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Monthly Archives: May 2016

Grow These Edible Perennials Plant

Here is a partial listing of edible perennials; both vegetables and berries that will make great additions to your garden and provide you with continuous harvests for many years:

Choice Edible Perennials for the Home Garden

  • Asparagus – the ultimate long-term vegetable crop that will yield for decades with no drop off in production. One of the earliest spring production crops in the backyard garden.
  • Sea Kale – A rare and unusual vegetable, sea kale is an interesting perennial vegetable that is better known in the United Kingdom. Sea Kale produces edible shoots in the spring that are blanched before harvesting.
  • Artichokes – This one is somewhat dependent on your climate, cardoons can be a
    challenge to over winter, but it’s not impossible to grow them as edible perennials here and I’ve had success on occasion.
  • Salsify – While usually listed as biennials; salsify and scorzonera both act more like perennials in my garden. The plants return each year and grow larger as they put on an impressive display of attractive purple or yellow flowers.
  • Potato Onions – Unlike garlic, potato onions can remain in the ground after they mature without shedding their wrappers or greening up. It is best to lift and cure the bulbs before replanting and spacing them apart, but once you raise potato onions you’ll always have potato onions!
  • Blackberries – Very easy to grow but they do require annual pruning in order to get the best quality fruit. Try cultivating the thornless blackberry varieties or raspberries which have similar care and cultural requirements.
  • Mushrooms – While not as long lasting as true edible perennials, gourmet mushrooms are pretty care free and productive over many seasons once they are established and will reward you with recurring flushes of tasty gourmet shrooms.
  • Potatoes – You may want to argue with me over listing a potato along with these vegetable perennials, but tell that to the Purple Peruvian fingerling potatoes that I planted several years ago and can still find sprouting up in the garden every spring.
  • Rhubarb – It doesn’t get any easier than this edible perennial that is attractive enough to grow as an ornamental even if you don’t like the taste. Rhubarb is popular as the centerpiece of some delicious desserts!
  • Semi-Perennial – Like the purple fingerlings, Epazote, Sunchokes, Calendula, and Sacred Basil behave much like edible perennials and can be counted on to volunteer for repeat appearances once they have been established in the garden. In some cases they can even turn a bit invasive, so keep that in mind if you welcome them into your landscape.

That’s just the short list of vegetable perennials that can make life in the garden a bit easier by providing recurring crops after they are introduced into the garden. If I left out any of your favorite edible perennials you can add them to the comment section below.

Grow Your Own Strawberries

Today’s article featuring tips to grow your own strawberries is a guest post written by Geoff Wakeling. Geoff lives in London where he shares his life with hens, cats and a garden where you’ll find him snipping, pruning, planting, cutting, propagating, shoveling, or just plain admiring mother nature. Read on and get prepared to grow your own strawberries next season.

Many people may have the perception that strawberries are best left to fruit growing experts. They seem one of the more exotic foods to be growing, only being available for a small time during the year and normally proving fairly expensive.

However, growing strawberry plants is actually very easy, and though encouraging a good crop is not without its problems, tasting your own grown strawberries will beat any shop bought box.

# Planting Strawberry Plants in the Home Garden

Planting strawberries can be done in various manners, utilizing vegetable patches, raised beds, or even pots. For best the results place individual strawberry plants in rows, leaving approximately one foot between each specimen. This allows each plant room to grow, the necessary light to develop fantastic tasting fruit, and the space to easily organize and tidy plants at the end of the season.

Firm each plant into the ground well and remove any dead leaves or small runners which may be coming off on the main plant. It is also a good idea at this stage to add mulch around plants which, when fruit begin to develop, will hold ripening strawberries off of the moist ground and help to prevent rotting. Straw is a great material to use, as are bark chips or shredded wood, all of which allow moisture to trickle through to the roots whilst keeping the leaves and fruit dry.

# Caring for the New Strawberry Bed

It is vital that plants are placed in a sunny position to ensure that fruit can develop properly. In temperate regions flowers will start to develop often as early the end of March and beginning of May, sending up their cream white petals to the sun.

As fruit begin to develop ensure that mulch is kept to a minimum depth of an inch so as to keep moisture away from developing fruit. While strawberry fruits are still white they remain fairly hardy, however, as their distinctive red hue starts to develop they will be particularly susceptible to become moldy. At this time they are also an ideal snack for birds and pests such as slugs and snails so preventative steps such as adding netting and pest deterrents must be undertaken.

# Multiplying Strawberry Plants by Separating the Runners

After fruiting has finished and the colder temperatures of fall arrive it is the ideal time to separate plants. You will find that as soon as fruiting is over, individuals specimens start to send out runners with new plants on them.

Allow these to root, and in the fall you can simply snip these runners off and create new plants. Individual strawberries will stay productive for approximately four years, at which time it is a good idea to replace them with fresher and younger runners. But with the thriving growth you will never be out of new plants to use.

Growing an ample crop of strawberries is very weather dependent, and there are only so many steps you can take to aid the development of juicy fruit. A sunny position and keeping fruit away from too much moisture is vital so that strawberries can grow to their full potential.

However, the joy of growing this fantastic fruit at home is a great reward, and with a little effort you can have delicious and decadent fruit to smother in cream from your own backyard.

Know These Gardening Tips for Beginners

gardening-tips-for-beginners# Choose the right plants for your soil

Before you buy any plants, check your soil type: is it light and sandy, or heavy and clay? Many plants thrive better in one type than the other. If you’re not sure, take a look at what plants are growing in your neighbour’s garden.

# Give plants enough space

Don’t be tempted by the displays at the garden centre and buy too many plants for the size of your bed. If you place young plants too close together, not all will survive or, if they do, they will need more frequent watering and fertiliser. Crowded plants are also more susceptible to disease. Plant labels tell you how much room they need.

# Be gentle with new plants

If you remove new plants from their pots by pulling their stems, you’re likely to break or bruise them. Instead, gently squeeze the pot sides and turn it upside-down, using your other hand to catch the plant as it slides out. Or place the pot on a hard surface and press the sides as you rotate it. Again, the plant should slip out when you upturn the pot.

# Plan ahead with your design

Before you do any digging, have a think about the big picture of your garden. Place all of your bulbs and young plants on the soil surface first and move them around until you’re happy with the arrangement. Then plant them.

# Soak your roots

The last thing you want is dry root balls. Thoroughly soak the roots of a new plant before you put it in the soil. And make sure the hole is bigger than the root ball before you attempt to put it in. A plant’s roots need to be able to spread to get the best chance of tapping moisture and absorbing the soil’s nutrients.

# Label, label, label

For first-time gardeners, it can be easy to forget what you’ve planted and where. Take an extra minute to write a plant label (most plants you buy from a garden centre come with one) and pop it in the ground next to the seeds, bulbs or plants you’ve planted.

# Water mindfully

Plants are designed to live outside and to draw natural moisture from the earth without the need for daily artificial irrigation (unless we’re experiencing a drought). As a rough guide, poke your fingers about two inches into the soil around the plant; if it’s very dry, add some water. The exceptions are container plants which, because there are a lot of them in a finite amount of soil, will need regular watering.

# Be brutal with weeds

It’s important to learn early on that weeds are a gardener’s worst enemy. Weed regularly and make sure you remove all their roots. If there are seeds clinging to the weeds, don’t put them in the compost heap; you’ll end up re-seeding your weeds when you spread the compost.

# Give shrubs some breathing room

Resist the temptation to plant your shrubs near a fence or wall. They grow outwards (in all directions) as well as upwards, so plan accordingly.

# Have fun with it

Allow yourself to experiment and try new things. If you realise you’ve planted something in the wrong place – either because it’s the wrong height or colour, or because it’s not growing well – you can move it. Most plants and shrubs, even young trees, can be uprooted and replanted.