Education - Read & Learn :
In present day Peru, there are eight species of the tomato genus growing wild in the Andes Mountains. The current range of wild tomato relatives extends from th enorthern tip of Chile on the south, to Ecuador on the north and reaching inland from the Pacific 100-200 miles, also including the Galapagos Islands. The top five tomato producing countries of the world are United States, China, turkey, italy & india, in that order. Within the US, Florida, California and Georgia are the top commercial producing states...
Almost five thousand years ago, carrots were firstly cultivatedin the Iranian Plateau and then in the Persian Empire. Western and Arabicliteratures reveal that carrots were originated in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. It should be noted, however, that there were no Afghanistan or Pakistan in those olden days and the Iranian Plateau (a term which covers Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran) must be considered as the land of origin for carrots.
wild onions grow presently in Central Asia where the whole family of onions is said to have originated, though some say it was in the area of Iran, Afghanistan & Pakistan. There are 325 species of onions, 70 of which grow in North America. The grand allium family includes onions, shallots, green onions (often called scallions), chives. leeks and garlic. Onions contain complex sulphur compounds. When you cut into an onion, two chemical reactions take place. First, when a knife cuts through the cells of an onion, it's enzymes release a strong smell. Second, the onion releases allicin. a volatile sulphur gas that irritates the eyes and sends one rushing for a tissue.
Beans are one of the longest-cultivated plants. Broad beans, with seeds the size of the small fingernail, were gathered in their wild state in Afghanistan and the Hymalayan foothills. In a form improved from naturally occurring types, they were already being grown in Thailand since the early seventh millennium BC. Not until the second millennium BC did cultivated, large-seeded broad beans appear in the Aegean, Iberia and transalpine Europe.
Vegetables have interesting stories to tell. Some originate from very faraway places and others from not so far.
Here are some examples:-
The eggplant is thought to have originated in India where it grew wild. It was first cultivated in China and was then introduced into Europe during the Middle Ages by the Moors and it soon became popular. By the 18th centuary, both the French and the Italians planted eggplant. They called it aubergine. The eggplant has other names such as melongene or brinjal. Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809, who also happened to be an experimental botanist, introduced the eggplant to the United States in 1806. Eggplant is an excellent source of dietary fibre. It is an excellent source of vitamins B1, B6 and potassium and also contains copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, niacin and folic acid. Nasunin, an anthocyanin from eggplants peels, is a potent antioxidant and
free-radical scavenger which is thought to help fight cancer.
It is believed that the beetroot comes from wild sea beet. Wild sea beet grows all over the coastlines of Europe and Western Asia and has a rather small unappetising roots. The plant was sometimes used as a food but this would have mainly been the leaves and stems rather thanthe root. However ot seems that varieties of the plant were cultivated in Greece in and around 3000 BC with edible roots. It appears that the beetroot as known today is a relatively modern invention. Beetroots were long and thin until medieval times and one of the earliest records of a swollen root was in the mid fifteen hundreds. Even then the red beetroot did not appear until the 17th centuary.
Most of us think of Ireland when thinking of potatoes. We do so because the potato played an important role in Irish history. More than a centuary ago the people of Ireland depended on potato for most of their food. Then 1846, the potato blight destroyed the whole year's crop. Sadly, more than half a million people lost their lives to famine! But the famous Irish potato did not originate in Ireland. The potato is a native of the highlands of Ecudor and Peru. To this day, it can be found there growing wild. In the sixteenth centuary, the Spaniards who came to Peru found it and brought it back to Spain with them. From Spain it spread all over Europe and became a popular food with the people. Some believe that the Spaniards first brought the potato to North Amerioca. But there is evidence that it was first brought to New Hampshire, in the United States, from Ireland in 1719.
The cabbage is centuaries old and other plants have descended from it which one would never associate or resemble with cabbages. The best known of these are Brussels sprout, broccoli, cauliflower, the common cabbage, kale and kohlrabi. Thousands of years ago, the cabbage was a useless plant that grew along the coast in various parts of Europe. It had showy yellow flowers and filled leaves. From the ancient wild parent plant, over 150 varieties of cultivated plants have been developed. The word cabbage is from the old French word "cabouche", meaning "head". Depending on the temperature at which they grow, cabbage plants produce either heads or seeds.
There are many insects and creatures that live in a vegetable patch.
Although some are beneficial, others can damage the crop.
Let us have a look at some of the insects that can cause damage to your
produce and what they look like.
Aphids are very common sap-sucking insect pestscausing distorted growth and excreting sticky substance (honeydew) on foliage, which attracts growth of sooty moulds. Some aphids transmit viruses, this is a partcular problem with strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, dahlias, tulips and sweet peas. They are also called greenfly, blackfly or plant lice.
The Small Cabbage White Butterfly larva is probably the most destructive of all the caterpillars, devouring cabbages and other cruciferous crops all over the world. The adults are distinguished from the Large White by their smaller and less pronounced black markings. The adult male has one spot on the wing and the female has two.
The Large White is one of the two species that can claim the title of "cabbage white" that is the bane of allotment holders all over the British Isles. The larva of this species can reach pest proportions, and decimate cabbages to the point that they become mere skeletons of their former selves. The female is distinguished from the male by the presence of two black spots, together with a black dash, on the forewing upperside. This is one of the most widespread species found in the British Isles and can be found almost everywhere, including the Orkneys and Shetlands.
Slugs and Snails are molluscs of the Gastropoda which literally translated is "stomach foot". Gastrpods from the second largest class in the animal kingdom, the largest being insects. Most terrestrial snails and slugs belong to the subclass Pulmonata, order Stylommatophora. Of the 29 species in Britain a few are carnivorous, but most live on living and decaying plant tissue: usually the plants we like to look at or eat ourselves!
The bright red body, black legs and head makee Red Lily Beetles very striking in appearance, but these little beasts are very distinctive tobulbous plants and in particular Lilum such as Turk's cap lilies, asiatic lilies, oriental lilies and Tiger lilies also some Fritillaria species. As with most destructive invertibrates it is the larval stage that does most of the damage.
From spring to autumn the beetles and larvae on the foliage, flowers and stems. The removal of the leaves deprives the plant of food production which severely weakens it and may prevent flowering the following year, or in some cases kill the plant.
The Wood-pigeons are a pest to the gardener as they can devastate brassica crops, especially young plants. They tear the leaves to shreds, with onlythe fibrous skeletons left sticking up in the air. (The damage caused by slugs and caterpillars does not look so ragged.) On a larger scale they will also damage grain and pea crops, so are detested by farmers as well. They are mainly vegetarian eating flowers, young shoots, grasses, seeds and berries, but may eat invertebrates at times