vegetable garden

How does your garden grow?

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Well since it’s not quite warm enough to get your tomato’s going why not start with a cool season garden? There are lots of great veggies you can get started to brighten up your dinner plate.

Lettuce: All lettuces need loose, well-drained soil. Sow in open ground after frost; barely cover seeds. The best types to grow in our climate are: Butterhead or Boston, Looseleaf varieties and Romaine. The Looseleaf and Romaine varieties are the most heat tolerant.

Curly Leaf Kale: Sow seeds in place and thin to 1 1/2 to 3 ft. apart; or set out transplants at the same spacing. Grown for their leaves, which can be steamed, stir fried, sautéed, or added to soups. Curly-leafed kales form compact clusters of leaves that are tightly curled.

Swiss Chard: This is actually a form of beet grown for leaves and stalks instead of roots. It is one of the easiest vegetables to grow in home gardens. New leaves grow up from the center of the plant. Regular green and white chard looks presentable in flower garden, and multi-colored chard looks even better.

Broccoli: All types of broccoli are cool-season plants that tend to bolt into flower at high temperatures, so plant them to mature during cool weather. In cold-winter areas, set out young plants 2 to 4 weeks before last frost (young plants resist frost but not hard freezes). Space plants 1 1/2–2 ft. apart in rows and leave 3 ft. between rows. Harvest 50 to 100 days after setting out plants. Cut heads before clustered buds begin to open. Include 5–6 in. of edible stalk and leaves.

Cauliflower: Easiest to grow in cool, humid regions. Where summers are hot, grow it to harvest well before or well after midsummer, and select heat-tolerant varieties. Start with small plants. Space them 1 1/2–2 ft. apart in rows and leave 3 ft. between rows. When heads first appear, tie up the large leaves around them to keep them white.

Arugula: Arugula has a nice peppery mustard flavor, which goes well when mixed with other greens. It grows best in cool weather. Thin to about 6 in. apart. Harvest tender young leaves; older, larger ones usually taste too sharp.

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