Growing Crops: Corn

Corn is an impressive crop to grow, particularly in an urban or suburban environment, as it’s such an unexpected sight to see outside of rural farm country. You can grow corn for eating, or the multicolored varieties for Fall decorating, or popcorn varieties that are harvested after they have dried on the stalk. Not all at once, however, as different varieties need at least 100 yards between them to avoid cross-pollination.

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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 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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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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Trellises and Plant Supports

Whether you plan to use the stake-and-string method, wire cages, trellises, some homegrown contraption you’ve cobbled together from two-by-fours, duct tape and dental floss…or all of the above…the one thing they all have in common is the need to have them in place BEFORE you plant!

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Growing Crops: Black Eyed Pea

Also known as the Cowpea, this legume (actually a bean) is a staple of Southeastern American cuisine. A versatile food item, they can either be picked when immature like you would pick green beans or sugar snap pea pods and eaten whole, or allowed to mature like you would grow shelling peas or beans, removing the peas from the pods and eating them fresh or drying for later use.

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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 Seeds – Planting Outdoors

Seeds need properly prepared soil, moisture, plenty of air, and mild temperatures (at least 45 degrees F) in order to grow. Presuming you have double-tilled – and hopefully raised – your garden bed, removed chunks of debris, and smoothed the soil with your garden rake, then your soil is ready. If your soil is dry, water it thoroughly about an hour before you intend to plant your seeds in order for it to drain. Use a fine spray so that you don’t have to go back and re-smooth the soil. You don’t want it water-logged, just good and moist.

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Growing Crops: Basil

Basil is an annual herb that is widely used in Mediterranean cuisine – you would be hard-pressed to find a pasta sauce that doesn’t have basil in it. Not to mention it is one of the staple ingredients in pesto (the others being garlic, olive oil, and pinons or walnuts).

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Garden Pest Control – Organic Pesticides, Homemade

When should you use an organic pesticide? If and when everything else has failed. Start with homemade and work your way up to commercial if you have to.

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