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 gardens are 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 the blog articles 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.

Share ideas or ask specific questions over at our Vegetable Garden Forum. Planet Natural’s community of avid gardeners can help.


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. Growing 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…)


LettuceTips for how to grow this early-season garden 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…)


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…)


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…)


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…)


GarlicPlanted in fall, garlic is easy to grow 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…)


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…)


CucumberOne of the most popular vegetables in today’s home garden. Learn how to grow cucumbers here.

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 55-70 days
Height: 1 to 3 feet
Spacing: 18 to 36 inches apart, 4 to 6 feet between rows

Before you plant, consider how much space you can devote to growing cucumbers in your garden. The regular slicing varieties require about 15 square feet per plant. However, they can still be grown in smaller gardens by training vines onto a trellis or wire fence. Cucumbers may also be grown in containers and are very prolific.

Cucumbers are chock-full of vitamin C and include many B vitamins. They also provide many minerals like phosphorous, potassium, zinc, iron and magnesium. (more…)


CornBackyard gardeners growing heirloom corn are rewarded with a fresh picked flavor that’s second to none.

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 65-90 days
Height: 4 to 6 feet
Spacing: 8 to 12 inches apart, 2 to 3 feet between rows

Native to North and South America, corn — or maize — was first cultivated some 4,000 years before Columbus set foot in the New World. Today, with more than 85% of the US corn crop genetically modified it’s more important than ever for home gardeners to grow corn and preserve the good, old fashioned heirloom varieties that so many generations have enjoyed eating right off the cob (see Sweet Corn: Hybrid and Heritage). (more…)


CeleryA challenge for many home gardeners, growing celery requires a long-season and cool temperatures to thrive.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 100-125 days
Height: 1 to 3 feet
Spacing: 8 to 12 inches apart, 2 to 3 feet between rows

Almost absent of calories, yet chock-full of important vitamins and minerals, celery produces crunchy leafstalks for use in everything from salads to soups and casseroles. Celery requires plenty of water, long periods of warm, but not high temperatures, and can be planted in in most parts of the country. However, it is not suited to humid climates. (more…)

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