Seed Library: Veggies, Herbs, Greens, Peppers, Tomatoes, & Pumkin

Beans: Kentucky Dreamer

Beans are referred to as a number of names including snap beans, string beans and green beans. Known as being one of the more productive garden crops, they are a warm weather favorite that can be eaten straight from the garden.

 

Before Planting: Beans prefer full sun, at least 6-8 hours a day. The soil temperature should be above 60°F before planting for best germination rates, and they do best with soil temperatures in the 70-80°F range. Beans don’t need the best soil conditions to thrive as they are often used to improve soil conditions because they will fix nitrogen in the soil. The preferred soil pH is about 5.8 to 6.5. Green beans can be successfully grown in containers.

 

Planting: For bush beans, plant the seeds about 1-1.5 inches deep, maybe 2 inches deep in the summer for a fall planting. The rows should be 2.5 to 3 feet apart. After the beans are up, thin the plants to 3 to 4 inches apart. For pole beans, plant 1 inch deep and 3 feet apart. Place a stake between each planted seed. As the bean vines mature, they will grow up the stakes. To ensure bean germination in each location plant 2-3 seeds.

 

Watering: Water beans with about 1 inch of water a week. Do not let the soil get dry while the beans are blooming or the blooms will drop and yields will be decreased. If possible, avoid wetting leaves. This will help minimize plant diseases.

 

Fertilizer: After the plants begin to flower and set beans, apply 1/2 cup of general purpose fertilizer for every 10 feet of row. Scatter the fertilizer between the rows. This will help the plants produce more beans. Water the plants after fertilizing. You can also side dress the rows with general purpose fertilizer at planting time.

 

Days to Maturity: Ranges from 60-75 days depending on variety. If planted early many areas can produce a fall crop.

 

Harvesting: Beans should be picked while the pods still snap, and the beans have not filled the pod out completely. Beans get tough and stringy if allowed to grow too big. If beans are picked when they are ready, the plants will continue producing for several weeks. When harvesting, use two hands to hold the bean and pull it from the stem, yanking it off the stem with one hand can often damage the plant.

 

Storing: Store fresh beans in plastic bags or in other containers in the refrigerator. They usually can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or so. Some varieties can also be canned or frozen.

 

Pests & Diseases: Molds, bacterial, and wilt diseases are common. These problems are most frequent in wet weather, heat, and humidity. If spots appear on leaves or bean pods, treat the plant with an approved fungicide. Before using a pesticide, read the label. Always follow cautions, warnings and directions. Most varieties of beans are susceptible to a variety of insects and rodents, most notably beetles. Rabbits can eat the tender new leaves. A rabbit fence may be necessary to keep them from ruining your crop.

Carrots: Red Chantenay

 Carrots bring bountiful nutrients to the table, as well as a burst of color. Carrots are rich in vitamin A, which helps prevent poor eyesight. In addition to being a tasty treat to humans, they also make a healthy treat for pets.

 

Before Planting: Carrots require well-drained soils, with a pH range of 6.0-7.0. Till the area so you have deep, loose, and fertile. Mix in sandy and peat moss for best results which will help give good moisture retention and straight, smooth roots.

 

Planting: Sow from early Spring to Midsummer, space seeds 1″ apart (about 15-20 seeds/ft.), 1/4- 1/2″ deep, in single rows 16-24″ apart. Sprinkle the soil surface to keep moist. Don’t allow soil to crust before the emergence of seedlings which takes 1-3 weeks, depending on temperature and moisture. Thin young seedlings to 1-2″ apart, depending on root size desired.

 

Watering: Water at least 1 inch per week.

 

Fertilizer: Mulch can be spread lightly around the carrots. Keep up on weeding, and fertilizer can be used five weeks after planting.

 

Days to Maturity: Carrots are ready for harvest two-and-a-half months after planting, when their diameter reaches about a half-inch or desired size.

 

Harvesting: Carrots may be dug any time after they reach the desired size. Generally the best harvest period lasts about 3 weeks. Cool Fall weather will increase sugars and taste during harvest. Sow new seeds every 2-3 weeks for continuous supply of carrots.

 

Tips: Plant carrots intended for winter storage about 100 days before expected fall frost. Carrots store best at 32°F and 98% relative humidity.

 

AVG. Seeding Rate: 1 M/33′, 5M/166′, 25M/830′, 720M/acre at 30 seeds/ft. in rows 24″ apart.

Beets: Detroit Dark Red Beets

Beets are a unique root vegetable edible for both its bulb and green tops. The vegetable is a biennial, which means they flower and seed in their second year of growth, but beets are typically grown as an annual.

 

Beets can be started indoors and then transplanted outdoors.

Being related to Swiss Chard and Spinach, beets should not be planted in close proximity or succession with these crops.

The plot should be kept well weeded to discourage competition which can result in a less than peak harvest.

Beets have a good tolerance for low fertility soil, and too much nitrogen can encourage top growth which will detract from root development.

If you want a continuous harvest all season long, stagger your plantings about 3 weeks from each other so they will be ready to harvest at different points during the season.

Seeds should be planted approximately 3 /4 inches deep and 1 inch apart in rows of approximately 12-18 inch spacing.

After germination when seedlings are approximately 4-5 inches tall, seedlings will need to be thinned, depending on your desired harvest.

For early harvesting of small, cylindrical roots, thin to 3-4 inches apart.

For later harvests of larger roots thin to 6+ inch spacing.

Take care when thinning to not disturb the nearby developing roots.

How to harvest:

 

The best color and flavor for beets develops under cool conditions and bright sun.

Beets can be harvested when they have reached the desired size, but approximately 65 days after planting beets will be the familiar 1.5 - 2 inches (depending on variety) that most gardeners want for cooking and preserving.

With adequate moisture and space, beets will grow rapidly, but larger roots can be tough and fibrous.

When harvesting, beets should be separated from their tops, leaving about 1 inch of stem on the root.

Beet greens are also nutritious and delicious, but must be stored separately--greens stored intact with the root will continue to draw moisture from the root, and will result in a shriveled and flavorless root.

You can also eat the greens! You can harvest the greens while the beet’s roots are small and the plant is still young.

 

Fresh beets can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks, or preserved by canning, pickling or freezing.

Cabbage: Golden Acre & Pak Choy (Chinese Cabbage)

Cabbage is a fairly easy plant to grow, as it is a hardy vegetable, and also comes in different colors, such as red, green and white. Most cabbages will have smooth, tightly packed heads of leaves, but some varietals have crinkled leaves. Cabbage belongs to the Cole crop family, like broccoli and Brussels sprouts and has more vitamin C than oranges.

 

Before Planting: Cabbage require fertile soils in a pH range of 6.5-7.5, supplied with consistent irrigation throughout the growing period.

 

Planting: Use early and midseason varieties for Spring crop. Sow 2 seeds per cell 1/4″ deep. Seedlings should be ready to transplant in 4-6 weeks. If possible keep soil temperature over 75°F until germination, then reduce air temperature to about 60°F. Transplant outdoors, 12-18″ apart in rows 18-36″ apart. Cabbage prefers cooler growing temperatures, between 55-75°F, but will produce decent crops under warmer, summer conditions. Use midseason and storage varieties for Fall crop. Start seedlings late spring and transplant to the garden in early summer. To ensure mature heads, seed the crop early in areas where heavy freezes occur early in fall. Successful cabbage crops can be grown where winters are mild. Transplants can be set out from September to February in these regions. Sow 3-4 seeds 12″ apart, 1/2″ deep, rows 24-36″ apart, thinning to one plant in each group.

 

Watering: Be sure to water evenly, as uneven water can split the heads. Cut back on watering as cabbage reaches maturity, as this also can split the heads.

 

Fertilizer: Cabbage requires heavy fertilization. Fertilize plants with a high-nitrogen fertilizer

 

Days to Maturity: See each variety for maturity rate from transplanting.

 

Harvesting: Relatively young heads (still green and actively growing) store best. Ideal conditions are 32°F at 95% relative humidity, with good air circulation.

 

Tips: Cabbage plants do better when planted near herbs like dill and rosemary. Avoid planting cabbage near strawberries, tomatoes or pole beans.

 

AVG. Seeding Rate: 100 seeds/50′, 500 seeds/250′, 1M/500′, 29M/acre at 2 seeds/ft. with rows 36″ apart.

Cucumbers: Ashley & Wisconsin SMR 58

Cucumbers can be grown for fresh eating, pickling and more. They range in flavor, colors, shapes and sizes. Cucumbers can grow in circles, elongated spheres and more.

Before Planting: Requires warm, well-drained soil high in fertility, with a pH of 7.0 for best results. Consistent moisture is needed to produce an high yields of good size cucumbers. Cucumbers do not tolerate cold so sow after any possibility of frost has passed. Make sure both soil and air temperatures have warmed prior to planting.

Planting: For direct seeding, wait until soil is warm, at least 70°F. Cucumber seeds will not germinate at a soil temperature below 50°F. Sow 2-3 seeds/ft., 1/2″ deep, in rows 6′ apart. Thin to 12″ apart. For transplanting, sow indoors in at 1-2 seeds per cell, 3-4 weeks before transplanting. Thin to 1 seedling per cell when true leaves form. Keep temperature above 70°F day and 60°F at night. Transplant 12″ apart in rows 5-6′ apart. Do not disturb roots when transplanting. Peat pots work best to reduce stunting and transplant shock.

Watering: Water 1 inch per week. Water consistently, because inconsistent watering can create misshapen cucumbers.

Fertilizer: When planting, mix compost with a little bit of organic fertilizer. During growth, use liquid fertilizer and apply directly to the soil near the stem. Granular fertilizer also can be used, but work it into the soil around the
plant. Feed with fertilizer regularly.

Days to Maturity: Once fruit bears, pick cucumbers often. They can double in size quickly.

Harvesting: Once fruit bearing begins, pick daily to ensure steady harvest

Tips: To maximize the amount of cucumbers and decrease leaves, use a trellis or tomato cage to grow the cucumbers.

AVG. Direct Seeding Rate: 30 seeds/15′, 100 seeds/50′, 250 seeds/125′, 500 seeds/250′, 1,000 seeds/500′, 15M/acre at 2 seeds/ft. in rows 6′ apart.

Bloomsdale Spinach

Deep Green leaves produce abundant yields of delicious and nutritious spinach. This is the spinach preferred by most home and market vegetable growers.

 

When to plant:

 

Spinach is a cold-hardy, tender-leafed crop.

Direct sow in early Spring, as soon as the soil can be properly worked.

For a Fall harvest, plant again in late Summer, ensuring that soil temperatures are cool enough.

How to plant:

 

Sow in a sunny location, in average, well-draining soil.

Sow about 12 seeds per foot in a row, or sprinkle over a wide row or bed.

Sow seeds ½ inch deep, compress gently into soil, and water lightly.

Seedlings emerge in about 7-14 days, depending on conditions. Soil should stay below 70º F for good germination.

When seedlings are about 1 - 2 inches tall, thin them to be about 4 - 6 inches apart.

Please note, do not thin baby spinach.

When to harvest:

 

Harvest once the outer leaves reach 3 inches in length, or to your desired size.

 

 

*You can harvest the whole plant all at once and cut at the base, or leaves can be picked off one layer at a time.

 

*Don’t wait too long to harvest, or wait for larger leaves, as the leaves can quickly become bitter after maturity.

 

*Keep plants well-watered during dry periods to help promote growth. Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. If watering with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems.

Red Russian Kale

The leafy green vegetable is commonly known as a cool-weather crop best for growth in the spring and fall seasons, but kale is hardy and can adapt to warmer environments.

 

Before Planting: Kale prefers a fertile, well-drained soil. Ideal pH is 7.0. Keep soil consistently moist for best quality leaves.

 

Planting: For direct seeding, plant from early spring to approximately 10 weeks before expected fall frost. For bunching, sow 2-3 seeds every 12–18″, ½” deep, in rows 18–36″ apart. Thin to 1 plant per group. For baby leaf production, sow 30 seeds/ft. at ½” deep. If transplanting, sow indoors 4-6 weeks before last frost. Plant 2-3 seeds per cell and thin to 1 plant when true leaves appear. Keep soil moist for best results. Germinate at 65F. Transplant when plants are 6″ tall at every 12-18″ for bunching.

 

Watering: Water regularly to keep the soil moist, as this keeps the leaves crisp and sweet.

 

Fertilizer: Upon planting the seeds, fertilize with a 5-10-10 fertilizer. Mix 1 ó cups of fertilizer with the top 3 to 4 inches of soil for a 25-foot row of kale. Throughout its growing season, you can fertilize kale with a side dressing of compost every six to eight weeks.

 

Days to Maturity: Kale can be grown to its full size or harvested when the leaves are small and tender. Kale is ready to harvest when its leaves are the size of your hand. It usually takes up to 95 days for kale to be ready after planting it from seed.

 

Harvesting: When leaves are correct size harvest by clipping individual leaves. Kale is very hardy, and the eating quality will improve into the late fall with light frost. Protecting with row covers can extend the harvest period late into fall.

 

Tips: Mulch around the plants to prevent dirt sticking to the leaves of the kale and potentially rotting it.

 

AVG. Direct Seeding Rate: For bunching: 1,000 seeds/220′, 1 oz./1,110′, 1 lb./24,000′. For baby leaf: 1,000 seeds/16′, 1 oz/115′, 1 lb./1,840′.

Mustard Greens: 

Jadespoon Tatsoi, Florida Broadleaf, & Mizuna

When to plant: In the Spring, plant your mustard green seeds outside about 3 weeks before the average last frost date.

If you are doing successive plantings to get a longer harvest, keep planting about every 3 weeks during the Spring.

If you want a Fall harvest, plant the seeds in mid-late Summer.

Mustard greens are a cool season crop so they don’t do well in the Summer heat.

How to plant:

 

Plant your mustard green seeds in an area with full sun or partial shade for best results.

Plant them about 6 inches apart, ¼ to ½ inch deep.

Mustard greens need plenty of water to thrive, so keep an eye on the rainfall to ensure that the greens don’t look wilted.

When to harvest:

 

Harvest your mustard greens when the leaves are tender and young.

If you want to harvest the entire plant, cut all of the leaves.

For a stronger, more bitter taste, allow the leaves to grow longer.

Lettuce: 

Buttercrunch, 4 Seasons, Mesclun, & Black Seeded Simpson

Lettuce is a cool-season crop, and seedlings can tolerate a light frost. Lettuce grows quickly, so stagger the plantings. It is recommended to sow the lettuce seeds directly into the garden as soon as the soil can be worked.

 

Before Planting: Lettuce is hardy and can be planted as early as the soil can be worked. It is a cool weather crop and grows best at temperatures of 60-65°F. Careful variety selection is important for hot weather plantings. Sow every 3 weeks for a continuous supply of fresh lettuce. Lettuce seed can enter thermal dormancy when exposed to high temperatures. Do not use a heat mat when germinating lettuce seed. Optimum germination results at soil temperatures of 60–65°F.

 

Planting: For direct seeding, seeds germinate at low soil temperatures (40°F), but poorly above 75°F. Sow seeds 2-3″ apart, rows 12–18″ apart. Cover seed lightly, about 1/8″, and firm soil gently. Thin iceberg and romaine lettuce to one plant every 10–12″, other types 8–10″ for full size heads or 6″ for mini heads. Dry soil must be watered to ensure coolness and moisture, and for uniform germination. For transplanting, sow 2-3 seeds per cell, 1/4″ deep, 3-4 weeks before transplanting outdoors. Do not let soil above 70F while germinating so keep out of sun and a cool, dark location. Harden seedlings by reducing water and temperature for 2–3 days before planting outdoors. Properly hardened transplants can survive temperatures as low as 20°F. Transplant iceberg and romaine lettuce 10–12″ apart, in rows 18″ apart. Other types 8–10″ apart in rows 12–18″ apart for full size heads or 6″ apart for mini heads.

 

Watering: Water lettuce once to twice per week or every 4 days whenever rainfall is inadequate.

 

Fertilizer: Lettuce is typically a care-free plant, but you can fertilize the soil with an organic fertilizer one week prior to planting the seeds. Lettuce grows best in soil that is high in humus. Fertilize three weeks after transplanting seedlings with an alfalfa meal or a slow-release fertilizer.

 

Days to Maturity: Lettuce can be picked whenever real leaves form. Pick when the leaves are younger rather than waiting so the taste doesn’t become bitter.

 

Harvesting: For heads of lettuce, cut the plant at the soil line to harvest it. For leaf lettuces, you can harvest the entire plant or only the outer leaves as needed. Harvest in the morning. Store in cool, dark and high humidity location for up to 2-3 weeks.

 

Tips: Plant lettuce near taller plants, like tomatoes, so the leaves are in the shade during the hot parts of the day.

Herb: Bouquet Dill

Dill is a fern-like, fragrant plant with a great flavor. In addition to its fragrant foliage, dill also produces yellow

blooms that can be used in bouquets, or the green ferns can be used as filler. Dill can reach up to 3 feet tall.

 

Before Planting: Dill grows best sown directly into the garden in the early spring after the last frost. To ensure a continuous harvest, plant dill seeds every 10 days up until the early summer. Dill also can be planted in containers, like most herbs, but a deep pot should be used to accommodate for the herb’s deep roots.

 

Planting: Plant seeds ¼ inch deep and 18 inches apart.

 

Watering: Water regularly. Be careful not to over-water and allow the soil to go dry between watering

 

Fertilizer: Similar to most herbs dill does not require fertilizing to grow. In the late spring, a light feeding of a 5-10-5 fertilizer will encourage the dill to grow without being overbearing. If dill is grown in a container, use a liquid fertilizer but only use half of the label’s recommended strength. Fertilize container dill every four to six weeks.

 

Days to Maturity: Dill is ready to harvest any time before its yellow, umbrella-like flowers begin to open.

 

Harvesting: Once dill is ready to harvest, you can snip individual stems or pull up the entire plant. To save the dill seeds, cut the dill four inches below the flower head once seeds begin to turn brown. Hang the clippings upside down in paper bags to catch the seeds as they dry and fall out.

 

Tips: Since dill can grow so tall, shelter it from wind or add a stake to the stem to support the plant as it grows higher.

Herb: Borage

Similar in taste to certain types of cucumber, borage is a tasty culinary herb that is widely used in Europe and increasingly popular in the United States. Borage also produces very attractive edible flowers. Plant borage seeds in a sunny spot with well-drained soil.

 

Sowing Directly in the Garden:

 

Direct sow in average soil in a sunny or lightly shaded area, after danger of spring frost.

Borage is an attractive flowering annual in cottage gardens or borders, or planted with herbs and vegetables.

Remove weeds and work organic matter into the top 6-8 inches of soil; then level and smooth.

Sow seeds about 12 inches apart and cover with ¼ inch of fine soil.

Firm the soil lightly and keep evenly moist.

Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days.

This gradually to stand 18-24 inches apart when seedlings are 1-2 inches high.

Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating.

Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. For herbs, an organic mulch of aged bark or shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time. Always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.

Keep plants well-watered during the growing season, especially during dry spells. Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It’s best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.

Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.

Discard plants after they bloom.

Borage will self-sow where it is happy.

Harvest leaves and flowers in the morning after the dew has dried before the heat of the day.

Pick flowers before they are fully open.

Both flowers and young leaves are edible. Add the flowers to wine, use them to decorate cakes, or try crystalizing them.

Leaves may be dried in an area with good air circulation out of the direct sun for one to two weeks. Store or use when dry but still green, discard any black leaves. To store put them in glass or plastic containers with lids. They will lose their flavor over time but can last for one year if properly stored.

Flowers may be frozen, and they may be candied.

Borage leaves and flowers may be preserved in vinegar.

Herb: Thyme

A small and dainty herb, Thyme is one of the most cherished of all herb seed varieties. An excellent aromatic and culinary herb, Thyme also possesses select medicinal qualities. Plant thyme seeds in a sunny spot with proper irrigation.

 

Sow thyme seed in sterilized growing medium either in shallow rows or scatter on top with little or no covering. After they take root, have been transplanted to 2- 1/4" peat pots and reach a height of 2-3 inches, they may be moved outside to cooler weather. For small gardens, space plants about 9 inches apart, for field production space plants 12-18 inches apart in rows 3 feet apart.

 

Thyme prefers a sandy, dry soil. Avoid planting in heavy, wet soils. Nutrient requirements for Thyme are not heavy, so soil should only receive a moderate amount of fertilizer. Diluted fish emulsion may be used in the early summertime.

 

Important to control weeds as they compete for nutrients with the slow-developing young thyme plants. Once established the plants would benefit from mulch to help discourage weeds. This also keeps the lower branches clean, whereas open cultivation exposes the lower branches to rain’s action on bare soil.

 

Harvest thyme just before the flowers begin to open, by cutting the plant one and a half to 2 inches from the ground. A second growth will develop but this should not be cut at all. This would reduce the plant’s winter hardiness. Although a hardy perennial, thyme plants need care over the winter months to survive the cold.

 

 

After harvesting, lay the cut plants on sheets of newspaper or fine screen and allow them to dry in the warm shade. When dry, the leaves will separate from the woody stems easily if rubbed lightly.

Every spring cut thyme plants back to half its previous height to retain the tender stems and bushy habit. After 3-4 years plants will become woody and you will want to start over again from seed.

Herb: Triple Curled Parsley

This standard parsley – also sometimes called Moss Curled Parsley is an extremely dark green parsley that is an excellent garnish for just about any dish. Plant Curled Parsley seeds in either full sun or partial shade. Curled parsley is a fast-grower.

Parsley may be grown from seed sown early indoors and transplanted outside after frost, directly sown, or planted as a potted plant.

 

Sowing Seed Indoors:

 

Sow parsley seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last frost in spring using a seed starting kit

Sow seeds ¼ inches deep in seed-starting formula.

Keep the soil moist at 70 degrees F

Seedlings emerge in 14-21 days.

As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.

Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.

If you are growing in small cells, you may need to transplant the seedlings to 3 or 4 inch pots when seedlings have at least 3 pairs of leaves before transplanting to the garden so they have enough room to develop strong roots.

Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.

 

Direct Sow:

 

Sow seeds when all danger of frost has passed in spring. In frost-free areas, sow from fall to early spring.

Sow seeds thinly and cover with ¼ inch of fine soil.

Firm soil and keep moist.

Seeds emerge in 14-21 days.

Thin to 6 inches apart when seedlings are 1-2 inches high.

 

Planting in the Garden:

 

Select a location in full sun with rich, well-drained soil.

Parsley is superb as a border plant or as an underplanting for roses, and grows easily in containers.

Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.

Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball.

Carefully remove the plant from its pot and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root development.

Set the plants 10-12 inches apart.

Place the top of the root ball even with the level of the surrounding soil. Fill with soil to the top of the root ball. Press soil down firmly with your hand.

Use the plant tag as a location marker.

Thoroughly water and apply a light mulch layer on top of the soil (1-2 inches) to conserve water and reduce weeds.

Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating.

Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. For herbs, an organic mulch of aged bark or shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time. Always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.

Keep plants well-watered during the growing season, especially during dry spells. Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It’s best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.

Fertilize as needed with an all purpose fertilizer.

Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.

You can remove any flowering stalks that may appear to increase leaf production.

If you let one or two plants go to seed, parsley will often self-sow. Parsley is a biennial, and will not bloom until the second season. Parsley is cold tolerant and may be harvested after frost.

Harvest the outer leaves by cutting them at the base of the leafstalk. Harvest leaves as needed.

Sprigs are delicious in salads and make an excellent accent for vegetables and potatoes. Chewing on a fresh leaf can freshen your breath.

Fresh parsley may be stored in zip lock bags in the fridge for a week. Fresh leaves freeze well in ice cubes or sealed zip lock bags, and may also be dried. It can be used in vinegars as well, or made into parsley herbed butter.

Radishes: French Breakfast & Pink Beauty

Radishes are the perfect vegetable for new gardeners. They can be eaten raw or added to salads for an extra crunch with a bit of flavor. Although oftentimes the tops are composted, radish greens also can be eaten by sautéing them in a pan or adding raw greens with the radishes to a salad.

 

Before Planting: Only grow radishes in the spring and fall because if grown in warmer months they will bolt, creating a bitter flavor with a woody texture in the roots.

 

Planting: Radishes require well drained soils with a pH range of 6-7.0. Direct sow at any time during the season, beginning in early spring into early fall. Plant about 10 seeds/ft, 1/2″ deep, rows 1′ apart. Radishes are adversely affected by hot, dry weather. They remain in prime condition only a few days and should be grown rapidly with plenty of moisture to be mild, tender, and attractive.

 

Watering: Water every other day so that the soils is moist, but not over watered.

 

Fertilizer: Since radishes grow so fast, they don’t need fertilized during their growth but can benefit from soil that is fertilized prior to planting the seeds. Before planting, spread a 2-inch layer of compost over the furrows where the radish seeds will grow. Sprinkle ½ pound of 16-20-0 fertilizer per 50 square feet of radishes. Mix the compost fertilizer blend into the top 6 inches of soil. Avoid fertilizers high in nitrogen. Instead of fertilizing after planting the radishes, spread mulch enriched with wood ash around the plants.

Days to Maturity: Radish roots can be ready to harvest in as little as 21 days.

 

Harvesting: Harvest promptly to avoid pithiness, beginning at about 3-4 weeks when roots are the size of a large marble. Radishes are ready to harvest when the leaves are 4 inches tall. Red radishes are ready to harvest when the roots are approximately 1 inch in diameter. White radishes are ready to harvest when the roots are ¾ inch in diameter.Wash with cool water and refrigerate. Radishes will keep 3-4 weeks in good, crisp condition if kept at 32°F and 95% relative humidity.

 

Tips: When planted near cucumbers, peppers and squash, radishes can draw aphids away from the other plants.

 

AVG. Seeding Rate: 1 oz./70′, 14 oz./1,000′, 21 lb./acre at 35 seeds/ft. in rows 18″ apart, or 31 lb./acre in rows 12″ apart.

Okra: Jade

Okra may not be a common vegetable found in a garden, but it makes for good canning and pickling. It also can be used in stews.

 

Okra is a warm-weather plant often grown in southern climates. It has a taste similar to eggplant.

 

Before Planting: Soak the okra in water for 12 to 18 hours prior to planting to soften the outer shell of the seed. Plant okra in the spring or early summer after the danger of frost has passed. In northern climates, plant okra indoors four to six weeks prior to the last frost date. Since okra can reach 6 feet tall, plant it in an area of the garden where its shade won’t harm other plants’ growth.

 

Planting: For direct seeding, after frost danger, sow 2″ apart, 1/2″ deep when soil is warm – at least 70°F. Thin to 12-18″ apart. For transplanting, sow in 2″ pots, 2-3 seeds per pot, 1/4″ deep and thin to 1 plant when 2″ high. Start 4-5 weeks ahead of transplanting out after frost danger when soil is warm. Keep soil mix temp. 80-90°F for best germination rate. Transplant 12-18″ apart in rows 3′ apart. Do not disturb roots.

 

Watering: Water 1 inch per week.

 

Fertilizer: Prior to planting, mix a 10-10-10 fertilizer in with the soil. Once okra reaches 6 inches tall, give a side-dressing of fertilizer. Side-dress again two to three weeks later. Reapply the fertilizer every four to six weeks throughout its growing season.

 

Days to Maturity: Okra is ready two months after planting. Pods should be approximately 3 inches long when harvested.

 

Harvesting: Harvest promptly by clipping pods at 3-4″ long to keep plants productive. Oversized pods become tough and decrease overall yield of plant.

 

Tips: Wear gloves when harvesting, because okra has spines.

 

AVG. Direct Seeding Rate: 1 oz./78′, 13 oz./1,000′, 12 lb./acre at 6 seeds/ft. in rows 36″ apart.

Peppers: Anaheim Hot & Sweet Banana

Peppers plants thrive best when temperatures are warm. Planting should be delayed until the danger of frost has past. Ideal temperatures are 70 to 80°F during the day, and 60 to 70ºF at night. Pepper plants grow best in warm, well-drained soils. The plants are not particularly sensitive to soil acidity, but best results are obtained in the 6.0 to 6.8 pH range.

 

Planting: Peppers are best started indoors, eight to ten weeks or more before the last frost date for your area. Pepper seeds can be a difficult seed germinate, and seedlings grow slowly. Space plants 18″ inches apart in rows 24″ inches apart or more. Water plants thoroughly after transplanting.

 

Watering: Keep the soil evenly moist; especially when the fruits are developing, peppers need about an inch of water a week.

 

Fertilizer: As the peppers develop, switch over to a fertilizer higher in Phosphorous and Potassium. Gardeners often make the mistake of providing too much nitrogen. The result is a great looking bushy, green plant, but few fruit.

 

Days to Maturity: Most peppers take 60 to 80 days to mature.

 

Harvesting: Bell peppers are usually picked green and immature but when they are full-sized and firm. However, if they are allowed to ripen on the plant they will be sweeter and higher in vitamin content. Other peppers are usually harvested at full maturity. Be careful when breaking the peppers from the plants, as the branches are often brittle. Hand clippers can be used to cut peppers from the plant to avoid excessive stem breakage. The number of peppers per plant varies with the variety. Bell pepper plants may produce 6 to 8 or more fruit per plant.

 

Storing: Store sweet peppers for up to two weeks in a spot that ranges from 50 to 55°F. Hot peppers are good to eat fresh, dry or pickle. Harvest peppers for drying when they start to turn red. Simply pull the plants from the ground and hang them upside down in a cool, dry place.

 

Pests & Diseases: Several insects enjoy your pepper plants. Spider mites and aphids are the most common, with an occasional borer. In many areas, it is infrequent. For the infrequent problem, try an organic insecticide or dust. While many viruses and diseases can affect Peppers, it is somewhat infrequent. Fungal infections can be treated with fungicides. Apply treatment as soon as you see it.

 

Tips: Peppers are self pollinators. Occasionally, they will cross pollinate from pollen carried by bees or other insects. To minimize this possibility, don’t plant hot and sweet peppers too close. Don’t worry though, as it will not affect the fruit of this year’s crop. The cross will show up in the genetics of the seeds, if you save them.

 

Learning Download: How to Grow Hot Peppers

 

Growing hot peppers from seed allows for diversity and spice in dishes, but certain steps must be followed to ensure the best possible outcome.

 

Before Planting: Before planting, soak the seeds overnight in warm water. Soaking the seeds allows them to sprout quicker and better than when not soaking them.

 

Planting: Plant the seeds in peat pellets, but follow the instructions on the pellets in order to add water and allow the peat to expand before planting the seeds. Plant three of the same hot pepper seeds in a 1/4 inch hole and loosely cover with soil. Do not pat the soil down because you want the seedlings to break through the soil’s surface easily. It is time to transplant your seedlings when the last frost has passed and nightly temperatures are above 50 degrees. Plants should be around 8 weeks old and they shouldn’t have any blooms yet. If they do have blossoms, pinch off the blossoms prior to transplanting so energy will be directed to adjusting to the transplant.

 

Watering: Water 1 to 2 inches per week.

 

Fertilizer: Fertilizing begins when the seedlings are still indoors and the first true set of leaves have appeared. Use a diluted fish emulsion fertilizer.

 

Days to Maturity: Peppers are ready to harvest when they change color.

 

Harvesting: To harvest, use gloves when picking and use hand pruners or scissors to snip the pepper from the plant.

 

Tips: Since peppers are heavy and their branches are brittle, stake the plants or use cages to support them.

Peas: Green Arrow & Oregon Sugar Pod II

Peas are a cool weather crop, direct sow in 4–8” wide trench 1 to 1.5” deep in early spring as soon as soil can be worked, space 1 to 1-1/2”. When frogs start croaking the soil is warm enough to plant peas. For early spring and dry fall sowings, presoak in water in large open bowl or bucket until peas are swollen and radical (1 cm root) is visible but has not broken free. Replace water 2-3 times daily and stir frequently for enough oxygen, mix seed with enough dry soil to dry and easy to handle. Trellis varieties over 3’ tall. Set trellis net or chicken wire on poles 6’ apart. Successional crops, sow peas every 10–14 days. Sandy well drained soils are best. Pick all pods at harvest to encourage new pea growth. Soil pH 6-7.5. Hardiness zones 5. Annual.

 

Days from maturity calculated from the date of seeding. Average 115-140 seeds per ounce. Federal germination standard: 80%. Pea seed will retain 50% viability for 3 years when stored in cool, dry, dark, conditions. Isolation distance for seed saving: 50 feet.

 

Planting Depth 1 to 1-1/2”

Soil Temp. Germ. 45-75˚F

Days to Germ. 7–10

Plant Spacing 2–3”

Row Spacing 18–14”

Days To Maturity 59

Storage Refrigerate

Full Sun, Moist Well Drained

Small Sugar Pumpkin

The Small Sugar Pumpkin is noted as one of the finest pie pumpkins. A staple heirloom baking pumpkin, the “Small Sugar” has been enjoyed around the Thanksgiving table for more than 120 years!

 

Plant your pumpkin seeds outside after all chance of frost has passed and the soil temperature is 65 F. Even though pumpkins need a lot of room to grow, we always plant more pumpkin seeds than we think we may need to increase the chance of each vine setting fruit. Plan on needing a minimum of 20 square feet for each plant – this can be found on the edge of the garden where the vines can trail down, or in an unconventional spot in your yard that has ample space.

 

The warmer the soil, the faster the seeds will germinate, so mound the soil to help the sun heat it faster. Plant 3-5 pumpkin seeds about 1 inch deep in each mound. Once they germinate, thin to 2 of the healthiest sprouts.

 

Pumpkins are 80-90% water, so they need a lot of it to grow. The secret is to only water pumpkins when they need it. If the plant looks healthy, there is no need to water daily. When the soil is dry and the plant looks limp, give it a long deep drink. Deep but infrequent watering results in a healthier plant.

 

Most pumpkin varieties take between 85-125 days to mature. If you would like to have pumpkins on October 1st, count backwards to decide when to plant.

Squash: Black Beauty Zucchini & Early Prolific  Summer

Squash is a very versatile plant to grow, with many different options for the home garden.

 

Squash is an easy plant with high yields and comes in many different varietals. Winter squashes such as acorn, delicata and butternut can be used in dishes or even for decoration as a centerpiece of a table.

 

Before Planting: Squash prefers fertile, well-drained soil with a pH of 6-7.0. Plastic mulch and fabric row covers (AG-19 grade) can aide plant establishment and exclude insect pests during the seedling stage.

 

Planting: Squash grow well in mounds, so hill up some soil and plant three to five seeds per mound. Plant seeds 1 inch deep in mounds set 4 feet apart after all danger of frost has passed. Squash can be started indoors three to four weeks before the last frost date. Squash also grow well in pots or buckets, 5 to 10 gallons is large enough. Row covers should be removed when plants begin to flower.

 

Watering: Water at least 1 inch a week. Mulching can also help retain moisture.

 

Fertilizer: To encourage squash growth, it is important to fertilize prior to planting the seeds and during its growing season as well. Prior to planting seeds, mix up to 3 inches of compost into the soil where you plan to plant the seeds. Instead of composting, you can use a 5-10-10 fertilizer and spread 1 tablespoon per mound prior to planting. Throughout the squash’s growing season, use the 5-10-10 fertilizer monthly.

 

Days to Maturity: Summer squash varieties like zucchini and yellow squash can be harvested when they are young and tender or you can wait until they reach their full size, which is generally 6 to 8 inches long.

 

Harvesting: Harvest regularly, 2-3 times a week, once plants begin to produce.  Zucchini will have a healthy

sheen to its green skin. Winter squash like acorn, delicata or butternut squashes are ready to harvest when their outer rind resists puncture by a fingernail. Cut or gently twist off fruits when they have reached the desired size. For summer squash, 4-6″. Keep fruit at 40-50°F with 95% relative humidity.

 

Tips: Squash blossoms are also edible. Pick the first blooms that appear, as those are the males and if picked, they will not affect plant yields later in the season. Remove the interior of the blossom and add the petals to salads.

 

AVG. Seeding Rate: 3 seeds/ft., rows 6′ apart, 250 seeds/83′, 500 seeds/166′, 1,000 seeds/333′.

Tomatoes: Beefsteak, Big Red Sandwich, Cherokee Purple, Floradade, Homestead, Rutger, Pineapple, Rio Grande, & San Marzano

Tomatoes are one of the most common plants grown in the garden, but they are usually grown from transplants bought at the store and not seeds. However, growing a tomato from seed allows for more options when it comes to the type of tomatoes a gardener wants to grow. Tomatoes range from typical red to yellow to seedless and heirloom varieties. Homegrown tomatoes taste delicious fresh, or they can be used for canning, sauces and other recipes.

 

Before Planting: Tomatoes should be grown in a sunny location with good soil drainage.

 

Planting: Start seeds indoors under controlled conditions. Use soilless grow media. Place in a sunny window with at least 8 hours of sunlight. Water only when soil feels dry to touch. No fertilizer is needed until transplanting. Using a heating pad to keep the soil between 70-80°F. Slowly introduce your tomato seedlings to the outdoor environment one week before transplanting. Each day add more time outside. Start with shade and no wind outdoors and work your way up gradually to sun and wind. Transplant after last frost date and soil temperature has reach 60°F.

 

Watering: Water at least 1 inch per week. Always water the base of the plant and not the leaves.

 

Fertilizer: Add 1 ounce of high phosphorus fertilizer (5-10-10) in hole before transplanting. Fertilize again when first tomatoes begin to appear and then again when first tomato is picked.

 

Days to Maturity: Tomatoes are ripe when they have reached the right color – red for red tomatoes, yellow for yellow tomatoes and so on – and are slightly soft when squeezed. This is usually 65 to 80 days after planting.

 

Harvesting: Fully vine-ripened fruit only for local retailing or use. To deliver sound fruit, pick fruit less ripe the further the distance and the longer the time between the field and the customer. Store firm, ripe fruit 45-60°F for 4-7 days. Some varieties will store longer.

 

Tips: Learn the common tomato diseases in your area. Select resistant varieties. For prevention, use young, healthy transplants, avoid overhead irrigation, plow in tomato plant refuse in the fall, rotate crops, and do not handle tobacco or smoke before handling plants. Fungicides can reduce certain diseases when properly selected and applied. Prevent Blossom End Rot by providing abundant soil calcium and an even supply of soil moisture. Use row covers to protect young seedlings from flea beetles. Tomato hornworms can be controlled with bacillus thuringiensis. Use spinosad for potato beetle larvae and adults.

 

Avg. Planting Rates: Avg. 785 seeds/667 plants to produce 1,000 ft. of row. Avg. 8,540 seeds/1 oz., to produce 1 acre of transplants, 18″ between plants in rows 4′ apart (7,260 plants needed).

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