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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Smart Garden Ideas – Succession Planting

It is a good idea to grow crops in your garden year-round. There is no reason your yard must have several bare patches of dirt from late Fall through early Spring. Who wants to look at that?

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Weed Control

Weeding your vegetable garden is a necessary evil. Healthy soil that supports healthy vegetables will also support weeds, and your job is to stop them cold. Not only do they compete with your vegetables for space and soil nutrients, they also attract pests and disease to your garden.

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Planting Vegetables – Hardening Off and Transplanting

You cannot simply take your seedlings from their warm, protected place indoors and put them in the ground outside. They’ll die. They need to be introduced to the outdoors gradually.

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Composting – How to Compost 101

Compost is the absolute best fertilizer or soil amendment you can use in an organic fruit and vegetable garden. It helps create loam from sandy/silty or clay soils, prevents soil from becoming too acidic or basic, and is an excellent source of the proper balance of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.

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Your Garden Journal

Don’t rely on computer records for this. By all means, if your handwriting is atrocious and you prefer to type up your notes, go right ahead. But print them out. Do you really want to have to run to your computer, covered in soil and bug remnants, to look up something in your garden journal on the fly? We didn’t think so. Buy a three-ring binder. Preferably a sturdy, thick one, because the journal will only grow over time. Sheet protectors are a good idea, too, as they keep things nice and clean. Keep all of your records – handwritten or printed out from your computer – organized for quick and easy reference.

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Growing Crops: Broccoli and Calabrese

Going back to our high school biology lesson, wherein everything under the sun is classified according to kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species, we find that broccoli and calabrese both belong to the same family, Brassicaceae, as well as the same species, Brassica Oleracea.

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Your Garden Calendar

Even within the same state, climates are different. For example, Flagstaff, Arizona has about a 2-month growing season due to the altitude (7,000+ feet). During the summer it rarely gets above 82 degrees F and the daily rain during the monsoon season (between Independence Day and Labor Day) is cold and often contains ice pellets. Winters are cold and harsh, and they’ve seen blizzard conditions in early June. We’ve lived there, we know! Two hours south (and 5,000 feet lower) in Phoenix you can grow vegetables pretty much year-round and 112 degree temperatures during the summer are fairly common. Winter there means maybe having to put on a pair of socks or long pants for a couple weeks.

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Growing Crops: Cauliflower

Cauliflower is rather polarizing vegetable – either you love it or you hate it, there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground. It always seems to be the last vegetable left on the veggies-and-dip platters. There’s the “brainy” appearance, the odd texture…however, we like it – with plenty of Ranch or Blue Cheese dip, thank you very much.

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Growing Crops: Citrus Trees

Grapefruits, Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Tangerines…they’re like little balls of sunshine, particularly during the Fall and Winter months, when a great many varieties produce fruit. Contrary to what you may think, you don’t have to live in California or Florida to grow citrus trees. Did you know that citrus trees are evergreens? No? Well…you do now.

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