Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Georgia Collard Green

Botanical name: Brassica oleracea Georgia

The 'Georgia' Collard Plant is a traditional Southern variety. Non heading, rapid growth rate. Plants get 24 - 36" tall spreading out with large wavy blue-green leaves. A favorite southern dish to quick-cook like spinach.
Georgia is both heat and cold tolerant and is also slow to bolt, so it is suited for just about any climate. A light frost will actually improve its flavor. It does well in poor soil.

How to grow
Collard seeds sprout in soil temperature of 45 degrees F. Transplants are usually planted in the spring. This can add 4 to 5 weeks to the growing season. Plant Georgia Collards seeds or collards transplants as soon as the soil reaches 45 degrees F. Space plants 1½ - 2 feet apart.

Plant Georgia Collards seeds directly in the garden by making a shallow ½ inch furrow and scattering the seeds. Remember you will be thinning plants at least 1½ feet apart. Cover seeds about ¼" deep or so and lightly water. Keep moist until germination which usually takes 6 - 12 days. Cooler weather slows germination time. 75 Days to maturity.

Nutrition info
Collards are fibrous, tough, mild-flavored greens that require long cooking. Hiding under the green chlorophyll pigment is an excellent source of beta carotene and some vitamin C and calcium.

Health benefit
the antioxidants and phytochemicals in collards may help to reduce the risk of some forms of cancer and heart disease

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cabbage Mammoth Red Rock

Botanical name: Brassica oleracea 'Mammoth Red Rock'

Heirloom from 1889 that have solid round flattened purple-red 8-10 in. diameter, large 6-8 lbs heads. 'Mammoth Red Rock' forms volleyball-sized heads with leathery, blue-green, purple-tinged "wrapper" leaves and relatively thin, burgundy red, tightly packed inner leaves. Flavor is robust and slightly peppery. Vigor and flavor decline with heat. Although cool weather enhances flavor, plants may flower (or "bolt") following extended chilly spells. Cabbage heads may split if not harvested promptly. This cabbage can be grown as a winter vegetable in areas such as the Southeast United States and western California. Excellent keeper with hard and tightly wrapped leaves, large-framed medium core that is great for pickling, boiling and general use. Excellent quality cabbage.

How to grow
For early crop, start red cabbage seed indoors 4-6 weeks before last frost. For late crops sow red cabbage seed in rows, directly outdoors May thru July. Cover seed with 1/8 inch of fine soil, well pressed down. Keep soil moist until red cabbage seeds start to grow. Seed germinates in 7 to 14 days depending on soil temperature and weather conditions. When red cabbage plants are 3 to 4 inches tall, thin or transplant 2 feet apart, in rows 2-1/2 feet apart.

110 days. Harvest Red Rock when cabbage head is firm by cutting just under the head.

Nutrition info
Red cabbage contains Calcium, Iron and Vitamins A, B, and Vitamin C.

Health benefit
Red Cabbage has more phytonutrients than the green cabbage. The vitamin C content of red cabbage is 6-8 times higher than that of the green cabbage. Red cabbage contain anthocyanin (red pigment/color) is an antioxidant that can help protect brain cells, thus can help prevent Alzheimer's disease.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Brocoli Waltham 39

Botanical name: Brassica oleracea

Bred by University of Massachusetts, Waltham Field Station, Waltham, MA around 1950. Waltham produces uniform high yields, good color, cold resistance, dwarf compact plant, and big side shoots. Main heads are 4-8" with steady side shoot production after main head is harvested. Leaves are borne on a low, compact plant having a distinctive slate-green color. Good cultivar for freezing.

Days to Maturity
74 days. Cut main head when 3"-6" across, buts are tightly closed and don't show any yellow color. Cut head with a couple of inches of stem with a sharp knife. Smaller heads on side shoots will develop for an additional harvest.

How to grow
It is the best for late summer and fall harvest. Developed to withstand the cold temperatures of fall and can survive dry spells. For a spring crop start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost and transplant outside 2 weeks before the last frost. For a fall crop direct seed in the garden in later spring or early summer. Broccoli grows best in mostly sunny locations during the cooler parts of the growing season. Prefers fairly rich soil kept fairly moist. Set plants 18 inches apart. Germination: 7-14 days. Germination temperature: 55-75F.

Tips: Give broccoli plenty of water and push it along with frequent applications of high-nitrogen plant food to develop the big, vigorous plants that are necessary to support large heads

Nutrition info
Studies suggest that broccoli may be important in preventing cancer, diabetes, and lowering cholesterol. The heads and stems are packed with vitamin C and provide calcium, potassium, and iron.

Health benefit
Broccoli provides a high amount of vitamin C, which aids iron absorption in the body, prevents the development of cataracts, and also eases the symptoms of the common cold. The folic acid in broccoli helps women sustain normal tissue growth and is often used as a supplement when taking birth control pills and during pregnancies. The potassium in broccoli aids those battling high blood pressure, while a large amount of calcium helps combat osteoporosis

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Crimson Giant Radish

Crimson Giant Radish seeds grow large 1½ - 2" globe shaped crimson radishes that don't become hollow or pithy with its extra size. The white flesh is crisp, firm and mild. You will be harvesting 29 days after seeding.

How to grow
Sow seeds as soon as the ground is workable. Plant every 2 weeks to keep a continuous supply until the weather becomes too hot. Sow Crimson Giant Radish Seeds ¼" deep and cover lightly spacing seeds 1 inch apart. Keep moist until seedlings are established. Once Crimson Giant radish seedlings are established thin to 4" apart. Germination takes 5-7 days. Keep soil moderately moist during germination. Radishes grow best during the cooler parts of the growing season. Don't plant radish's where you planted them or cabbage the year prior as they may fall victim to root eating insects.

Nutrition value
A very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Folate and Potassium.

Health benefit
Radishes are moderately high in Vitamin C and contain properties that appear to be beneficial for symptoms of colds, flu, fever, cough, respiratory problems, and digestive disorders. For digestive problems, put a handful of radish leaves in boiling water, cover, and let sit for about 20 minutes. Strain, add honey to taste and drink as a tea. For colds, flu, and the associated symptoms, grate one radish and mix with honey to taste. Let this mixture stand for 10 hours in a dark place. Take 2 teaspoons three times a day as a cough syrup.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Botanical name: Brassica oleracea capitata 'Red Acre'

The Red Acre Cabbage is a top notch variety of cabbage. This lovely cabbage variety produces stunning reddish-purple, globe shaped, heads that can add a striking beauty to your vegetable garden or a gorgeous color to meals.Each head reaches up 6 to 7 inches in diameter and typically weigh approximately 3 pounds. This flavorful cabbage variety is especially suited for use raw, cooked or in coleslaw and can add new life to otherwise dull meals due to its striking color and wonderful taste.

Red Acre Cabbage is resistant to cabbage yellowing and is especially suited for small gardens as it takes up less space than other cabbage varieties. In particular, this variety stores better than just about any other early cabbage variety available and the heads will hold up for a long period in the garden before splitting or bursting. Matures in 75 days

How to grow
Start indoors or in greenhouse in early spring. Cover seeds with 1/8 inch fine soil.
Transplant seedlings indoors after first pair of true leaves have developed. Space them 4 inches apart or pot them individually in 2 1/2 inch pots. Once plants us established, harden off and transplant outdoors after severe frost danger has passed.

Spacing: Space rows 2 to 3 feet apart depending on space available. Space plants 18 to 24 inches apart in the rows.

Germination: 7 to 10 days at 70 F indoors. Keep soil moderately moist during germination.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Drooping Amaranthus

Botanical name: Amaranthus caudatus (Amaranthaceae)
Other name: Kiss-Me-Over-The-Garden-Gate, Purple Amaranth, Foxtail Amaranth, Quilete, Tassel Amaranth, and Tassel Flower

Crimson tassels cascade to the ground from an exotic, showy, bushy plant. Love-lies-bleeding was popular in colonial America and Victorian English gardens, and the plant's history is as colorful as its reddish-purple tassels. Many parts of the plants, including the leaves and seeds, are edible, and are frequently used as a source of food in India and South America.

How to grow
Best in hanging baskets where drooping flowers are best seen. May be used in beds or borders. Interesting edging along walks or paths.

Bloom Time: Summer to Early Fall
Height: 3' to 4'
Exposure: Full Sun
Soil: prefers a fairly dry, nutrient poor soil; it tends to be less colorful in rich, fertile soils.
When to Sow Outside: Spring, after the average last day of frost.
When to Sow Inside: 6 to 8 weeks before last frost.
Seed Depth: 1/8 inch
Seed Spacing: 1"
Days to germinaqtion: 7 - 14
Thinning: When 2" tall thin to 15" tall
USDA Zones 8-11

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Prince's Feather 'Oeschberg'

Botanical name: Amaranthus cruentus 'Oeschberg'
Other name: Upright Love Lies Bleeding, Upright Amaranthus.

AMARANTHUS CRUENTUS "OESCHBERG", also known as Upright Love Lies Bleeding. It grows well over 4 ft tall with lots of crimson "spikes" or "feathers" rising above deep red foliage. It also held its foliage and flower color longer than other similarly colored varieties. Amaranthus are re-seeding annuals, great in dried floral arrangements as well as fresh floral arrangements. They are very drought tolerant and love the heat. In fact, the seeds won't sprout until temperatures get hot.

How to grow

Light: Full sun
Soil: Well drained soil and dry tolerant
Height in inches: 28-48"
Spread: 24"+
Germination: 4-10 days; Soil 70F
Sowing time: Late spring or early summer.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lance-Leaved Coreopsis

Botanical name: Coreopsis lanceolata (Asteraceae)
Other name: Tickseed

Features solitary, yellow, daisy-like flowers (1-2" diameter) with eight yellow rays (toothed at the tips) and flat yellow center disks. Flowers bloom atop slender, erect stems from spring to early summer. Narrow, hairy, lance-shaped leaves (2-6" long) appear primarily near the base of the plant in basal tufts. Lower basal leaves are mostly entire, while smaller stem leaves may be pinnately lobed.

How to grow
Easily grown in dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Thrives in poor, sandy or rocky soils with good drainage. Tolerant of heat, humidity and drought. Prompt deadheading of spent flower stalks encourages additional bloom and prevents any unwanted self-seeding. Freely self-seeds, and in optimum growing conditions will naturalize to form large colonies. Plants may be cut back hard in summer if foliage sprawls or becomes unkempt. If grown in borders, division may be needed every 2-3 years to maintain robustness.

Height: 2-3 feet
Germination: 20-30 days
Optimum soil temperature for germination: 65-70F
Sowing depth: 1/16"
Blooming period: May-July

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Calendura 'Pacific Beauty' Mix

Botanical name: Calendula officinalis (Compositae)
Other name: Pot Marigold, Scotch Marigold

Calendula officinalis is an aromatic annual plant, that belongs to the Asteraceae family. Typically, it grows to about half a meter in height. The stems are straight and ramified. The leaves are oblong-lanceolate, hairy on both sides and 5 to 15 cm long with toothed margins. The inflorescences are thick capitula or flower-heads (3-8 cm) surrounded by two rows of hairy bracts. The tubular, hermaphrodite, central flowers are generally, of a more intense orange-yellow colour than the female, tridentate, peripheral flowers. The flower-heads appear all year long. The fruit is a thorny curved achene. The "Pacific Beauty" variety is a mix of yellow, orange, apricot, and cream colors.

How to grow
For cold winter climates, you can sow outdoor in early spring, as soon as the soil can be worked. For warm winter climates, sow outdoor in early fall for winter/spring blooms. You can also sow inside 6 to 8 weeks before average last frost (recommend for cold winter climates)

Flower Type: Annual
Bloom Time: Summer to early summer, Fall
Height: 12" to 24"
Exposure: Full Sun
Seed Depth: 1/4" to 1/2"
Seed Spacing: 2"
Days to Emerge: 5 to 15
Thinning: When 1" tall thin to 12" apart

The leaves and petals of the Pot Marigold are edible, with the petals added to dishes as a garnish and in lieu of saffron. The leaves can be sweet but are more commonly bitter, and may be used in salads. It was used in ancient Greek, Roman, Arabic and Indian cultures as a medicinal herb as well as a dye for fabrics, foods and cosmetics. It is a popular cultivated herb or Long lasting cut flower, great in parking strips, containers, and borders.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Bird's Eyes

Botanical name: Gilia Tricolor (Polemoniaceae)
Other name: Tricolor gilia, bird's eye gilia

A hardy annual native to the western United States that will easily adapt to a variety of conditions. The elegant trumpet shaped flowers are lavender and white with golden throats. Flowers are delightfuly fragrant, and retain their color when dried. A beautiful ornament plant to have in your garden.

How to grow

Light: Full sun
Soil: well-drained soil
Height: 12-18 inches
Germination: 20-30 days
Optimum soil temperature for germination: 65-75F
Sowing depth: Surface Sow
Spacing: 20cm
Blooming period: March-May

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bird's Foot Trefoil

Botanical name: Lotus corniculatus (Fabaceae)
Other name: Birdsfoot trefoil, bloomfell, cat's clover, crowtoes, garden bird's-foot-trefoil, ground honeysuckle

Birdsfoot trefoil is a low-growing, perennial forb with stems that can reach 2 ft. (0.6 m) long. Leaves are compound (with 5 oval to linear leaflets), stipulate and alternate. Leaflets (upper 3) are 0.5 in. (1.3 cm) long and less than 1/8 in. (0.3 cm) wide; the lower two resemble leaf-like stipules. Sweet pea-like flowers develop in clusters of 2-8 on a long peduncle (stalk). Fruits are pods that occur in head-like clusters. Each pod is brown to black, cylindrical, 0.6-1.4 in. (1.5-3.5 cm) long, contains up to 49 seeds and has a persistent style at the apex. Birdsfoot trefoil is native to Eurasia and North Africa and occurs in pastures, roadsides, wetlands, disturbed grasslands and riparian areas.

How to grow
Birdsfoot trefoil grows best when planted in early spring, although you can plant in late summer as well. Note: Birdsfoot trefoil seeds have a tough outer coating and need to be scarified before planting.

Height: Up to 2 feet
Light: Full sun
Soil: thin and poor soil
Sow depth: 1/2 inch
Germination: 2-4 weeks
USDA zone: 3-9
Bloom Time: Early and mid-season

Black-eyed Susan

Botanical name: Rudbeckia hirta (Asteraceae)
Other name: Yellow Ox-eye Daisy

A stiff, upright annual or shortlived perennial native to the eastern United States, but has become endemic throughout North America. It is the state flower of Maryland. Black-Eyed Susans are perennial daisies or coneflowers, members of the sunflower family (Asteraceae). The flower heads measure 2 to 3 inches in diameter with yellow rays circling a dark-brown, spherical center. Commonly found in fields and on roadsides. Cut flower has a vase life of 6 to 10 days.

How to grow
It is easy to grow from seeds. Sown 2 weeks before the last expected frost, or started indoors 6-8 weeks before planting them outdoors in the Spring.

Light: Full sun
Soil: any type soil with well-drained
Height: 2-3 feet
Germination: 7-30 days
Optimum soil temperature for germination: 70F
Sowing depth: 1/16"
Blooming period: June-August
USDA Zone: 3-10