Why so many different plants in one post? Well, they’re all members of the same family (asteraceae) and genus (cichorium) and have remarkably similar planting requirements and growing conditions. Chicory belongs to the species intybus, and radicchio is a chicory variety. Endive belongs to the species endivia, and escarole and frisee are endive varieties. All of them are cool weather vegetables that tend to bolt during the heat of summer. They make it possible to enjoy salad all year long.
Don’t try to grow blueberry bushes from seed – leave the propagating to the experts. Buy your blueberry bushes live, preferably already a year or two old – and get more than one variety for good cross-pollination. There are a large number of blueberry varieties to choose from, including Arlen, Berkeley, Bluecrop, Blueray, Brunswick, Duke, Earliblue, Jersey, Legacy, Northblue, Northcountry, Northland, Northsky, Patriot, Rancocas, and Tophat.
Whether you intend to start seeds indoors and then transplant outside, or purchase young plants to transplant as soon as you get them home, or you plan to sow seeds directly in the soil, these are the basics you will need to plant and tend your vegetable garden.
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.
If you live in a colder climate with a shorter growing season, starting your vegetable seeds indoors will not only extend the growing season, but will also protect your plants from harsh temperatures while they are still extremely vulnerable. If you live in a warmer climate, starting your vegetable seeds indoors will give you a head start on the growing season so that you will end up with a larger harvest. Keep in mind that you don’t want to start the seeds too far ahead. 6-8 weeks before the projected date of the last frost for your area is ideal.
They say the best defense is a good offense, so why not apply this principle to your vegetable garden?
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.
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.
Asparagus is a vegetable best cultivated if you are planning to stay somewhere a good, long while. It is a perennial vegetable (one of the few) that you will not harvest after planting until the third year (if you’ve grown it from seed)…and then with proper care your asparagus plants will last for two decades or longer. No joke. It’s perfect for an edible landscape feature, or a permanent garden border.
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.