Over the past year of learning how to grow fruit & veg I have come across the above terms and I was just wondering firstly, with what is the term or definition for when someone does something (e.g. forcing, earthing up, blanching) to get a desired outcome (in this case a higher yield/quicker harvest) from the crops they have planted.
Would it be called manipulation of the plant?
I ask this because I am interested in learning how to get more from what I plant (as to say I originally thought just planting and not doing anything else to the crop physically would be al that was needed but now I am learning about these terms/techniques I am keen to try them to get a bigger harvest).
As I understand it currently, you earth up potatoes for bigger yields, force rhubarb using a pot to get bigger stems and blanch leeks (or earth them up) to get bigger stems.
It would be interesting to get hold of something which would tell me how I can manipulate the plant in order to get more from it. Anyone got any sources?
I hope this makes sense & thank you for your time.
I don't know about forcing but earthing up is also referred to as hilling up for potatoes. (dragging soil up around the plant as it grows so that there's never more than 6" or so above ground) Some people also bury their tomato plants and/or lay the stalk sideways when transplanting, leaving just the top few leaves above ground. Both tomato and potato (being related) will grow roots from the stem when buried. That means more potatoes since it's a root crop and for tomatoes it makes for a stronger plant having more roots to take up nutrients.
Sorry, I don't know of any one particular source for that type of info. Best I can tell you is to do a web search for "greater yields from ___________".
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Cris Bessette wrote: In my mind, forcing just gets you crops earlier, blanching is to modify specific crops to change the plants' characteristics- generally lighter in color and not as tough/chewy
As far as I know, these are basically forcing and blanching's definitions.
I've never eaten plants that are either, partly as nothing needs to be 'forced' in my climate,
and partly because I want red rhubarb and green asparagus
From what I understand about forcing (at least with rhubarb) is that you can force some to yield earlier in the season than it normally would if nature were to take it's course. I have read about the process but have not yet tried it. It is on the someday to experiment with list.
So if one were to create microclimates on their land that got the same things to ripen at different times, would that sort of be like forcing or just considered extending the season? I am specifically thinking of what Sepp Holzer does on the Krameterhof by using the differences in elevation on the property to significantly extend his harvest season on many things.
"Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you." ~Maori Proverb
One thing you almost certainly will want to blanch is cauliflower. This is done by snapping one of the large leaves over the crown when head is almost up to size. The head continues to develop without the sun and ends up a nice white with a dense crown. Unblanched cauliflower develops kinda an ugly yellowish ting, is less dense, and has a bit bit of an off flavor. Most like their cauliflower delicate and white and thus they blanch.
The youtube series "The Victorian Garden" takes you on a month by month
tour of how they did it back in the days of the old Manor Houses. They had to
provide food for "the big house" year round and against all odds. It is chock full
of ideas if you can stay with it and pay attention through the whole series.
I learned most of these things from other gardeners, or comparing notes on how to grow a plant in different garden books. Local books are best, because they are based on how the species actually interacts wtih local climate, Binda Colebrook's Winter Gardening, Steve Solomon's Growing Vegetables W of Cascades are goto books for my region. The old Rodale Organic Gardening green book is full of ideas. Elliot Coleman's books are rich in tidbits.
Paul Cereghino- Stewardship Institute Maritime Temperate Coniferous Rainforest - Mild Wet Winter, Dry Summer