Lettuce can be grown practically anywhere. Lettuce it is a cool-season vegetable, with an ideal temperature of 50-60 degrees. It does poorly in hot weather, and is tolerant to some frost and light freezes. The leafy types mature quickly and are more suited for warm climates. Cos is also more heat tolerant. It will prefer a little shade during the warmer part of the season. It can be grown year round with proper varieties, and some additional winter protection. Lettuce will generally grow best in the spring and fall seasons.
Carrots grow quickly at first, sending down a tiny orange root that expands and develops more quickly toward the end of its growing period. As with all root crops, rapid, steady development produces the best results. Keep the row weed free with light shallow cultivation or heavy mulching. The seedlings must have steady moisture to develop well, with less moisture as the roots mature. Too much moisture at the end of maturing will cause the roots to crack. To prevent greening the shoulders, hill up dirt around the greens.
#3. GREEN ONIONS & CHIVES
Chives are grown best in cooler weather, are cold hardy and usually are planted early in the spring. Chives can quickly take over your garden if you allow the plant to go to seed. Chives are also very easily transplanted in case you wanted to dig up the plants and move them to another area. Sow your chive seeds directly into the soil as soon as it is workable and at least 60 degrees F. Choose an area that is well drained, and add several inches of compost or organic matter around the plants to help fertilize the soil and to help cut down on weeds.
The easiest method of growing sprouts is to use a Mason jar. The key is to provide plenty of fresh air to enter the jar and only cover the top with a mesh screen. Step 1: Soaking — For a quart-sized jar, put 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons of small seeds (up to 1 cup if using larger seeds like green peas or garbanzo) in the sprouting jar. Cover top of jar with cloth or sprouting lid and rinse the seeds in warm (not hot) water. Drain and refill so that water is about an inch above the seeds. Let the seeds soak 8-12 hours (overnight). Protect from light by covering with a dish towel or placing in a cupboard. Step 2: Rinsing — Rinse 2 to 3 times per day for 2 to 3 days. After thoroughly draining the rinse water, lay the jar on its side to spread out the seeds. Do not expose to light. After 2 to 3 days the sprouts should be filling up the jar.
Garlic can be planted in the spring as soon as the ground can be worked, but fall planting is recommended. Bulbs will grow bigger and more flavorful when you plant them in the fall. Plant 6 to 8 weeks before your first hard frost. In southern areas, February or March can be a better time to plant.
Onions are easy to grow, have a fairly short growing period and take up little space in the garden. If you don’t have a vegetable garden, plant a few onions in your flower garden or in a pot or box and set them on your patio or in a sunny window.
Onions are a cool-season crop, hardy to frost and light freezes, although certain varieties are exceptions. They can be grown practically everywhere, and prefer a cool- season start. Onions are as hardy as they come. Frosts, freezing temperatures and snow will not kill them. They should have steadily moist soil and even growing weather to mature at a steady pace. Otherwise they bolt to seed or do not form good bulbs. High temperatures and low humidity are advantageous during bulbing and curing.
Broccoli is an annual cool-season crop hardy to frosts and light freezing, often overlooked and overcooked. Broccoli is sensitive to the heat, if the weather is too hot, it will flower quickly and won’t produce an edible head, it tends to grow best in the fall due to the more predictable cool weather. To prevent spreading clubroot and other soil-borne diseases, don’t compost brassica roots. Some gardeners won’t compost any part of the plant. Also, rotate the placement of brassica plants in your garden so they aren’t in the same 10-foot radius for at least 3 consecutive years. Some experts recommend a rotation of 7 years. Headed broccoli is the most common form in the United States, with big central heads closely packed with buds.
#8. BELL PEPPERS
Peppers are easily second only to tomatoes as a home gardeners favorite. Try spot planting them around the garden for bursts of beautiful color too. Pepper roots don’t like to be disturbed, so plant them indoors in seed starting pellets two months before your last frost date, usually three or four seeds to a pellet.
Thyme can be grown in many climates. It makes for an attractive and fragrant ground cover, and has fragrant, tiny flowers that the bees love. Grow thyme to attract pollinators for your garden. Try using fresh thyme in meat dishes, incorporated into sausage, stuffing or your favorite soup recipe. It also does very well in containers, both inside and outdoors. Plant seeds when the ground temperature has warmed to at least 70 degrees. Loosen soil and then sprinkle seeds on top. Mist lightly, being careful not to allow the soil to become soggy.
Artichokes have a preference for a long, frost-free season. They do not grow well when there is heavy frost or snow. The temperature should not be under 55°F at night. For best results, plant them on the average date of last frost for your area. Artichokes need rich, well-drained soil that will hold moisture. They also need as much sun as possible. 8 hours of sunlight is ideal.
Beets are an annual cool-season crop, half-hardy to frost and light freezes. They thrive in all parts of the country. Beets are closely related to spinach and chard, and once called “blood turnips” because of their bright red juice. Growing beets will provide delicious colorful roots and nutritious greens. Most beets are open-pollinated and multi-germ, where one seed yields a clump of 4-5 plants that need to be thinned.
Basil is planted in the spring and dies at the first fall frost. It can be grown year-round indoors or in frost-free climate. Basil also needs daytime temperatures over 70° F and nighttime temps over 50° F. Basil thrives in warmer temperatures. Sow your seeds outdoors in spring, after all danger of frost has passed. Basil needs at least 6-8 hours of full sun each day, so keep that in mind when choosing a location to start your seeds. Try to space your basil plants about 12 inches apart.
#15. ZUCCHINI & SQUASH
Squash is a warm-season crop, very tender to frost and light freezes. Plan an average of 2 winter plants per person and two summer plants per 4-6 people. Summer squash can be grown almost anywhere, as the vines develop quickly. Harvest begins in 2 months. Winter squash requires a longer growing season and more garden space for sprawling plants. They generally do not tend to thrive in hot, dry regions where there is a limited water supply.
Cucumbers self regulate how many fruits they can carry at one time. In order to maximize production, harvest fruits as soon as they reach picking size. Pick daily, because under ideal conditions, cucumber fruits can double in size in just one day. Grow cucumbers where a long, warm growing season, minimum 65 days, can be assured. Cucumbers are a warm-season crop, very tender to frost and light freezing.
#17. GREEN BEANS
Beans can be grown in average soil, almost anywhere in the United States. They grow best if the soil is well drained and the summer is consistently warm. Seeds will rot in the ground in cold, damp weather. Plant seeds 2 inches apart, 1 1/2 inches deep in rows 2 feet apart. Thin to about 6-8 plants per foot of row. Bean plants produce the bulk of their crop for a 2 week period. Rather than plant the entire row, sections should be planted at 2 week intervals until mid-July or 8 weeks before the first killing frost. This will assure a steady crop all summer.
Mint is said to be the easiest to grow out of all herbs. It’s great for beginning gardeners and grows best in zones 4-9. Use Mint leaves to add flavoring to a wide array of food and beverages. It also serves as a natural pest deterrent around other vegetables. Chewing on the leaves will freshen your breath and can calm an upset stomach. Mint is a hardy perennial that can really be started anytime as long as you’re about 2 months before your first Fall frost. It also grows well indoors, year-round. Start them inside in late winter, for your Spring planting, or wait until the soil warms up and sow the seeds directly outside in your garden.
Radishes are a fast growing, cool-season crop that can be harvested in as little as twenty days. Eaten raw they can be whole, sliced, diced, or grated. You can also cook and pickle them. Most of them are typically eaten fresh, and make a good addition to salad or a substitute to pepper on a sandwich.
The tomato is a warm-weather vegetable, it is very tender to frost and light freezes. Never plant near walnut family trees. The walnut trees excrete an acid that inhibits growth of nearby plants. Sow seeds using expanding seed starting soil pods about 8 weeks before the last frost date for your area. Seedlings will be spindly with less than 12-14 hours of light per day, try to keep them in a warm sunny location.
The ideal potato soil is deep, light and loose, a well-drained but moisture retentive loam. Most potato varieties are very aggressive rooting plants, and are able to take full advantage of such soil. In ideal soil, potatoes can make incredible yields. Fortunately, the potato is also very adaptable and will usually produce quite well even where soil conditions are less than perfect.
Kale is a very easy vegetable to grow. It is generally more disease and pest resistant than other brassicas. Kale also occupies less space than other brassicas. Use it as a spinach substitute in a wide variety of dishes. Kale maintains body and crunch which makes it a good substitute in dishes where spinach might not be suitable; its especially delicious in stir-fry dishes. It is recommended to cook over high heat to bring out the best flavor and prevent bitterness.
Many specialty growers are planting kale in wide beds only 1/2 to 12 inches apart and harvesting kale small as salad greens. In England, close plantings of kale have been shown to prevent aphid infestations through visual masking.
Each and every living seed will grow into a plant. It’s when that seed begins to grow (germinate) that we call the beginning growth stage of the plant a “sprout”. They are a convenient way to have fresh vegetables for salads, or otherwise, in any season and can be germinated at home or produced industrially. Sprouts are said to be rich in digestible energy, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, and phytochemicals!