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  • Sowing Method: Direct
  • Plant Type: Vegetable

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Gardening Tips

Cress Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/4”-1/2”
Row Spacing:12”
Seed Spacing:1/2”
Days to Germination: 3-5 days
Germination Temperature: 45°-85°F

A snap to grow in almost any soil, Cress is vitamin rich and a lovely addition to soups and salads. Sow Cress seed as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring, every 8 to 10 days, in rows spaced one foot apart for a continuous harvest. For larger plants, thin seedlings to 4" to 8" apart. If you plan to harvest Cress in the “cut and come again” method, you don’t need to thin out the seedlings. Cress can tolerate a bit of shade in the garden and tastes best if grown in moderately fertile, moist soil. Try starting some Cress indoors in a sunny, well-ventilated area in flats for very early spring salads. Watercress loves wet soil and is traditionally grown next to streams. To replicate these conditions, use a 4" high pot with a deep saucer and keep the saucer filled with water at all times.

Success with Cress
The secret to growing good Cress is vigilance. It is one crop you don't want to let sneak by you. Harvest it when it is just big enough to pick; don't let it get too large or too strongly flavored. Succession plantings are a must, so that you always have some new Cress coming along. Cool weather is kindest to Watercress and a winter greenhouse is almost as good as a stream bed for growing it. It is easy to keep the soil moist when the sun is low in the sky and little water evaporates.

Shade Tolerance
Kale Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
: ¼”-1/2"
Row Spacing: 18”-24”
Seed Spacing: 2”-4”
Days to Germination: 5-10 days
Germination Temperature: 45°-75°F

This leafy member of the Brassica family prefers cool weather for optimal growth. Start Kale in the spring as soon as the soil can be worked or in late summer for fall and winter harvest. You can grow Kale in partial shade as long as it gets at least 4 hours of mid-day sunlight. When growing as individuals, thin to 12" to 16" apart. Or, broadcast seed to harvest in the “cut and come again” method. Kale prefers well-draining, moderately fertile soil amended with compost and/or wellrotted manure. Seedlings thrive in evenly moist soil and enjoy occasional supplemental feedings of organic fertilizer. Hardy and pest-resistant, Kale becomes more tender and sweet after being kissed by frost. Harvest large leaves by cutting them at the base, leaving the plant to keep producing. Harvest as “cut and come again” greens when plants reach a height between 3" to 6".

A Boost For Brassicas
Kale and other leafy Brassica crops such as Cabbage, Broccoli, Arugula and Tatsoi all benefit from an extra dose of nitrogen. Forgo the chemical sources and look for what nature has put together for you. Aflalfa meal, blood meal, crab meal, soybean meal and cottonseed meal - these are all great nitrogen sources. The best time to give the crops their dose of "Vitamin N" is in early spring, at planting time. Follow the directions on the bag for the correct amount and work the product into the top 3" to 4" of soil. Then, put in your transplants or seeds and water thoroughly. Healthy, dark green leaves will be your report card and your reward.

Hail to the Hardy Greens
Most garden greens can hardly wait for cool weather to come. They perk up and sweeten up as the mugginess of August fades away. Crops such as Spinach, Arugula, Claytonia and Mâche, if protected by a cold frame or simple unheated greenhouse, survive the winter in cold climates, to be cut and re-cut for a continuous harvest. Sow them in September in the north, October in warmer parts of the country. They do best hunkering down, close to the earth. Lettuce and Endive over-winter best when cut at baby leaf size rather than full-sized heads.

Kale, Collards and Brussels Sprouts fare better if grown to full size and left outdoors to soldier on as long as they can, since they do not re-grow if cut back in winter. We can often harvest them for our Christmas table, even in snowy Maine.

Everyone's Delicious Darling: Kale

Shade Tolerance
Kohlrabi Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/4”-1/2”
Row Spacing:12”
Plant Spacing:6”
Days to Germination:5-14 days
Germination Temperature:45°-75°F

Plant this Brassica native of northern Europe in cool weather to enjoy its juicy-crisp texture, mild sweet taste and dramatic appearance. Kohlrabi prefers cool weather and moderately fertile, evenly moist soil. Amend bed with compost and/or well-rotted manure. Start transplants 4 to 6 weeks before planting outdoors, which should be done as soon as the soil can be worked. Or, direct-sow by spacing seed every 1" to 2". It grows best as a fall crop, planting up to 4 weeks before the first frost in the fall. Thin seedlings twice: first to 3" apart, then to 6" apart in each row. The thinned seedlings taste delicious steamed or used raw in salads. Harvest Kohlrabi on the small side (under 4" in diameter) for the best taste and crunch, using the leaves in soups or as a steamed side dish. Kohlrabi tolerates hard frost and is a most welcome addition to the fall table.

Krazy for Kohlrabi

Cooking Tip:
Kohlrabi Goes to Charm School

Kohlrabi is considered an “earthy” vegetable~if it is considered at all. I happen to love it boiled and mashed, in its robust peasant form. But allow me to introduce the Kohlrabi of the canapé tray. When young and tender it can be sliced into sweet, mild slivers and used instead of a cracker for dips, or to support a tasty daub of crabmeat.
Southern Greens Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/4”-1/2”
Row Spacing:18”-30”
Plant Spacing:1”-2”
Days to Germination:6-14 days
Germination Temperature:45°-75°F

Southern Greens prefer cool weather, although Collards are tolerant of summer heat. Direct-sow outdoors in the early spring as soon as the soil can be worked or in the late summer for fall harvest. They can be started as transplants 6 weeks before setting out in full sun and rich, well-draining soil. Add organic compost and/or well-rotted manure as needed. Keep the seed bed moist and weed free. Once seedlings are 4" tall, thin Mustard plants to 8" apart and Collard plants to 12" apart for full-size plants. Water regularly and fertilize as needed with kelp, fish emulsion or seaweed fertilizer. Harvest individual outside leaves without disturbing the plant’s growing point, or harvest the whole plant by cutting it off 1" above soil level: they may resprout. Avoid planting any Brassica in the same area until four years have passed.

Hail to the Hardy Greens
Most garden greens can hardly wait for cool weather to come. They perk up and sweeten up as the mugginess of August fades away. Crops such as Spinach, Arugula, Claytonia and Mâche, if protected by a cold frame or simple unheated greenhouse, survive the winter in cold climates, to be cut and re-cut for a continuous harvest. Sow them in September in the north, October in warmer parts of the country. They do best hunkering down, close to the earth. Lettuce and Endive over-winter best when cut at baby leaf size rather than full-sized heads.

Kale, Collards and Brussels Sprouts fare better if grown to full size and left outdoors to soldier on as long as they can, since they do not re-grow if cut back in winter. We can often harvest them for our Christmas table, even in snowy Maine.

Shade Tolerance

Deer Resistant Seed Varieties
Sweet Corn Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
: 1"-1 1⁄2"
Row Spacing: 24"-30”
Seed Spacing: 3"-4”
Days to Germination: 4-14 days
Germination Temperature: 60°-80°F

Direct-sow Corn when the soil is reliably warm, above 60°F, well after the last spring frost date. Prepare a well-draining area with rich soil in full sunlight. Amend the soil as necessary with organic fertilizer, compost and/or well-rotted manure. Corn is pollinated by the wind, so grow a minimum of 4 rows, even if they are short rows, to ensure good pollination. If the weather gets wet and cold, you might want to re-seed just to be safe since Corn has a long maturation cycle. After thinning to 10" to 12" between the plants, water regularly and mulch with hay or straw to deter weeds and retain ground moisture. Corn is particularly hungry for nitrogen: feed regularly as needed.Harvest when the silk begins to turn brown and a kernel, pinched with your fingernail, releases its sweet,milky liquid.Harvest shortly before cooking by holding the stalk and twisting the ears off at their bases.

Note: Try growing Corn in the ancient “Three Sisters”method: in hills spaced 5' apart, sow 3 seeds in the center of each hill. Sow 6 Pole Bean seeds adjacent to the Corn seeds and then sow Pumpkin or Winter Squash seed in the valleys between the hills. The Beans will scramble up the Corn and the Squash will ramble on the ground, creating a living mulch.

Winning the Corn Olympics
Corn is easily grown by sowing it directly into the ground. This is the simplest, most logical way to grow Corn. But if you're in a race to be the first in your neighborhood with Sweet Corn, try this trick. Since Corn needs a much warmer temperature to germinate than it does to grow, start the seeds indoors and then transplant them into the garden the minute you see the Sprouts emerge. This must be done immediately, since the little seedlings grow quickly and can easily become potbound.

Space Saver
In July or August, after the Corn crop is well on its way toward harvest time, set out some Broccoli transplants in between the rows. The shade cast by the cornstalks will help keep the Broccoli from going to seed in hot weather. After the Corn has been picked, cut the stalks down and turn the space over to the Broccoli, which will bear a nice fall crop. A Bean crop would work also, but choose a bush variety. Vining Beans will climb all over the Corn plants and fell them like timber.

Cooking Tip: Uncanny Creamed Corn
Why do most people think creamed Corn always comes in a can? You’ll never touch that sweet, gummy stuff again after you’ve tried creaming fresh Corn. Just cut the kernels off the cob and simmer them in cream until the kernels are cooked and the cream has reduced and thickened. No sugar needed!
Swiss Chard Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/4”-1/2”
Row Spacing:16”-20”
Plant Spacing:10”-12”
Days to Germination:7-12 days
Germination Temperature:45°-65°F

Chard has compound seeds, which may produce several seedlings. Soak seed in bathtub-warm water for an hour before sowing. Planting Chard in soil too cold results in bolting (going directly to seed). Wait until soil has warmed to over 45°F, about 2 weeks before the last expected frost date. It may also be grown for fall/winter use if started in the middle of the summer. Chard likes evenly moist, moderately fertile soil amended with compost and/or well-rotted manure. A light sprinkling of complete organic fertilizer ensures lush growth. When seedlings are about 3" tall, thin them to 3" to 5"apart. Later, thin the plants out to an eventual spacing of 10" to 12". Steam thinnings or toss in soups or salads. To harvest Chard leaves, cut the large outside leaves first. Chard may also be sown thickly and snipped with scissors for ‘baby’ greens.

Shade Tolerance

Deer Resistant Seed Varieties

Easy Direct-Sow Swiss Chard
Watercress Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/4”-1/2”
Row Spacing:12”
Seed Spacing:1/2”
Days to Germination: 3-5 days
Germination Temperature: 45°-85°F

A snap to grow in almost any soil, Cress is vitamin rich and a lovely addition to soups and salads. Sow Cress seed as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring, every 8 to 10 days, in rows spaced one foot apart for a continuous harvest. For larger plants, thin seedlings to 4" to 8" apart. If you plan to harvest Cress in the “cut and come again” method, you don’t need to thin out the seedlings. Cress can tolerate a bit of shade in the garden and tastes best if grown in moderately fertile, moist soil. Try starting some Cress indoors in a sunny, well-ventilated area in flats for very early spring salads. Watercress loves wet soil and is traditionally grown next to streams. To replicate these conditions, use a 4" high pot with a deep saucer and keep the saucer filled with water at all times.

Success with Cress
The secret to growing good Cress is vigilance. It is one crop you don't want to let sneak by you. Harvest it when it is just big enough to pick; don't let it get too large or too strongly flavored. Succession plantings are a must, so that you always have some new Cress coming along. Cool weather is kindest to Watercress and a winter greenhouse is almost as good as a stream bed for growing it. It is easy to keep the soil moist when the sun is low in the sky and little water evaporates.
Coaxing Up Carrots
Carrots, like Parsley, Dill and other Umbelliferae, can be difficult to germinate when direct-sown outdoors. To speed things up, be sure you keep the seed bed continually moist until the sprouts emerge.

Carrot Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
: 1⁄4"
Row Spacing: 12"
Seed Spacing: 1"-2"
Days to Germination: 14-21 days
Germination Temperature: 45°-85°F

Carrots grow best in moderately fertile, sandy and well-draining soil. Sow seed thinly in rows when the soil has warmed to 45°F, usually as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. Or, mix the seed with fine sand for easier seed distribution. Barely cover with fine soil, tamp down lightly and water with a fine spray. Your challenge: to keep the seed in place while keeping the surface soil from drying and crusting!

Until seeds germinate, keep the soil moist with frequent, light water sprinklings. The first thinning should be 1" to 2" apart. Later on, thin as desired depending on the variety. Frequent finicky weeding and watering until the seedlings take hold will pay off in a juicy, luscious Carrot crop. Carrots are at their sweetest when small, so harvest by gently pulling them out while holding the base of the greens.

Tips for Harvesting and Storing Root Vegetables

Deer Resistant Seed Varieties
Gardening Tips: Hail to the Hardy Greens
Most garden greens can hardly wait for cool weather to come. They perk up and sweeten up as the mugginess of August fades away. Crops such as Spinach, Arugula, Claytonia and Mâche, if protected by a cold frame or simple unheated greenhouse, survive the winter in cold climates, to be cut and re-cut for a continuous harvest. Sow them in September in the north, October in warmer parts of the country. They do best hunkering down, close to the earth. Lettuce and Endive over-winter best when cut at baby leaf size rather than full-sized heads.

Kale, Collards and Brussels Sprouts fare better if grown to full size and left outdoors to soldier on as long as they can, since they do not re-grow if cut back in winter. We can often harvest them for our Christmas table, even in snowy Maine.

Direct-Sow Basics

Lettuce Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
: ¼”
Row Spacing: 12”-18”
Plant Spacing:12”
Days to Germination: 7-12 days
Germination Temperature: 45°-90°F

Lettuce prefers cool weather. To raise transplants, start seeds 5 to 8 weeks before setting out. Transplant out as soon as the soil can be worked. Sow thinly in flats or pots using sterilized starter mix, cover lightly and water. Provide light, moderate warmth and good ventilation. Avoid crowding: thin to 2" apart. Amend Lettuce beds with compost, organic fertilizer and/or well-rotted manure. Gradually acclimate seedlings to outdoor temperatures and moderate sunlight, water well at transplanting time, shade seedlings from scorching sun and protect from heavy frosts. Keep soil moist with regular watering and feed with a liquid fertilizer as needed. For “baby” greens, broadcast seed, harvesting leaves when 3" to 4" high with scissors. Make successive sowings every 2 weeks for continuous harvest.

Shade Tolerance