Why Are my Squash Stems Splitting?

Planting squash in your garden can be very exciting especially since they tend to germinate very quickly. I have had zucchini and yellow squash germinate within 4 days! The also produce beautiful large flowers that will attract bee’s to your garden.

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One issue that seems to plague various squash plants is stem-splitting. This is when the stem of the plant seems to dry and crack open, exposing the inside of the stem. Stem splitting can happen very quickly, sometimes within just a 24 hour period. It can be very disheartening to see your stems split and your squash plant slowly dying but before you throw your hands in the air and give up on gardening, lets take a look at why this happens and what can be done to help save the plant.
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Many times the reason why your squash stems are splitting are due to natural causes. Strong gusts of wind can easily put stress on the large hollow stems causing them to split. One way that I combat against this is to mount some soil around the stem until it reaches the leaves. Make sure the the soil covers the split. Also many people use tomato cages for their squash plants. Both methods will help stabilize the plant to combat against stem splitting. By using a tomato cage you will also slowly teach the leaves to grow vertically in order to save a lot of space. This will especially come in handy for home gardeners with small back yards who are trying to maximize their space as squash plants tend to take over the garden bed!

Another possible reason for stem split are pests. There are many different bugs that can wreak havoc on all different varieties of squash but there is one that stands out when it comes to identifying the cause of stem splitting. The Squash vine borer is a black and red moth that resembles a wasp in body shape and flight. These moths lay their eggs at the base of the plant and when when the larvae hatches it burrows itself in the stem of the plant, stopping the flow of water and nutrients to the rest of the plant and ultimately causing the stem to eventually split. Using organically acceptable insecticides will only help if you catch the larvae before they get inside of the stem. The best way to get rid of them is to cut them out at the first sign of possible stem split. Gently cut them out and cover the stem with good soil. I have heard that some gardening pro’s simply take a pin and kill the larvae without damaging the stem. I certainly am not there yet but hope to be one day!

Until Next Time!

Eva

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First Fall 2015 Radish Harvest

I am so excited that my first harvest of the season has finally come! I remember last season when the garden was producing at amazing rates and I had an over abundance of crop. I didn’t know what to do with it all! I had canned, dehydrated and used all I could. I was at the point where I was giving a lot of vegetables away to friends, family and neighbors. At that time I was actually saying I had too much **Gasp!**

Looking back at that time just a few months ago I cannot believe I was complaining! Now I feel like it has been forever since I have harvested any food beacuse we are waiting for the fall crops to ripen. Oh how I wish I could go back to that time when God allowed our “cup to run over”. A hard lesson to learn as a new gardener. As my first fall harvest comes, I will always remember to be thankful no matter what part of the growing season it is or how big or small the harvest is. Ever harvest is a blessing

Today I am thankful for radishes and the all of the food I will be growing for my family in the next coming weeks.

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Much Love!

Eva

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New Fall Gardenscapes and Raised Beds

Fall is finally here! Bring on all the delicious fall crops, pumpkin EVERYTHING and cooler temperatures! Of course here in Florida, that means bring on the “still hot but less humid days”. Mr. GreenThumb has been hard at work getting our fall planter beds ready for the season. I say he has done an amazing job on these new planter beds.
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Raised planter beds are a great way to get your garden off to a great start. Especially in area where the soil is not the best quality. You can make the planter beds out of almost anything that is strong enough to hold a large amount of dirt. I have seen people make them with all kinds of material from plywood to cinder block even old tires! For the two beds show above, we used old wood from a structure that was torn down. Total score!

So far this fall I have been able to plant several varieties of vegetables and I am anxiously awaiting for harvest time to come! As you know, you are on this journey with me so I will be giving you updates on how these two beds are doing!

Let me know what you are planting this season in the comments below! Also I would love to hear that material you have used for your raised beds!

Until next time!

Much Love,

Eva

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Growing Radishes with Kids

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A lot of people ask me what is a good starter vegetable to grow with small kids. My answer is always the same: Radishes! Radishes are not complicated to grow and the best part is that they grow fast! Kids tend to have a very short attention span, so rather than making them wait for 60-70 days for carrots, radishes germinate in just a few days and many varieties only take about 30 days until they are ready to harvest.
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To grow radishes first you need to choose what variety you want to plant. If you are planting with children, I would recommend Cherry Belle radishes as they mature in just about 22 days. This particular variety of radishes grow well in the spring and fall seasons. Choose an area that will receive full sun and is well drained. Plant seeds about a 1/2 inch deep and 1 inch apart. Of course if you are growing a larger variety, allow for more space. Make sure you water your radishes evenly every day but be careful not to over water. Radishes like for the soil around them to stay moist but not soaked.
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Radishes are the perfect starter vegetable to grow with your kids. They will learn a valuable lesson on how to grow food and have a better understand a how important it is to know where your food comes from.
Let me know what you have grown in your garden with your children by commenting below!

Happy planting!

Much Love!

Eva

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Chicken Garbanzo Soup

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Since it is officially fall I figured it was time to start cooking up some delicious warm soups! This recipe was the result of my husband throwing some things together and coming up with a master piece! This soup is a go-to in my house.. it is SOOO good! Give it a shot and let me know how you like it.

Ingredients:

4-6 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6-8 Cups of water, divided
2 Cans of Garbanzo Beans
1 Cube of chicken bullion
2 Cans of Tomato Soup
1/2 Cup of Chopped green pepper
1/2 Cup of Chopped onions
1 Crushed garlic clove
1 Medium tomato, chopped
1/4 cup Cilantro, rough chopped
1/2 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper or your favorite spicy chili flakes (Optional)
1/2 Tsp of Annatto (for color and optional))
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Place chicken breast in a pot with chicken bullion and 3-4 cups of water. (Just enough to cover the chicken). Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes.

In another pot pour 4 cups of water and tomato soup and bring to a simmer.

Add in garbanzo beans and tomato and let simmer for 10 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, drain and shred chicken with two forks. The chicken should fall apart very easily.

Chop peppers, onions and garlic and saute in an oiled pan for 2 minutes. Add shredded chicken and annatto to pan. Continue to saute until peppers are cooked and onions are slightly caramelized.

Add the Chicken mix to the soup.

Mix in red pepper or chili powder. (I used homemade habanero flakes made with habaneros I grew in my garden! We like it spicy!)

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Add Cilantro just before serving.

Then sit down relax and prepare to fight off the urge to “slap yo mama” as we southerners would say. Look it up, we are not really slapping our mothers… we love our Moms! 😉

Let me know what you think!

Much Love!

Eva

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