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: 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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Composting – What and What NOT to Use…and Why

The last thing you want to do is put something in your compost pile that will not only harm your soil and your plants, but also harm you. You are, after all, what you eat. What goes into your vegetable garden eventually makes its way into you.

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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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Growing Crops: Arugula

Arugula, otherwise known as Rocket or Salad Rocket, is a tangy addition to green salads and cold pasta dishes. It is a cool season crop that will bolt with too much heat; however, do not be dismayed if your arugula bolts – while the leaves will be too bitter to eat, the edible flowers will make a colorful and flavorful addition to your dishes.

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Garden Seeds – Heirloom, Organic, or What?

First of all, “bargain bin” seeds are no bargain. If you see packets of vegetable seed marked down to a ridiculously low price, ask yourself why they’re marked down. It might be that the retailer is trying to get rid of seeds that didn’t sell well (maybe rutabagas aren’t all that popular in your area and the retailer bought too many wholesale, for instance)…but chances are, they’re old seeds that may or may not germinate when planted. Look at the date on the seed packet, and if it’s last year, don’t buy them. Only buy seeds that are meant to be planted this year.

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Tilling Your Garden – Go Deep!

One of the best things you can do for your brand-new garden before you plant a single seed is to double till your patch. We don’t mean till it twice along the surface, we mean till it twice as deep. About 2 feet deep. Urban and suburban soil has been covered with lawn, compacted and neglected below the surface. If you want a bountiful harvest from fertile soil, you have to peel off the lawn and dig deep to bring your soil back to life.

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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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Why Grow Your Own?

Ever bitten into a store-bought cherry tomato only to discover it tastes faintly like the chemicals commonly used to disinfect toilets?

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Fertilizers and Soil Amendments – The Organic Way to Feed Your Garden and Build Your Soil

There are a number of natural fertilizers and soil amendments available to either add to your soil before planting, or to feed your fruits and vegetables throughout the growing season. Soil testing before planting will give you the information you need to add the correct soil amendments, and observing your plants while they are growing will help you determine which fertilizers will best serve their needs.

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