Planting A Winter Crops Of Radishes & Undersized Apples

Question:

 I'm going to plant a winter garden after pulling out my summer veggies. What does the soil needs for radish and carrots?

Answer:

  • The soil preparation for beets, carrots, turnips, and other root crops is similar and different from leafy crops.
  • First,  add organic matter in the form of soil conditioner, homemade compost, etc., into the native soil to replenish what has been used up by the soil microbes. A generous amount of organic matter is necessary to prevent the soil from compacting with the clay soil. Compacted soil produces distorted and funny-looking carrots and other root crops at harvest.
  • Substitute Superphosphate for Phosphorus instead of animal manure or vegetable food, as the extra Phosphorus aids in root development, flower and fruit production in plants. I'd add five pounds of Superphosphate per 100 linear feet.
    • The fertilizer is mixed into the soil before sowing the seed. Unlike nitrogen, Phosphorus is not mobile, so it needs to be mixed into the root zone. Animal manure combined with organic matter and other fertilizers will make the soil nitrogen-rich. Lettuce, Swiss Chard, Spinach, and other leafy crops are energized, but the root crops suffer.
    • The plant produces an abundance of lush green foliage and a small root system. With beets, carrots, radishes, and others, the edible part of the plant is the root. Superphosphate is very beneficial with Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, and Cabbage. With seedling plants, add one teaspoon per plant. The edible part of these vegetables is the flower parts.

Question:

We have a 30-year-old Gravenstein Apple tree in our backyard. It produces apples every year, but the majority are too small to use for apple butter or sauce. It is covered in blossoms and has many apples bunched together every year, but in late July or early August, they start to drop. How do I go about increasing the size of the apples and stop them from falling?

Answer:

  •  It’s normal for apples to drop in the summer months. It's called the June drop. So, I would be overly concerned about it. In the spring, fertilize with an organic fruit tree fertilizer. You need to thin the apple clusters when they're the size of a marble. Three apples per cluster are the norm.
  • Also, remove those apples at the end of the branches. You support or brace the branches with 2x4. This reduces the bending branches and broken limbs. It will also protect the maturing apples from developing brown blotches from sunburn. Reducing the number of apples each year can help in increasing the size. You could also apply 0-10-10 fertilizer for the additional Phosphorus during the dormant season. For a mature tree, five pounds spread under the canopy is sufficient.
  • Even though they are on the smallest size, I'd still use them to make applesauce.