Fruits and Vegetables Tips

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What can I do to get lots of bell peppers from my plants?

Handy Fertilizer for Bell Peppers

To encourage a plentiful harvest of bell peppers, feed them with Epsom salt before they flower. Put two teaspoons of Epsom salt in a quart of water and apply to the base of pepper plants.

How can I grow straighter

Planting Cucumbers

To maximize the numbers of cucumbers you will harvest, try planting your cucumbers in raised beds. Space your cucumbers at least a foot apart and work plenty of manure into the soil.

You can let cucumber vines simply run, or you can train them up trellises or wire.

What kind of soil is good for growing radishes?

Add Fish Meal to Your Soil in the Off Season

Fish meal is one of the best, as well as one of the oldest, fertilizers for enriching soil. Fish meal breaks down slowly over a period of four to eight weeks. It is high in phosphorous, nitrogen and potassium. You should apply fish meal to your garden soil in the fall so it can replenish your soil during the off season.

What´s a fast way to germinate corn?

Jump Start Corn Seed Germination

To get a fast start on germinating corn seeds, all you need is water and paper towels. Simple wet a paper towel and place the corn seeds on the towel. Cover with another damp paper towel and leave overnight. This will give your corn seeds a good head start on germination.

What can I do when my lettuces start bolting?

Planting Lettuce

Planting lettuce seeds directly in the garden in thick, wide rows is not recommended. This causes overcrowding and a poor crop.

Lettuce should be started in a flat. The seedlings should be placed in the garden when they have produced their fifth to sixth leaf. Place seedlings evenly about every 10 inches.

How can I prevent my pumpkins from rotting at the base of the plant?

A Tip For Pumpkin Growers

In late summer, your pumpkins should be getting larger and nearing harvest. To prevent rot at the base of your pumpkins, place dry straw underneath each one. This will keep the bottom half of the pumpkins off of the damp earth and keep them healthy.

Should I change my vegetable bed locations yearly?

Soil Testing Is Essential

It is important to test your soil so you know what type of soil you have. Some plants will only grow in certain soils.

Soil is tested for acidity and alkalinity. The results are given in pH levels. These pH levels of your soil can range from one to fourteen. Levels below seven means your soil is acid. Levels above seven means your soil is alkaline.

You do not have to send your soil off to a laboratory to have it tested. You can get soil tesing kits at your local garden center and they are fairly easy to use.

How do I thin out seedlings?

When to Thin Out Seedlings

Thinning your seedlings is necessary for healthy growth and it prevents overcrowding. Thin out seedlings when they get their second set of leaves.

As you thin out your seedlings, use scissors to remove the spindly leaves. Using scissors instead of your fingers will ensure you don't uproot the whole plant.

How can I get a longer harvest from my vegetable garden?

Beans, Beets, Radishes and Onions

Crops such as bush beans, beets, radishes and green onions can be planted twice.
When one crop is halfway mature, plant a second row of the same crop. This maximizes your harvest and guarantees you a fresh supply.

What is side-dressing?

Boost Your Tomato Plant Crop

After tomato plants have established themselves and are starting to blossom, dig a furrow alongside the plants and lay some bone meal in it. (Be certain that the furrow is at least six inches from the base of the plants to prevent burning.) Cover lightly and water.

The bone meal will add needed nutrients to the soil and your tomato plants will respond by bearing better fruit.

What type of soil does rhubarb need?

Autumn Leaves and Your Garden Soil

If you have piles of fallen leaves in your yard in the autumn, you should rake them over your garden soil and use them as nature intended. Raking leaves over an existing garden is much easier than bagging the leaves, and by spring the leaves will have decomposed and added much needed nutrients back to your garden soil.

Why aren´t my squash setting fruit?

A Tip for Squash

If you are getting many blossoms on your squash plants, but few squash, it could possibly be that the blossoms are not falling off in a timely manner. Simply tug on wilted blossoms to help the plant start ridding itself of them.

For indoor germinating, what kind of lighting do I need?

Lighting for Indoor Germination

For indoor germination, you do not have to buy expensive plant light bulbs. You can use ordinary shop lights and load them with two 4-watt bulbs: one cool white and one warm white bulb. Hang the lights two feet above the seedlings to promote germination.

How do I store my onions?

A Tip for Storing Onions

A simple tip for storing onions is to put them inside nylon hose. After you drop an onion down into one leg, tie a knot. Add another onion, tie a knot, and so on. Hang your onions from a hook in the ceiling of a cool, dark, dry place that has good air circulation.

Where can I store root vegetables?

A Tip for Storing Root Vegetables

A simple way you can store root vegetables is to use a five or ten-gallon buckets and sand. Simply fill the buckets with sand, adding your root vegetables as you go. Carrots and beets do particularly well when stored this way in a cool, dry and dark area.

Be sure to give your root vegetables a good wash before you cook them.

What can I do with my green tomatoes?

Green Tomatoes

At the end of harvest season, do not throw away those last green tomatoes. They can be ripened on a sunny porch or windowsill. Likewise, you can use your green tomatoes to make pies, relishes or fried tomatoes.

How do I harvest pumpkins?

When to Bring in the Pumpkins

Pumpkins should be harvested before the first fall/winter frost. You should try to leave a six-inch stem on the pumpkins when cutting them off their vines. Handle pumpkins carefully and wash them thoroughly. Allow them to air dry and then set your pumpkins in a dark, cool place so the rinds cure and harden.

What kind of fertiliser do grapes require?

Fertilizing Grapes

Use ammonium sulfate to fertilize your grape vines. The general recommendation is a half pound for each vine. You should apply the fertilizer when the grapes are at least a quarter-inch big.

You should keep in mind that too much nitrogen can result in more vine growth and fewer grapes. So, be conscious of the nitrogen content in any fertilizers you use on your grape vines.

What do you feed strawberries?

Feed Your Strawberries

Fertilize strawberries using a complete 10-10-10 fertilizer twice a year. Apply two pounds per 100 square feet in a new spring bed. Add two more pounds per 100 square feet to your strawberry bed in the late summer. Mulch your strawberries with pine needles or straw. Taking the above steps will increase your strawberry crop.

Where can I store my seeds?

Easy Seed Storage

You can store your seeds in recycled milk jugs. Thoroughly cleanse the jugs and allow them to air dry. Use a permanent marker to label the jugs according to the seeds they are containing, as well as the date the seeds were stored.

Is there a way to maximise corn yields?

Planting Corn in Small Gardens

For small spaces and maximum yields, try planting your corn in a block or grid of four side by side rows. This will help to maximize your small garden area.

You can help speed pollination along by hand pollinating your corn. Just gently bend the young tassels down and shake the pollen loose.

What is the best way to grow avocado trees?

How To Grow Avocado Trees

Avocado trees need full sun to grow and like loose or sandy soil. They may need some irrigation also but will fail if they are over irrigated. To check for this dig a hole nine inches into the soil and squeeze the dirt. If it is wet do not irrigate, dry soil will need to be irrigated. If the leaves of the tree are yellow this could mean it's iron deficient. Use these tips to help your tree be healty and bountiful.

How do I know if my stored seeds are still viable?

Test Old Seeds for Viability

To test an old package of seeds for viability, wrap a few of the seeds in a moist paper towel and place them in a plastic bag. Keep the bag at room temperature. Within a week, most of the seeds should sprout. If they do, you will know that the rest of the seeds in the package are good. If the seeds in the bag do not sprout, discard the entire pack of seeds.

Should I pre-soak my seeds before planting?

Large, Hard Seed Help

To give those large, hard seeds a boost, you can soak them overnight in warm water. This will speed up the germination process in very hard seeds. However, you should put the seeds in the ground the following day. Do not let them soak for more than 18-24 hours.

How do I site my strawberry beds for best results?

Strawberry Planting

Always plant your strawberries in the sunniest part of your garden for best results. Also, strawberries will generally fruit at least a week earlier on a south facing slope than one that faces north.

Why aren´t my tomato plants setting fruit?

Protect Tomato Plants From Frost

An easy tip that will protect your tomato plants from frost is to cover them with upside down buckets. After the frost dangers have passed, you can simply lift the buckets away. Using this tip in the early spring when frost still occurs can greatly increase the quality and number of fruits set.

When do I harvest my blueberries?

Harvesting Blueberries

For the sweetest blueberries, wait three days after the berries turn blue before you pick them. While picking your blueberries, be sure to remove all shriveled and green berries from the plant.

What can I do to sow fine seeds better?

Tips for Handling Small Seeds

To help in the handling of very small seeds, you should try mixing them with sand or loose potting soil. This will help you evenly disburse your seed in the soil, as well as keep seed loss to a minimum.

How can I store apples?

Apple Storage Tip

A tip for storing apples is to wrap them individually in tissue paper or in black and white newspaper. This will keep one bad apple from ruining your entire harvest. Apples do best when stored in a dark area that is around 32-35 degrees Fahrenheit.

You should not store your apples beside your potatoes. The gas let off by potatoes can deteriorate the apples.

How can I make dark seeds more visible?

Making Dark Seeds More Visible

When planting dark seeds, it is often difficult to see them on the soil. This can lead to uneven rows and lost seeds. To make your dark seeds more visible, simply sprinkle some flour into the seed packs and shake. This will make your dark seeds stand out in the soil.

How can I extend my harvesting time?

Extend Harvest Time

You can extend your harvest season by extending your planting season. Divide your seeds into halves, thirds, or even fourths. Take into account how long each variety needs to mature and plan accordingly. Plant a portion of your seeds every other week and enjoy a longer harvest time.

When can I harvest leeks?


Leeks left in the ground through the winter will produce what is known as a leek bulb. The leek bulb consists of many small bulbs around the base of the leek. Many of these small bulbs will grow very large and can be used in lieu of shallots.

When and how do I divide rhubarb?

Rhubarb Division

Rhubarb plants can be divided early in the spring when they are still dormant.

Dig up your rhubarb plant and cut the crown into several doughnut-size pieces with a sharp knife, making sure each division has at least one bud. Then, replant the divisions in holes amended with well-rotted manure or compost.

When do I mulch my boysenberries?

Tips for Lowering Your Soils pH

To lower your soil's pH level, you will need to mix acidic minerals into your soil. The most popular acidic minerals are sulfur, ferrous sulfate, and aluminum sulfate.

Sulfur can be purchased as a powder in most garden centers. It is thought that sulfur is the most effective of the three minerals listed.

Ferrous sulfate will add iron to your soil. It is not as potent as sulfur, but this mineral can do much to help turn yellowing leaves to a deep green.

Aluminum sulphate will add aluminum to your soil. If you ever switch your garden from an acid-loving plant garden to one that welcomes plants who prefer a higher pH, you will have to add amendments to the soil to keep the plants from acquiring aluminum toxicity.

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Sheri Ann Richerson
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