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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Growing Crops: Bok Choy

Also known as Pak-Choi, this vegetable is a staple of Asian stir-fry dishes. It is frequently referred to as Chinese Cabbage (several varieties of which we will cover as well), though it is a stalk-forming plant much closer to celery in appearance and use. The leaves and stalks of the Bok-Choy plant are both edible, and more flavorful than celery.

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Growing Crops: Brussels Sprouts

Mini-cabbage-on-a-stick pretty much sums up Brussels sprouts. There are several varieties to choose from, including Jade Cross, Long Island Improved, Prince Marvel, and Rubine. Lightly steamed with a bit of butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper, they are a surprisingly tasty vegetable.

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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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Growing Crops: Corn Salad

Also called Lamb’s Lettuce, Mache or Rapunzel, this cold-hardy green helps make it possible to enjoy salad year-round. The flavor is quite mild.

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Garden Tools You Will Need – Harvesting

Simply yanking your vegetables off the branch or out of the ground is not the proper technique for harvesting your crops. Unless we’re talking about corn. Then it’s pretty much twist and yank the ear off the stalk. The rest of the time, however, using the proper tools is the safest way to harvest your crops with minimal damage to not only the remaining plant but to what you just harvested. You don’t want to bruise or crush your produce.

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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: Caraway

Caraway seeds, so prevalent in rye bread the world over, are not the only part of the caraway plant that can be eaten. The leaves and shoots make a tasty addition to salads, and the roots, much like carrots or parsnips, can be slivered or diced and added to soups.

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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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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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