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For The Garden

Easy-To-Grow Veggies

Author: Cathy Cromell
Issue: May, 2013, Page 122
Photo courtesy Johnny's Selected Seeds Johnnyseeds.com

SUMMER SQUASH
(Cucurbita pepo)



EASY-TO-GROW VEGGIES FROM SEED

SUMMER SQUASH
(Cucurbita pepo)

Type: Warm-season annual   

Elevation
: Low, mid, high

Blooms: Yellow; summer

Size: 24-40"H by 18-36"W

Soil: Rich garden soil amended with 4-6" of organic matter

Light: Full sun

Water needs: Consistent soil moisture

Maintenance: Monitor regularly to control common pests, such as squash vine borers and squash bugs.

Note: Sow seeds when soil temperatures reach at least 60 and up to 70 degrees F.

Why we like it: Squash blossoms are edible. Prolific crops come in varied colors, shapes and sizes, such as ‘Benning’s Green Tint’ patty pan (scalloped edge, pale green, matures to creamy white); ‘Ronde de Nice’ (round, green speckled); and ‘Yellow Crookneck’.



SWISS CHARD
(Beta vulgaris ssp. cicla)
SWISS CHARD
(Beta vulgaris ssp. cicla)

Type: Cool-season biennial (grown as annual)

Elevation: Low, mid, high

Blooms: Greenish; end of growing season

Size: 1-2'H by 1-2'W

Soil: Improved garden soil

Light: Full to partial sun

Water needs: Consistent soil moisture

Maintenance: Harvest regularly to continue tender leaf production.

Note: Throughout the growing season, remove flower stalks at the base as soon as they appear.

Why we like it: Showy, colored stalks add day-glo colors to the garden. ‘Rainbow Mix’ and ‘Bright Lights’ include pinks, golds, oranges, purples and reds. ‘Ruby Red’ and ‘Rhubarb’ have red stalks and green leaves that resemble rhubarb.



OKRA
(Ablemoschus esculentus)
OKRA
(Ablemoschus esculentus)

Type: Warm-season annual

Elevation: Low, mid, high

Blooms: Creamy-yellow with deep maroon centers; summer

Size: 3-8'H by 2-3'W

Soil: Average garden soil with good drainage

Light: Full sun

Water needs: Moderate

Maintenance: Harvest young tender pods every two days. Older pods become woody and unpalatable.

Note: Sow seeds when soil reaches 65 to 70 degrees F. Pre-soak seeds in water overnight to speed germination.

Why we like it: In the same family as hibiscus and cotton, okra produces pretty hibiscuslike flowers through summer’s heat. ‘Burgundy’ features red foliage, stems and pods. Dried pods make unusual additions to dried arrangements.



KALE
(Brassica oleracea)
KALE
(Brassica oleracea)

Type: Cool-season biennial (grown as an annual)

Elevation: Low, mid, high

Blooms: Yellow; end of growing season

Size: 12-18"H by 12-18"W

Soil: Improved garden soil

Light: Full sun

Water needs: Consistent soil moisture

Maintenance: Handpick any cabbage loopers.

Note: One cup of cooked kale has only 36 calories, while providing vitamins A and C, plus calcium.

Why we like it: Mixing and matching leaf textures and colors creates a crazy quilt of healthy greens in the garden. Varieties include ‘Red Russian’ (purple stems/green-lobed foliage); ‘Redbor’ (deep purple/frilly foliage); and ‘Siberian’ (green/ruffled
foliage).


Other Favorites: Arugula, beets, bok choy, leaf lettuces, peas, spinach
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