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Frost forms on solid objects when the water vapor in the atmosphere changes from its vapor phase to small ice crystals. Frost is not frozen dew. If you see frost than you know that the temperature of the object it is on reached 32°F or lower. However, the air temperature, measured at five feet above ground in the vicinity of this object, is likely several degrees higher. Conversely, not every air temperature recorded at or below 32°F means frost formed on solid objects in the area. In spite of this, the average date of the last spring air temperature of 32°F has traditionally been called the last frost date.
Many vegetables are well adapted to planting in the summer for fall harvest. Planting a fall garden will extend the gardening season so you can continue to harvest fresh produce after earlier crops have finished. The fall harvest can be extended even further by providing protection from early frosts or by planting in cold frames or hotbeds.
This leaflet covers the training and pruning of thornless blackberry canes for the home gardener.
If treated properly, many herb plants will survive in the garden for a number of years. Others are sensitive to frost or severe cold weather and must be brought indoors, protected, or replanted each year. Annual herbs will be killed with the first hard frost in the fall. Remove dead plants in order to minimize overwintering insects and disease problems. Some frost sensitive herbs, such as basil and geranium, can be brought indoors for the winter. Take cuttings to root or pot the entire plant.
This factsheet covers propagating (by seed and by transplant) ginseng, which requires a period of stratification before germination.
This publication discusses growing and harvesting head lettuce, the most important salad vegetable grown in the United States. Per-capita consumption exceeds 25 pounds annually. In North Carolina, the crop can be grown as both a spring and fall crop in eastern North Carolina and even during midsummer in western North Carolina at elevations higher than 3,000 feet.
Luffa sponge products are readily available in the cosmetic and bath section of department stores, discount stores, pharmacies, and specialty shops. This factsheet covers planting, harvesting and processing luffa gourds.
Growing apple trees in the home garden can be fun and rewarding. Several factors are important to consider before planting for successful apple production. Apple variety and rootstock, site selection, proper planting, training and pruning, adequate fertility, and pest control all contribute to healthy and productive trees. A brief discussion of these considerations follows.
Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) Identification and Management: Brief Description: Japanese stiltgrass (also known as annual jewgrass, bamboograss flexible sesagrass, Japanese grass, Mary’s grass, microstegium, Nepal microstegium, or Vietnamese grass) is a summer annual commonly found in shady, moist areas, and is spreading rapidly in woodlands as well as shaded landscapes and low maintenance turf throughout the southeastern U.S., Mid-Atlantic States and north to New England. Japanese stiltgrass germinates in early spring, several weeks before crabgrass, yet flowers and seeds much later, from mid-September through October. It has broader, shorter leaves than most other annual grasses; somewhat resembling broadleaf signalgrass or spreading dayflower. After frost, the foliage and wiry stems turn a distinctive light tan in color and persist through the winter. Vegetative identification characteristics include: rolled vernation, a very short membranous ligule, and leaf blades that are shorter and broader than most other grasses.
Muscadine grapes are well adapted to the Coastal Plain of North Carolina, where temperatures seldom fall below 10°F. Considerable injury generally occurs where winter temperatures drop below 0°F. Muscadines have a high degree of tolerance to pests and diseases that makes the production of bunch grapes nearly impossible in eastern North Carolina. There is no other fruit with such strong personal associations for so many native North Carolinians.
A properly planted tree or shrub will be more tolerant of adverse conditions and require much less management than one planted incorrectly. Planting technique impacts water quality as it minimizes water, fertilizer and pesticide use. When making decisions on planting techniques, one should consider how the plant was grown in the nursery, the plant's drainage requirements, the soil type and drainage characteristics, and the availability of irrigation water. The plant should be specifically appropriate to the site, or the site should be amended to specifically fit the plant.
Muskmelons, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, watermelons and okra are vegetable crops that have shown significant increases in earliness, yield, and fruit quality when grown on plastic mulch. Some less valuable crops such as sweet corn, snap beans, southern peas and pumpkins have shown similar responses. Some of the advantages and disadvantages of using plastic mulches are outlined in this publication.
Small and intermediate size trees play an important role in the landscape. They can be quite functional and offer seasonal beauty. These trees are generally very easy to maintain and require a minimum of pruning.
Commercial blueberries are generally planted in low areas with high organic-matter content. These sites satisfy the cultural requirements of blueberries for a constant and uniform moisture supply. However, on cold, still nights when radiation frosts occur, heavy cold air from higher surrounding areas "drains" into the low areas causing lower temperatures. Also, the high organic content, especially if the soil is dry, acts as an insulator to restrict heat in the soil from moving up around the plants. The cultural requirement for a uniform soil moisture makes selecting higher sites that are less subject to radiation frosts much less practical than with other fruit crops. This factsheet discusses protecting blueberry plants from freezing.
The oriental persimmon is an easy-to-grow tree which is adaptable to much of North Carolina. The tree has a compact spreading growth habit and low maintenance requirements. The ornamental beauty of its orange fruit and bright red foliage in the fall makes it an attractive plant in the home landscape. The tree is winter-hardy in eastern North Carolina, as well as the Lower Piedmont and Coastal Plain areas.
Annual flowers offer the gardener a chance to experiment with color, height, texture, and form. Besides providing a massive display of color, annuals are useful for filling spaces where perennial flowers have died, to cover areas where spring-flowering bulbs have died back, and to fill planters, window boxes, and hanging baskets. Annual flowers bloom more quickly and for a longer period than any other group of plants. They are easy to grow, sturdy, and relatively inexpensive.
The commercial apple industry worldwide is in the midst of a major change in fruit production management systems. With size-controlling rootstocks tree size has been reduced and the number of trees per acre, referred to as tree density, has increased significantly. Some orchards in Europe have exceeded 5,000 trees per acre. However, in North Carolina, tree densities that are being commercially evaluated are around 450 trees per acre with a maximum of approximately 1,100 trees per acre.
Turnips and rutabagas are among the most commonly grown and widely adapted root crops. They are members of the Cruciferae or mustard family and belong to the genus Brassica. The two are similar in plant size and general characteristics. Turnip leaves are usually light green, thin and hairy, while the rutabagas are bluish-green, thick and smooth. The roots of turnips generally have little or no neck and a distinct taproot, while rutabaga roots are often more elongated and have a thick, leafy neck and roots originating from the underside of the edible root as well as from the taproot.
Sooner or later most home gardeners think about growing roses. Landscape uses are quite varied because of the many different types of roses. They can be mass planted in beds, used as specimen or trained plants, planted as screens or hedges, or located near fences or arbors and allowed to climb. Several miniature cultivars can even be used as a ground cover or as edging material. Roses are available in almost any color imaginable and are suited to a number of sites.
Harvested squash and pumpkins are still very much alive even though they are mature and have been removed from the vine. The objective of curing and storing is to prolong the storage life of the fruit by slowing the rate of respiration and protecting against storage rots.
Pumpkins were used by American Indians long before Columbus visited our shores, and pumpkins readily found their way to the first Thanksgiving table. Pumpkins were used by early settlers much as we use them today – for food and decoration. This factsheet covers growing and harvesting pumpkins in North Carolina.
The collard is a cool season crop that should be grown during early spring or fall. The mature plant will withstand frosts and light to medium freezes. It is one of the most popular garden vegetables in the south and is rapidly becoming a delicacy in northern states as well.
Cabbage is grown commercially in eastern North Carolina as both a spring and fall crop, and in the mountains as an early summer and fall crop. Cabbage acreage in North Carolina averages 10,000 to 12,000 acres. The biggest problem in growing this crop is insect control.
Several decades ago, when orange-fleshed sweet potatoes were introduced in the southern United States, producers and shippers desired to distinguish them from the more traditional, white-fleshed types. The African word nyami, referring to the starchy, edible root of the Dioscorea genus of plants, was adopted in its English form, yam. Yams in the United States are actually sweetpotatoes with relatively moist texture and orange flesh. The following information outlines several differences between sweetpotatoes and yams.
The Holly (Ilex) genus is very popular among landscape architects, nurserymen and home gardeners. Horticulturalists recognize approximately 20 American Holly species, 120 Oriental species, and nearly 200 varieties of the English Holly.
Broccoli is a cool-season crop, closely related to cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and mustard. It can be grown as either a spring or a fall crop. Broccoli is a high-quality vegetable for fresh use and is one of the more popular frozen vegetables. This publication covers growing and harvesting this highly nutritious vegetable.
Landscapers and home gardeners rely upon plants and shrubs in this size category because of their relatively low maintenance demands. Modern trends in landscaping depict this growing concern by utilizing groundcovers, dwarf, or slow-growing shrubs.
Carrots can be produced almost year-round in parts of North Carolina. Both fresh market and processing types hold potential. This publication will assist commercial farmers with growing and harvesting carrots.
Summer squash are grown throughout North Carolina in both the spring and fall. A major portion of the state's production is located in Sampson and Henderson counties and adjoining areas. Summer squash are harvested as immature fruit, have soft skin, and are very perishable (1- to 2-week shelf life).
Basil is a popular herb known for its flavorful foliage. The fresh or dried leaves add a distinctive flavor to many foods, such as Italian style tomato sauces, pesto sauce and salad dressing. The essential oils and oleo-resins may be extracted from leaves and flowers and used for flavoring in liqueurs and for fragrance in perfumes and soaps. This factsheet discusses growing and harvesting basil in North Carolina.
This publication discusses growing and harvesting bloodroot, a spring wildflower used to produce natural red, orange, and pink dyes, in North Carolina. It can grow in full sun, but is more often found in semi-shaded, light-wooded areas with moist, acidic soil. The root, consisting of a thickened rhizome covered with fibrous roots, is known for its reddish-orange color.
Beets have been cultivated for centuries. Though grown mostly for the roots, beet greens are also popular in many areas. Beets are a common item in vegetable gardens, but few are produced in North Carolina. This publication covers how to grow and harvest beets.
Spinach is a cool-season crop and belongs to the goosefoot family (Chenopodiaceae) as do beets and Swiss chard. This crop is becoming more popular as evidenced by increases in consumption of both fresh (salads) and processed spinach. Spinach reaches edible maturity quickly (37 to 45 days) and thrives best during the cool, moist seasons of the year.
Black cohosh is a member of the Ranunculaceae family. It is a native medicinal plant found in rich woodlands from as far north as Maine and Ontario, south to Georgia, and west to Missouri and Indiana. In North Carolina it can be found at elevations up to 4,000 feet and is most common in the western part of the state. It is an herbaceous perennial reaching a mature height of over four feet tall and can grow 18 to 22 inches per month during the growing season.
To insure a successful azalea planting, cultural requirements, planting techniques, and maintenance should be understood.
This publication discusses the Brussels sprout, a cool season crop, belonging to the cabbage family, and closely related to cauliflower, broccoli, kale, collards, etc. Like cauliflower, it thrives best in a cool humid climate, thus commercial production of this crop is concentrated in the "fog-belt" of California with limited production in the Long Island, New York area. The edible portion of this crop is the "bud" or small cabbage-like head which grows in the axils of each leaf. Occasionally the tops are used as greens.
Growing season is defined as the number of days without an air temperature of 32°F or lower. This leaflet offers tables indicating the average growing season, as well as he standard deviation (the amount of dispersion around the average) for cities around North Carolina.
Much success in growing tomatoes can be attributed to use of a few proven techniques. Choosing a variety that has proven to be a true performer should be at the top of every gardener's list. Better Boy, Whopper, Celebrity, and Mountain Pride are among some of the best selections. Better Boy, Celebrity, and Whopper are VFN, which means they carry resistance to verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt, and root-knot nematodes. It is best to experiment with several varieties in order to find the ideal tomato for your taste buds.
Blueberries can be grown in home gardens anywhere in North Carolina if the right species and proper soil modifications are used. Blueberries are typically used in the landscape as hedges for screening purposes, but they can also be used in cluster plantings, or as single specimen plants. Blueberries are an ideal year round addition to the landscape. They have delicate white or pink flowers in the spring, the summer fruit has an attractive sky blue color, and the fall foliage adds great red and yellow colors to the landscape.
Gourds are very closely related to cucumbers, squash and melons. They have been grown for both ornamental and utility purposes for many years. Several societies have been established to bring together people who are fascinated by the uniqueness of these plants.
Establishing and maintaining quality annual color beds requires a plan to prevent and control weeds. Weeds compete with ornamental plants for water, light, and nutrients, reducing aesthetic quality and plant growth. To minimize these problems, this publication presents a weed management program that should be developed and implemented prior to planting.
This publication covers growing and harvesting lemon balm, a lemon-scented member of the mint family. A native to southern Europe, it is a perennial which will over-winter in hardiness zones 4 to 5. The plant develops many branches and grows to a height of about two feet. The leaves are 2 to 3 inches long, oval to almost heart shaped, shiny and wrinkled with scalloped edges. Small light blue to white flowers appear in late spring through midsummer.
Ramps, also known as wild leeks, are native to the eastern North American mountains. They can be found growing in patches in rich, moist, deciduous forests and bottoms from as far north as Canada, west to Missouri and Minnesota, and south to North Carolina and Tennessee. In early spring, ramps send up smooth, broad, lily-of-the-valley-like leaves that disappear by summer before the white flowers appear. The bulbs have the pleasant taste of sweet spring onions with a strong garlic-like aroma.
Sophisticated propagation structures are not always required to successfully root ornamental plants. Summer propagation of many woody ornamentals can be accomplished by rooting softwood or semi-hardwood shoots in inexpensive frames equipped with an intermittent mist system. During high summer temperatures, leafy soft shoots root more readily if structures are equipped with mist.
This factsheet offers information on the chilling requirements for a variety of peach trees.
This factsheet covers commercial goldenseal production in North Carolina, a highly valued medicinal herb which has been collected from the forests in North America for hundreds of years. The historical range for goldenseal in the United States was very broad, ranging from as far north as Vermont and Wisconsin, south to Alabama and Georgia, and west to Kansas. It can still be found growing in patches in moist, rich, hardwood forests in much of this area.
Shrubs in this category are useful in landscape situations as hedges, small screens, accent plants, large mass plantings, and large foundation shrubs. These plants can be pruned periodically and maintained at a reasonable size.
Junipers are grown all across North Carolina, in just about every landscape situation: around ski villages at Beech Mountain or around ocean-front cottages on Bald Head Island. There are more than 170 species and varieties being grown by American nurserymen. North Carolinians typically choose certain junipers found in the species J. chinensis, J. horizontalis, J. sabina, J. communis, J. procumbens, J. conferta, and of course, J. virginiana - commonly known as Red Cedar.
Frost forms on solid objects when the water vapor in the atmosphere changes from its vapor phase to small ice crystals. Frost is not frozen dew. If you see frost than you know that the temperature of the object it is on reached 32°F or lower. However, the air temperature, measured at five feet above ground in the vicinity of this object, is likely several degrees higher. Conversely, not every air temperature recorded at or below 32°F means frost formed on solid objects in the area. In spite of this, the average date of the last spring air temperature of 32°F has traditionally been called the last frost date. The dates presented in this leaflet are the average date of the last recorded air temperature at 32°F or lower for the period 1951 - 1980.
Herbs should be harvested when the oils responsible for flavor and aroma are at their peak. Proper timing depends on the plant part you are harvesting and the intended use. Herbs grown for their foliage should be harvested before they flower. While chives are quite attractive in bloom, flowering can cause the foliage to develop an off-flavor. Harvest herbs grown for seeds as the seed pods change in color from green to brown to gray but before they shatter (open). Collect herb flowers, such as borage and chamomile, just before full flower. Harvest herb roots, such as bloodroot, chicory, ginseng, and goldenseal, in the fall after the foliage fades.
This publication offers information on the Jerusalem artichoke, (Helianthus tuberosus L.), also known as sunchoke, which can be produced throughout the United States. However, the plant is better adapted to the northern two-thirds of the country than the southern third. Most areas of North Carolina are satisfactory for producing the crop although yields are not as good as in cooler climates where the crop is better adapted. Jerusalem artichokes are also often used for pickling purposes.
Leafy greens, such as turnips, mustard, collards, kale, and spinach are cool season crops. They should be grown during early spring or fall for maximum yields and quality, but this season can be extended if markets warrant. Kale and spinach can withstand temperature into the upper teens and are often harvested through winter in the east. The other greens may withstand medium frosts.
Strawberries are a welcome addition to any home garden. They are relatively easy to grow, require a minimum of space, and virtually no chemicals are needed. From as few as 25 transplants to start a matted row, a berry yield in excess of 50 pounds can be achieved one year after planting. Strawberries require a site that is open to direct sunlight most of the day. Try to avoid very low-lying areas prone to spring frosts, and you should definitely plan to purchase a white spunbonded row cover to protect open strawberry blossoms from spring frosts/freezes. The same cover may be used for bird control during harvest.
Pole beans are grown commercially in the mountain counties and, on a limited scale, in a few of the eastern counties. They are produced in home gardens throughout the state. Pole beans are grown for their distinctive flavor, long pods, high yield, long harvesting season, and high price.
Asparagus has been grown for many years. The Ancient Greeks and Romans relished this crop. It originated in Asia Minor and is a member of the lily family. California, Michigan, and Washington are the major producing states, but there is some commercial production in many of the northern and western states. Warm regions such as Northern Mexico and Southern California also grow it. This publication covers recent research that has shown that asparagus can be grown at a profit in North Carolina.
There are a number of reasons to prune woody plants. One of the most important is to maintain a healthy, safe plant. This is particularly true of trees since dead limbs, topped branches and poor form can lead to unsafe conditions. You can reduce the amount of pruning needed by selecting the right tree for the site. Trees can range in size from 20 to more than 100 feet, and many can get large very quickly.
Large trees are dominant features in the landscape. Many plans rely on trees for several design functions: to provide background, enclosure, define spaces, help reduce noise and unsightly views. Trees also provide needed shade, channel breezes, and break forceful winds. They also help the environment by filtering pollutants and exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide.
Dahlias, are a popular addition to the landscape because they have a wide height range (1 to 6 feet) and a variety of flower shapes and sizes (2 to 12 inches). Color range includes orange, pink, purple, red, scarlet, yellow, and white. Some flowers are striped or tipped with a different color. Dahlias begin blooming in early summer and continue to frost. Flower production may slow with high summer temperatures and moisture stress.
Field corn was grown in North America before 200 BC. Field corn is produced primarily for animal feed and industrial uses such as ethanol, cooking oil, etc. In contrast, sweet corn is produced for human consumption as either a fresh or processed product.
Cauliflower is a cool season crop, closely related to broccoli, cabbage, kale, turnips, and mustard. It is more exacting in its climatic requirements than most other crops in this family. It grows best in a comparatively cool temperature with a moist atmosphere. With proper management cauliflower can be grown in North Carolina as either a spring or fall crop, although the fall crop will generally produce better quality.
Fresh market (slicer) cucumbers have been produced commercially in North Carolina for many years. The average yield from commercial fields has been 850 to 950 bushels per acre or 2 to 3 times the average yield from non-trellised fields. This publication covers growing and harvesting fresh market cucumbers.
Radish is a cool-season crop which grows best in spring and fall. It requires 3 to 6 weeks from seeding to harvest. This factsheet covers growing and harvesting radishes in North Carolina.
There is growing interest in the use of short-season summer annual legumes or grasses as cover crops and green manures in vegetable production systems. Cover crops can provide a significant source of nitrogen (N) for subsequent crops; reduce erosion, runoff, and potential pollution of surface waters; capture soil N that might otherwise be lost to leaching; add organic matter to the soil; improve soil physical properties; impact insect and disease life cycles; and suppress nematode populations and weed growth. There can be potential drawbacks, such as cooler soils in the spring, and the additional cost of seeding the cover crop. These factors must be considered depending on the particular cash crops and cover crops being grown.
Among the early spring-flowering trees, the dogwood is regarded by most North Carolinians as unrivaled in attractiveness either in its natural woodland habitat or in cultivated landscape gardens. This small, ornamental tree offers landscape interest for all seasons, beginning with its floral display in spring and followed by pleasant green foliage (casting a light shade) in summer. Fall in North Carolina is enhanced by the brilliant show of red, orange, and scarlet foliage along with the bright-red fruit borne in small clusters. In winter, button-shaped buds are prominent on the tips of the twigs. The interesting bark texture and branches help create an excellent winter silhouette.
An herb is any plant used whole or in part as an ingredient for health, flavor, or fragrance. Herbs can be used to make teas; perk up cooked foods such as meats, vegetables, sauces, and soups; or to add flavor to vinegars, butters, dips, or mustards. Many herbs are grown for their fragrance and are used in potpourris, sachets, and nosegays; or to scent bath water, candles, oils, or perfumes. More than 25% of our modern drugs contain plant extracts as active ingredients, and researchers continue to isolate valuable new medicines from plants and confirm the benefits of those used in traditional folk medicine.
The term perennial is frequently used by gardeners to refer to herbaceous perennial flowers. Most herbaceous perennials grow and flower for several years. Some perennials are short-lived – surviving for only three or four years. In the fall, the tops of herbaceous perennials (leaves, stems, and flowers) die down to the ground while the root system persists through the winter. In the spring, the plant grows new leaves from its crown or roots. Plants that grow from bulbs and bulb-like structures are also herbaceous perennials but are often classified separately as flowering bulbs.
Commercial apple orchards with trees planted close together on dwarfing or size-controlling rootstocks are referred to as high density plantings. When size-controlling rootstocks are used, tree densities increase from traditional densities of 150 to 250 trees/acre to 500 to 1,000+ trees/acre. Benefits of planting higher-density orchards include earlier production (especially with "fad" varieties); quicker return on investment; training, pruning and harvesting from the ground; potential increased fruit quality; and greater pesticide application efficiency.
Never before has the demand for energy been as high -- and never before have homeowners become so increasingly aware of the energy savings possible with landscaping. Although it is not possible to control temperature, wind, and other natural elements, certain landscape practices can help modify the climate in and around the home.
Lagerstroemia, crapemyrtle as it is commonly known, is a favorite small tree or large shrub for many southern gardeners. The common name crapemyrtle was derived from the crinkled petals on the end of a long, narrow stem and the similarity of the leaves to a myrtle. Crapemyrtle, also known as "Flower of the South," performs beautifully in all areas of North Carolina except in the highest elevations of hardiness zone 6.
The objective of this leaflet is to discuss orchard floor management options in pecan orchards, along with herbicide considerations, and potential herbicides. It should be used as a guide for producers making orchard floor management decisions.
Muskmelons, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, watermelons, and okra are vegetable crops that have shown significant increases in earliness, yield, and fruit quality when grown on plastic mulch. Some less-valuable crops such as sweet corn, snap beans, southern peas, and pumpkins have shown similar responses. Some of the advantages and disadvantages of using plastic mulches are outlined below.
Weeds are unwanted plants in gardens that reduce available moisture, nutrients, sunlight and growing space needed by crop plants. Their presence can reduced crop growth, quality and yield. In addition, they can make harvest difficult. Weeds also provide cover for diseases, insects and animals (rodents, box turtles, snakes, etc.). Garden weeds are hard to control because they grow rapidly, produce vast numbers of seeds, and spread aggressively by vegetative structures and/or seeds. There are several methods that should be used in a combined, coordinated effort to control weeds. They include cultural, mechanical and chemical methods.
This factsheet offers information to produce earlier peppers with higher yields and better quality.
Manual removal of weeds is time consuming, expensive, and often results in damage to landscape plants when intertwined roots of both the weed and the ornamental plant are pulled up. Nonselective herbicides (which must be selectively applied to avoid injury to desirable plants) are typically used for postemergence annual and perennial weed control. This publication covers choosing the right herbicide for this situation.
Broccoli-raab (also known as rapa, rapine, rappone, fall and spring raab or turnip broccoli) is a rapidly growing annual when grown in spring, but a biennial in fall plantings. The leaves with the seed-stalks, before blooming, are cut for greens and are sold to ethnic markets (primarily Italian).
The onion is a cool season crop that will withstand moderate freezes. It may be grown either by seeding directly in the field, or by setting transplants. North Carolina growers have an excellent market opportunity in June and July when very few onions are available. Yield will range from 400 to 800 (50-pound) sacks per acre depending on the year and cultural practices. A premium is paid for large onions during our harvest season.
This factsheet covers the basics of constructing a propagation / winter protection structure in a quonset design.
Blueberry production in Western North Carolina differs from the main commercial production areas in the southeastern part of the state because of differing climate and soil conditions. Highbush blueberry cultivars should be used exclusively; rabbiteye blueberries will not consistently survive low winter temperatures that occur in Western North Carolina. This factsheet offers information on growing and harvesting blueberries in Western North Carolina.
The nutritional content, freshness, and flavor that vegetables possess depend upon the stage of maturity and the time of day at which they are harvested. Overly mature vegetables will be stringy and coarse. When possible, harvest vegetables during the cool part of the morning, and process or store them as soon as possible. If for some reason processing must be delayed, cool the vegetables in ice water or crushed ice, and store them in the refrigerator to preserve flavor and quality. The following guidelines can be used for harvesting vegetable crops.
Ornamental grasses are becoming quite popular for North Carolina landscapes. Designers and gardeners realize the fine accent and architectural effect this group of plants contributes to a garden. As one applies the principles of good design — repetition, variety, balance, emphasis, sequence, and scale — along with the design qualities of color, texture, line and form, one appreciates the many uses and functions of ornamental grasses. (The term "ornamental grass" is really a catchall term used to describe all grasslike plants. These would include sedges, reeds, rushes, and a wide host of others.)
Muskmelon is commonly known in the trade as a cantaloupe. However, no cantaloupes are actually grown commercially in the United States, only muskmelons. Cantaloupes are a rough warty fruit while muskmelon have the characteristic netting on the fruit rind. This publication covers the growing and harvesting of muskmelons in North Carolina.
Okra is grown throughout North Carolina in home gardens and for commercial markets. It is a warm season crop that belongs to the cotton (Mallow) family and should not be planted until the soil has thoroughly warmed in the spring. Okra is referred to as 'Gumbo' in some areas.
Southern peas originated in India in prehistoric times and moved to Africa, then to America. In India Southern peas are known by 50 common names and in the United States are called "Field peas," "Crowder peas," "Cowpeas" and "blackeyes," but Southern peas is the preferred name. This publication covers growing and harvesting Southern peas in North Carolina.
This factsheet covers celery, which could be a very profitable crop in North Carolina. A harvest period in late June or early July, and one in October, would fill market voids when other major celery producing areas are not harvesting. Celery, however, is not an easy crop to grow. Although it is a cool season crop, exposure of juvenile plants to temperatures below 40 to 50ºF for more than 5 to 10 days can cause premature bolting, making the crop unsalable. Special attention must be given to maintaining a steady water supply and providing the proper amount of nutrients to allow for constant growth.
This publication discusses a number of options that are available to the greenhouse manager for controlling weeds such as creeping woodsorrel, hairy bittercress, spotted spurge, and others. Not only are these persistent problems in greenhouses but they detract from the perceived quality of plants produced, and also are known to harbor insects, such as whitefly and thrips, and other pests such as mites, slugs and snails.
This publication covers the identification, distribution and control of mulberryweed, an erect, branching, summer annual weed of landscapes and container nurseries that resembles a mulberry tree (Morus spp.) seedling. A native of eastern Asia, it was introduced into North America in the latter half of the 20th century.
Broccoli is a popular vegetable for use both fresh and frozen. The edible portion of the broccoli plant consists of the upper stem and the unopened flower buds. Broccoli is a cool-season crop that is closely related to cabbage, cauliflower, kale, mustard, and turnips. It can be grown in western North Carolina as either an early (spring) or a late season (fall) crop at the lower elevations (below 2,500 feet) or during mid-summer at elevations above 2,500 feet.
Chives belong to the same family as onions, leeks, and garlic. Although they are native to Asia and Eastern Europe, by the sixteenth century chives were common plants in herb gardens throughout Europe. Chives are hardy, draught tolerant, perennials, eight to twenty inches tall, that grow in clumps from underground bulbs.
The slicing cucumber is an important crop to North Carolina, with yearly production fluctuating between 5,000 to 8,000 acres, depending on season and market conditions. North Carolina slicing production accounts for approximately 10% of the U.S. production acreage.
There are several selected pines species which are used in North Carolina landscapes, most being large tree forms. Pines are important to North Carolina not only for the ornamental value but also for lumber, watershed management, resin, turpentine and Christmas trees. There are more than 100 species of the genus Pinus recognized worldwide, of which 36 are native to the United States.
Homeowners and professional landscapers depend on mulch in the ornamental plantings for several reasons. Functionally, mulches discourage weeds from growing, conserve moisture during drought periods, allow better use of water by controlling runoff and increasing water-holding capacity of light, sandy soils. Mulches help maintain a uniform soil temperature. A 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch can add to the aesthetic value of a garden while protecting the base of plants from being injured by mechanical equipment.
When onions are harvested in the green or immature stage they are called "green bunch onions." These onions are sold in bunches tied with a rubber band. This is a popular crop for home and market gardeners in the fall, winter and early spring. Acreages are usually small because of the amount of hand labor required for planting and preparation for market.
Boxwood, thought to have been introduced to the United States in 1652, has long been associated with colonial architecture across North Carolina. It's suitability for formal and informal landscape use as edging, hedge, screen, accent and specimen plants makes boxwood a favorite of homeowners, landscape contractors and nurserymen.
Pruning a plant reduces its ultimate adult size and the crop yield in at least the following season. To compensate for this loss of bearing area and yield, other factors, largely economic, must be considered in planning a pruning program.
Peonies are long-lived, perennial flowers that produce large flowers in the spring. Colors include black, coral, cream, crimson, pink, purple, rose, scarlet, white, and yellow. By planting early, mid-season, and late flowering cultivars, you can have peonies flowering for 6 to 8 weeks. Two types of peonies are grown in North Carolina: garden peonies (Paeonia valbiflora or Paeonia officinalis) and tree peonies (Paeonia suffruticosa). This leaflet covers the planting, care and maintenance and potential problems associated with growing peonies in North Carolina.
This publication covers growing and harvesting eggplant in North Carolina. Eggplant is a warm season plant that is very susceptible to frost. It requires a relatively long growing season to produce profitable yields. Growth is checked by cool weather. Proper cultural practices can yield 500 bushels per acre.
Blooming and ripening timing of apple varieties with overlapping periods are optimal in apple production; for example 'Gala' and 'Empire'. While some varieties do not require pollinizers, fruit size and fruit set will be greater if cross pollinated with 2 to 3 apple varieties with overlapping blooming periods per season.
Precision seeding is defined as the placing of desired numbers of seeds at a precise depth and spacing. Precision seeding has many advantages for the vegetable grower over conventional dribble (Planet Jr.) or multiseed drop-plate seeding systems (most corn planters). However, the seeding accuracy is not a substitute for proper land preparation, irrigation, and other crop management practices necessary to obtain a good stand of a vegetable crop. Precision seeding simply allows the vegetable grower to reduce cost and increase reliability of his crop production.
Phytophthora leaf blight and root rot is a devastating disease which causes a leaf blight and root rot on ginseng. The disease is caused by a fungus, Phytophthora cactorum, which produces spores that are spread by wind, rain, splashing water, and surface water runoff. Root rot is the most serious form of the disease. Therefore, if foliar symptoms are present, preventing spread of the disease from foliage to roots is essential.
Blueberries are a native North American fruit, and North Carolina is one of the largest producers of highbush blueberries. Although commercial production is mostly limited to southeastern North Carolina, blueberries can be grown anywhere in the state if the right blueberry species and proper soil modifications are used. Limiting factors include pH, water availability and cold-hardiness.
Garden mums are a traditional fall crop and are fairly easy to grow. They also can be profitable. This factsheet discusses some of the cultural guidelines to follow in growing garden mums.
During the winter months it is necessary to offer protection to certain North Carolina landscape plants. Winter protection does not mean to keep plants warm, as this is virtually impossible but to provide protection from damaging wind, heavy snow and ice, the alternate freezing and thawing of the soil beneath the plants and heat from the sun on very cold days.
We depend on plants to solve our functional and aesthetic needs in various landscape situations. A popular group of plants being recommended and used in modern landscapes is intermediate and small-sized trees. The trees in this category mature to a particular size and are quite "well-behaved" in the landscape. Generally, the trees, both evergreen and deciduous, mature to a height of 35 feet or less.
There are several vines which should interest North Carolina gardeners and landscapers. Vines, when used correctly, can be quite an aesthetic and functional addition to the landscape. Basically, there are three types of vines: those that climb by attaching tendrils to a means of support, those that climb by attaching rootlike arms to a wall, and those that climb by twining. The type of vine which is planted will determine the necessity for a supporting fence, arbor, or wall.
Two hydrangea species are native to the southeastern United States -- Hydrangea arborescens and Hydrangea quercifolia. Both are bold-textured, deciduous shrubs which produce small, fertile flowers. Many selections are considered more garden-worthy than the native species because they display large, sterile florets.
Growing your own transplants from seeds indoors can give you a head start on the growing season. In some cases, it may be the only way to obtain plants of a new or special cultivar (variety) that is not widely available through garden centers. To obtain vigorous plants, start with high-quality seed from a reliable source. Select cultivars which provide the plant size, color (flower, foliage, or fruit), and growth habit you want. Choose cultivars adapted to your area. Many vegetable and flower cultivars are hybrids. They may cost more than open pollinated types, but they usually have more vigor, more uniformity, and better growth than non-hybrids.
SmartFresh℠ (1-methylcyclopropene, MCP) is a relatively new tool for postharvest management of apples. In 2002, SmartFresh was approved for commercial use on apples by the Environmental Protection Agency under a reduced risk program because of the very low toxicity of the product and the fact that treated fruit have no detectable residue. It is thought to bind irreversibly to the ethylene receptors in plant tissues making the crops insensitive to ethylene and subsequently retarding many of the ethylene mediated responses such as fruit softening in apples. SmartFresh can maintain apple firmness and acidity and decrease scald and greasiness even when stored under less than ideal storage temperatures.
In most of the south, sweet corn can be produced from early spring until fall. However, sweet corn does have some specific environmental and cultural needs that must be met for the plant to produce high-marketable yields. Corn is a warm-season crop that requires high temperatures for optimum germination and rapid growth. In general, sweet corn does not tolerate cold weather, and frost will injure sweet corn at any stage of growth. Other stressful climatic conditions, such as drought or flooding, can reduce yields and cause small, deformed ears.
Seed dormancy is nature's way of setting a time clock that allows seeds to initiate germination when conditions are normally favorable for germination and survival of the seedlings. For example, dogwoods produce mature seeds in the fall, but conditions are not suitable for seedling survival at that time. Thus, dogwoods have developed a mechanism that keeps the seeds dormant until spring when conditions are favorable for germination, as well as, seedling growth and survival.
The Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) is a true bulb that originated in the tropical areas of South America. Thus, it is a tender bulb. It performs best when grown under warm (70 to 75°F) temperatures for 9 to 10 months to promote flowering and vegetative growth, followed by 2 to 3 months of either cool (55°F) dry storage or cool (55°F) growing conditions. The use of one of the latter conditions is required to promote reflowering of the bulb.
For healthy, aesthetic plants, the soil must serve as a reservoir for water, oxygen, and nutrients. While this sounds very straightforward, providing these three essentials can be quite challenging. This leaflet describes the steps to take to ensure these essentials are met in the proper amounts.
Wet, poorly drained soils present one the most difficult challenges for growing plants in the landscape. Excessive moisture displaces oxygen in the soil and plant roots can suffocate as a result. Many plants are intolerant of having their roots submerged for extended periods of time. Even though standing water may not be present, poor drainage is often responsible for reduced growth and survival of plants in our landscapes.
Bearded iris is a hardy, long-lived perennial that requires a minimum of maintenance. The flowers have six petals; three upright petals (called standards) and three hanging petals (called falls). A fuzzy line or beard runs down the middle of each fall. Flowers come in many colors including blue, pink, purple, reddish, white, yellow, and bi-colors. This leaflet offers some information on growing irises for the home garden.
Caladiums are grown for their long-lasting, colorful foliage. Color combinations include various shades of red, pink, white, green, and yellow-green, with prominently colored midribs and contrasting margins. There are two basic types of caladium cultivars: fancy- and strap-leaved.
Providing a proper nutritional program is essential for growing top quality plants. Sampling the root substrate for pH and electrical conductivity (EC) with the PourThru extraction method is a quick and simple check of the nutritional status of a crop. The PourThru extraction method allows rapid on-site determination of pH and EC values. The values provide clues about a crop’s performance before deficiency or toxicity symptoms appear.
Producing asparagus crowns for sale or use is simple and profitable. Careful attention to details described here is important so that all requirements for certified plant production can be met. Certified plants are most saleable and bring a premium price. One-year-old crowns will produce a healthy asparagus planting.
This factsheet covers growing and harvesting potatoes for commercial sale in North Carolina.
Pansies have become the most popular annual for mid-fall to late-spring color in the Southeast. Intensive breeding programs that have selected for unique flower colors, large flower size, greater flower number, and temperature tolerance have led to many new and exciting cultivars to select from for use in the landscape. This leaflet was written to give growers production advice for pansies.
A careful selection of plants is very important for coastal landscapes as plants must be tolerant of extreme adverse conditions in the natural environment. The most influencing force is salt spray. Sand, temperature and wind are also influencing factors in plant choice.
This publication offers guidelines on planning a garden and buying bulbs, as well as planting planting techniques to ensure healthy flowers.
This factsheet offers information on growing and harvesting upland cress, a green often eaten like spinach or kale; however, in some areas, it is frequently eaten raw as a salad or garnish.
The kiwifruit is a large, woody, deciduous vine native to the Yangtze Valley of China. In the Eastern United States, kiwifruit vines have fruited at Virginia Beach, Virginia, and at several locations in South Carolina, and are part of evaluation programs in Alabama and Georgia. The first commercial shipments began in 1980 from a planting in South Carolina located about 30 miles north of Augusta, Georgia. This publication discuses the history of kiwifruit planting in North Carolina and considers the potential to grow the fruit in the state's climate.
This factsheet covers the planting, harvesting and uses of carraway, a hardy, biennial herb which is native to Europe and Western Asia. First year plants resemble carrots, growing to about 8 inches tall with finely divided leaves and long taproots. By the second year, two to three foot stalks develop topped by umbels of white or pink flowers, which appear from May to August.
Ornamental cabbage and kale have become increasingly popular as fall crops because they have colorful, long lasting foliage. They will often remain colorful until temperatures drop and are well suited to areas of the Southern United States which have mild winters. Ornamental cabbage and kale are also excellent complements to garden chrysanthemums and fall pansies, and will help increase overall sales.
The florists' hydrangea has been an important greenhouse crop for many years. Its popularity and production have both been increasing in the past few years. This leaflet outlines procedures for the greenhouse forcing of dormant, pre-cooled hydrangeas.
The use of wildflowers in the landscape has increased since Lady Bird Johnson first promoted them in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Wildflowers were further popularized by the "Meadow in a Can" seed collections that were marketed in the early 1980s. A number of books have been written that describe methods for planning and planting wildflowers, however, few recommendations are available regarding maintenance and long-term weed management. In wildflower plantings, weed management is a complex system that requires knowledge of the specific wildflowers and weeds, environmental conditions, and control methods. Therefore, the objective of this leaflet is to discuss weed management strategies that can be applied to the planning, establishment, maintenance and renovation stages of a naturalized wildflower planting.
Sprouts from mung bean (Phaseolus aureus) have been used for food since ancient times. These sprouts have a nutrient value similar to asparagus and mushrooms, which contain high quantities of Vitamin A. Sprouts can be canned or frozen in addition to eating them fresh. Mung bean seeds can be purchased from mail-order commercial seed companies and health food chain stores. (Caution: Regardless of the source, do not use seeds that have been treated with a fungicide. Treated seeds are not edible and can be recognized by the coating of pink or green dust on the seed coat.)
Geraniums are among the most popular flowering plants. Outdoors, they are used as annual bedding plants, in hanging baskets, in pots and in window boxes. Indoors, they are cultured as houseplants in sunny locations. Common geraniums are actually members of the genus Pelargonium, while members of the genus Geranium include native wildflowers and herbaceous perennials.
Ethylene is an odorless, colorless gas which acts as a plant hormone. Thus it can be a growth regulator or a harmful pollutant of horticultural crops. Major losses caused by the “death hormone” can occur with high value crops such as greenhouse-grown potted plants and cut flowers, and fresh fruit and vegetables. Economic losses to greenhouse growers from ethylene pollution are reported each year and many more probably occur, but are not correctly diagnosed. This leaflet discusses ethylene sources and symptoms of damage, and how to prevent them
Growing strawberries as an annual crop on black plastic requires a different weed management strategy than the perennial matted row strawberries. When black plastic is combined with fumigation by methyl bromide, excellent control of most weeds in the row can be expected. However, weeds that have hard seed coats, such as vetch and clover, emerge for long periods of time and can establish in the row. They emerge in late fall or spring, grow under the plastic for a period of time, and emerge from any holes in the plastic.
Most garden asters are cultivated varieties of the fall-blooming wildflower, Aster novi-belgii, or Michaelmas daisy. They are native to the United States and can be seen blooming along roadsides during the fall. From the wild types, Danish breeders have selected for new colors and compact shape. As a floriculture crop, they can be grown for cut flowers, an indoor pot crop in four-inch or 6-inch pots, or an outdoor perennial in 6-inch pots or larger. This leaflet covers the commercial production requirements for perennial garden asters.
Each of us are subjected to stresses and pressures every day in our home, work, and living environment; plants are no different. Unfortunately, there is no "stressless" environment, and there is no totally stress-resistant bedding plant. Each site has its stress level and each plant has its tolerance level. There are steps that can be taken to reduce or avoid stress in the landscape. However, no program can prevent all problems, and the key to successful landscape color using bedding plants is to match the particular site with specific plant species.
As one travels across North Carolina it is quite evident that azaleas are favorite ornamental plants for home gardeners and professional landscapers. Azaleas offer a wide range of size, form and color, and can be used as specimen plant accents or as a mass planting. Flowering dates are from late March to late June with both ever-green and deciduous types available. Azaleas can be grown all across the state (Zones 6, 7, 8, 9), but in order for these shrubs to grow, mature, flower profusely, and generally contribute to the total landscape, an understanding of the different kinds of azaleas, the culture, and environmental factors is necessary.
Almost any indoor environment is more pleasant and attractive when living plants are a part of the setting. In apartments, condominiums and single family residences, plants add warmth, personality and year-round beauty. Shopping centers, hotels and resorts take full advantage of the colorful, relaxed atmosphere created by green and flowering plants. Offices, banks and other commercial buildings rely on interior plants to "humanize" the work environment and increase productivity.
Flowering crabapples have tremendous potential as small/medium sized flowering trees that can be grown all across North Carolina. These deciduous, spring flowering trees are adaptable to a wide range of soil conditions and have a variety of ornamental characteristics to choose from, including an assortment of flower color and fragrance, fruit size and color, and tree form.
Sweetpotato seed roots should be pre-sprouted for maximum transplant production. Presprouting is the process by which sweetpotato seed stock is conditioned to produce sprouts (transplants) prior to bedding. Some refer to this as "waking up" the sweetpotatoes after they have been asleep in storage during the winter. This reinforces the often overlooked fact that sweetpotatoes are still alive.
The tomato is a warm season crop. With special production practices you can produce your first tomatoes in 60 days. This crop can be grown for production from June through November by choosing the right varieties and production practices. Generally, tomatoes require a large investment in time and labor, but increase in intensity of management is repaid by increased yields and profits.
The growing media chosen to grow vegetable transplants should be sterilized to prevent seedlings from being killed by the fungi that causes damping-off disease. A growing mix well suited for growing transplants can be prepared by using one part loamy garden soil, one part shredded peat moss, and one part sand. Sterilize this soil-peat-sand mix by baking it in an oven for about one hour at 210°F.
Grapes are welcome summer treats that can be eaten fresh, processed into jellies, jams, juice or even fermented into wine. Grapes are adapted to many soil types, and can be quite long-lived. There are basically two kinds of grapes grown in North Carolina, bunch grapes and muscadine. Bunch grapes produce berries in large clusters, and grow best in the mountains and piedmont areas. In coastal plain areas, Pierce's disease kills or shortens the life expectancy of many popular bunch grapes. Muscadine grapes, exemplified by the Scuppernong variety and noted for having smaller clusters, are not affected by this disease.
The poinsettia is a staple in greenhouse floriculture production. As the top selling potted flowering crop, successful poinsettia production is a must. Proper fertility is essential for quality plants. Monitoring and managing the root substrate pH and electrical conductivity (EC) is critical for proper poinsettia nutrition.
The per-capita consumption of processed tomatoes has increased steadily in recent years. This has been due to changes in eating habits and development of new and better products. Over 8 million tons of processed tomatoes are produced in the United States annually. Average yields for the United States are 25 tons per acre while the range is 9 to 40 tons per acre. North Carolina growers can produce high yields of processing tomatoes. Satisfactory color, pH, sugar and acid content needed to produce a fine quality canned product can be attained if tomatoes are grown according to recommended practices.
This leaflet is intended to assist growers in troubleshooting drip or trickle irrigation systems. For major problems consult an irrigation specialist or irrigation company that designs and installs drip or trickle irrigation systems.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a form of direct marketing in which a community of individuals pledges to support a farm. At the beginning of the growing season, CSA members pay for a subscription to the CSA. In return, farmers provide the members with a weekly share of the harvest. Both growers and consumers have found this relationship to be mutually beneficial. Members receive a variety of fresh, local produce and have the satisfaction of knowing where their food comes from and how it is produced. Farmers, in turn, benefit by receiving funds upfront to buy seeds and inputs. They also are relieved of most of the task of marketing by having a guaranteed market and price for what they will produce.
An espaliered plant is one that has been trained to grow in one plane. In the 17th century, 'espalier' originally referred to the frame or trellis on which the plant was trained. Today, espalier refers to both the two-dimensional tree or shrub or the horticultural technique of actually training the plant.
Each year, a portion of the state's fruit and vegetable crop is lost to low temperature damage. Protection methods exist. This leaflet seeks to explain the occurrence of frosts and freezes and to provide information on protection methods.
This leaflet includes a list of recommended trees that have demonstrated particular resistance to harsh growing conditions, diseases, and insects in North Carolina. It should be emphasized, however, that even these trees have their limits. No single species is suited for all sites and consideration should be given to soil conditions, local occurrence of diseases and insects, microclimate, hardiness zone, and mature tree size when selecting any plant.
Summer and fall flowering bulbs provide another dimension to gardening. They add beauty and interest to the landscape and, since most of them are tender, they offer a unique challenge to the gardener. There are a large number of different types of bulbs, offering variations in forms, fragrances, colors, and lasting brilliance which many summer annuals cannot achieve.
This publication offers a list of companies and nurseries that carry goldenseal seeds or plants for cultivation.
Sweetpotato production should be planned as a part of your total annual farm management scheme. Sweetpotatoes should not be grown just "once in a while" or just in those years you think you'll be able to "get rich quick." Commitment to an ongoing production program is required in order for you to be a successful grower.
Plant growth regulators (PGRs) are chemicals used on a wide range of floricultural crops. This publication was designed to help growers understand how and when to use PGRs in greenhouse floriculture operations.
Proper plant nutrition is essential for successful greenhouse production of floricultural crops. As growers move towards substrates that do not contain mineral soil, micronutrient status of substrates and plants becomes more important. This bulletin outlines the major micronutrient problems that can be encountered in greenhouse production and outlines application treatments to correct micronutrient imbalances.
There are a number of popular bedding plants used in the landscape today; some deserving the attention they get, others not-so-deserving. This publication offers a chart with some under-utilized bedding plants in North Carolina, including characteristics such as temperature and light preferences.
Solar radiation provides the energy to warm our atmosphere and allow plant growth and animal life to exist on earth. The amount of “possible solar radiation” does not depend on the weather and is constant for a given date from year to year. The variation in “possible solar radiation” by date throughout the year is due to the earth’s axis of rotation, which affects the hours of daylight and the angle (directness) of the sun’s rays. The amount actually received, however, does vary, mainly due to the variation in amount of cloudiness.
In the case of specialty or non-traditional small fruit crops in the Southeast, red raspberries seem to get the most interest and coverage by newspapers and popular press. In North Carolina, red raspberries developed in northern United States and southern Canada have difficulty in our hot, humid summer climate of the piedmont and coastal plain. And, in the foothills and mountains of western North Carolina, the raspberry 'floricanes' are especially prone to winter freeze injury as temperatures in these areas may fluctuate in January and February by as much as 40-50°F in a given 24 hour period.
Boxwoods have been an important part of North Carolina landscapes since colonial times; the first plants were introduced to American gardeners in 1652. Boxwoods are suitable for formal and informal landscape use as edging, hedge, screen, accent, and specimen plants. While boxwoods are considered an essential component of historical and colonial gardens, they can also be used in traditional and contemporary landscape designs.
Many greenhouse-grown floricultural crops tend to grow taller than desired and require height control measures to prevent excessive internodal elongation. This leaflet is designed to introduce commercial growers to the alternatives available for height control and suggest appropriate methods for different situations.
This publication lists some of the companies that supply medicinal herbs and botanicals by mail order in the United States.
The objective of this leaflet is to discuss weed-control considerations and herbicide options for grape vineyards in the Southeastern United States. It should be used as a guide for growers making vineyard floor management decisions. It should not be used as an alternative to a pesticide label.
Every nurseryman should know how to prune trees and the reason for the various pruning practices. Many landscape problems can be avoided if correct pruning is performed, while the tree is growing in the nursery. Incorrect pruning practices or lack of pruning diminish the quality of the plant material.
Vegetables are 80 to 95 percent water. Because they contain so much water, their yield and quality suffer very quickly from drought. When vegetables are sold, a "sack of water" with a small amount of flavoring and some vitamins is being sold. Thus, for good yields and high quality, irrigation is essential to the production of most vegetables. If water shortages occur early in the crop's development, maturity may be delayed and yields are often reduced. If a moisture shortage occurs later in the growing season, quality is often reduced even though total yields are not affected.
Geraniums require an adequate supply of the essential nutrients and a slightly acidic pH. This leaflet covers some of the basic considerations for fertilizing zonal, ivy, and regal geraniums.
Lack of yard space is no excuse for not growing a vegetable garden. Regardless of whether you live in an apartment, condominium or mobile home, some space us available for growing a few of your favorite vegetables. However, the area you choose to grow your garden must receive five hours or more of sunlight daily. As a general rule, leafy vegetables such as cabbage and mustard greens can tolerate more shade than root vegetables like radishes and beets. Vegetables that bear fruit such as peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers will need the most sun.
As a service to our readers, we have cross referenced small fruit cultivars with the nurseries where they may be purchased. If any of the nurseries included in this list sells a particular cultivar, the corresponding letter code will appear after the name (e.g. Sweet Charlie Edi, Nou, She). Some cultivars have not been fully tested by NC State University and are included here as worthy of trial. Please consult your local agricultural agent for specific cultivar recommendations best adapted to your area
Causing spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils (Narcissus) to flower by other than naturally occurring conditions is called "forcing." This practice is carried out by commercial growers the world over. With a little care and effort, homeowners can have a steady supply of daffodils (Narcissus) from late December through April. Forcing bulbs should be a challenge to those who are interested in plants.
In the southeastern United States the potential for a drought during the growing season is a very real probability. The length and severity of droughts vary greatly and cannot be predicted, so planning is critical in order to minimize the effects of a drought.
This publication lists sources of shiitake mushroom spawns for cultivation.
This checklist is provided to help growers recognize components of a drip or trickle irrigation system and to assist in planning and installing such a system. A grower should always consult an irrigation specialist or irrigation company that designs and installs drip or trickle systems to ensure the system is properly engineered and designed for his water source and field topography.
New Guinea impatiens have steadily increased in popularity since their introduction into the United States in 1972. Today's varieties offer a wide range of flower colors as well as variegated foliage types. The versatility of this plant allows for its sale as bedding plants, 4 inch potted plants, and up to 12 inch hanging baskets. This factsheet offers advice on growing impatiens.
Use of bedding plant color beds continues to increase. A recent indicates that over 15% of the flowering bedding plants produced in this country are utilized by commercial landscapers. However, success with color beds requires planning, proper bed preparation, and an intensive maintenance program--all of which are outlined in this publication.
Water quality and quantity issues are extremely important in container production of plants. This article addresses both quality and quantity issues for greenhouse and nursery production from a best management practices view.
Deer are among the most beautiful and graceful but troublesome wildlife in North Carolina. Over the past 10 to 15 years, damage to ornamental plants in landscapes and nurseries, by white-tailed deer has increased dramatically in all 100 counties. This situation has become a problem due to the increase in the size of the deer population in North Carolina and to the urbanization of rural areas. Conflicts between deer and landscaped spaces are expected to increase, as more rural areas will be developed.
One of the most important considerations in developing a landscape plan is maintenance. Currently, many homeowners desire a low-maintenance landscape. A popular project for home gardeners is the reduction of lawn areas and problem spots by the incorporation of the "natural area." This is most easily accomplished with a 3- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch such as pine needles, compost or pine straw. Although the area is to appear natural, it should not detract from the overall landscape appearance.
The decisions of when to turn an irrigation system on and off for frost protection are complex and difficult. This guide presents a procedure to follow in making these decisions. This guide is based on the assumption that you have completed certain tasks prior to the night of the decision making. These tasks encompass important planning decisions that are made well ahead of the frost season.
Many people who live in an apartment, condominium, or mobile homes do not grow a vegetable garden because space is not available for a garden plot. Lack of yard space is no excuse for not gardening, since many kinds of vegetables can be readily grown in containers. In addition to providing five hours or more of full sun, attention must be given to choosing the proper container, using a good soil mix, planting and spacing requirements, fertilizing, watering, and variety selection.
Every nursery needs to have someone who routinely checks Electrical Conductivity (EC) also called soluble salts, and pH of container crops, potting inventories and irrigation water. Checking EC and pH should be considered part of the quality control and scouting program in the nursery. Results from testing 3 to 5 containers in a irrigation zone each week can be used to schedule irrigation the following week. Comparing leachate solution collected from containers to water collected from irrigation nozzles provides a good insight into nutrient levels in the containers. Checking EC and pH of nursery crops grown in containers doesn't have to be time consuming, complicated or difficult. The intention of this article is to review the procedure and update growers on the Virginia Tech Extraction Method (VTEM), also called the PourThru extraction procedure.
High pH water and high alkalinity in water can be limiting factors in container production of greenhouse and nursery crops. An understanding of both is needed to accurately treat water with a high pH.
Increasingly, fresh produce growers, packers and sellers are being asked to prepare and maintain written Recall Programs. Elements for FDA "Product Recalls" are in 21CFR7.40, et. seq. Adopting that statutory approach to create Fresh Produce Recall Programs may help the Fresh Produce Industry convert public concern into strategic aid.
Proper nutrition is essential for growing top quality geraniums. Sampling the root substrate for pH and electrical conductivity (EC) with the PourThru extraction method is a quick and simple check of the nutritional status of the crop and can provide immediate clues about a crop’s performance before deficiency or toxicity symptoms appear.
This publication offers a selected list of labs specializing in testing and analyzing samples of greenhouse root substrate, irrigation water, fertilizer solution and plant tissue. Providing the proper nutrition program for your plants is important for controlling growth.
Asparagus has been considered a garden delicacy since Roman times. Any home gardener can grow and enjoy this spring vegetable. Asparagus is a perennial. If you plant and manage properly it will produce for 15 years or more. Since this crop will occupy the land for many years you should start the asparagus bed properly -- location, soil type, soil fertility, size and age of crowns and correct planting are important.
Poinsettias are the traditional Christmas plant because of their colorful bracts. The bracts are actually modified leaves and the yellow cyathia in the center of the bracts are the true flowers. Plant breeders have introduced many new cultivars over the past few years and there are more than 100 cultivars currently available. The array of colors range from red, pink, white, salmon, to bicolors. With these new, longer lasting cultivars being available, it is possible for a properly cared for poinsettia to remain beautiful in the home for 2 to 3 months.
Mulching trees and shrubs is a good method to reduce landscape maintenance and keep plants healthy. Mulch helps conserve moisture - 10 to 25 percent reduction in soil moisture loss from evaporation. Mulches help keep the soil well aerated by reducing soil compaction that results when raindrops hit the soil. They also reduce water runoff and soil erosion. Mulches prevent soil and possible fungi from splashing on the foliage - thus reducing the likelihood of soil-borne diseases. They help maintain a more uniform soil temperature (warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer) and promote the growth of soil microorganisms and earth worms.
Selecting trees for use under utility lines presents a unique challenge. It is often desirable to have trees that are large enough to provide shade, architectural effects, and ornamental features, all without interfering with overhead utility lines. In this publication, we have listed trees that have a typical mature height of less than 30 feet.
Causing spring-flowering bulbs like hyacinths to flower by other than naturally occurring conditions is called forcing. This practice is carried out world-wide by commercial flower growers. With planning and effort, any homeowner can have a steady supply of bulb flowers from late December through April. Forcing bulbs is a rewarding challenge to those interested in the growth and development of plants.
"Paperwhite" Narcissus is one of the easiest flower bulbs for homeowners to force. Commercially, several types are available. Some cultivars (varieties) have pure white flowers while others have white perianths with light yellow cups. Paperwhites originate in the Mediterranean and are tender bulbs. Thus, they can be grown outside only in Climatic zones 8 to 11. Unless one lives in one of these zones, forced bulbs should be discarded.
Proper nutrition is essential for producing quality pansies. Pansies make a large contribution to the net profit of many greenhouse operations and should be included in a nutritional monitoring program. Sampling the root substrate pH and electrical conductivity (EC) with the PourThru extraction method is a quick and simple check of the crop’s nutritional status.
The North Carolina State University (NCSU) Plant Disease and Insect Clinic offers a service for testing ethylene. This leaflet describes the sampling procedures to follow and fees for submitting ethylene pollution samples. (For more details about ethylene pollution in the greenhouse, consult HIL #530, entitled Ethylene: Sources, Symptoms, and Prevention for Greenhouse Crops .) This service is designed to test ethylene levels in greenhouses and is available to any greenhouse grower.
This publication offers a list of vegetable varieties that grow well in parts of North Carolina, as well as possible sources of seed.
This factsheet offers a list of materials available from libraries, publishers, institutions or on the web regarding growing greenhouse vegetables. Superscripts indicate a source for ordering from the address list at the end of the publication.
This publication lists some of the companies that supply herb seeds and/or plants by mail order in the United States.
Ornamental cabbage and kale have been the traditional ornamental vegetables for providing colorful and attractive foliage during the fall and winter months. Recently leafy vegetables, in particular oriental mustards, have become popular for landscape plantings during the cool season. Leafy vegetables which have been popular in salads and stir-fry dishes are now being adopted by curators of botanical gardens and landscape contractors as specimen plants, border plants, and in mass plantings. Planted with pansies and garden mums, these vegetables offer a change of texture and foliar color.
The use of weather information in crop management and particularly the aspects of disease and insect management is growing at a fast pace. Two things drive this growth. Research has provided the understanding of the weather disease and weather insect interactions and technological advances in meteorology and communications have allowed easier and faster access to weather observations. Also, the relatively low cost of the computer systems that provide the decision support for applying this knowledge to every day operations have made them more affordable and practical.
More than 40 sedge species may be found in North Carolina landscapes. Although grass-like in many ways, and the nutsedges are often referred to as “nutgrass”, they are not grasses and require different control measures than grasses. Sedges are easily distinguished from grasses by their leafy shoots that produce leaves in “3s” resulting in stems that are triangular in cross section. In contrast, shoots of grasses are flat or round in cross section.
This publication covers the identification and control of Florida betony, an aggressive, rhizomatous perennial in the mint family categorized as a category B noxious weed in North Carolina.
This publication presents tables of average monthly precipitation values for several North Carolina cities and towns.
Annual sunflower is a native of North America with an original range from the Great Plains to the West Coast. Pot sunflowers have been popular in Europe for a number of years. Pot sunflowers are a quick crop to produce and offer an opportunity for growers to capitalize on the current consumer demand for the plant.