Garden fruits, Herbs, and Vegetables
There is an old saying that goes “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, from a child I have heard that saying and that saying is still true. From the begging that’s how the creator God design it to be. Fruits, vegetables, and herbs. So let’s go Edens way and make these fruits and greens a part of our diet.
Planting an Apple Tree
The planting site off an apple tree should be in a sunny location with good drainage and proper air circulation, one thing to note is to add organic material to the planting hole such as dry chicken or cow manure or some other organic material. In the north plant in the spring and in the south where autumn and winter months are often rainy it is best to plant as early in autumn as it gives the roots a good head start before the spring season.
The planting hole should be a foot wider and a foot deeper than the root ball. As mention above add dry chicken or cow manure along with some topsoil to the planting hole place tree in the hole making sure that it is erected backfill with subsoil. A good idea also is to place a stake firmly in the ground alongside the tree for support, this stake should remain in the ground alongside the tree for a year or two to ensure that the tree is well established. Form a mound or a catch basin around the base of the tree about a foot wide what this does is directs water into the root zone ensuring that the plant gets adequate water.
Mulch the base of the tree with mulch or another type of organic material what this does is the organic material stores water for plant to use when it is needed, keeps weed from growing, keeps soil temperature cool and as the mulch breaks down it not only adds nutrients to the soil but it adjust soil ph.
Planting an Orange Tree
Oranges are a delightful fruit fill with vitamin C that aids in the fight against the flu and the common cold. The skin of oranges can be used once dried to make tea which is quite pleasant, let the peel sit for about 4 days then take the skin place in a small pot depending on how much orange skin you are using fill the pot about halfway to the top bring to a boil for 10-15 minutes pour into a cup add sugar. This drink is just wonderful.
Look for a sunny location remember to dig the hole a foot or two wide than the root ball, the depth should be that of the same depth when you got the plant from the nursery. Add organic soil with some of the subsoils to place in planting hole mix the soil together. Next, take the tree out of the pot loosen the roots at the base of the plant this will cause the tree to establish much quicker giving the roots freedom to run, place the tree in the hole and add some organic citrus tone about 5 hands full. Place the subsoil that you mix with the organic soil back in the hole firm the soil around the base of the plant keeping the plant erected. As described above, form a catch basin that will direct water into the root zone.
Planting a Banana Tree
Bananas are also a good source of vitamins. This fruit can be added to the different type of foods to bring flavour to our many of our recipes.
Look for a sunny location, dig the hole 16 inches wide and 12 inches deep. Make sure that you have a good water supply and a good drain soil, even through banana trees love adequate moisture they will not tolerate sitting for long periods of time in soils that have poor drainage. Banana trees love organic matter so it is good to add organic matter to the soil. Chicken or cow manure or some other organic material. place the plant in the hole backfill the hole with a mixture of the subsoil and the organic matter. form a basin around the plant to direct the water into the root zone.
Give it sufficient water along with chicken or cow manure and watch as those nice bunch of bananas grow giving you a good harvest.
Planting a Peach Tree
Where would peach pies be without peaches ? or where would peach yogurts one of my favourite be without peaches? Peaches can also be used in fruit salads and other desserts. Peaches have a delightful taste especially when it is chilled. So then the question is how do we grow peaches? These fruits also contain a good source of vitamins.
A sunny location is a must in order for this tree to thrive. Dig the hole two feet wider than that of the root ball and the depth should be the same as the plant was planted when it was in the plant nursery, It would be good at this time to add some compost to the planting hole. Place the plant in the hole backfill the hole with the subsoil make sure that the tree is erected as you firm the soil around it.
Once the tree is planted water it thoroughly, add a light application of fertilizer, keep the fertilizer away from the base of the tree to avoid the trunk from being burn. Remember to form a catch basin. Water the tree frequently allowing the soil to dry out between watering.
Paint the bottom of the first 18 inches of the tree trunk with a white latex paint this helps to protect the tree from being sunburn during the summer or late winter months.
Planting a Plum Tree
The wonders of plums. These small but sweet and delicious fruits can be eaten just as they are or if you want to become adventures you can bake a plum pie or a plum upside-down cake or how about some plum sorbet.Whatever the desert this fruit can work wonders.
The procedures are the same as the above planting. Locate a sunny spot dig a hole two times that of the root ball in width plant the tree at the same depth as it was growing in the plant nursery, after the hole is dug put about half of a shovel of compost into the planting hole.
Place the tree into the hole holding it firm as you backfill with the subsoil it would be good at this time to add more compost as you backfill with the subsoil. Make a catch basin around the base of the tree to direct water into the root zone. Water thoroughly, fertilize with a light application of fertilizer and watch as those juicy plums appear.
Grapes are a favourite of mines. Grapes can be used to make yogurts, sherbets, sodas, raisin is dry grapes, raisin can be used to make raisin bread, raisin cakes, raisin brown cereals and so forth. Raisin plays an important part in our food chain.
Look for a sunny location this will be the area where you will plant your grapevine, plant grapes in soils that are somewhat sandy, add some soil amendments to help condition the soil this will contribute to the overall establishment of your grapevine.
Grapes don’t like wet feet so take caution in the amount of water you put on your grape plant. The soil of grape vines should be somewhat moist. Since grapes are considered to be vines grapes can be grown on fences, trellis, wooden structures and so forth.
So make sure you install the right kind of material to support your grape vines. Prune vines when they are dormant. Pruning at the wrong time of the year can cause vines to lose their sap thereby losing their vigour. Make weeding a regular part of your program by keeping your grape vine as weed free as possible.
Harvesting your grapes at the right time is important. So don’t pick them too early, with a little effort and some patient you will reap the rewards.
Strawberries are loved by many worldwide, these fruits are often included in fruit baskets not only for its taste but because of its nice red colour. Strawberries are used in cereals, fruit salads, cakes and so forth, the flavour of strawberry, however, is used in sodas, ice creams, candies, gums, yogurts and many other delicious treats.
There are 3 types of strawberries first you have June bearing strawberries. These strawberries produce a large amount every year during a 2-3 week period In the spring.
Then you have the everbearing strawberries that produce 2-3 harvest of fruits during the summer, spring, and fall.
And last but not least you have day neutral strawberries. Day-neutral strawberries will grow strawberries through the growing season.
Strawberry loves plenty of sunlight so make sure to look for an area that gets lots of sunlight to plant your strawberry patch. Strawberry loves a good drain soil make sure and add some amendments to the soil, this amendment will condition the soil.
The soil ph should be between 5.8-6.2. When planting strawberries do not plant too deeply because plants will have a hard time establishing. Mulch the planting area after planting, the good thing about mulch is that mulches keep weed down, keeps soil temperature cool, retains water and as mulches break down or decompose, nutrients are added to the soil.
Mulches also help to keep the soil ph balance, the amount of mulch that you spread on the planting area should be 2-3 inches of mulch. When watering your strawberry patch make sure give it a good drink of water.
In cold weather, it is good to mulch over strawberry with straw to prevent the crown from freezer burn. Wait until the temperature drops to about 20 degrees c before mulching.
Caution: Even though you give it a good dose of water, keep in mind not to over water. Fertilize your strawberry patch with a triple 10 fertilizer. 1 pound per 1000 sq. ft. is good.
With all that said let’s get started on that strawberry patch.
Pineapple is one by many of the Islanders. Pineapple is grown in abundance on the island of Eleuthera, also pineapple is used in some of the foods that we prepare like conch salad, pineapple upside down cake, pineapple tart, pineapple daiquiri etc…
In fact, as I write this article I myself have a pineapple plant on my porch. My beautiful wife planted it in a bucket and it is growing pretty nicely.
The next time a friend, family member, co-worker, or neighbour gives you a pineapple or probably you may have purchased one from the supermarket don’t throw the top of the pineapple away that’s the part with the hard leaves you will use to grow your pineapple plant.
Look for an area that gets at least 5-6 hrs of sunlight per day, also make sure that the soil in this area is a good drain soil or sandy soil, pineapple does not like wet feet. Pineapple belongs to the bromeliad family and one thing about bromeliads is that bromeliads are a hardy type plant meaning they can survive on very little water.
You may want to add some organic matter to the soil to help condition the soil. After removing the top part of your pineapple prune some of the leaves from the neck or the stem this will be the part you plant.
Once you have removed a few leaves from this area allow this part of the plant to dry out for about 2-3 days then plant. Only that part where you remove the leaves should be in the soil, firm the soil around the plant to make sure it stays erect.
If you are planting more than one pineapple plant them a foot apart, the goal is to give them room to grow as they reach maturity.
When watering remember pineapple does not like wet feet so a little will do, the soil should be somewhat moist. After a few months of planting, let’s say about 2 months you can begin to fertilize your plant making sure to fertilize around the base of the plant where the fertilizer can get down to the root zone, use a liquid fertilizer, mixed very lightly.
But I would rather use organic fertilizers like chicken or cow manure. The time to harvest pineapples depends on the part of the pineapple that was planted. The top of the pineapple takes about 24 months to fruit or sometimes longer in colder weather, suckers take about 18 months and slips take about. Growing pineapples take patients but the wait is worth it once done properly.
The fruit is ready when the pineapple turns yellow and in some case begin to give off a strong sweet smell.
Let’s get started.
In my opinion, cantaloupe tastes best when chilled and added to fruit salads to give that extra BANG.
When planting cantaloupes wait until the cold weather has passed and the soil has warmed up, make sure and look for a sunny location. Cantaloupes love warm soil, the soil you are planting the cantaloupe seeds should be a good drain soil, add some organic matter to help condition the soil.
When planting the seeds do not plant too deeply, plant seeds about 1/2 inch in the soil. Cantaloupes plants are spaced 2ft. apart with rows 5-6ft. apart. Cantaloupes prefer a soil ph of 6.0-6.5. Cantaloupes can grow near a fence or on a trellis because cantaloupes run like a vine and they are climbers. Make sure and support the fruit on the vine so that the weight of the fruit can be supported as it matures.
Make sure to water them thoroughly, watered on a weekly basis about 1-2 inches of water per week. It is a good idea to use mulch around the plants because mulch helps to keep the soil warm, retains water, keeps weeds down, mulch is organic which means when it breaks down it adds nutrients to the soil.
Time to harvest cantaloupes can be in about 2 months or wait until fruits separate from the stem with ease. If fruit does not separate keep watching until this happens.
So let’s get started on those cantaloupes.
Watermelon is also family to the melon family. Watermelons live up to its name because this fruit contains a lot of water, so if you are feeling a little thirsty and a watermelon is around, dive in, I assure you it will quench your thirst. As a child, I loved watermelons and I still do especially on those long hot summer days.
Location to plant watermelons is in a sunny location because watermelons love full sun, the vines of watermelons are large and take up plenty of space. Watermelons love a good drain soil so make sure that the soil gets proper drainage. Adding compost can help to condition the soil.
Watermelons grow best in a soil off 6.0-6.8. When planting seeds plant seeds half an inch to an inch in the soil and about two to six feet apart. Place 2-4 seeds in each planting hole.
The seeds should germinate in about 7-1o days depending on the soil temperature don’t let the soil dry out water once a day and as the seeds mature thin to the two strongest to gave the strong one’s room to grow.
When plants reach around 4-6 inches mulch around them. Mulches help to keep down weeds, retains water, keeps the soil cool and adds nutrients to the soil as it breaks down. Cut down on watering once flowers appear, water at least 3 times per week.
Make sure water does not get on the leaves and the fruit. In warm weather, watermelons will mature in about four months, in cooler weather, it will take a little longer. To see if your watermelons are ready to harvest, tap it lightly with your fist if it makes a dull sound that means your watermelons are ready to harvest.
Make sure and check the bottom of the watermelon, if it turns white to pale yellow it is ready to harvest. Also look for drying or shrivelling of the stem at the base of the plant these are also signs that the fruits are ready to harvest.
So let’s get started.