Growing Crops: Carrots

Carrots come in a number of shapes, sizes, and colors – those long, orange, somewhat bland carrots you see at the supermarket are but the tip of the iceberg. Carrots are divided into several groups comprised of many varieties.

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Composting – Compost Bins to Choose From

It doesn’t need to be fancy.

Cement blocks, wire mesh and metal stakes, 2 X 4 boards and chicken wire…all of these items can be fashioned into a working compost bin that will confine your compost pile in one place.

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Garden Pest Control – Barriers

While companion planting, introducing beneficial insects, and attracting pest-killing birds to your vegetable garden will certainly help control garden pests, you may need to go a step or two further and install some barriers for plant protection.

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Growing Herbs 101

There’s nothing quite like an herb garden. Not only do herbs ward off some pests who are repelled by their strong scent, they just look beautiful, and the taste of fresh herbs in your cooking cannot be beat. You will wonder how you ever cooked with that dried stuff in the bottles at the supermarket.

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Growing Crops: Artichokes

Artichokes, also called Globe Artichokes, can be grown as an annual or a perennial (ideally as part of an edible landscape feature), depending on how much space you have available and how you prefer to grow them. Annual artichokes require a minimum of 100 days without frost, are planted in the Spring and harvested in the Fall. Perennial artichokes can be planted in Spring or Fall and harvested during either season, as well. Every 3 or 4 years carefully pull them out of the ground with the help of your garden fork, divide them, and then replant.

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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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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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Garden Pest Control – Organic Pesticides, Commercial

If your homemade sprays have proven ineffective, the next step is to bring out the big guns, or in this case, the commercial organic pesticides. Chemicals are chemicals, so what is the difference between organic (natural) pesticides and non-organic (synthetic) pesticides? While both are indeed chemicals, the organic chemicals are made from natural mineral or plant substances, and most are quickly broken down and do not harm the environment over the long-term like the synthetic varieties do.

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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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Growing Crops: Beans (Shell or Dried)

…as opposed to the “green beans” meant to be eaten fresh. Shell beans are the dried (or canned) beans you think of when you make bean soup or bean dip or chili or refried beans. They don’t grow much differently than their “green” cousins. The main difference is in when you harvest them.

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