Monday, January 14, 2013

News from The Bulletin January/February 2013

As members of the BC Council of Garden Clubs (BCCGC) the Powell River Garden Club receives The Bulletin bi-monthly throughout the year. The Bulletin contains news and information from the Council as well as informative and interesting articles submitted by Club members.

Below, please find many of the articles published in The Bulletin, January/February 2013 edition. A printed copy of The Bulletin is available at Club meetings.

Article 1:    Kale: 2012 Wonder Marilyn Holt
Article 2:    Seed Germination Chart
Article 3:    Aeonium
Article 4:    Bismarck Palm aka Bismarckia nobilis . . .by Marilyn Holt
Article 5:    Kalanchoe Daigremontiana
Article 6:    Spotted Wing Drosophila...BC Ministry of Agriculture
Article 7:    What Plant Is This...Peter Gail
Article 8:    Best Tomatoes From The Pacific Northwest

Article 1:     Kale:  2012 Wonder Marilyn Holt
Kale will be know as the wonder food for 2012. It didn’t matter how many times I ordered replacement kale seeds for our seed racks, we always ran out before the week was out and we carry kale from five different seed companies. By the time mid-May arrived, even the seed companies didn’t have enough kale seeds to refill our racks, or anyone else’s for that matter.

So, what was the rush on kale seeds in 2012? Articles written by several health magazines, and especially Live-Strong on their website. The next step for me was to research what all the fuss was about. Yes, kale is healthy for you.  We’ve known that for years, but what did they write that made everyone want it? Now my interest was piqued, what a great marketing tool! So....

Kale - annuals or biennuals, raised from seed or starter plants. Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and rich in calcium. Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties. Boiling decreases the level of sulforaphane; however, steaming, microwaving, or stir frying do not result in significant loss. Along with other brassica vegetables, kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical that boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. Kale is also a good source of carotenoids.

Until the end of the Middle Ages, kale was one of the most common green vegetables in all of Europe. Curly leafed varieties of cabbage already existed along with flat leafed varieties in Greece in the fourth century BC. These forms, which were referred to by the Romans as Sabellian kale, are considered to be the ancestors of modern kales.

Today one may differentiate between varieties according to the low, intermediate, or high length of the stem, with varying leaf types. The leaf colours range from light green through green, dark green and violet-green to violet-brown. Russian kale was introduced into Canada (and then into the US) by Russian traders in the 19th century.

During World War II, the cultivation of kale in the UK was encouraged by the
Dig for Victory campaign. The vegetable was easy to grow and provided important nutrients to supplement those missing from a normal diet because of rationing.

Because kale can grow well into winter, one variety of Rape Kale is called 'Hungry Gap', named after the period in winter in traditional agriculture when little could be harvested.

A extra tall variety is known as Jersey kale or "cow cabbage".

Kale freezes well and actually tastes sweeter and more flavourful after being exposed to frost. Tender kale greens can provide an intense addition to salads, particularly when combined with other such strongly flavoured ingredients as dry-roasted peanuts, tamari-roasted almonds, red pepper flakes, or an Asian-style dressing. When baked or dehydrated, Kale takes on a consistency similar to that of a potato chip, and is a much healthier alternative to regular potato chips. The chips can be seasoned with salt or other spices.

The best way to utilize all Kale’s health benefits is to juice it with other vegetables and fruits.

Article 2:  Seed Germination Chart

How To Test Viability of Saved Seed

Use a paper towel that has been moistened.  Place a few seeds on paper towel.  Insert to sealable plastic bag.  Label bag as to variety and date sown so the seeds won't be wasted if they are viable.  Place sealed bag in a warm area out of direct sunlight.  Check after 24 hours then daily for germinated seed. 


Bean, lima   85 degrees F  7 to 10
Bean, snap 75 - 80 degrees F  7
Beet 75 degrees F  7 to 14
Broccoli 65 - 75 degrees F   5 to 10
Brussels sprout 68 - 75 degrees F  5 to 10
Cabbage 68 - 75 degrees F  5 to 10
Cantaloupe 80 - 85 degrees F 5 to 10
Carrot 75 degrees F 12 to 15
Cauliflower 65 - 75 degrees F 5 to 10
Celery 70 - 75 degrees F  10 to 14
Collard 70 - 75 degrees F 5 to 10
Corn 75 - 85 degrees FF 7 to10
Cucumber 70 - 85 degrees F 7 to 10
Eggplant 75 - 85 degrees F 10 to 12
Endive 70 - 75 degrees F 10 to 14
Kale 70 - 75 degrees F 5 to 10
Kohlrabi 70 - 75 degrees F 5 to 10
Lettuce 65 - 70 degrees FF 7 to 10
Melon 80 - 85 degrees F 5 to 10
Mustard Greens 70 degrees F 5 to 10
Okra 80 - 85 degrees F 7 to 14
Onion, bulbing 70 - 75 degrees F 10 to 14
Onion, bunching 60 - 70 degrees F 10 to 14
Parsnip 70 degrees F  14 to 21
Pea 65 - 70 degrees F 7 to 14
Pepper 78 - 85 degrees F 10 to 14
Pumpkin 70 - 75 degrees F 7 to 10
Radish 65 - 70 degrees F 5 to 7
Rutabaga 65 - 70 degrees F 7 to 15
Spinach 70 degrees F 7 to 14
Spinach, New Zealand 75 degrees F 10 to 15
Squash, Summer 75 - 85 degrees F 7 to 14
Squash, Winter 75 - 80 degrees F 7 to 14
Swiss Chard 70 - 75 degrees F 7 to 14
Tomato 75 - 80 degrees F 7 to 14
Turnip 65 - 70 degrees F 7 to 14

Article 3:  Aeonium
Aeonium, commonly called Houseleek Tree, is a genus of about 35 species of succulent, subtropical plants of the Crassulaceae family.  Most are native to the Canary Islands with some found in Madeira, Morocco and East Africa.

The rosette leaves are on a basal stem. There are also low growing species such as A. tabuliforme and A. smithii. There are large species such as A. arboreum, A. valver-dense and A. holochrysum.

They are related to the genera Sempervivum, Aichryson and Monanthes. This is easy to see from their similar flower and inflorescences. Greenovia has recently been placed into the Aeonium family.

Aeonium require little water and in winter can be reduced to help survive cooler conditions. In general, aeoniums that are green prefer some shade whereas the varieties with purple like full sun. In summer they can be moved outdoors to enhance plant growth but in the fall they cannot withstand temperatures below 10 degrees C.  Soil should be free draining.

*To see images, click on Aeonium above.

Article 4: Bismarck Palm aka Bismarchia nobilis...Marilyn Holt
The Bismarck Palm (Bismarckia nobilis) will turn heads and make you think of the Jurassic Age. Wherever this palm is planted, it will draw attention with its massive silvery blue-green fronds and its stout trunk. It certainly caught my attention on a recent vacation to Maui.
We Canadians can still grow this beautiful specimen by making it comfortable indoors during the winter months and moving it outdoors during the spring and summer months. Let’s face it, Canadians are adapting individuals with a high drive of ‘let ‘s give it a try’ and a tenacity to turn our ‘non-tropical gardens’ into the tropics for summer. To do this, our only option is to grow this beauty in containers where it will become a ’plant of distinction’. I have already ordered seeds for this palm which will arrive shortly. Unfortunately it takes an extremely long time to germinate - I won’t tell you how long in case it stifles your interest in this gorgeous palm. Just remember, all great things are worth waiting for and just imagine the feeling of accomplishment you will have when the first frond is sighted!

The Bismarck Palm is indigenous to the island of Madagascar, where unfortunately due to high agricultural land use, it is becoming extinct. However, in other tropical areas of the world, where the rainfall occurs in the spring and summer, they are doing extremely well. Unfortunately California is not one of those places as rainfall usually occurs in the cooler winter months.

The Bismarck Palm is a monotypic palm which means it is the only one in its genus. This beauty grows to an average height of 20 to 30 feet, but takes as many years (or more) to attain that height as the average growth is usually half to one foot per year under ‘optimal’ growing conditions. It enjoys full sun and space for the fronds to spread. At full growth, the fronds are palmate and reach almost three feet in diameter. The trunk will grow to two feet in diameter at maturity.

When planting in containers, choose a soil with good drainage but re-member to water regularly while outdoors in the summer months. The quickest way to kill a Bismarck Palm is to allow the roots to dehydrate. Try to mimic its natural habitat where there are distinct wet and dry seasons, for us lots of water in the spring and summer and not much in the fall and winter months. The temperature range it enjoys for optimal growth is from 4 degrees C to36 degrees C, being hardy to Zone 10-11.

If recently transplanted, make sure to keep the roots hydrated by watering twice a day for the first two weeks which should ensure successful transplanting. Once established, it will enthusiastically push out new fronds on a regular basis and if you diligently look after this palm, you will be rewarded with fruit for you to exchange seeds with other palm enthusiasts.

For those of you that are curious, three weeks is the germination time for Bismarck Palm seeds!
*For images, click here.

Article 5: Kalanchoe Daigremontiana *(see warning below)
Kalanchoe (kah-lan-ko-ee) daigremontiana, (aka Mother of Thousands or Mexican Hat Plant) is a flowering angiosperm in the family of Crassulaceae. It is a succulent with thick green leaves with purple splotches. As a succulent it retains a lot of water in its leaves and can survive in very sandy or rocky soil, preferring full sun to partial shade. Multiple spear-shaped plantlets form along the leaves' perimeter to provide the plant opportunities to propagate itself (asexual). These plantlets drop off with agitation or age and populate the soil nearby very quickly. For this reason, it is considered an invasive species in the United States, Caribbean territories, Australia, South Africa and Hawaii. It can reach a height of 3 feet, with an impressive 3- to 4-foot spread. Leaves range from 4 to 10 inches long and 1 to 3 inches wide. When flowering, the central stalk elongates and can reach a height from 30 to 50".

This plant is a native to Madagascar and was first introduced into the United States in 1928 by Charles Swingle, a researcher with the US Department of Agriculture.

Derek B. Munro of the Eastern Cereal and Oilseed Research Centre in Ottawa states this plant contains cardiac glyco-side daigremontianum, which has caused toxicity and deaths in chicks and mice during experiments. Common symptoms of poisoning include rapid and labored breathing, muscle twitching, convulsions and paralysis. The plantlets on the edges of a plant's main leaves have a tendency to fall off and collect around the base. For this reason, pets around its vicinity should be kept from ingesting them.
*For images, click here.

Article 6: Spotted Wing Drosophila...BC Ministry of Agriculture
*Please click on this link to access article.

Article 7: What Plant Is This...Peter Gail
Suppose your doctor tells you, on your next visit, that he has just discovered a miracle drug which, when eaten as a part of your daily diet or taken as a beverage, could, depending on the peculiarities of your body chemistry: prevent or cure liver diseases, such as hepatitis or jaundice; act as a tonic and gentle diuretic to purify your blood, cleanse your system, dissolve kidney stones, and otherwise improve gastrointestinal health; assist in weight reduction; cleanse your skin and eliminate acne; improve your bowel function, working equally well to relieve both constipation and diarrhea; prevent or lower high blood pressure; prevent or cure anemia; lower your serum cholesterol by as much as half; eliminate or drastically reduce acid indigestion and gas buildup by cutting the heaviness of fatty foods; prevent or cure various forms of cancer; prevent or control diabetes mellitus; and, at the same time, have no negative side effects and selectively act on only what ails you. If he gave you a prescription for this miracle medicine, would you use it religiously at first to solve whatever the problem is and then consistently for preventative body maintenance?

All the above curative functions, and more, have been attributed to one plant known to everyone, Taraxacum officinale, which means the "Official Remedy for Disorders." We call it the common dandelion. It is so well respected, in fact, that it appears in the U.S. National Formulatory, and in the Pharmacopeias of Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, and the Soviet Union. It is one of the top 6 herbs in the Chinese herbal medicine chest.

According to the USDA Bulletin #8, "Composition of Foods" (Haytowitz and Matthews 1984), dandelions rank in the top 4 green vegetables in overall nutritional value. Minnich, in "Gardening for Better Nutrition" ranks them, out of all vegetables, including grains, seeds and greens, as tied for 9th best. According to these data, dandelions are nature's richest green vegetable source of betacarotene, from which Vitamin A is created, and the third richest source of Vitamin A of all foods, after codliver oil and beef liver! They also are particularly rich in fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and the B vitamins, thiamine and riboflavin, and are a good source of protein.

Recent research, reported in the Natural Healing and Nutritional Annual, 1989 (Bricklin and Ferguson 1989) on the value of vitamins and minerals indicates that:

* Vitamin A is important in fighting cancers of epithelial tissue, including mouth and lung

* Potassium rich foods, in adequate quantities, and particularly in balance with magnesium, helps keep blood pressure down and reduces risks of strokes

* Fiber fights diabetes, lowers cholesterol, reduces cancer and heart disease risks, and assists in weight loss. High fiber vegetables take up lots of room, are low in calories, and slow down digestion so the food stays in the stomach longer and you feel full longer
* Calcium in high concentrations can build strong bones and can lower blood pressure

* B vitamins help reduce stress.

To be continued in March/April issue.

Article 8: Best Tomatoes From The Pacific Northwest
Best tomatoes for the Pacific Northwest




Early Girl Super Sweet 100 Roma
Beefsteak Sungold San Marzano
Stupice Sweet Million Amish Paste
Big Beef Black Cherry Viva Italia
Cherokee Purple Gold Nugget Principe Borghese



Brandywine Yellow Pear Green Zebra
Beefsteak Stupice Cherokee Purple
Mortgage Lifter Glacier Black Krim
Early Girl Juliet Taxi

‘Super Sweet 100’
55-68 days
This cultivar is an indeterminate hybrid that produces long fruit bearing stems holding 100 or more very sweet cherry tomatoes. Fruits weigh approximately 1oz. and are 1" across. Plants need caging or staking. Fruits are produced throughout the growing season. Super Sweet 100 is more resistant to verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt and nematodes. Super Sweet 100 are perfect for snacking, salads and even juicing.
 Early Girl’
60-62 days
Medium size, indeterminate, globe type, F1 hybrid tomato popular with home gardeners because of its early fruit ripening. It is tall growing and needs support. Matures from 50 to 62 days after transplanting. Fruit is the size of tennis balls and weighs about 4 to 8 ozs. Brightly coloured, good tasting. Early Girl VF is verticillium and fusariun wilt (strain 1) resistant. VFF hybrid is resistant to fusarium wilt strains 1 and 2.

‘Yellow Pear’
70-80 days
Yellow Pear is an indeterminate, heirloom tomato, originating in Europe in the 1700s. They are sweet and smaller than other plum tomatoes. In 1825 the Hudson’s Bay Company at Fort Vancouver, operated a seven acre farm filled with flowers, herbs, vegetables and fruits – the yellow pear tomato was found on their farm.

‘Green Zebra’
75 Days
A beautiful chartreuse tomato with dark green and yellow stripes. Flesh is bright green, sweet with a sharp bite. A favourite tomato of many high class Chefs. Newer cultivars when ripe have blush red stripes instead of yellow. It is more tart than regu-lar tomatoes, being listed as ‘spicy’. Green Zebra was hybridized by Tom Wagner of Everett.

90-100 days
Brandywine id an heirloom cultivar with large, potato-leaved foliage. Fruit are large, pink beef-steak shaped fruit and considered among the best tasting tomato avail-able. Fruits can brow up to 1.5 lbs. each. Brandywine matures from 80 to 100 days. The fruit is pink and even when fully ripe can have green shoulders near the stem.

70-80 days

Roma aka Italian, is a plum tomato that is mostly meat. It is a Fusarium wilt and verticillium wilt resistant cultivar and is probably the plum tomato you buy at supermarkets. Roma is available in red and yellow, has few seeds and is great for canning and tomato sauce. Even though it is an open pollinated variety (not a hybrid), it is not considered an heirloom.

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