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Thursday, 5 March 2020

Red Flowers and Green Endive

TALKING FLOWERS

All Flowers that are red

In the studio, we held the flowers of Tiger Bay dahlia, Red Pierre rose, red geraniums, red gladioli, buds of flowering gum and a leucodendron.
For all flowers that arise from tubers, cut the stems flush across the bottom. Mercedes calls these :male' flowers. Not to be confused with the male parts of flowers or male flowers on cucurbits.
This is simply a term to distinguish how to treat the stems of cut flowers.
Tip: Gladioli needs the top few cms removed so that the blooms sit up straight.
  • List of red flowers available as cut flowers in February.

China aster, bouvardia, dahlia, gerbera, nerine, roses, water lily.
The colour red increases your heart rate and appetite, but is also a symbol of passion.
  • Trees that have red flowers in February: Stenocarpus sinuatus: Firewheel tree. (pictured.)


Video was recorded live during the broadcast of Real World Gardener on 19th February 2020

VEGETABLE HERO

Endive

Endive-the bitter version of lettuce or is it?
Scientifically, Cichorium endivia is a leaf vegetable belonging to the daisy or Asteraceae family, like all lettuces really.
Because it’s in the daisy family ,should your Endive bolt to seed, or you let a few go to flower, you’ll attract beneficial insects to your garden that’ll control your pest population.
Endive is a green leafy plant that looks a lot like frizzy and crinkly lettuce with a slightly bitter taste.
  • If you don’t like bitter notes in your food I’ll tell you how you can grow it without it turning bitter a little later.
  • Did you know that Endive is a cool weather green, because like hearting lettuce, it bolts to seed in warm weather?
  • Now is the perfect temperature to sow the seeds of Endive.

Traditionally lettuce is eaten raw but Endive can be cooked or used raw in salads.
There are two main varieties of cultivated endive:
Frisée or Curly endive, (var crispum) and Escarole or broad leaved endive. (var latifolia.)
  • Curly Endive has narrow, curly outer twisted leaves that are firm and bitter to taste. The outside leaves are dark green, while the core can be yellow or white.
    Curly endive
  • Escarole, or broad-leaved endive (var latifolia) has broad, pale green leaves and is less bitter than the other varieties. Broad-leaf Endive consists of a bunch of thick broad leaves that are coarse and slightly tough in texture. This type of Endive is eaten like other greens, sauteed, chopped into soups and stews, or as part of a green salad.

Endive broad leaf
Belgian Endive or Witloof Chicory is really quite different to the other types of endive, with a narrow, lightly packed pointed head that looks like a  spearhead.
Witloof as I’ve seen it called, ranges in colour from pale yellowish-green to white.
But whatever type of Endive you grow, you’ll find that’s it’s dead easy, like a lot of lettuce type vegetables.
If you grow Endive yourself you’ll save money because it tends to be the more expensive of the greens in the supermarket or greengrocer.
When to Grow
Are you asking when shall I put in the seeds of Endive ?
For Tropical, sub-tropical and Arid areas, sow your endive seeds from April to July,
In temperate zones, March until May, then again in early Spring, and in cool temperate districts you had March, possibly still try in April, but unless you have a greenhouse of some sort, wait until September, October.
Endive is best planted at soil temperatures between 15°C and 25°C. and should be ready to pick in 10-11 weeks.

Endive seeds are very fine but try and spread the seeds as thinly as possible directly into the garden.
Cover the seeds with a very fine layer of loose soil or seed raising mix.
Water lightly, and keep soil moist.
Thin plants to 15cm apart, in rows 45cm apart.
Tip: Some people sprinkle the seeds on top of a fine soil, and just water them in.
You can start endive in punnets or trays just as you would for heading lettuce and transplant later if you want to.
If you’re doing the punnet thing, spray them daily with a fine mist of water until the seeds germinate, transplanting them about 20 - 30 cm apart
Like other greens, endive tastes best when it grows quickly and steadily.
Make sure it gets enough water and fertilizer.
  • Now here’s the tip on reducing the bitterness.

Endive  has a slightly bitter taste which can add zing to a salad bowl but if you’re not into bitter tasting lettuce, you can take out the bitterness by blanching.
Not in boiling water, but out in the garden.

Blanching is a technique used in vegetable growing.

  • Young shoots of a plant are covered to exclude light, so that they don’t produce as much chlorophyll, which is that green stuff in leaves.
  • The result is leaves that are paler in colour.
  • Blanched vegetables have a more delicate flavour and texture than unblanched vegetables.
  • You can also blanch your Endive by tying the leaves together when a rosette begins to form or cover with a large pot for about 3 weeks.

Tip: An easy way to blanch your endive is to cut off the top and bottom of a milk carton and pop it over your Endive plant 1-3 weeks before they are ready. That should be about 7 weeks after you sowed the seeds, so put a note in your diary.
That way, the stems will be whitish and not so bitter.
Why is it good for you?
Endive is rich in many vitamins and minerals, especially in folate and vitamins A and K, and is high in fibre. Endive is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, a great addition to your weight loss program.
THAT WAS YOUR VEGETABLE HERO FOR TODAY

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