When it comes to growing fresh fruit and vegetables in your garden, you really are spoiled for choice.
There are so many different options at your disposal and you can sometimes get paralyzed by choice and stuck for ideas.
If you have got the basics covered and want to branch out with something slightly less commonplace, it could be time to look at growing some purple tomatillos. If you enjoy Mexican food, this will be a great addition to your garden.
Source: Milking Almonds
The tomatillo is native to Mexico. It’s one of the oldest fruit-bearing plants used as far back as 800BC by the Aztecs.
Physalis philadelphica has sweet purple fruits the size of marbles.
Physalis ixocarpa, frequently sold in markets, boasts large green fruits that ripen to a pale yellow. These have a very tart taste.
Fragile husks cover the tomatillo. Towards the end of summer, fruits dangle copiously from the branches.
Tomatillos are members of the nightshade family and they are a core If Mexican food. It’s the citrusy yet sweet flavor of tomatillos that give a kick to green salsa.
The purple tomatillo grows throughout the Americas apart from in the extreme north. It’s most prevalent in Mexico.
Source: A Growing Tradition
Tomatillos are a staple ingredient of the green sauces common to Mexican and Central American cooking.
With a tart flavor and vibrant green coloring, tomatillos are very widely used.
Purple tomatillo has a sweeter taste. They are great in jams and preserves.
You can keep ripe tomatillos in the fridge for a couple of weeks and they’ll still be good to eat. If you remove the husks and keep them in sealed Ziploc bags, they’ll last even longer. If you want some to last you through the colder seasons, pop them in the freezer.
Choosing the right growing site is key with any plant.
You’ll want to find somewhere with full exposure to the sun. Make sure that the soil is fairly rich and well-drained. Although the tomatillo is a wild plant, it is pretty intolerant of saturated soil.
Before you plant your seeds, it pays to mix in a few inches of compost. If you fork this over nicely, it will help with drainage if this is an issue.
If you’ve got heavy clay soil in your garden, raised beds are a great way to grow purple tomatillos.
A couple of months before the last frost of the year, start your tomatillo seeds indoors.
Before transplanting them outdoors when the time is right, make sure to harden the plants first.
When then the soil is nicely warm and any realistic chance of frost is history, set them outside at the same time as you start your tomatoes.
Plant tomatillos deeply. The roots of the plant will sprout along the stem so it’s worth accommodating them properly for best results.
The purple tomatillo will grow up to 3 or 4 feet tall. You’ll get the same 3 or 4 feet in width. Make sure you keep your plants 3 feet apart. Space the rows 3 to 4 feet.
You can make use of tomato cages or trellis to give your tomatillos some added support.
If you are looking to cater for your own family cooking only, just 2 to 4 plants will be more than enough.
If you are just starting out gardening or perhaps you just want something that will grow without too much interference, purple tomatillos make a smart choice.
They are prolific and will keep on producing until they are taken out of commission by the onset of frosts.
Put down about 2 or 3 inches of grass clippings or other organic mulch. This will keep the soil nice and moist while staving off intruding weeds.
Give them an inch or so of water once a week. They are fairly tolerant to drought but they prefer a little moisture.
You don’t need any fertilizer with purple tomatillos.
They really are a breeze to grow and incredibly rewarding.
Once you have transplanted your seeds, you’ll be anywhere from 75 to 100 days from harvest.
When the husks are filled out and look on the verge of splitting, it’s time for harvest.
You can store them in their husks at room temperature for up to a week. If you put them in the fridge, they’ll be fine for as long as 3 weeks.
Make sure you harvest all your tomatillos. Chuck any that are rotten or overripe onto your compost. The last thing you want is self-sown seedlings so do a thorough job at harvesting time.
As you’ve seen, tomatillos are extremely easy to grow.
They very seldom suffer from any insect pest problems or disease.
If you cage the tomatillo plants off the ground, this will keep them out of the reach of slugs and snails, protect them from early blight and allow air to circulate effectively.
Since they are not as heavy as tomatoes, the small wire cages you use for your tomatoes will be perfectly strong enough for your tomatillos as well.
As with all aspects of the tomatillo, preparation is super-simple.
Just tear off the husks and give the fruits a wash. There is no need to core or seed them.
You can eat them raw or cook them so if you are stuck for inspiration, we’ll point you in the right direction of some mouth-watering recipes before we finish up.
Source: Andrea Myers
This site has some tasty purple tomatillo recipes along with great background information on this delicious nightshade.
We hope you have enjoyed this snapshot of the purple tomatillo.
One of the real pleasures of gardening is the ability to eat fresh, organic fruit and vegetables lovingly grown with your own hands. Do something different this year and try some tomatillos!
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One of the real advantages of growing a selection of fruit and vegetables in your garden is the chance to eat real organic food without the associated price tag.
Peppers are always a popular choice.
When it comes to hot peppers, this excellent guide breaks down some of the huge number of different types of peppers. They are rated in Scoville units according to how hot they are.
Source: Leaf TV
Banana peppers are long and thin fruits. Their skin is waxy and they don’t have too many seeds.
Like with peppers in general, when it comes to banana peppers there are many different varieties. The most common type grown at home, though, are the sweet banana peppers.
As a rule of thumb, you’d be able to harvest your banana peppers perhaps 70 days from transplant.
If you opt for the hot version, you will need a little longer so be patient!
Think about how you will use your peppers in the kitchen and choose the degree of kick accordingly.
If you want to grow your peppers outside, start the seeds going indoors 40 days before your intended planting.
To sow, dust some peat pots lightly with soil and pop the seeds under a light.
When it’s about time to transplant your nascent seedlings, make absolutely certain all threats of frost have gone for the year. Banana peppers are intolerant to frosty conditions.
Wait until the soil is around 16 degrees and conditions are perfect.
Choose a spot with nicely-drained soil and a solid 8 hours a day of sunlight and you should have some succulent peppers a couple of months later.
If you are looking for a fuss-free crop for your fruit and vegetable garden, banana peppers are definitely pretty low maintenance.
There are, though, a few simple pointers to bear in mind so you can maximize your yield and also the quality of your peppers.
One of the many positives of growing your own produce is the ability to experiment and to get things exactly to your liking.
When the fruit has set, use some garden fertilizer. Peppers grow without too much difficulty but it always pays to give nature a helping hand with a great 12-12-12 mix.
Keep your soil reasonably damp.
Pull out any weeds you notice on an ongoing basis. Standard stuff.
Banana peppers can be menaced by a few commonplace insects:
A garden soap spray is your best plan of attack against flying pests.
Fitting new plants with a cardboard collar is one tactic you can employ to stave off cutworms and dissuade them from feasting on your peppers before you can!
If you prepare your soil properly before planting, keep overhead watering to a minimum and buy seeds certified disease-free then you should eliminate most of these problems before they occur.
There’s no doubt that fresh fruit and veg are tastier and more nutritious so, as far as possible, eat your peppers as close to the time of harvest as possible.
If you want to pop them in the fridge, they should last for a couple of weeks and still deliver a nice punch.
Freezing in Ziploc bags will keep your peppers for six months or so if you want to make sure you’ve got some laid in for emergencies.
Another popular approach is to pickle your peppers. This is particularly effective with the hotter type.
Usually, it’s time to pick your banana peppers about 70 or 75 days from germination.
Use this as a general guide for the stage at which your peppers should be mature. Soil and climate can both play a part in affecting the rate of maturity.
There are differences when it comes to the best time to pick sweet and hot peppers so we’ll look now at some specifics about each type in turn…
Source: The Salad Spot
You can use size as a loose indicator of maturity with sweet banana peppers. When they hit 4 to 6 inches, they are normally good to go. Growing medium and other conditions can influence this but it’s a useful guideline.
When they are in this size range and a nice, deep yellow in color, you make the choice…
Pick them and pop them in a salad or a sandwich. Enjoy them now.
Leave them to mature a little longer. As they continue to ripen, they will start turning red while becoming ever sweeter. Banana peppers are very flexible.
When you are ready to pick them, make sure that the morning dew is long gone.
You don’t need to go crazy with the garden tools. Some scissors or shears will be perfectly fine. Just snip away and leave roughly 1/4 inch of the stem attached to the pepper fruit.
Hot banana peppers tend to be slightly more substantial. Their average size for hitting maturity is 6 inches.
Like with the sweeter variety, yellow skin points to the fruit being ripe for picking. If you want to leave them beyond this point, that’s fine.
For hot peppers on the milder end of the scale, pick them when the skin turns yellow.
If you want some banana peppers with a real bite, wait for them to become red.
Use a combination of these timescales and sizes along with your own taste preference. There are no hard and fast rules.
With the hot banana pepper, you can just use your hands and pull them from the plants. Make sure you support the plant sufficiently while you prise away the fruit.
These peppers can be used in a wide range of ways in the kitchen to enhance many meals.
Here are some ideas if you’re stuck…
You can give yourself a taste sensation alongside a nice shot of vitamins A and C.
With banana peppers, you can brighten up your recipes, tease your tastebuds and stay healthy into the bargain.
We hope you have found this look at when to pick banana peppers informative.
If you look here, we have plenty of general recipe ideas so you can put to good use the delicious fruit and veg you are growing in your garden.
As always, please drop us a line if you have any queries or feedback. We’re always delighted to hear from our readers.
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Now be careful those peppers are not too hot!
When you think of warm summer days and eating out in your garden, strawberries are perhaps one of the first fruits that spring to mind.
If you have always wanted to grow this juicy, succulent fruit, you’ve come to the right place.
With this complete guide on how to grow strawberries, you can arm yourself with enough knowledge to have a bountiful supply of bright red berries throughout the growing season.
For anyone already growing strawberries, there’s still plenty of valuable information about all aspects of this superfruit from planting through to harvest and storage.
We’ll also present 10 best strawberry recipes for you so that you can put all your hard work to good use in the kitchen!
Here’s a quick snapshot of what we’ll cover in this guide:
Strawberries are well known as a super fruit dripping with health benefits.
We will look here at some of the many ways in which these tasty berries can help your body in more ways than simply tasting delicious.
In no particular order, strawberries can…
We’ll take a quick glance now at their general nutritional value in a little more detail.
Source: Organic Facts
One of the key selling points of strawberries in terms of health is how rich they are in antioxidants. In a study of American foods, strawberries ranked 27 out of 50 foods in terms of antioxidant properties. When this was reduced to fruits only, strawberries came in at number 4.
The antioxidants mean that this fruit, if consumed frequently, will give your immune system a helping hand, take the sting out of signs of aging and can also help to stave off the onset of some types of cancer.
Strawberries are also stuffed with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients crucial for overall health. What, exactly do they contain?
Strawberries are packed with fiber and folate while containing no fats. With elevated levels of antioxidants and vitamin C, they help to very efficiently reduce cholesterol in your vessels and arteries.
There’s also some vitamin B present and this will invigorate your cardiac muscles promoting better heart function.
If you want a heart-pack second to none, don’t stint on the strawberries!
Memory and motor control progressively worsen as you age. This aging, whether natural or premature, is caused largely by free radicals. The activity of these free radicals causes the brain to degenerate and the nerves to weaken.
Source: Miracle Water
The vitamin C in strawberries helps to neutralize the effect of these dangerous agents. The iodine and potassium they contain also improves cognitive function and blood flow to the brain. Concentration and recall can benefit, too.
Strawberries are thought of as brain food for good reason!
Once again, it’s vitamin C which goes some way to strengthening your body’s immune system.
This precious vitamin also stimulates the way white blood cells work. These cells protect you against toxins or foreign bodies.
Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant. The body produces free radicals which can be a factor in many serious health issues from heart disease through to some types of cancer. With over 150% of your vitamin C RDA in a single serving, give your immune system a treat as well as your taste buds.
Sodium and other elements can cause high blood pressure. The potassium and magnesium content of strawberries mean they work brilliantly to lower your BP.
Say goodbye to hypertension and ease blood flow with a healthy portion of strawberries on a regular basis.
Strawberries are bursting with flavonoids. These flavonoids include vitamin C, kaempferol, quercetin, folate and anthocyanins.
These have significant anticarcinogenic properties and team up to stave off certain cancers and tumors.
Take some strawberries on board each day and slash the chance of lethal cancer cells from metastasizing.
If you suffer from diabetes, you’ll want to eat a low glycemic diet. Strawberries score below 40 on the glycemic index (GI) meaning that, unlike many fruits, you’re safe eating these.
Low in carbs and assisting with keeping your blood sugar levels in check, this super fruit also has fructose which needs no insulin in order to be metabolized.
Strawberries also soothe the stomach, help with both arthritis and gout, ward off aging and protect your eyes.
When it comes to choosing the best strawberries to add to your garden, it can seem a bewildering state of affairs.
Source: Japanese Info
You have a vast range of different varieties at your disposal but first it pays to double down on the 3 main types of strawberry.
We will look at these cultivars or types and draw your attention to the best varieties in each category.
After that, we’ll explore some other notable varieties and some key points to consider when choosing the best strawberries for your needs.
In the world of strawberries, day neutral are a fairly new entry first developed in the 1960s.
When it comes to setting flower buds, this type of strawberry is not dependent on the length of the day. By contrast, everbearing strawberries demand long days to kickstart buds while June bearing need short days.
Day neutrals will yield fruit throughout the full growing season weather conditions permitting. This equates to temperatures below 90F.
There are 3 peak periods of fruiting with day neutrals. These normally fall in June, the middle of July and then late August meaning your crop can be spread out perfectly.
The name of this type of strawberry is misleading. You will certainly not get a substantial crop for the duration of the growing season with everbearing fruit.
More realistically, you’ll get 2 or 3 harvests in spring/early summer then towards the end of summer/beginning of fall.
If the conditions are in your favor, you might also manage a small dribble of fruit in between these times.
With this cultivar, you will only get one harvest each year but it should be a bumper one!
Source: Foodies Channel
Again, the name can be deceptive. The plants might produce at different times depending on where in the world you are.
These types of strawberries are sometimes known as short day strawberries. They need shorter days so that the flower buds will start developing in time for cropping the following spring.
Here are some other superb varieties that you might want to think about.
There are a few essential factors to think about if you want to get the best strawberries for your personal requirements…
Source: The Big Strawberry
If you are looking for big berries then June bearing plants are probably your best bet.
Opt for day neutral or everbearing if size is not your overriding concern.
When it comes to flavor, you are advised to think about the variety rather than type.
June bearing strawberries are generally the most vigorous. They kick out lots of runners which can take root as new plants if not removed.
If you have limited space, give these a swerve.
Day neutral and everbearing varieties are only likely to offer extended production in temperatures less than 90F.
Unless you have mild summers, reduce your expectations with these varieties.
The most productive strawberries are June bearing plants.
Think about the above points and make sure you get the type and variety of strawberry that suits your own personal taste.
You don’t need to choose just one!
Once you have decided upon the best type and variety of strawberries, it’s time to get to work in the garden and plant them.
You don’t need much by the way of expensive garden tools but you do need to know what you’re doing so take the time to inform yourself and read on…
Before we outline what to do, a couple of quick videos that we highly recommend you check out.
For those of you who prefer to learn by watching rather than reading, finding the best videos can be an overwhelming task.
This video is a very short and sweet guide to planting.
It’s always good to have a couple of takes on a subject so this video approaches the same subject of planting strawberries and is also only a couple of minutes long.
Determining the best time to plant strawberries is pretty straightforward.
If you plant them any time from late spring to the beginning of summer, they will bear fruit about two months after planting.
Don’t be concerned at the appearance of the runners. They resemble small roots with very few leaves. This is normal.
First, a step-by-step summary of general planting…
1. Look for somewhere that’s warm with plenty of sun. Strawberries thrive on direct sunlight and they don’t need shade. A little wind is fine but they should always be sheltered from the prevailing wind
Source: Dr Max Lingo
2. Make sure you turn the soil over thoroughly. Eliminate all weeds. Add plenty of compost
Source: Sustainable NoVA
3. Take the plant out of the container. After soaking the root ball for a couple of hours, you’re good to go
4. Dig a hole in your soil and pop the strawberry plant in. Keep the crown of the plant up above the soil line
Source: Strawberry Plants
5. Press the soil all around the base of your plant
Source: Tui Garden
6. Repeat as necessary
Planting can take so many forms that you are best to watch plenty of videos, think about how you want to go about it, be that soil or containers, and take it from there.
There are a huge number of systems used across the world for raising strawberries commercially. The two most popular are:
Each of these systems needs different cultivation techniques and garden tools as well as different planting densities.
Source: Strawberry Plants
With matted row production, the mother and daughter are allowed to grow side by side.
Plants are then trained so that they grow in narrow rows.
Set your plants between 15 and 25 inches apart. The rows should be 36 to 42 inches apart. Runners will fill in the space between plants until a 14 to 18 inch row is created.
The production cycle is two years. Spacing is not so dense as with the hill system. With the matted row system, you should have around 40,000 plants per hectare.
This method is not as intensive and produces lower yields than the hill system but it’s also cheaper and very widely used, especially in cooler climates.
Source: Strawberry Plants
With the hill system – also known as plasticulture – the crowns are used to produce fruit. Runners are removed so that the plant will focus purely on production.
Plants are transplanted and placed in raised beds then covered with plastic. Raised bed production improves soil drainage.
Using this system, the plants are 10 to 18 inches apart. A runner is allowed to start a new plant between the two mothers. This will keep the plants 8 inches apart.
They are planted quite densely – anywhere from 50,000 to 75,000 plants per hectare – which leads to predictably high yields.
Having got your strawberries up and running, taking care of them well is essential.
Fertilizing your strawberries correctly can mean the difference between a mediocre harvest and a really bountiful one.
It’s a smart move to ascertain that the soil where you will plant your strawberries will get adequate sun and that it will drain nicely.
Fertilize this year before planting.
Source: My Little Garden In Japan
Use 1 pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer for every 100 square feet of space. This should contain equal parts potassium, phosphorous and nitrogen. Work it 5 to 8 inches into your soil.
If you provide a rich and fertile environment for your strawberry plants right from the get-go, they’ll have all the nutrients they could hope for from the moment they touch the soil.
Any time during the first year your strawberries look green or show signs of weakening, pop 1.5 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer for every 100 square feet alongside the plants.
In late August, add the same amount of ammonium nitrate fertilizer. Again, set this against the plants.
You should use a hose to spray your fertilizer. By concentrating on the soil, the roots will absorb it effectively.
You will generally get three years growing strawberries in the same spot. After this, leaf diseases tend to occur.
In the lead-up to the second and third growing seasons, take off the foliage and use this as a natural fertilizer by mixing it into the soil.
A pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer for each 100 square feet should follow.
When you move to a new location, repeat the above cycle.
Commercial fertilizers work well with strawberry plants.
You can also use organic alternatives.
Bonemeal is an excellent slow-release phosphorous fertilizer tailor-made for strawberries. Steam it first for best results.
Source: Patio of Pots
Dried blood will deliver an immediate jolt of nitrogen.
Crushed eggshells can be introduced as a way of deterring slugs and snails while also releasing valuable calcium.
Source: Love To Know
Water your strawberries regularly but with a light touch. You can increase the frequency when the weather gets particularly hot and dry.
When you water, focus on the base of your plants rather than the leaves and fruits. This will help to prevent disease. Drip lines, direct-point watering or drip tape all safeguard against splashing the leaves and fruits.
The best time to water is in the morning so all the surface water will be gone by the evening.
Strawberries have quite shallow root systems meaning they do not flourish if there are weeds around. Take action and get rid of these as soon as possible.
For more information on How to kill chickweed in your garden, please check my friend's article here.
pH measurements indicate acidity and alkalinity. 7 is neutral while smaller numbers indicate acidity.
Strawberries need soil of between 5.5 and 6.5 pH.
Source: Ultimate Finish
You can easily check your soil using cheap soil testing kits.
If you find that your soil is too alkaline, this can be easily acidified by adding sulfur, ammonium sulfate or ferrous sulfate six months before the planting season.
Gardening is not an exact science but there are always common mistakes that can be quite easily avoided.
We will investigate now some of the most frequent slip-ups with strawberries that can be easily prevented.
When you are considering where to plant your strawberries, make sure to avoid soil where certain other crops have previously been planted.
Enemies of strawberries include:
The above crops can actually foster soil pathogens. These can adversely affect the new crop so tread with caution.
It pays to get things right straight off the bat and, having sidestepped choosing the wrong location, it’s key that you take sensible steps when planting.
If you study the base of the plant, you’ll see a swollen area with the roots and leaves. This is called the crown.
Source: Whole Lifestyle Nutrition
When you plant, the center of the crown should be at the level of the soil. This will mean that half of the crown is up above the soil and the other half below. The roots should be nicely spread out, the upper roots under the surface of the soil.
Once you have done this, be sure to recheck when you have watered and the soil has settled.
Plant too deep and the crown is liable to rot. Make it too shallow and the roots will dry up, wither and die.
It can be tempting to go over the top when watering but with strawberries this will be counterproductive, even damaging.
If you are heavy-handed with the water then the crown and root are likely to rot. This is made even worse if the crown is too deep – see the warning above – or you suffer from poor drainage in your garden.
Less is more. Aim for reasonably moist rather than wet soil.
When it comes to strawberries, don’t cut corners and try using starts from old plants. There’s every chance that they could have become infected with viruses.
The bad news is that you can’t detect this by eye. You’ll only find out when the fruit production fails to deliver.
Buy new plants and make absolutely sure that they are certified as virus free. It would be a shame to waste all your time and effort just to save a few cents.
Once you are up and running, it pays to remain very vigilant with your strawberries.
Sadly, these plants are prone to being threatened by a diverse range of pests and diseases.
We will summarize some of the main bugbears.
From eating bugs, leaves and seedlings through to the fruit and vegetables, birds can be a menace for strawberry plants.
Pigeons are a particular nuisance.
You can use fleece or netting to stave off intruding birds to some extent.
Regular measures such as scarecrows and other devices designed to scare birds can sometimes work for a while but they become less effective quite quickly.
Horticultural-grade fleece or mesh is by far your best option.
Source: Garden Web
Strawberry plants are at risk from several nematodes…
Subterranean caterpillars can attack your strawberry plants.
Source: Backyard Nature
Year round pests varying in size, they attack young plants under the surface feasting on their roots.
At night, they will prey on the parts of the plant above the ground.
You should be able to easily see them and remove them. Be vigilant.
The strawberry mite can suck the leaves of strawberry plants.
You’d need a magnifying glass to see them and they resemble tiny drops of water.
These mites cause the leaves to shrink and the growing point becomes a dull blue.
The short and stubby stems produced will not properly develop.
The two-spotted spider mite is the usual culprit when the leaves of your plant have yellow patches on the top.
Source: Ontario Ministry of Agriculture
If you spot a whitish deposit a little like talcum powder on the surface of your leaves, this is probably powdery mildew.
An attack of this will cause the leaves to stop growing properly then shrivel away.
If you have sown your strawberries densely and notice some of the seedlings collapsing, it could be grey mold that’s to blame.
Damaged plants are normally affected but it can sometimes also afflict healthy strawberries.
Look out for a grey mold on the buds or leaves, fruit or flowers.
If you don’t take action, your plants might die.
The adult weevil will eat away at the edges of leaves while the larvae feast on the roots.
An attack of weevils can kill a plant outright.
If you notice brown and purple spots on the leaves, this could be a sign of fungal leaf spot.
Check for accompanying yellow rings.
Monitor for any spreading of discoloration.
If your plants become wounded, they are at risk of being penetrated by this fungus.
The root neck will go a red-brown color.
Within a very short period, this can spread and kill the strawberry plant.
Wilt disease is also known as verticillium albo-atrum.
This is a vascular disease.
Fungi enter through the roots or the stolons.
Discolored leaves will go a dull kind of greenish-yellow.
Stunted growth can lead to small, dry fruits.
We will now move on towards the best way to harvest strawberries and also how to store them for best results.
When all the hard work has been done and it’s time for harvest, there’s some good news…
Harvesting your crop of strawberries couldn’t be easier!
Source: How To Grow Foods
Strawberries are super-soft and delicate so you need to take care when storing them.
Don’t wash them in advance of using them. Strawberries absorb moisture and they will spoil more quickly if washed.
Leaving the stems intact will help to prolong the shelf life of your strawberries.
They say that one rotten apple spoils the whole barrel. The same is true with strawberries. Remove any perished fruit immediately or it might damage the others.
If you plan to eat your bounty on the same day, simply keep them on the counter at room temperature.
For strawberries you want to eat over the following days, try the crisper drawer of your fridge. This will regulate humidity and keep your berries from drying out. Stash them in a half-closed plastic container. Paper towels are a great way to mop up surplus moisture. With this method of storage, they’ll last up to a week.
Freezing strawberries is also possible so you can enjoy a supply year-round. Take off the stems then freeze on some baking parchment until solid. Use a Ziploc bag or airtight container for best results.
Here’s a handy video to give you some pointers on storing your strawberries.
Source: PBS Org
Once you have your strawberries in full flow, you’ll want to renovate them by renewing or simply maintaining the beds.
Maintenance kicks in directly after the final strawberry harvest.
Source: Soil Test
Check your soil when harvest is over following the guidelines set out above.
Once harvest is over, cut back all your plants to 2 inches in height.
Make sure you get rid of any weeds before renovation.
For both methods, rake away all leaves and compost them if the strawberries are free from disease.
Source: Gardening Know How
Pick your fertilizer according to the soil test you conducted.
After applying the fertilizer, check all the leaves and brush off any excess on the surface.
Water in nicely.
Have you been using organic matter as mulch? If so, turn it back into the soil or pop it on your compost pile. Take care not to damage any shallow roots.
Rotating your crops regularly is good gardening practice.
As outlined above, strawberries are particularly susceptible to Wilt’s Disease. Frequent rotation is one way to guard against this.
Follow these simple pointers and maintaining your strawberries need not cause you a headache.
Now that you have done all the hard work, it’s time to reap the rewards.
We present for you here 10 imaginative recipes with strawberries.
We will round out our best guide to strawberries with a look at 4 different ways to do it yourself with this awesome summer fruit.
This incredible vertical strawberry garden will raise your strawberries nicely keeping them safe from pests and excess water.
You can also check out 6 other innovative ways to grow a stack of strawberries and create a powerful decorative piece for your garden at the same time.
If you grow strawberries in a tower, why not try using coconut coir as your growing medium?
Unlike soil, coir contains no pathogens. Coir has helpful fungi rather than potentially harmful ones.
Rich in trichoderma and lignin, coir helps you get the right balance of bacteria.
Coir retains water well and has a superb draining capacity. You’ll need to water your strawberries less often.
Why not give some coconut coir a shot?
Well, we hope you have enjoyed this walkthrough guide to the best strawberries.
Please bookmark this page for future reference. Our aim is to give you all you need to know about strawberries in one handy guide.
Whether you want to grow strawberries using a grow tent and digital ballast or out in your garden, you should have everything you need to know right here. Bookmark this page and come back to it for future reference.
Get in touch if you have any feedback and please feel free to share this article on your social media.
Now go and get yourself some strawberry ice cream and relax!
Read more article for growing houseplants
Today, we have access to so much information online. Never before, though, has it been so important to check multiple sources and separate fact from fiction, to weed out the wheat from the chaff.
Have you ever heard someone claim that peppers come in male and female forms? Google it and the second result on page 1 states quite clearly that this is the case…
But it isn’t!
If you grow your own fruit and vegetables, chances are you’ll have some peppers somewhere in your organic crop.
One of the first mistakes people make with peppers is to believe that they are vegetables when they are actually fruits. Much like a tomato, we do not naturally associate them with the more commonplace fruits but that’s exactly what they are.
A further theory often put forward is that peppers can be separated by gender. Like many theories, just because it is often repeated does not mean it’s true.
The story goes that the number of lobes on the pepper determines the sex. The theorists claim that 3 lobes signals a male pepper while peppers with 4 are female.
To take it further, the suggestion is that male peppers are better to cook with while the females, sweeter and filled with more seeds, are preferable eaten raw.
Sounds pretty plausible, right?
There is certainly no relationship between the number of lobes and the gender of peppers. Bell peppers can have anywhere from 2 to 5 lobes whereas the urban myth says that they can have only 3 or 4.
Rather than pointing to gender, the number of lobes actually indicates the type of bell pepper. The US is obviously a huge market and the peppers with 4 lobes are for various reasons the most popular in America. For this reason, many more of these have been bred.
Peppers are members of the nightshade family. All members of this family have both stamens and carpels. This means that their reproductive systems are both male and female. The flowers they create are therefore unisex or hermaphroditic.
Peppers are genderless rather than identifiable as male or female. This is not true of many plants which have both male and female flowers, whether they grow on the same plant or separately.
The sweetness or sourness of a pepper has nothing whatsoever to do with the number of lobes.
4 key factors influence this and it’s not due to the quantity of lobes or gender…
Properly aged bell peppers are always going to be sweeter regardless of the lobe count.
This part of the story holds some water.
Seeds need plenty of space in which to grow. Peppers with more lobes have more cavity space and therefore often – but not always – this variety of pepper has more bountiful seeds.
The white tissue and seeds can be contained within one chamber or several different chambers. Again, the number of chambers does not always guarantee more seeds but there is certainly more chance of an increased number with this 4-lobe pepper.
They say the best lies have more than a grain of truth in them.
The same is the case with urban legends. When you examine the evidence, it’s easy to see why people are tricked into believing this myth.
Experts have weighed in and poured scorn on this Pinterest and Facebook-fuelled rumour…
David Karp (UC Riverside) is a renowned pomologist – someone who studies fruits – and he gave his opinion on this issue back in 2013. You can read here his assertion that peppers are without gender.
The lesson to be learned is to always check your sources and not to believe everything you read, especially when it’s information found online.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions. Also, if you have any other topics you’d like us to investigate, feel free to send us your ideas as we are here to give you exactly what you want.
When it comes to tomatoes, it could be argued that the beefmaster tomato is king of the garden.
Think about the enormous juicy specimens that win prizes at fruit and veg contests… chances are that the succulent red behemoth
Chances are that the succulent red behemoth claiming first spot is a beefmaster.
While these impressive tomatoes can easily grow to weights of 1 – 1.5 pounds, it’s not just in terms of size that they stand out. They also very heavy-bearing. This means maximum yields over the course of a long growing season on indeterminate vines.
You’ll want to pick the best type of beefmaster for the climate in your area.
If you have a shorter growing season like in the northern states, opt for early harvest tomatoes. This will guarantee you the optimum harvest. These early season beefmasters will ripen very rapidly. They should be in great shape for picking just 4 months after sowing the seeds.
In zones with hot, sticky climates like the southern states, look for strains that are very tolerant to heat. It’s also a smart move to stick to varieties which can resist blossom-drop.
Regardless of the weather, you’ll need to provide your tomatoes with a good 6 hours of sunlight each day for best results.
What you need to think about is whether you will harvest the whole crop in one go or piecemeal over the course of the growing season.
A couple of months before the final frost is due, start your tomatoes indoors.
You can get plenty of seed starter kits to help you.
Aim for a temperature of around 75 degrees. If your room is cooler, use a heat mat to counteract this. 14 hours of light a day will promote accelerated growth. Fluorescent lights are best but a window with natural light will suffice.
Pests and disease will lead to holes and spots blighting your leaves.
For nematodes, use chemicals to drive them away.
Cutworm shields work wonders at keeping cutworms at bay.
Hornworms are perhaps the most common threat to tomatoes. The good news is that you can simply pick them off by hand.
If you are looking for a wonderful variety of beefsteak tomato that will result in truly striking specimens, why not roll out some beefeater tomatoes this year?
If you have any questions at all, just give us a shout and we’ll be delighted to help.
Enjoy your enormous bounty of beefmasters and happy planting!
The guamuchile (Phithecellobium Dulce) fruit comes from the guamuchil tree of the Bean Family.
The tree originated from Mexico. It is also native to Central and South America.
Guamuchiles grow from 16 feet to 49 feet (4.87m to 14.92m) tall.
There is actually much controversy regarding the real name of this unusual tree.
Early Spanish traders brought guamuchile fruit to the Philippines where the locals came to call it the Camachile.
This introduced species was first thought to have Indian heritage. This is because at the beginning of the 18th century, some European explorers incorrectly recorded it as a product from Madras, India. Here the guamuchile was named the Madras Thorn so the confusion is understandable.
Later, though, evidence was uncovered to suggest that the Spanish invaders brought the fruit to the Americas in 1650 and introduced it there as the Manila Tamarind giving recognition to the Philippines’ capital where they exported the fruit from. The guamuchile bears a striking similarity to tamarind fruits.
Thus, that is how the fruit has become more commonly known now as the Manila Tamarind and not by its original guamuchile name.
Guamuchiles grow extremely abundantly in the Philippines. It is only in the Philippines that the guamuchile is grown for its fruit. Fruit bearing time falls between February and May.
From the Philippines, guamuchiles were then exported to Africa, the Middle East and neighboring Southeast Asian countries. It is known throughout as the Manila Tamarind except in China where it is renamed Niu ti Dou. In Thailand it is called referred to as Foreigner Tamarind.
Compared to the usual tamarind fruit which are sour in taste, the guamuchile/Manila Tamarind is sweet. Its color varies from green to pink bean pods whereas the tamarind fruit is often brown in color. Its seed cannot be eaten.
The guamuchile is considered ripe when the skin turns pink and pops open on its own.
Inside it contains a white, pulpy, soft stuff called aril which is the main fruit itself. The fruit becomes even sweeter as it matures. It can also be converted into a delicious beverage.
Studies show that guamuchile contains a lot of properties beneficial to people’s health.
Here are some of the health benefits this tree offers…
The flowers of the guamuchile tree are said to possess anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and antibacterial properties effective for curing fever, general pain, burns, swelling and infections.
Extract from its leaves contains anti-oxidants that help cleanse the body from all toxins ingested from food. This ingredient is also used as anti-ulcer agents due to its free radical activities. It has antimicrobial properties due to the alcoholic content that can be extracted from it. Leaf extracts are also said to have anti-diabetic effects. There are studies that attribute the alcohol and hexane extracts to the cure of tuberculosis.
The leaves’ juices are also a very effective astringent. These are also used as abortifacient (abortion drug). The ethanol extracted from the leaves has antidepressant, skeletal and muscle relaxant properties.
Extracts from the guamuchile bark are a very good cure for constipation, eye inflammation and dysentery. It is also used as an astringent and anti-hemorrhagic agent (stops any bleeding).
Guamuchile fruits contain both anti-diabetic and anti-ulcer properties.
In general, guamuchile is something of a miracle tree. There are newer studies linking this tree to the inhibition of cancer cells, particularly prostate and colon cancers.
It is very beneficial in regulating oxygen flow to the brain and reduces the chance of brain strokes.
There are also reports of treating venereal diseases by using this as a cure.
The fruit is rich in vitamin B complex which aids in combating stress and increases appetite. It also has plenty of vitamin C which help strengthens the immune system.
Guamuchile can grow in any tropical places because it is resistance to drought. It spreads rapidly and mainly through the help of the birds that feed on it by dropping the seeds while chewing on its fruits.
Because it survives in dry lands, most of it can be grown just along the roadside. It does not need daily watering or maintenance to flourish.
As with other natural medicinal cures, it is best to consult your doctors first before using guamuchile as an intended cure for anything.
It does not possess any harmful effects but it is better avoided by pregnant women as it contains an abortifacient which can cause miscarriage.
It does not possess any allergens so it is therefore a relatively safe fruit.