What was the First Vegetable to Sprout in Space?

The very first vegetable to ever sprout in space was the spud. That’s right, the lowly potato earned high flying status when Space Shuttle Columbia tested the production of seed potatoes aboard the shuttle in October 1995.

germinating potato

If you are interested in learning more about growing potatoes on space missions visit NASA’s post Space Spuds to the Rescue and learn about recent developments in  growing Quantum Tubers™

 

Biggest Tree in the World

Title for the biggest tree in the world goes to the cashew tree Anacardium occidentale.

Yup, the very same tree that gives us those scrumptious, expensive, calorie rich cashews.

The cashew tree has a unique growing habit somewhat similar to the Egyptian Walking Onion. As the branches grow they often become so weighty they bow down and touch the earth, sending down roots wherever they make contact.

In Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, this growth habit has resulted is one cashew tree that has spread itself across 7,500 square meters or 80,729 square feet; the equivalent of almost two acres.

In other words, you can’t see the tree for the forest.

This grove consisting of a single tree produces 60,000 cashews every year.

Did you know cashew trees also produce cashew apples? Find out more about them here!

Cashew apple on the tree

Biggest Pumpkins Ever!

The biggest pumpkin for 2015 weighed in at 2230.5 pounds (1011.7 kilograms). It was grown by Ron Wallace of Rhode Island. To date it is the heaviest pumpkin ever produced in North America. Despite its impressive size it fell short by almost 100 pounds (45 kilograms) of the world record set in 2014 by Beni Meier of Germany.

Beni’s pumpkin weighed 2,323.7 pounds (1054 kilograms).

 

Trip 103

A picture of a giant pumpkin with its regular sized relatives in its shadow. As big as this pumpkin is it would be dwarfed by the current record holders.

 

During the height of the growing season these hulking behemoths can put on as much as 50 pounds (23 kilograms) per day! Kind of makes me feel better about the four pounds I put on over Christmas. Not sure why, but it does.

Growing giant pumpkins can become all consuming with many people dedicating their lives to seeing how big of a pumpkin they can produce. With records being shattered year after year there doesn’t seem to be any limit to how big they can grow.

Interested in producing a giant pumpkin? Here are a couple books to help you get growing…

growing giant pumpkin

 

giant pumpkin

A border made of vine plants and a squash

 

Milk Fed Pumpkins

In the early 1900’s feeding milk to pumpkins was a popular trend. The method was reported to result in huge prize winning pumpkins. The technique involved using fresh cow milk. The pumpkin grower would put about a quart of milk in a small bucket, place it on the ground and then cut a slit in the vine and insert a straw or rubber tube. The tube was then placed in the bucket. Another quart of milk was added each day until the pumpkin had reached its optimum size or the day of the Country Fair arrived…whichever came first!

Bucket with milk

Many growers reported that the vines liked the milk so much and became so used to their feeding schedule that they actually rustled their leaves when the person approached the plants with the milk!

A border made of vine plants and a squash