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Hi. Welcome back to the good earth garden. Maryland's weekly organic gardening show. Each week I'm here with more ideas for gardening a safe and natural way. I hope you've had some rain since I saw you last. I finally got some heavy showers and it's done a world of good. Now that there's some more moisture in the ground getting back to my fall planting I'll be talking about that more as we go along today. Now I get to do something I look forward to all season. I'm going to harvest them potatoes. I planted some potatoes on the end of this bed in early April. And as the vines grew I kept filling them up with the oil. When I ran out of oil I covered them with some straw and the vines blossomed. And now they've completely died down and hopefully there's some potatoes in here. I'll pull back this mulch here. Now you can really see some of the benefits of using an organic mulch like straw this is
really nice and cool and very moist too. And so loose I can do it with my hands. At that most people would use something like a garden fork or a pitchfork to harvest potatoes. But I'm just going to use my hands and I'm just doing a small area for using a pitchfork. Just use it carefully so you don't split the potatoes just root in here and well there's a few potatoes right there. They look really nice and I pull them out of there now just runs these off so you can see them a little better. There's a red skin variety of potato called Norland. It's a good variety for Marilyn. These potatoes are mature by the way by that I mean the skin is already pretty tough. There it's different from new potatoes where the skin is so thin you can just rub it off with your fingers. If you want to harvest new potatoes you want to harvest them before the vines completely
die down. Wait till the vines blossom and then sort of dig carefully under the potato plants and to snatch a few little potatoes. These potatoes are armature there now and they look like good potatoes too. I'm going to mention a few of the problems you might have with your potatoes so you can evaluate your own harvest. One thing you might see with potatoes is something called gab. That's exactly what it sounds like. Watching areas of scabby like material on the surface of the skin. What causes scabs that your soul is too alkaline. So be careful not to use wood ashes or lime in an area where you're going to plant potatoes. And for best results have your soil tested before planting. If you do have scattered potatoes you can cut that scab off and still eat them. Something else you might see with potatoes it's green skin. That's a result of not killing your potatoes up enough not covering them with enough sorrel or moche potato skins are exposed to sunlight they form this green substance called so winning on their
skins and it's mildly toxic going to taste very bitter so you wouldn't want to eat it. You can still eat potatoes that have been exposed in that way. Just cut the green areas off. Something else you might find that people complain about is that you have lots of beautiful potato vines but not very many tubers. Q That's probably because you put too much nitrogen in your potato beds used too much high nitrogen fertilizer like or blood meal let's say potatoes don't need a lot of nitrogen. They do need extra special helpings of the potassium or phosphorus which you can use. You can put in two years so by using bone meal or green sand to keep that in mind when you're planting potatoes. I'm going to cut this potato open now. See what it looks like inside. That looks like a pretty nice potato. You might find depending on what the weather's been like that the that the center of the potato is hollow in the middle.
That's something that's caused by the temperature fluctuations usually occurs after we've had a drought period that's followed by heavy rains. So there isn't a whole lot you can do about that once that happens. But most will help to to regulate that condition because it keeps the moisture at a more even level. So keep that in mind with your potatoes too. You can harvest potatoes from now until the time when the ground freezes hard. I just harvest and as I need I'm like the ground was storing for me but I'll dig them up. Oh let's say late September and store them for the winter. Then on top tell you how to store potatoes for the winter for the winter. If that's your probably don't last quite a long time. That's why potatoes have been such a valuable food crop over the years. This area here where I had the potatoes I'm going to plant a leafy crops like most and that's your lettuce. Since potatoes are heavy users of nitrogen the salad greens or benefit from that. Those are quick growing salad greens that you can plant at least until the end
of August perhaps even until September depending on how the weather goes. In the center area here I had a bit of cabbages and onions harvested and I made some sort of a crock crock of sauerkraut over the weekend. I'm going to try planting a full crop of Peas in this bed. Since leafy crops like cabbage use up a lot of nitrogen as they grow. I want to replenish that nitrogen in some way. And peas being legumes will help with the nitrogen back in the soil. Now fall crop of peas isn't as dependable as your spring crop. You need to get it started early enough so that the blossoms aren't hit with really hard frost when they start ripening. But it's hard to get the peas started because a slew is so warm and peas like soil ideally like around 50 degrees to germinate Well there's a couple ways that you can try to remedy that problem. One thing you can do is to take your PS that you want to plant and layer them between layers of paper taling that's wet. I just would put them in between two layers and once
in that well and then put the whole thing in the plastic bag and stick that in the refrigerator. You want to check into the bag every couple days to make sure that Peas are or aren't rotting. You know I would leave the bag open for the lawsuit to get some air in there and then you want to plant them as soon as you see the first ones starting to wear out. Just inoculate them and plant them as you would normally. Another thing you can do what I'm doing here is a little bit lazier method to soak the peas overnight. What I've gotten is vile here is a mixture of about a tablespoon of liquid seaweed and the rest water liquid seaweed helps seeds to sprout it to germinate it has some growth producing hormones that really work well for that. And the liquid helps to soften the hard seat so the piece will have an easier time of sprouting. So I'm just going to poor this liquid seaweed out here and then add my inoculation. Just plant them an ocular and it's just a powder that supplies the bacteria. That help the
Libyans to do their best as well as adding nitrogen to the soil. The nitrogen fixing bacteria which I've talked about before. Sprinkle enough to coat the seeds. Then I'm going to plant these peas in a large block here. I open the spot up with my hoe so that it would be easier to plant pull all the soil back to one side. I'm going to. It makes a lot more sense to plant peas in a large block like this than in Fingal rows. But that takes up a lot more space. I'm just going to lay these peas on the ground here and I just some of them pretty physically. That's about enough I'll plant these somewhere else or another bed and I'm going to use my hoe to pull about three inches of soil over the peas. You want to plant peas a little
bit more deeply in the fall than you do in the brink of the little cooler under there. First I want to tamp down the seed so that when I pull the soil over them they won't get on one spot and I'll just pull this over here. Just even if that were a bit to make sure the pews are making. Good contact with the soil. And water well. Then I'm going to cover it up with some straw potence and waster.
The variety of peas that I'm planting is called dwarf gray sugar. There's a small type of pea that doesn't need stating. You want to grow the taller ones. My Try growing them next to your corn. I can just climb up the corn rows. I haven't gotten very through the very far through the garden yet but I want to take a break now to see how things are growing. Got a couple types of tomatoes I want you specially to see not me back in the salad garden.
One case you're not familiar with this bed but I call my salad garden. It's only four foot square. I planted it just to show you how much you can grow in a small space. In the spring I had peas growing on the trellis and blocks of carrots and broccoli and beets and radishes and onions and lots of lettuce and spinach. So a lot of things growing in a small amount of space. Now every plant it was some summer plantings and I'm adding some crops to it. One of the things that I had in this bed were some radishes and I let one of them go to seed. I want to show you a bit about that. I cut the flower stalk off here. If you sometimes read it it's going to see what happens by accident. You just don't pick it soon enough. And before long you had this big flower stalk and the pretty blossoms. Once I let some of the rashes go to seed on purpose these blossoms really attract cabbage butterflies and I think I'd rather they lay their eggs on the radish stocks because that ends up with cabbage worms that all my cabbage plants. Another way that letting rats just go to seed
serves a companion planting purpose is to let the roots serve as a trap crop root maggots are attracted to radishes. So if you let them. If you leave the radishes in long enough the root maggots congregate in there hopefully. Then when you pull the radishes out later in the season you'll be taking the maggots with you or some other reasons for planting radishes too or letting radishes go to seed. Also medicines you can eat the seed pods when they're small. We cut one off here and show you. You want to pick them with the smallest ones you can find these are getting old now. Oh about a half an inch long. Now lay this down here so you can see it the way that I use these radish pods is to sniff them into small bits with my scissors and then I can put those in salads and they had a real snappy crunchy taste. Of course you can also let the radishes mature. They get much bigger as they get the redder stews mature they get much bigger as they grow and eventually dry up and their seasons. These haven't finished growing it but I'll open them up so you can see.
Still real juicy and so on. You can see that there's going to be some seeds in there eventually. You'll know when they're ready when they get dry and you can collect the seeds and use them to plant your fall crop of radishes or use them next spring. Another thing you can do is just let the rest of the radishes so the seeds themselves. That's called self sowing. That's a sort of a fun technique to let fast growing crops do that. It works with radishes and lettuce and bok choy. You just let the seeds drop where they met and let them come up there if you have enough space in your garden and that will save you from planting them. And this flower stuck in the seeds I was showing you come from the familiar red reddish the globe ones. The variety that I usually play in is called cherry bell. It's the best one I've found. There's another whole category of radishes that you may not be as familiar with. They're called Winter radishes were also known as oriental radishes because they are a common food staple in countries like Japan and Korea. Winter radishes are soon late in the summer or early in the fall and then harvested before the ground freezes hard and when they're stored
properly they can last for three to four months so that can serve as a lot of food for the winter. That's why they're so useful in those countries. There's any number of sizes and shapes of winter radishes and they're easy and fun to grow. They come in the globe states like you're familiar seeing or long tapered roots or huge ones that get up to 70 pounds and they come in all colors too golden and black and even lavender ones. So you might want to experiment with a few. I don't have much room left in this but I'm going to plant a few in the end of this bed. This is an area where I had some lettuce and spinach So again I'm going to follow a root crop follow a crop that was leafy like the lettuce and spinach that used up a lot of nitrogen with the root crop that doesn't need as much. Take this mulch off. I'm going to plant these seeds about and an inch deep that's about twice as deep as I plant them in the spring. That's when you get to the cooler moister parts of the earth and plant these more further apart than I do the the small red ones because these are
bigger. That's a particular variety it's called Black Spanish and it makes about four inch diameter roots that have a black skin but a white flesh. Winter radishes can be use wrong but they can also be cooked as turnips. And the organs are often pickled. When a water this I have to find some more space is the plant went to radishes and I want to try some of the movie rides. I've listed a lot of information about winter radishes on the calendar that comes up later in the show. Another crop you can try for fall. It's called Chinese cabbage. Here's some here. If you can find transplants that would probably be more successful than starting from seed now. It's hard to tell how long of a summer we might have. We have a long season of really warmer weather. It wouldn't be too late to start Chinese cabbage from seed. It's on the Eastern Shore particularly. You might want to give it a try.
There's two basic types of Chinese cabbage. One type makes stocks like the bok choy types and the other type like the one I'm growing makes a head that variety is called machine and that you can use it just like you do cabbage either cooked or wrong. It has a milder flavor than our cabbage that we're familiar with. I usually use it cooked. I found Chinese cabbage to be a much better fall crop in the spring crop. The ones I've planted in the spring of always gone to seed on me and I think you might be able to get into your garden yet or some broccoli. I suggest looking for some transplants if you can find them. It couldn't be too late to start from seed but again you just never know. Even though broccoli liked cool weather it will hold out to many hard frosts. But I still got some broccoli left for my spring plantings. Here's one plant here. If you've grown broccoli before you know that it makes a large central head which is the part that you
harvest if you leave the plants in the ground though they'll continue to make some smaller heads called side shoots. What the plan is doing is try to make more seeds. Here's some side shoots here and they're not as big as the main head of course but they're still very edible. When I harvest them before the buds while the buds are still tight if you leave them on too long you'll end up with yellow flowers. I just use my hands and snap these heads off. That way I get the part of the stem that's tender. That's what they look like right there. And these aren't as big or even as tasty perhaps as the main heads of broccoli make but they get you through broccoli for the summer and broccoli plants are a little bit stronger tasting when the weather's hot. I usually stain them and then marinate and use them in salads. But there's broccoli that I have left over from my spring plantings that I'm using the side shoots will get me through the summer until my fall crop is ready. Well I'm going to beat you up in the
summer house in just a minute or so. I want to talk today about another type of organic insecticide called insecticide soap. The counter coming up next list some of the plants some of the insects that insecticide is effective for. And it also has some more information about winter rashes up in the summer house in just a minute.
As I mention I want to tell you about another organic insecticide called insecticide and soap. One more thing you can help do you get through the summer better with insects. One nice thing about fall gardening is that there aren't many insects the frost gets them. Effective sidle soap is just what it sounds like. It's soap and what makes soap soap has something called fatty acids. Fatty acids are naturally occurring substances found both in plants and animals. It serves as a protective layer. We have fatty acids in our skin that's been known for centuries that soap will kill germs and more recently it's been discovered that certain blends of fatty acids will also kill insects. Somehow it destroys their mucous membranes. Insecticide all soap is affected for quite a wide variety of insects. Some of those you saw listed on the calendar. It's particularly helpful for those small pesky ones that are hard to keep under control like aphids and merely bugs and spider mites. Unfortunately insecticide
also doesn't harm any beneficial insects. Not like honey bees or or earthworms and it's not harmful at all to amphibians or reptiles animals mammals people. So it's really a very safe insecticide to use to use insecticide Also if you make a solution for it to sidle soap usually comes in a liquid. You're going to mix that with water to pour into a spray or use about six tablespoons of the liquid insecticide all soap in a gallon of water and import all you need into a sprayer and then you're going to use it to spray the plants. And you want to spray the plants very thoroughly. Both the undersides in the top sides of the leaves spring until the water actually drips off the plant. Of course you want to spray the plants in the cool of the morning or the cool of the evening not during the heat of the day. For best results and using insecticide also you want to spray as soon as you start seeing any sign of an insect problem. Then repeat the spraying every three days until the insects are under control. Now
insecticide also only has one major caution and that is that certain plants just don't seem to like it. They have a bad effect bad reaction to it. The only vegetable that seems to be affected are peas. But if you want to use it on on house plants or outdoor play or shrubs or trees you should pay attention to the effect that it causes some of the flowers that it seems to be obnoxious to like geraniums and impatiens. If you spray on a plan that has symptoms such as leaves dropping your leaves curling you want to stop spraying. The label on the on the insecticide also tells you little. Some of the plants you shouldn't spray and you could write to the company and get some more information if you had a question about a specific plant. The most common brand of insecticide or soap is called safe. And it's really fairly easy to find. Many garden centers carry it isn't as difficult to find as some of the organic supplies I've talked about this year and it's very inexpensive also going to cost about two dollars and fifty cents for eight ounces. Now you
might wonder why you want to use insecticide also goes to your basic household detergent why it's better. Well remember that there's many many different types of fatty acids and these have been specially blended and selected to kill insects and not to harm plants. The fatty acids that are in detergents are chosen to be cleansers and they may or may not be good insecticides and they may also. Cause some problems for plants. So I would suggest that you stick with the insecticide so Brynn and that would be because that would give you the best results. So this is one more organic insecticide you can get through the summer months with the insect problems that we're having. Remember to use that particularly for the insects if it's effective for like aphids and white flies and merely bugs. It's not affected for beetles or caterpillars. I'm just about out of time for now. I want to remind you to drop me a line if you have any questions. We have some suggestions you'd like to share with everyone. I also still have some more
Good Earth Garden
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#114: Oriental Vegetables/Insecticidal Soap
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Chicago: “Good Earth Garden; 121,” 1982-06-17, Maryland Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed November 27, 2022,
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APA: Good Earth Garden; 121. Boston, MA: Maryland Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from