Growing Crops: Chinese Cabbage

If you are an Asian foodie, then this is the crop for you! Chinese cabbage (often referred to as Napa cabbage) is a staple of many Asian dishes, including stir-fries, soups, Spring rolls, and coleslaw with a twist of Thai Peanut Sauce.

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Growing Crops: Angelica

Angelica can be grown as either a biennial or a perennial – although its existence as a perennial is short-lived, lasting only 3 or 4 years. It does not bloom the first year, and will die after flowering the second year. If you are unconcerned with the flowers and are growing it for the stems and leaves, clip the stems before the flowers bloom each year until it finally dies on its own.

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Growing Crops: Beans (Bush and Vine)

…as opposed to growing shelling beans. These are the green (or yellow, or purple) beans you steam or sauté as a nice side dish, or put in that holiday green bean/mushroom soup/fried onion casserole every year.

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Growing Crops: Collards

Collard greens are a staple in the Southeastern U.S., appearing alongside everything from fried chicken to BBQ ribs to Brunswick Stew. They are a member of the Brassica family, which makes them yet another cousin to the cabbage plant.

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Growing Crops: Chard

Leaf beet (or Perpetual spinach), Rainbow chard, Ruby chard, Seakale beet, Spinach beet, Swiss chard…’tis all a variation of the same vegetable, a close relative to the beet. It is a sturdy, savory green that tastes equally delicious raw in salads as it does wilted as a side dish – or baked into a particularly delicious strata dish involving eggs, cheese, sausage, and bread.

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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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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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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: 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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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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