Garden Talk: November 17, 2011

From NGA Editors

Easier Tulip Planting

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Traditional advice says to plant tulips bulbs at a depth three times the height of the bulb -- generally about 6 to 8 inches deep. But new research from Cornell University's Flower Bulb Research Program (FBRP) has demonstrated that you can save yourself some work and still enjoy beautiful flowers without digging.

A three-year study by FBRP research director Bill Miller showed that the technique called ″top planting,″ also known as ″drop and cover,″ involved less labor and still resulted in good flowering and rebloom in succeeding years.

The cultivars 'Ad Rem' and 'Negrita' were chosen for the study because they tend to perennialze and bloom well for several seasons after planting. First the planting area was tilled to a depth of 3 to 4 inches with a rotary tiller and bulb fertilizer mixed in. Tulip bulbs were then simply placed on top of the tilled area and covered with 2-4 inches of aged mulch or well rotted compost. Miller notes that it is important to set the bulbs on the prepared soil, not press them into it, to avoid injuring the bulb base. He also cautions against over-mulching, noting that bulbs covered with 6 inches of mulch did not bloom as well by the third year as those covered more shallowly.

″Our work has shown that gardeners can enjoy masses of tulips without the work of digging a hole for each bulb,″ says Miller. ″We have had excellent return of tulips for at least three years with this method. And no digging!″

To read more about this research, go to Flower Bulb Research Program.

Recipes for Health

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Have you fallen into a meal-time rut when it comes to preparing healthful vegetables and fruits? Find inspiration and delicious recipes in the Recipes for Health section on the New York Times website.

From apricots and artichokes to unusual greens and winter squash, you'll find lots of mouth-watering suggestions for including these high-nutrition foods in your diet. Also included are recipes using whole grains like buckwheat, bulgur, and quinoa, as well as fish, tofu, tahini -- even gluten-free pasta.

Enjoy seasonal produce like kale and cabbage in recipes like Provencal Kale and Cabbage Gratin, a delicious main dish casserole that includes rice, Gruyere cheese, garlic, and sage. Or how about taking advantage of abundant butternut squash in soft tacos with sauteed winter squash and chipotles?

The recipes, by noted cookbook author Martha Rose Shulman, include a color photo of each dish, along with nutritional information. There is also general information on the nutritional benefits of each type of food and tips on preparation. Recipes are conveniently searchable by theme, such as budget meals, dinner for one, and do-ahead dishes, as well as categories like entree salads, appetizers, and soups.

To find some tasty and healthful recipes to try, go to: Recipes for Health

The Pick of the Peppers

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Chili peppers are great for adding spice to all sorts of dishes. And one with excellent pepper flavor is the 2012 All-America Awards vegetable winner 'Cayennetta.' This mildly spicy pepper produces high yields of 3 to 4 inch fruits on a compact, well-branched, upright plant that gets about 2 feet tall and requires no staking. A great choice for both garden and container growing, the fruits of 'Cayennetta' start out green and mature to a glossy red.

A unique aspect of this new variety is its good cold tolerance. That, along with its dense foliage that protects fruits from sun scorch and its good performance in extreme heat, makes 'Cayennetta' an excellent choice just about anywhere in the country. Bred by Floranova Ltd, this award winner is ready for harvest 97 days from sowing; 69 days from transplant.

To read more about 'Cayennetta' and other 2012 All-America Selections award winner, go to AAS Winners.

Green Times

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If you are interested in organic and sustainable agriculture, a new, free, on-line publication from Washington State University's College of Agriculture, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences may be just what you're looking for. Green Times is a monthly e-newsletter that will publish current research and profiles of farmers and other regional industry professionals, and serve as a focal point for the rapidly growing regional organic agriculture community.

Although the publication will focus on organic agriculture in the Northwest, its information will often be of interest to a wider audience. WSU has long been a leader in sustainable and organic agriculture education, innovation, and research. The first issue of Green Times focuses on a study by WSU entomologist David Crowder to see if sustainable agriculture can help mitigate the effects of climate change on insect biodiversity and how this relates to the development of biological controls for potato pests.

To sign up to receive the Green Times newsletter, go to Green Times.

 
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