Tip: Keep Picking Those Vegetables

Do you know exactly when to pick some of the more popular vegetables? Pick vegetables to keep them producing. Pick green beans when pods are 3 to 4 inches long, but still smooth and smaller around than your little finger. Pick zucchini when it’s less than 5 inches long. Tomatoes are best when left to ripen on the vine, they lose flavor when picked to soon. Cucumbers are meant to be picked before they start turning white on the bottom, remaining all green. Pumpkin last several months when picked after the stem is brown and the pumpkin is mostly orange. If corn cobs feel full through to the top and the silk are dark brown, then grab an ear and snap downwards.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog by clicking on “Subscribe to Master Gardener Girls’ Gardening Blog by Email” . I will keep you up to date with my blogs and occasionally will give you free items like my Free Gardening Journal that you get when you subscribe.

Happy Gardening from the Master Gardener Girl!!

4 Ways to Preserve Sweet Corn – For Eating or Planting

Do you know the ways to preserve corn? Every ear of corn is used in some form or fashion whether for eating or for planting. All the husk and hair goes into compost pile as do the stalks. I say waste not, want not.

Keep newly picked sweet corn fresh by keeping ears cool. Picking early in the morning is the best, but I still pick at night as well. Husk and place the ears in an ice bath, adding 2 drops of liquid bleach per gallon of water, cooling ears to 37F.

The two best ways to preserve corn long term are to freeze or can the corn. In canning corn, simply shuck the corn and shave off the cob with a flat bottom of the cob on the table while running a knife down the cob. Then, follow canning instructions on cooking the corn and then processing in jars.

To freeze corn, you could simply place your corn in freezer bags but they will get a little mushy unless you blanch them first. And yes, I know that from first hand experience. Blanch them in hot boiling water for a few minutes, then cool them off in a cold water bath. After cooling, then cut to desired lengths or leave whole and place them in freezer bags.

If you have grown heirloom corn and some of the cobs really aren’t worth saving or if they have already started the drying process, let them continue drying until separated rows form. After the cobs have dried, give them the indian rub and the kernels will fall off. Put the kernels in a brown paper sack or some type of paper envelope. Label and store in a cool dry place until next season.

I save a ton of money by seed saving my corn. Those of you who plant corn know just exactly how much corn costs. On average, each cob gives about 300 kernels. If you have a small garden, you might only need one cob. I on the other hand need about 20 ears as my corn is planted in 15 rows, 300 feet long.

Check out Organic Home and Gardening, there is a propagation and seed saving eBook that can teach you how to save a great deal of money by not having to buy seeds or plants.

Happy Gardening!! Subscribe to my blog and I will keep you informed with all the good stuff.

5 Ways to Support Pole Beans

Do you know the best way to support your pole beans? Gardeners can use several methods to support their pole beans. Several stakes or bamboo poles leaned together in a teepee style with twine or heavy wire at the top to hold them together is an option.

Another way is to turn tomato cages upside down, or an old stepladder. For a fence type, you can use cattle panels, hog fence, chicken wire or even the cheap plastic fence. Sturdy posts are needed to support the fence. The choice is yours as to what is available to you.

You could also plant your pole beans the Three Sisters way, which is planting pole beans with corn and squash, called “three sisters planting”. The corn provides support for the beans, while the beans provide nitrogen for the corn. At the same time, the squash covers the ground keeping out the weeds. This method is also great for those who use square foot gardening.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog by clicking on “Subscribe to Master Gardener Girls’ Gardening Blog by Email” . I will keep you up to date with my blogs and occasionally will give you free items like my Free Gardening Journal that you get when you subscribe.

Happy Gardening!! Enjoy!!