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Different Tastes In Food - November 20th 2020



Do you ever wonder why you plant a certain variety of tomato one year, then plant the same one the next year, but the tastes don’t seem to be the same as the ones you grew the previous year? We'll use tomatoes for our example but the same is true for all of your garden vegetables! You might think all Big Boy tomatoes should taste the same. But the truth is they don’t all taste alike. There are many factors that determine the taste of produce. Some are minor, some are major. some we can control; some we have no control over.

A few we can control are variety, soil and fertilization. Make certain when you buy plants, they are the same ones you planted last year. It’s easy to confuse Big Boy, Big Boy hybrids or even Big Girl. They all look pretty much the same but each has some different features in times to harvest and in taste.

Soil may be the single most important factor in taste determination outside of variety. The crop picks up taste from the soil. The soil in your garden is going to be different from the soil in my garden. One of us may compost leaves and add it to the garden. Someone else may throw firewood ash on the garden. You may add grass clippings, you could grow a cover crop. You could add horse or chicken manure. All of these things are good for the garden but they all slightly alter the taste of what you are growing.

The type of fertilizer you apply also factors into the taste. They may not have a profound effect but they will have some. An organic grown tomato is going to taste different than the same tomato grown with 10-10-10.

Then there are the things we have very little control over. Water, sunlight and temperature being the three-prime ones. You obviously have some control over water. You can decide to irrigate or not to irrigate. Mother Nature, on the other hand, rains as much or little as she chooses. In a year like 2020 she has decided to apply entirely too much water. I can’t imagine anyone growing a garden in the ground who has irrigated at all this year.

I know I have mentioned this before but my son grows a large garden in plain old red soil. In all the years he has planted this garden he has never watered and he always has an abundant harvest.

Anyway, the type of water and the amount of water the crop receives has an effect on the taste of the produce. Rain water, well water or city water all taste different when we drink and they all change the taste of the crop to which they are applied.

The amount of light the crop receives also will have some effect on the taste of the crop. Sunlight and temperature can usually be tied together. Most vegetable crops grown through the summer like plenty of sunlight and warm temperatures. A cool cloudy spring and summer generally does not make for a good garden season. We have little or no control over these two factors.

So next time you bite into a tomato or other produce this might offer some insight on why it tastes as it does.


Let me know if this was helpful. I would love to hear from you.

Interesting Plant Facts



In looking for something to blog about today I couldn’t get my mind wrapped around garden tasks that were suitable for the weather and time of the year. Maybe, it was because I felt lazy and not like doing much. Therefore, I didn’t want to suggest work for someone else.

I decided to shift gears a little and throw a few or more facts about plants that you may not know. Let me know if you find them interesting.

- An average size tree can provide enough wood to make 170,100 pencils.

- The first type of aspirin, painkiller and fever reducer came from the tree bark of a willow tree.

- 85% of plant life is found in the ocean.

- Bananas contain a natural chemical which can make people feel happy.

- Brazil is named after a tree.

- The Amazon rainforest produces half the world’s oxygen supply.

- Cricket bats are made of a tree called Willow and baseball bats are made out of the wood of the Hickory tree.

- Dendrochronology is the science of calculating a tree’s age by its rings.

- Caffeine serves the function of a pesticide in a coffee plant.

- Apple is 25% air, that is why it floats on water.

- Peaches, Pears, apricots, quinces, strawberries, and apples are members of the rose family.

- Apples, potatoes and onions have the same taste, to test this eat them with your nose closed.

- The tears during cutting an onion are caused by sulfuric acid present in them.

- The tallest tree ever was an Australian eucalyptus-in 1872 it was measured at 435 feet tall.

- The first potatoes were cultivated in Peru about 7000 years ago.

These are just a few, there are plenty more where these came from. Another day when I feel lazy and my brain is only functioning at about 40% (no snide remarks please) I will put out a few more of these.


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Plant of the Month-Poinsettias




A Holiday Hallmark


What’s left to discover about Poinsettias?  Well, for starters, Poinsettias are not poisonous, are available in colors besides red, and the finest are found in garden centers.  Ironic, perhaps, that a plant with legendary, child-centered origins is often seen as one dangerous to children.  According to the Poisdonex TM Information Service, a 50-pound child could eat 500 Poinsettia leaves and not demonstrate toxicity

Legends and Myths

Native to Mexico and Central America, legend has it that the first Poinsettia appeared from a poor child’s generosity.  A little girl, Pepita, laid a humble bouquet of weds at the feet of the Christ Child.  Suddenly, the bouquet burst into brilliant red blooms.  It is known that J. R. Poinsett, American Minister to Mexico, discovered the plant there in 1828.

Selecting a Healthy Plant

Plant health is the biggest reason to shop garden centers.  Greenhouse-grown Poinsettias adapt easily to homes heated from winter.  We acclimate plants as much as possible: decreasing fertilizer, lowering greenhouse temperatures so they will survive without being babied.  Choose plants with completely colored and expanded bracts-the colorful portion of a Poinsettia.  The true flowers are the small, yellow centers.  The freshest plants display the tightest true flowers.  Find plants with dense, plentiful foliage down to the soil line.  Plants should be about two and a half times larger than their pots.  Stems should be strong and stiff, not wilting. Avoid buying plants sold in paper, plastic or mesh sleeves, as these reduce airflow to the plant.

Ideas and Uses

Poinsettias make lovely holiday centerpieces too.  Try some in a hanging basket or in containers mixed with trailing ivy.  When blooming is complete, use Poinsettias as foliage plants in annual beds once warm temperatures have returned.

Not Simply Red Anymore

Though dark “Freedom Red” reigns as a traditional favorite, other colors share the spotlight.  Poinsettia color choices include white, pink, and novelty colors such as orange or burgundy.

Care Through the Holidays and Beyond

Poinsettias need indirect sunlight for at least six hours a day and perform best in room temperatures between 68º and 70º Fahrenheit.  Water thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch, but don’t let them sit in standing water.  Garden center professionals recommend all-purpose fertilizers for use after blooming.  The newer varieties have greater longevity.  Don’t expose plants to chilling winds when transporting from the garden center.  Once home, keep them from cold drafts or excess heat.  If you want to attempt a Poinsettia comeback, try the following when colored bracts begin to fall off, cut the plant back, leaving for to six leaf buds.  Place near a sunny window, water and fertilize regularly.  By the end of May, you should see healthy new growth.  Keep caring for plants until autumn.  Poinsettias set buds and produce flowers as the nights get longer.  Starting October 1, plants need fourteen hours of total darkness.  You can meet this requirement by placing a box over your plants.  During the day, give them six to eight hours of bright sunshine.  Do this for eight to ten weeks and your Poinsettias should develop bright blooms just in time for the holidays.

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