Watermelon

WatermelonsSweet, cool and refreshing… there’s nothing like growing watermelon in your own organic garden.

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 70-90 days
Height: 1 to 2 feet
Spacing: 3 to 10 feet apart, 6 to 8 feet between rows

A heat-loving annual, watermelon can be grown in all parts of the country, but the warmer temperatures and longer season of southern areas especially favor this delicious plant. In cooler areas choose short-season varieties and do whatever it takes to protect them from frost.

Site Preparation

Choose a location where your plants will get full sun and good air circulation. A gentle, south-facing slope is ideal. Watermelons can grow in many kinds of soil, but prefer a light, sandy, fertile loam that is well-drained. Add generous amounts of manure, compost and leaves to your garden and work the soil well prior to planting. Watermelons like lots of water. Keep the soil moist at all times. (more…)

Tomato Plants

Tasty TomatoesNothing beats the taste of a fresh, vine ripened heirloom tomato grown in your own garden.

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 50-90 days
Height: 3 to 8 feet
Spacing: 18 to 36 inches apart, 3 to 4 feet between rows

While technically a fruit, growing tomato plants is an organic gardeners delight! Originating in Central and South America, tomatoes are available in an ever increasing range of colors, sizes and shapes with the recent interest in heirloom cultivars fueling further interest (see History of Tomatoes).

Site Preparation

Tomatoes are very deep rooted and don’t need nearly as much water as most people believe. They will do much better in garden soil than in pots and require plenty of sun. Plant after the soil has warmed in the spring in rich, fast draining soil which has been amended with ample amounts of garden compost and organic calcium to prevent blossom end rot. (more…)

Swiss Chard

Swiss ChardEverything tastes better when it’s homegrown and Swiss chard is no exception. Here’s how to grow it organically.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 50-65 days
Height: 1 to 2 feet
Spacing: 6 to 18 inches apart, 12 to 18 inches between rows

An excellent source of vitamins A, K and C, as well as several minerals, home gardeners growing Swiss chard are rewarded with its succulent, mild-flavored leaves that can either be eaten raw or cooked like spinach. Easy to grow and perfect for edible landscapes or a container. Frost and heat tolerant. (more…)

Sweet Potato

Sweet PotatoesA tender warm-weather vegetable, sweet potatoes are grown from slips (root sprouts) not seed.

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 70-140 days
Height: 1 to 3 feet
Spacing: 12 to 18 inches apart, 3 to 4 feet between rows

Native to Central and South America sweet potato is an important food crop in tropical and subtropical countries. Here in the United States, home gardeners growing sweet potatoes require a long frost-free season to mature large, useful roots.

More than 40% of the national supply of sweet potatoes comes from North Carolina. (more…)

Squash

SquashHome gardeners are growing squash for its abundant yields of scrumptious fruit and edible blossoms.

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 60-120 days
Height: 1.5 to 3 feet
Spacing: 18 to 30 inches apart, 3 to 4 feet between rows

Squash, including zucchini, gourds and summer squash, are members of the cucumber (cucurbit) family and require warm soil temperatures to do well. Squash will not germinate in cold soil (70˚F or less) and the plant is easily damaged by frost.

Planet Natural offers are large selection of non-GMO, heirloom squash seeds. Best of all, they’re shipped FREE! (more…)

Spinach

SpinachA cool season annual, organic gardeners are growing spinach for its delicious and nutritious, dark green leaves.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 40-60 days
Height: 6 to 12 inches
Spacing: 3 to 4 inches apart, 12 to 18 inches between rows

Chock-full of vitamins A and B-2, and rich in iron and calcium, spinach is one of the first greens up in the spring with cool weather being the key to its success. Warm temperatures and longer days will quickly trigger spinach to go to seed (bolt). (more…)

Rhubarb

RhubarbA cool season perennial plant, rhubarb is easy to grow, hardy and resistant to drought.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 50-60 days
Height: 2 to 4 feet
Spacing: 3 to 4 feet apart, 4 to 6 feet between rows

Initially cultivated for medicinal purposes more than 2,000 years ago, home gardeners today are growing rhubarb for its tangy stems which are used in pies, tarts and sauces. Plants require cool weather to thrive and do not do well in warmer climates — growth slows when temperatures exceed 80˚F. Rhubarb is rich in vitamins A and C, iron and dietary fiber.

Note: The leaves of this plant are poisonous if ingested; use the stems only and compost the leaves. (more…)

Radish

RadishEasily planted from seed, organic gardeners enjoy growing radish for its crisp, peppery root.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 20-60 days
Height: 6 to 18 inches
Spacing: 1 to 2 inches apart, 8 to 18 inches between rows

The perfect cool-weather crop for impatient young gardeners– radishes can be harvested and eaten in as little as three weeks! These potent root vegetables are chock-full of vitamins C and B6, minerals and dietary fiber and are members of the Brassicaceae family, which makes them cousins to cabbage and broccoli.

Planet Natural offers a wide selection of non-treated, non-GMO heirloom radish seeds for your vegetable gardening pleasure. Best of all, they’re shipped FREE! (more…)

Pumpkin

PumpkinsGrowing pumpkins can be a fascinating experience providing you have the time and plenty of room – a single plant can cover over 500 square feet!

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 85-125 days
Height: 1.5 to 3 feet
Spacing: 2 to 5 feet apart, 6 to 10 feet between rows

This annual warm-season vegetable is available in an array of attractive varieties, some of which don’t resemble pumpkins at all. They also dish up some powerful nutritional perks like vitamins A, E and C, along with minerals like phosphorous, calcium and potassium. A member of the Cucurbitaceae family, the pumpkin is closely related to squash, melons and gourds.

Fact: In 1996, Harold Baird of Kinburn, Ontario grew four pumpkins – weighing 774, 686, 652, and 603 – on a single vine! (more…)

Potato

PotatoesTips and techniques for growing potatoes — the world’s favorite root crop!

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 90-120 days
Height: 1.5 to 3 feet
Spacing: 18 to 24 inches apart, 2 to 3 feet between rows

A cool-season vegetable, potatoes offer organic gardeners everything they could want — easy to cultivate, long storage and an enormous selection of varieties. Potatoes are also a good source of fiber and a great source of nutrition. They contain vitamins A and B, minerals like iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium and calcium, and several antioxidants. (more…)

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