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02 Bitter cucumbers

first_imgVolume XXXINumber 1Page 2 This is often the case with cucumbers. Sometimes they can tastedownright bitter. The good news is that this is preventable.Following a few simple tips can make sure you get thegreat-tasting cukes your labors deserve.The bitter taste that sometimes happens comes from one of threethings, or a combination of the three. Here are some tips to helpyou avoid all of them.The first is to harvest cucumbers before they reach fullmaturity. Leaving them on the vine too long, trying to get extralong fruit, can lead to disappointing taste. Cucumbers can growfast once they start producing, so be sure to plant only as muchas you can keep up with, to keep the harvest young.WaterMoisture control is the second tip for growing salad-qualitycucumbers. Irrigation or rain is critical, especially in the lastweek or so before the harvest. Failing to provide enough watercan definitely lead to poor-tasting cucumbers.The best way to water is with a drip system, irrigation tape orsoaker hoses. Provide about 1 inch to 1.5 inches of water perweek. Even more water near harvest time will help. Overheadwatering is OK. But it’s the least efficient method, and it maylead to foliar diseases.Third, manage the soil fertility. This means adjusting the pH(alkalinity or acidity) of the soil correctly and providingproper nutrition.Submitting a soil sample to your University of GeorgiaCooperative Extension county agent’s office is the most preciseway to do this. There’s no way to guess at the pH without thesoil test.The test will also provide details of what and how muchfertilizer to apply. Proper nutritional management will lead tohealthier plants and help eliminate the fertility problems thatcan cause a bitter taste.By following these tips, you should be able to grow all thegreat-tasting cucumbers you need for your salads and pickle jars.(Bob Westerfield is the Cooperative Extension consumerhorticulturist with the University of Georgia College ofAgricultural and Environmental Sciences.) By Robert R. WesterfieldUniversity ofGeorgiaFew things in the garden are more heartbreaking than taking thetime and effort to cultivate the soil, plant seed, fertilize,water and nurture your plants, only to have your harvest tasteawful.last_img read more

ICC mulling possible changes to bad light regulations

first_imgThe ICC’s cricket committee is likely to discuss regulations around delays for bad light and wet weather after farcical scenes during the Test summer in England. Despite the huge efforts of all involved to ensure cricket could resume behind closed doors, the Tests against West Indies and Pakistan have been marred by frequent interruptions after the umpires deemed the light to be unfit for play.There have also been prolonged delays in resuming after rain has stopped. This culminated in a decision to break for lunch after a delayed start and just one hour of play on the second day.On the fourth day, play was abandoned shortly before 4pm, with the ground subsequently bathed in sunshine. It is understood there was some frustration at the ECB over the decision, with one insider suggesting play could have resumed at 6pm. On the final day, the rain stopped at 11.15 am, but play did not resume until 3.20pm.The ECB has spent heavily to ensure the return of cricket in the face of Covid-19. As well as arranging charter flights for the West Indies and Pakistan players, they have met the costs of creating bio-secure bubbles to satisfy safety concerns and convince the government – and the governments of the opposition teams – that games can be played without compromising the health and safety of all involved.The match officials, however, have been uncompromising in their adherence to normal playing conditions. The ICC’s cricket committee is likely to discuss whether this has been an admirably consistent approach, or a little inflexible in the modern age with improved protective equipment and less tolerance for such delays from spectators.With match officials judged on many criteria, including their ability and desire to get the game on, it is possible the team at the Ageas Bowl in particular – standing umpires, Richard Kettleborough and Michael Gough, third umpire Richard Illingworth, fourth umpire Martin Saggers and match referee Chris Broad – will marked down by the ICC for their performance.Among the other options likely to be considered by the cricket committee will be the use of a pink ball – a decision which might impact on the colour of the sight screens in operation – and whether it would affect the integrity of the game to change the ball as required when the light fades.Paying under floodlights. While the lights have been used at several stages this summer, the current convention dictates that once the artificial light has taken over as the primary source, play should be abandoned. This issue was looked at by the ICC a few years ago, with the Full Member boards rejecting the idea of playing on under floodlights. It might be that floodlight technology has improved, too, allowing more play in such circumstances.More transparency over the light meter readings is another possible area of improvement. At present, the umpires take readings by which they judge the light on subsequent days to ensure fairness to both sides. If such readings were published, or if the broadcasters and host venues were able to have access to such meters, it might improve expectations from spectators and avoid some of the frustration that has surrounded recent matches.ESPNcricinfo understands there is are no major concerns over the venue. Drainage at the Ageas Bowl is understood to be comparable to other Test venues in England, while extra groundstaff had been drafted in from other clubs to aid preparation of the surface for the third Test – which is scheduled to begin here on Friday – and the warm-up game played by members of the Pakistan white-ball squad.The only minor quibble concerned the length of the covering over the area where the bowlers run-ups. There were some suggestions these were a little shorter than those provided elsewhere and the delay on the fifth afternoon was lengthened by concerns over damp run-ups at the hotel end of the ground. But the application of sawdust seemed to help speed the drying process.The ECB is also likely to review its own playing conditions. While other nations are prepared to start play earlier on subsequent days after rain, the ECB has long argued this would cause confusion with ticket holders. If, for example, a decision was taken at 7pm on Friday to start play one hour earlier the following morning, it is felt it would be difficult to communicate that information to 25,000 or so ticket holders which might, in turn, leave them open to claims of refunds from those that miss out on watching any play.In the case of behind-closed-doors games, however, that is not a factor and it is understood there is growing momentum to change this playing condition ahead of the final Test of the summer, which starts on Friday. In the longer term, it is possible the terms and conditions of the ticket sales could cover such a scenario.The overall impression is that many in the game’s administration, not least those at the ICC, have been stung by the criticism in recent days. As a result, “The Farce Show” – as it was dubbed by one wag – could prove to be something of a watershed moment for the sport.(ESPN Cricinfo)last_img read more

Tough pitchers await in three-game series

first_imgWith fresh legs after a week off, the Wisconsin softball team will hit the road again to warmer weather against two teams that finished above them.This time, the Badgers (4-1) travel to Orlando, Fla., where they will take part in the Diamond 9 tournament, playing against Georgia Southern (6-3) and Boston University (0-0).The structure of the tournament is similar to the style of play UW experiences in the Big Ten. During the weekend, the team will face each of their opponents three times, playing each once over several days. During conference play, the Badgers compete under the same three game series format.“It’s really going to feel like Big Ten play,” Wisconsin head coach Yvette Healy said. “Seeing a team three times a lot of people say ‘it’s not fun for the fans,’ but for us it’s going to be a real test of strategy.”Wisconsin faced Georgia Southern in nonconference play last season and will once again have to face standout ace Sarah Purvis on the mound. Purvis, a junior from Warner Robins, Ga., is the reigning Southern Conference Pitcher of the Year after recording a 1.56 ERA and going 23-11 in 2012, becoming the first 20-game winner in Georgia Southern history.But the Badgers are used to facing great pitching already in 2013, as the team is fresh off of facing one of softball’s best in Notre Dame’s Laura Winter, whom the team defeated twice.“Coming off two wins from Notre Dame, it put an emphasis on how our season is going to be,” junior infielder Michelle Mueller said. “We’re going to have to battle, we’ll be behind in some games, but overall our team’s tenacity to just battle back is amazing.”“I mean [Notre Dame] was No. 26 in the country and those wins for us are big,” junior outfielder Mary Massei said. “It just pumped up our team even more to know that we can do this and can attack even better teams.”Wisconsin will throw out against Purvis and the offense led by the mighty bat of Massei, batting .474 after three games and already amassing three home runs after recording just four in 2012.New faces are getting it done as well for UW with the bats. Freshmen Steffani LaJeunesse and Katie Christner combined for 10 hits and five runs scored during the Badgers’ first tournament.Healy had especially strong praise for Christner, who hit a home run against Notre Dame to tie the game at 2-2 in the eight inning of an 11-inning thriller Wisconsin managed to win.The head coach sees the performance of Christner as emblematic of her team’s hunger this season to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time in several years.“From how they approach the game, I think they are a tenacious group,” Healy said. “Every year we really focus in on that and stress ‘keep fighting, keep battling.’ The person hitting the home run is a freshman this year, so Katie Christner puts it into extra innings, that’s a big deal.”Boston University, which hasn’t played a game so far this season, enters the season as the favorite once again to win their conference, the America East. Last season, Boston went 41-16 and returns 12 letter winners from their NCAA tournament team in 2012.The Terriers are also paced by solid pitching, with junior arm Holli Floetker returning to lead the pitching after posting a 19-4 record in 2012 and a 1.54 ERA. BU’s No. 2 option on the mound isn’t too shabby either, with senior Whitney Tuthill returning after recording a 15-6 record and 1.77 ERA for the team a year ago.It will once again be another solid test for a Wisconsin team that returns all but one starter from a 2012 team that smashed several program records for offense, including team batting average.The biggest difference now for the Badgers is the fact that they’re no longer a young, upset-minded team. 2013 has seen UW turn to a favorite to compete for the B1G title, especially with the group’s core players being almost entirely composed of upperclassmen.With a group of upperclassmen, like Mueller, who have been under Healy for two years, it has made the learning curve easier for the underclassmen and the expectations that much more clear that it’s a “win every game” mentality, even in the nonconference portion of the schedule.“We compete together,” assistant coach Randy Schneider said. “That’s a big thing that I think is different from when we first got here. It’s moving in the right direction. Our upperclassmen are doing a good job, working hard and are well-liked.” With fresh legs after a week off, the Wisconsin softball team will hit the road again to warmer weather against two teams that finished above them.last_img read more