Garden Seeds – Heirloom, Organic, or What?

First of all, “bargain bin” seeds are no bargain. If you see packets of vegetable seed marked down to a ridiculously low price, ask yourself why they’re marked down. It might be that the retailer is trying to get rid of seeds that didn’t sell well (maybe rutabagas aren’t all that popular in your area and the retailer bought too many wholesale, for instance)…but chances are, they’re old seeds that may or may not germinate when planted. Look at the date on the seed packet, and if it’s last year, don’t buy them. Only buy seeds that are meant to be planted this year.

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Growing Fruit 101

With all the emphasis on organic vegetable gardening here there and everywhere, growing fruit often gets ignored. Maybe it’s the thought of all that pruning, or the patience factor: it can take 2-3 years for a fruit tree or bush to actually produce any fruit. So you have to wait. But, if you are a patient and tenacious fruit lover, you are perfectly capable of planting a thriving fruit garden as well as a vegetable garden.

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Growing Crops: Broccoli Rabe

What, exactly, is broccoli rabe (or raab, or raap)? Well, it’s not broccoli, for a start. It got that nickname due to its florets that resemble those of green calabrese (what we call broccoli here in the U.S.).

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Why Grow Your Own?

Ever bitten into a store-bought cherry tomato only to discover it tastes faintly like the chemicals commonly used to disinfect toilets?

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Garden Watering – Drip System or Soaker Hose vs. Hand Watering

Watering your vegetable garden by hand – using a watering can or the garden hose – is a perfectly reasonable way to take care of your plants, particularly if you have a small garden. The last thing you want to do is set a sprinkler in the middle of your garden and soak the foliage. Why?

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Composting – What and What NOT to Use…and Why

The last thing you want to do is put something in your compost pile that will not only harm your soil and your plants, but also harm you. You are, after all, what you eat. What goes into your vegetable garden eventually makes its way into you.

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Growing Crops: Borage

A beautiful and tasty annual herb with an ugly name, borage is also a low-maintenance herb. Perfect for those would-be gardeners with the proverbial brown thumb. You have to really try to kill this herb off. So, why not give it a try?

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Fertilizers and Soil Amendments – The Organic Way to Feed Your Garden and Build Your Soil

There are a number of natural fertilizers and soil amendments available to either add to your soil before planting, or to feed your fruits and vegetables throughout the growing season. Soil testing before planting will give you the information you need to add the correct soil amendments, and observing your plants while they are growing will help you determine which fertilizers will best serve their needs.

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Growing Crops: Arugula

Arugula, otherwise known as Rocket or Salad Rocket, is a tangy addition to green salads and cold pasta dishes. It is a cool season crop that will bolt with too much heat; however, do not be dismayed if your arugula bolts – while the leaves will be too bitter to eat, the edible flowers will make a colorful and flavorful addition to your dishes.

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Growing Crops: Lima Beans

Lima beans are a prolific crop, nicknamed Butter Beans due to the buttery flavor and creamy texture of some varieties. The bush varieties include Baby Fordhook, Burpee’s Improved Bush, Fordhook 242, Henderson’s Bush, and White Dixie Butter. The vine or climbing varieties include Burpee’s Best, Carolina Red, King of the Garden, Prizetaker, and Sieva.

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