fragrant, tangy tea; or add to vinegar for use in salad dressing.
Friday, March 20, 2009
This is a large golden-orange round beefsteak tomato, Jubilee is an AAS winner from 1943. Indeterminate with 2.25 to 2.75 by 2.5 to 3.5 inch fruits, 6 to 7 ounces in weight. Heavy yields. The plant is tall bushy habit growing to 1.5 metres. The fruit have a mild, non-acid flavor. They are large, globular and smooth with a meaty thick-walled interior. Few seeds.
Approximately 80 days after transplant.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Introduced in 1945, Tiny Tim produces 3/4 inch to 1 1/2 inch scarlet red fruits on tree-like determinate plants. Tiny Tim is an excellent tomato for growing in containers and does well in even the smallest of pots. They look beautiful in hanging baskets and are perfect for small patios. They usually grow only 12 inches tall so no staking is needed. Let them cascade over a hanging basket and they look wonderful. Fruit is juicy and has very good sweet/tart tomato flavors.
How to grow
Sow in seed flats or plug trays.
Transplant when first true leaves develop
Approximately 60 days