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…)

Peppers

PeppersHome vegetable gardeners are growing peppers at an astonishing rate! Here’s how:

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 60-90 days
Height: 1 to 3 feet
Spacing: 18 to 24 inches apart, 2 to 3 feet between rows

Currently, peppers are second in popularity only to tomatoes in backyard gardens and why not? They are prolific producers, come in all shapes, colors and sizes and range in taste from sweet to downright fiery. Peppers, including ornamental varieties, are members of the Solanaceae family (nightshades), which makes them related to potatoes, eggplant and tomatoes. (more…)

Peas

Garden PeasTips and techniques for growing peas — our favorite spring-harvest vegetable!

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 55-75 days
Height: 1 to 8 feet
Spacing: 2 to 3 inches apart, 2 to 3 feet between rows

This frost-hardy, early-season vegetable is grown wherever cool weather of sufficient duration exists. To enjoy fresh garden peas at their best, pick the pods when they are plump, then shell and eat the sweet, juicy seeds immediately. These green legumes are chock-full of vitamins A, B, C and K and offer super-sized portions of protein, fiber, minerals and anti-oxidants. (more…)

Onion

OnionsThis hardy, cold-season vegetable is easy to grow, takes up little space in the garden and delivers plenty of punch, both raw or cooked.

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 80-100 days
Height: 1 to 3 feet
Spacing: 2 to 4 inches apart, 1 to 2 feet between rows

Easy to cultivate with a long storage life, home gardeners are growing onions in most areas of the United States. These glorious globes serve up a super-sized portion of vitamin C, are low in calories, and high in minerals and dietary fiber.

Records indicate that onions were grown in Ancient Egypt, and eventually arrived in Rome and became known as the word onion (from the Latin word UNIO, which means large pearl). (more…)

Melons

Garden MelonSweet and succulent, growing melons can be a challenge in areas colder than zone 4.

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 75-90 days
Height: 12 to 18 inches
Spacing: 2 to 4 feet apart, 6 to 10 feet between rows

A warm season crop, melons require hot, relatively dry weather and steady heat for at least 2-4 months. Cultivating homegrown melons in colder climates can be rewarding but will require short season varieties, plenty of attention and frost protection.

Fact: Melons, such as cantaloupe and honeydew, are members of the Cucurbitaceae family that also includes pumpkins, squash, cucumbers and gourds. (more…)

Lettuce

LettuceThe delicate leaves of this early-season garden vegetable are a favorite.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 40-50 days
Height: 6 to 18 inches
Spacing: 3 to 4 inches apart, 12 to 18 inches between rows

Home gardeners are growing lettuce for its edible foliage which is 90% water, but offers plenty of vitamins A and B. A cool season annual, lettuce is a member of the Asteraceae family and has been cultivated for ages, perhaps longer than any other vegetable crop.

Fact: The average American eats about 30 lbs of lettuce each year. (more…)

Kale

KaleA cool season biennial that is grown as an annual and harvested for its nutritious foliage.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 50-65 days
Height: 12 to 24 inches
Spacing: 12 to 18 inches apart, 2 to 3 feet between rows

Reliable and quick to harvest, growing kale is relatively easy because cold weather doesn’t bother it. In fact, cold weather makes it taste… well, a whole lot better!

Kale is a member of the Brassicaceae family and related to broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. It is loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, and super-loaded with vitamin K, a sometimes overlooked nutrient that may reduce the risk of cancer. (more…)

Horseradish

HorseradishA hardy perennial that grows well in colder climates and is known for its hot mustard flavored roots.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: Spring planted horseradish will be ready to harvest in late fall.
Height: 12 to 24 inches
Spacing: 1 to 2 feet apart, 2 to 3 feet between rows

Mankind has been growing horseradish for centuries. Records indicate that the Egyptians cultivated this pungent plant prior to 1500 B.C. It was also used by the Romans as an aphrodisiac. Although, what didn’t they use as an aphrodisiac?

A member of the Brassicaceae family, horseradish is closely related to Brussels sprouts, kale and cauliflower. The root gets its sinus clearing punch from volatile oils that are released when grated or crushed. Horseradish is high in vitamin C, calcium, potassium, magnesium and dietary fiber. (more…)

Grapes

GrapesOne of the first cultivated fruits, there are written descriptions of growing grapes and making wine dating back thousands of years.

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: Up to 3 years
Height: 4 to 10 feet, depending on variety
Spacing: 6 to 8 feet apart, 8 to 10 feet between rows

Grapes have the reputation of being fragile and difficult to grow. In fact, many home gardeners are convinced that they are too tender to even consider trying to grow them, yet a variety of species will do well in regions of every state and in several Canadian provinces. Once established, well-tended grapevines can be productive for 40 years or more. Here’s how to grow them organically:

Site Preparation:

All types of grapes require a warm planting site in full sun, moderate water and pruning during the dormant season to control growth and produce abundant fruit. (more…)

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