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.).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A beautiful and tasty annual herb with an ugly name, borage is also a low-maintenance herb. Perfect for those would-be gardeners with the proverbial brown thumb. You have to really try to kill this herb off. So, why not give it a try?
A salad isn’t a salad without cucumbers, in our opinion. Thin-sliced, skin-on. There are a number of varieties to choose from, depending on the space you have available and the purpose for which you are growing your cucumbers. After all, pickles are simply puckered up cucumbers.
This post refers to common cabbage that you would put in coleslaw, rather than Chinese Cabbage – which we will cover soon! There are so many cabbage varieties, it’s difficult to know where to begin. The varieties you choose to grow will depend on when you want to harvest them – because cabbage can be harvested year-round.