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For The Garden

Easy-To-Grow Vegetables for the Low Desert

Author: Nancy Erdmann
Issue: September, 2010, Page 118

Best traits—Hardy and nutritious, cabbage also can add ornamental value to the garden. Colors range from pale green to steel blue to reddish purple. Varieties to try: Red Acre, Bok Choy Tatsoi.

Growing tips—Sow seeds Aug. 15-Jan. 15; transplants Sept. 15-Feb. 1. Fertilize twice per season. Ready for harvest in 80-130 days.

*Vegetables grow best with six to eight hours of sunlight. Choose varieties suitable for your area. Plant in amended soil; keep moist until established, then deep-water to promote root growth. Harvest just before using for best flavor and nutritional value.


Best traits—Edible from top to bottom, beets come in various shapes, sizes and colors. Their roots are good for baking and sautéing. The greens, which are more nutritious than the roots, can be used in salads. Some beet types have red stems, making them ideal for adding jolts of color to the garden. Varieties to try: Chioggia, Jewel Toned Blend.

Growing tips—Sow seeds Sept. 15-March 15. Best grown in loose, well-draining soil. Beets are heavy feeders, so fertilize twice per season. Ready for harvest in 60-80 days. *See Cabbage instructions.


Best traits—High in vitamin C, this robust root vegetable comes in a variety of shapes; colors include orange, yellow, white and purple. Carrots remain fresh in the soil for many months and can be harvested over a long period of time. Varieties to try: Round Romeo, Red Core Chantenay, Black Seeded Simpson.

Growing tips—Sow seeds Aug. 1-May 1. Can be grown in the ground or pots; need loose, well-draining soil. They are light feeders and need fertilizing only once per season. Ready for harvest in 60-100 days. *See Cabbage instructions.


Best traits—Leaf lettuce provides “cut-and-come-again” harvests for up to two months per plant. Some types can be harvested in as little as three weeks. Leaf lettuce is one of the easiest lettuces to grow and doesn’t take up a lot of room. Varieties to try: Lettuce Cutting Mix, Farmer’s Market Blend, Red Oak Leaf.

Growing tips—Sow seeds Aug. 15-Feb. 15; transplants Sept. 15-March 1. Fertilize twice per season. Leaf lettuce can be grown in containers. Ready to harvest in 50-90 days. *See Cabbage instructions.

Other favorites: Bok choy, broccoli, chard, green onions, kale, lettuce (head), spinach, radishes, turnips
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