Trees & Shrubs
Fruits, Vegetables & Herbs
Blog by: Sabine Ehlers, CMG
Source: Friends of UT Gardens Organization
Perennials, Annuals & Bulbs
Hopefully, your composting efforts went well last year and you have a nice supply of finished (or nearly finished) compost for your 2013 garden. Here's a little quiz to get you thinking about that good 'ole black gold... compost!
Select your answer to the question below, and we'll reveal the correct choice next week.
Thanks to everyone that voted... you can feel good knowing that many of your ancestors may have practiced the art of composting; as it is believed that mankind has used compost for over 4,000 years.
blog entry and photo by Mark Murphy, CMG
For those of you who (like me) are having a serious case of cabin fever and can't wait until the growing season starts back up, why not start early this year and try some cool-season vegetables? Cool-season vegetables require cool soil and air temperatures to germinate and grow well, which means you don't have to wait for our last frost date of April 15 to come around to start planting.
Here we are in early January, and the weather has been quite cold and dreary. But, the seed catalogs are rolling in and it’s a great time to be making your garden plans for the coming Spring and Summer seasons. I thought I would share some sunflower photos to remind you of the warm (or hot) days to come.
I like to grow some Sunflowers every year, and I always try a new variety or two, because they are available in an interesting array of sizes and colors. You can enjoy the beautiful flowers
throughout the summer – along with the bees! – and when the plants start to fade, they make good biomass for your compost pile. Also, by selecting the appropriate varieties, you can harvest the seeds for snacking, or for making bird feed.
Here are a few interesting facts about Sunflower:
* Sunflower is one of the few crops that originated in the US (most likely in the Southwest).
* Archaeological evidence indicates that Native Americans grew sunflower in Tennessee 4,000+ years ago.
* Following the “discovery” of the Americas, sunflower spread to other parts of the world, with Europe and Russia becoming major producers.
* In 2008, over 2 million acres were devoted to agricultural harvesting of sunflower in the USA.
* The majority of sunflower is grown for vegetable oil production, primarily for human consumption. A small portion is used for birdseed, and even less whole seed is used for human snacking.
* Vegetable oil made from sunflower seeds is lower in saturated fats than most vegetable oils.
* Sunflower seeds provide almost 8% of the world’s vegetable oil production.
* Each sunflower head is actually 1,000 to 2,000 individual flowers joined to a common receptacle.
* If you’re lost, use an “established” Sunflower to determine direction… they always face East! Developing sunflower heads will turn with or “track” the sun, and sunflower heads with maturing seeds will usually be leaning Eastward, but turned downward to the ground.
I collected the above information from University of Tennessee publication SP721, Sunflower: An Alternative Crop for Tennessee Producers. Though primarily written for the commercial grower, it’s definitely a worthwhile read for gardeners wanting to know more about sunflower.
blog entry and photos by Mark Murphy, CMG
The shapes and textures on the back of sunflowers can be as interesting as the front side...
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