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Garlic in the Home Garden Removing Scapes

Man 1: Hi. My name is Dave Fuller with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Today we’re going to talk about garlic in home garden and a little bit about removing the scape. And why garlic is so important to home gardeners is the value of the crop. Retail prices for garlic range from $12 to $20 a pound depending on the type and the size. So you can see it has quite a bit of economic importance and possibility for the State of Maine. We’re back in the garlic patch that we planted last October. Things are looking pretty good. We’ve kept the weeds down. The mulch has helped.

Out a lot with that. We did a little bit of side dressing with soybean meal to give it some nitrogen to grow a nice, big top. Then the next stage that we’re looking at is whether or not to remove the scape. But before we talk about that let’s talk about the two basic types of garlic. There’s a soft neck and a hard neck. The soft neck doesn’t produce a flower scape and the hard neck does. Remember that garlic is not grown from seed but it’s from vegetative propagation. So we plant a clove and get a bulb. With hard neck we plant a clove, get a bulb, and then we get this thing called a scape which is a flower stalk, just fairly immature at this point. It’s only about half grown. There’s always.

A lot of debate with gardeners and farmers, do we remove this flower stalk or not? The idea is that if we remove it then the bulb will be larger and with garlic selling from $12 to $20 a pound it makes sense to have a larger bulb. In fact, we at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension have been doing research on the effects of scape removal. Early research, we’re only year one into it, has shown that the bulbs are from 17 to 48 percent larger if you do remove the scape. And the storage ability isn’t really any different if you’ve removed it or not too. So we’re looking here at the German Extra Hardy garlic which is a stiff neck variety. It grows a scape. A scape, again, is a flower.

Stalk that comes up, basically comes out of the center of the plant. And as it keeps growing it curls, it grows taller, it uncurls, and finally is finished off as five to six feet tall. At the very top you have something called an umbel. In that is a bunch of small propegals called bulbils from which you could grow garlic. It takes about three years to grow it, so most people don’t grow it that way. So in removing this this is the umbel and we basically just want to cut it off behind that. You can either cut it or just snap it like that. When it’s picked young like this it’s very tender, it’s good in stir fries. I know people who have made pesto from it.

It can be pickled. And some people use it in decorations when it’s a little bit earlier because of the curlicue. It’s very interesting. Regardless, if you let it grow to its full height, don’t let those bulbils stay in the garden because they’ll act as weeds. There are about 100 to 150 bulbils per head. That’s a whole lot of weeds if you don’t want them growing there. The question is when to harvest the garlic scape. Basically as soon as it comes out of the center of the plant and we can see this bulbil body which is going to be forming. That’s a good time to pick it early on in the stage. We can just snip it like that or you can cut it. At that point this can be.

Used for pesto, stir fries. I know people have pickled it and it makes good pickles. It’s quite tasty. But remember to leave a few scapes on so you can see that full development. It’s a very interesting botanical wonder and I always leave a few in my garden just to watch them, it’s fun. So home gardeners and farmers especially can benefit from growing garlic because of the very strong price that it commands. It makes good sense. If you have any questions you can contact us at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension with questions about growing garlic. .

Gardening in Limited Space Using Container Gardens Part 2

Barbara Murphy, Extension Educator: quot;As we get our potting soil together and water and think about our containers, we also have to think about how we’re going to fertilize the plants. There are a couple of options. One of which is, you can take a standard granular fertilizer, such as tententen, and you can mix it right into the mix as you’re preparing it. The rule of thumb is about one cup of granular tententen to about a bushel’s worth of soil. Just mix it in and you’re ready to get started. quot;How much to put into the container really does depend on how many things you’re going to put in the container. For example, in the container we’re using today, we’re going to.

Put one tomato plant. Tomatoes have huge root systems and grow quite tall. When you fill your container, you want to make certain that it’s relatively close to the rim, but remember you need space to add water and fertilizer, so don’t put the soil right up to the edge. The soil may settle over time and early in the process you can always add a bit more soil. quot;OK, our container’s full of moist, fertilized soil, and now we’re ready to transplant. In this size container, only one tomato will be able to grow. Remember, tomatoes are large and gangly, and we need to choose a determinate tomatoyou want to choose a tomato that will.

Grow to a certain height and then stop. If you don’t know what varieties are determinate or not, ask one of your local nursery people or greenhouse operatorsthey’ll be happy to help you. quot;So, we’re ready to go. Our tomato plant has nice roots formed all the way around the side. We’re just going to put a nice trench hole in there, put our tomato seedling in and firmly plant. Remember, tomato seedlings will form roots all the way up the stem, so you can bury the seedling on the deep end. As this tomato grows, the roots are going to fill out into the container, but the plant’s going to be large. You will need to prepare for.

That and either have a trellis, or some kind of system where the plant can be held upright. quot;Smaller, window box type containers are perfect for herbs. This is a nice setting for three herbsrosemary, parsley and sage. They’ll grow to full size right here and are within easy reach of your kitchen if you hang it right outside your kitchen window. Once you transplant your seedlings, the next critical step is to water them well. Usually, for most home gardeners, there are just two options. You can use your standard watering can. The key is to water thoroughly. You want to make sure that the whole rooting medium is nice and saturated, so pour slowly and evenly. These soilless mixes, if they dry out to bone.

Dry, they’re very difficult to rewet, so you water until the whole soil profile is saturated. On your home deck or your back yard, you will watch for water to actually leak out the bottom of your pots. The other option for larger containers, or for people who have lots of them, is to use your garden hose with a breaker on the end so you get a nice gentle flow that can be adjusted. This way, I can just saturate the soil slowly and gently. You don’t want a full force that will actually wash the soil away from the root ball. Remember, your garden plants don’t have access to the earth, where they can mine for water through acres of ground if need be. During the hot, dry parts of the summer, you.

May have to water your plants multiple times a day, depending on the strength of the sun and the wind. quot;The last step to container gardening that we need to think about, in addition to regular watering, is fertilizing. These soilless mixes have almost no nutrient value. They have a little fertilizer charge to get you started, but on the whole, it’s up to you to fertilize your plants. In our first example, we actually added some granular fertilizer to the mix, so if you do that, your plants will get off to a good start, but you will have fertilize again. So, let’s talk about what you might want to consider. It needs to be a liquidbased.

Fertilizersomething that either comes as a liquid or dissolves in water. Two common types are a synthetic one that is a powder that you’d add a tablespoon or two per gallon, whatever the directions say. The other one is an organic, maybe seaweed or fishbased emulsion. Just remember that, in general, organic fertilizers have less nutrient boost per watering than a synthetic one does. All you need to do is follow the instructions on the container and mix up your watering can full of the mix. quot;There are two ways you can think about fertilizing. Some of us would prefer to fertilize at fullstrength every week or so, and if that’s the case, you’d follow the label, make fullstrength,.

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