Vegetable

There's few things more rewarding than growing vegetables in your own backyard. The fresh taste of a vine ripened tomato or snap pea harvested at its flavorful peak is second to none. Vegetable gardening is a great family activity, one that provides rewarding outdoor exercise. And knowing that your organically-grown veggies carry none of the risks of today’s commercial, factory-farm produce can be priceless.

To ensure you raise the best-tasting, most nutritious food for your family — in ways that make your garden as safe and healthy as it can be — takes planning, know-how and experience. Click here for information on locating your new garden plot, improving soil health, selecting the best vegetable varieties for your growing conditions, and caring for your plants — naturally! — all the way to harvest.

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…)

Garlic

GarlicGrown from cloves, garlic is easy to plant and adds a new dimension to typical table fare.

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: Fall planted garlic is harvested the following year
Height: 12 to 24 inches
Spacing: 4 to 6 inches apart, 1 to 2 feet between rows

A member of the onion family, garlic (Allium sativum) has been cultivated for thousands of years. Today growing garlic is popular in many home gardens. And why not? It’s ridiculously easy to care for, takes up little room in the garden and looks great! (more…)

Eggplant

Growing EggplantProper timing and weather conditions play a big role when growing eggplant.

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 60-100 days
Height: 2 to 4 feet
Spacing: 18 to 24 inches apart, 2 to 3 feet between rows

Eggplant is a beautiful, warm season annual that is relatively easy to grow providing you have warm temperatures. The planting season must be consistently warm with day time temperatures around 80˚F and night-time temperatures not falling below 65˚F. Anything cooler will result in slow to no growth once you’ve set your plants outside.

A member of the Solanaceae family, eggplant is closely related to tomatoes, peppers, ground cherry and potatoes. Numerous varieties are available for home gardeners. (more…)

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