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CRYSTAL GARDENS

Adding value to your home and workspace

SECRETS TO A FLAVOURFUL HARVEST

 

You spend the entire  season tending to the needs of your  of your vegetable 

crops-feeding, weeding, watering and fighting off pests-then comes  your moment of truth: Has the  fruit of your labour reached its peak of ripeness? And will it have that toothsome delicious taste the consumer yearns for?

Whether you garden for your kitchen or the market, attaining the crops natural sweetness is every grower’s goal.

While fresh farm produce will be snapped up at the market, it is the sweet natural flavor that will see the consumers trooping to your garden and your family relishing your meals. Indeed in matters of vegetable production taste and freshness are two sides of the same time.

 

The best tasting plants are happy plants. These are plants raised under optimum conditions. To create optimal conditions for your plants you need to first of all amend your soil. Many diseases that affect plant flavor thrive in poorly drained soil. This can be addressed by incorporating organic matter like compost which enhances drainage. In addition nitrogen rich organic matter reduces bitterness in certain crops like potatoes by lowering levels of their bitter tasting glycoalkaloids .

Furthermore strive to manage moisture. Use either soaker hoses or drip irrigation which delivers water at the roots. This encourages plants to develop extensive root system that guards against drought stress.  Practice mulching where possible. Mulching stabilizes soil moisture, reduces watering needs, and improves the flavor of vegetables by encouraging earthworms. Earthworms, by their burrowing   actions help reduce plant stress by improving soil drainage and making essential soil nutrients more accessible to the plants.

Of course nothing affects flavor like disease. Here your best bet would be to control diseases with cultural practices. Start off with certified disease free seed, and look for disease resistant varieties. At planting space generously and during growth stake if need be so there is ample air circulation. Keep the foliage dry by using the above watering techniques to prevent powdery mildew developing on plant leaves or soil borne pathogens from splashing onto leaves. Many pathogens need a period of moisture on the leaves and fruit to infect. Watering in the morning after dew has dried completely allows wet leaves to dry off before diseases have a chance to establish. And maintain hawk-eyed vigilance in the garden –it will help you help and nip diseases in time.

Nutrients deficiency will leave your plants discolored and weak. On the other hand over -fertilizing   gives vigorous green soft -disease-friendly growth - especially for tomatoes and lettuce.  You don’t want your plants stressed but you also don’t want luxurious growth that will make them susceptible to   diseases. Stunted growth yellowing lower leaves and over all light green colour indicate nitrogen deficiency. Reddish purple or extremely dark green leaves signify phosphorus deficiency while weak stems and yellowing leaf tips, turning brown imply potassium deficiency/

One trick to use here is to interplant vegetables with high nutrient needs like corn with crops that add nitrogen to the soil, such as beans.

Try to moderate extreme temperatures by use of shade cloth. This is often used top preserve flavour in lettuce, greens and other cool season crops by keeping temperature and moisture at desired levels. For instance lettuce plants tart shifting their biochemistry to deal with hot, stressful conditions. These biochemical shifts can result in bitter compounds, less sugar and coarser leaves that follow plant stress.

Providing great growing conditions is only half the battle, you must also grow flavourful varieties. Find information about tasty varieties from fellow growers, garden centres , agro-vets  and extension officers. You can also try experimenting with two or three different varieties.

In a nutshell poor production practices put stress on plants. Such stress can trigger vegetables to produce high levels of certain compounds or different compounds than they normally produce under healthy conditions –which later flavor, for the worst.

 

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