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Gardening Tips

Cabbage Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/4” -1/2”
Row Spacing:24”-36”
Plant Spacing:12”-18”
Days to Germination:5-14 days
Germination Temperature:70°-75°F

Best raised as transplants, start Cabbage indoors 6 weeks before planning to set out, which can be up to 4 weeks before the last expected frost date. Sow 1 to 3 seeds per pot in a sterilized seed starter mix. Provide strong sunlight, cool temperatures, good ventilation and even moisture. When plants have 3 to 4 true leaves, thin to the strongest seedling per pot and harden the plants off by gradually getting the plants used to outdoor temperatures and light. Cabbages have “kingly” appetites! Prepare a well-draining, sunny site by digging deeply and adding plenty of well-rotted manure and/or compost. Fertilize Cabbages as needed until late summer. Cabbage tastes best harvested when heads are wrapped tightly, in smaller sizes. A member of the Brassica family, Cabbage should not be grown in the same site as other Brassicas for 4 years.

Floating Row Covers
Many summer pest problems can be avoided with an ounce of springtime protection. Lightweight floating row covers, placed over young transplants as soon as you set them out, will keep out the flying insects that later turn into root maggots and Cabbage worms - both of which bother brassica crops such as Broccoli, Cabbage and Kale. The covers will let in plenty of light, air and water, but you'll need to pull them aside when you weed. Do this early in the morning when flying insects are the least active, to keep them from laying their eggs. By the time the plants are big enough to be constrained by the covers, they'll be mature enough to withstand a couple of little buggies and won't need the covers anyway.

Long Life for Cabbages
Next time you harvest Cabbages, try leaving the stem and roots on before you put them in your root cellar, or other cool, moist storage area. They will keep better and you can produce a second crop from each stem. Pot up a stem, with the Cabbage head removed, in a large pot of soil mix, feed and water, and wait for tasty young leaves to sprout all along the stem. Great for winter soups!

Alcosa Baby Cabbage

Shade Tolerance

Deer Resistant Seed Varieties
Cucumber Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
: 1"
Row Spacing: 6”
Seed Spacing: 4”
Days to Germination: 5-10 days
Germination Temperature: 60°-70°F

Cucumbers thrive in heat. Start transplants indoors 4 weeks before the soil is at least 60°F (the last expected frost date), planting 3 seeds per 4" pot or 1 seed per peat pot in sterile starter mix. Provide heat, light, ventilation and good drainage. At the seedling stage, Cucumbers are vulnerable so keep soil lightly moist but not wet. When third true leaf is expanding, transplant out carefully. Cucumbers may be direct-sown 1 to 2 weeks after the danger of frost has passed to a sunny, well-draining spot: sow 6 seeds per hill; then thin to the strongest 3 plants. Cukes need regular watering and prefer a rich garden bed; fertilize prior to planting and again as needed. Support with large tomato cages, stakes or netting. Harvest cukes when small, well before they set seed. ‘Cornichon’ varieties should be harvested when they are the size of your little finger.

String Theory for Cucumbers
If you have plenty of space in your garden it’s fine to let Cucumbers sprawl on the ground. But in today’s small, often shaded yards, gardeners must make the most of every sunny foot of row. That’s where trellising comes in. A Cucumber support need not be an elaborate structure. A simple but sturdy frame will do fine, with strings dangling from an overhead bar. Tie the bottom end of each string to a cuke plant in a loose knot, then wind the vine around the string as it grows. Train to one stem, by pruning out all side shoots up to 3’, then letting one fruit form at each leaf node. When the vine reaches the top, train it over the bar, then allow two stems to come down. You’ll get a huge harvest from just one row. Use string that is at least 2-ply, so it won’t break. If it’s untreated, you can put all the vines on the compost pile at summer’s end, strings and all.

Deer Resistant Seed Varieties
Nasturtium Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1”
Seed Spacing:2”-3”
Plant Spacing:8”-12”
Days to Germination:7-14 days
Germination Temperature:65°-70°F

Tropaeolum majus. Easy to grow in full to filtered sunlight, it is best to direct-sow in well-draining, loamy soil after the last frost. Plant 1" deep, since they require darkness for optimal germination. Keep uniformly moist until the seedlings emerge, about 10 days after sowing. Weed and keep well-watered until established. Or, start indoors 5 weeks before the last frost date. Sow in a good seed-starting mix at 65° to 70°F. Provide even moisture, strong light and good ventilation. Prior to transplanting, acclimate the seedlings by gradually exposing them to outside conditions for 1 to 2 weeks. Thin or transplant the seedlings 8" to 12" apart in the garden. Drought-tolerant, water moderately once established. They flower best with cooler nights. Summer flowering. Dwarf varieties: 12" to 18" tall. Taller varieties: 5' to 8' tall.

The Eminently Edible Nasturtiums
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
Tomatoes With Character
Some Tomatoes are glamorous like Elizabeth Taylor--lush, perfect, refined. Brandywines are glamorous like Melina Mercouri or Anna Magnani. Though their flavor is extraordinary, they do not always form perfect circles when sliced. Sometimes the fruits are lumpy, contorted, or deeply cleft, and you end up cutting them into free form chunks. They are perfect tossed with bread in an Italian panzanella salad, where flavor is more important than form. Or in salsa. Or in sandwiches with lots of mayo. Or try this one: toss some chunks of brie in hot, drained pasta, then add oddly shaped pieces of Brandywine Tomatoes. Ah, summer.

Tomato Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/4”
Row Spacing:36”
Plant Spacing:24”-30”
Days to Germination: 6-15 days
Germination Temperature:70°-85°F

It’s best to raise Tomatoes as transplants. Sow Tomato seeds in sterile seed mix 6 to 8 weeks before the danger of frost has passed, water lightly and provide bottom heat. Grow seedlings at 60° to 75°F in a brightly lit, well-ventilated area. (Windowsills are not bright enough; the plant will get leggy and flop over.) Fertilize lightly as needed, increasing the pot size as needed. After the last spring frost, place outdoors for a week to harden off and to introduce to stronger sunlight. Prepare fertile Tomato beds in full sun with lots of compost and/or well-rotted manure. Transplant, burying seedlings deeper than initially grown, incorporating organic fertilizer under each transplant. Support with Tomato cages or tie plants loosely to rough wooden stakes, using soft cloth. Feed occasionally as needed. Keep Tomatoes well-watered by soaking the soil and not the leaves. Harvest when ripe!

Green Means Go
If you're wondering if your Tomato plants (or any annual crops) are getting the soil fertility they need, keep an eye on the "seed leaves". This is the first pair of leaves to emerge when a seed sprouts. They remain at the base of the stem as the plant grows. If the seed leaves stay healthy and green, you're doing something right with the soil in that row. If they are pale, yellow or withered, you need to prepare the soil more carefully next time you plant.

Deer Resistant Seed Varieties

Delicious, Voluptuous Heirloom Tomatoes

Not-So-Strange Bedfellows
According to the theory of companion planting, Tomatoes and Basil benefit one another when grown in the same plot. Certainly, they cause each other no harm, for we have often interplanted the two in a row, especially when we're training Tomatoes vertically on strings. There's plenty of space in between them for bushy Basil plants. After all, they keep excellent company in the kitchen, whether you're serving fresh Tomatoes strewn with the pungent green Basil leaves or cooking both up into a luscious sauce for pasta. It's handy to be able to pick the two together. And who knows? Perhaps the Basil's strong scent repels insect pests that might otherwise prey on the Tomatoes.

Juicy Fruits
The more water a vegetable contains, the more water you need to give it in dry, hot weather. Tomatoes, Cucumbers and Celery are especially thirsty. If you can, group them together and run a soaker hose through the patch.

Deer Resistant Seed Varieties

Cooking Tip: Variations on a Theme
At the height of Tomato season, platters appear on the table regularly, and we never seem to get tired of them. But it’s nice to vary the dressing. Sometimes it’s just a simple vinaigrette. Sometimes its a heavier balsamic vinegar dressing with olive oil and honey. Sliced red Onions are often part of the mix. Basil, either with the leaves whole or cut into ribbons, is a frequent player. And sometimes we make a pesto with our Lemon Basil and some good olive oil--maybe a little extra lemon as well, and some parmigiano cheese. It stays a brighter green than other pestos, and is wonderful spooned over the Tomato.
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
Just because legumes are known to improve the soil in which they grow, it does not mean that they needn't be planted in good soil themselves. This is especially true of Beans. If you dig in well-rotted manure at the time of planting, your bean plants will grow better, be more free from disease and give you a better yield.

Beans Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
: 1"
Row Spacing: 18"-36"
Seed Spacing: 3"-4"
Days to Germination: 6-10 days
Germination Temperature: 60°-80°F

Beans love sun and well-draining, fertile soil. Plant Beans when the soil has warmed to 60°F and all danger of frost has passed. Amend the soil as needed with organic fertilizer, compost and/or well-aged manure. Cool, wet weather may necessitate a second planting: bean seeds rot in cold, damp soil. After planting, do not water until the sprouts emerge, unless it is very hot and dry. After emergence, and throughout the season, avoid watering the foliage. Water as needed by soaking the soil around the Beans and fertilize with kelp or fish emulsion as needed.

For Pole Beans, provide support with rough poles, teepees, netting or a trellis. Harvest when the Beans are young, slim and on the small side for the best eating! It is vital to keep Beans picked regularly since seed formation slows and eventually halts production. Sow Bush Beans every 10 to 15 days until 2 months before the first frost date in the fall for continuous yields.

A mainstay of the kitchen garden, homegrown Beans outshine those that are store-bought in their delicious, just-picked flavor, crisp-tender texture and rich vitamin content.

Beans Show Their Colors
My favorite use for purple-podded Beans is to pick them while slim and tender, along with green and yellow ones, and arrange all three on a platter with a hummus dip.

Beans, Beans & More Beans

Shade Tolerance

Featured Recipes