3 Cool Gardening Things to Learn About This Holiday Weekend

This weekend my family and I will be busy in the festivities of Christmas and even though this time of the year here in NJ means it’s cold, neither the holiday nor the weather deters me from wanting to know and learn more about vegetable gardening. I put together three things that I find fascinating and hopefully you will too.

Cytokinin

This should take you back to 3rd grade plant science class. Cytokinins are a class of plant growth substances (phytohormones, chemicals that regulate plant growth) that promote cell division, or cytokinesis, in plant roots and shoots. When a plant’s stem is moved back and forth, cytokinin is created. This helps create stronger thicker stems in plants. If you grow your plants indoors, once a day give them a light back and forth brush to help promote this process. If your plants are outdoors, you won’t have to do anything as this will occur naturally when the wind blows.

Personalization

If you are like me then you enjoy growing your own pumpkins for display during the cooler autumn months and of course Halloween. But did you know that the larger varieties of pumpkins, 5 pounds and over, are very durable during their growth? So durable that you can actually personalize each pumpkin you grow. I would like to say I came up with this idea, but I learned about it in “The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible” by Edward C. Smith. Using a finger nail or another sharp object, carve your name (not too deep though), into your pumpkin. For me, with two young sons, we carve their names into each of their pumpkin. As the pumpkin grows so will their carved name and the child gets a thrill watching their personalized pumpkin.

Pepper Heat

Not too long ago I watched a show on Food TV which was for a Buffalo Hot Wing contest somewhere in Texas. When one of the judges was asked about the eventual winner of the contest, he said, the wings were so hot that his lips began to ache as he brought it up to his mouth. The winner’s sauce was made from a pepper seed extract similar to how pepper spray is made…OUCH! As you know, pepper varieties will vary in the amount of heat you feel when you bite into it and in 1912 a man by the name of Wilbur Scoville discovered how to measure the levels of heat a pepper contains. Although we now measure the heat of peppers by the amount of capsaicin it has, you can still measure the heat in a pepper with his Scoville Units.

Mike Podlesny is the author of Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person: A Guide to Vegetable Gardening for the rest of us, the moderator for the largest
http://www.facebook.com/VeggieGardening”>vegetable gardening page on Facebook and creator of the Seeds Club [http://seedsclub.averagepersongardening.com].