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Any gardener will tell you that gardening is one you and your family like to eat?

to eat? Perhaps you'd love to


of the most absorbing and rewarding grow peas because you remember how wonderful
occupations you can undertake. Any gardener will they tasted fresh out of the garden in your childhood.
also tell you — probably loudly and at length — that Or maybe your family's crazy about spinach salad or
gardening requires patience, resilience, hard w o r k , broccoli casserole, or you're just plain tired of frozen
and a lot of planning. Paperwork is probably the last vegetables.
thing you have in mind when you think about What are you going to do with it? H o w do you plan
growing your o w n vegetables. More likely you see to use your vegetables, and what are you going to do
yourself leaning contently on your spade as all sorts w i t h the part of your crop that you don't eat as soon
of lush, healthy plants shoot up in front of your eyes. as it's harvested? Do you want to freeze, can, dry,
The fact of the matter, t h o u g h , is that gardening store, or make preserves w i t h some of your crop?
begins not w i t h seeds and a spade but with paper and a How much do you need? H o w you plan to use your
pencil. vegetables directly affects how much of each
A successful vegetable garden begins with a well- vegetable you want to grow, and will influence your
organized plan of your garden space. Drawing a plan decision about the kind of vegetable you're going to
may not sound as exciting as getting outdoors and plant — all carrots aren't alike, and there are
planting things. But if you don't spend the necessary hundreds of different tomato varieties.
time planning what to grow in your garden and Can you grow it? Not all vegetables grow
w h e n and where to plant it, you may spend the rest of satisfactorily in ail climates. Some vegetables like it
the growing season correcting the mistakes you hot; some refuse to grow in hot weather. Some
made because you didn't have a plan. It's a lot easier to vegetables flourish w h e n it's c o l d ; others just shiver
erase a bed w h e n it's a few lines on a piece of paper and die. Certain plants go f r o m seed to harvest in a
than w h e n it's an expanse of soil and plants. couple of months and will grow almost anywhere in
Your plan should include not only the types and the United States — green beans and some kinds of
quantities of vegetables you're going to grow and how lettuce are among these obliging vegetables. Others
they'll be positioned in your garden, but also are very picky and need a long stretch of warm or
planting dates and approximate dates of harvest. cool weather. You have to take the plant's needs into
Making a plan may seem like a lot of w o r k to get consideration before you can make a decision on
done before you even start gardening, but careful whether or not it's a practical choice for your home
planning will help you make the best use of your garden.
time and available space and will result in bigger, Do you have room for it? There are plants that are
higher-quality crops. rather like large pets — they're very endearing, but
This chapter discusses all the questions you need you just can't live w i t h them because they're too
to take into account w h e n you're planning your big. You want to grow vegetables that will give you a
garden — the hows, whats, whys, whens, and reasonable amount of produce in the space that
wherefores. The specific cultural requirements of you have available. Some vegetables — especially
each vegetable are given in detail in Part 2. some vining crops like pumpkins — need a great
deal of room and give you only low yields, so they're
THE FIRST DECISION: WHAT TO GROW not a practical choice in a small home garden. And if
(AND H O W MUCH) you're growing an indoor container garden, you'll do
fine w i t h cabbages in flowerpots, but there's simply
The first step to planning a successful vegetable no place you're going to put a healthy watermelon
garden is to decide which vegetables to grow. This vine or a Jerusalem artichoke.
may sound fairly straightforward, but there are a lot Is it worth the bother? Some vegetables require
of factors involved, and you need to answer some very little n u r t u r i n g , and you can grow them with a
basic questions: What vegetables do you and your m i n i m u m of t o i l . Others require special attention
family like? Do you want to eat all your crop fresh, or and need to be babied. Celery and cauliflower, for
store or preserve some of your harvest? Can you example, have to be blanched — blanching is a
grow the vegetables you like successfully in your process that deprives the plant (or part of the plant) of
climate? How much time and energy can you put sunlight in order to whiten it and improve its flavor,
into your garden? The first factor to consider is color, or texture. Before choosing a crop that's going
personal preference. to need special handling, be sure you really want to
What vegetables do you like to eat? The first give it that much attention. Some crops, t o o , are
decision to make in choosing what to grow in your bothered a lot by insects or plant diseases — corn is
vegetable garden is simple: What vegetables do one of t h e m . If you're not willing to deal with these
problems as they occur, this type of crop is going to under your care and how large a plant a little seed
cause you more disappointment than satisfaction. will produce.
Are you trying to save money? Another factor to
consider when you're deciding what to plant is the Planning for the yield you want
practical matter of economics — is the vegetable
worth growing, or would it be cheaper to buy it? Some Some gardeners start off in an orderly manner by
vegetables are readily available and inexpensive to planting all their vegetables in rows of the same
buy, but would produce only low yields from a large length, but space means something different to a
space if you grew them in your garden. Corn, for carrot and a cauliflower. A 10-foot row of broccoli will
instance, is inexpensive to buy when it's In season, but give you a manageable amount of produce; a 10-
in your garden it needs a lot of growing space and foot row of parsley will provide enough for you and
often only gives you one harvestable ear from a whole the entire neighborhood, but it isn't a big problem
plant. You may decide not to grow corn and settle because you can freeze or dry parsley and use it all
instead for a crop like endive, which is expensive in year around. A 10-foot row of radishes, however,
the store but as easy as leaf lettuce to grow. can be a big mistake — no family can eat all those
Potatoes, too, are readily available and fairly radishes, and they don't store well, so you could
inexpensive to buy, but they're space-hungry in the end up with a lot of wasted radishes. Cucumbers
garden. You might like to plant an asparagus bed sprawl all over the place and need a lot of room;
instead— it requires a little initial work, but gives carrots are fairly picky about soil conditions, but they
you a gourmet crop for years afterwards. do stay where you put them. So you have to
The economy question, however, is not clear- estimate how productive your plants are likely to be.
cut. The fact remains that the vegetables you pick The description of individual vegetables in Part 2
fresh from your own garden taste a whole lot better will help you estimate how many plants to grow.
than the ones you buy in the store, so saving money
may not be your prime purpose in growing them. Plan how to use your crop
You may be perfectly willing to give up half your
garden (or all your balcony) in order to have a Garden space, storage space for preserved
couple of ears of wonderful, milky, homegrown corn vegetables, storage space for preserving equipment,
come harvesttime. You may consider the delicious family food preferences, your own preferences,
flavor of fresh carrots a more Important issue than the your local climate, the energy costs, time involved in
fact that store-bought ones are inexpensive. The preserving, and the help available (if any), are all
only way you can get corn from the garden to the table points you need to consider when you're deciding
in a matter of minutes is to grow your own, and the how much of a certain vegetable you want to grow.
freshest possible carrots are the ones you pull out of Before you plant large amounts of a vegetable, plan
the backyard at dinner time. These are judgments what you're going to do with the vegetables you
you make yourself, and they're just as important—if can't eat at once. Check each vegetable's storage
not more so — than whether or not a crop is easy to potential — detailed information on storing and
grow, economical in its use of space, or will save you preserving Is given in Part 3— and take into account
money. whether or not you want to go to the trouble of
storing or preserving what you don't eat immediately.
How much is enough — or too much? Some people find canning, freezing, or drying their
home crop a most pleasurable activity. Others don't
Your initial decision about the vegetables you'd have time or just don't like doing It. So counting
enjoy growing and eating—and that you think you your chickens before they're hatched is a vital part of
can grow successfully In the conditions you have to your planning, and something to keep in mind even
deal with — is the first step to planning a well-thought- way back In the winter when you're spending a bleak
out, productive vegetable garden. But this is the December day studying your seed catalogs. Come
point where you discover that you still have very little summer, it will be too late.
Idea of how much of each vegetable to grow. You
know you want to eat some of your crop and freeze, Do you want to freeze, can, dry, pickle, or store?
pickle, or preserve some. But how many seeds should
you plant to enable you to achieve those ends? There's more than one way to preserve a crop. You
Again, advance planning can help you avoid getting can freeze, can, dry, or make preserves and pickles.
swamped with squash or overrun by radishes — it's You can construct a cold storage area or a root cellar
amazing how energetically your plants will prosper in the basement. You can make a storage pit in the
garden. Some vegetables are very obliging. For these two dates mark the beginning and end of the
Instance, extra green beans are no problem because time in which plants grow from seed to maturity.
you can freeze, can, dry, or pickle t h e m . And some Some areas never have frost at all and use their dry
root vegetables are best stored in the ground for as season as their " w i n t e r . " In these areas, however,
long as possible — just go out and dig them up it's still possible to use hypothetical " f r o s t " dates. So
w h e n you're ready to use t h e m . If you have a big family the length of your growing season is (technically)
and a lot of garden space, you may need to use totally dependent on your local climate. W h e n you
several different methods to make the most of your plant a vegetable depends on how well that
crop. If you have only a small garden and a small vegetable handles extremes of temperature.
family, perhaps freezing alone is all you need to The dates on which a certain area can expect to
consider. Read through the introductory sections on have the last spring frost and the first fall frost are
each method of preserving in Part 3, so you're called the "average date of last frost" and the
aware of the space and equipment involved and the "average date of first f r o s t , " respectively. They are
advantages and disadvantages of each method. generally used as reference points for planning and
Consider also the climate where you live and how planting vegetables, but they're not infallible. They do
much time you're able and willing to spend on however, give you a fairly accurate guide as to
preserving. At this point, as in your initial choice of which vegetables will do best in your area, and they
w h i c h vegetables to grow, personal preferences are the reference points most generally used in this
are important. If your family hates turnips and only book. As w i t h every other aspect of gardening you
likes carrots raw, it's hardly going to be worthwhile need to be a little bit flexible. The chart at the end of
to have a root cellar. If you're always on the run, it's this chapter lists the average dates of first and last
pure fantasy to imagine yourself making preserves frosts in major cities throughout the United States.
come fall. You may also want to investigate sharing the If you live w i t h i n 10 miles of a city listed, you can
crop — and the w o r k . If you live in a community of take these dates as accurate; three or four days either
gardeners you may find it possible to get together on way is just as acceptable, so d o n ' t feel you must do
preserving projects, sharing crops, equipment, and all your planting exactly on the one listed day. All these
labor. dates are average, and the weather can always
spring surprises. If you live a long way from a listed city
CLIMATE: H O W WHERE YOU LIVE AFFECTS or are for any reason unsure w h e n to plant, call your
WHAT YOU GROW local Cooperative Extension Service or Weather
Bureau for advice. The Cooperative Extension
Plants, like people, have definite ideas about where Service is a joint effort of the United States
they like to live. Like people, they flourish in congenial Department of Agriculture and the state land-grant
conditions and become weak and dispirited if life is colleges and universities. The service's local office is
too difficult for them to cope w i t h . Unlike people, an invaluable resource for the gardener, and a list of
however, plants can't take practical steps to offices throughout the country appears in Part 4.
improve their homesite — they can't up and move,
and they can't protect themselves against adverse Climatic or "hardiness" zones
conditions. Y o u , the gardener, are largely responsible
for how well your plants do in the climatic The average date of last frost is not the only
conditions you offer t h e m , and you'll save yourself a reference point used to determine when to plant a
lot of frustration and disappointment if you have garden. At one time or other gardeners have made
some understanding of how climate affects your that date dependent on everything from "climatic
garden and if you choose your crops a c c o ^ i n g to z o n e s " to the phases of the m o o n . Climatic zones
your climate. are the small maps you find on the back of seed
packages; they divide the United States into zones
What gardeners mean by a "growing season" or areas w i t h fairly similar climates. They're probably
far more accurate references for planting than
Throughout this book you'll encounter references phases of the m o o n , but they're very general, and they
to the " g r o w i n g season." The growing season is, d o n ' t tell the w h o l e story. There are many
essentially, the length of time your area can give incidental — sometimes almost accidental —
plants the conditions they need to reach maturity and conditions that can cause changes in climate within
produce a crop. The growing season is measured in a climatic zone.
terms of the number of days between the last frost in The climatic zone map in the seed catalog or on
spring and the first frost in fall. In general terms. the back of a seed packet can give you a broad idea of
how a vegetable (or vegetable variety, because be planted on the average date of last frost; you will
carrots, tomatoes, and other popular vegetables don't need to protect them in some way if there's a late
by any means conform to a stereotype) will do in frost. These vegetables include most beans, cress,
your area. Climatic zones, however, don't take into mustard, sorrel, corn, tomatoes; the perennial
account the variations that occur within an area artichokes; and the herbs basil, caraway, chervil,
which, if you go by the book, has the same climatic coriander, dill, sage, and sesame.
conditions prevailing over many square miles. For Very tender vegetables will not survive any frost
instance, if the balcony of your downtown apartment and must be planted after the soil has warmed up in
faces south, you may be able to grow vegetables on the spring; they can be planted two to three weeks
it that would never survive in a north-facing garden of after the average date of last frost. These vegetables
your apartment block. Lots of large buildings, a include lima beans, cucumbers, eggplant,
nearby body of water like a lake, or even heavy traffic muskmelons, okra, peanuts, peppers, pumpkins,
can significantly alter the temperature (and winter and summer squash, and watermelons.
pollution level) in a small garden. So, given all these Gamblers can take a chance and plant earlier than
imponderables, it's safer to judge how well a these dates, but usually this gambling will not pay off.
vegetable will grow by considering its own tolerance Even if you beat the odds and your plants are not
to certain conditions, rather than by a hard-and-fast frozen out, they will probably be inhibited by the cold
map reference. soil, and they won't grow any faster than they would
if you planted them at the proper time.
How '^hardiness'' affects your garden plan
THE CONDITIONS THAT ADD UP TO CLIMATE
The way a vegetable type reacts to climatic
conditions — heat, cold, moisture, and so The degree to which the successful growing of each
on — determines its "hardiness." It's another way vegetable type is dependent on hot and cold weather
of saying how tough it is, but the term hardiness is conditions indicates that temperature is the most
used specifically to indicate how well a plant important aspect of climate to consider when you're
tolerates cold. Before you study how climate affects planning your vegetable garden. At this point it's
your garden, it's as well to consider which helpful to take a good look at how temperature and
hardiness categories certain vegetables fall into. The other basic climatic conditions affect your garden.
hardiness of each kind determines how that Rainfall and sunlight also play a most important part in
particular vegetable will fit into your growing season. how your garden grows, so let's take a look at these
The vegetables that are grown in a home three elements and how they work with your plants.
vegetable garden fall into one of four hardiness
categories: very hardy, hardy, tender, and very How temperature affects plant growth
tender. The date on which you can safely plant each
vegetable in your garden depends on which Average day-to-day temperatures play an important
hardiness category it falls into. part in how your vegetables grow. Temperatures,
Very hardy vegetables can tolerate cold and frost both high and low, affect growth, flowering,
and can be planted in the garden four to six weeks pollination, and the development of fruits. If the
before the average date of last frost. They include temperature is too high or too low, leafy crops may
asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, be forced to flower prematurely without producing
cauliflower, collards, Chinese cabbage, the desired edible foliage. This early flowering is
horseradish, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, kohlrabi, called "going to seed," and affects crops like cabbages
leeks, lettuce, onions, peas, rhubarb, rutabagas, and lettuce. If the night temperatures get too cool it
and shallots; and the herbs chives, garlic, mint, may cause fruiting crops to drop their
tarragon and thyme. flowers — reducing yields considerably; peppers
Hardy vegetables can handle a certain amount of may react this way to cold weather. Generally, the
cold and frost and can be planted two to three weeks ideal temperatures for vegetable plant growth are
before the average date of last frost. They include between 40° and 85°F. At warmer temperatures the
beets, cardoon, carrots, celeriac, celery, chard, plant's growth will increase, but this growth may
chicory, dandelion, endive, parsnips, Irish not be sound structural growth. At lower
potatoes, radishes, salsify, turnips; and the herbs temperatures the plant's growth will slow down or
anise, borage, fennel, marjoram, oregano, parsley, stop altogether.
rosemary, and savory. Vegetables have different temperature
Tender vegetables don't like cold weather and can preferences and tolerances and are usually classified
as either cool-season crops or warm-season crops. melons, p u m p k i n s , and both summer and winter
Cool-season crops are those like cabbages, lettuce, squash. A constant rain can also tempt the honey-
and peas, which must have time to mature before bees to stay in their hives instead of pollinating the
the weather gets t o o w a r m ; otherwise they will wilt, plants; again, yields will be affected.
die, or go to seed prematurely. These vegetables Too little rain over a period of time can slow d o w n
can be started in warm weather only if there will be a plant growth and kill young seedlings or even mature
long enough stretch of cool weather in the fall to plants. Limited moisture in the air can also inhibit
allow the crop to mature before the first freeze. Warm- pollination and reduce the yields of some vegetables.
season crops are those vegetables that can't Too little rain can be more easily remedied than too
tolerate frost, like peppers, cucumbers, and melons. m u c h . If it rains t o o little, you can water the garden. If
If the weather gets too cool they may not grow at all; it rains t o o m u c h , all you can do is pray.
if they do grow, yields will be reduced. Warm-season Rainfall is probably the easiest climatic condition
crops often have larger plants than cool-season to improve. Farmers have worried and complained
crops and have larger, deeper root systems that about the rainfall since the beginning of
enable them to go for relatively longer periods agriculture. If you've got thousands of acres of land
w i t h o u t being watered. Even though it is convenient and no control over the available water it can be
to think of vegetables simply as either cool-season very frustrating — if not a disaster. Since the home
or warm-season crops, considerable differences can garden is usually small and fairly manageable in
exist w i t h i n each of these t w o groups. size, you can do something to regulate how much
The following lists offer a guide to cool- and water it gets. If you d o n ' t get enough rain when you
warm-season crops. For specific planting dates for need it, you can simply water, and there are many
each type of vegetable, refer to the chart at the end different methods you can use. These are described
of "Planting Your G a r d e n . " in detail in "Caring for Your G a r d e n . " Too much rain
Cool-season vegetables include: globe can be more difficult to deal w i t h , and here you
artichokes, asparagus, beets, broad beans, broccoli, need to take preventive measures. The better
Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, drained your soil is, the better it will be able to deal
celeriac, celery, chard, chicory, Chinese cabbage, w i t h too much water. W h e n you select the site for
collards, cress, dandelion, endive, cardoon, your garden, avoid any area that is low-lying or poorly
horseradish, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, kohlrabi, drained. If that's the only site that you have for the
leeks, lentils, lettuce, onions, parsnips, sweet peas, garden — and you're really serious about
w h i t e potatoes, radishes, rhubarb, rutabagas, salsify, gardening — you can improve it by installing
shallots, sorrel, spinach, and turnips. Cool-season drainage tiles. This can be a costly and complicated
herbs include: anise, borage, chive, d i l l , oregano, process, so consider it only as a last resort.
parsley, peppermint, rosemary, sage, savory,
spearmint, tarragon, and thyme. Light: Your plants can't live without it
Included among the warm-season vegetables
are: dry beans, lima beans, m u n g beans, snap or The t h i r d major climatic factor is light, and it's an
green beans, chayote, chick peas, corn, important factor to consider when you plan your
cucumbers, eggplant, muskmelons, mustard, okra, garden. Sunlight — or some type of light —
black-eyed peas, peanuts, peppers, sweet provides energy that turns water and carbon
potatoes, pumpkins, soybeans. New Zealand spinach, dioxide into the sugar that plants use for f o o d . Green
summer squash, winter squash, tomatoes, and plants use sugar to form new cells, to thicken
watermelons. Warm-season herbs include: basil, existing cell walls, and to develop flowers and fruit.
caraway, chervil, coriander, marjoram, and The more intense the light, the more effective it is.
sesame. Light intensity, undiminished by obstructions, is
greater in the summer than in the winter, and
Rainfall: How plants use water greater in areas where the days are sunny and bright
than in areas where it's cloudy, hazy, or foggy. As a
The amount and timing of the rainfall in your area rule, the greater the light intensity the greater the
also affects how your vegetables grow. Too much rain plants' production of sugar — provided, of course,
at one time can wash away seeds or young seedlings that it's not too hot or too cold and the plants get the
and damage or even kill mature plants. A constant rain right amount of water.
w h e n certain plants are flowering can reduce the If a plant is going to produce flowers and fruit, it
pollination of the flowers and reduce yields. This can must have a store of energy beyond what it needs just
happen to tomatoes, peppers, beans, eggplant, to grow stems and leaves. If the light is limited, even
a plant that looks green and healthy may never How much sunlight is necessary? Vegetables
produce flowers or fruit. This can be a problem with grown for their fruits need a m i n i m u m of six to eight
vegetables like tomatoes, where you want to eat the hours of direct light each day. Less light frequently
fruit. W i t h lettuce, where you're only interested in means less than a full crop. It's very frustrating to try to
the leaves, it's not an issue. All the same, all vegetables grow tomatoes, peppers, or eggplants in the shade;
need a certain amount of light in order to grow they'll often produce a g o o d , green plant without
properly, and w i t h o u t it all the watering, weeding, and giving you anything at all in the way of a vegetable.
wishing in the w o r l d will not make them flourish. Crops that are grown for their roots and leaves,
How day length affects your crops. Many plants, however, will give you satisfactory results in light
including tomatoes and many weeds, are not affected shade.
by day length — h o w long it stays light during the Root crops, such as beets, carrots, radishes,
day. But for many others the length of the day plays a and turnips, store up energy before they flower and
big part in regulating w h e n they mature and flower. do rather well in partial shade, especially if you
Some plants are long-day plants, which means they d o n ' t compare them w i t h the same crop grown in full
need 12 or more hours of sunlight daily in order to sun. Plants like lettuce and spinach that are grown
initiate flowering. Radishes and spinach are long-day for their leaves are most tolerant of shade; in fact,
plants, and this is the main reason they go to seed so where the sun is very hot and bright they may need
fast in the middle of the summer w h e n the day length some shade for protection. O n l y mushrooms and
is more than 12 hours. If you want to grow radishes sprouts can be produced without any light at all.
or spinach in midsummer, you have to cover them Making the most of your garden light. If you have a
w i t h a light-proof box at about 4 p.m. every choice of where to grow your vegetable garden, don't
afternoon to fool them into thinking the day's over. put it in the shade of buildings, trees, or shrubs. The
Other plants are short-day plants and need less accompanying illustration shows how to give plants
than 12 hours of light to initiate flowering; soybeans enough light. Remember that as well as shading an
and corn are examples. Many varieties of short-day area, trees and shrubs also have roots that may extend
plants have been bred to resist the effects of long days, underground well beyond the overhead reach of
but-most will still flower more quickly when the their branches. These roots will compete with the
days are shorter. vegetable plants for nutrients. Stay clear especially
of walnut trees; they produce iodine, a growth sunflowers or Jerusalem artichokes to provide a
retardant that will stunt or kill the vegetable plants screen, and you can design your garden so that
in your garden. Go out and stand in your garden to see large plants and small ones each get the light they
just how the light falls. Walk around and find where need. You can also shade young plants with boxes
the light fails to penetrate. This knowledge will be very or screens when necessary. However, too little sun is
useful when you come to planting time. far more serious a problem in a garden than too
Providing shade from too much sun. Most much.
vegetables need full sun for best growth, but young or
newly transplanted plants may need some How to make the most of your climate
protection from bright, direct sunlight. It's easier for
you, as a gardener, to provide shade where there's Whatever the climate is like where you live, you are
too much sun than to brighten up a shady area. You not entirely at the mercy of the elements. There are
can, for instance, plant large, sturdy plants like certain improvements you can make to enable you
to grow some vegetables that would not normally do
well in your area. Don't expect miracles — you can
improve conditions, but you can't change the climate.
No amount of watering can change a desert into a
vegetable garden; however, if the average rainfall in
your area is reasonable, a few hours of watering can
improve it more than you'd think possible.
Experiment with the microclimates in your
neighborhood and your yard; it may be possible to and out. Cold frames capture solar heat, and if they
increase your growing season and grow vegetables slant to the south they can take advantage of the
that need a longer growing season than your climate greatest amount of sun.
technically provides. Microclimates may also On the days when the sun is bright you may have
enable you to grow tender perennials that would not to provide some shade to keep the plants from
normally survive the winter in your area. The secret sunburning, or lift the cold frame windows to keep
is to make the most of the conditions that exist in your plants from steaming. If the sun is bright enough the
garden. Experiment — plant a tender vegetable temperature inside a cold frame can reach 85° to
close to the south wall of your house; it may not get all 95°F when the temperature outside is only 15°F. But on
the sun it needs, but protection from wind and cold cold nights when the temperature drops below
may help it grow where it wouldn't grow at all in the freezing, a cold frame will need some extra
open garden. protection. An old quilt or blanket under a tarp is a
Another way to frustrate the natural temperature good cover. If you have nothing else newspapers will
limitations of your local climate is by using transplants do, although they are a bit harder to handle.
Instead of seeds in spring. Transplants are young If a cold frame sounds like something you'd like
plants started from seed indoors or in a warm place to try, look around for some turn-of-the-century
and set out in the garden later; this gives you a head garden books. These provide excellent step-by-
start on your growing season, but you can't do it with step instructions for building and using cold frames
all vegetables. Growing transplants is discussed in and offer suggestions on how to do all kinds of
detail in the chapter, "Planting Your Garden," along serious cold-frame growing.
with ways of protecting plants against extremes of Hot frames are a bit more challenging than cold
temperature. frames, and the opportunities for frustration are
Other weather conditions can also affect the multiplied. In hot frames, heat is provided either by
yields of your vegetable crops. Dry, windy days and rotting manure (the classic system) or by electricity
cool night temperatures (a 10°F drop from day (the modern way). Decomposing cow, horse, and
temperatures) can cause fruiting crops — peppers, for mule manure do not work the same way, and the heat
instance — to drop their flowers before they're of decomposition depends on the age, the kinds,
pollinated; this means you lose a lot of your crop. You and amount of litter present. When you're using
can avoid it to some extent by putting up some type manure there are no thermostats or controls,
of windbreak to protect the crops from drying winds. except the gardener's know-how. Electricity is much
It's comforting to remember that although you easier but a lot more expensive than manure, and
can't make major changes in your climate, you can there is still work for the gardener to do.
certainly do a lot to help your plants make the most If you have a basement window facing south
of their environment. with some space outside, you can incorporate it into
your hot or cold frame. It will also provide a basic"
Cold frames and hot frames: course in the management of a greenhouse — the
Extending your gardening season next step in gardening addiction.

If you have the space for it, a cold frame — a glass-


enclosed growing area outside — can add an extra HOW TO GET YOUR GARDEN STARTED:
dimension to your garden. It's an ideal place to start PUTTING THE THEORIES TO WORK
hardy annuals and perennials or to put plants in the
spring to harden them for the rigors of outdoor life. Up to this point, most of your garden planning has
When you have started vegetables inside, especially been theoretical. You've given thought to the
the cold-tolerant ones, you can move them to a cold vegetables you want to grow, what you're going to
frame and give them the benefit of much more light in do with them, and how much you need to grow.
a protected place. And since a cold frame uses solar You've got an idea of how the climate in your area
heat, it qualifies as an energy-saving device. The hardy will influence your final choice of vegetables.
herbs, radishes, lettuces, and other greens can be You're beginning to understand your microclimate —
grown in a cold frame during a good part of the year, how growing conditions in your own yard may
even in the North. differ from the general climate of your area. Now
A cold frame, often called a "poor man's you're ready to start getting your plans on paper,
greenhouse," can be made from scrap lumber and old but as soon as you open the seed catalog, confusion
storm windows. It should not be too deep from strikes again. You want to grow your own corn,
front to back or you'll have trouble getting plants in tomatoes, lettuce, and carrots — but what kind?
Finding the varieties suited to your area. Because e n o u g h . By planting transplants you can often get a
there are so many varieties, it can be very difficult to head start on your growing season and avoid some of
choose the right one. Part 2 of this book describes the limitations placed on you by your area climate.
the individual vegetables and their cultural Not all vegetables, however, take kindly to being
requirements and lists some of the best and most transplanted. Full information about growing
widely used varieties. But in many cases the varieties vegetables f r o m transplants — including what to plant
listed represent only the tip of the iceberg. Where a and w h e n — is given in "Planting Your G a r d e n . "
large number of varieties are available (as with corn or It's important to plan your planting dates
tomatoes) or where success depends as much on accurately. It's also important to know w h e n your crop
growing conditions as on variety (as w i t h onions), your will be ready for harvest. The number of days it
best bet is to get in touch w i t h your local takes a plant to reach maturity varies according to type
Cooperative Extension Service. The service's experts and to varieties w i t h i n a type.
will be able to tell you exactly which varieties will do Each vegetable variety has its "days to maturity"
best in the growing conditions that exist in your part of listed in the seed catalog. Take a calendar, and see
the country. A complete list of Cooperative how the dates fall for the crops you're thinking of
Extension Services is given in Part 4, together with g r o w i n g . For instance, "jade Cross H y b r i d " Brussels
detailed information on how to get your gardening sprouts take 95 days to maturity. They're very hardy,
questions expertly answered by their qualified so you can plant them six weeks before your last
horticulturalists. spring frost. If your area expects its last frost at the
Guaranteed varieties: The All-America Selection. end of A p r i l , you can plant your Brussels sprouts in the
Another way to find the most reliable varieties for your garden in mid-March, and they'll mature in mid-
area is t h r o u g h the All-America Selections. This is a June. They're a cool-season vegetable, so as long as
nonprofit organization of seedsmen w h o develop the weather in your area w o n ' t be sizzling hot by
and p r o m o t e new varieties of vegetables and mid-June, you should do well w i t h t h e m . In this way,
flowers. The organization awards gold, silver, or w o r k out all the dates on which you can expect to
bronze medals to vegetable varieties that have been harvest your vegetables, and make a list of them. This
proven to produce reliable results in most areas of the will give you a chance to make changes if, despite all
United States. If a vegetable is listed in your seed your planning, you've got too large a crop maturing at
catalog as an All-America Selection, you can be sure the same time. It will also give you some ideas about
that it has been tested by growers all over the " p a c i n g " your crop.
country and that it's a good bet for your own garden.
The organization does not bestow its seal of Pacing your harvest for best yield
approval lightly — only one or t w o vegetable varieties
w i n a gold medal in any year. Deciding w h e n to plant involves more than
Experiment with different varieties. Remember, avoiding killing frosts. It also means pacing your •
t o o , that you d o n ' t always have to play by the rules. planting so you get maximum yields from limited
You can plant more than one variety of a vegetable space. You can harvest some crops gradually,
and decide for yourself which one is best suited to enjoying them for a long period of t i m e ; others
your palate and your garden. You can also extend mature all at once. This takes careful planning. You
your harvest by planting varieties that mature at have to have a good idea of how long it will take
different times. Experimenting is a good part of the your vegetables to mature and how long the harvest
fun of growing a vegetable garden. will last. It will also take some self-control. The
temptation to plant rows of everything at once is great.
Dates: When to plant and when to harvest Planting short rows. A simple way to pace your
harvest is to plant only short rows or partial rows.
Selecting the varieties you're going to grow gives Planting short rows is probably easier; you may feel
you some hard information w i t h which to work. You more comfortable w i t h a complete row, even if it is
n o w k n o w w h e n to plant your vegetables. The short. A 10-foot row looks short, but 10 feet of
hardiness chart in "Planting Your G a r d e n " will tell you radishes ready to eat at once is more than most
to w h i c h category — very hardy, hardy, tender, people can handle. Ten feet of parsley or garlic may
very tender — a vegetable belongs and when to plant be more than enough for the whole neighborhood.
it. N o w is the time to decide whether to use seeds or You can freeze parsley and dry the garlic, but what
transplants. Transplants are young plants started from can you do w i t h all those radishes? Unwanted
seed indoors or in a warm place (like a hot frame) excesses of crops can be avoided if you divide your
and planted in the garden when the weather's warm seeds into groups before going out to plant. Put them
in "budget" envelopes to be planted on definite and dates on paper — the names of the varieties
dates later on in the season but before the early crops you're going to plant and your planting and harvest
are harvested. For instance, plant lettuce every two dates. Now comes the real paperwork. The size of
weeks. This way you can have vegetables all season, your garden depends on your interest in gardening
rather than glut followed by famine. and how much time you're going to be able to give
Using several varieties. Another way to pace your to the garden. Some gardeners use every available
harvest is to plant several varieties of the same inch of space; others use a small corner of their
vegetable that mature at different rates. For property — some, of course, don't have much choice,
instance, on the average date of last frost plant three and this may be your case if you have a small garden
different tomato varieties: an early variety that will to begin with or if you're gardening on a patio or
mature in about 60 to 70 days; a midseason variety that balcony. The larger your garden, the more time and
will mature in about 75 to 80 days; and a late variety work it's going to need, so unless you're already
that will mature in about 80 to 90 days. By planting hooked on gardening, it's probably better to start
these three varieties on the same day you have small and let your garden size increase as your
spread your harvest over a 30- to 50-day period, interest in gardening and confidence in your ability
instead of a 10- to 20-day period. develops.
Succession planting. With careful planning you Before you decide the exact dimensions, look at
may also be able to save garden space and get two or the list of the vegetables you've chosen and the
more harvests from the same spot by succession amount you're going to grow of each one, and
planting. After early-maturing crops are harvested, figure out if they're going to fit into the allotted space.
you clear a portion of the garden and replant it with You may see at once that you've overestimated
a new crop. Plant so that cool-season crops grow in the what you can grow in the available space, so you'll
cooler part of the season, and warm-season crops have to do a little compromising between fantasy
can take advantage of warmer weather. and reality. If your projected crops look as though
One example of succession planting is to start off they'll fit, you can now start drawing an actual plan.
with a fast-growing, cool-season crop that can be
planted early—lettuce, spinach, and cabbage Drawing a plot plan
(cole) family vegetables are good examples. Replace
these by warm-weather crops like New Zealand This is the pencil-and-paper stage of planning, and
spinach, chard, corn, okra, and squash. Then in fall if you use graph paper, you'll find it easier to work to
make another planting of cole crops, or put in root scale. Don't be intimidated by all this talk about
crops like turnips or beets. drawing and sketching. Your garden plan doesn't
In a small area, one simple plan is to start off with have to be a work of art — just a working document.
spinach, which is very hardy but hates hot weather, Drawing to scale, however, is helpful. A commonly
and replace it with heat-tolerant New Zealand used scale is one inch on paper to eight feet of
spinach. Despite their different temperature garden space — adapt the scale to whatever is
requirements, the two can double for each other in easiest for you.
taste, and you get spinach all season long. Draw up a simple plot plan giving your garden's
You can also make double use of trellis space — a measurements in all directions. Remember there's no
big plus in a small garden. Plant early peas, replace law that says a garden has to be square or
them with cucumbers, and after harvesting your rectangular. Your vegetable garden can be round,
cucumbers, plant peas again for a fall crop. triangular, curved, or any shape that fits your
Companion planting. This is another way to landscape and takes best advantage of the space
double up on planting space. This you do by planting you've got. When you've drawn the outline, sketch
short-term crops between plants that will take a in all the nongrowing areas where you won't be able to ''
longer time to mature. The short-term crops are plant — trees, shrubs, sidewalks, sheds, buildings,
harvested by the time the longer-season crops need walls, and the garage. Indicate any areas that are
the extra room. A good example of this is to plant particularly shady or poorly drained and, therefore,
radishes between rows of tomatoes; by the time the aren't suitable for fussy crops.
tomatoes need the space, the radishes will be gone. Planning for three stages. It's helpful to draw three
plot plans: The first will show the garden at planting
GETTING YOUR GARDEN ON PAPER time in the spring; the second will show the garden
in the summer; and the third will show the garden in
By this time you've put a lot of thought into your the fall. These plans will reflect the changes that
garden plan, and you've got some vital information take place in your garden when you harvest early
crops and replace them with new plantings. Make areas, get down to detail. Use the accompanying
two copies of plans; keep one set inside where the illustrations as a guide, and divide the plot among the
plans will stay dry, clean/and legible. Use the other vegetables you want to grow. The individual
set in the garden — where it probably won't stay dry, descriptions of vegetables in Part 2 give detailed
clean, or legible for long. Plans have also been information on the amount of space each vegetable
known to blow away in a spring breeze — a disaster if needs for growth. For a quick check on spacing refer
that's your only copy. to the chart at the end of "Planting Your Garden."
Putting the plants into the plan. Once you've Don't try to economize on space — better a smaller
outlined your plot and indicated all the nongrowing number of healthy plants than a lot of starved ones.
Using your space efficiently. Take care in placing enough to accommodate the machine.
the vegetables. Place the taller plants on the north or In smaller gardens it's more space-efficient to
northeast side of the garden so that as they grow plant in wide rows or in solid blocks four to five feet
they won't shade the rest of the garden. In a large wide. You must always be able to reach the center
garden where you've got plenty of space, the most of a wide row comfortably from either side and to get
convenient way to lay out the vegetables is in rows between the short rows in a block. You can also
and hills. Straight rows and hills are easier to water, save space in a small garden by using vertical
weed, cultivate, mulch, and fertilize. If you are going space — growing vining crops up a trellis, for
to use a rototiller, make sure the rows are large example, rather than letting them spread all over the
ground. Similarly, tomatoes can be staked or caged affects them; this knowledge is going to stand you in
to contain their growth. good stead throughout your growing season.
Adding dates and details. Finally, indicate whether
you're planting from transplants or seeds, and add Recording the growth of your garden
your planting dates for each vegetable; now your
plan is complete, and you can see exactly what you'll If you're serious about gardening, you should keep
be doing come spring. You'll also have compiled a records. Planning your records should be part of
good mental library of incidental knowledge about planning your garden. The better the planning, the
plants and how they grow and how your climate more efficient use you'll be able to make of your time
and the more time you will have for enjoying the ordered the seeds. Mark this page with a paper clip so
pleasures of your garden — not just keeping up with you can easily find it.
the chores. Build your records the same way you After the garden plot, you can keep a daily record
build your garden; profit from past mistakes, and of preparing the soil, planting, weeding, fertilizing,
Incorporate new ideas. growing results (or lack of results); whether the
Start out with a ledger that has sewn-in pages. harvest of each item was sufficient, too much, or not
Don't write notes on slips of paper and expect to be enough; and problems with weeds, bugs, or lack of
able to find the one you want when you want It. rain. At the end of the growing season you'll have a
Don't use a three-ring notebook, because if you can complete record of what you did — and a record
take a page out you will, and then you'll probably can be good for the morale.
lose it. Your first entry m your record of your vegetable Your record will list the plants that did well In
garden should be the plot you designed when you your garden and those that didn't, and this
information will give you the basics for planning
next year's garden. Include in your ledger comments
about the weather, varieties of plants that were
productive or flopped, and notes about why you think
some plants made it and others did not.

The computerized garden plan

If all this planning thoroughly intimidates you,


don't abandon the idea of gardening. It's the age of
technology, and you can have your entire garden
planned by a computer. The computer uses some
basic information that you supply about your
garden and develops a complete, easy-to-use plan
that includes all the information the novice
gardener needs to grow a vegetable garden. The only
problem involved in having your garden planned by
a computer is finding out who offers the service. At the
moment only a few states' Cooperative Extension
Services and a few seed companies provide
computerized planning services, but they're
rapidly becoming popular and more available. Ask
your local Cooperative Extension Service if they
offer computerized planning or can put you in touch
with some organization that does. You may also
find such services advertised in gardening magazines.

CONTAINER GARDENING

In areas where there is little or no space, a well-


organized container garden can produce substantial
vegetables. A point to remember about container
gardening: The small volume of soil in a raised bed will
warm up faster in spring than the soil in your open
garden. This gives you a longer growing season,
because you can start your cool-season crops
earlier. You can also bring plants inside if the
temperature takes an unexpected plunge — this
mobility is an advantage you obviously lack in an open
garden.
Plan a container garden the same way as a small
garden plot, making the best possible use of your
vertical space. Use a trellis for vining crops and
stakes and cages for tomatoes or other semi-vining not very efficient or if you don't mind wearing a
crops. If you're planting on a balcony, don't let any sweater.
possible support go to waste. Position climbing plants Cucumbers will grow beautifully under artificial
where the railing provides a readymade trellis. light. But just as long days will prevent flowering, so
There are also space-saving techniques unique to will long periods under artificial light. The best
container gardens. You can use the vertical space of thing to do is experiment and find what does well for
a container itself by planting in holes or pockets in you. A timer can be useful in giving certain plants a
the sides of the container. Growing some vining plants dark resting period. Given lots of water, watercress
in hanging baskets will save space too, but be sure works almost as well as lettuce under the lights.
to place hanging baskets where they won't shade Instead of seeds, you can start with cuttings (the
other plants. When you are growing a container bottoms of some of those stems of fresh watercress
garden, always select varieties that are suitable for you bought to indulge yourself).
container growing, and remember that containers Various possibilities for using vegetables as
dry out faster than a traditional garden, so you'll need houseplants are discussed in the description of
to water more often. Plants growing in containers individual vegetables in Part 2.
are also more affected by changes in temperature; you
do have the advantage, though, of being able to Gardening in a greenhouse:
move them to a more protected area or even inside on A refuge for plants and gardener
cool nights.
Essentially, planning a container garden is little With a greenhouse you can garden all year around
different from planning an outdoor plot. The main and experiment with ail kinds of plants that you have
difference may be in the varieties you choose — if little chance of growing out in the open garden. A
you're planting in a confined space you're going to greenhouse is also a nice, cozy, private place for the
take a special interest in smaller varieties and plants gardener whose gardening time Is often interrupted
with compact, contained growth habits. But basically, by demands from other family members. If you're
any plant that will grow in your garden will also going to buy and install a greenhouse, it's worth
grow on your balcony or patio. getting a good one. Greenhouses vary vastly in size,
price, and construction and many companies
Extending your garden indoors supply them; not all of them, however, are well-
designed and well-put-together, so you need to do
If you don't have a garden or even a balcony, you some homework. The following are reputable sources
can still have a container vegetable garden. Don't that can provide you with basic information to help
underestimate the number of vegetables that can you make a choice. Some of them will design a
be grown successfully indoors. Near a bright window greenhouse to fit your available space and
that is not too warm, leafy vegetables, such as specifications.
lettuce, parsley, and chives, will do nicely. Fruiting
plants are worth a try, but they take a lot more light
at a higher intensity; unless the window is very bright,
the plants may grow but not produce. Cherry
tomatoes in hanging baskets will sometimes grow in
very bright windows, and sometimes plants can be
brought in from outdoors and grown on for several
months. Herbs are rewarding indoor-garden
plants, and they go a long way in adding your personal
touch to everyday eating.

Providing indoor lighting

If you have lights or if you have a place for putting


lights, you can grow vegetables indoors without any
sun at all. Lettuce does beautifully in the basement
or the attic when grown under fluorescent
light—usually these spots are not as warm as the
rest of the house. Lettuce can also be grown in an
apartment if you can find a spot where the heating is
First and last frost dates for major cities in the United States
state and city Average date of Average date of Number of days in
last frost first frost growing season

Alabama
Birmingham March 19 November 14 241
Mobile February 17 December 12 298
Montgomery February'27 December 3 279
Alaska
Anchorage May 18 September 13 118
Cordova May 10 October 2 145
Fairbanks May 24 August 29 97
Arizona
Flagstaff June 8 October 2 116
Phoenix January 27 December 11 317
Winslow April 28 October 21 176
Arkansas
Fort Smith March 23 November 9 231
Little Rock March 16 November 15 244
California
Bakersfield February 14 November 28 287
Fresno February 3 December 3 303
Sacramento January 24 December 11 321
Colorado
Denver May 2 October 14 165
Pueblo April 28 October 12 167
Connecticut
Hartford April 22 October 19 180
New Haven April 15 October 25 193
District of Columbia
Washington April 10 October 28 200
Florida
Jacksonville February 6 December 16 313
Orlando January 31 December 17 319
Tallahassee February 26 December 3 280
Tampa January 10 December 26 349
Georgia
Atlanta March 20 November 19 244
Macon March 12 November 19 252
Savannah February 21 December 9 291
Idaho
Boise April 29 October 16 171
Pocatello May 8 September 30 155
Illinois
Cairo March 23 November 11 233
Chicago April 19 October 28 192
Springfield April 8 October 30 205
Urbana April 22 October 20 151
Indiana
Evansville April 2 November 4 216
Fort Wayne April 24 October 20 179
Indianapolis April 17 October 27 193
First and last frost dates for major cities in the United States (cont.)
state and city Average date of Average date of Number of days in
last frost first frost growing season

Iowa
Des Moines April 20 October 19 183
Dubuque April 19 October 19 184
Kansas
Concordia April 16 October 24 191
Topeka April 9 October 26 200
Wichita April 5 November 1 210
Kentucky
Lexington April 13 October 28 198
Louisville April 1 November 7 220
Louisiana
Lake Charles February 18 December 6 . 291
New Orleans February 13 December 12 302
Shreveport March 1 November 27 272
Maine
Greenville May 27 September 20 116
Presque Isle May 31 September 18 110
Portland April 29 October 15 169
Maryland
Baltimore March 28 November 17 234
Cumberland May 1 October 10 163
Massachusetts
Amherst May 12 September 19 130
Boston April 16 October 25 192
Nantucket April 12 November 16 219
Michigan
Detroit April 25 October 23 181
Grand Rapids April 25 October 27 185
Lansing May 6 October 8 155
Minnesota
Duluth May 22 September 24 125
Minneapolis April 30 October 13 166
Mississippi
Jackson March 10 November 13 248
Biloxi February 22 November 28 279
Vicksburg March 8 November 15 252
Missouri \
Columbia April 9 October 24 198
Kansas City April 5 October 31 210
St. Louis April 2 November 8 220
Montana «
Billings May 15 September 24 132
Glasgow May 19 September 20 124
Havre May 9 September 23 138
Nebraska
Lincoln April 20 October 17 180
Norfolk May 4 October 3 152
Omaha April 14 October 20 189
First and last frost dates for major cities in the United States (cont.)
State and city Average date of Average date of Number of days in
last frost first frost growing season

Nevada
Las Vegas March 13 November 13 245
Reno May 14 October 2 141
New Hampshire
Concord May 11 October 1 143
New Jersey
New Brunswick April 21 October 19 179 .
Trenton April 8 November 5 211
New Mexico
Albuquerque April 16 October 29 196
Santa Fe April 23 October 19 179
New York
Binghamton May 4 October 6 154
Buffalo April 29 October 23 178
New York April 7 November 12 219
North Carolina
Charlotte March 21 November 15 239
Raleigh March 24 . November 16 237
Wilmington March 15 November 19 274
North Dakota
Bismarck May 11 September 24 136
Fargo May 13 September 27 137
Williston May 14 September 23 132
Ohio
Cincinnati April 15 October 25 192
Cleveland April 21 November 2 195
Columbus April 17 October 30 196
Dayton April 20 October 21 184
Toledo April 24 October 25 184
Oklahoma
O k l a h o m a City March 28 November 7 223
Tulsa March 31 November 2 216
Oregon
Medford April 25 October 20 178
Portland February 25 December 1 279
Salem April 14 October 27 197
Pennsylvania
Harrisburg April 10 October 28 201
Philadelphia March 30 November 17 232
Pittsburgh April 20 October 23 187
Rhode Island
Providence April B October 27 197
South Carolina
Charleston February 19 December 10 294
Columbia March 14 November 21 252
Greenville March 23 November 17 239
South Dakota
Huron May 4 September 30 149
Rapid City May 7 October 4 150
Sioux Falls May 5 October 3 152
First and last frost dates for major cities in the United States (cont.)
state and city Average date of Average date of Number of days In
last frost first frost growing season

Tennessee
Chattanooga March 26 November 10 229
Knoxville March 31 November 6 220
Memphis March 20 November 12 237
Nashville March 28 November 7 224
Texas
Brownsville February 15 December 10 298
Dallas March 18 November 22 249
Houston February 5 December 11 309
Plainview April 10 November 6 211
Utah
Blanding May 18 October 14 148
Salt Lake City April 12 November 1 202
Vermont
Burlington May 8 October 3 148
Saint Johnsbury May 22 September 25 126
Virginia
Norfolk March 18 November 27 254
Richmond April 2 November 8 220
Washington
Seattle February 23 December 1 281
Spokane April 20 October 12 175
West Virginia
Charleston April 18 October 28 193
Parkersburg April 16 October 21 189
Wisconsin
Green Bay May 6 October 13 161
La Crosse May 1 October 8 161
Madison April 26 October 19 177
Milwaukee April 20 October 25 188
Wyoming
Casper May 18 September 25 ' 130
Cheyenne May 20 September 27 130
Sheridan May 21 September 21 123
7 here are a great many garden tools on the
market. Some are necessary, some are helpful,
and some are a complete waste of money. If you're
you'll be able to tell at a glance if you've put
everything away or if you've left some small item out in
the rain to rust.
a beginning gardener, approach all this equipment 3. Use each tool the way it was meant to be used.
with caution—be sure that you're going to enjoy For instance, a rake—even a good-quaiity rake—^won't
being a gardener before you spend a small fortune on last long if you consistently use it to dig holes or
tools. Remember, too, that one of your motives in turn soil. You've got a perfectly good spade for those
being a gardener Is to save money by growing your tasks.
own vegetables; you'll have to grow a lot of lettuce Follow these three simple rules and your tools
to pay for a $300 rototiller. will give you long, efficient, and economical service.
When you decide which tools you need, buy the
best you can find and take good care of them. As in so BASIC GARDENING TOOLS
many other activities, it's a long-term economy
move to buy good equipment right away—ask any The following are the basic tools of the gardener.
serious cook. Good tools work better and last You may not need them all. Consider the type and
longer than the cheap kinds that fall to pieces the first amount of gardening you do, and choose the
time you need them to do any real work. implements that best suit your needs.
The first test of a tool is how it feels in your hands. Shovel and spade. A shovel has a curved scoop and
Is it well-balanced? Can you lift it when it's full as well a handle with a handgrip. It's used for lifting, turning,
as when it's empty? Gardeners and gardening tools and moving soil. A spade is a sturdy tool with a thick
come in different sizes and weights; since you'll be handle (and a handgrip) and a heavy blade that you
working together, you and your equipment should press into the ground with your foot. The blade is
be compatible. usually flatter and sharper than the shovel's, and often
In caring for your tools, there are three basic squared off at the bottom. A spade is for hard
rules that are often stated and seldom followed: digging work; it should be strong but light enough to
1. Clean your tools before putting them away. It handle comfortably. A nursery shovel or nursery
may be a bore, but it's even more boring to have to spade is an excellent all-around tool in the vegetable
clean them before you can use them again. garden.
2. Have a regular storage place for each tool. Spading fork. A spading fork is also used for heavy
Visitors will be impressed by your orderliness, and digging, and its two to four prongs make it the best
tool for breaking up compacted soil, lifting root m o u n d i n g the soil and for making rows, and it's one
vegetables, and digging weeds. The handle is sturdy of the gardener's most necessary tools. It's also used
and has a handgrip; your foot presses the prongs for cutting off weeds and cultivating.
into the g r o u n d . Forks with flexible prongs are called Trowel. This is a short-handled implement with a
pitchforks; the ones w i t h sturdier, rigid prongs are pointed scoop-shaped blade. It can be used as a hand
called spading forks. shovel or spade and is useful when transplanting
Rake. A rake w i t h a long handle and short sturdy young plants into the garden.
metal prongs is used for leveling and grading soil, Hose. A garden hose is essential for carrying
stirring up the soil surface, and removing lumps, water to your garden. Hoses are usually made from
rocks, and shallow-rooted weeds. It's an essential tool rubber or v i n y l ; rubber is more expensive, but it's
for the home gardener. You can also get rakes with w o r t h the initial extra cost because it's far more
longer, flexible fingers. This type is not as versatile as durable than vinyl and much easier to work w i t h .
the first type, but it's good for gentle cultivating, Make sure your hose is long enough to reach
cleaning-up chores like raking the leaves, and comfortably to all parts of your garden. An effective
collecting trash from between plants. hose should probably be no less than 50 feet long.
Hoe. The hoe is a tool with a flat blade attached at
right angles to a long handle. It's used for stirring or
Choose the planter best suited to your needs. TOOLS FOR CONTAINER GARDENING
Planting row guide. A row guide is simply two
stakes w i t h a line marked at six-inch intervals If you're a container gardener, special tools—in
stretched between t h e m . It helps you mark straight many respects scaled-down versions of regular
rows and plant seeds or plants evenly and quickly. A garden tools—are available for your use.
row guide you make yourself works every bit as well Hand cultivator. A hand cultivator helps you
as an expensive store-bought one. To make your o w n , control weeds. O n e type has three prongs. The pickax
just tie a good string line (as long as your garden at kind has one single-pointed end and a double point
its longest point) between two stakes, and mark the on the other end. Choose whatever type you like best.
line every six inches with colored markers. Come Hand hoe. This has a shorter handle and a smaller
plantingtime,setupyourguideandpiantalongit.The blade than a regular garden hoe.
straight rows of plants you get when you use a guide Trowel. No container gardener should be without
are easier to w e e d , water, and harvest than random a trowel—it's even more useful here than in a full-size
plantings. garden for filling containers, transplanting,
Plant cages. Although these are commonly dividing clumps of plants, and leveling soil.
referred to as tomato cages, you can also use them to Watering equipment. A watering wand makes it
support vining crops like cucumbers and squashes. easier to reach the less accessible corners of your
They're usually made of wire or covered wire and container garden. The wand is a hollow metal tube
come in a variety of sizes. They contain the plant in a that attaches to the end of your hose, and it lets you
manageable space and keep it off the ground. Round water the back rows of your container garden
cages are the most c o m m o n , but you can now buy w i t h o u t reaching over and possibly crushing the front
square ones that are a lot more convenient because rows. If you're an indoor gardener, you will also
they fold flat for storage. When you're buying make good use of a small watering can, and a spray-
cages, make sure that they're big enough and sturdy mister to freshen foliage. Any household spray
enough for the plant variety and that you can get bottle makes a good mister, provided it is thoroughly
your hand inside to harvest your crop. washed out first.
S oil is the thin blanket that exists between
sterile rock and the sky. Soil supports all life and
is itself, in some measure, the product of living
enough to support the plant securely. The ideal soil
is a middle-of-the-road mixture, holding moisture and
nutrients while letting excess water drain away to
things. For all that, we often treat the soil like, literally, make room for air.
the dirt under o u r feet. We've developed this D o n ' t make the mistake of assuming that your
careless attitude partly because for generations soil garden contains only one type of soil; several different
has been dirt cheap. There was never any problem soils can exist in one backyard. Each natural soil is
about having enough of it. This is no longer t r u e ; good composed of fine rock particles, organic matter, and
soil is getting harder to f i n d . You can no longer take microorganisms. A good soil is 50 percent solids
it for granted that you'll find good garden soil lying and 50 percent porous space, which provides room for
around in your backyard. If you live in a residential water, air, and plant roots. The solids are 80 to 90
or industrial area, you can be pretty sure that after percent inorganic matter and 10 to 20 percent organic
the developers left, not much good soil remained. It materials. Water and air should each occupy about
was probably removed and sold before the half of the porous space.
construction began, or buried under the excavation
for the foundation of the new buildings. Types of soil
Unless you're a farmer or a commercial grower,
chances are you simply lay out your garden in the most There are four basic types of soil, and the texture of
convenient spot and make the best of whatever soil each is determined by the different proportions of
happens to be there. But even if what happens to be various-sized soil particles. These four types of soil
there is less than ideal, there's a lot you can do to are clay, sand, silt, and loam.
t u r n it into a healthy, productive garden. Clay soil. A clay soil is composed of particles that
Understanding soil and how plants grow in it will are less than 1/31750 of an inch (1/200 mm) in diameter.
help you make the most of what you've got right there These minute particles pack together more closely
in your o w n yard. than larger particles and have a greater total
surface area. Clay soil can hold more water
H O W SOIL WORKS WITH YOUR PLANTS than other soils. It often drains poorly, but drainage
can be improved by the addition of organic matter
Essentially the function of the soil in relation to the to break up the clay particles. If you try to w o r k with a
plants that grow in it is f o u r f o l d : It must supply water; clay soil w h e n it's wet, you'll compress the particles
it must supply nutrients; it must supply gases even more closely; t h e n , w h e n the soil dries, you'll be
(carbon dioxide and oxygen); and it must be firm left w i t h a surface something like baked brick or
concrete. Properly managed, however, clay soils can hands. Try this test: Take a small handful of moist
be the most productive of all. garden soil, and hold some of the sample between
Sandy soil. A sandy soil is made up mostly of your thumb and the first knuckle of your forefinger.
particles that are over 1/3175 of an inch (1/20 mm) in Gradually squeeze the soil out with your thumb to
diameter. They are much larger than clay particles form a ribbon. If you can easily form a ribbon that
and irregular in shape, so they don't pack as closely holds together for more than one inch, you have a very
together as clay particles. Because they have less total heavy clay soil. If a ribbon forms, but it holds
surface area, these larger particles hold less water together for only three-quarters of an inch to one
than smaller particles and are much more porous. inch, your soil is a silty clay loam. If the ribbon forms
Sandy soil drains like a sieve, but can be improved but breaks into pieces shorter than three-quarters of
by the addition of organic matter, which helps retain an inch, you have a silty soil. If a ribbon won't form
moisture and nutrients. at all, you have a sandy soil.
Silt soil. In a silt soil the size of the particles is
intermediate — between clay and sand. Depending IMPROVING YOUR GARDEN SOIL
on the size of its particles, a silt soil can act either
like a clay soil or like a fine sandy soil. Silt consists of Unless you're one of the lucky people with a garden
small, gritty particles that can pack down very hard, full of rich, productive loam, it's probable that you will
and it's not very fertile. Silt soil is often found on top of want to improve your soil in the interests of
heavy clay, which slows or stops drainage. harvesting a bigger and better crop of vegetables at
Loam. Loam is a mixture of clay, silt, and sand the end of your growing season. When you're
particles. A good garden loam is something to cherish, planning your soil-improvement program you have to
particularly if it also contains a heavy supply of take two issues into account: the texture of the soil
organic matter. All soil improvement is aimed at and the nutrient content of the soil. You can improve
achieving a good loam — when you add organic both quite easily.
matter or make other improvements to your clay or
sandy soil, you're trying to provide the type of loam Improving soil texture
that lucky gardeners have without all that extra work.
The physical texture of any soil can be improved by
A do-it-yourself test of soil mixture the addition of large amounts of organic matter. You
can use materials like ground corncobs, sawdust,
The best way to determine the approximate texture bark chips, straw, hay, peat moss, and cover crops; it's
of the soil in your garden is by feeling it with your a great way to recycle a lot of garden wastes. You
can use grass clippings, provided the lawn has not that do the tests. Either way, you will be charged a
been treated with a herbicide or weed killer; these fee for the test.
substances will damage the plants you want to grow. The results of the soil test will give you the pH
Also avoid walnuts or walnut leaves. They contain (acid-alkaline balance) of the soil and its content of
iodine, which is a growth retardant. Making your own three essential nutrients: nitrogen (N), which
compost pile gives you excellent organic matter to promotes leafy growth (although too much nitrogen
enrich the soil and will be discussed later in this will encourage too much foliage growth and slow
chapter. down crop ripening); phosphorus (P), which is
The more organic matter you add, the more you important for root growth and the production of
can Improve the texture of the soil. Blend the organic flowers, fruits, and seeds; and potassium (K), which is
matter into the soil to a depth of 12 inches, making necessary for the development of leaves and roots.
sure that it's evenly dispersed through the whole The pH is measured on a scale of 1 (most acid or sour)
planting area. When organic matter is added to the to 14 (most alkaline or sweet), with 7 representing
soil, it will absorb some of the soil's nitrogen; to neutral. Most vegetables do best in soil that has a pH
compensate for this, you should add two handfuls between 5.5 and 7.5, and most of them prefer soil to
of a complete, well-balanced fertilizer (10-10-10) for be on the acid side of neutral.
each bushel of organic matter, working it How to take a soil sample. Soil samples can be
thoroughly into the soil. taken any time of the year, as long as the ground isn't
frozen hard. Use a plastic bucket instead of metal,
Improving nutrient content especially if the soil sample is to be used for testing
micronutrients. You'll also need a digging tool,
The next step in your soil-improvement program is such as a spade or a trowel, and a clean container (a
to have the soil tested to identify deficiencies — carefully washed-out one-pint milk carton or the
unless you correct those deficiencies, they can container provided by the testing service). All
cause poor plant growth. In some states the equipment should be perfectly clean.
Cooperative Extension Service will act as If there's any grass on the spot you're sampling,
middleman and send your soil sample to the remove it. Then take a slice of soil half an inch thick
laboratory for you; in all states the extension and about eight inches deep straight down from a
service can give you information on firms in your area number of locations throughout your garden. If
you're sampling a large area, 20 samples mixed
together will do as fine a job as 40 or100. if your garden
is small, a minimum of five samples will be enough.
Place all the samples in the plastic bucket, and then
mix them thoroughly. If the soil is very wet, let it air-
dry before mixing. Do not heat it in the oven or on a
radiator; heat will kill the microorganisms and
cause nitrogen and other elements to change form,
making the test inaccurate. If there are a lot of
lumps, crush them with a wooden spoon or a
rolling pin on a wooden surface. After the soil is
thoroughly mixed, fill your container and follow the
laboratory's instructions for sending the sample.
Adjusting the pH balance. The results of your soil
test will give you the pH balance of the soil. If you're
lucky, the laboratory may say that the pH is just fine
and you need make no adjustment. Or the laboratory
may advise you to raise the pH by adding a
recommended amount of lime or to lower the pH by
adding a recommended amount of a sulfur
product — ammonium sulfate is the one most
commonly used. Don't use aluminum sulfate in
your vegetable garden; the aluminum can be
absorbed by the plant, making it toxic to you when
you eat the vegetable. You can get lime and sulfur
products from hardware stores and garden
centers; the laboratory report will tell you how much don't fertilize at all, but you w o n ' t be getting their best
to use and how to apply it. effort. Vegetable plants that are properly fertilized
It's a good idea to have your soil tested every will be healthier and better able to resist disease and
three to four years to make sure that the pH is in an attacks from pests, thus giving you more — and
acceptable range. If you've had a problem with the higher-quality — produce.
p H , it may be a good idea to test your soil even more
often. This may seem like a lot of work, but good Organic vs. synthetic fertilizers
soil is essential to a good harvest, and your care and
labor will pay off in higher yields and better-quality There are two types of fertilizer: organic and
vegetables. inorganic. They're both means to the same end, but
their composition and action differ in a number of
FERTILIZING: H O W TO DO IT (AND WHY) ways. Some people make a sharp distinction between
the t w o , and organic gardeners — as the name
Many inexperienced gardeners have the idea that suggests — are strongly in favor of organic fertilizers
since their vegetables have been doing fine so far and strongly opposed to the use of synthetics. This
w i t h o u t fertilizer, they'll do fine without it next is more a matter of personal philosophy than of
year, t o o . But it's not quite that easy. Certainly, your horticulture, because plants can't read the label on
plants may provide you w i t h vegetables even if you the package and can only absorb nutrients in an
can save t i m e , t o o , because it gives you a place to
dispose of leaves and grass clippings.

How the composting process works

Compost forms as organic wastes are broken down


by microorganisms in the soil. These microorganisms
don't create nutrients; they just break down
complex materials into simple ones that the plant can
use. Most soil organisms are inactive when soil
temperatures are below 40°F; they don't begin
w o r k i n g in earnest until the temperature goes up to
about 60°F, and most of them don't work well in a
very acid element. Because they are extremely small,
microorganisms w o r k faster when not
overwhelmed by large chunks of material.
There are two basic kinds of microorganisms:
those that need air to work (aerobic) and those that
don't (anaerobic). It's possible to compost in an
airtight container, thanks to the microorganisms that
d o n ' t need air. A tightly covered plastic trash can
will convert an enormous amount of organic kitchen
waste into compost in the course of a winter. The
classic o u t d o o r compost pile should be turned
regularly w i t h a pitchfork to provide air for the
Organic matter has to take nitrogen from the soil in microorganisms that need it.
order to keep the decaying process going.
Composting keeps the waste in one place where it's How to start a compost pile
not depriving plants of nitrogen.
Composting can save money that you w o u l d If you have a fairly large garden, the best place to
otherwise spend on soil conditioners and fertilizers. It put your compost pile is at one end of the garden. The
pile can be square, rectangular or round; four to care of your garden and that you're not just a
five feet across; and as long as the available space. You horticultural dabbler.
can use fencing or cinder blocks to keep the pile
under control • Compost and mulch — The difference is in the use
If space is at a premium or if a compost pile
doesn't fit in with your landscaping, start the heap If you're an inexperienced gardener, you may be
behind some bushes or behind the garage. If the confused by the difference between composting and
space available is extremely small, you can compost in mulching — both processes use waste organic
a large heavy-duty plastic bag or plastic garbage matter. The difference is in the use. Composted
can. You can also work the material directly into the soil. materials are dug back into the soil to enrich it and
To build a compost pile, start out with one to two to enable the plants to use the nutrients that have
feet of leaves, if you have them, or six to twelve inches been released by the decaying process. A mulch is a
of more compact material, such as grass clippings layer of material spread over the ground or around
or sawdust. Over this put a layer of fertilizer (manure, plants to provide protection from heat or cold, to
blood, bone, cottonseed meal, or commercial retain soil moisture, or to maintain a certain soil
fertilizer) and some finely ground limestone (most temperature. Compost stays in the soil and
microorganisms like their environment sweet). eventually becomes part of it; a mulch is removed
Then add some soil to hold water and provide a starter when the protection it provides is no longer
colony of microorganisms. Water the compost needed.
carefully. Add a second layer of leaves or other
garden waste and repeat the layers. If you have HOW TO GARDEN WITH HOPELESS (OR NO) SOIL
enough material or enough room, put on a third
layer. The pile should be kept moist like a squeezed, You may be unlucky enough to have a garden full of
but not sopping, sponge. As more material hopeless soil—heavy clay, perhaps, or as sandy as a
becomes available, make new layers, adding more beach. Even if you're sure that no soil improvement
fertilizer and lime each time. Turn the pile with a program would help, you needn't give up hope of
pitchfork about once a month. having a vegetable garden. It's not too difficult to
You can use all garden waste on your compost
pile except disease- and pest-laden materials, or those
that have been treated with pesticides or weed-
killers— for instance, grass clippings from an area
that's been treated with a herbicide. Use
nontreated grass clippings, leaves, weeds, and sod.
You can also use kitchen leftovers like vegetable
and fruit peels, vegetable tops, coffee grounds, tea
leaves, and eggshells. The finer these materials are
chopped and the deeper they're buried, the quicker
they'll be converted and the less chance there is
that they'll be dug up by inquisitive animals. You can
also compost hay, straw, hulls, nutshells, and tree
trimmings (not walnut). But unless they're shedded,
these materials will take a long time to decompose.
There are a number of ways you can speed up the
composting process. First, you can grind or shred all.
compost materials to give the microorganisms a
head start. Second, make sure the pile doesn't dry out,
and provide enough fertilizer to encourage rapid
growth of the bacteria. Third, you can use a starter
culture, either material from an established
compost pile or a commercial starter culture.
Composting is a creative activity. There are
almost as many different methods of composting as
there are gardeners, and like a good stew, the proof
is in the final product. And when other gardeners see
your compost pile, they'll know you're taking good
y ou've probably been looking forward to
planting your garden all winter. And you've
probably been thinking it's the easiest part, too.
lot or know you're only going to be able to garden
on weekends, you may want to give yourself a break
and buy your transplants when you're ready to put
What can be so complicated about planting a garden? them in the ground. Giving due consideration to
Nothing to It. Mot so fast—there are a number of practical matters like these will ensure that
questions you have to consider before you start gardening is a labor of love — not a sentence to hard
throwing seeds around. labor.
For one thing, should you be planting seeds at
all? Or should you be using transplants (young Growing transplants: Pros and cons
plants started from seed indoors)? If you're going to
use transplants, should you grow them yourself or Starting at square one and growing transplants from
buy them from a nursery or garden store? And how seeds can be a challenging and satisfying activity. It
should your crop be spaced—in rows, wide bands, saves money, and it gives you a chance to
or inverted hills? Like every other stage of growing a experiment with varieties you can't buy locally as
vegetable garden, planting poses a lot of questions; transplants. That's the good news. The bad news is
It's more complex than you may have figured. that growing transplants yourself requires time,
space, and attention. If you only want a few plants
SEEDS OR TRANSPLANTS: HOW TO DECIDE or you're just embarking on the gardening
experience, you may do better to have someone do
The answers to the questions of what and where to the preliminary work for you. Also, these little plants
plant depend on several factors: where you live, the are going to be the foundation of your vegetable
kind of vegetables you decide to grow, and the garden, so if you can't give them the environmental
amount of work you can reasonably handle. It's conditions they need for best early growth, it makes
important to recognize your own limitations in terms sense to let them start off with someone who can.
of time, energy, and space. If you spend plenty of
time at home, you may thoroughly enjoy nurturing Transplants can be temperamental
your own transplants from seed. On the other
hand, your home may not easily accommodate trays of The whole point of growing vegetables from
young seedlings that need to be protected from transplants is to make the best use of your growing
cats, dogs, and curious children. And, if you're away a season. If a crop needs a long, cool growing season
and you know that where you live the weather's going
to be hot as Hades long before you can expect to
harvest, you're going to have to use transplants. You
have to consider, however, the flexibility of the
plant variety. Some plants survive transplanting
without any problem. Some hate it. Among plants
that make the adjustment without much difficulty are
broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, cauliflower,
chard, lettuce, and tomatoes. Celery, eggplant,
onions, and peppers are a little less tolerant and
require some care in transplanting. Other vegetables,
especially those with large seeds, resent
transplanting and do much better when they're
planted directly from seed after the soil warms up.
Among these more temperamental crops are
beans, corn, cucumbers, okra, peas, summer and
winter squash, and watermelons. If you start any of
these vegetables indoors, you'll have to use individual
containers that can be planted along with them in
order not to disturb their sensitive root systems.

Your three-stage planting plan

If you're planting a number of different vegetables,


you will probably use all three of the systems we've
mentioned. For instance, you may grow your own container that has sides a couple of inches high; an
tomato and lettuce transplants from seed, direct-seed old cake pan is fine. Whatever container you use, be
your peas and beans in the garden, and buy your sure to punch a hole for drainage in the bottom.
young pepper plants from a garden center. In this Plantable containers. Some varieties of vegetables
case, your first task will probably be to start your do not transplant well. They resent having their root
transplants indoors, beginning eight weeks or more systems disturbed and punish you by failing to
before your last date of average frost depending on thrive after transplanting. Among these varieties are
the varieties you're growing. A couple of weeks later corn, okra, beans, cucumbers, squashes, and
you can start direct-seeding — again timing your watermelons. If you start these varieties Indoors you
plantings according to the variety. Last, you can plant must use containers that can be planted along with
the transplants you purchased. the seedling. There are several kinds.
Good soil preparation is essential to all young Peat pots are simply compressed peat shaped
plants. You'll be doing your soil preparation before into a plant pot, and they come in a number of shapes
direct-seeding, so the two procedures will be and sizes, so you can match them to the type of
discussed together. seedling you're growing, jiffy pellets are also made of
compressed peat, but you buy them as little flat
HOW TO GROW TRANSPLANTS AT HOME discs a couple of inches across. When you add water
they rise to two or three Inches In height. Jiffy 7
It's counterproductive to start seeds too early; this pellets have a net wrapping holding the peat in place.
holds true whether you're planting indoors or in the This wrapping is supposed to disintegrate within a
garden. Young plants that are started too early will year after being planted out in the garden; in fact, the
get long and stringy, and they'll do poorly when wrapping doesn't always disintegrate that fast. Jiffy
they're planted outdoors. The average date of last 9 pellets do not have the wrapping. They disintegrate
frost for your area is your reference point for when to faster in the soil, but crumble more easily with
plant each vegetable in the garden, and the chart at handling. You can buy trays to hold a dozen or more
the end of the chapter will give you this date. Set Jiffy pellets, or you can stand them side by side in a
your indoor planting date six to eight weeks ahead flat.
of your outdoor planting date. Follow this rule for Labels and markers. It may seem like a bother to
each vegetable, and with this schedule, your plants mark all your rows or containers, but It's worth it
will be sturdy enough to face the outside world when because it saves a lot of confusion. Cabbage family
it's time to introduce them to it. seedlings look much alike when young, as do hot and
sweet peppers, or cherry and beefsteak tomatoes.
Providing the right environment The labels also tell you at a glance when you planted
the seeds. This gives you a quick check on how
The purpose of growing transplants from seed is to
provide them with the correct environment for the
important early growth period. This requires both
care and common sense on your part. Cleanliness,
temperature, moisture, and light all contribute to
the healthy development of your plants. The
following are supplies — or conditions — you'll need
in order to grow transplants at home.
Planting medium. Young seedlings are subject to
damping-off — a disease that can ruin your potential
crop in infancy. Avoid disease problems by using a
sterilized planting medium. Regular potting soil is too
rich and will encourage the young plants to grow
too quickly. Instead, buy a seed-starter medium from
a reputable garden center.
Flats. These are low-sided plastic trays or
containers used for planting seeds and are often
subdivided into divisions for each half dozen or so
plants. They're designed for use by nurseries and
professional gardeners, and are usually sold
wholesale. Make your own flats out of any shallow
seedlings out of the seedbed. Lift them from and it can be messy. It's more expensive to buy
underneath w i t h a knife, spatula, or stick, and hold transplants than to grow your o w n , and you have
them by their leaves to avoid permanent damage to fewer varieties to choose f r o m . But buying
the stems. Make a hole in the new planting medium transplants is a lot less w o r k , and if you buy wisely you
deep enough to accept the roots w i t h o u t crowding, can get high-quality plants.
and set the seedling's roots into the hole. Press the Choose the vegetables you buy as transplants on
soil gently around the roots. Water newly planted the same principles that y o u ' d use if you were going to
seedlings carefully to get rid of air pockets and to grow your o w n f r o m seed at h o m e ; base your
ensure that the roots will not dry o u t ; then label t h e m . decision on the length of your growing season and the
flexibility of the plant variety. Plants that adjust
Caring for the seedlings w i t h o u t much difficulty to transplanting are broccoli,
Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, chard,
At this state of their development young seedlings lettuce, and tomatoes. Celery, eggplant, onions, and
have very definite requirements. They need peppers are slightly less tolerant and require more
temperatures that are a little on the cool side. For careful handling. Plants that do not transplant easily
most vegetables a nighttime low of 55°F and a daytime are beans, c o r n , cucumbers, okra, peas, summer
high of 70°F is about right—if it's cooler, disease and winter squash, and watermelons. Don't buy these
problems may show u p ; if it's warmer, the plants will vegetables as transplants unless your growing
get tall and spindly. It's also important that the season is too short to let you grow from seed. If you do
seedlings get plenty of light—at least six hours of buy them as transplants, make sure they're in
bright light a day. If your indoor space can't provide individual containers that can be planted w i t h t h e m .
enough natural light for your vegetable seedlings, use
artificial light as recommended earlier. The best Choosing healthy transplants
kind are plant growth lights; they emit high levels of
blue light, w h i c h encourages good stocky Always buy your transplants f r o m a reputable
vegetative g r o w t h . The lights should be close to the source—a good nursery or garden center, or through
leaves of the plants—about six to eight inches is the mail from an established supplier. The
ideal. Keep the lights on for about 12 hours a day; an supermarket is not the place to look for vegetable
automatic timer is handy if you're not going to be plants. If you buy from an established source you
around. know that the plants have been grown with care, and
you k n o w w h o to go to w i t h questions or problems.
Preparing your transplants for the garden If you're buying from a mail order seed company,
the company will usually ship your plants at the right
Clearly you cannot take these pampered young time for planting. If you're buying from a garden
seedlings straight from their protected indoor setting center or nursery, buy the transplants just before you
into the c o l d , cruel garden. They'd literally die of plan to set t h e m in the garden, and take time to
shock. You have to prepare them for the change in choose healthy young plants that are free of pests or
environment, a process known in horticultural diseases. Before you go to the nursery or garden
terms as hardening-off. You can do this by taking the center, make a written list of disease-resistant
plants outside during the day and bringing them varieties, and stick to it. Check plants carefully
back in at night for at least two weeks—keep them i n , before you buy, remembering that they're fragile and
t h o u g h , if there's likely to be a frost. You can also not made for manhandling. Check stems and leaves
put them outside in a protected place—a cold frame or for any signs of pest or disease problems. Just before
a large box—and cover them with a rug or blanket at you buy t h e m , slip a seedling out of its container to
night. This treatment will ready them for their final make sure that the roots are white and healthy. And ,
place in the vegetable garden. d o n ' t forget to find out if they've already been
hardened-off.
BUYING TRANSPLANTS FOR YOUR GARDEN If you buy your transplants and find you can't put
them into your garden right away, leave them outside
A lot of people find that buying transplants from a in a sunny area. If they're tender varieties, bring
reputable nursery or garden center is the easiest way them inside at night before the temperature drops.
to start their vegetable garden, providing high- Remember, t o o , that your transplants are in very
quality transplants and few problems. Growing your small containers and will use up the available supply of
o w n transplants from seed is a challenge to your moisture quickly. Check them often and water
growing skills; it requires a lot of time and planning. them as necessary.
M O V I N G YOUR TRANSPLANTS OUTDOORS permanent damage to the young plant. If you have
to handle the plant, hold it by the leaves, not the stem.
W h e n you move your o w n transplants or bought Set each transplant in the soil, and tamp the soil
plants into the vegetable garden depends on the around it firmly w i t h your hands.
variety and your average date of last frost. Refer to the Don't plant transplants too deep; set them at the
chart at the end of this chapter to find out when you same depth they were in the container. If they are tall
can transplant each type of vegetable. Arrange them and leggy, make a small trench and set the plant at
on the prepared soil bed so that you can judge the an angle so that some of the stem is also under
correct spacing. The spacing chart at the end of this the soil and the remainder stands straight — the
chapter gives you detailed information on how illustration on the next page shows how. This will
much space each variety needs. If the vegetable will mean that only as much stem as the plant can support
need a support later — stakes for tomatoes, for comfortably is left above the ground so that the plant
instance, or trellises for beans — set the support at the w o n ' t get t o p heavy as it develops.
time of planting. If you wait to stake or set up a W h e n you've planted each seedling and firmed
support you risk damaging the plant's developing root the soil w i t h your hands, give it a good send-off with an
system. application of a starter fertilizer. Starter fertilizers
Dig a hole under each plant as you're ready to set are high in phosphorus (the middle number on the
it in the g r o u n d , then slip each plant gently out of its fertilizer package), which stimulates root g r o w t h ; if
container—unless the seedling is in a plantable pot, the roots are growing strongly, the rest of the plant will
in which case you plant the whole thing. If you're also grow sturdy and healthy. An ideal fertilizer is a
planting seedlings in peat pots, break off any part of 5-52-10 product—52 percent phosphorus in relation to
the lip of the pot that might stick up out of the garden other nutrients. Buy one that matches this formula
soil. If you leave the lip above the soil level it will act as closely as possible. Mix the fertilizer with water
like a wick to dry out the soil inside the container, and according to the package directions, and carefully
this could kill the young plant. If the plant is in a clay water each transplanted seedling with this solution.
or plastic container and doesn't pop out easily, slide a Then relax—for the time being, you've done your
knife carefully around the inside of the container. best for your young plants. Refer to the following
Remember that bruising the stem can cause section, in which direct-seeding is discussed, for
information on how to protect the plants from PLANTING FROM SEEDS IN THE GARDEN
unforeseen threats like extreme temperatures,
pests, and the like. Whether vegetables are grown Direct-seeding straight into the garden is the
from seed or transplants, they require the same easiest and least expensive way to grow vegetables.
care once they're in the garden. Follow the protective But you may not have the sort of climate that will let
procedures indicated to keep your plants healthy you direct-seed some vegetables; the seedlings may
until harvesttime. take longer to grow, making them a lot more
susceptible to weather conditions than transplants have to contend w i t h large obstacles; but all seeds do
grown indoors. better in well-worked soil. Just before planting,
The vegetables to grow from seed are those that rake the seedbeds smooth and level off the surface by
will mature w i t h i n the span of your growing season drawing the back of your rake across the soil.
and those that d o n ' t like to be transplanted. If your
growing season will accommodate t h e m , all these Spacing and sowing the seeds
vegetables do well grown from seed in your
garden: beans, beets, carrots, collards, corn, Sowing seeds sounds like a straightforward
cucumbers, dandelions, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, procedure; but like most of your other gardening
mustard, okra, peas, peanuts, pumpkins, rutabagas, activities, there's a procedure to follow to ensure
soybeans, spinach, squash, turnips, and success. O n e of the easiest mistakes to make is to
watermelons. plant the seeds too deep—or to assume that all
seeds are planted at the same depth.
Preparing the soil for direct-seeding How deep you plant seeds depends on their size;
they need only enough soil to cover them and supply
Soil preparation is the key to successful planting. moisture for germination, and seeds that are buried
The first step is to dig up and turn over the soil to a too deep may not be able to struggle through the soil
depth of eight to 12 inches—hard w o r k , but a good surface. The planting guide at the end of this
way to spend a crisp, early spring day. It's important chapter tells you exactly how deep to plant seeds of
that the soil is neither t o o wet nor too dry when you each vegetable variety. The rule of t h u m b is that
dig. Soil that's too wet will compact or form into large seeds should be covered up to twice their diameter at
clumps that will be so hard when they dry out that their largest point. That means if a seed is half an
nothing short of a sledgehammer will break them. If inch in diameter, plant it an inch deep; if the seeds are
the soil is too dry, the topsoil will just blow away. so small you can hardly see t h e m , just press them
Before you get into a good day's digging, pick up a into the surface of the soil. After you've set seeds at the
handful of soil and squeeze it; if it forms into a ball correct d e p t h , firm the soil by tamping it with your
that will hold together, yet crumbles easily, the soil is hands or (gently) with your foot. This prevents the soil
ready to w o r k . from drying out too fast; it also helps keep rain from
Adding organic matter. Organic matter enriches washing away both the soil and the seeds.
the soil and improves its ability to control moisture, so Spacing seeds is critical, because if plants are
add organic matter in the spring to benefit the new forced to grow too close together they may produce a
season's crop. If you planted a green manure or cover poor yield or no yield at all. If the seeds are large
crop in the fall to protect the topsoil, dig it all back enough to handle, like beans and peas, it's fairly easy
into the soil now as organic matter. Do the same if you to space them correctly. With tiny seeds or seeds
laid mulch over the soil instead of planting a cover
c r o p ; dig the mulch in as you turn the soil. You can
also dig in compost that has been simmering nicely
all winter.
Fertilizing. You should fertilize your vegetable
garden twice a year. As part of your spring soil
preparation, dig in a complete, well-balanced
fertilizer (10-10-10 or a similar formulation) at the rate
of one p o u n d per 100 square feet or 10 pounds per
1,000 square feet. W o r k the fertilizer^venly into the
soil. This application will keep your plants supplied
w i t h nutrients until about halfway through the
growing season. Then you'll apply the same
fertilizer at the same rate, but instead of spreading it
over the w h o l e area you'll side-dress by distributing
the fertilizer in trenches between the rows of plants.
Removing obstacles. W h e n you're preparing the
soil, remove all stones, rocks, and lumps, and all the
assorted debris that has accumulated over the
winter. This is especially important if you're planting
root crops, because they'll fork and split if they
vining crops like cucumbers, melons, squash, and too long they may already have suffered from being
watermelons. Keep an eye out for these pests and overcrowded. Thinning is a job that a lot of
hand-pick or wash them off the plants quickly, or gardeners do with some reluctance. It seems wasteful
spray the plants with carbaryl before they can to throw out all the extra little seedlings, but if you
spread disease. Detailed information on pest control don't do it you're condemning all your plants to
and disease prevention is given in "Keeping Your overcrowding and a miserable existence fighting
Garden Healthy." for food, light, and water. You're also defeating your
Don't let your seedlings die of thirst. Adequate own purpose, because overcrowded plants will
watering is essential to young plants in their early give you a poor crop.
stages of growth. Be careful when you water your
seedlings, because a forceful blast of water can STARTING NEW PLANTS FROM PARTS
damage them permanently or even wash them right
out of the ground, but be generous. Water to a depth Seeds and transplants are not the only forms from
of six to eight inches to encourage deep rooting and which to raise new plants; they're the forms you'll use
stronger growth. If your area is likely to have heavy most often, but some vegetables are started from
rains when you're waiting for the seeds to other plant parts — suckers, tubers, slips, crowns,
germinate, apply a very light mulch over the sets, cloves, divisions, or cuttings. In some cases
seedbed — this will also help to retain the moisture plants can be grown either from seed or from plant
that's in the soil. Don't overdo the mulch or put it on parts. Onions, for instance, take a very long time to
so thickly that the germinating seeds can't push germinate from seed, so it usually makes more sense
through it. to grow them from sets. Other plants grow best
Give plants room to grow. Thinning is another from plant parts. The following are ways to start
essential task in the early stages of the seedlings' vegetables from plant parts:
development. Refer to the planting guide at the end Suckers. Suckers, or offshoots, are plants that
of this chapter for specific instructions on spacing grow or shoot up from the root system of a mature
each variety. Thin when the plants are young — plant. These suckers are dug up and divided from
when they have formed two true leaves. If you wait the mother plant, then transplanted to mature into
new plants. Globe artichokes are usually the only underground stems, capable of producing roots,
vegetables grown from suckers. stems, and leaves. Irish potatoes and Jerusalem
Divisions. Divisions, like suckers, occur naturally artichokes are usually grown from tubers. When the
in the f o r m of small rooted plants or bulbs that grow tubers are cut up for planting, as in the case of Irish
f r o m the mother plant, and get their name from the potatoes, they are called seed pieces.
way you separate — or divide — them off to grow as Crowns. These are compressed stems near the
individual plants. You can dig up the new growth as soil surface that are capable of producing leaves and
it appears and replant It. O r , as w i t h bulbs, you can dig roots. Crowns are often planted with the roots
up the mother plant, separate the small new bulbs, attached, in w h i c h case they're more accurately
and replant each unit. Horseradish and rhubarb are referred to as roots. Crowns can be divided when
grown from divisions. You can divide plants in the plants are dormant. Asparagus is usually grown
spring or in fall; fall is preferable, because the cool, f r o m crowns.
moist weather gives the new plants better Sets. Sets are one-year-old onion seedlings that
conditions in w h i c h to become established. were pulled when the bulbs were young. The bulbs
Cuttings. Cuttings are divisions that don't occur are then air d r i e d , stored for the winter, and
naturally. You obtain them by cutting a piece of stem planted the next spring. Onions are the only
or side-branch f r o m the plant at a node — a lumpy vegetables grown from sets.
area on the stem. The cutting is then placed in the soil Cloves. These are the segmented parts of a b u l b ;
and forms its o w n roots. You can also put the they're also called bulblets. Garlic is the only
cutting in water until roots f o r m . vegetable commonly grown from cloves. Each
Slips. Slips are y o u n g , tender, rooted cuttings or garlic bulb is made up of a dozen or more cloves, and
sprouts grown f r o m roots. Sweet potatoes are the only you plant each clove separately. Don't divide the
vegetables c o m m o n l y grown from slips. bulb until you're ready to plant; separating the cloves
Tubers. These are specialized swollen too early may result in lower yields.

WHEN TO PLANT YOUR VEGETABLES IN SPRING

Very hardy vegetables: Hardy vegetables: Tender vegetables: Very tender vegetables:
Plant 4 to 6 weeks before the Plant2 to 3 weeks before the Plant on the average date of Plant 2 to 3 weeks after the
average date of last frost. average date of last frost. last frost. average date of last frost.

Asparagus Beet Artichoke, globe Bean, lima


Broccoli Cardoon Bean, broad Chayote
Brussels sprouts Carrot Bean, dry Chick pea
Cabbage Celeriac Bean, mung Cucumber
Cauliflower Celery Bean, snap Eggplant
Chinese cabbage Chard Corn Muskmelon
Collards Chicory Cress Okra
Horseradish Dandelion Mustard Pea, black-eyed
Kale Endive Sorrel Peanut
Kohlrabi Jerusalem artichoke Soybean Pepper, hot
Leek Lentil Tomato Pepper, sweet
Lettuce Parsnip Herbs: Pumpkin
Onion Potato, Irish Basil Squash, summer
Pea Radish • Caraway Squash, winter
Rhubarb Salsify Chervil Sweet potato
Rhutabaga Spinach, New Zealand Coriander Watermelon
Shallot Turnip Dill
Sorrel Herbs: Sage
Spinach Anise Sesame
Herbs: Borage
Chives Fennel
Garlic Marjoram
Spearmint Oregano
Peppermint Parsley
Tarragon Rosemary
Thyme Savory
P lanting your garden gives you a great sense of
achievement, but this feeling is a bit
deceptive—your labors are by no means over. In
Recognizing garden weeds

To control the weeds in your garden successfully,


fact, you're actually only just starting. When you you have to be able to recognize them when they are
decide to grow a garden, you have to be willing to y o u n g . W h e n weeds are small, regular cultivation
take on the daily chores that go with caring for will control them easily. If you let them become
it—watering, weeding, mulching, and protecting established, you're going to have a hard time
your crop against pests and disease. You could just sit getting rid of t h e m . The next few pages will guide you
back and let nature do the work. But if you don't do through the w o r l d of weeds and help you to tell, so
your part, the result will be lower yields or lower- to speak, your wheat from your chaff. If the children
quality produce. are going to be helping you in the garden, be sure
that they, t o o , know the difference between the
WEEDING: KEEPING OUT INTRUDERS vegetables and the weeds. Children—especially
small ones—often have trouble figuring out why one
Cultivating, or weeding, is probably going to be plant is desirable and another isn't (some weeds are
your most demanding task as your garden's caretaker. very attractive), and their well-intentioned help could
Weeds are pushy plants, and they're both resilient be destructive.
and persistent. You'll probably feel at times that if your Here is a guide to help you recognize some of the
vegetables grew as well and as fast as your weeds weeds you're most likely to find in your vegetable
d o , gardening w o u l d be child's play. It's important to garden:
keep down the weeds in your vegetable garden; Bindweed (Convolvulus species). The bindweed
they steal light, water, and food from the vegetables, is a climbing plant with small delicate morning-glory-
and they shelter insects and diseases. The cabbage like flowers. Given its own way, the bindweed will
aphid, for example, will make do with mustard weed climb up plants and soon choke everything in reach,
while it's waiting to feast on your cabbage or kale. and it's very difficult to get rid of because every
And a green lawn in its proper place soothes the soul piece of broken root seems capable of propagating a
and feeds the vanity of the gardener; but in the new plant.
w r o n g place the grass roots can choke out young Burdock (Arctium species). This plant looks like a
vegetable plants. coarse rhubarb. Many people have given it garden
room only to find, late in the summer, that their shaped flowers that have a purplish color. It's very
only harvest will be burrs. adventurous and crawls along the ground on stems
Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense). This is a that may extend to a length of five feet. The leaves
perennial that spreads on horizontal roots. The leaves are almost round and grow in clumps at each node
are usually crinkled, edged v^ith spines or thorns. along the square stem. Ground ivy may be one of
The flowers are spiny balls topped with purple tufts. the most persistent weeds you'll have to deal with in
Wear a good pair of gloves, and pull out the whole your garden, it will choose the shadiest side of your
plant; try to remove as much of the root as possible. garden first, but once it becomes established it will
Chickweed (Stellaria media). The chickweed is a spread anywhere. Pull up the entire plant; each
lacy plant that spreads out over the ground like a doily. node can regenerate a whole new plant.
It has tiny daisylike flowers, but despite its delicate Lamb's-quarters or goosefoot (Chenopodium
appearance it should be destroyed when quite album). You can recognize lamb's-quarters by its
young, because it will spread all over the place if you color—greyish-green with occasional red speckles.
let it go to seed. It's an upright plant that can grow four feet tall.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). The dandelion Mustard (Brassica nigra). The black mustard
is best known to nongardeners for its bright yellow grown for its seeds is a good example of a useful plant
flowers and its seedhead of light, feathery seeds. that escaped from a proper garden and went wild.
Gardeners know it for its long, persistent taproot. In some parts of California mustard plants 12 feet tall
Recognize the dandelion by its rosette of jagged have taken over whole fields and become real
leaves, and remove it as soon as possible—preferably pests.
when the soil is moist. If you try to pull out the root Pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus). Pigweed is
when the soil is dry and hard you'll probably break it, known as redroot, wild beet, or rough green
leaving part of the root in the ground to grow right amaranth. It is a rough plant that can grow to more
back into another healthy dandelion plant. The than six feet in good soil.
dandelion can be grown as a legitimate vegetable, Plantain (Plantago major and Plantago
but the weed in your garden won't double for its lanceolata). There are two plantains, Ruggle's plantain
cultivated cousin. and buckhorn (also called English plantain or white
Ground ivy or creeping charlie (Colechoma man's footsteps). Both plants grow in rosettes and are
hederacea). This is a vining plant with small funnel- rather similar to the plantain lily (Hosta). They have
thick clumps of roots that make them hard to pull out, anything that will support it. The large, shiny leaves
except when the soil is very moist and soft. (two to four inches long) are grouped in threes and
Poison ivy (Rhus radicans). The poison ivy plant pointed at the tip. Every part of this plant contains a
may be either a small shrub or a vine that can crawl up poisonous material that can cause blisters on your
skin. To avoid contact with the skin, control this ground. It has thick leaves and thick juicy stems,
weed by using a herbicide. and it adores rich, freshly worked soil.
Purslane (Portulaca oleracea). Purslane, which is Ragweed. There are two types of ragweed:
also called pusley or pigweed, grows flat on the common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) and giant*
ragweed (Ambrosia trifida). C o m m o n ragweed is an grow only one to four feet tall. Pull up the entire
annual that seeds itself and comes back every year. plant before the seeds mature and assure you a return
The leaves are smooth and deeply lobed. It's a visit next year. Giant ragweed is a perennial, and as
much smaller plant than the giant ragweed and will its name implies, it gets very large—it will tower to 12
to 18 feet in good soil. The leaves are large and also damage the root systems of neighboring
slightly hairy, w i t h three or occasionally five lobes. vegetables. Persistent weeds like dandelions may
Male flowers are long spikes at the tips of the have to be cut d o w n several times, but eventually the
branches. As with its smaller cousin, pull up the entire weed will die.
plant when it is young before the seeds mature. Herbicides, or chemical weed-killers, can be
Smartweed (Polygonum species). Smartweed is a used in some instances. Mulches, which are organic
tough-rooted plant, w i t h smooth stems, swollen or inorganic materials laid over the soil around your
joints, and long narrow leaves. Pull up the plants, can also control weeds to some extent. There
smartweeds and toss them on the compost pile. are advantages and disadvantages to both methods.
Sour grass (Oxalis stricta). Sour grass is yellow
w o o d sorrel, a delicate plant with shamrocklike three- Herbicides need careful handling
part leaves and delicate yellow flowers. Its seed
capsules are capable of shooting seeds yards away Herbicides can be useful in helping to control
when they ripen. It also has an underground root weeds under certain conditions, but these
system that can reproduce w i t h o u t any seeds at all. conditions are not usually encountered in the
Violet (Viola species). It's hard to look on the small home garden. And herbicides require such
innocent violet as a w e e d , but that's what it is. This careful handling that the home gardener may be
small flowering plant has deep green heart-shaped well advised not to use them more than absolutely
leaves and a small, succulent root system that can be necessary.
easily removed. Herbicides can be either nonselective or
selective. The nonselective types kill any plant with
Keeping the weeds out of your garden which they come in contact. Selective herbicides
may kill only broad-leaved plants or only grass
Once you've identified the weeds in your vegetable plants. Both types come in forms to kill
garden, the best way to control them is to chop them preemergent germinating seeds without harming
off at soil level w i t h a sharp hoe or knife. If a weed is plants that are already growing above the g r o u n d ,
close to your vegetables, don't try to dig out the whole or vice versa. Those that act below the soil surface to
root system of the w e e d ; in the process you may kill preemergent seeds usually come in granule
f o r m . The granules are shaken on to the ground Mulches can perform a number of useful functions.
from the container. Contact herbicides that kill They protect against soil erosion by breaking the force
growing plants are usually bought in liquid form and of heavy rains; they help prevent soil compaction;
diluted for use in a hand-sprayer or a sprayer that they discourage the growth of weeds; they reduce
attaches to your hose. Whichever type you use, it's certain disease problems. Organic mulches
important to follow the manufacturer's instructions improve the soil texture. Mulches are also insulators,
to the letter. It's also important to remember that making it possible to keep the soil warmer during
herbicides may have residual effects that vary from cool weather and cooler during warm weather.
product to product. The effect of some may last for Mulches do not eliminate weeds. They can,
weeks; the effect of others may last for years." however, help control them if the area has been
You can, if you wish, use a nonselective cleared of weeds to begin w i t h . If the mulch is thick
herbicide in the spring to clear an area for planting. e n o u g h , the weeds that are already growing w o n ' t be
If you d o , carefully check that the residual effects able to push t h r o u g h , and the darkness will
will be gone well before your planting date—the frustrate the germination of others. Persistent weeds
information on the label will tell you this. If you can push their way through most mulch, but if
misjudge the t i m i n g , and the effects of the herbicide they're cut off at the soil level a few times they'll die.
persist beyond your planting date, you'll lose your Sometimes mulches can improve the appearance
w h o l e crop for the season. of the vegetable garden by giving it a neater, more
Here are some facts about herbicides you should finished look. Some mulches give the area a
be aware of: professional look that only a true vegetable gardener
can appreciate.
• Herbicides do not kill all weeds. Whether you use an organic or an inorganic
• Herbicides can kill vegetables. m u l c h , take care not to put it d o w n before the soil has
• Herbicides that are safe to use in a certain area warmed up in the spring—the mulch will prevent
can drift quite a distance and damage sensitive the soil from warming and slow down root
plants, such as tomatoes and peppers. development. In the average garden in a cool-
• No plant is entirely resistant to herbicides, so if season climate mulch should be applied about five
you're using one it's important to follow the weeks after the average date of last frost.
instructions exactly as they appear on the label.
Organic mulches improve soil quality
If you decide to use a herbicide in your garden,
f o l l o w these rules: Organic mulches are organic materials that, when
laid on the soil, decompose to feed the
• If you have a problem that cannot be solved by microorganisms and improve the quality of the soil.
cultivating and you want to use a herbicide, If you see that the mulch you've put down is
contact your local Cooperative Extension Service decomposing quickly, add nitrogen to make up for
for a reliable recommendation. nitrogen used by the bacteria. Some mulches can
• Read all of the label, every bit of fine print, and carry weed seeds; others can harbor undesirable
f o l l o w the instructions to the letter. organisms or pests, but both diseases and pests can
• Do not use a herbicide unless it is labeled for a usually be controlled by keeping the mulch stirred
specific crop (read the w h o l e label). u p . W h e n you're cultivating, lift the mulch a little to
• Be sure that the herbicide will not leave a toxic keep the air circulating.
residue on the parts of the plant that you want to To use an organic mulch, spread a layer of the
eat. • material you're using on the surface of the ground
• Clean spray equipment carefully after each use. around the plants after the soil has warmed up in
• Mark your herbicide equipment and keep it spring; the plants should be about four inches tall so
separate from that used for fertilizers, the mulch doesn't overwhelm them. If you're using
insecticides, or fungicides. Use herbicide a fluffy material w i t h large particles, like bark chips,
equipment only for herbicides. make the layer about four inches thick. If you're
using a denser material like straw or lawn clippings, a
two-inch layer will be enough. Be careful not to
MULCHES HAVE MANY USES IN YOUR GARDEN suffocate the vegetables while you're trying to
frustrate the weeds.
Mulches are either organic or inorganic material The f o l l o w i n g are organic materials commonly
placed on the soil around the vegetable plants. used as mulches:
Buckwheat hulls. These hulls last a long time and but it needs added nitrogen to prevent
have a neutral color, but they're lightweight and can microorganisms from depleting the soil's nitrogen.
blow away; and sometimes they smell when the Straw. Straw is very messy and hard to apply in a
weather is hot and wet. small area, and it's highly flammable—matches or
Chunk bark. Redwood and fir barks are available cigarettes can result in short-order cooking. It
in several sizes. Bark makes good-looking paths and does, however, look very professional.
gives the area a neat, finished appearance, but it's Wood chips or shavings. More chips and shavings
t o o chunky to be the ideal mulch for vegetables. It also are available now that they are no longer being burned
tends to float away when watered or rained o n . as a waste product. They decompose slowly and
Compost. Partly decomposed compost makes a add needed nitrogen. Beware of maple chips, which
great mulch and soil conditioner. It looks a little may carry verticillium wilt into your garden.
rough, but other gardeners will know you're giving
your garden the very best. Recycle rugs, papers as inorganic mulch
Crushed corncobs. Crushed cobs make an
excellent and usually inexpensive mulch. The cobs Unlikely though it may seem to the inexperienced
need additional nitrogen, unless they are partially gardener, the following materials can be used
decomposed. Sometimes corn kernels are mixed in effectively as inorganic mulches.
w i t h the crushed corncobs; this will create extra Aluminum foil. Foil is expensive if you're dealing
weeding later o n . w i t h more than a small area, but it does make an
Lawn clippings. Do not use clippings from a lawn effective mulch. It reflects sunlight, keeps the
that has been treated w i t h a herbicide or weed plants clean, and scares birds away f r o m your garden.
killer—these substances can kill the vegetables Backless indoor-outdoor carpet. Indoor-outdoor
you're trying to grow. Let untreated clippings dry carpeting is ideal for the small garden and makes it
before putting them around your garden; fresh easy for the fastidious gardener to keep the place
grass mats d o w n and smells bad while it's neat. Water goes through it easily, and the weeds are
decomposing. kept d o w n .
Leaves. Leaves are cheap and usually easy to f i n d , Newspapers. Spread a thick layer of newspapers
but they blow around and are hard to keep in place. around the plants. Keep them in place with rocks or
They will stay where you want them better if they're soil. They will decompose slowly and can be turned
ground up or partially decomposed. Nitrogen should under as a soil modifier.
be added to a leaf m u l c h . Do not use walnut leaves; Rag rugs. An old rag rug holds water and keeps the
they contain iodine, which is a growth retardant. soil moist. It w o n ' t look as neat as backless carpeting,
Manure. Vintage, partially decomposed manure but it will be just as effective.
makes an excellent mulch. Manure has a strong
bouquet that you may not appreciate, but don't use Plastic mulches: pros and cons
a manure that has been treated with odor-reducing
chemicals; treated manures contain substances, Both clear and black polyethylene are used by
such as b o r o n , which are unhealthy for plants. Never commercial growers as inorganic mulches. Clear
use fresh, unrotted manure, it can kill your plants. plastic is not recommended for small gardens
Mushroom compost (leftover, used). Where it's because it encourages weeds; weeds just love the
available, used mushroom compost is generally cozy greenhouse effect it creates. Black plastic is
inexpensive. Its rich color blends in well with the sometimes used in small gardens for plants that are
colors of your garden. grown in a group or hill, such as cucumbers,
Peat moss. Peat moss is expensive when large squash,orpumpkins. Black plastic should not be used
areas have to be covered. It must be kept moist or it for crops that need a cool growing season—
will act like a blotter and pull moisture out of the soil cabbage or cauliflower, for instance—unless it's
and away from the plants. Once it dries, peat tends to covered with a thick layer of light-reflecting material,
shed water rather than letting it soak i n , and the fine such as sawdust.
grades of peat have a tendency to blow away. There are some advantages to growing with a
Poultry manure. This is potent stuff—poultry black plastic mulch. Black plastic reduces the loss of
manure is about twice as strong as cow manure; soil moisture, raises the soil temperature, and
proceed w i t h caution. A g o o d , weathered, four- speeds up crop maturity. Weeds are discouraged,
year-old poultry litter can give you mulch, compost, because the black plastic cuts out their light supply,
and high-nitrogen fertilizer, all at the same time. so you w o n ' t have to cultivate as m u c h ; that means
Sawdust. Sawdust is often available for the asking. less danger of root damage. The plastic also helps
keep plants cleaner. And when you're making a new When you're ready to plant, cut holes about
garden in an area where there was a lot of grass—if three inches across for the plants or seeds. After
you've dug up a lawn, for instance—black plastic can planting, anchor the edges of the holes with stones
keep the grass from coming back . or soil. Water the plants through the holes in the
There are some disadvantages to keep in mind as mulch. After a rain, check to see if there are any
well, and one of them is that you may need to water spots where water is standing. If there are, punch
more frequently. Because of their greater growth holes through the plastic so the water can run
under plastic, the plants lose more water through through. After the plants are harvested, the plastic
transpiration, especially in well-drained, sandy can be swept off, rolled up, and stored for use the next
soils. However, you will need to water less if you use year.
black plastic on soil that holds water or drains
poorly. If you're using a black plastic mulch, keep in WATER: YOUR GARDEN MUST GET ENOUGH
mind that plants can wilt and rot if the soil moisture
is kept at too high a level and there isn't enough air in Some plants are composed of up to 95 percent
the soil. water. Water is vital for sprouting seeds; plants need
You can buy black plastic from many garden water for cell division, cell enlargement, and even
centers or order it by mail from seed and garden for holding themselves up. If the cells don't have
equipment catalogs. It should be at least 11/2 mil enough water in them, they collapse like a three-
thick and about three to four feet wide. If you have a day-old balloon, and the result is a wilted plant. Water
piece of wider or thicker black plastic, use it. The is essential, along with light and carbon dioxide, to
wider plastic is harder to handle, and the thicker type produce the sugars that provide the plant with energy
is more expensive, but it works well. for growth. It also dissolves fertilizers and carries
Put down black plastic mulch before the plants nutrients to the different parts of the plant.
are set out. Try to pick a calm day; a strong wind will
whip the plastic about and make laying it down hard Where the water comes from
work. Take a hoe and make a three-inch deep trench
the length of the row. Lay one edge of the plastic in Ideally, water for plants comes from rain or other
the trench and cover the edge with soil. Smooth the precipitation and from underground sources. In
plastic over the bed and repeat the process on the reality, you'll often have to do extra watering by
other side. Be sure the plastic is anchored securely, or hand or through an irrigation system. (If you have too
the wind will get under it and pull it up. much rain about all you can do is pray). How often
you should water depends on how often it rains, how garden. Generally, however, vegetable plants need
long your soil retains moisture, and how fast water about an inch of water a week. The best time to
evaporates in your climate. Soil type is an important water your garden is in the morning. If you water at
factor. Clay soils hold water very well—sometimes night when the day is cooling off, the water is likely
too well. Sandy soils are like a sieve, letting the water to stay on the foliage, increasing the danger of
run right through. Both kinds of soil can be disease. Some people believe that you can't water
improved with the addition of organic matter. Organic in the morning because water spots on leaves will
matter gives clay soils lightness and air and gives cause leaf-burn when the sun gets hot; this isn't the
sandy soils something to hold the water. case.
Other factors may also affect how often you need However hard it is to judge your garden's exact
to water your garden: water needs, there are two hard-and-fast rules about
watering that you should follow. First, always soak
• More water evaporates when the temperature is the soil thoroughly. A light sprinkling can often do
high than when it's low. Plants can rot if they get more harm than no water at all; it stimulates the
too much water in cool weather. roots to come to the surface, and then they're killed by
• More water evaporates when the relative exposure to the sun. Second, never water from
humidity is low. above. Overhead watering with a sprinkling can or a
• Plants need more water when the days are bright. hose is easy and seems to do a fine job. But in fact,
• Wind and air movement will increase the loss of overhead watering wastes water, makes a mess, and
water into the atmosphere. sometimes bounces the water away from the plant
• A smooth unmulched surface will not retain so the roots do not get any at all. Furthermore, many
water as well as one that's well cultivated. diseases are encouraged by wet leaves. So direct
• Water needs vary with the type and maturity of water at the soil, but water gently so that the soil is not
the plant. Some vegetable seeds are tolerant of washed away or the roots exposed.
low soil moisture and will sprout in relatively dry Watering with a can. Carrying water in a can or a
soils. These include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, bucket can be exhausting and extremely unsatisfying,
cauliflower, collards, corn, kale, kohlrabi, especially if the water slops over the top into your
muskmelon, peppers, radishes, squash (winter shoes. Watering cans are easier to carry but harder to
and summer), turnips, and watermelon. On the fill than buckets. They are good to use for gently
other hand, beets, celery, and lettuce seeds need moistening the soil after planting seeds and for
very moist soil. Herbs generally do better with less settling dust. If you unscrew the watering can's
water. A large plant that has a lot of leaves and is sprinkler head and replace it with an old sock, it will be
actively growing uses more water than a young easier to concentrate the water at the base of the
plant or one with small leaves. plant where it's needed. The sock will break the force
• Sometimes water is not what a wilting plant of the water so it won't disturb the soil around the
needs. When plants are growing fast, the leaves roots.
sometimes get ahead of the roots' ability to provide Watering with a hose. A well-placed faucet and
them with water. If the day is hot and the plants hose can save a lot of energy. If you have a large
wilt in the afternoon, don't worry about them; the garden, a Y-connector for the faucet makes it
plants will regain their balance overnight. But if possible to attach two hoses at one time. Hose strategy
the plants are drooping early in the morning, water includes having enough hose to reach all points in
them right away. the garden and arranging the hose in such a way that it
• Mulches cool the roots and cut down on the does not decapitate plants when you move it
amount of water needed, increasing the time that around.
plants can go between watering. When the soil If you have a lot of watering to do, five-eighths-
dries out, plants slow their growth—or stop inch hose will carry twice as much water as a half-inch
growing altogether. Swift, steady growth is hose. Spreading the water about can be speeded up
important for the best-tasting fruits and by using basins to catch the water and by digging
vegetables. Mulches keep the soil evenly moist. furrows or trenches between the plants. A length of
gutter with capped ends, placed on the higher side of
There's a right and a wrong way to water the garden, can be punctured at intervals to
coincide with the trenches. Then when water is slowly
So much depends on climate and the ability of added to the gutter it flows down all the trenches at
different types of soil to hold moisture that it's difficult the same time. If you want to change the placement of
to lay down specific directions for watering your the holes, the ones you don't need can either be
soldered up or filled w i t h a metal screw. the soil around the roots. A wand and water-breaker,
Watering with a sprinkler. Lawn sprinklers are which is a length of rigid pipe that attaches to the
gentle, but they waste water by covering the whole end of the hose, can make it much easier to put the
area indiscriminately and spraying water into the air water where you want it. This is especially useful
where it evaporates and blows about. They also wet when you're watering hanging baskets and patio
the leaves, which can spread disease, and often containers. A water timer that measures the flow of
turn the whole area into a mudhole. Canvas soil- water and shuts off automatically when the right
soakers are preferable. They carry water gently to amount has been delivered is an expensive luxury.
But it's an excellent device for the forgetful and can texture of the soil. It's not necessary to plant the
free you to do other things while the garden is being whole cover crop at one time to cover the entire
watered. garden; you can plant in each area of the garden
Gardening is a most satisfying occupation, as you harvest. Some of the best green manure or
because you are constantly rewarded for your efforts. cover crops are rye, clover, oats, soybeans, and
All the work you put into your vegetable garden— vetch. Scatter the seeds over the area you want to
cultivating, mulching, watering, watching, and plant—if it's a large area a hand spreader will do
waiting—shows dividends in the shape of healthy the job comfortably.
plants that flourish visibly under your care as the • As an alternative to planting a cover crop, you can
season progresses. And all the labor pays off in prepare the soil ahead of time. Tilling your soil in the
tangible form at harvest time. fall can save you a lot of time and help you get an
But even when you've weathered the whole earlier start in the spring, because the soil is often
gardening season and brought your harvest home, too wet in early spring to let you use a spade or a
you still have a few more tasks to complete in order rototiller. If you do till your soil in the fall, make sure
to put your garden to bed for the winter. to cover the soil with mulch to keep it from
blowing or washing away.
PREPARING YOUR GARDEN FOR THE WINTER • If you're growing perennial crops in a cold climate,
fall is the time to protect them against winter
The better the clean-up job you do in fall, the easier temperatures. Apply a mulch over the whole
it will be to start in on the new growing season in plant when the soil first freezes, but not before
spring. You may be tempted to skip some of these then; if you mulch when the soil is still warm,
last-minute chores, but they're really worth doing you'll encourage root rot problems. Remember to
because they can make a big difference to the remove this mulch as soon as the soil starts to
success of next year's garden. True, they could be put thaw out in the spring. The best materials to use for
off until spring, but come spring you'll have so this mulch are organic materials that will let the
much to do in the garden that it'll be a big relief to have plants breathe; straw, hay, leaves, and compost are
some of the work out of the way ahead of time. all suitable. Crops you may need to mulch for
winter protection include: artichokes (in some
• It's a good idea to plant what farmers call a green areas); chayotes; rhubarb; and such herbs as
manure or cover crop in the fall as part of your chives, garlic, marjoram, mints, oregano, rosemary,
preparation for the following year. This is a crop sage, tarragon, and thyme.
that you don't intend to harvest. It's there simply to
provide protection for the soil underneath, and When you're through with these final tasks, you
when you're preparing for your spring planting you have done the best you can to prepare your garden for
dig the whole crop into the soil. A cover crop will winter. It's time to sit back and relax—and if you
keep your precious topsoil from blowing or miss the time in your garden, you can beguile your
washing away, and tilling it into the soil in spring winter hours by reading seed catalogs and planning
will provide valuable organic matter to enrich the the garden you're going to plant come spring.
O ne of the most challenging—and sometimes
frustrating — aspects of being a gardener is all
the natural forces you have to combat. Even in the
pests that do harm your crop, and some because
they pollinate the plants. When you set out to control
harmful pests, it's important to realize that
unlikely event that you have perfect soil and a indiscriminate controls may destroy the good as
marvelous climate, you're still not home and dry; well as the bad; the useful creatures as well as the
all sorts of pests are In competition with you for your harmful ones.
crop. The pest problems you're likely to encounter Controlling the insect pests that attack your
in your vegetable garden fall Into two categories: vegetable garden can be a challenge; the method you
insects and the like, of which there are a remarkable choose for controlling them can also be
variety; and animals, usually the four-legged kind but controversial. Many gardeners rely on chemical
occasionally two-legged intruders as well. insecticides to do away with the enemy that's
Most gardeners have to contend with insect competing for the crop. Some people, however,
problems at some time during the growing season, object to the use of chemicals because they believe
but the problems are not always obvious. It can that the chemicals may remain on the plant and harm
come as quite a surprise, just when it looks as though the person who eats it or that they may harm the
all your hard work is paying off and your plants are environment. These gardeners prefer to rely on
progressing healthily towards a fine harvest, to find organic, or nonchemical, means of control. There
that the pests are at work. You may notice one may also be times when it's better not to use a
morning that a couple of healthy young plants have chemical control even if you have no personal
keeled over and died — a pretty sure indication that objection to it — if you catch a caterpillar attack in the
you've got cutworms working away beneath the soil early stages, for example, it can be easier to pick off
level. Or you may see tiny holes in the leaves of your the offenders by hand than to mix up a whole batch of
eggplant, signaling the activity of the flea beetle. insecticide. This chapter discusses the most
Your plants are subject to diseases, too, and you effective means of control — both chemical and
know you're in trouble when the leaves turn'yellow, or organic — for the pest problems you're most likely
the plants seem stunted and weak, or mildew starts to encounter.
to show up on leaves and stems. Plant diseases spread
rapidly and must be curbed as soon as they appear, CHEMICAL CONTROLS: INSECTICIDES
but this isn't always easy. There are certain measures
you can take to forestall disease problems — like The surest way to control most of the insects and
planting varieties that have been bred to be disease- similar creatures that threaten your vegetable crop is
resistant, and rotating some crops when it's by using a chemical insecticide. A word here about
possible to do so. Beyond that, once a disease attacks terminology: In horticultural language the terms
a plant, about all you can do is remove the infected "pesticide" and "insecticide" are not
plant — among horticulturalists this process is called interchangeable. A pesticide is any form of chemical
"culling" — to stop the disease from spreading to control used in the garden; an insecticide is a
neighboring healthy plants. On the whole, pest specific type of pesticide used to control a specific
problems are easier to control than problems situation — to kill insects. A herbicide is a different
caused by plant diseases. kind of pesticide with a different application — it's
used to help control garden weeds. These
CONTROLLING INSECT PESTS distinctions are important, because using the wrong
one will cause havoc in your garden. For instance, if
To many people anything In the garden that crawls you use a herbicide instead of an insecticide you'll
or flies and is smaller than a chipmunk or a sparrow lose your entire crop for the season. It's also
can be classified as an insect. In fact, a lot of the important to keep separate equipment for use with
creatures that may bug your vegetable plants are not each kind of pesticide.
insects at all — mites, slugs, snails, nematodes, Insecticides are chemical products that are
sowbugs, and symphylans among them. Another sprayed or dusted on the affected crops. The type you
popular misconception is that insects and similar spray on is bought in concentrated form, then
creatures are harmful or unnecessary and have no diluted for use with a hand sprayer or a spray
place in the garden. Again, it isn't true. While some attachment fitted to the end of your garden hose.
insects are destructive, many are perfectly harmless. A Dust-on insecticides are powders that you pump on to
lot of them are actually important to the healthy the plants. Spraying is preferable because it gives
development of your garden crop, some because they more thorough coverage, and it's easier to treat the
perform a specific service by keeping down other undersides as well as the tops of leaves and plants
with a spray. You can also apply insecticides directly to you're eliminating the pest, not the friendly insect
the soil to kill insects under the soil surface — this that's out there working for you. Let's say, for
technique is known as applying a "soil drench." instance, that aphids are attacking your cabbage
Used correctly and responsibly, insecticides are plants, and you use carbaryl (Sevin) to try to get rid of
not harmful to humans or other animals. They are them because you know carbaryl is a relatively safe
toxic, but the toxicity levels are low, and their insecticide with a short residual effect. You've
residual or carryover effect is short — the longest any overlooked the fact that carbaryl has to enter the
of the insecticides commonly used in the home insect's stomach in order to kill it, and since the
garden will remain on the plant is about 14 days. aphid's mouth is inside the cabbage plant, none of
Malathion, for instance, has the same toxicity level the insecticide is going to enter the insect through the
as Scotch whiskey and breaks down faster. As to any mouth and reach its stomach. Ladybugs, however,
long-lasting hazards that may be involved — love aphids and are most helpful in keeping down
nobody knows if hazards exist or what they might be; their numbers. So when the ladybug eats the aphid,
we don't know what the long-lasting hazards of any the carbaryl on the aphid's body enters the ladybug's
product might be. The choice of an organic or a stomach and kills it. Despite the best intentions in
synthetic pesticide is a matter of personal opinion. the world, you've killed off the useful insect and left
If you know all the options you'll be able to make your the pest unharmed. In fact you've done the pest a
own choice. favor by killing off its enemy — a ladybug can put
away hundreds of aphids in a day.
Commonly used insecticides Carbaryl can also be toxic to bees, and bees are
important to your garden because they pollinate most
The insecticides listed below for use in your home fruiting vegetable crops. To avoid killing the bees,
vegetable garden will provide effective control of spray in the late evening when the flowers are closed.
garden insects with minimum hazard. Remember, This way you kill the destructive pests but protect
though, that most insecticides are poisons and must the bees.
be handled as such. If you use an insecticide you must always be
Diazinon. This is an organic phosphate, and it's an aware also of how long its residual effect is going to
effective insecticide for general use. Diazinon is a last. A residue of insecticide left on the plant when
contact poison. Its toxicity is low, and it's a good it's harvested is poisonous. The residual effect of an
control for underground insects that attack the roots insecticide that you use in your vegetable garden is
of cabbage family plants, onions, and radishes. You likely to be fairly short, but the effect may vary from
can get it as a wettable powder or in liquid form. one type of crop to another. And because the effect
Malathion. This is also a phosphate insecticide; it is not long-lasting, you can't spray as a preventive
kills sucking insects like aphids. Its effects are not as measure; you have no way of knowing which pests .
long-lasting as those of some other insecticides, are going to attack your plants before they're actually
but it's effective and safe in use. It's available as a dust, on the scene.
a wettable powder, or a liquid.
Sevin. This is also known as carbaryl and is How to use an insecticide
another safe material for use in home gardens. It's an
effective control for many leaf-eating caterpillars Because research is constantly being done to
and leafhoppers, and is available as a wettable determine the safety of insecticides and improve their
powder or a dust. effectiveness, it's difficult to give long-term
Bacillus thuringiensis. This is an organic recommendations about their use. Basic rules,
insecticide. It's a bacterium that is considered however, always apply: Read the directions and
harmless to all but insects, and you can buy it under precautions on the label and follow them
the brand names of Dipel, Thuricide, or Bactur. It meticulously, and never make the solution
controls cabbage worms and other caterpillars and stronger than the label says because you think it'll
is available in wettable powder or liquid forms. This is work better that way. If the product would be more
the choice of many gardeners who prefer not to use effective in a stronger solution the label would say so.
chemical insecticides. You need to use common sense when working
with an insecticide. If there are just a few, visible
Cause and cure: Be sure you've got them right insects on your plants, it may be a lot easier to
remove them by hand than to go through the full
Because an insecticide can't distinguish between routine of applying a chemical remedy. Also,
friend and foe, it's your responsibility to make sure weather conditions limit when you can use a product
that has to be sprayed or dusted on the plants — all exposed parts of the body thoroughly with soap
you can't do it on a windy day because you can't and water.
control the direction of the application. The wind • Store unused material (undiluted) in its original
can take your insecticide over into your neighbor's container out of the reach of children, irresponsible
garden; so you'll both fail to correct your own pest adults, or animals — preferably in a locked
problem, and you'll make your neighbor mad. As the cabinet or storage area.
one who's using the pesticide, you are responsible • Dispose of the empty container carefully. Do not
for it. leave it where children or animals can get to it or
You'll also defeat your own purpose by using an where it might be recycled for another use.
insecticide if rain is expected within 12 to 24 hours. • Wash all treated vegetables carefully before
The insecticide must dry on the plant in order to be eating them.
effective. Whether you use a spray or a dust, make
sure that you reach all parts of the plants—you're NONCHEMICAL CONTROLS;
aiming for a light covering on both the tops and the ORGANIC ALTERNATIVES
undersides of all the leaves. Don't give the pests a
place to hide; proper coverage is essential if the It's not always necessary to use a chemical
insecticide is to do its job. insecticide in your vegetable garden even if you have
The products we suggest are commonly used in no particular personal objection to its use. In some
the home vegetable garden as we write this. But cases organic controls can give acceptable results if
before you go out to buy one, check with your local you don't mind putting in a little more labor for a
Cooperative Extension Service to make sure that these little less reward at harvesting time. And if you're an
recommendations are still current. organic gardener, there are a few things you should
If you do decide to use a pesticide to control know about helping your vegetables survive attacks
insects in your vegetable garden, here are some by pests.
important points to remember:
Planting problem-free vegetables
• Read the whole label; observe all the precautions
and follow all the directions exactly. First of all, you can take the simple precaution of
• Check the time period that must elapse between planting only varieties that are not susceptible to
application of the insecticide and harvesting the major pest problems. There are a lot of vegetables
plant, and observe it strictly. Note all restrictions that pests usually don't attack, or don't attack in large
carefully — often products must be applied at a enough numbers to cause you any real grief or
certain stage in the plant's development. require the use of nonorganic methods of control.
• Wear rubber gloves while handling insecticide All these are fairly problem-free vegetables:
concentrates; don't smoke while you're handling artichokes, asparagus, beets, carrots, celeriac,
them, and take care not to breathe the spray or celery, chard, chicory, cucumbers, dandelion,
dust. horseradish, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, okra,
• Sprays usually have to be mixed before each use. onions, parsnips, peas, radishes, rhubarb, salsify,
Follow the directions, and use only the exact soybeans, spinach, turnips, and almost all the herbs.
proportions indicated on the label. If it's not used Some vegetables are almost always attacked by
exactly as indicated, an insecticide may be harmful caterpillars that can be controlled by Bacillus
to people, animals, or plants. thuringiensis, an organic product that is harmless
• Use equipment that you keep specifically for use to humans and animals. These include all the cabbage
with insecticides. Don't use equipment that has family plants — broccoli, Brussels sprouts,
been used for herbicides. cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, and kohlrabi. The
• Do not apply an insecticide near fish ponds, dug other insects that commonly attack the cabbage
wells, or cisterns; do not leave puddles of pesticides family plants can also usually be controlled by natural
on solid surfaces. and physical methods.
• Use a spray or dust-type insecticide only when the Some vegetables are almost always attacked by
air is still. Wind will carry the product away from large numbers of insects that cannot be controlled by
your garden and, possibly, be a nuisance to natural or physical methods. This is not to say that
someone else. Don't spray or dust within 12 to 24 you can't grow these crops without using pesticides;
hours of an expected rain — the insecticide must you can, but usually your yield will be low. These
dry on the plants to be effective; rain will wash it off. vegetables include most of the beans, Chinese
• After using an insecticide, wash your clothes and cabbage, sweet corn, eggplant, lettuce, mustard.
peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, rutabagas, sweet are they'll wing it away as fast as you put them out,
potatoes, tomatoes, and watermelons. deserting your vegetable garden for a more
Squash are not included in any of these secluded spot. Also, the beneficial Insects that you
categories, because although the squash vine borer — import may not consider the specific variety of pest
their main enerpy—cannot be effectively that you have in your garden to be a particular
controlled without using a pesticide, most squash are delicacy. In this case they'll fly off in search of more
prolific enough to give you an acceptable crop even appetizing fare. Either way, they're likely to let you
If you do lose some to bugs. down as far as solving your pest problem is
concerned.
Physical controls
IDENTIFYING GARDEN PESTS
Sidestepping pest problems by planting vegetables
that are least likely to be seriously threatened by pests When you're talking about pest control it's an
is one practical way to protect your crop. Another is advantage to group the types of pest you may
the physical, do-it-yourself method of removing the encounter in categories: Some work at night; some
offenders by hand. If you're going to do this, it's work underground; some chew the plant's leaves;
essential to identify pests in the early stages of their others bore into the stems. The following is a list of
attack. It's not a big deal to pick a couple of dozen pests you're most likely to meet in your vegetable
aphids off your broccoli; but when the attack is well garden, and chemical and nonchemical controls for
under way and your plant is covered with aphids, each insect.
you might as well forget about hand-picking, because
it's not going to work.
If you slip up and let a pest problem get past the
early stages, you can try a good blast of water from the
garden hose to knock the insects off the plant. Try
to do this on a dry day so that the leaves won't stay wet
for too long; wet leaves make the plant more
susceptible to disease and may give you a new
problem to replace the one you've just solved.
Other physical control methods can be effective
with specific pests. These methods are discussed in
detail later in this chapter.

Natural controls

These have to be the original "organic" ways of


controlling pest problems in the garden — you're
simply relying on harmless insects to destroy the
harmful ones. The effectiveness of these natural
methods of control is questionable; in some cases
you're probably just perpetuating old wives' tales. It's
true that insects like ladybugs, lacewing flies,
praying mantises, and aphis lions feed on bugs that are
destructive to your crop and should, therefore, be
protected when you find them in your garden. But it's
also true that they can't offer a complete answer to a
pest problem. If these helpful creatures visit your
garden, welcome and protect them. But don't
expect them to control all the pests that bother your
plants. That's asking too much of them.
It's possible to buy ladybugs, praying mantises,
and the like through the mail from garden supply
companies. However, you're likely to be wasting
your time and money by doing so. All these insects are
winged, and they're all very shy of people. The odds
Underground and nocturnal pests beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots,
cauliflower, radishes, spinach, squash, and
The pest you can't see can be the hardest to deal turnips. You can control them chemically by
with. The following creatures work underground or at drenching the soil around the plant that's under
night, so you don't know they're around until the attack with Diazinon. Don't spray until you see the
damage they do is visible. damage; if your plants are growing poorly, and you
Cutworms. These are the fat caterpillars of a can't figure out why, root maggots may be the cause.
hairless night-flying moth. They spend the day curled Wireworms. Wireworms are slender, hard worms
up just under the soil's surface, and they feed at about an inch long. They eat the seed in the ground
night; in spring they cut off seedlings and transplants and feed on underground roots and stems. After
at ground level. Later in the season they climb up doing their damage, which appears as poor-growing,
some vegetable plants and chew large holes in the yellow, wilted plants, they grow up into click
fruit. Cutworms can be controlled chemically by beetles. To control wireworms, apply a soil drench
applying carbaryl to the base of the plants at the first of Diazinon when the wireworms are present.
sign of chewing. You can discourage them without
using chemicals by putting a collar around each plant Chewing pests
when you transplant it. Thin cardboard or a
Styrofoam cup with the bottom removed makes an Chewing pests are usually easy to find, especially
effective collar. The collar should go down at least an when they have put in a good clay's work, and they're
inch into the soil and should stand away from the easier to control by nonchemical methods than the
plant 11/2 to three inches on all sides. nocturnal and underground pests are. Many of them
Grubs. Grubs are beetles in their immature or can be hand-picked off the plant or knocked off
larva stage. They live just below the soil surface and with a blast from the hose. Almost every chewing
feed on plant roots. You may suspect they're active insect that feeds on the outside of the plant can be
if your plants are growing poorly for no apparent controlled chemically by using carbaryl. Check to
reason, or if you pull a plant and discover the make sure that you have identified the guilty party;
damage. Grubs are normally only a problem where a apply insecticide when the pest is first discovered,
lawn area has been dug up to make a new garden. and repeat the treatment as often as necessary
Repeated tilling of the soil over a number of years will according to the directions on the label.
control the problem. To control grubs in the first Ants. Except for the leaf-cutting varieties found in
year you will need to apply a soil drench of Diazinon. the South and West, ants generally do not create much
Root maggots. Maggots are fly larvae. They are of a problem for the home gardener. If they do nest
yellowish-white, legless, wormlike creatures (a in your garden, they can be controlled physically by
quarter to VA inches long) that feast on roots and digging up and destroying their nest. They can be
stems just under the soil's surface. The best controlled chemically by drenching their nests with
nonchemical control is prevention. Discourage the Diazinon.
fly from laying eggs near the seedlings by putting Beetles. Beetles come in many sizes and shapes.
shields of plastic three or four inches square Some prefer one or two special vegetables; others
around each plant. Take care not to cover the paper chew on whatever looks appetizing at the time.
with soil when you cultivate. Root maggots attack Some get their names from their favorite delicacy.
Asparagus beetles feed on asparagus; Mexican bean caterpillars love to feed on all members of the cabbage
beetles love beans. Blister beetles feed on beans, family; occasionally they will make do with lettuce.
beets,chard, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, and squash. To control them, spray with Bacillus thuringiensis, an
Cucumber beetles (spotted and striped) often attack organic insecticide that is available under a number
melons, pumpkins, squash, and watermelon, as of trade names including Dipel, Thuricide, and Bactur.
well as cucumbers. Their eating habits may not cause This is a completely safe organic spray that will
much damage, but they carry cucumber bacterial destroy the caterpillars without harming humans or
wilt, which will kill any of these plants when they're animals.
older. Flea beetles will eat almost any garden crop. Corn earworms. These caterpillars prefer corn,
They're very small, and it's difficult to spot them, but but they also feed on beans, tomatoes, peppers, and
you'll know they're there when tiny black dots jump eggplant. They are also called tomato fruitworms.
from the plants when you come near, and when you To effectively control them, be prepared to spray on a
notice that the leaves of your vegetable plants are regular schedule with carbaryl. Hand-picking and
suddenly full of small holes scattered over the entire cutting out the damaged parts of the vegetables will
leaf surface. Potato beetles chew on eggplants, give limited control of this pest.
potatoes, and tomatoes. If there are too many small Grasshoppers. They have great appetites and will
beetles to hand-pick, try to hose them off. All these eat anything and everything. They usually appear in
beetles can be controlled chemically with carbaryl, late summer and are more active where the winters
used according to the label directions. are warm and the summers are hot. Try to control
Borers (squash vine borers). Cucumbers, melons, them when they are young by hand-picking them
pumpkins, and squash are attacked by this borer. The off the plants or by destroying the untended weedy
egg is laid on the outside of the stem by a night- spots near the garden where they begin life.
flying moth. The eggs hatch, and the borers tunnel Control them chemically when they are young by
inside the stem of the plant. As they grow inside the spraying untended weedy areas with carbaryl.
stem, they eat it out, and eventually the plant wilts and Hornworms. Hornworms are large green
dies. Watch for the warning signs: stunting or caterpillars three to four inches long with a hornlike
unexplained wilting of the plant or — this is the growth on their rear end. They eat the foliage and
surest evidence of who the culprit is — a small hole at fruit of your tomato plants. Since the large hornworms
the base of the plant and a scattering of sawdustlike do not usually invade in great numbers, hand-pick
material around it. A chemical control of carbaryl them individually off the plants. If your garden is
needs to be applied at weekly intervals to the crown invaded by numerous hornworms spray them with
of the plants before the borers get inside the stem. Bacillus thuringiensis.
Once the borer gets inside the plant chemical Parsley caterpillars. These feed on parsley, dill,
controls will not help. You can control them physically fennel, and other members of the parsley family.
if you slit the stem, remove all the borers, and cover They're not common enough to be a major
the spot with earth to encourage root growth at that problem, and hand-picking usually provides
point. This attempt at a cure may have the opposite satisfactory control.
effect and kill the plant. But it's your only chance to get Leaf miners. Leaf miners are the larvae of a fly that
rid of the borers. feed on the external portions of a leaf. They will feed
Cabbage loopers and cabbage worms. These on cabbage and its relatives, and on chard, beets.
rim flush w i t h the soil surface, and fill it with stale beer.
The slugs and snails will be attracted to the beer and
fall in and d r o w n . Then you can dispose of them in the
morning.

Sucking pests

Aphids, leafhoppers, mites, and thrips may be hard


to see. By the time their damage is apparent it is often
too late to take much action. Watch for scraped and
rusty-looking places on leaves, twisted and deformed
and occasionally lettuce. The best method of leaves and leaf-tips, and stems that look unusually
controlling the leaf miner is to remove affected thick.
leaves from the plant by hand and to hand-pick egg Aphids. Aphids are tiny pear-shaped insects,
masses that can usually be f o u n d on the backside of often green, that will attack almost every vegetable
older leaves. Since the leaf miner is inside the leaf crop commonly g r o w n . They feed by sucking the
surface, chemical controls are ineffective. sap of the tender stems and leaves, causing
Slugs and snails. Snails have shells and slugs don't. distortions. They also exude a sweet substance
Both are more closely related to oysters and clams called honeydew, which is attractive to ants and can
than they are to insects. You can detect their cause sooty molds. Aphids are also carriers of
presence by the slimy trail they leave from the scene of mosaic virus and other diseases. Ladybugs and their
their activity. They d o n ' t like to be out in the heat of larvae eat aphids — provided that they're hungry
the day; they eat and run and can be hard to control. and the aphids are the kind they like — and may help
They like to feed on cabbage and all its relatives, you control the pests. Aphids can also be controlled
and on carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, and turnips. To nonchemically by pinching out infested tips. Aphids
control them remove their hiding places — old can be chemically controlled by an application of
boards, cans, bricks, and other garbage. Lay Malathion or Diazinon (make sure to cover the
scratchy sand or cinders around each plant to underside of the leaves). Malathion generally has a
discourage t h e m . Or set a saucer in the soil with the shorter residue effect.
Leafhoppers. These are green, j u m p i n g , winged
insects about an eighth inch long when adult. They
feed on the undersides of the leaves, sucking sap
and causing light-colored spotting on the upper side.
They can also spread plant diseases. Populations can
be discouraged organically by hosing them off the
leaves. You can control leafhoppers chemically by
spraying the underside of the leaves with carbaryl or
Malathion. They will feed on beans, carrots,
chayote, cucumbers, endive, lettuce, melons, and
potatoes.
Spider mites. Spider mites are very small and
difficult to see. You can be fairly sure that spider mites
are to blame if the leaves are losing color in spots
and turning yellowish, light green or rusty and there
are silvery webs on the undersides. Spider mites are
difficult to control even if you use the proper
chemicals. You can spray the undersides of the
foliage w i t h Diazinon before populations get too
large. If you d o n ' t want to spray or if the spraying is
ineffective, remove the affected plants before the
spider mites spread.
Thrips. Thrips are small, fast-moving insects that
are almost invisible to the naked eye. The damage they
do shows up first as white blotches, then there is a
distortion of the leaf tips. W h e n thrips attack onions.
they dwarf and distort the bulbs. Thrips also attack use to keep your garden free from disease:
beans, beets, carrots, cabbage and its relatives, Prepare the soil properly. Make it easy for your
celery, cucumbers, melons, onions, peas, squash, plants to grow well. Plant vegetables in full sun if you
tomatoes, and turnips. Large populations of thrips can can; strong sunlight is a great disinfectant, and the
be discouraged by hosing them off the plants. energy plants draw from the sun gives them extra
Thrips can be controlled chemically if you spray them strength. Make sure the soil is well-worked, has
with Malathion or Diazinon. good drainage, and is high in organic matter so the soil
Whiteflies. Whiteflies are minute sucking insects moisture will remain even. Do not plant the
that look like tiny white moths. They live and feed on vegetables when the soil and air are too cold. Place
the undersides of leaves and live unnoticed until plants far enough apart so to avoid crowding; this
you disturb the plant, then they fly out in great white will allow good air circulation, and the plants will be
clouds. Whitefly populations can be discouraged able to dry out after a rain.
by hosing them off the plants. Control them Select disease-resistant varieties. Where possible,
chemically by spraying the undersides of the leaves buy seeds that are certified as disease-free. Use seeds
with Malathion or Diazinon, that have been treated with fungicide, or start your
seeds in a sterile soil mix. Your local Cooperative
PLANT DISEASES: PREVENTION BETTER THAN CURE Extension Service can supply you with a list of
disease-resistant vegetable varieties for your area.
A number of plant diseases are the result of Rotate your crops. Do not grow the same plant
unfavorable growing conditions, but many are caused family in the same spot year after year. Repetition of
by parasitic bacteria and fungi that cannot produce the same crop gives diseases a chance to build up
their own food and rely on the plant for nourishment. strength. There are three major vegetable families:
Some diseases are airborne, and others can live for cole crops (cabbage family) — broccoli, Brussels
years in the soil, so it's difficult for the gardener to sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, rutabaga,
predict or control them. and turnip; cucurbits (cucumber family) —
As a matter of policy, prevention is better than cucumber, gourds, muskmelons, pumpkins,
cure — or attempting a cure — where plant diseases summer and winter squash, and watermelons; and
are concerned. You can try to avoid the conditions solanaceous plants (tomato and pepper family) —
that promote disease by choosing your planting sites eggplant, Irish potato, pepper, and tomato. After
wisely. Primarily you want to avoid the combination growing a crop from one of these families one year,
of too much moisture, too much shade, and soil that's choose a variety from one of the other families to
too cool — the three conditions that provide an plant in the same spot the following season.
ideal environment for the propagation of diseases. Don't work with wet plants. Do not work the soil
You can also plant disease-resistant varieties, rotate when it is wet. When you're watering the garden, try
crops, and take steps to keep your garden clean and not to splash water on the plants, especially in hot,
healthy. humid weather. Handling plants when they're wet
If your preventive measures don't work, you'll spreads diseases.
have to cut your losses. There's little you can do to Control garden pests. Keep insects and other small
save a plant that has been attacked by a parasitic pests under control. Some insects spread disease;
fungus or bacterial disease, and your best bet is to sometimes insects just weaken the plant so that it
remove the affected plant as soon as possible becomes more susceptible to disease.
before the disease has a chance to spread to healthy ,Don't infect your own plants. If you smoke, wash
plants. This may seem drastic, and you may be your hands well with soap and hot running water
tempted to save the plant, especially if it's near before working with tomatoes, peppers, and
harvesttime. Don't give in to temptation —you're eggplant. Smokers can infect these plants with
risking the rest of your crop. Remove the diseased tobacco mosaic virus, causing them to mottle,
plant and burn it, put it in the garbage, or dispose of streak, drop their leaves, and die.
it elsewhere well away from your vegetable garden. Keep your garden clean. Always keep the garden
Don't leave it lying around the garden, and don't clear of weeds, trash, and plants that have finished
put it on the compost pile. producing. Remove infected plants. If you have a
sick plant in the garden, identify the problem. If it's a
Protecting your garden from disease virus or fungus disease, remove the affected plant
as quickly as possible. Destroy the plant; do not put it
Maintaining a healthy garden requires you to be a in the compost pile. This removal of infected plants
conscientious gardener. Here are methods you can Is called "culling." Don't think of it as killing a plant;
Common problems in vegetable gardening
PROBLEM POSSIBLE CAUSES POSSIBLE CURES

Plants wilt Lack of water Water


Too much water Stop watering; improve drainage;
pray for less rain
Disease Use disease-resistant varieties;
keep your garden clean

Leaves and stems are spotted Fertilizer or chemical burn Follow instructions; read all fine
print; keep fertilizer off plant
unless recommended
Disease Use disease-resistant varieties
of seed; dust or spray; remove
affected plants

Plants are weak and spindly Not enough light Remove cause of shade or
move plants
Too much water Improve drainage; stop watering;
pray for less rain
Plants are crowded Thin out
Too much nitrogen Reduce fertilizing

Leaves curl Wilt Destroy affected plants; rotate


crops; grow disease-resistant
varieties
Virus Control aphids; destroy
affected plants
Moisture imbalance Mulch

Plants are stunted — yellow Too much water Reduce watering


and peaked
Poor drainage Improve drainage; add more
organic matter before next
planting
Compacted soil Cultivate soil more deeply
Too much rubbish Remove rubbish
Acid soil Test, add lime if necessary
Not enough fertilizer Test, add fertilizer (this should
have been done before planting)
Common problems in vegetable gardening (cont.)
PROBLEM POSSIBLE CAUSES POSSIBLE CURES
Plants are stunted — yellow Insects or diseases Identify and follow
and peaked (cont.) recommendations from your
extension service
Yellow or wilt disease, especially Spraying will not help; remove
if yellowing attacks one side of affected plants; plant disease-
the plant first resistant seed in clean soil

Seeds do not come up Not enough time for germination Wait


Too cold Wait — replant if necessary
Too dry Water
Too wet, they rotted Replant
Birds or insects ate them Replant
Seed was too old Replant with fresh seed

Young plants die Fungus (damping-off) Treat seed with fungicide or plant
in sterile soil
Rotting Do not overwater
Fertilizer burn Follow recommendations for
using the fertilizer more closely;
be sure fertilizer is mixed
thoroughly with soil

Leaves have holes Insects, birds, rabbits Identify culprit and take
appropriate measures
Heavy winds or hail Plan for better protection

Tortured, abnormal growth Herbicide residue in sprayer, in Use separate sprayer for
grass clippings used as mulch, in herbicides; spray only on still
drift from another location days; use another means
of weed control
Virus Control insects that transmit
disease; remove infected plants
(do not put them on the
compost pile)

Blossom ends of tomatoes and Dry weather following a wet spell Mulch to even out soil moisture
peppers rot
Not enough calcium in soil Add lime
Common problems in vegetable gardening (cont.)
PROBLEM POSSIBLE CAUSES POSSIBLE CURES

Blossom ends of tomatoes and Compacted soil Cultivate


peppers rot (cont.) Too-deep cultivation Avoid cultivating too deeply

There is no fruit Weather too cold Watch your planting time


Weather too hot Same as above
Too much nitrogen Fertilize only as often and as
heavily as needed for the variety
No pollination Pollinate with a brush, or by
shaking plant (depending on
kind); do not kill all
the insects
Plants not mature enough Wait
they begin to o p e n . The elegant, temperature should not be over
architectural leaves make the 70°F by day, or under 55°F at
artichoke very decorative, but night. Plant them on the average
because it is tender and hates date of last frost for your area.
cold weather, it's not for al!
gardens. Artichokes, an ancient How to plant
Roman delicacy, were introduced
Common names: artichoke, to France by Catherine de Artichokes are grown from
globe artichoke M e d i c i . Later they were taken to offshoots, suckers, or seed. For
Botanical name: Cynara Louisiana by the French best results, start w i t h offshoots
scolymus colonists. or suckers f r o m a reputable
Origin: southern Europe, North nursery or garden center;
America Where and when to grow artichoke plants grown from seed
vary tremendously in quality.
Artichokes have a definite Artichokes need rich, well-drained
Varieties preference for a long, frost-free
There are very few varieties of season w i t h damp weather.
artichokes; Green Globe is the They cannot handle heavy frost or
variety c o m m o n l y g r o w n . snow, and in areas where the
temperature goes below freezing
Description they need special care and
mulching. Artichokes grow best in
The artichoke is a thistlelike, the four central California
tender perennial that grows three counties and on the southern
to four feet tall and three to four Atlantic and Gulf coasts. In the
feet w i d e . It is grown for its flower N o r t h , artichokes must be grown
buds, which are eaten before in a protected location — the
soil that will hold moisture, and
a position in full sunlight. When
you're preparing the soil for
planting, work in a low-nitrogen (5-
10-10) fertilizer at the rate of one
pound per 100 square feet or 10
pounds per 1,000 square feet.
Too much nitrogen will keep the
plant from flowering. Space the
offshoots or suckers three to four
feet apart in rows four to five
feet apart.

Fertilizing and watering


Fertilize before planting and
again at midseason, at the same
rate as the rest of the garden.
Detailed information on fertilizing
is given in "Spadework: The
Essential Soil" in Parti.
Keep the soil evenly moist.

Special handling
For the roots to survive the
winter in cooler areas, cut the plant
back to about 10 inches, cover
with a bushel basket, and then
mulch with about two feet of
leaves to help maintain an even soil
temperature. Artichokes bear
best the second year and should be
started from new plants every
three to four years.

Pests
Aphids and plume moths plague
the artichoke. The plume moth is
not a serious problem except in
artichoke-growing areas. Aphids
can be controlled chemically
by spraying the foliage with
Malathion or Diazinon or
nonchemically by hand-picking
or hosing them off the plants.
Detailed information on pest
control is given in "Keeping Your
Garden Healthy" in Part 1.
Diseases
Crown rot may occur where
drainage is poor or where the
plants have to be covered in legitimate to use your fingers. establish an asparagus bed, but
winter. To avoid this p r o b l e m , Stuff artichokes w i t h seafood or a it's w o r t h it; once established, it's
d o n ' t mulch until the soil meat mixture and bake t h e m . To there for the duration. Fresh
temperature drops to40°F, and stuff, spread open the leaves and asparagus is a delicacy that
d o n ' t leave the mulch in place remove some of the center commands a devoted fol-
longer than necessary. leaves; cut off some of the hard l o w i n g — the first asparagus is
Cut d o w n on the incidence of tips of the outer leaves. An as welcome to the gourmet as the
disease by planting disease- interesting Italian-style stuffing first crocus is to the gardener.
resistant varieties w h e n they're mix is seasoned breadcrumbs
available, maintaining the general w i t h anchovies, t o p p e d w i t h a Where and when to grow
health of your garden, and tomato sauce. For an Armenian-
avoiding handling the plants w h e n style dish, try ground lamb and Asparagus grows well in most
they're wet. If a plant does bulgur (cracked wheat). Baby areas of the United States, w i t h the
become infected, remove and artichokes are delicious in exception of the Deep South. It
destroy it so it cannot spread stews, or marinated in olive o i l , likes a climate where the winters
disease to healthy plants. Detailed vinegar, and garlic as part of an are cold enough to freeze the
information on disease pre- antipasto. The Romans used to t o p few inches of soil and provide
vention is given in "Keeping bottle artichokes in vinegar and it w i t h the necessary period of
Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1. brine. dormancy. Advance planning is
essential w h e n you're starting
When and how to harvest an asparagus b e d , because it's
virtually impossible to move the
Time from planting to harvest is bed once it's established. You'll
50 to 100 days for artichokes grown probably have to order aspar-
' f r o m suckers; at least a year agus crowns by mail through a
until the first b u d forms when nursery catalog; order early, and
they're grown from seed. To plant asparagus four to six
harvest, cut off the globe artichoke weeks before your area's average
b u d w i t h one to 11/2 inches of date of last frost.
stem before the bud begins to
open. How to plant

Storing and preserving Asparagus needs well-drained ,


Common name: asparagus soil, w i t h a pH over 6. Full sun is
Artichokes can be stored in the Botanical name: Asparagus best, but asparagus will tolerate
refrigerator for up to t w o weeks, or officinalis a little shade. W h e n you're
in a c o l d , moist place up to one Origin: Mediterranean preparing the soil, spade d o w n
m o n t h . Artichoke hearts can also eight to 10 inches, and dig in one to
be frozen, canned, or pickled. 11/2 pounds per 100 square feet
Detailed information on storing Varieties of a complete, well-balanced
and preserving is given in Part 3. Paradise, Mary Washington, fertilizer. Asparagus is usually
and Martha Washington are all grown from crowns; look for well-
Serving suggestions rust-resistant varieties. g r o w n , well-rooted specimens,
and be sure they d o n ' t dry out. To
Cook artichokes in salted water Description plant asparagus crowns, dig out
w i t h a squeeze of lemon juice to a trench or f u r r o w 10 inches wide
help retain their color. W i t h hot Asparagus is a long-lived hardy and 10 to 12 inches deep, and
artichokes serve a Hollandaise perennial w i t h fleshy roots and put in t w o to four inches of loose
sauce; a vinaigrette is delicious fernlike, feathery foliage. The soil. Space the crowns in the
w h e n they're c o l d . They're not as plant grows about three feet tall, prepared bed in rows 18 inches
messy to eat as you may and the part you eat is the tender apart, leaving 12 to 18 inches
imagine — anyway, it's quite young stem. It takes patience to between plants. Place the crowns
on the soil, with the roots well
spread out, and cover with two
more inches of soil. As the
spears grow, gradually fill in the
trench to the top.

Fertilizing and watering


Apply a high-nitrogen (15-10-10)
fertilizer after harvesting the
spears, at the rate of one pound
per 100 square feet or 10 pounds
per 1,000 square feet. Detailed
information on fertilizing is given
in "Spadework: The Essential
Soil" in Parti.
It's important to give aspara-
gus enough water when the
spears are forming. The plant is
hardy and will survive without
extra watering, but the stalks may
be stringy and woody if you
don't keep the soil moist.

Special handling
Do not handle the plants when
they are wet. Asparagus does not
relish competition, especially
from grass plants. Weed
thoroughly by hand; control
weeds conscientiously, or they will
lower your yield considerably.

Pests

The asparagus beetle may attack


your plants, but should not be a
problem except in commercial
asparagus-growing areas. If you do
encounter this pest, pick it off,
or spray with carbaryl. Detailed
information on pest control is
given in "Keeping Your Garden
Healthy" in Parti.

Diseases

Asparagus can develop rust;


you can lessen the incidence of
disease by opting for a rust-
resistant variety. Generally,
asparagus is a problem-free eaten in America recommends it class Greeks and Romans
crop and suitable for the organic with " o i l and vinegar," which is thought that eating "horse beans"
gardener. Detailed information still one of the best ways. Steam would cloud their vision, but
on disease prevention is given in asparagus quickly, or cook it
"Keeping Your Garden Healthy" upright in a pan, so the stems cook
in Part 1. faster than the tender tips. Fresh
asparagus adorned with nothing
When and how to harvest but a little melted butter is
superb — or try it with creamed
Asparagus should not be chicken on toast or laid on toast
harvested until it's three years old; and topped with a thin slice of
the crowns need time to prosciutto and cream sauce.
develop fully. During the third Chive mayonnaise, mustard
season, cut off the spears at or butter, or a caper butter sauce
slightly below soil level. Move a are all splendid alternative
little soil gently aside as you cut dressings for asparagus.
the spears so you can see what
you're doing — if you cut blind
you may damage young spears that
have not yet pushed through
the surface. Harvest asparagus
when the spears are eight to 10
inches tall; if the stalks have
started to feather out, it's too
late to eat them. Stop harvesting
when the stalks start coming up
pencil-thin; if you harvest them all,
you'll kill the plants. Common names: bean, broad
bean, horsebean, fava bean,
Storing and preserving Scotch bean, Windsor bean
Botanical name: Vicia faba
The Romans began to dry their Origin: Central Asia
asparagus for out-of-season dining
as early as 200 B.C. These days,
you can store it up to one week in Varieties
the refrigerator — keep it Long Pod (55 days); Broad Long
upright in an inch or so of water, as Pod (57 days). Few varieties are
you'd keep flowers. You can available; grow the variety
also freeze or can It, but it's best available in your area.
eaten fresh. Detailed
Information on storing and Description
preserving is given in Part 3.
The broad bean is a bushy,
Serving suggestions hardy annual that grows three to
four feet tall; it has square stems
In the first century the Emperor with leaves divided into leaflets.
Augustus told his minions to carry The white flowers are splotched
out executions "quicker than with brown. The pods are six to
you can cook asparagus," and they eight inches long and when
knew they'd better get the job mature contain four to six or more
done fast. One of the earliest light-brown seeds. The broad
records of asparagus being bean has quite a history. Upper-
the species became a dietary staple recommend that if you haven't cut d o w n on the incidence of
of the Roman legionnaires (who grown beans in the plot the disease by planting disease-
knew them as fava beans) and later previous season, you should treat resistant varieties w h e n they're
of the poor people in England. the bean seeds before planting available, maintaining the general
In fact, they're not true beans at all w i t h a nitrogen-fixing bacteria health of your garden, and
but are related to the vetch, inoculant to help them convert avoiding handling the plants when
another legume. organic nitrogen compounds into they're wet. If a plant does
usable organic compounds. become infected, remove it and
Where and when to grow This is a perfectly acceptable destroy it so it can't spread
practice but it isn't really disease to healthy plants. De-
Broad beans will grow in cool necessary; the bacteria in the soil tailed information on disease
weather that w o u l d be unsuitable will multiply quickly enough prevention is given in "Keeping
for snap beans. They like full sun once they've got a growing bean Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1.
but need cool weather to set their plant t o w o r k w i t h .
pods. They prefer temperatures Fertilize before planting and When and how to harvest
below 70°F and should be planted again at midseason, at the same
very early in the growing rate as the rest of the garden.
season; they will not produce in Detailed information on fertilizing Broad beans can be harvested
the summer's heat. In areas is given in "Spadework: The w h e n the beans are still the size of
where winters are m i l d , plant Essential S o i l " in P a r t i . a pea and used like snap beans.
broad beans in the fall for a Water broad beans before the It's more usual, however, to let
spring crop. In cold areas they can soil dries out, but d o n ' t them reach maturity and eat
be grown instead of lima beans, overwater — wet soil conditions only the shelled beans. Time f r o m
w h i c h require a warmer and longer combined w i t h high temperatures planting to harvest is about 85
growing season. are an invitation to root diseases. days.

How to plant Pests Storing and preserving


Beans are attacked by aphids,
Plant broad beans very early in Unshelled beans can be kept up
bean beetles, flea beetles,
spring. Choose a location in full to one week in the refrigerator.
leafhoppers, and mites. Aphids,
sunlight w i t h soil that is fertile, You can freeze, can, or dry the
leafhoppers, and mites can be
high in organic matter, and well- shelled beans. Dried shelled broad
controlled chemically by
drained. Broad beans prefer an beans can be stored in a c o o l ,
spraying w i t h Malathion or
alkaline soil. W h e n you're dry place for 10 to 12 months.
Diazinon. Bean beetles and flea
preparing the soil for planting, Detailed information on storing
beetles can be controlled
w o r k in a complete, well-balanced and preserving is given in Part 3.
chemically by spraying w i t h
fertilizer at the rate of one
carbaryl. Beans are almost
p o u n d per 100 square feet or 10
always attacked by large numbers Serving suggestions
pounds per 1,000 square feet.
of pests that cannot be
Plant broad bean seeds one to controlled by organic methods;
t w o inches deep in rows four feet this doesn't mean they can't be Broad beans are good steamed
apart. W h e n the seedlings are grown organically, but it does and served w i t h a light white or
growing strongly, thin them to mean that yields may be lower if cheese sauce. Or t o p steamed
stand eight to 10 inches apart. only organic controls are used. broad beans w i t h a little sauteed
Detailed information on pest parsley, garlic, and o n i o n . Use
Fertilizing and watering control is given in "Keeping Your them in a casserole w i t h onions,
Garden Healthy" in Part 1. tomatoes, and cheese, or add
Beans set up a mutual exchange them to a hearty vegetable soup
w i t h soil microorganisms called Diseases along w i t h any other vegetables
nitrogen-fixing bacteria, which you've got on hand. You can
help them produce their o w n Beans are susceptible to blight, prepare broad beans any way
fertilizer. Some gardeners mosaic, and anthracnose. You can you prepare lima beans.
require a trellis for support; they peat pots and transplant the
grow more slowly, but produce seedlings when the soil has
more beans per plant. warmed up. Time your planting
so that the beans will mature
Where and when to plant before very hot weather; they
will not set pods at temperatures
Common names: pinto beans, Beans require warm soil to over80°F.
navy beans, horticultural beans, germinate and should be planted You can plant bush beans
flageolet on the average date of last every two weeks to extend the
Botanical name: Phaseolus spring frost. Use the length of your harvest, or start with bush beans
species growing season and the number and follow up with pole beans. In
Origin: South Mexico, Central of days the variety takes to mature some parts of the country —
America to figure your latest planting California, for example — you
date. If you need to sow before can get two crops by planting in
your area's average date of last the spring and then planting again
Varieties frost, start the seed indoors in in early fall for a winter harvest.
Dry beans are so called because
the mature seeds are generally
dried before they're eaten.
There are many types, and some of
the most common are
cranberry. Great Northern,
michilite, pinto, red kidney,
white marrowfat, and pea beans.
Horticultural beans, the
genuine French flageolets, are a
type of dry bean highly regarded
by gourmets; they're usually eaten
in the green-shell stage. Ask
your Cooperative Extension
Service for specific
recommendations for your area.

Description

Dry beans are tender annuals.


Their leaves are usually composed
of three leaflets, and the small
flowers are pale yellow or white.
Dry beans are seldom planted in
the home vegetable garden
because it's so easy and
inexpensive to buy them. They're
fairly easy to grow, however,
and give good yields, so if you have
space in your garden you may
want to try them.
You can grow either bush or
pole varieties of beans. Bushes are
generally easier to handle; they
grow only one to two feet tall, and
they mature earlier. Pole beans
How to plant inoculant to help them convert controlled chemically by
organic nitrogen compounds into spraying w i t h Malathion or
After the last frost is over, usable organic compounds. Diazinon. Bean beetles and flea
choose a bed in full sunlight; This is a perfectly acceptable beetles can be controlled
beans tolerate partial shade, but practice but it isn't really chemically by spraying w i t h
partial shade tends to mean a necessary; the bacteria in the soil carbaryl. Beans are almost always
partial yield. W h e n you're will multiply quickly enough attacked by large numbers of
preparing the soil, mix in a pound once they've got a growing bean pests that cannot be controlled by
of low-nitrogen (5-10-10) plant to w o r k w i t h . organic methods. This doesn't
fertilizer — d o n ' t use a high- Fertilize before planting and mean the organic gardener can't
nitrogen fertilizer; too much again at midseason, at the same grow t h e m , but yields may be
nitrogen will promote growth of rate as the rest of the garden. lower if only organic controls are
foliage but not of the beans. Detailed information on fertilizing used. Detailed information on
Bean seeds may crack and is given in "Spadework: The pest control is given in "Keeping
germinate poorly when the Essential S o i l " in P a r t i . Your Garden Healthy" in P a r t i .
moisture content of the soil is too Keep the soil moist until the
high. Don't soak the seeds beans have pushed through the Diseases
before planting, and d o n ' t g r o u n d . Water regularly if
overwater immediately there's no rain, but remember that Beans are susceptible to blight,
afterwards. water on the flowers can cause mosaic, and anthracnose. You can
Plant the bean seeds an inch the flowers and small pods to fall cut d o w n on the incidence of
deep. If they're bush beans, plant off. W h e n the soil temperature disease by planting disease-
the seeds three to four inches reaches 60°F you can mulch to resistant varieties w h e n they're
apart in rows at least 18 to 24 inches conserve moisture. available, maintaining the general
apart. Seeds of pole beans health of your garden, and
should be planted four to six Special handling avoiding handling the plants w h e n
inches apart in rows 30 to 36 they're wet. If a plant does
inches apart. Or plant in inverted become infected, remove and
Don't touch bean plants when
hills — five or six seeds to a hill, destroy it so it cannot spread
they're wet or covered w i t h heavy
and 30 inches of space around each disease to healthy plants. Detailed
d e w ; handling or brushing
hill. When the seedlings are information on disease
against them w h e n they're wet
large enough to handle, thin the prevention is given in "Keeping
spreads fungus spores.
plants to four to six inches apart. Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1.
Cultivate thoroughly but with care,
Cut the seedlings with scissors at so that you don't disturb the
ground level; be careful not to bean plants' shallow root systems. When and how to harvest
disturb the others. Beans don't If you're planting pole beans,
mind being a little crowded — in Harvest dry beans when the
set the trellis or support in position
fact, they'll use each other for plants have matured and the leaves
before you plant or at the same
support. have t u r n e d completely b r o w n .
time. If you wait until the plants are
established, you risk damaging At this time the seeds should be
Fertilizing and watering the roots when you set the dry and hard — bite a couple of
supports. Make sure the seeds; if you can hardly dent them
Beans set up a mutual exchange they're properly dry and ready
support will be tall enough for the
w i t h soil microorganisms called to harvest.
variety you're growing.
nitrogen-fixing bacteria, which
help them produce their o w n Storing and preserving
fertilizer. Some gardeners Pests
recommend that if you haven't Unshelled beans can be kept up
grown beans in the plot the Beans may be attacked by to one week in the refrigerator.
previous season, you should treat aphids, bean beetles, flea beetles, You can freeze, can, or dry the
the bean seeds before planting leafhoppers, and mites. Aphids, shelled beans, and they can also be
w i t h a nitrogen-fixing bacteria leafhoppers, and mites can be sprouted. Dried shelled beans
can be stored in a cool, dry place
for 10 to 12 months. Detailed
information on storing and
preserving is given in Part 3.

Serving suggestions

Dried beans are tremendously


versatile and have the added
advantage of being
interchangeable in many recipes.
They're also nourishing and
figure prominently in vegetarian
recipes. Chili and baked beans
are two of the famous dishes that
depend upon dried beans, and
beans are essential to the famous
French Cassoulet — a hearty
stew that combines beans with
pork, chicken, sausage, or a
mixture of all three depending on
the region the cook comes
from. Try retried pinto beans as a
filling for tacos. Add sausage or
ham to a thick bean soup for a
winter supper to cheer up the
chilliest evening.

Common names: bean, green


bean, snap bean, string bean, and the yellow or wax variety. Provider (53 days); Tendergreen
French bean, wax bean, pole Since 1894, when Burpee (57 days); Tender Crop (53
bean, bush bean, stringless introduced the Stringless Green days) — all resistant to bean
bean Pod, most of these beans have mosaic virus. Wax bush (yellow
Botanical name: Phaseolus been stringless. The following snap bean, bush): Cherokee Way
vulgaris are only a few of the varieties (55 days); Early Wax
Origin: South Mexico, Central available. Ask your Cooperative (50 days) — both resistant to
America Extension Service for specific bean mosaic virus. Green pole
recommendations for your (green snap bean, pole): Blue
area. Lake (65 days); McCaslan (65
Varieties Green bush (green snap bean, days) — both resistant to bean
The most commonly grown bush): Astro (53 days); Blue Lake mosaic virus; Kentucky Wonder
beans are the green or snap bean (56 days); Contender (53 days); (65 days).
Description peat pots and transplant the Fertilizing and watering
seedlings when the soil has
Beans are tender annuals that warmed up. Time your planting Beans set up a mutual exchange
grow either as bushes or vines. so the beans will mature before with soil microorganisms called
Their leaves are usually very hot weather; they will not nitrogen-fixing bacteria, which
composed of three leaflets; their set pods at temperatures over 80°F. help them produce their own
flowers are pale yellow, fertilizer. Some gardeners
lavender, or white. The size and recommend that if you haven't
color of the pods and seeds How to plant grown beans in the plot the
vary. Snap beans require a short previous season, you should treat
growing season — about 60 the bean seeds before planting
days of moderate temperatures After the last frost is over, with a nitrogen-fixing bacteria
from seed to the first crop. choose a bed in full sunlight; inoculant to help them convert
They'll grow anywhere in the beans tolerate partial shade, but organic nitrogen compounds into
United States and are an partial shade tends to mean a usable organic compounds.
encouraging vegetable for the partial yield. Prepare the soil by This is a perfectly acceptable
inexperienced gardener. The mixing in a pound of 5-10-10 practice but it isn't really
immature pod is the part that's fertilizer — don't use a high- necessary; the bacteria in the soil
eaten. Beans grow as bushes or nitrogen fertilizer, because too will multiply quickly enough
vines. Bushes are generally easier much nitrogen will promote once they've got a growing bean
to handle; they grow only one to growth of foliage but not of the plant to work with.
two feet tall, and they mature beans. Work the fertilizer into Fertilize before planting and
earlier. Pole beans require a the soil at the rate of one pound again at midseason, at the same
trellis for support; they grow more per 100 square feet or 10 pounds rate as the rest of the garden.
slowly, but produce more beans per 1,000 square feet. Detailed information on fertilizing
per plant. Bean seeds may crack and is given in "Spadework: The
germinate poorly when the Essential Soil" in Parti.
Where and when to grow moisture content of the soil is Keep the soil moist until the
too high. Don't soak the seeds beans have pushed through the
before planting, and don't ground. Water regularly if there
Because many varieties have a overwater immediately afterward. is no rain, but remember that water
short growing season, beans do Plant seeds of all varieties an on the flowers can cause the
well in most areas, whatever the inch deep. If you're planting bush flowers and small pods to fall off.
climate. They require warm soil to beans, plant the seeds two When the soil temperature
germinate and should be inches apart in rows at least 18 to 24 reaches 60°F you can mulch to
planted on the average date of last inches apart. Seeds of pole conserve moisture.
spring frost. You can plant bush beans should be planted four to six
beans every two weeks to extend inches apart in rows 30 to 36 Special handling
the harvest, or you can start with inches apart. Or plant them in
bush beans and follow up with inverted hills, five or six seeds to
pole beans. In some parts of the a hill, with 30 inches of space Don't bother bean plants when
country — California, for around each hill. For pole they're wet or covered with heavy
example — you can get two varieties, set the supports or dew; handling or brushing
crops by planting in the spring and trellises at the time of planting. against them when they're wet
then planting again in early fall When the seedlings are spreads fungus spores.
for a winter harvest. Use the length growing well, thin the plants to Cultivate thoroughly but with care,
of your growing season and the four to six inches apart. Cut the so that you don't disturb the
number of days the variety takes to seedlings with scissors at ground bean plants' shallow root systems.
mature to figure your latest level; be careful not to disturb If you're planting pole beans,
planting date. If you need to sow the others. Beans don't mind being set the trellis or support in
before your area's average last a little crowded; in fact, they'll position before you plant or at
frost date, start the seed indoors in use each other for support. the same time. If you wait until the
plants are established, you risk the immature pods, and continue well to many spices, including
damaging the roots w h e n you set removing the pods before they basil, d i l l , marjoram, and mint.
the supports. Make sure the become mature, or the plant will
support will be tall enough for the stop producing. Once the seeds
variety of beans you're growing. mature, the plant dies. Do not
harvest w h e n the weather is
Pests very hot or very cold.

Beans may be attacked by Storing and preserving


aphids, bean beetles, flea beetles,
Common names: bean, lima
leafhoppers, and mites. Aphids, Snap beans are a snap to store. bean, butter bean, civit bean
leafhoppers, and mites can be They'll keep up to one week in the Botanical name: Phaseolus
controlled chemically by refrigerator, but d o n ' t wash lunatus
spraying w i t h Malathion or them until y o u ' r e ready to cook Origin: South Mexico, Central
Diazinon. Bean beetles and flea t h e m . You can also freeze, can, America
beetles can be controlled dry, or pickle t h e m . Detailed
chemically by spraying with information on storing and
carbaryl. Beans are almost always preserving is given in Part 3.
Varieties
attacked by large numbers of
Bush lima: Burpee Improved
pests that cannot be controlled by
Serving suggestions Bush (75 days); Fordhook 242 (75
organic methods. This does not
days) — both resistant to bean
mean the organic gardener can't
Really fresh, tender snap beans mosaic; Allgreen (67 days);
grow t h e m , but yields may be
are delicious eaten raw; they make Thorogreen (66 days). Pole lima:
lower if only organic controls are
an unusual addition to a platter King of the Garden (90 days);
used. Detailed information on
of crudites for d i p p i n g . They're Prizetaker (90 days).
pest control is given in "Keeping
Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1. also good lightly cooked and
tossed w i t h diced potatoes and a Description
Diseases little o n i o n and bacon for a
delightful hot bean salad. Try them This tender, large-seeded
on toast w i t h a light cheese annual bean grows as either a bush
Beans are susceptible to blight,
sauce for l u n c h . A n d vary or a vine. W i t h this type of bean
mosaic, and anthracnose. You can
everyone's favorite bean dish by the mature seed is eaten, not the
cut d o w n on the incidence of
replacing the classic Amandine entire p o d . Lima beans need
disease by planting disease-
sauce w i t h a Hollandaise or warmer soil than snap beans in
resistant varieties w h e n they're
mushroom sauce. Or try tossing order to germinate properly,
available, maintaining the general
them w i t h a few thinly sliced and they need higher
health of your garden, and
mushrooms and onions that have temperatures and a longer
avoiding handling the plants w h e n
been lightly sauteed in butter. growing season for a good crop.
they're wet. If a plant does
You can also cut snap beans in Bush lima beans are generally
become infected, remove and
lengths and saute them all easier to handle than pole
destroy it so it cannot spread
together w i t h diced potatoes, varieties; bushes grow only one
disease to healthy plants.
carrots, and onions for an to t w o feet tall, and they mature
Detailed information on disease
interesting vegetable dish. Purists earlier. Pole beans require a
prevention is given in "Keeping
will object that this means trellis for support; they grow more
Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1.
cooking the beans t o o long, but slowly, but produce more beans
you can always add them per plant.
When and how to harvest halfway t h r o u g h the cooking time
to preserve their crispness. Where and when to grow
Time f r o m planting to harvest is Well-seasoned, this is a g o o d ,
50 to 60 days for bush beans, 60 to filling, vegetable dish for a cold Lima beans require warm soil
90 days for pole beans. Harvest day. On their o w n , snap beans take (five days at a m i n i m u m
temperature of 65°F) to
germinate, and should be planted
two weeks after the average
date of last spring frost. Use the
length of your growing season
and the number of days the variety
takes to mature to figure your
latest planting date. If you need
to sow before your area's average
last frost date, start the seed
indoors in peat pots and
transplant them when the soil has
warmed up. Time your planting
so the beans will mature before
very hot weather; they will not
set pods at temperatures over 80°F.
Plant bush beans every two
weeks to extend the harvest, or
start with bush beans and follow
up with pole beans. Because limas
need a long stretch of pleasant
weather, the slower-growing
pole varieties are difficult to raise
successfully where the growing
season is short.

How to plant

After the last frost is over,


choose a bed in full sunlight;
beans tolerate partial shade, but
partial shade tends to mean a
partial yield. Prepare the soil by
mixing in a pound of 5-10-10
fertilizer; don't use a high-
nitrogen fertilizer, because too
much nitrogen will promote
growth of the foliage but not of the
beans.
Plant seeds of all varieties an
inch deep. If you're planting bush
limas, plant the seeds two
inches apart in rows at least 18 to 24
inches apart. Seeds of pole
beans should be planted four to six
inches apart in rows 30 to 36
inches apart, or plant them in
inverted hills, five or six seeds to
a hill, with 30 inches of space
around each hill. For pole
varieties, set supports or
trellises at the time of planting. Special handling mosaic, and anthracnose. You can
When the seedlings are cut down on the incidence of
growing well, thin the plants to Don't handle bean plants when disease by planting disease-
four to six inches apart. Cut the they're wet or covered with heavy resistant varieties when they're
seedlings with scissors at ground dew; handling or brushing available, maintaining the general
level; be careful not to disturb against them when they're wet health of your garden, and
the others. Beans don't mind being spreads fungus spores. avoiding handling the plants when
a little crowded; in fact, they'll Cultivate thoroughly but with care, they're wet. If a plant does
use each other for support. so you don't disturb the bean become infected, remove and
plants' shallow root systems. destroy it so it cannot spread
If you're planting pole beans, disease to healthy plants. Detailed
Fertitizing and watering set the trellis or support in position information on disease
before you plant or at the same prevention is given in "Keeping
Beans set up a mutual exchange time. If you wait until the plants are Your Garden Healthy" in Parti.
with soil microorganisms called established, you risk damaging
nitrogen-fixing bacteria, which the roots when you set the When and how to harvest
help them produce their own supports. Make sure the
fertilizer. Some gardeners support will be tall enough for the Time from planting to harvest is
recommend that if you haven't variety of beans you're planting. about 60 to 75 days for bush limas
grown beans in the plot before, The large lima bean seed and 85 to 110 days for pole limas.
you should treat the bean seeds sometimes has trouble pushing Harvest when the pods are plump
before planting with a nitrogen- through the soil, although this and firm; if you leave them too
fixing bacteria inoculant to help should not happen if the soil is well long the beans will get tough and
them convert organic nitrogen worked. If your soil tends to mealy. If you pick the pods
compounds into usable organic cake, you can cover the seeds with promptly, limas will continue to
compounds. This is a perfectly sand, vermiculite, or a peat yield until the first frost. In
moss/vermiculite mix instead. warmer climates, bush limas
acceptable practice, but it isn't
should give you two or three
really necessary; the bacteria in
Pests pickings.
the soil will multiply quickly
enough once they've got a Beans may be attacked by Storing and preserving
growing bean plant to work with. aphids, bean beetles, flea beetles,
Fertilize before planting and leafhoppers, and mites. Aphids, Unshelled lima beans can be
again at midseason, at the same leafhoppers, and mites can be kept up to one week in the
rate as the rest of the garden. controlled chemically by refrigerator. Shelled lima beans
Detailed information on fertilizing spraying with Malathion or freeze satisfactorily; they can also
is given in "Spadework: The Diazinon. Bean beetles and flea be canned or dried. Dried
Essential Soil" in Parti. beetles can be controlled shelled limas can be stored in a
Bean seeds may crack and chemically by spraying with cool, dry place for 10 to 12
germinate poorly when the carbaryl. Beans are almost always months. Detailed information on
moisture content of the soil is attacked by large numbers of storing and preserving is given
too high. Don't soak the seeds pests that cannot be controlled by in Part 3.
before planting, and don't water organic methods. This doesn't
immediately afterward. Keep the mean the organic gardener can't Serving suggestions
soil moist until the beans have grow them, but yields may be
pushed through the ground. lower if only organic controls are Try limas raw for an unusual
Water regularly if there is no used. Detailed information on treat. Serve them in a salad with
rain, but avoid getting water on the pest control is given in "Keeping thinly sliced red onion, parsley,
flowers; this can cause the Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1. and a vinaigrette dressing, or
flowers and small pods to fall off. marinate them for 24 hours in
You can mulch to conserve Diseases oil, lemon juice, and freshly
moisture when the soil chopped dill. Cook limas just
temperature reaches 60°F. Beans are susceptible to blight. until tender and serve with a
creamy sauce. For a tangy W h e n you're preparing the soil feet or 10 pounds per 1,000
treatment, bake them in a for planting, dig in a complete, square feet. Because the only
casserole w i t h honey, mustard, well-balanced fertilizer at the seeds you may be able to get are
and yogurt. rate of one p o u n d per 100 square not very reliable in g r o w t h , plant

Common name: m u n g bean


Botanical name: Phaseolus
aureus
Origin: India, Central Asia

Varieties
Few varieties are available.
Grow whichever variety is
available in your area, or plant
the seeds that are sold for
sprouting.

Description

The m u n g bean is a bushy


annual that grows about 21/2 to
three feet tall, and has many
branches w i t h typical, hairy,
beaniike leaves. The flowers are
yellowish-green w i t h purple
streaks and produce long, t h i n ,
hairy pods containing nine to 15
small, yellow seeds. The seeds
are used to produce bean sprouts.

Where and when to grow

M u n g beans can be grown in


any area of the United States
that has 90 days of frost-free
temperatures. Plant them on the
average date of last frost for your
area.

How to plant

M u n g beans grow best in full


sun, in a rich well-drained soil.
the seeds several at a time. Plant When and how to harvest Varieties
them an inch deep and 18 to 20 Early W o n d e r (53 days);
inches apart In wide rows 18 to It usually takes about 90 to 100 Burpee's Golden (55 days); Ruby
24 inches apart. W h e n the days for m u n g beans to mature, Green (56 days); Cylindra, also
seedlings are about t w o inches and you can expect one to t w o called Formanova or Tendersweet
tall, thin them to leave the pounds of seeds f r o m a 10-foot (60 days); Long Season, also
strongest of each group row. Harvest them as soon as a called Winter Keeper (80 days).
growing. Cut off the extra few of the pods begin to split. If the
seedlings at ground level to pods are picked w h e n they are Description
avoid disturbing the survivor's too young they w o n ' t store or
roots. sprout. Remove the seeds from The beet is grown as an annual,
pods w h e n you harvest t h e m . although technically it's a
Fertilizing and watering biennial. It originated in the
Storing and preserving Mediterranean, where it existed
Beans set up a mutual exchange first as a leafy plant, w i t h o u t the
w i t h soil microorganisms called M u n g beans are usually grown enlarged root we grow it for these
nitrogen-fixing bacteria, which for sprouting. Unshelled beans days. Swiss chard, which is a
help them produce their o w n can be kept up to one week in bottomless beet, is an improved
fertilizer. Some gardeners the refrigerator; shelled beans, version of the early, leafy beets.
recommend that if you haven't naturally d r i e d , can be stored in The modern beet has a round or
grown beans in the plot the a c o o l , dry place for 10 to 12 tapered swollen root — red,
previous season, you should treat months. Detailed information yellow, or w h i t e — f r o m which
the bean seeds before planting on storing and preserving is given sprouts a rosette of large leaves.
w i t h a nitrogen-fixing bacteria in Part 3. The leaves as well as the root can
inoculant to help them convert be eaten.
organic nitrogen compounds into Serving suggestions
usable organic compounds. Where and when to grow
This is a perfectly acceptable Bean sprouts turn up in all sorts
practice but it isn't really of Chinese dishes. They're good in Beets can tolerate frost and do
necessary; the bacteria in the soil salads and sandwiches — best in the cooler areas of the
will multiply quickly enough vegetarians love t h e m , and country, but they'll go to seed
once they've got a growing bean rightly so, because they have a w i t h o u t making roots if the plants
plant to w o r k w i t h . high Vitamin C content. get t o o cold w h e n they're
Fertilize before planting and
y o u n g . Plant beets two to three
again at midseason, at the same
weeks before the average date
rate as the rest of the garden.
of last frost. They're planted as a
Detailed information on fertilizing
winter crop in the South. If you
is given in "Spadework: The
live in a hot climate you'll need to
Essential S o i l " in P a r t i .
pay special attention to watering
M u n g beans d o n ' t like to dry and mulching to give seedlings a
out between waterings. If it chance to establish themselves.
doesn't rain, keep them well- In very hot weather the roots
watered. become w o o d y .
Pests
How to plant
M u n g beans have no serious
pest problems. Beets can tolerate shade and
thrive in well-worked, loose soil
Diseases Common name: beet that is high in organic matter.
Botanical name: Beta vulgaris They don't like a very acid soil, and
M u n g beans have no serious Origin: southern Europe they need a lot of potassium.
disease problems. Before planting, w o r k a complete.
and other obstacles, and break
up any lumps In the soil that might
cause the roots to become
malformed.
Beets are grown from seed
clusters that are slightly smaller
than a pea and contain several
seeds each. Plant the clusters an
inch deep and an inch apart in
rows spaced 12 to 18 inches apart.
The seedlings may emerge over
a period of time so that you've got a
group of seedlings of different
sizes. Since several seedlings will Diseases
emerge from each seed cluster,
they must be thinned to two to Beets have no serious disease
three inches apart when the problems.
seedlings develop true leaves. Eat
thinned seedlings like spinach; When and how to harvest
they do not transplant well. Plant
all the seed clusters — most Time from planting to harvest is
seeds store well, but these clusters from 40 to 80 days. It takes about 60
have only a short period of days for a beet to reach 11/2
viability. inches in diameter — a pop-
ular size for cooking or pickling —
Fertilizing and watering although they'll get bigger
quickly if they have plenty of
Fertilize before planting and water. Pull them up when
again at midseason, at the same they're the size you want. Twist the
rate as the rest of the garden. leaves off rather than cut-
Detailed information on fertilizing ting them off; this prevents
is given in "Spadework: The "bleeding," which causes less
Essential Soil" in Parti. intense color and, some people
Be sure to provide plenty of claim, less flavor.
water for the tender young
roots — lack of moisture will Storing and preserving
result in stringy, tough vegetables.
You can store beets in the
refrigerator for one to three
Special handling
weeks; store the greens in a
plastic bag in the refrigerator up to
Cultivate by hand regularly; one week.
beets do not like competition from Beets will keep for five to six
weeds. Take care, because the months in a cold, moist place. You
roots are shallow and easily can also freeze, dry, and can
damaged. both the root and the greens, (use
the recipe for "greens"). You
Pests can even pickle the root. So there's
well-balanced fertilizer into the never any problem figuring
soil at the rate of one pound per Beets have no serious pest what to do with the excess crop.
100 square feet or 10 pounds per problems. They are a good crop for Detailed information on storing
1,000 square feet. Remove stones the organic gardener. and preserving is given in Part 3.
Serving suggestions Varieties like a cauliflower that hasn't
Green Comet (40 days); quite gotten itself together. The
Beets are more versatile than Premium Crop (60 days); Royal flower stalks are green, purple,
they're often given credit for. Eat Purple Head (90 days, resistant or white; when it comes to the
them raw, or serve the tops raw to disease, yellow virus). white-budded ones, the U.S.
as a salad green — if you don't government has trouble deciding
cook them, you'll retain some of Description where a broccoli stops and a
the vitamins normally lost in cauliflower starts. The flowers of
cooking. If you cook beets in This hardy biennial, grown as an all of them are yellow, but
their skins, the skins will slip off annual, is a member of the they're usually eaten while they're
readily at the end of the cooking cabbage or cole family. It grows still in bud, before they bloom.
time. Hot, try them dressed with 11/2 to 21/2 feet tail and looks a bit Americans didn't discover
orange juice and topped with a
few slivers of green onion, or glaze
them with orange marmalade.
Or keep the dressing simple: just a
little butter, lemon juice, and
seasoning. Beets are the basis of
the thick, delicious Russian
soup called borscht. Serve borscht
with a dollop of sour cream.

Common names: broccoli, Italian


broccoli. Calabrese, brocks
Botanical name: Brassica
oleracea italica
Origin: Mediterranean
broccoli until the 1920s, even How to plant Fertilizing and watering
though this vegetable had been
an O l d W o r l d favorite well before Broccoli likes fertile, well- Fertilize before planting and
that date. drained soil w i t h a pH w i t h i n again at midseason, at the same
Broccoli has four stages of the 6.5 to 7.5 range — this rate as the rest of the garden.
g r o w t h : (1) rapid growth of leaves; discourages disease and lets the Detailed information on fertilizing
(2) formation of the head (which plant make the most of the is given in "Spadework: The
is the part you eat); (3) a resting nutrients in the soil. Broccoli is Essential S o i l " in P a r t i .
period while the embryonic usually grown from transplants Broccoli needs abundant soil
blossoms are being f o r m e d ; and except where there's a long cool moisture and cool moist air for the
(4) development of the stalk, p e r i o d , in which case you can best g r o w t h . Cut d o w n on
flowers, and seeds. The head sow seed directly in the garden in watering as the heads approach
formation stage is essential for fall for winter harvest. maturity.
the production of the vegetable, W h e n you're preparing the
but not at all necessary for the soil for planting, w o r k in a Pests
survival of the plant. Broccoli that's complete, well-balanced
held in check by severe frost, fertilizer at the rate of one pound The cabbage family's traditional
lack of moisture, or too much heat per 100 square feet or 10 pounds enemies are cutworms and
will bolt, which means it will go per 1,000 square feet. If you have caterpillars. However, cutworms,
directly to seed w i t h o u t bothering sandy soil or your area is subject cabbage loopers, and imported
to form a head at all. to heavy rains, you'll probably cabbage worms can all be
As with other cole family need to supplement the controlled by spraying w i t h
crops, you can grow broccoli in a nitrogen content of the soil. Use bacillus thuringiensis, an organic
container on the patio or about a p o u n d of nitrogen product also k n o w n as Dipel or
indoors — a single broccoli plant fertilizer for a 10-foot row. Thungicide. Detailed information
in an eight-inch flower pot Plant transplants that are four on pest control is given in
might make a novel houseplant. to six weeks old with four or five "Keeping Your Garden Healthy" in
You can also grow broccoli as an true leaves. If the transplants are Part 1.
accent in a flower bed. leggy or have crooked stems, plant
them deeply (up to the first
Diseases
Where and when to grow leaves) so they w o n ' t grow to be
top-heavy. Plant the seedlings
Such cabbage family vegetables
Broccoli is frost-hardy and can 18 to 24 inches apart, in rows 24 to
as broccoli are susceptible to
tolerate low 20°F temperatures. It's 36 inches apart. Plan for only a
yellows, clubroot, and downy
a cool season crop and does few heads at a time, or plant seeds
mildew. Planting resistant
best w i t h day temperatures under and transplants at the same time
varieties, rotating crops from
80°F and night temperatures for succession crops — you'll get
year to year, and maintaining the
20°F lower. Weather that's too cold the same result by planting early
general health of your garden
or too warm will cause the plants and midseason varieties at the
will cut d o w n on the incidence of
to bolt w i t h o u t f o r m i n g a head. same time. If you're planting
disease. If a plant does become
Broccoli will grow in most areas seeds, set them half an inch deep
infected, remove it before it can
of the United States at one and three inches apart, and thin
spread disease to healthy
season or another but is not a them w h e n they're big enough to
plants. Detailed information on
suitable crop for very hot lift by the true leaves. You can
disease prevention is given in
climates. Time planting so that transplant the thinned seedlings.
"Keeping Your Garden Healthy" in
you'll harvest broccoli during
Part 1.
cool weather. In cold-winter areas,
plant for summer to early fall
harvest. In mild climates, plant for When and how to harvest
late spring or fall harvest; in the
South, plant for harvest in late fall Broccoli grown from seed will
or winter. take 100 to 150 days to mature, and
some transplants can be plant. Brussels sprouts that are
harvested in 40 to 80 days. held in check by severe frost, lack
Harvesting can continue over a of moisture, or t o o much heat
relatively long period. Cut the will bolt, which means that they'll
central head v^ith five to six go directly to seed w i t h o u t
inches of stem, when the head is bothering to form a head at all.
well developed and before it
begins to loosen and separate — if
the small yellow flowers have Where and when to grow
Common names: Brussels
started to show, it's past the good- sprouts, sprouts
eating stage. Leave the base of Brussels sprouts are frost-
Botanical name: Brawsica
the plant and some outer leaves to h a r d y — in fact, they're the most
oleracea gemmifera
encourage new g r o w t h . In many cold-tolerant of the cole family
Origin: Europe, Mediterranean
varieties small clusters will grow in vegetables — and can tolerate low
the angles of the leaves and can 20°F temperatures. Brussels
sprouts do best in a cool growing
be harvested later. Varieties
season w i t h day temperatures
jade Cross (90 days) is resistant
under 80°F and night temperatures
to yellows virus.
Storing and preserving 20°F lower. Weather that's too
cold for too long or too warm will
Description
Broccoli can be stored in the make them taste bitter; if the
refrigerator up to one week, or in a sprouts develop in hot weather,
If you've never seen Brussels
c o l d , moist place for two to they may not form compact
sprouts outside of a store, you may
three weeks. Detailed information heads, but will remain loose tufts
be quite impressed by the actual
on storing and preserving is of leaves. Brussels sprouts are
plant. Miniature cabbagelike
given in Part 3. not a suitable crop for very hot
heads, an inch or two in
climates, although they will
diameter, sprout from a tall, heavy
grow in most areas of the United
Serving suggestions main stem, nestled in among
States in one season or another.
large green leaves. Brussels
Time planting so that you harvest
The good taste of broccoli has sprouts belong to the cabbage
Brussels sprouts during cool
been appreciated since way back. or cole family and are similar to
weather. If your area has cold
Pliny the Elder wrote in the cabbage in their growing habits
winters, plant for summer to
second century that it was much in and requirements. They're hardy
early fall harvest. In mild climates,
favor w i t h the Romans. The and grow well in fertile soils,
plant for late spring or fall
classically American way to serve and they're easy to grow in the
harvest. In the South, plant for
broccoli is w i t h a cheese or home garden if you follow
harvest in late fall or winter.
Hollandaise sauce, au gratin, or in correct pest control procedures.
casseroles. It's also delicious Don't try growing the Brussels
raw, broken into flowerets and sprout as a houseplant — it's t o o How to plant
used in a salad or w i t h a dipping big to domesticate.
sauce; the small flowerets are Brussels sprouts have four Brussels sprouts like fertile,
decorative on a platter of raw stages of g r o w t h : (1) rapid growth well-drained soil w i t h a pH within
vegetables. If you've got stalks left of leaves; (2) formation of the the 6.5 to 7.5 range — this
over after using the head for heads (which is the part you eat); discourages disease and lets the
salads, parboil them and then (3) a resting period while the plant make the most of the
saute them in oil w i t h a little embryonic blossoms are being nutrients in the soil. They're
o n i o n and garlic. To make sure the f o r m e d ; and (4) development of usually grown f r o m transplants,
stems cook adequately w i t h o u t the stalk, flowers, and seeds. The except where there's a long cool
overcooking the tender tops, cook, head formation stage is p e r i o d , in which case seeds are
broccoli like asparagus — essential for the production of the sown directly in the garden in fall
upright in a tall pot so that the vegetable, but not at all for winter harvest.
stems boil and the tops steam. necessary for the survival of the W h e n you're preparing the
soil for planting, work in a
complete, well-balanced
fertilizer at the rate of one pound
per 100 square feet or 10 pounds
per 1,000 square feet. If you have
sandy soil or your area is subject
to heavy rains, you'll probably
need to supplement the
nitrogen content of the soil. Use
about a pound of nitrogen
fertilizer for a 10-foot row.
Plant transplants that are four
to six weeks old, with four to five
true leaves. If the transplants are
leggy or have crooked stems, plant
them deeply (up to the first
leaves) so they won't grow to be
top-heavy. Seedlings should be
thinned to 24 inches apart when
they're three inches tall. If
you're planting seeds, set them a
half inch deep, three inches
apart in rows 24 to 36 inches apart.
Thin them when they're big
enough to lift by the true leaves
and transplant the thinned
seedlings.

Fertilizing and watering

Fertilize before planting and


again at midseason, at the same
rate as the rest of the garden.
Detailed information on fertilizing
is given in "Spadework: The
Essential Soil" in Parti.
Brussels sprouts need
abundant soil moisture and cool
moist air for the best growth.
Cut down on watering as they
approach maturity.

Special handling

If you live in an area with cold


winters, pick off the top terminal
bud when the plant is 15 to 20
inches tall. This encourages all of
the sprouts to mature at once.
Some gardeners believe that
Brussels sprouts develop better'
When and how to harvest fall off when you cook them. A
walnut in the pot when you cook
Time from planting to harvest is Brussels sprouts should cut
85 to 95 days for Brussels sprouts down on the cabbagey smell.
grown from seed, 75 to 90 days
from transplants. The sprouts
mature from the bottom of the
stem upward, so start from the
If the lower leaves are removed bottom and remove the leaves
from the sides of the stalk as the and sprouts as the season
sprouts develop. A few more progresses. Harvesting can
leaves can be removed each continue until all the sprouts are
week, but the top leaves should be gone. The leaves can be cooked
left intact. like collards or cabbage. Common name: cabbage
Botanical name: Brassica
Pests Storing and preserving oleracea capitata
Origin: South Europe
The cabbage family's traditional If you have sprouts still on the
enemies are cutworms and stem in late fall, remove all the
caterpillars. Cutworms, leaves from the plant, and hang
cabbage loopers, and imported the plant in a cool dry place; it will Varieties
cabbage worms can all be give you a late harvest. The plant Green: Stovehead (60 days);
controlled by spraying with can be kept up to one month in a Jersey Wakefield (63 days); Golden
bacillus thuringiensis, an cold, moist place. Sprouts will Acre (65 days); Market Prize (73
organic product also known as keep for about a week in the days); Badger Ban Head (98 days);
Dipel or Thungicide. It's refrigerator. Remove loose or Flat Dutch (105 days). Savoy:
especially important to control discolored outer leaves before you Savoy Ace (80 days); Savoy King (85
insects on Brussels sprouts; if store them, but don't wash days). Red: Red Acre (76 days);
they insinuate themselves into the them until you're ready to use Red Ball (70 days).
tightly curled sprouts, you'll them. You can also freeze or dry
have a lot of trouble dislodging sprouts. Detailed information on Description
them. Detailed information on storing and preserving is given
pest control is given in "Keeping in Parts. Cabbage, a hardy biennial
Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1. grown as an annual, has an
Serving suggestions enlarged terminal bud made of
Diseases crowded and expanded
Sprouts are traditionally served overlapping leaves shaped into
Cabbage family vegetables may with turkey at an English Christmas a head. The leaves are smooth or
develop yellows, clubroot, or dinner. They're also good lightly crinkled in shades of green or
downy mildew. Lessen the steamed and served with a lemon- purple, and the head can be
incidence of disease by planting butter sauce. Don't overcook round, flat, or pointed. The
disease-resistant varieties when them; young sprouts should be stem is short and stubby, although
they're available, maintaining the slightly crunchy, and light it may grow to 20 inches if the
general health of your garden, cooking preserves their delicate plant is left to go to seed. Cabbage
and avoiding handling the plants flavor. Older sprouts have a is a hardy vegetable that grows
when they're wet. If a plant does stronger taste. Brussels sprouts well in fertile soils, and it's easy to
become infected, remove and can also be french fried, baked, grow in the home garden if you
destroy it so it cannot spread or pureed. When you trim them for choose suitable varieties and
disease to healthy plants. Detailed cooking, cut an X in each stem follow correct pest control
information on disease so that the sprouts cook evenly; be procedures. Like other members
prevention is given in "Keeping careful not to trim the stem ends of the cabbage or cole family
Your Garden Healthy" in Parti. too closely or the outer leaves will (broccoli and kale are among
them), cabbage is a cool- Cabbages are decorative in period or if the weather is w a r m ,
weather crop that can tolerate frosl the flower garden; purple they will bolt w i t h o u t f o r m i n g a
but not heat. cabbages and savoys look good head. If the head has already
Cabbages have four stages of in a mixed border. Flowering f o r m e d , it will split in hot
g r o w t h : (1) rapid growth of leaves; cabbages look like enormous weather — splitting happens w h e n
(2) formation of the head (which variegated blossoms. In small the plant takes up water so fast
is the part you eat); (3) a resting spaces, grow cabbages as an that the excess cannot escape
period while the embryonic accent in each corner of a flower through the tightly overlapped
blossoms are being f o r m e d ; and bed or as a border. Decorative leaves, and the head bursts. The
(4) development of the stalk, cabbages can be grown in cabbage is not a suitable crop
flowers, and seeds. The head containers on the patio or even for very hot climates, although it
formation stage is essential for indoors. Try growing a single will grow in most areas of the
the production of the vegetable, cabbage in an eight-inch United States at one season or
but not at all necessary for the f l o w e r p o t ; choose a flowering another. Time planting so that
survival of the plant. Cabbages thai cabbage or a small early variety. you harvest cabbage during cool
are held in check by severe weather. If your areas have cold
frost, lack of moisture, or too Where and when to grow winters, plant for summer to early
much heat will bolt, which fall harvest, in mild climates,
means that they will go directly to Cabbages are frost-hardy and plant for late spring or fall harvest.
seed w i t h o u t bothering to form can tolerate low20°F In the South, plant for harvest in
a head at all. And even if the temperatures. They do best in a late fall or winter.
cabbage does make a head, if cool growing season w i t h day
the weather gets too hot once it temperatures under 80°F and
reaches that stage, the head can How to plant
night temperatures 20°F lower. If
split. the plants are cold for t o o long a
Cabbages like fertile, well-
drained soil w i t h a pH w i t h i n
the 6.5 to 7.5 range — this
discourages disease and lets the
plant make the most of the
nutrients in the soil. W h e n you're
preparing the soil for planting,
w o r k in a complete, well-balanced ,
fertilizer at the rate of one
p o u n d per 100 square feet or 10
pounds per 1,000 square feet. If
you have sandy soil or your area is
subject to heavy rains, you'll
probably need to supplement the
nitrogen content of the soil. Use
about a p o u n d of nitrogen
fertilizer for a 10-foot row.
Cabbages are usually grown from
transplants except where
there's a long cool p e r i o d , in which
case you can sow seed directly
in the garden in fall for winter
harvest. Plant transplants that
are four to six weeks old w i t h four
or five true leaves. If the
transplants are leggy or have
crooked stems, plant them
deeply (up to the first leaves) so Serving suggestions
they w o n ' t grow to be top-
heavy. Plant the seedlings 18 to 24 Soggy cabbage is a staple of
inches apart in rows 24 to 36 English childhood reminiscences.
inches apart. Plan for only a few Actually, steamed or boiled
heads at a t i m e , or plant seeds cabbage is an excellent dish — the
and transplants at the same time secret is to cut it into small
for succession crops; you'll get pieces before you cook it so that it
the same result by planting early cooks fast and evenly. Or try
and midseason varieties at the braising it in a heavy-bottomed pan
same time. If you're planting w i t h butter and just a little
seeds, set them an inch deep water; toss a few caraway seeds
and space them three inches apart. disease by planting disease- over it before serving. Sweet
Thin them to 18 to 24 inches resistant varieties when they're and sour red cabbage is an
apart w h e n they're big enough to available, maintaining the general interesting dish. Stuffed
lift by the true leaves, and health of your garden, and cabbage leaves are delicious, and
transplant the thinned seedlings. avoiding handling the plants when cabbage makes a good addition
they're wet. If a plant does to soup — the leaves add an
Fertilizing and watering become infected, remove and additional texture to a hearty,
destroy it so it cannot spread rib-sticking winter soup. The Irish
Fertilize before planting and disease to healthy plants. Detailed traditionally serve cabbage with
again at midseason, at the same information on disease corned beef, and a British
rate as the rest of the garden. prevention is given in "Keeping combination of cooked cabbage
Detailed information on fertilizing Your Garden Healthy" in P a r t i . and mashed potatoes sauteed
is given in "Spadework: The together is k n o w n as " b u b b l e -
Essential S o i l " in P a r t i . When and how to harvest and-squeak." French country
Cabbages need abundant soil cooks stuff a w h o l e cabbage
moisture and cool air for best Cabbages mature in 80 to 180 w i t h sausage, then simmer it w i t h
g r o w t h . Cut d o w n the watering days f r o m seed, depending on the vegetables — aversion known
as the heads approach maturity to variety, or in 60 to 105 days from as chou farci. O n e way or another,
prevent splitting. transplants. A 10-foot row should there's a lot more to cabbage
give you five to eight heads. than coleslaw.
Pests Start harvesting before the winter
gets too w a r m , w h e n the head is
The cabbage family's traditional f i r m . To harvest, cut off the head,
enemies are cutworms and leaving the outer leaves on the
caterpillars. Cutworms, stem. Often a few small heads will
cabbage loopers, and imported grow on the stalk, and you can
cabbage worms can all be harvest them later.
controlled by spraying w i t h
bacillus thuringiensis, an Storing and preserving
organic product also known as
Dipel or Thungicide. Detailed Cabbage stores well in the
information on pest control is refrigerator for one to two weeks,
given in "Keeping Your Garden and can be kept for three to four
Healthy" in P a r t i . months in a c o l d , moist place.
Cabbage can also be d r i e d , and
Diseases freezes fairly w e l l ; it can be canned Common name: cardoon
as sauerkraut. Cabbage seeds Botanical name: Cynara
Yellows virus, clubroot fungus, can also be sprouted. Detailed cardunculus
and black rot may attack cabbage. information on storing and Origin: Europe
Cut d o w n on the incidence of preserving is given in Part 3.
date. Cardoon prefers full sun but
can tolerate partial shade and
grows quickly in any well-drained,
fertile soil. W h e n you're
preparing the soil, dig in a
complete, well-balanced
fertilizer at the rate of one pound
per 100 square feet or 10 pounds
per 1,000 square feet. Space the
young plants 18 to 24 inches
apart, w i t h 36 to48 inches between
the rows.

Fertilizing and watering

Fertilize before planting and


again at midseason, at the same
rate as the rest of the garden.
Detailed information on fertilizing
is given in "Spadework: The
Essential S o i l " in Part 1.
Allow the plants to dry out
between waterings.

Special handling

Cardoon is usually blanched to


improve the flavor and to make it
more tender — the stalks can
get very t o u g h . Blanch when the
plant is about three feet tall, four
to six weeks before harvesting. Tie
the leaves together in a bunch
and wrap paper or burlap around
Varieties feet w i d e , so it will need plenty the stems, or hill up the soil
Large Smooth; Large Smooth of space in your garden. around the stem.
Spanish; Ivory W h i t e Smooth.
Grow any variety available in Where and when to grow Pests
your area.
Cardoon will grow anywhere in Aphids may be a problem. Pinch
Description the United States. Plant it from out infested foliage or hose the
transplants in the spring. aphids off the cardoon plants.
Cardoon is a tender perennial Control aphids chemically w i t h
grown as an annual for its young How to plant Malathion or Diazinon. Detailed -•
leaf-stalks, which are blanched information on pest control is
and eaten like celery. It looks like a Transplants should be moved to given in "Keeping Your Garden
cross between burdock and the garden three to four weeks Healthy" in P a r t i .
celery but is actually a member of after the average date of last
the artichoke family and has the frost in your area, so if you're Diseases
same deeply cut leaves and heavy, growing your transplants from
bristled flower head. Cardoon seed you'll need to start them six Cardoon has no serious disease
can grow to four feet tall and two weeks ahead of your planting problems.
When and how to harvest Cylindrical (six to seven inches):
Nantes Coreless (68 days);
Harvest the plants four to six Tuchon Pioneer (75 days); Royal
weeks after blanching. Cut them Cross Hybrid (70 days). Standard
off at ground level and trim off (seven to nine inches):
the outer leaves. Tendersweet (75 days); Spartan
Bonus {77 days); Gold Pak (75
Storing and preserving days); Imperator (75 days).

Keep stalks on root, wrap, and


Description
refrigerate; they will keep for one
to t w o weeks. The plants can be
kept for t w o to three months in a Carrots are hardy biennials
c o l d , moist place. Cardoon grown as annuals. They have a
freezes fairly well and can be rosette of finely divided fernlike
canned or d r i e d ; handle it like leaves growing from a swollen,
celery. Detailed information on fleshy taproot. The root, which
storing and preserving is given varies in size and shape, is
in Part 3. generally a tapered cylinder that
grows up to 10 inches long in
Serving suggestions different shades of orange.
Until the 20th century and the
Cut the stalks into sections and discovery of mechanical
parboil them until tender — the refrigeration techniques, root
time will depend on the size of crops like carrots were almost
the stalks. Serve cardoon stalks cut the only vegetables available in the
into pieces and chilled w i t h an winter. They are cool-weather
oil and vinegar dressing, or hot crops and tolerate the c o l d ;
w i t h a cream sauce. Dip chunks they're easy to grow and have
into batter and deep-fry t h e m . The few pest problems, so they're
Italians are f o n d of cardoon. good crops for the home
gardener. The carrots we grow
today originated in the
Mediterranean. By the 13th
century the Europeans were
well aware of the carrot's food
value. The first settlers brought
them to America, and the
Indians were quick to recognize
their potential.
Common name: carrot There are all sorts of carrots —
Botanical name: Daucus carota long, short, fat, thin — but
Origin: Europe, Asia basically they differ only in size and
shape. However, the sort of soil
you have will influence which
Varieties variety you choose. The shorter
Short (two to four inches): varieties will better tolerate heavy
Goldinhart (60-65 days); Amstel Minipak (60-65 days); Tiny soil; the long types are more
(60-65 days); Gold Nugget (60-65 Sweet (60-65 days). Half-iong (five particular about their
days); Sweet and Short (60-65 to six inches): Danvers Half- environment. Finger carrots can
days). Finger (three to four long (75 days); Royal Chantenay be satisfactorily grown in
inches): Little Finger (60-65 days); (70 days); Gold King (70 days). containers.
How to plant rate as the rest of the garden.
Detailed information on fertilizing
Carrots need a cool bed. They is given in "Spadework: The
prefer full sun but will tolerate Essential S o i l " in P a r t i .
partial shade. Before planting, To keep carrots growing
w o r k half a cup of low nitrogen quickly, give them plenty of water.
(5-10-10) fertilizer into the soil, As they approach maturity,
and turn the soil thoroughly to a waterless — t o o much moisture at
depth of about 10 or 12 inches. this stage will cause the roots to
This initial preparation is vital for a crack.
healthy c r o p ; soil lumps, rocks,
where and when to grow or other obstructions in the soil Special handling
will cause the roots to split, fork,
Carrots are a cool-weather crop or become d e f o r m e d . In areas w i t h high soil
and fairly adaptable. Plant them in Sow the seeds in rows 12 to 24 temperatures, mulch to regulate
spring and early summer for a inches apart. Wide-row planting of the soil temperature;
continuous crop, starting two to carrots gives a good yield from a otherwise, the roots will grow
three weeks after the average small area. W h e n you're planting short and pale. Carrot seedlings
date of last frost. Although carrots in early spring, cover the seeds grow slowly while they're y o u n g ,
are tolerant of cold, the seeds with a quarter to a half inch of soil. and it's important to control
take a long time to germinate, and Later, w h e n the soil is dryer and weeds especially during the first
when they're planted in cold, warmer, they can be planted a little few weeks. Shallow cultivation
raw weather they may give up deeper. W h e n the seedlings are is necessary to avoid damaging
before they come up. Starting growing w e l l , thin to two to four the roots.
two to three weeks before the inches apart.
average date of last frost for your Pests
area, plant successive crops every Fertilizing and watering
t w o to three weeks until three Carrots have no serious pest
months before the average date of Fertilize before planting and problems. They're a good crop for
first fall frost. again at midseason, at the same the organic gardener.
Diseases carrots; perhaps the best Cauliflowers are prima donnas
treatment for very young fresh and need a lot of the gardener's
Carrots have no serious disease carrots is simply to boil them and attention. Mark Twain
problems. toss w i t h a respectful touch of described a cauliflower as a
butter. You can also try them cabbage w i t h a college
When and how to harvest b o i l e d , then rolled in education.
breadcrumbs and deep-fried, or Cauliflower has four stages of
Time f r o m planting to harvest is served w i t h a marmalade glaze. g r o w t h : (1) rapid growth of leaves;
f r o m 55 to 80 days, depending on Most herbs complement the taste (2) formation of the head (which
the variety. Small finger carrots of carrots; parsley is the most is the part you eat); (3) a resting
are usually ready to harvest in 60 c o m m o n , but try cooked carrots period while the embryonic
days or less; other varieties and peas w i t h a touch of mint to blossoms are being f o r m e d ; and
need longer. W h e n you think enhance the flavor. (4) development of the stalk,
they're ready, pull a few flowers, and seeds. The head
samples to check on their size. If formation stage is essential for
they're three quarters inch thick the production of the vegetable,
or more (for regular varieties), but not at all necessary for the
they're ready to harvest. Pull survival of the plant. Cauliflower
them up by hand, or use a spading that's held in check by severe
fork to lift them gently out of the frost, lack of moisture, or too
g r o u n d . Pull carrots w h e n the soil much heat will bolt, which
is moist — if you try to pull them means that it will go directly to
f r o m hard ground you'll break the seed w i t h o u t bothering to form
roots. Common name: cauliflower a head at all.
Botanical name: Brassica
Storing and preserving oleracea botrytis Where and when to grow
Origin: Europe, Mediterranean
Carrots are most obliging Cauliflower is more restricted
vegetables w h e n it comes to by climatic conditions than other
preservation — most methods Varieties cole family vegetables like
can be used. They'll store for one Super Snowball (55 days); cabbage or broccoli. It's less
to three weeks in plastic bags or Snowball Imperial (58 days); adaptable to extremes of
aluminum foil in the refrigerator, Snowball M (59 days); Self- temperature; it doesn't like cold
or for four to five months in a Blanche (70 days); Greenball (95 weather, w o n ' t head properly if
c o l d , moist place. They can also be days); Royal Purple (95 days). it's too hot, and doesn't tolerate
canned, frozen, or dried. dry conditions as well as
Detailed information on storing Description broccoli.
and preserving is given in Part 3. Cauliflower needs two cool
Cauliflower is a single-stalked, months in w h i c h to mature and is
Serving suggestions half-hardy, biennial member of the planted for spring and fall crops
cole or cabbage family. It's in most areas. Plant for a winter
Carrots fresh f r o m the garden grown as an annual, and the edible crop if your winters are mild. For
are w o n d e r f u l raw. Shredded raw flower buds f o r m a solid head a spring crop, plant transplants
carrots are delicious w i t h a (sometimes called a curd), which four to six weeks before the
touch of oil and l e m o n ; or add may be w h i t e , purple, or green.
raisins and fresh pineapple for Cauliflower and broccoli are easy
an exotic flavor. Add shredded to tell apart until you meet a
carrots to a peanut butter white-flowered broccoli or a green
sandwich. Carrot cake is a staple cauliflower. Both also come in
American confection; try it w i t h purple, and even the U.S.
a cream cheese frosting. There are Department of Agriculture can't
any number of ways to cook always tell one f r o m the other.
average date of the last frost in which case you can sow seed transplants are leggy or have
your area. If you're growing directly in the garden in fall for crooked stems, plant them
your o w n transplants from seed, winter harvest. W h e n you're deeply (up to the first leaves) so
start them about six weeks preparing the soil for planting, they w o n ' t grow to be t o p -
before your o u t d o o r planting date. w o r k in a complete, well-balanced heavy.
fertilizer at the rate of one Plant the seedlings 18 to 24
How to plant p o u n d per 100 square feet or 10 inches apart in rows 24 to 36 inches
pounds per 1,000 square feet. If apart. Plan for only a few heads
Cauliflower likes fertile, well- you have sandy soil or your area at a t i m e , or plant seeds and
drained soil w i t h a pH w i t h i n the is subject to heavy rains, you will transplants at the same time for
6.5 to 7.5 range — this probably need to supplement succession crops; you'll get the
discourages disease and lets the the nitrogen content of the soil. same result by planting early
plant make the most of the Use about a p o u n d of high- and midseason varieties at the
nutrients in the soil. Like other nitrogen fertilizer for a 10-foot same time. If you're planting
cole crops, it's usually grown row. Plant transplants that are seeds, set them half an inch deep
f r o m transplants except where four to six weeks o l d , w i t h four or and space them three inches
there is a long cool p e r i o d , in five true leaves. If the apart. Thin them w h e n they're big
enough to lift by the true leaves,
and transplant the t h i n n e d
seedlings.

Fertilizing and watering

Fertilize before planting and


again at midseason, at the same
rate as the rest of the garden.
Detailed information on fertilizing
is given in "Spadework: The
Essential S o i l " in P a r t i .
Abundant soil moisture and
cool moist air are needed for the
best g r o w t h ; do not let the
ground dry out. The plants must be
kept growing vigorously; if
growth is interrupted by heat,
c o l d , damage, or lack of water,
the head will not f o r m properly.

Special handling

Cultivate cauliflower regularly


to diminish weed competition and
prevent a crust from f o r m i n g on
the soil's surface. Take care not to
damage the roots.
The objective w i t h cauliflower
is to achieve a perfect head, w i t h all
the flowerets pressed tightly
together. Unless it's supposed to
be green or purple, the color
should be untinged creamy-white,
and too much sun or rain can
damage the head. To prevent this,
you blanch (whiten) it. Blanch
the cauliflower w h e n it gets to be
about the size of an egg, by
gathering three or four leaves and
tying them together over the
head. If you secure the leaves with
colored rubber bands you can
keep track of cauliflowers tied at
different times. Check the
heads occasionally for pests that
may be hiding inside. The self-
blanching cauliflower doesn't
need to be tied, but it will not
blanch in hot weather. Blanching
cauliflower is a cosmetic
procedure; the flavor is not
significantly improved, as is
celery's, by blanching.

Pests
The cabbage family's traditional
enemies are cutworms and
caterpillars, and cauliflower is
particularly susceptible to t h e m . Detailed information on disease Cauliflower freezes satisfactorily
However, cutworms, cabbage prevention is given in "Keeping and can also be dried or used in
loopers, and imported cabbage Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1. relishes or pickled. Detailed
worms can all be controlled by information on storing and
spraying w i t h bacillus When and how to harvest preserving is given in Part 3.
thuringiensis, an organic
product also known as Dipel or Time from planting to harvest is Serving suggestions
Thungicide. Detailed 55 to 100 days for cauliflower
information on pest control is grown from transplants and 85 Boil the w h o l e cauliflower head
given in "Keeping Your Garden to 130 days for cauliflower grown just until the base yields to the
Healthy" in P a r t i . from seed. Under good growing touch of a fork. Add lemon juice
conditions the head develops to the boiling water to preserve the
Diseases rapidly to about six or eight curd's whiteness. Coat the head
inches in diameter. The mature w i t h a light cheese sauce or simply
Cauliflower may be susceptible head should be compact, f i r m , w i t h melted butter and parsley.
to root rots; the first indication of and w h i t e . Cut the whole head Tartar sauce is an original
this disease is yellowing of the from the main stem. The leaves accompaniment to cauliflower,
leaves. Cut d o w n on the incidence can be cooked like collards or or sprinkle it w i t h browned
of disease by planting disease- cabbage. breadcrumbs for a crunchy
resistant varieties when they're texture. The flowerets can be
available, maintaining the Storing and preserving separated, t o o , and french
general health of your garden, and fried. Raw cauliflower lends a
avoiding handling the plants Unwashed and wrapped in distinctive flavor to salads and is
when they're wet. If a plant does plastic, cauliflower can be stored good served w i t h other raw
become infected, remove and for up to one week in the vegetables with a mustard- or
destroy it so it cannot spread refrigerator, or for two to three curry-flavored dip. Cauliflower
disease to healthy plants. weeks in a c o l d , moist place. pickles are g o o d , t o o .
How to plant

Celeriac tolerates light shade


and prefers rich soil that is high in
organic matter, well able to hold
moisture but w i t h good drainage.
Common names: celeriac, It needs constant moisture and
turnip-rooted celery, celery does well in wet locations. It's a
root, knob celery heavy feeder and needs plenty
Botanical name: A p i u m of fertilizer to keep it growing
graveolens rapaceum quickly. W h e n you're preparing
Origin: Europe and Africa the soil for planting, w o r k in a
complete, well-balanced
fertilizer at the rate of one pound
per 100 square feet or 10 pounds
Varieties per 1,000 square feet.
Alabaster (120 days); Giant If you're sowing seeds for
Prague (120 days). transplants start indoors two to
four months before your
Description estimated planting date — the
seeds germinate slowly. Cover
Celeriac is a form of celery, a the seeds with an eighth of an inch
member of the same family, and of soil, and then lay a material
similar in growing habits and like burlap over the containers to
requirements. Its physical keep the moisture in.
characteristics and culinary Transplant carefully. To give the
uses, however, are quite different. seedlings a good start, plant
The edible root of celeriac is them in a trench three to four
large and swollen, like a turnip, inches deep. Space the
and develops at soil-level; a seedlings eight to 10 inches apart
rosette of dark green leaves in rows two feet apart.
sprouts from the root. The
stems are hollow. The French and Fertilizing and watering
Germans are more accustomed
than Americans to celeriac; it's Fertilize before planting and
commonly used In stews or again at midseason, at the same
eaten raw. rate as the rest of the garden.
Detailed information on fertilizing
Where and when to grow is given in "Spadework: The
Essential S o i l " in Part 1.
Celeriac does best in cool Frequent watering is
weather and especially enjoys cool important; celeriac, like celery, is
nights. To grow celeriac, start in shallow-rooted, and a lack of
spring in the N o r t h , in late summer soil moisture can stop its growth. ^
in the South. In the N o r t h , start Keep the top few inches of soil
from transplants; the seeds are second crop is grown by moist at all times.
very slow to germinate. Plant seeding directly outdoors in
them on the average date of last spring. Plant the seeds a quarter Special handling
frost; set the plants six to eight inch deep in rows 24 to 30 inches
inches apart in rows 24 to 30 inches apart, and when the seedlings Celeriac cannot compete with
apart. In the South you can grow are large enough to handle, thin weeds. Cultivate conscientiously,
celeriac from seed. Sometimes a them to six to eight inches apart. but be careful not to disturb the
c o l d , moist place for t w o to Both are members of the parsley
three months. They will keep in family, to w h i c h dill and fennel also
the g r o u n d in areas where freezing belong, and probably
weather is not a p r o b l e m . You originated in Mediterranean
can also freeze the roots; handle countries. Celery had been used
them like turnips. Detailed earlier for medicinal purposes, but
information on storing and the French were probably the
preserving is given in Part 3. first to use it as a vegetable,
somewhere around 1600. It was
Serving suggestions brought from Scotland to
shallow roots. As the tuber Michigan, where it was grown
develops, snip off the side roots Peel, dice, and cook celeriac by Dutch farmers during the last
and hill up the soil over the swollen roots; then marinate them in half of the 19th century, and was
area for a short time to blanch vinegar and o i l , seasoned to not produced commercially in the
the tubers. The outer surface will your taste. Or shred the raw roots, United States until the 1870s. It's
be w h i t e n e d , but the interior dress them w i t h a light a versatile vegetable — you can eat
will remain a brownish color. vinaigrette, and add them to a the stalks, leaves, and seeds —
salad. Celeriac makes an but it needs a lot of attention,
interesting addition to any and it's not an easy crop for the
Pests
luncheon. home gardener.
Celeriac has no serious pest
problems; it's a good vegetable for Where and when to grow
the organic gardener.
Celery does best in cool
Diseases weather and especially enjoys cool
nights. Cold weather will inhibit
Celeriac has no serious disease g r o w t h . Grow celery in spring in
problems. the N o r t h , planting transplants
t w o to three weeks before the
When and how to harvest Common name: celery average date of last frost, or in
Botanical name: A p i u m the late summer in the South.
Time f r o m planting to harvest is graveolens dulce Celery seeds are very slow to
110 to 120 days f r o m seed. A 10-foot Origin: Europe germinate, so it's usually more-
row should give you 16 to 20 satisfactory to use transplants.
roots. Pick off the lower leaves —
you can use them to flavor soups Varieties
and stews. Harvest celeriac when Summer Pascal (115 days); How to plant
the swollen root is three to four Golden Plume (118 days); Utah 52-
inches w i d e . In warmer climates, 70 (125 days). Celery tolerates light shade and
harvest the roots w h e n they're prefers rich soil that is high in
about the size of a baseball. Description organic matter, well able to hold
Celeriac increases in flavor after moisture but w i t h good drainage;
the first frost, but should be Celery is a hardy biennial grown it does well in w e t , almost boggy
harvested before the first hard as an annual. It has a tight rosette of locations. It's a heavy feeder and
freeze. eight- to 18-inch stalks, topped needs plenty of fertilizer for
with many divided leaves. The continuous quick g r o w t h . W h e n
Storing and preserving flowers look like coarse Queen you're preparing the soil for
Anne's lace and are carried on tall planting, w o r k in a complete, well-
You can dry the leaves to use as stalks. Celery is a more popular balanced fertilizer at the rate of
an herb in soups and stews. Keep vegetable in this country than its one p o u n d per 100 square feet or
the roots in the refrigerator up cousin celeriac (which it doesn't 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
to one week, or store them in a resemble at all in looks or taste). If you're sowing seeds for
transplants, start them two to
four months before your
estimated planting date — they
germinate slowly. Cover the seeds
with an eighth inch of soil, and
then lay a material like burlap over
the containers to keep the
moisture in. Transplant them in
trenches three to four inches
deep and two feet apart. Space the
seedlings eight to 10 inches
apart, and as they grow mound the
soil up around them to blanch
the stems. Having the plants fairly
close together will also help
blanching.

Fertilizing and watering

Fertilize before planting and


again at midseason, at the same
rate as the rest of the garden.
Detailed information on fertilizing
is given in "Spadework: The
Essential S o i l " in P a r t i .
Make sure that the plants get
plenty of water at all stages of
g r o w t h . Celery is a moisture-
loving plant, and lack of water may
slow growth and encourage the
plant to send up flower stalks — it
will also get very stringy.

Special handling

Celery does not like


competition f r o m weeds during
the slow early growth stage, so
cultivate regularly, taking care to
avoid damage to the roots,
which are close to the soil surface.
Unlike cauliflower, which is not
much affected in flavor by
blanching or w h i t e n i n g , celery
will be bitter if it isn't blanched.
Blanching is achieved by
covering the plants to protect them
f r o m the sun, which encourages
them to produce chlorophyll and
turn green. This should be
started 10 days to two weeks
before harvesting.
There are a number of before the first hard frost, when
blanching methods to choose the head is about two to three
f r o m , but none of them should inches in diameter at the base. Cut
be left on more than 10 days to two off the head at or slightly below
weeks or the celery stalks will soil level.
become pithy and rot. Soil can be Common names: chard, Swiss
m o u n d e d around each side of Storing and preserving chard, sea kale, Swiss beet, sea
the celery row and built up to the kale beet
tops of the stalks. Or use boards You can refrigerate celery for up Botanical name: Beta vulgaris
tilted to shade the celery plants. to t w o weeks; or if you cut the cicia
Heavy paper — freezer paper or leaves to use as herbs, you can Origin: Europe, Mediterranean
layers of newspaper — can also be keep the leaves in the refrigerator
used; wrap it around each plant up to one week. Celery can be
and fasten it w i t h a rubber band. dried or canned, and it freezes Varieties
You can also place milk cartons fairly w e l l ; or you can store it for Lucullus (50 days); Fordhook
w i t h the t o p and bottom cut out t w o to three months in a c o l d , Giant (60 days); Rhubarb (60 days).
over the plant, or gather the moist place. The leaves and
stalks together and fit cylinder- seeds are used as herbs; f o l l o w the Description
shaped tiles over the tops of the procedures given in " H o w To
plants. Store and Use H e r b s . " Detailed Chard is basically a beet without
information on storing and the b o t t o m . It's a biennial that's
preserving is given in Part 3. g r o w n as an annual for its big
Pests
crinkly leaves. Chard is a
Serving suggestions decorative plant; w i t h its juicy
It's some consolation for all the
w o r k growing celery demands that red or white leaf stems and rosette
Celery is versatile. You can eat of large, dark green leaves, it
the crop has no serious pest
the stems, the leaves, and the can hold its o w n in the flower
problems. This means it's a good
seeds. The stems can be boiled, garden. It's also a rewarding
choice for the conscientious
braised, f r i e d , or baked; most crop for the home vegetable
organic gardener.
people are more accustomed to gardener — it's easy-going and
celery as a raw salad vegetable or very productive. If you harvest the
Diseases relish, but celery is great leaves as they grow, the plant
creamed or baked au gratin. A n d will go on producing all season.-
Pink rot, black heart, and blights what could be more elegant Chard has an impressive
can all attack celery. Magnesium than cream of celery soup? The history, t o o ; it was a popular
and calcium in the soil leafy celery tops that most foodstuff even before the days
discourage these conditions, and people t h r o w out can be made into of the Roman Empire.
w i t h adequate fertilizing you a refreshing drink. Boil and
shouldn't have a p r o b l e m . If you strain t h e m , chill the l i q u i d , and Where and when to grow
d o , check the mineral content drink it by itself or combined
of your soil. Detailed information w i t h other vegetable juices. Chard prefers cool
on disease prevention is given
temperatures; high temperatures
in "Keeping Your Garden Healthy"
in P a r t i .

When and how to harvest

Time from planting to harvest is


100 to 130 days f r o m transplants,
about 20 days longer f r o m seed.
A10-footrowshouldyieldabout20
heads of celery. Start harvesting
slow d o w n leaf p r o d u c t i o n , but about the average date of last Plant the seed clusters an inch
chard tolerates heat better than frost in your area. Chard tolerates deep and four to six inches apart
spinach does. In a mild climate partial shade and likes fertile, in rows 18 to 24 inches apart. W h e n
you can plant chard from fall to well-worked soil with good they're large enough to handle,
early spring; in the N o r t h , plant drainage and a high organic thin seedlings to stand about nine
from spring to midsummer. content; like the beet, it is not f o n d to 12 inches apart. Although you
of acid soil. W o r k a complete, are growing from seed clusters,
How to plant well-balanced fertilizer into the each of which is likely to
soil before planting, at the rate produce several seedlings,
Plant chard from seed clusters of a p o u n d per 100 square feet or 10 t h i n n i n g is not as important as it
(which each contain several seeds) pounds per 1,000 square feet. is w h e n you're growing beets,
w h i c h must have ample room for
root development. Chard plants
can stand crowding — they'll
produce smaller leaves but
more of t h e m . A few extra plants
will also give you replacements
for any that bolt or go to seed in hot
weather. Remove any plants
that bolt, and let the others grow.

Fertilizing and watering

Fertilize before planting and


again at midseason, at the same
rate as the rest of the garden.
Detailed information on fertilizing
is given in "Spadework: The
Essential S o i l " in P a r t i .
The crop does need enough
water to keep the leaves growing
quickly, so keep the soil moist at
all times.

Pests

Aphids and leaf miners are the


major pests you'll have to contend
w i t h . You can usually control
aphids by pinching out the
affected area; if there are a lot of
t h e m , try hosing them off the
plants. Leaf miners, w o r m l i k e
insects that feed inside the leaf
surfaces, can also be controlled
physically; pick off the older leaves
where you see that miners have
laid rows of pearl-white eggs.
Detailed information on pest
control is given in "Keeping Your
Garden Healthy" in P a r t i .
Diseases soil or kept in a pot and brought
back inside w h e n the weather
Chard has no serious disease turns cold.
problems.
How to plant
When and how to harvest
Common names: chayote, You plant the w h o l e fruit w i t h
Time from planting to harvest is chocho, chuchu, sou-sou, the fat side placed at an angle half
55 to 60 days. A 10-foot row of vegetable pear, one-seeded way d o w n in the soil so that the
chard should give you nine cucumber stem area is level w i t h the soil
pounds or more of produce. Start Botanical name: Sechium edule surface. Before planting, w o r k a
harvesting chard when the Origin: Central America complete, well-balanced fertilizer
outside leaves are three inches into the soil at the rate of one
l o n g ; don't let them get much p o u n d per 100 square feet or 10
over 10 inches long or they'll taste Varieties pounds per 1,000 square feet.
earthy. Some gardeners like to Plant whatever variety is The chayote likes well-drained soil
take off the outside leaves a few at a available. You plant the whole w i t h a high content of organic
t i m e ; others prefer to cut the vegetable so you can use the matter and will tolerate partial
entire plant d o w n to three inches chayote you buy in the local shade. Space the plants 24 to 30
and let it grow back. Chard will Spanish mercado. inches apart, with four or five feet
grow and produce steadily all between rows. You don't need
summer, and if the soil is fertile Description to provide a support for the vines
and the weather doesn't get too unless you want to save space.
c o l d , harvesting may continue The chayote is a tender
into a second year. perennial vine that grows from a Fertilizing and watering
tuber and can climb to 30 feet.
It's a member of the gourd family, Fertilize before planting and
Storing and preserving and it has hairy leaves the size again at midseason, at the same
and shape of maple leaves; male rate as the rest of the garden.
Chard can be stored for one to and female flowers are borne on Detailed information on fertilizing
two weeks in the refrigerator. It the same vine. The fruit looks like a is given in "Spadework: The
can also be frozen, canned, or greenish or whitish flattened Essential S o i l " in P a r t i .
d r i e d ; use the recipes for greens. pear. You can eat the young Give the chayote plants plenty
Detailed information on storing shoots, the fruit, and, if the of water to keep them growing
and preserving is given in Part 3. plant lives long enough, the strongly.
tubers. Chayote is very popular
Serving suggestions in Mexico and Central America; it
also has a place in American
Chard is delicious steamed or Creole cooking.
cooked like spinach. The leaves
have a sweet taste like spinach, Where and when to grow
and they're colorful in a salad.
Chard stalks can be cooked like The chayote prefers warm to hot
celery. Cut them into pieces two or temperatures and cannot survive
three inches long and simmer temperatures below freezing.
them until tender; serve them hot California, Texas, and Florida have
with butter or chilled w i t h a light the sort of climate the chayote
vinaigrette. If you're cooking the enjoys, but it can be grown farther
leaves and stalks together, give north if the growing season is
the stalks a five-minute head start long. In areas where the season is
so that both will be tender at the short, chayote can be g r o w n in a
end of the cooking time. pot inside and then set out in the
Pests Diseases and tender; don't wait until the
flesh gets hard.
Aphids may visit your chayote Chayote has no serious disease
vines. Hand-pick or hose them off, problems. Storing and preserving
or control them chemically by
spraying with Malathion or When and how to harvest Chayotes will keep in the
Diazinon. Detailed information refrigerator up to one week.
on pest control is given In Time from planting to harvest is Freeze your extra chayotes
"Keeping Your Garden 120 to 150 days. Cut the chayote off either diced or stuffed like squash.
Healthy" in Parti. the vine while the fruit is young Detailed information on storing
and preserving is given In Part 3.

Serving suggestions
Chayote can be prepared any
way you prepare squash. Chayote
Is best eaten young and tender.
If It overripens, scoop out the
flesh, remove the seed (a large
seed, in what looks like a terry
cloth bag), mash the flesh with
cheese or meat, restuff the empty
shell and bake. The tubers of
very mature plants are edible and
filling, but not very flavorful.

Common names: chick pea,


gram, garbanzo
Botanical name: Cicerarietinum
Origin: southern Europe and
India

Varieties
Few varieties are available; grow
the variety available in your area.

Description

Chick peas or garbanzos are


regarded as beans, but their
botanical place is somewhere
between the bean and the pea.
They're tender annuals and
grow on a bushy plant, rather like
snap beans but they have a
longer growing season. Chick peas
have puffy little pods that
contain one or two seeds each. In
some areas they're grown as a
field crop as a f o o d for horses, but
they're good f o o d for people,
too.

Where and when to grow

Chick peas are tender plants


and can't tolerate much cold — a
hard frost will damage the
immature beans. You can grow
them anywhere in the United
States that has 90 to 100 frost-free
days. Plant chick peas f r o m seed
on the average date of last frost for
your area.

How to plant

Choose a bed in full sunlight;


chick peas tolerate partial shade,
but partial shade tends to mean
a partial yield. Prepare the soil by
mixing in a p o u n d of 5-10-10
fertilizer — d o n ' t use a high- They d o n ' t m i n d being a little This is a perfectly acceptable
nitrogen fertilizer, because t o o c r o w d e d ; in fact, they'll use each practice but it isn't really
much nitrogen will promote other for support. necessary; the bacteria in the
growth of foliage but not of the soil will multiply quickly enough
pods. W o r k the fertilizer into once they've got a growing plant
Fertilizing and watering
the soil at the rate of one p o u n d to work with.
per 100 square feet or 10 Fertilize before planting and
pounds per 1,000 square feet. The Chick peas set up a mutual again at midseason, at the same
seeds may crack and germinate exchange w i t h soil rate as the rest of the garden.
poorly w h e n the moisture content microorganisms called Detailed information on fertilizing
of the soil is t o o high. Don't soak nitrogen-fixing bacteria, which is given in "Spadework: The
the seeds before planting, and help them produce their o w n Essential S o i l " in P a r t i .
d o n ' t overwater immediately fertilizer. Some gardeners Keep the soil moist until the
afterward. Plant seeds an inch recommend that if you haven't chick peas have pushed through
deep and t w o inches apart in rows grown beans in the plot the the g r o u n d . Water regularly if
at least 18 to 24 inches apart. previous season, you should there's no rain, but remember that
W h e n the seedlings are growing treat the seeds before planting water on the flowers can cause
w e l l , thin the plants to four to six w i t h a nitrogen-fixing bacteria the flowers and small pods to fall
inches apart. Cut the seedlings inoculant to help them convert off. W h e n the soil temperature
w i t h scissors at ground level; be organic nitrogen compounds reaches 60°F you can mulch to
careful not to disturb the others. into usable organic compounds. conserve moisture.
Special handling When and how to harvest

D o n ' t bother the plants when If you want to eat them raw, pick
they're wet or covered with heavy chick peas in the green shell or
d e w ; handling or brushing immature stage. For drying,
against them w h e n they're wet harvest the chick peas when the
spreads fungus spores. plants have matured and the
Cultivate thoroughly but with care, leaves have turned completely
so that you d o n ' t disturb the b r o w n . At this time the seeds
bean plants' shallow root systems. should be dry and hard — bite a
couple of seeds; if you can
Pests hardly dent them they're properly
dry and ready to harvest.
Chick peas may be attacked by
aphids, bean beetles, flea beetles,
Storing and preserving Varieties
leafhoppers, and mites. Aphids, For chicory root: Brunswick;
Unshelled chick peas can be M a g d e b u r g ; Zealand. For Belgian
leafhoppers, and mites can be
kept up to one week in the endive: Witloof.
controlled chemically by
refrigerator. You can freeze,
spraying with Malathion or
can, or dry the shelled chick peas, Description
Diazinon. Bean beetles and flea
beetles can be controlled and they can also be sprouted.
chemically by spraying with Dried shelled chick peas can be Chicory is a hardy perennial
carbaryl. Chick peas are almost stored in a c o o l , dry place for 10 w i t h a long, fleshy taproot and a
always attacked by large to 12 months. Detailed flower stalk that rises from a
numbers of pests that cannot be information on storing and rosette of leaves. It looks much like
controlled by organic methods. preserving is given in Part 3. a dandelion except that the
This doesn't mean the organic flowers grow on a branched stalk
gardener can't grow t h e m , but Serving suggestions and are pale blue.
yields may be lower if only organic Chicory is grown either for its
controls are used. Detailed Shelled chick peas can be root, w h i c h can be roasted to
information on pest control is steamed or boiled like peas, or produce a coffee substitute, or
given in "Keeping Your Garden roasted like peanuts. Vegetarian for its tender leaf shoots, which are
Healthy" in P a r t i . cooks often use chick peas with known as Belgian or blanched
grains as a protein-rich meat endive. This plant is not to be
substitute. In the Middle East confused w i t h endive or
Diseases they're pureed w i t h garlic, escarole, w h i c h are grown as salad
lemon juice, and spices. greens. Both chicory and endive
Chick peas are susceptible to belong to the same family, and the
blight, mosaic, and anthracnose. names are often used
You can cut d o w n on the interchangeably, but they aren't
incidence of disease by planting the same plant. If you want to
disease-resistant varieties when produce the chicory root or the
they're available, maintaining the Belgian endive, you grow
general health of your garden, chicory (Cichorium intybus) — you
and avoiding handling the plants can eat the leaves, but that's not
when they're wet. If a plant does Common names: chicory, why you're growing the variety. If
become infected, remove and witloof, French endive, Belgian you're growing specifically for
destroy it so it cannot spread endive, succory greens, you grow endive
disease to healthy plants. Detailed Botanical name: Cichorium (Cichorium endivia).
information on disease intybus Chicory has t w o stages of
prevention is given in "Keeping Origin: Asia, Europe development. The first produces
Your Garden Healthy" in P a r t i . the harvestable root. In the
second stage, you harvest the root Special handling
and bury it upright in damp sand
or soil until it produces sprouts or If chicory is planted in well-
heads of pale, blanched leaves; cultivated soil that's rich in organic
these heads are the Belgian matter, it should develop large
endives. Once you've harvested roots. If you're growing the plants
the heads, you can still use the for the roots alone, they'll be
roots, although they won't be as ready to harvest about 120 days
satisfactory as roots grown after planting. If you want to
specifically for their own sake. produce the blanched heads,
follow this procedure. Before
Where and when to grow the ground freezes, dig up the
chicory roots and cut off the
Chicory is very hardy, tolerates tops about two inches above the
cold, and can be grown for Its roots crown or top of the root. Store
anywhere in the United States. the roots in a cool, humid
Since the second stage that place — an outdoor pit or a root
produces the heads takes place cellar. In winter and spring, bury
after harvesting, climate is not an the roots to "force" them and
issue. Plant chicory seeds in the produce the blanched sprouts —
garden two to three weeks before for a continuous supply repeat
the average date of last frost for the procedure every few weeks.
your area. To prepare the roots for
forcing, cut off the tips so that the
roots are six to eight inches
How to plant
long, and pack them upright in a
box, pot, or other container
Chicory tolerates partial shade.
filled with fine sand or a mixture of
The soil should be well-drained,
sand and peat moss. Cover the
high in organic matter, and free
tops of the roots with seven or
of lumps that might cause the roots
eight inches of sand or sawdust,
to fork or split. Work a
water thoroughly, and keep at a
complete, well-balanced fertilizer
temperature of 60° to 70°F. Put
into the soil before planting, at
them in your basement or in a cold
the rate of one pound per 100
frame or trench in the garden.
square feet or 10 pounds per
You may need to water
1,000 square feet. Plant the seeds
occasionally during the three or
an inch deep in rows 24 to 36
four weeks the heads take to
inches apart, and thin them to 12 to
develop. When the heads break
18 inches apart when the
the surface, remove the potting
seedlings are four inches tall. You
material and cut the heads with a
can eat the thinnings.
knife where they meet the root. Diseases
Fertilizing and watering Chicory has no serious disease
Pests
problems.
Fertilize before planting and
again at midseason, at the same Chicory has no serious pest When and how to harvest
rate as the rest of the garden. problems. It's a good crop for the
Detailed Information on fertilizing organic gardener who doesn't It takes more than 100 days to
is given in "Spadework: The mind doing the extra work that produce a mature chicory root. For
Essential Soil" in Parti. chicory requires in its second the traditional blanched endive,
Keep the plants evenly moist. stage of growth. you'll have to wait three or four
weeks after starting the forcing
procedure. You should be able to
get 30 to 50 blanched heads from
a 10-foot row of chicory plants.

Storing and preserving

Refrigerate the cut heads until


you're ready to serve them, up to
one week. You can keep the
entire plant — root and all — for
two to three months in a cold,
moist place, or you can dig up the
roots and store them for 10 to 12
months. Detailed information on
storing is given in Part 3.

Serving suggestions
The roots of chicory are
sometimes roasted and ground to
add to coffee or used as a coffee
substitute. Wash and dice the root,
then dry it and roast it before
grinding. Blanched endive heads
are good braised or in salads.
Mix endive with peppers,
artichoke hearts, and sardines
for an Italian-style salad, or with
olives, cucumbers, anchovies,
and tomato wedges in the Greek
manner.

Varieties hakusai. Despite the name, the


Burpee Hybrid (75 days); Crispy appearance and taste of
Choy (pakchoy type, 53 days); Chinese cabbage are closer to
Michihii (heading type, 72 days). lettuce than to regular cabbage.

Description Where and when to grow

Chinese cabbage is a hardy Chinese cabbage can be grown


biennial grown as an annual, and only in cool weather, because it
Common names: Chinese it's not a member of the cabbage bolts (goes to seed) quickly in
cabbage, white cabbage, family. It has broad, thick, tender hot weather and long days — it
flowering cabbage, celery leaves; heavy midribs; and can bolts much faster than the
cabbage, pakchoy, Michihii, be either loosely or tightly headed cabbage family vegetables. It's
Napa cabbage and grow 15 to 18 inches tall. The usually grown as a fall crop in
Botanical name: Brassica variety with a large compact heart the North and as a winter crop in
chinensis is called celery cabbage, the South. It can be started
Origin: China pakchoy, or Michihii. In Chinese, inside and transplanted outside in
call \tpe-tsai; in Japanese, say the spring, but Chinese cabbage
shocks easily, and transplanting cabbage difficult to grow or dry it, and the seeds of
sometimes shocks it into going without spraying. Aphids can be Chinese cabbage can be sprouted.
to seed. partially controlled without Detailed information on storing
chemicals by hand-picking or and preserving is given in Part 3.
How to plant hosing, and cabbage worms can
be controlled by spraying with Serving suggestions
Chinese cabbage is difficult to bacillus thuringiensis, which is
grow in the home garden unless an organic product. Flea beetles Chinese cabbage has a very
you can give it a long, cool usually must be chemically delicate, mild flavor, more
growing season. Plant it four to six controlled with carbaryl, which reminiscent of lettuce than of
weeks before your average date will also control cabbage loopers. cabbage. It makes an interesting
of last frost. Even if the first fall frost Detailed information on pest slaw, with a sour cream dressing
arrives before the head forms control is given in "Keeping Your and a little chopped pineapple. Or
you'll still get a crop of greens. Garden Healthy" in Parti. serve it in wedges like cabbage.
Chinese cabbage will tolerate Of course, the ideal use is in
partial shade. The soil should be Diseases Chinese stir-fry dishes and
well-worked and well-fertilized, soups. Try shredding the Chinese
high in organic matter and able to Yellows virus, clubroot, and cabbage with a bit of carrot,
hold moisture. When you're black rot may attack Chinese flavoring it with ginger and soy
preparing the soil for planting, cabbage. Cut down on the sauce, and dropping it in
work in a complete, well- incidence of disease by planting spoonfuls into oil in the wok. It's
balanced fertilizer at the rate of disease-resistant varieties when crunchy and delicious. You can
one pound per 100 square feet they're available, maintaining the also butter-steam Chinese
or 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet. general health of your garden, cabbage as an accompaniment
Sow seeds in rows 18 to 30 and avoiding handling the plants to roast pork, or use the leaves to
inches apart, and when the when they're wet. If a plant does make cabbage rolls.
seedlings are large enough to become infected, remove and
handle, thin them to stand eight to destroy it so it cannot spread
12 inches apart. Don't even disease to healthy plants. Detailed
attempt to transplant Chinese information on disease
cabbage unless you've started prevention is given in "Keeping
the seeds in peat pots or other Your Garden Healthy" in Parti.
plantable containers.
When and how to harvest
Fertilizing and watering
Time from planting to harvest is Common name: collards
Fertilize before planting and 50 to 80 days, and a 10-foot row Botanical name: Brassica
again at midseason, at the same should give you 10 or more oleracea acephalo
rate as the rest of the garden. heads. Harvest when the heads are Origin: Europe
Detailed information on fertilizing compact and firm and before
is given in "Spadework: The the seedstalks form. With a fall
Essential Soil" in Parti. crop, harvest before hard- Varieties
Water frequently to help the freezing weather. To harvest, cut Georgia (75 days); Vates (75
young plants grow fast and off the whole plant at ground days).
become tender. They'll level.
probably go to seed if their growth Description
slows down. Storing and preserving
A hardy biennial grown as an
Pests Chinese cabbage stays fresh in annual, the collard grows two to
the refrigerator up to one week, or four feet tall and has tufts or
Flea beetles, aphids, and in a cold, moist place for two to rosettes of leaves growing on
cabbage worms make Chinese three months. You can also freeze sturdy stems. Collard is a kind of
period; in this case you can sow
seed directly in the garden in fall
for a winter harvest.
When you're preparing the
soil for planting, work in a
complete well-balanced
fertilizer at the rate of one pound
per 100 square feet or 10 pounds
per 1,000 square feet. If you have
sandy soil or your area is subject
to heavy rains, you'll probably
need to supplement the
nitrogen content of the soil. Use
about a pound of nitrogen
fertilizer for a 10-foot row.
If you're planting seeds, set
them an inch deep and space them
three inches apart. Thin them
when they're big enough to lift by
the true leaves. You can
transplant the thinned seedlings. If
you're planting transplants,
they should be four to six weeks
old with four or five true leaves.
If the transplants are leggy or have
crooked stems, plant them
deeply (up to the first leaves) so
that they won't grow to be top
heavy. Plant the seedlings 12
inches apart in rows 18 to 24
inches apart.

Fertilizing and watering


kale, a primitive member of the ahead of the warm weather by
cabbage family that does not planting collards in February or Fertilize before planting and
form a head. The name collard is March. In the North, you can get again at midseason, at the same
also given to young cabbage two crops by planting in early rate as the rest of the garden.
plants that are harvested before spring and again in July or Detailed information on fertilizing
they have headed. Collards August. is given in "Spadework: The
were England's main winter Essential Soil" in Part 1.
vegetable for centuries. How to plant Water them regularly to keep
the leaves from getting tough.
Where and when to grow Collards like fertile, well-
drained soil with a pH within the Special handling
Like other members of the cole 6.5 to 7.5 range — this
or cabbage family, collards are discourages disease and lets the If collard plants get too heavy
hardy and can tolerate low20°F plant make the most of the you may need to stake them.
temperatures. They're also more nutrients in the soil. Collards are
tolerant of heat than some cole usually grown from transplants Pests
crops; they can take more heat planted four to six weeks before
than cabbage and more cold the average date of last frost, The cabbage family's traditional
than cauliflower. In the South, get except where there is a long cool enemies are cutworms and
caterpillars. Cutworms,
cabbage loopers, and imported
cabbage worms can all be
controlled by spraying w i t h
bacillus thuringiensis, an
organic product also known as Common names: c o r n , sweet
Dipel or Thungicide. Generally, corn
collards have fewer pest problems Botanical name: Zea mays
than other cole crops. They are Origin: Central America
one of the best and most prolific
crops for the organic gardener.
Detailed information on pest Varieties
control is given in "Keeping A large number of varieties are
Your Garden Healthy" in P a r t i . available. Your local extension
service can give you suggestions
Diseases for the best corn to grow in your
area. These are just a few of the
Collards have no serious good varieties available: Polar Vee
disease problems. (55 days); Sugar and Gold (white
and yellow kernels, 60 days);
When and how to harvest Earliking (66 days); Butter and
Sugar (white and yellow kernels, 78
Time f r o m planting to harvest is days); Golden Cross Bantam (84
75 to 85 days f r o m transplants, 85 to days). For late crops, try Aristogold
95 days f r o m seed. A 10-foot row Bantam Evergreen (90 days) or
should yield eight pounds or more Silver Queen (92 days).
of collard greens. Collards
become sweeter if harvested after Description
a frost, but you should harvest
them before a hard freeze. In C o r n , a tender annual that can
warmer areas, harvest the leaves grow four to 12 feet tall, is a
f r o m the bottom up before they member of the grass family. It
get old and t o u g h . produces one to two ears on a
stalk, of which only one may be
Storing and preserving harvestable. The pollen from the
tassels must fall into the cornsilk
Collards can be stored in the to produce kernels, and if
refrigerator up to one week, or in a pollination does not occur, all
c o l d , moist place for two to that will grow is the cob. The
three weeks. Collards can be kernels of sweet corn can be
frozen, canned, or d r i e d ; use yellow, w h i t e , black, red, or a
the recipes for greens. Detailed combination of colors. Corn is
information on storing and the No. 1 crop in the United States
preserving is given in Part 3. and (with rice, wheat, and
potatoes) one of the t o p four crops
Serving suggestions in the w o r l d . But despite the
popularity of sweet corn and
Collards can be steamed or p o p c o r n , most corn is eaten
b o i l e d ; serve them alone or secondhand — 80 percent of the
combine them w i t h ham or salt United States corn crop goes
pork. Corn bread is a nice into the production of meat. Corn your home vegetable garden, and
accompaniment. is not the easiest crop to grow in it doesn't give you a lot of return
for the space it occupies. Don't be Fertilizing and watering in "Spadework: The
taken in by all that lush Essential Soil" in Parti.
foliage — you will generally get Corn is a heavy user of nitrogen. Watering is very important.
only one harvestable ear of corn Fertilize in spring, again when the Keep the soil evenly moist. Corn
from a stalk, although some dwarf corn is eight inches tall, and often grows so fast in hot
varieties will produce two or again when it's 18 inches tall. Side- weather that the leaves wilt
three. dress between the rows, using a because the roots can't keep the
third pound of complete, well- leaves supplied with moisture.
Where and when to grow balanced fertilizer on each side Although corn requires so much
of a 10-foot row. Detailed water, rain or water on the tassels
You can grow corn in any area, information on fertilizing is given at the time of pollination can
but the time it will take to reach reduce the number of kernels on a
maturity depends on the cob — and sometimes can
amount of heat it gets; corn destroy the whole crop. When
doesn't really get into its stride watering corn, try to avoid
until the weather warms up. You getting water on the tassels.
may get two crops, depending
on which variety you plant. Special handling

How to plant Keep the competition down.


Weed early and keep the weeds
Corn likes well-worked, fertile cut back, but remember that
soil with good drainage, and it corn has very shallow roots; a
must have full sun. Fertilize the vigorous attack on the weeds
soil before planting, using a third may destroy the corn. Be sure to
of a pound of a complete, well- thin extra corn plants —
balanced fertilizer on each side of a crowding stimulates lots of
10-foot row. Place the fertilizer silage, but no cobs. Protect the
an inch below and two inches away ears with paper bags after
from where you plan to put the pollination if you're having trouble
seed. with birds.
Plant corn when the soil
temperature reaches 60°F. Plant Pests
the seeds two to four inches
apart, in rows (short rows in a Corn is attacked by many
block, rather than one long row) pests — notably cutworms,
or inverted hills. Planting In wireworms, flea beetles, corn
clumps or blocks ensures earworms, and corn borers — and
pollination. For a continuous they usually attack In numbers
supply, plant a dozen seeds of too large to control by physical
the same variety every two weeks methods. Be prepared to use
(or when the previous planting the appropriate insecticide at the
shows three leaves), or plant early, first signs of insect damage.
midseason, and late varieties at Cutworms and wireworms can be
the same time. When the corn is controlled with a soil drench of
about six inches tall, thin short Diazinon. Spray flea beetles with
varieties to two feet apart, tall carbaryl when they first appear.
varieties to three feet apart. The corn earworm deposits its
Corn can be grown closer together eggs on the developing silks of
than this, but then the roots are the corn, and the small caterpillars
more crowded and more watering follow the silks down into the
and feeding are needed. ears, where they feed on the tips.
Once they get inside the ear beetles when they first appear.
there is no effective control, so Detailed information on disease
watch out for them and spray prevention is given in "Keeping
with carbaryl before the earworms Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1.
get inside the protective cover
of the ear. Corn borers damage When and how to harvest Common names: cress, garden
stalks, ears, and tassels. They cress, peppergrass
tunnel into the plant and can cause From planting to harvest takes Botanical name: Lepidium
such severe damage that the 55 to 95 days depending on the sativum
stalks fall over. Watch for them, variety and, to some extent, the Origin: Asia
and spray with carbaryl every weather. Your harvest won't be
five days, starting when the first generous — maybe five to eight
eggs hatch. ears from a 10-foot row. Harvest Varieties
Raccoons and most rodents your corn when the kernels are Few varieties are available
love corn and know exactly when soft and plump and the juice is commercially; grow the variety
to harvest it — usually the day milky. Have the water boiling available in your area.
before you plan to. Removing the when you go out to harvest and
offenders' homes and fencing in rush the corn from the stalk to Description
the garden are about the only ways the pot, then to the table. The goal
to deter them. Because it takes is to cook the corn before the Cress is a hardy annual with
up so much room and has so many sugar in the kernels changes to finely divided tiny green leaves
pest problems, corn is not the starch. A delay of even 24 hours that have a biting flavor. You can
ideal choice for either the organic between harvesting and eating will grow cress from seed indoors or
gardener or the novice cause both flavor and texture to out — it will even sprout on
gardener. But for the experienced deteriorate noticeably. water-soaked cotton. It takes only
gardener with lots of room and a 15 to 20 days from planting to
good spray tank, there's nothing Storing and preserving harvest, which means more or less
like the taste of fresh, home- instant gratification for the least
grown sweet corn. Detailed If you must keep corn before patient gardener. Children love to
information on pest control is eating, wrap the whole thing, ear grow it.
given in "Keeping Your Garden and husk, in damp paper towels; Cress has a peppery flavor
Healthy" in Parti. store in the refrigerator for four that gives a lift to salads. There are
to eight days. Corn can be several kinds available, but the'
Diseases sprouted, and it also freezes, curled variety is the most common.
cans, and dries satisfactorily. Other types of cress are
Corn smut and Stewart's wilt are Detailed information on storing upland or winter cress (Barbarea
corn's two main disease problems. and preserving Is given in Part 3. vernapraecox) and watercress
Corn smut is a fungus disease (Nasturtium officinale). Upland or
that attacks the kernels — the Serving suggestions winter cress (Barbarea
kernels turn gray or black and vernapraecox) is a hardy biennial
are about four times larger than After you've given your home- from Europe. You can sow it in
normal. Destroy the affected grown corn all that care and the garden in early spring and
plants, and plant your corn in a attention — to say nothing of a harvest soon after midsummer.
new part of the garden next good deal of your garden space — The plants are tough and will
time. Smut spores can survive in it is almost unthinkable to do survive a cold winter if you
the soil for two years. Stewart's anything with It beyond boiling or mulch them.
wilt is a bacterial disease spread by steaming it quickly and Watercress is a trailing
flea beetles. It causes a general annointing it with a dab of butter. perennial of European origin with
yellowing of the leaves and severe You can also roast it in the husks dark green peppery leaves and
stunting of the whole plant. Try In a hot oven or on the barbecue is usually grown in water. It's easily
to prevent It by planting resistant grill. If you have lots, make a grown from seed but is usually
varieties and controlling flea delicate corn soup or souffle. propagated in temperate climates
from stem-pieces, which root sown every two weeks starting Cut off the cress w i t h scissors
easily in wet soil. If you're early in spring. and enjoy in salads or
fortunate enough to have a sandwiches.
stream running through your How to plant
garden, you can try growing Storing and preserving
watercress on the bank. You can W h e n sown outdoors, cress
also grow it indoors in pots set in likes well-worked soil with good Cress does not store w e l l , but it
a tray of water. Watercress adds a drainage. It will flourish in can be kept in the refrigerator up
kick to salads and makes a pretty shade or semishade and can to one week. The seeds can be
garnish. It's full of vitamin C and tolerate a wide range of sprouted. Detailed information on
minerals. temperatures. W h e n you're storing is given in Part 3.
preparing the soil, dig in a
Where and when to grow complete, well-balanced fertilizer Serving suggestions
at the rate of one p o u n d per 100
Cress grows anywhere in the square feet or 10 pounds per 1,000 The English nibble "small
United States. Garden cress, square feet. Sow the seeds salads" of cress and mix the young
which is the one you're most likely t h i c k l y , a q u a r t e r o f an inch deep in sprouts w i t h mustard for dainty
to grow, is started from seeds wide rows, 18 to 24 inches apart, cress sandwiches. Use it in salads
and for a continuous crop repeat or for a garnish. The peppery
the planting every 10 to 14 days. taste is a good foil to more bland
salad greens.
Fertilizing and watering

Fertilize before planting and


again at midseason, at the same
rate as the rest of the garden.
Detailed information on fertilizing
is given in "Spadework: The
Essential S o i l " in Part 1.
Cress needs even moisture.
Try not to wet the leaves more than Common name: cucumber
necessary since the soil that Botanical name: Cucumis sativus
lodges there w h e n water splashes Origin: Asia
on them is impossible to wash
out w i t h o u t damaging the leaf.
Cress grown indoors must have Varieties
good drainage or it tends to rot. There are dozens of varieties of
cucumber, including " b u r p l e s s "
Pests ones, which are supposed to be
more digestible than regular
Cress has no serious pest cucumbers, and round yellow
problems. lemon cucumbers. In the
United States cucumbers are
Diseases divided into the slicing k i n d ,
which are large and stay green for a
Cress has no serious disease long t i m e , the small stubby
problems. pickling varieties, and novelty
varieties that are smaller than
How and when to harvest usual and suitable for containers or
small gardens.
Often the plants are eaten at The following are a selection
their very early seed-leaf stage. of varieties in each of these
categories. Talk to your local hairs; the flowers are yellow. Some Where and when to grow
extension service to find out about plants have both male and
other varieties that will do well female flowers on the same vine, The cucumber is a warm-
in your area. Pickling: Spartan and there may be 10 males to weather vegetable and very
Dawn Hybrid (50-60 days); SMR- every female flower, but only the sensitive to frost. It will grow
18 (50-60 days), both resistant to female flowers can produce anywhere in the United States,
mosaic and scab. Slicing: cucumbers. The expression "cool
Poinsett (65 days) resistant to as a cucumber" has long been
anthracnose, downy and used to describe a person who is
powdery mildews, and leaf spot; always calm in a crisis, and
Burpee Hybrid (60 days) cucumbers do seem to give off a
resistant to downy mildew and cool feeling. They're tender
mosaic; Challenger Hybrid (60 plants, however, and not at all
days), resistant to downy mildew tolerant to cold themselves.
and mosaic. Burpless: Sweet Gulliver, in the report of his
Slice Hybrid (65 days) resistant voyage to Brobdingnag, told of a
to downy and powdery mildews, project for extracting sunbeams
mosaic, and scab. Novelty: Patio from cucumbers, sealing them
Pik Hybrid (50-55 days) pickling in jars, and letting them out to
type, tolerant of downy and warm the air on raw days. Long
powdery mildews; Peppi Hybrid before Gulliver, the Emperor
(50 days) pickling type, tolerant Tiberius was so fond of
of downy and powdery mildews, cucumbers that the first
mosaic, and scab. greenhouses — sheets of mica
in window sashes — were
Description developed to keep the plants
growing on happily indoors when
Cucumbers are weak-stemmed, it was too cold to take them
tender annuals that can sprawl on outside. You can grow cucumbers
the ground or be trained to in a large pot or hanging basket,
climb. Both the large leaves and or train them up a fence or over an
the stems are covered with short arbor.
Fertilizing and watering

Fertilize before planting and


again at midseason, at the same
rate as the rest of the garden.
Detailed information on fertilizing
is given in "Spadework: The
Essential S o i l " in P a r t i .
Cucumbers are 95 percent
water and need plenty of water to
keep them growing fast. Don't
let the soil dry out. In hot weather
the leaves may wilt during the
day, even w h e n soil moisture is
h i g h , because the plant is using
water faster than its roots can
supply. This is normal; just be
sure that the plant is receiving
regular and sufficient water.
M u l c h to avoid soil compaction
caused by heavy watering.

Special handling

Cultivate to keep weeds d o w n .


If you are growing cucumbers
inside, or in an area where there
are no insects to pollinate the
female flower — your 51st floor
balcony, for example — you may
need to help w i t h pollination.
Take a soft-bristled brush and dust
however, because it has a very fertilizer at the rate of one the inside of a male flower (the
short growing season — only 55 to p o u n d per 100 square feet or 10 one w i t h o u t an immature fruit on
65 days from planting to pounds per 1,000 square feet. the stem), then carefully dust
harvest — and most areas can Plant cucumbers in inverted hills, the inside of the female flowers.
provide it with at least that much which you make by removing an Harvest p r o m p t l y ; mature
sunshine. Cucumbers like night inch or two of soil from a circle 12 cucumbers left on the vine
temperatures of 60° to 65°F, and inches across and using this soil suppress the production of
day temperatures up to 90°F. Plant to make a rim around the circle. more flowers.
them w h e n the soil has warmed This protects the young plants
u p , three to four weeks after your from heavy rains that might wash Pests
area's average date of last frost. away the soil and leave their
shallow roots exposed. Plant six or Aphids and cucumber beetles
How to plant eight seeds in each hill, and are the pests you're most likely to
when the seedlings are growing encounter. To control aphids,
Cucumbers will tolerate partial strongly, thin t h e m , leaving the pinch out infested vegetation or
shade, and respond to a rich, well- three hardiest plants standing six hose them off the cucumber
w o r k e d , well-drained soil that is to 12 inches apart. Cut the vines, or spray w i t h Malathion or
high in organic matter. W h e n thinned seedlings off w i t h scissors Diazinon. Cucumber beetles
you're preparing the soil, dig in at soil level to avoid disturbing may not do much feeding damage,
a complete, well-balanced the roots of the remaining plants. but they carry cucumber
bacterial w i l t . Hand-pick them off storing and preserving is given in grow on s m o o t h , hollow flower
the vines promptly, or spray Part 3. stalks. The dandelion is best
them w i t h carbaryl. Cucumbers k n o w n — and feared — by
are so prolific that the organic Serving suggestions gardeners as a remarkably
gardener w h o doesn't want to use persistent lawn w e e d , but its
chemical controls can afford to In the Gay '90s the hallmark of leaves are actually high in vitamin A
lose a few to the bugs. Detailed an elegant tea party was cucumber and four times higher in vitamin
information on pest control is sandwiches, open-faced on C than lettuce. It's also versatile:
given in "Keeping Your Garden thin-sliced bread. In England the Dandelion leaves are used raw
Healthy" in P a r t i . sandwiches are closed and cut in salads or boiled like spinach,
into small squares or triangles. and the roots can be roasted and
Diseases Slice cucumbers thinly and made into a coffeelike drink.
dress them w i t h plain yogurt and a
Cucumber plants are little d i l l . D o n ' t peel them — Where and when to grow
susceptible to scab, mosaic, and cucumbers are mostly water
mildew. Planting disease- anyway, and most of the vitamins Dandelions grow well in any soil
resistant varieties and maintaining they do contain are in the skin. anywhere. They prefer full sun but
the general cleanliness and Instead of eating t h e m , you can will do fine in partial shade.
health of your garden will help cut make them into a refreshing They're very hardy and will survive
d o w n the incidence of disease. face cleanser — cucumbers are an both the hottest summers and
If a plant does become infected, ingredient in many cosmetic the coldest winters. Plant the seeds
remove and destroy it before it products. in early spring, four to six weeks
can spread disease to healthy before the average date of last
plants. Cucumbers are not frost.
tolerant to air p o l l u t i o n ; a high
ozone level may affect their How to plant
development. Detailed
information on disease Dandelions grow best in a well-
prevention is given in "Keeping drained fertile soil from which
Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1. you've removed all the stones
and rubble. If you're growing
When and how to harvest Common name: dandelion dandelions for their foliage
Botanical name: Taraxacum only, they'll tolerate soil in poorer
Time f r o m planting to harvest is officinale physical c o n d i t i o n . W h e n
55 to 65 days, and a 10-foot row Origin: Europe and Asia you're preparing the soil, dig in a
should give you as many complete, well-balanced
cucumbers as you can use. Pick the fertilizer at the rate of one p o u n d
cucumbers while they're per 100 square feet or 10 pounds
immature — the size will depend Varieties per 1,000 square feet. Plant seeds
on the variety. W h e n the seeds Thick-leaved; Improved Thick- in the garden a quarter inch
start to mature the vines will stop leaved. deep in rows or wide rows 12 to 18
producing. inches apart. Thin plants six to
Description eight inches apart after the true
Storing and preserving leaves appear.
The dandelion is a hardy
Cucumbers can be stored in the perennial that's grown as an Fertilizing and watering
refrigerator up to one week, but if annual for its foliage and as a
the temperature is t o o low biennial for its roots. The jagged D o n ' t bother to fertilize
they'll freeze and t u r n soft. You green leaves grow in a short dandelions at midseason. Detailed
can pickle them or use them for rosette attached by a short stem to information on fertilizing is
relish if they're the right variety. a long taproot. Bright yellow given in "Spadework: The
Detailed information on flowers one to t w o inches wide Essential S o i l " in P a r t i .
Keep the plants supplied with become pests themselves by your pleasure throughout the
water; the dandelion's foliage may seeding all over your and your growing season. Harvest the
become even more bitter than it neighbors' lawns. roots in the fall of the second year;
is naturally if it's subjected to long pull the whole root from the
periods of drought. Diseases ground — or lift the roots with a
fork to avoid breaking them.
Pests Dandelions have no serious
disease problems. Storing and preserving
Pests don't bother dandelions.
If you let the dandelions produce When and how to harvest You can refrigerate the greens
their delicate clocklike seed up to one week, or store the roots
heads, however, they may well Harvest dandelion greens at for 10 to 12 months in a cold,
moist place, as you do with
chicory. Detailed information
on storing and preserving is given
in Parts.

Serving suggestions
Dandelion wine is a brew much
beloved of do-it-yourself vintners.
Or make dandelion tea, and
drink it well-chilled. Remove the
stalks from the dandelions and
toss the leaves in a vinaigrette
dressing. Or try a hot dressing,
as for a wilted spinach salad. Cook
the leaves quickly and serve
them with lemon and oregano,
Greek-style. To use the roots,
wash and dice them, then dry and
roast them before grinding.

Common names: eggplant,


aubergine, guinea squash
Botanical name: Solanum
melongena
Origin: East Indies, India
Varieties
Black Magic Hybrid (73 days);
Jersey King Hybrid (75 days); Black
Beauty (80 days). Long slender
fruits: Ichlban (70 days); Slim Jim
(75 days).

Description

Eggplant is a very tender


perennial plant w i t h large grayish-
green hairy leaves. The star-
shaped flowers are lavender with
yellow centers, and the long,
slender or r o u n d , egg-shaped fruit
is creamy-white, yellow, b r o w n ,
purple, or sometimes almost
black. Eggplants will grow two
to six feet tall, depending on the
variety. They belong to the
solanaceous family, and are
related to tomatoes, potatoes,
and peppers, and were first
cultivated in India.

Where and when to grow

Eggplant is very sensitive to cold


and needs a growing season w i t h
day temperatures between 80°
and 90°F and night temperatures
between 70° and 80°F. Don't
plant eggplant seedlings until two
to three weeks after your
average date of last frost, or when
daytime temperatures reach
70°F.

How to plant

You can grow eggplant from


seed, but you'll wait 150 days for a
harvest. It's easier to grow from
transplants, started inside about
two months before your outside
planting date. Don't put your
transplants into the garden until
two or three weeks after the
average date of last frost for your
area — eggplants w o n ' t be rushed, must have full sun. They'll grow
and if you plant them t o o early in almost any soil, but they do
they w o n ' t develop. Eggplants better in rich soil that is high in
organic matter, w i t h excellent Hand-pick hornworms off the Storing and preserving
drainage. W h e n you're plants; control aphids and beetles
preparing the soil, dig in a by hand-picking or hosing them W h o l e eggplant will store up to
complete, well-balanced off the plants and pinching out one week at 50°F; d o n ' t refrigerate
fertilizer at the rate of one p o u n d infested areas. Collars set it. You can also freeze or dry it.
per 100 square feet or 10 pounds around the plants at the time you Detailed information on storing
per 1,000 square feet. Set the transplant them will discourage and preserving is given in Part 3.
plants 18 to 24 inches apart in cutworms. Spider mites are
rows 24 to 36 inches apart. difficult to control even w i t h the Serving suggestions
proper chemicals; spray the
Fertilizing and watering undersides of the foliage w i t h Eggplant is very versatile and
Diazinon before the populations combines happily w i t h all kinds of
Fertilize before planting and get too large. Detailed other foods — cheese,
again at midseason, at the same information on pest control is tomatoes, onions, and meats all
rate as the rest of the garden. given in "Keeping Your Garden lend distinction to its flavor. The
Detailed information on fertilizing Healthy" in P a r t i . French use it in a vegetable stew
is given in "Spadework: The called ratatouille, w i t h
Essential S o i l " in P a r t i . Diseases tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic,
Eggplants are very fussy about and herbs. Ratatouille is a good
temperature and moisture and Fungus and bacterial diseases hot side dish or can be served cold
must be treated w i t h solicitude may attack eggplants. Planting as a salad. Eggplant is also a key
until they're well established. Try disease-resistant varieties w h e n ingredient of the Greek moussaka,
to maintain even soil moisture possible and maintaining the layered w i t h ground meat and
to ensure even g r o w t h ; eggplants general cleanliness and health topped w i t h a bechamel sauce. Or
are susceptible to root rot if of your garden will help lessen the coat slices in egg and
there's too much moisture in the incidence of disease. If a plant breadcrumbs and deep-fry t h e m .
soil. does become infected, remove it To remove excess moisture
before it can spread disease to f r o m eggplant slices before you
Special handling healthy plants. Protect the plants cook t h e m , salt them liberally,
against soilborne diseases by let them stand about half an hour,
If you live in an area where an rotating your crops and planting wash t h e m , and pat them dry.
unpredictable late frost may occur, vegetables f r o m a different Or weight the slices w i t h a heavy
provide protection at night until plant family in the eggplants' spot plate to squeeze out the
all danger of frost is past. In hot the f o l l o w i n g season. Detailed moisture.
climates the soil temperature information on disease prevention
may become t o o warm for the is given in "Keeping Your
roots; in this case, mulch the Garden Healthy" in Part 1.
plants about a m o n t h after you set
them outside. Plants that are When and how to harvest
heavy w i t h fruit may need to be
staked. Time f r o m planting to harvest is
100 to 150 days f r o m seed, 70 to 85
Pests days from transplants. Harvest
the fruit y o u n g , before the flesh Common names: endive,
Eggplants are almost always becomes pithy. The fruit should escarole
attacked by one pest or another, so be firm and shiny, not streaked Botanical name: Cichorium
they're not the ideal crop for the w i t h b r o w n . The eggplant fruit is endivia
organic gardener. The pests you're on a sturdy stem that does not Origin: South Asia
most likely to encounter are break easily f r o m the plant; cut
cutworms, aphids, flea beetles, it off w i t h a sharp knife instead of
Colorado potato bugs, spider expecting it to fall into your Varieties
mites, and tomato hornworms. hand. Full Heart Batavian (90 days) has
smooth leaves. Salad King (98days)
has curled leaves.

Description

Endive is a half-hardy biennial


grown as an annual, and it has a
large rosette of toothed curled
or wavy leaves that are used in
salads as a substitute for lettuce.
Endive is often known as escarole,
and they're varieties of the same
plant; escarole has broader leaves.
Endive should not be confused
w i t h Belgian endive, which is the
young blanched sprout of the
chicory plant. Both endive and
chicory, however, belong to the
genus Cichorium.

Where and when to grow

Like lettuce, endive is a cool-


season crop, although it's more
tolerant of heat than lettuce.
G r o w it from seed planted in your
garden four to six weeks before
your average date of last frost.
Long, hot summer days will
force the plants to bolt and go to
seed. If your area has a short, from seed eight to 10 weeks before Water regularly to keep the
hot growing season, start endive the average date of last frost in plants growing quickly; lack of
f r o m seed indoors and transplant your area. If you're direct-seeding water will slow growth and
it as soon as possible so that the endive in the garden, sow seeds cause the leaves to become bitter.
plants will mature before the a quarter inch deep in wide rows 18
weather gets really hot. Sow to 24 inches apart, and when the Special handling
succession crops, beginning in seedlings are large enough to
midsummer. In a mild-winter handle, thin them to nine to 12 Endive tastes better in salads if
climate, you can grow spring, fall, inches apart. Thinning is important you blanch it to remove some of
and winter crops. because the plants may bolt if the bitter flavor. Blanching
they're c r o w d e d . Plant transplants deprives the plants of sunlight and
How to plant nine to 12 inches apart in rows 18
to 24 inches apart.
Endive needs well-worked soil
w i t h good drainage and moisture Fertilizing and watering
retention. W h e n you're
preparing the soil, dig in a Fertilize before planting and
complete, well-balanced again at midseason, at the same
fertilizer at the rate of one pound rate as the rest of the garden.
per 100 square feet or 10 pounds Detailed information on fertilizing
per 1,000 square feet. If you're is given in "Spadework: The
using transplants, start them Essential S o i l " in P a r t i .
discourages the production of information on short-term storage family. It's a stocky perennial
chlorophyll. Blanch t w o to three is given in Part 3. grown as an annual, and looks
weeks before you're ready to rather like celery with very
harvest the plants. You can do this Serving suggestions feathery leaves. The plant grows
in several ways: Tie string four to five feet tall and has
around the leaves to hold them Chill endive and serve it with an small, golden flowers, which
together; lay a board on oil-and-vinegar dressing; add appear in flat-topped clusters
supports over the row; or put a chunks of blue cheese or from July to September. The whole
flowerpot over each plant. If croutons. Mix it with other salad plant has an anise flavor.
you tie the endive plants, do it greens to add a distinctive
when they're dry; the inner flavor. The French use endive in a Where and when to grow
leaves may rot if the plants are tied salad w i t h heated slices of mild
up while the insides are wet. sausage, diced bacon, and Fennel will grow anywhere in
croutons. the United States. It tolerates both
Pests heat and c o l d , but should
mature in cold weather. Grow it
Cutworms, slugs, and snails can from seed sown t w o to three
be troublesome. You may also weeks before your average date of
have to deal w i t h aphids. Put a last frost.
collar around each plant to
discourage cutworms, and trap How to plant
slugs and snails w i t h a saucer of
stale beer set flush to the soil. To Fennel needs well-drained soil
control aphids, pinch out infested that's high in organic matter.
foilage, or hose the aphids off W h e n you're preparing the soil
the plants. You can also spray them for planting, w o r k in a complete,
w i t h Malathion or Diazinon, well-balanced fertilizer at the
taking care to spray the undersides Common names: fennel, rate of one pound per 100 square
of the leaves. Detailed Florence fennel, finocchio, feet or 10 pounds per 1,000
information on pest control is fenucchi square feet.
given in "Keeping Your Garden Botanical name: Foeniculum Plant the seeds a quarter of an
Healthy" in P a r t i . vulgaredulce inch deep, in rows t w o to three
Origin: Mediterranean feet apart, in full sun. W h e n the
Diseases seedlings are growing strongly,
thin them to stand 12 inches
Endive has no serious disease Varieties apart.
problems. Few varieties are available.
C r o w the variety available in your Fertilizing and watering
When and how to harvest area.
Fertilize before planting and
Time from planting to harvest is Description again at midseason, at the same
90 to 100 days f r o m seed. To rate as the rest of the garden.
harvest, cut off the plant at soil Florence fennel or finocchio is Detailed information on fertilizing
level. the same as the c o m m o n or sweet is given in "Spadework: The
fennel that is grown for use as a Essential Soil" in P a r t i .
Storing and preserving herb. The leaves and seeds of both Keep fennel on the dry side.
are used the same way for
Like lettuce, endive can be seasoning, but Florence fennel is Special handling
stored for up to two weeks in the grown primarily for its bulbous
refrigerator, but you can't base and leaf stalks, which are Fennel plants grow four to five
freeze, can, or dry it. Share your used as vegetables. Florence feet tall; you may need to stake
harvest w i t h friends. Detailed fennel is a member of the parsley them if they are becoming
unwieldy. It's not often necessary,
so don't bother to set stakes at
the time of planting.

Pests

Since fennel is a member of the


parsley family, the parsley
caterpillar may appear. Remove
it by hand. It has no other serious
pest problems, so fennel is a
good bet for the organic gardener.

Diseases

Fennel has no serious disease


problems.

When and how to harvest

You can start harvesting a few


sprigs as soon as the plant is well-
established and growing
steadily; use them for flavoring.
Harvest the bulbous stalk when
it is three inches or more in
diameter; cut the whole stalk
like celery, just below the point
where the individual stalks join
together.

Storing and preserving

Fennel leaves can be frozen or


dried as herbs; crumble the dried
leaves and store them in an
airtight container. You'll probably
want to eat the stalks fresh;
store them in the refrigerator up to
one week or in a cold, moist
place for two to three months. The
stalks can also be frozen or
dried; handle them like celery.

Serving suggestions
Fennel is featured in many
Italian dishes. The leaves add
flavor to soups and casseroles,
and fennel goes well with fish. You
can prepare Florence fennel in
many ways as you do celery. Cut
the fennel stalks into slices,
simmer them in water or stock
until tender, and serve buttered.
Bake slices of fennel w i t h
cheese and butter as an
accompaniment to a roast, or eat Common name: horseradish
the stalks raw as a dipping Botanical name: Armoracia
vegetable. French and Italian rusticana
cooks have been using fennel Origin: Eastern Europe
for generations — hence the
variety of names by which it's
k n o w n . The French served grilled Varieties
sea bass on a bed of flaming New Bohemian.
fennel stalks, and the dried stalks
can be used for barbecuing, too. Description

Horseradish looks like a giant,


two-foot radish. In fact, it's a hardy
perennial member of the
cabbage family. Ninety-eight
percent of all commercial
horseradish is grown in three
Illinois counties near St. Louis.
Horseradish has a very strong
flavor and — like the animal for
w h i c h it's named — can deliver a
powerful kick w h e n you're not
expecting it.

Where and when to grow

Horseradish is a very cold-hardy


plant, which does well in the North
and in c o o l , high-altitude areas
in the South. Grow it from crowns
or roots planted four to six
weeks before the average date of
last frost for your area.

How to plant

Horseradish tolerates partial


shade and needs rich, well-
drained soil. Turn over the soil
to a depth of 10 to 12 inches, and
remove stones and lumps that
might cause the roots to split.
W h e n you're preparing the soil,
dig in a complete, well-balanced
fertilizer at the rate of one
pound per 100 square feet or 10
pounds per 1,000 square feet.
Plant the roots in a trench, and
place them 24 inches apart with
the narrow end d o w n . Fill in the
trench until the thicker end is
just covered.

Fertilizing and watering

Fertilize before planting and


again at midseason, at the same
rate as the rest of the garden.
Detailed information on fertilizing
is given in "Spadework: The
Essential S o i l " in P a r t i . Common names: Jerusalem
Keep the soil evenly moist so artichoke, sunchoke
that the roots will be tender and Botanical name; Helianthus
full of flavor; horseradish gets tuberosus
w o o d y in dry soils. Origin: North America

Pests
Varieties
Horseradish has no serious pest Few varieties are available; grow
problems. the varieties available in your area.
You may find Jerusalem
Diseases artichokes growing w i l d by the
side of the road. Commercial
Horseradish has no serious Jerusalem artichokes are
disease problems. sometimes sold in supermarkets;
use these to start your own crop.
When and how to harvest
Vegetables." You can also dry Description
Plants grown from roots cannot horseradish or store the roots in
be harvested until the second year. a c o l d , moist place for 10 to 12 Jerusalem artichokes are large,-
A 10-foot row should give you months. Detailed information upright, hardy perennials, w i t h
six to eight roots. Horseradish on storing and preserving is given small yellow flowers two to
makes its best growth in late in Part 3. three inches across and rough,
summer and fall, so delay hairy leaves four to eight inches
harvesting until October or Serving suggestions long. This plant, w h i c h grows five
later. Dig the roots as needed, or in to 10 feet tall, was grown by the
areas where the ground freezes Horseradish is a classic North American Indians for its
hard, dig them in the fall. Leave a accompaniment to beef roasts and tubers, which look like small
little of the root in the ground so steaks. Serve it solo, freshly potatoes. The tubers are low in
that you'll have horseradish the grated, to brave souls w h o starch and taste a bit like water
following year, t o o . appreciate its full flavor. For the chestnuts.
less stern of stomach, calm the The Jerusalem artichoke isn't
Storing and preserving flavor w i t h w h i p p e d or sour an artichoke, and it didn't come
cream. Serve it as one of the f r o m Jerusalem. It's related to
Store in a glass jar in the dipping sauces with a beef the sunflower, and the name is
refrigerator one to two weeks. To fondue. Since the fumes are very probably derived from the
freeze, grate the roots and mix strong, grate horseradish Italian name for a sunflower,
w i t h vinegar and water, as outdoors if you can. If you must do girasole, which means turning
specified in " H o w to Freeze it indoors, use a blender. to the sun.
where and when to grow How to plant

Jerusalem artichokes will grow Give Jerusalem artichokes the


anywhere, and in almost any soil as least productive soil in your garden
long as it's warm and well- (provided the location is
drained. Plant the tubers two to sunny); they'll probably love it,
three weeks before the average and they'll take over areas
date of last frost for your area. where nothing else will grow. Plant
them as a screen or windbreak.
Be sure you k n o w where you want
them before you plant,
however, because once Jerusalem
artichokes become established
little short of a tornado will shift
t h e m . It's not necessary to
fertilize the soil before planting. cleanliness of your garden lessens
Plant the tubers t w o to six inches the incidence of disease. If a
deep, 12 to 18 inches apart. You plant does become infected,
w o n ' t need to cultivate because remove it before it can spread
weeds are no competition for a disease to healthy plants. Detailed
healthy Jerusalem artichoke. information on disease
prevention is given in "Keeping
Fertilizing and watering Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1.

Don't fertilize Jerusalem When and how to harvest


artichokes at midseason — they'll
do fine on their o w n . Time f r o m planting to harvest is
Water only d u r i n g extremely 120 to 150 days, and a 10-foot row
dry periods. The plants themselves should yield about 20 pounds of
can survive long dry spells, but tubers. As the plant grows, cut off
the tubers will not develop w i t h o u t the flower stalks as soon as they
a regular supply of water. appear; this will encourage tuber
p r o d u c t i o n . If the plant is using
Pests its energy to produce seeds, it
w o n ' t produce tubers. (The
Aphids occasionally visit the flowers, in fact, are cheerful. If
Jerusalem artichoke, but they you're growing Jerusalem
d o n ' t present any significant artichokes for decorative as well as
p r o b l e m . If they do appear, pinch practical purposes, you may be
out infested foliage or hose the willing to sacrifice a few tubers so
aphids off the plants. Chemically you can enjoy the flowers).
aphids can be controlled w i t h Harvest the tubers w h e n the leaves
Malathion or Diazinon. Detailed die back; dig them up w i t h a
information on pest control is spading fork, leaving a few in the
given in "Keeping Your Garden ground for next year.
Healthy" in P a r t i .
Storing and preserving
Diseases
Store Jerusalem artichokes in
Tuber rot may occur if the soil is the refrigerator for seven to 10
not properly drained. Maintaining days, or store in a c o l d , moist
the general health and place for two to five months. You
can also freeze Jerusalem like cabbage w i t h a permanent day temperatures under 80°F.
artichokes or leave them in the wave. Scotch kale has gray- Time plantings so that you can
ground as long as possible, and green leaves that are extremely harvest kale during cool
dig them up as you need t h e m . crumpled and curly; Siberian or weather. If your area has cold
Detailed information on storing blue kale usually is less curly and is winters, plant for summer to
and preserving is given in Part 3. a bluer shade of green. There early fall harvest. In mild climates,
are also decorative forms with plant for late spring or early fall
Serving suggestions lavender and silver variegated harvest. In the South, plant for
leaves. harvest in late fall or winter.
The slightly nutty flavor of the Plant kale from transplants early in
Jerusalem artichoke goes well w i t h Where and when to grow the spring and again in the
mushrooms. Serve them cooked midsummer if your summers
until tender then cooled and Kale is a cool-weather crop that aren't too hot. Direct-seed in
sliced, in a salad w i t h mushrooms grows best in the fall and will last the fall.
and a vinaigrette dressing. They through the winter as far north Flowering varieties of kale can
can also be used raw, peeled, and as Maryland and central Indiana. be planted in containers or as
thinly sliced, in a mushroom Frost even improves the flavor, accent points in a flower bed.
salad. C o o k e d , you can puree and kale is better adapted for fall The leaves are attractive, and their
t h e m , saute slices with planting throughout a wide area color is at its best in cool fall
tomatoes, or simply toss them with of the United States than any other weather.
butter and seasonings as a side vegetable. Kale doesn't tolerate
dish with meat or poultry. They can heat as well as the collard — which How to plant
also be used as an extender in it resembles in being one of the
meat loaf. oldest members of the cabbage or Kale likes fertile, well-drained
cole family. All cole crops are soil w i t h pH w i t h i n the 6.5 to 7.5
frost-hardy and can tolerate low range; this discourages disease
20°F temperatures. Kale does and lets the plant make the most of
best in a cool growing season with the nutrients in the soil. Kale is

Common names: kale, borecole,


collards, green cabbage,
German greens
Botanical name: Brassica
oleracea acephala
Origin: horticultural hybrid

Varieties
Dwarf Blue Curled (55 days);
Dwarf Blue Scotch (55 days); Vate;
(55 days); Dwarf Green Curled
(60 days).

Description

Kale is a hardy biennial plant


grown as an annual. It's a member
of the cabbage family and looks
usually grown from transplants caterpillars. Cutworms, boiling, try preparing it like
except where there is a long cabbage loopers, and imported spinach steamed w i t h butter and
cool p e r i o d , in w h i c h case seed cabbage worms can all be only the water that clings to the
can be sown directly in the controlled by spraying w i t h leaves after washing. The Italians
garden in fall for winter harvest. bacillus thuringiensis, an steam kale until tender, then
W h e n you're preparing the organic product also known as add olive o i l , a little garlic, and
soil for planting, w o r k in a Dipel or Thungicide. Kale does breadcrumbs, and sprinkle it
complete, well-balanced not suffer too much from pests, so with Parmesan cheese in the last
fertilizer at the rate of one p o u n d it's a good choice for the organic minute or t w o of cooking. You
per 100 square feet or 10 pounds gardener. Detailed information on can also prepare kale Chinese-
per 1,000 square feet. If you have pest control is given in "Keeping style, stir-fried w i t h a few slices
sandy soil or your area is subject Your Garden Healthy" in P a r t i . of fresh gingerroot.
to heavy rains, you'll probably
need to supplement the Diseases
nitrogen content of the soil. Use
about a pound of nitrogen Kale has no serious disease
fertilizer for a 10-foot row. problems.
Plant transplants that are four
to six weeks o l d , with four or five When and how to harvest
true leaves. If the transplants are
leggy or have crooked stems, plant Time from planting to harvest is
them deeply (up to the first 55 days from transplants, 70 to 80 Common names: kohlrabi,
leaves) so they w o n ' t grow to be days from seed. A 10-foot row turnip-rooted cabbage, stem
top-heavy. Plant the seedlings will produce about 10 plants. Leave t u r n i p , turnip cabbage
eight to 12 inches apart, in rows 18 kale in the garden until needed. Botanical name: Brassica
to 24 inches apart. If you're As the plants mature, take outside caulorapa
planting seeds, set them half an leaves, leaving the inner ones to Origin: horticultural hybrid
inch deep and space them three grow, or cut off the entire plant.
inches apart. Thin them when But harvest kale before it gets
they're big enough to lift by the old and t o u g h .
true leaves, and either transplant Varieties
the thinned seedlings or eat Storing and preserving Early W h i t e Vienna (55 days);
them right away. Early Purple Vienna (60 days).
If possible, leave kale in the
Fertilizing and watering garden until you want to eat it. It Description
will store in the refrigerator in a
Fertilize before planting and plastic bag for up to one week, or Kohlrabi is a hardy biennial
again at midseason, at the same in a cold, moist place for up to grown as an annual and is a
rate as the rest of the garden. three weeks. You can also freeze, member of the cabbage clan. It
Detailed information on fertilizing can, or dry it; use the recipes for has a swollen stem that makes it
is given in "Spadework: The greens. Detailed information on look like a turnip growing on a
Essential Soil" in Part 1. storing and preserving is given cabbage root. This swollen stem
Abundant soil moisture and in Part 3. can be w h i t e , p u r p l e , or green,
cool moist air are needed for the and is topped w i t h a rosette of
best growth. Regular watering Serving suggestions blue-green leaves. In German,
keeps kale growing strongly and kohl means cabbage and rabi
prevents it from getting tough. Young kale makes a distinctive means turnip—a clue to the
salad green; dress it simply with oil taste and texture of kohlrabi,
Pests and vinegar. You can also cook it although it is mild and sweeter
in a little water and serve it w i t h than either of t h e m . Kohlrabi is a
The cabbage family's traditional butter, lemon juice, and fairly recent addition to the
enemies are cutworms and chopped bacon. Instead of vegetables grown in northern
Europe. In this country, nobody
paid it any attention until 1800,

Where and when to grow

All cole crops are hardy and can


tolerate low 20°F temperatures.
Kohlrabi tolerates heat better
than other members of the
cabbage family, but planting
should be timed for harvesting
d u r i n g cool weather. Kohlrabi
has a shorter growing season than
cabbage. It grows best in cool
weather and produces better w i t h
a 10° to 15°F difference between
day and night temperatures. If
your area has cold winters, plant
for summer to early fall harvest. In
the South, plant for harvest in
late fall or winter. W i t h spring
plantings, start kohlrabi early so
that most growth will occur before
the weather gets t o o hot.

How to plant

Kohlrabi likes fertile, well-


drained soil w i t h a pH w i t h i n
the 6.5 to 7.5 range; this
discourages disease and lets the
plant make the most of the
nutrients in the soil. The soil
should be high in organic
matter. W h e n you're preparing the
soil for planting, w o r k in a
complete, well-balanced fertilizer
at the rate of one p o u n d per 100
square feet or 10 pounds per 1,000
square feet. Cole crops are
generally grown f r o m transplants
except where there's a long cool
period. Kohlrabi, however, can be
grown directly f r o m seed in the
garden. Sow seeds in rows 18 to 24
inches apart and cover them
w i t h a quarter to a half inch of soil.
W h e n the seedlings are growing
w e l l , thin them to five or six inches
apart—you can transplant the
thinnings. Cultivate carefully to
avoid harming the shallow roots.
Fertilizing and watering Serving suggestions David's day (March 1) to
commemorate King
Fertilize before planting and Small, tender kohlrabi are Cadwallader's victory over the
again at midseason, at the same delicious steamed, w i t h o u t Saxons in A . D . 640, w h e n the
rate as the rest of the garden. peeling. As they mature you can Welsh pulled up leeks and wore
Detailed information on fertilizing peel off the outer skin, dice t h e m , them as ID's. The more
is given in "Spadework: The and boil them in a little water. decorous now wear a daffodil
Essential S o i l " in Part 1. Kohlrabi Kohlrabi can also be stuffed, like instead.
should have even moisture or it squash-
will become w o o d y . Try young kohlrabi raw, Where and when to grow
chilled, and sliced; the flavor is
Pests mild and sweet, and the Leeks are a cool-weather crop.
vegetable has a nice, crisp texture. They'll tolerate warm
The cabbage family's traditional You can also cook kohlrabi, temperatures, but you'll get
enemies are cutworms and then cut it into strips and marinate better results if the days are c o o l ;
caterpillars. Cutworms, the strips in an oil and vinegar temperatures under 75°F
cabbage loopers, and imported dressing; chill this salad to serve produce the best yields. Plant
cabbage worms can all be w i t h cold cuts. Cooked kohlrabi leeks from seed in the spring
controlled by spraying w i t h can be served just w i t h seasoning four to six weeks before the
bacillus thuringiensis, an and a little melted butter or average date of last frost and
organic product also known as mashed w i t h butter and cream. For f r o m transplants in fall for a late
Dipel or Thungicide. Detailed a slightly different flavor, cook it harvest. Plant transplants in
information on pest control is in bouillon instead of water. spring if you want to speed
given in "Keeping Your Garden up the crop to avoid a hot
Healthy" in P a r t i . summer.

Diseases How to plant

Cabbage family crops are Leeks like a place in full sun


susceptible to yellows, clubroot, and thrive in rich, well-worked
and downy mildew. Lessen the soil w i t h good drainage. W h e n
incidence of disease by planting you're preparing the soil, dig in a
disease-resistant varieties when Common name: leek complete, well-balanced
they're available; maintaining the Botanical name: Allium p o r r u m fertilizer at the rate of o n e p o u n d
general health of your garden; Origin: Mediterranean, Egypt per 100 square feet or 10 pounds
and avoiding handling the plants per 1,000 square feet. Plant the
w h e n they're wet. If a plant does seeds an eighth inch deep in
become infected, remove and rows 12 to 18 inches apart, and thin
destroy it so it cannot spread Varieties them six to nine inches apart. To
disease to healthy plants. Detailed Titan (120 days); American Flag (120 plant transplants, make holes six
information on disease days); Broad London (130 days); Tivi inches deep, about six to nine
prevention is given in "Keeping (115 days). inches apart, in well-worked soil.
Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1. Double rows save space; to
Description make t h e m , stagger the plants w i t h
Storing and preserving their leaves growing parallel to
The leek is a hardy biennial the rows so they will not grow into
Kohlrabi will store for one week grown as an annual. It's a member the pathway. Drop the leeks in
in a refrigerator or for one to two of the onion family, but has a the holes, but do not fill in w i t h
months in a c o l d , moist place. stalk rather than a bulb and leaves soil. Over a period of time,
Kohlrabi can also be frozen. that are flat and straplike watering will slowly collapse the
Detailed information on storing instead of hollow. The Welsh soil around the leeks and settle
and preserving is given in Part 3. traditionally wear a leek on St. them i n .
Special handling

In order to grow a large, white,


succulent leek, blanch the lower
part of the stem by hilling the
soil up around the stalk as It
develops.

Fertilizing and watering

Fertilize before planting and


again at midseason, at the same
rate as the rest of the garden.
Detailed information on fertilizing
is given in "Spadework: The
Essential Soil" in Parti.
Give leeks plenty of water to
keep them growing strongly.

Pests

Onion thrips may show up on


leeks in dry weather. Discourage
them by hosing them off the
plants, or spray them with
Malathion or Diazinon, Leeks
will do well in the organic garden
despite the thrips. More
detailed information on pest
control is given in "Keeping
Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1.

Diseases

Leeks have no serious disease


problems.

When and how to harvest

Time from planting to harvest is


about 80 days from transplants and
120 days or more from seed. A
10-foot double row should give
you about 20 leeks. Around
midsummer, start removing the
top half of the leaves. This will
encourage greater growth of the
leek stalk. Pull the leeks as you
need them, but harvest them all
before frost.
w i t h small, yellowish flowers on delightfully easy to grow, grows becomes useless as a vegetable.
the stalk. The lettuce most fast, and provides bulk and color to If your area has a short, hot
commonly f o u n d in supermarkets salads. growing season, start head
(iceberg or head lettuce) is the Leaf lettuce and butterhead lettuce f r o m seed indoors eight to
most difficult to grow in the home lettuce make attractive borders or 10 weeks before your average
vegetable garden. Butterhead accents in a flower garden, and date of last frost and transplant it as
and bibb lettuces, which are often either kind can be grown singly in a soon as possible so that the
so extravagantly expensive in four-inch pot or in a w i n d o w plants will mature before the
the store, are easier to grow. box. W i t h a little planning you can weather gets really hot. Sow
Butterhead lettuces have loose grow an entire salad garden in succession crops, beginning in
heads and delicate crunchy leaves. containers on a balcony or terrace. midsummer. In a mild-winter
Stem lettuce (celtuce) might Historically, King Nebuchad- climate, grow spring, fall, and
fool you into thinking you're nezzar grew lettuce in his winter crops.
eating hearts of palm and makes gardens in ancient Babylon. The
a crunchy addition to a salad. Romans used lettuce as a How to plant
Celtuce is grown in the same sedative.
way as lettuce, except that you Lettuce needs well-worked soil
want celtuce to bolt or go to Where and when to grow with good drainage and moisture
seed, because you're going to retention. W h e n you're
harvest the thickened stem. You Lettuce is a cool-season crop, preparing the soil, dig in a
use the leaves of celtuce as you usually grown from seed planted in complete, well-balanced
w o u l d regular lettuce; the heart the garden four to six weeks fertilizer at the rate of one pound
of the stem is used like celery. Cos before your average date of last per 100 square feet or 10 pounds
or romaine lettuce forms a frost. Long, hot summer days per 1,000 square feet. Start
loose, long head and is part way will make the plants bolt, or go to transplants from seed eight to 10
between a butterhead and leaf seed; when this happens the weeks before your average date of
lettuce in flavor. Leaf lettuce is plant sends up a flower stalk and last frost. If you are direct-
seeding lettuce in the garden, sow stale beer set flush to the soil. To
seeds a quarter inch deep in control aphids, pinch out infested
wide rows, and w h e n the seedlings foliage, or hose the aphids off
are large enough to handle, thin the plants. Control aphids
leaf lettuce to stand six to eight chemically with Malathion or
inches apart and head lettuce 12 Diazinon, taking care to spray the
inches apart. Thinning is undersides of the leaves.
important; heading lettuce Detailed information on pest
w o n ' t head, and all lettuce may control is given in "Keeping
bolt if the plants are crowded. Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1.
Transplant the thinnings. needs careful watering when
the head is f o r m i n g . Try not to Diseases
Fertilizing and watering splash muddy water on the
lettuce plants — the cleaner they Lettuce has no serious disease
Give the entire garden a are, the easier they are to problems.
midseason application of fertilizer. prepare for eating. Use a light
Your successive crops of lettuce mulch of straw or hay to keep When and how to harvest
will benefit f r o m it, even though soil off the leaves.
you will already have harvested As the lettuce grows, either pick
an early crop. Detailed Pests the outer leaves and let the inner
information on fertilizing is leaves develop, or harvest the
given in "Spadework: The Cutworms, slugs, and snails can w h o l e plant at once by cutting it off
Essential S o i l " in P a r t i . be troublesome. You may also at ground level. Try to harvest
Always keep the soil evenly have to deal w i t h aphids. Put a when the weather is c o o l ; in the
moist but not soggy, and d o n ' t let collar around each plant to heat of the day the leaves may be
the shallow-rooted lettuce discourage cutworms, and trap limp. Chilling will crisp up the
plants dry out. Heading lettuce slugs and snails w i t h a saucer of leaves again.
there are other ways to serve Description
lettuce. Braise it in butter w i t h
seasoning to taste — the French Mushrooms are the fruiting
use nutmeg. Make a wilted salad bodies of a fungus organism, and
or cream of lettuce soup, or stir-fry there are between 60,000 and
it w i t h mushrooms and onions. 100,000 species of fungus that
Cook peas and shredded lettuce produce mushrooms. Because
together in a little butter — many mushrooms are poisonous,
t h r o w in the lettuce just before and it's extremely difficult to
you take the peas off the heat. Use tell the edible variety f r o m the
several varieties of lettuce poisonous k i n d , gathering w i l d
together for an interesting mushrooms to eat is a very risky
combination of shades and pastime. There are, however,
textures. Serve a very plain many good books on the market
salad — a few leaves of lettuce that will help you recognize
dressed w i t h oil and a good wine some of the 50 or more edible
vinegar — to cleanse the palate varieties that grow w i l d in the
between courses of a fancy dinner. United States; so if you do want
to go m u s h r o o m - h u n t i n g , do a
little homework first. You can also
grow mushrooms at home
f r o m prepared trays, kits, and
spawn that are available
commercially through seed
catalog companies and garden
suppliers. It's not t o o difficult,
and it can be both productive
and f u n .

storing and preserving Where and when to grow

Don't harvest lettuce until Because you're growing them


you're ready to use it. It can be indoors, the type of climate you
stored for up to two weeks in the live in is a matter of indifference
refrigerator, and everyone has a to your mushrooms. You can
favorite way of keeping it crisp. also grow them at any time of the
Some suggest washing the lettuce year, but the trays or kits are
first, then wrapping it in a cotton usually available commercially
or linen towel and keeping it in the Common name: mushroom only f r o m October through
refrigerator. Others suggest Botanical name: Agaricus April.
storing the w h o l e lettuce in a species
plastic bag. You can't freeze, Origin: Mushrooms are f o u n d How to plant
dry, or can lettuce, but you can all over the w o r l d .
sprout lettuce seeds. If you've Mushrooms grow best in a
got lots, share your bounty with dark, h u m i d , cool area. In most
friends. Detailed information Varieties homes the best places are the
on short-term storage is given in Although there are many basement and the cabinet under
Part 3. varieties of edible mushrooms, the kitchen sink. A little light
only a few are available for w o n ' t hurt the mushrooms, but
Serving suggestions home p r o d u c t i o n ; grow the they do need high humidity —
varieties that are available 80 to 85 percent — and a cool
Yes, salads, of course — but commercially. temperature —55° to 60°F.
Mushrooms for growing at When and how to harvest can also freeze, can, or dry
home are available in two them. Detailed information on
different forms — in kits or as Whether you're growing storing and preserving is given
spawn. You can buy prepared mushrooms from a kit or from in Part 3.
trays and kits already filled with spawn, you'll wait about four
the growing medium and the weeks for results. You can harvest Serving suggestions
mushroom spores. All you the mushrooms as immature
have to do is remove the tray from buttons, before the caps open, or Fresh mushrooms are
the package, add an inch of when the cap is fully open and wonderful raw, sliced thinly and
topsoil, and water. Keep them in a the gills exposed — at this stage eaten alone or tossed in a green
dark, humid, cool place, and the mushrooms are ripe and salad. Simmer them in red wine
you should be harvesting their flavor is at its highest level. and tomatoes with parsley and
mushrooms within about four Never pull the mushrooms out herbs for a delicious vegetarian
weeks. of the soil; cut them off at soil level supper dish. Stuff them with
Many seed companies also with a sharp knife. Check and herbed breadcrumbs and broil
sell mushroom spawn; growing harvest your mushrooms every them, or saute them lightly and
from spawn is less expensive, day; if you leave mature toss them in with a dish of plain
but it does require a little more mushrooms in the planting bed vegetables — try them with
care. Plant half-inch pieces of your yield will be lower, but if zucchini. Use mushrooms in your
the spawn about two inches deep you pick them regularly the bed stir-fry Oriental dishes; the
and eight to 10 inches apart in a will produce continuously for as quick cooking preserves their
well-rotted strawy horse or cow long as six months. flavor and texture. You can also
manure. Keep the planted fold them into an omelette topped
spawn in a dark, humid room with Storing and preserving with sherry sauce for an elegant
the temperature at about 70°F lunch dish.
for the first 21 days; then lower Mushrooms can be stored in the
the temperature to about 60°F refrigerator up to one week. You
and cover the bed with a one-inch
layer of good, sterilized
topsoil. If the conditions are
right, you should be able to
start harvesting in about four
weeks.

Fertilizing and watering

You don't need to fertilize


mushrooms.
Keep them moist; don't let
the mushrooms dry out, but don't
allow water to stand on the soil.

Pests

Pests present no serious


problems when you're growing
mushrooms at home.

Diseases
Mushrooms grown at home
have no serious disease problems.
muskmelon is usually called a have a smoother surface than
cantaloupe, but it should not be muskmelons, and lack their
confused w i t h the real distinctive odor. They also ripen
cantaloupe, which is a warty or later and require a longer growing
rock m e l o n . The w o r d season, w h i c h means that they
cantaloupe means " s o n g of the will not ripen fully in short-season
Common names: muskmelon, w o l f " and was the name of an areas. Your Cooperative
cantaloupe, cantaloup Italian castle. In 1885, w h e n Extension Service will advise you
Botanical name: Cucumis melo William S. Ross brought two on growing honeydews in your
Origin: South Asia, tropical barrels of muskmelons into the area. The following growing
Africa South Water Market in Chicago, information for muskmelons
everyone laughed at the little applies also to honeydews.
melons. Ross, however,
Varieties laughed all the way to the bank. Where and when to grow
Muskmelons are very The U.S. Department of
dependent on climate and Agriculture spells it cantaloup, M u s k m e l o n is a tender, warm-
growing conditions. Check with w i t h o u t the final " e . " weather plant that will not tolerate
your garden center or local Another type of melon you even the slightest frost. It also
extension office for the varieties may like to try in your garden is the has a long growing season, which
that grow best in your area. honeydew. It's sometimes means that you must be careful
referred to as a winter m e l o n , but to select a variety suited to your
Description again the name is inaccurate — area's climate. In cool areas
the true winter melon is a you'll do better w i t h small-fruited
The muskmelon is a long, Chinese vegetable. Honeydews varieties; in warmer areas,
trailing annual that belongs to the where you can accommodate their
cucumber and watermelon need for a longer season, you
family. The netted melon or can grow the large varieties. In
cool areas grow muskmelons
from transplants, using individual,
plantable containers at least
four inches in diameter so that the
root systems are not disturbed
when you plant t h e m . Set the
plants in the garden when the
ground is thoroughly w a r m , two to
three weeks after your average
date of last frost.

How to plant

Muskmelons must have full sun


and thrive in well-drained soil that
is high in organic matter. When
you're preparing the soil, dig in a
complete, well-balanced
fertilizer at the rate of one p o u n d
per 100 square feet or 10 pounds
per 1,000 square feet. Grow
muskmelons in inverted hills
spaced four to six feet apart. If
you're planting from seed, plant
six to eight seeds in each h i l l ; when
the seedlings have developed Storing and preserving
three or four true leaves, thin them
to leave the strongest two or You can store muskmelons up
three seedlings In each hill. Cut the to one week in the refrigerator or,
thinned seedlings with scissors if you have a lot, for two to
at soil level to avoid damaging the three weeks in a cool, moist place.
survivors' root systems. Where You can also freeze your extras
cucumber beetles, other insects, or make pickles with them.
or weather are a problem, wait a pinch out infested vegetation, Detailed information on storing
bit before making the final hose them off the vines, or spray and preserving is given in Part 3.
selection. If you're using the aphids with Malathion or
transplants, put two or three in Diazinon. Cucumber beetles Serving suggestions
each hill. may not do much feeding damage,
but they carry cucumber Muskmelon or honeydew is
Fertilizing and watering bacterial wilt. Hand-pick them off delicious by itself. A squeeze of
the vines promptly, or spray lemon or lime juice brings out
Fertilize before planting and them with carbaryl. Detailed the flavor nicely. Or fill the halves
again at midseason, at the same information on pest control is with fruit salad, yogurt, or ice
rate as the rest of the garden. given in "Keeping Your Garden cream. You can also scoop out the
Detailed information on fertilizing Healthy" in Parti. flesh with a melon-baller, and
is given in "Spadework: The freeze the balls for future use. Mix
Essential Soil" in Parti. Diseases balls or chunks of different
Muskmelons need a lot of types of melon for a cool dessert.
water while the vines are growing. Muskmelon vines are Serve wedges of honeydew with
Be generous with water until the susceptible to wilt, blight, mildew, thinly sliced prosciutto as an
melons are mature, then stop and root rot. Planting disease- appetizer.
watering while the fruit ripens. resistant varieties when possible
and maintaining the general
Special handling cleanliness and health of your
garden will help cut down the
To keep competitive plants incidence of disease. If a plant
weeded out, cultivate carefully does become infected, remove
until the vines cover the and destroy it before it can spread
ground. The roots are very shallow disease to healthy plants.
and extend quite a distance, so Detailed information on disease
proceed with caution. You can prevention is given in "Keeping Common names: mustard,
grow muskmelons three feet Your Garden Healthy" in Parti. Chinese mustard, leaf mustard,
apart on fences instead of in spinach greens
Inverted hills. As the fruits When and how to harvest Botanical name: Brassica juncea
develop, they may need support if Origin: Asia
you're growing them on a fence. Time from planting to harvest is
A net or bag will do the job — try 60 to 110 days, depending on type,
using old pantyhose. If the and in a good season you might Varieties
muskmelons are growing in a hill, get 10 melons from a 10-foot row. Tendergreen (spinach mustard,
put a board under each melon to Leave melons on the vine until 30 days); Green Wave (45 days);
keep it off the ground. they're ripe; there is no increase in Southern Giant Curled (40
sugar after harvesting. Mature days).
Pests melons slip easily off the stem; a
half-ripe melon needs more Description
Aphids and cucumber beetles pressure to remove than a ripe
are the pests you're most likely to melon, and often comes off with Mustard is a hardy annual with a
encounter. To control aphids. half the stem attached. rosette of large light or dark green
time. As soon as the plants start
to go to seed, pull them up or
they will produce a great number
of seeds and sow themselves all
over the garden. Plant mustard
again w h e n the weather begins
to cool off.

Fertilizing and watering

Fertilize before planting and


again at midseason, at the same
rate as the rest of the garden.
Detailed information on fertilizing
is given in "Spadework: The
Essential S o i l " in Part 1.
Water mustard before the soil
dries out to keep the leaves
growing quickly.

Pests
Mustard is almost always
attacked by some pest or other and
is more susceptible than other
crops to attack by flea beetles and
aphids. Hand-pick or hose these
pests off the plant, or pinch out
crinkled leaves that grow up to accommodate it w i t h o u t any aphid-infested foliage. Or use a
three feet in length. The leaves and problems. chemical spray of Malathion or
leaf stalks are eaten. The seeds Diazinon. Because of its pest
can be ground and used as a How to plant problems, mustard is not the ideal
condiment. If you had lived in crop for the organic gardener.
ancient Rome, you w o u l d have Mustard tolerates partial shade Detailed information on pest
eaten mustard to cure your and needs well-worked soil, high control is given in "Keeping
lethargy and any pains you in organic matter, w i t h good Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1.
suffered. drainage and moisture retention.
W h e n you're preparing the soil, Diseases
Where and when to grow dig in a complete, well-balanced
fertilizer at the rate of one Mustard has no serious disease
Mustard is a cool-season crop; p o u n d per 100 square feet or 10 problems.
it's hardy, but the seeds will not pounds per 1,000 square feet.
germinate well if you sow them Plant the seeds half an inch deep in When and how to harvest
too early, so plant seeds in the rows 12 to 24 inches apart, and
garden on your average date of when the seedlings are large Pick off individual leaves as they
last frost. Mustard is grown like enough to handle, thin them to grow, or cut the entire plant.
lettuce; it is more heat-tolerant stand six to 12 inches apart. Harvest w h e n the leaves are
than lettuce, but long hot summer Transplant the thinned seedlings, young and tender; in summer the
days will force the plants to bolt or eat them in soups or as greens. leaf texture may become tough
and go to seed. As mustard has a For a continuous harvest, and the flavor strong. Harvest the
very short growing season, most plant a few seeds at intervals, w h o l e crop w h e n some of the
areas of the United States can rather than an entire row at one plants start to go to seed.
storing and preserving

You can store mustard in the


refrigerator for up to one week, or
you can freeze, can, or dry your
excess crop; use the recipes for
greens. You can also sprout
mustard seeds. Detailed
information on storing and
preserving is given in Part 3.

Serving suggestions

Use young, tender leaves of


mustard in a salad, alone or mixed
with other greens. Boil the older
leaves quickly in just the water that
clings to them after washing;
dress them with a little olive oil and
vinegar, or add some crumbled
bacon. Substitute mustard greens
for spinach in an omelette or
frittata.

Common names: okra, lady's


fingers, gumbo
Botanical names: Hibiscus
esculentus
Origin: Africa

Varieties
Emerald (56 days); Clemson
Spineless (58 days); Dwarf Green
Long Pod (52 days).
Description Essential Soil" in Parti. grow for a year if not killed by frost
Keep the plants on the dry and if old pods are not left on
Okra, a member of the cotton side. The stems rot easily in wet or the plant. Keep picking the pods
and hibiscus family, is an erect, cold conditions. while they are quite small; when
tender annual With hairy stems they're only about two inches long
and large maplelike leaves. It Special handling they are less gluey. If you let the
grows from three to six feet tall, pods mature you can use them in
and has large flowers that look like Don't work with okra plants winter flower arrangements;
yellow hibiscus blossoms with when they're wet. You may get an the pods and the stalks are quite
red or purplish centers. When allergic reaction. dramatic.
mature, the pods are six to 10
inches long and filled with Pests Storing and preserving
buckshotlike seeds. Okra is
used in Southern cooking, in Flea beetles and aphids may visit Pods will store in the
gumbo or mixed with tomatoes. okra. Spray flea beetles with refrigerator for seven to 10 days.
carbaryl. Pinch out aphid- You can also freeze, can, or dry
Where and when to grow infested vegetation, control the them. Detailed information on
aphids chemically with storing and preserving is given
Okra is very sensitive to cold; Malathion or Diazinon. Detailed in Part 3,
the yield decreases with Information on pest control is
temperatures under 70°f, but it given in "Keeping Your Garden Serving suggestions
has a short season, which permits Healthy" in Parti.
it to be grown almost anywhere Many people are disappointed
in the United States. Plant okra Diseases because their first mouthful often
from seed in the vegetable tastes like buckshot in
garden about four weeks after your Okra may be attacked by mucilage. A taste for okra is
average date of last frost. Okra verticillium or fusarium wilt. Okra perhaps an acquired one. Try it
does not grow well in containers. varieties are not resistant to in gumbo, mixed with
these diseases, but maintaining tomatoes, or sauteed.
How to plant the general cleanliness and
health of your garden will help cut
Okra will grow in almost any down the incidence of disease.
warm, well-drained soil and needs If a plant does become infected,
a place in full sun. When you're remove it before it can spread
preparing the soil, dig in a disease to healthy plants. Rotate
complete well-balanced crops to prevent the buildup of
fertilizer at the rate of one pound diseases in the soil. Detailed
per 100 square feet or 10 pounds information on disease
per 1,000 square feet. Plant the prevention is given in "Keeping
seeds a half inch to an inch deep Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1. Common name: onion
in rows 24 to 36 inches apart, and Botanical name: Allium cepa
when the seedlings are growing When and how to harvest Origin: Southwest Asia
strongly, thin them to stand 12 to
18 inches apart. Time from planting to harvest is
50 to 65 days, and a 10-foot row will Varieties
Fertilizing and watering yield about six pounds of pods. Soil and growing conditions
When the plants begin to set their affect the flavor of an onion as
Fertilize before planting and pods, harvest them at least much as the variety, so check
again at midseason, at the same every other day. Pods grow with a garden center or with your
rate as the rest of the garden. quickly, and unless the older Cooperative Extension Service
Detailed information on fertilizing ones are cut off the plant will stop for specific varieties that will do
is given in "Spadework: The producing new ones. Okra will well in your area.
Description sets are, the better; any sets
larger than the nail of your little
Onions are hardy biennial finger are unlikely to produce
vegetables usually grown as good bulbs. Sets are the easiest to
annuals. They have hollow plant and the quickest to
leaves, the bases of w h i c h enlarge produce a green o n i o n , but they
to f o r m a b u l b . The flower stalk are available in the least number
is also hollow, taller than the of varieties, and are not the most
leaves, and t o p p e d w i t h a reliable for bulb production —
cluster of w h i t e or lavender sometimes they'll shoot right on
flowers. The bulbs vary in color to the flowering stage w i t h o u t
f r o m white t h r o u g h yellow to red. producing a bulb. Transplants
All varieties can be eaten as are available in more varieties than
green onions, t h o u g h spring sets and are usually more
onions, bunching onions, reliable about producing bulbs.
scallions, and green onions are Seeds are the least expensive
grown especially for their tops. and are available in the greatest
Green onions take the least time to variety, but they have disease
grow. Bermuda and Spanish problems that sets d o n ' t have and
onions are milder than American take such a long time to grow
onions. American and Spanish that the forces of nature often kill
onions generally take longer to them before they produce
mature than Bermuda onions. anything.
In limited space you can grow
Where and when to grow onions between other vegetables,
such as tomatoes or cabbages,
Most onions are sensitive to day or tuck them in among
length. The American and Spanish flowers — they d o n ' t take much
onions need long days to r o o m . They can also be grown in
produce their bulbs, and the containers. An eight-inch
Bermuda o n i o n prefers short flowerpot can hold eight to 10
days. Onions are also sensitive to green onions.
temperature, generally Onions appreciate a well-
requiring cool weather to produce made, well-worked bed w i t h all the
their tops and warm weather to lumps removed to a depth of at
produce their bulbs. They're frost- least six inches. The soil should be
hardy, and you can plant fertile and rich in organic matter.
whichever variety you're using Locate most bulbs in full
four weeks before your average sun — green onions can be placed
date of last frost. In the South, in a partially shady spot. W h e n
onions can be planted in the fall you're preparing the soil, dig in a
or winter, depending on the complete, well-balanced
variety. fertilizer at the rate of one pound
per 100 square feet or 10 pounds
How to plant per 1,000 square feet.
W h e n you plant transplants
Onions are available in three and sets, remember that large
forms — seeds, transplants, and transplants and large sets (over
sets. Sets are onions w i t h a case three quarters inch in diameter)
of arrested development — their will often go directly to seed smaller transplants or sets for
growth was stopped when they and should be grown only for bulbs. Plant transplants or sets
were quite small. The smaller the green or pulling onions. Grow an inch to t w o inches deep, and
is given in "Spadework: The
Essential S o i l " in P a r t i .
The soil should not be allowed
to dry out until the plants
have started to mature — at this
stage the leaves start to get yellow
and b r o w n and to d r o o p over.
Then let the soil get as dry as
possible.

Special handling

Onions are not good fighters;


keep the weeds from crowding in
and taking all their f o o d and
water. Keep the weeds cut off from
the very beginning since they
are hard to remove w h e n they
snuggle up to the o n i o n . Thin
conscientiously; in a crowded bed
onions will mature w h e n very
small w i t h o u t growing a bulb.

Pests
t w o to three inches apart, in rows 12 to 18 inches apart, and thin
rows 12 to 18 inches apart. The final to one to t w o inches apart. O n i o n thrips and maggots are
size of the onion will depend on the pests to watch for. Discourage
h o w much growing space it has. Fertilizing and watering thrips by hosing them off the
The accompanying illustration plants, or control them chemically
shows h o w to plant onion Fertilize before planting and with Malathion or Diazinon.
transplants or sets. If you're again at midseason, at the same Prevention is the best
planting onions f r o m seed, plant rate as the rest of the garden. nonchemical control for
the seeds a quarter inch deep in Detailed information on fertilizing maggots — put a three- or four-
inch square of plastic around mature onions. You can also annuals and belong to the same
the plants to discourage flies from freeze, dry, or pickle onions. family as celery, carrots, and
laying their eggs near the plants. Detailed information on storing parsley. A rosette of celerylike
To control maggots chemically, and preserving is given in Part 3. leaves grows f r o m the top of the
drench the soil around the w h i t i s h , fleshy root. Parsnips taste
plants with Diazinon at the first Serving suggestions like sweet celery hearts. Roman
sign of damage. Detailed Emperor Tiberius demanded
information on pest control is Onions are probably the cook's annual supplies of parsnips
given in "Keeping Your Garden most indispensable vegetable. from Germany. Parsnips were the
Healthy" in P a r t i . They add flavor to a huge variety potato of medieval and
of cooked dishes, and a meat stew Renaissance Europe.
Diseases or casserole w i t h o u t onions
w o u l d be a sad thing indeed. Serve Where and when to grow
In areas that produce onions small onions parboiled with a
commercially, onions are cream sauce, or stuff large ones for Parsnips need a long, cool
susceptible to bulb and root baking. Serve onion slices growing season. They will tolerate
rots, smut, and downy mildew. baked like scalloped potatoes. cold at both the start and the
Planting disease-resistant Perk up a salad w i t h thin onion end of their growing season, and
varieties w h e n possible and rings, or dip thick rings in batter they can withstand freezing
maintaining the general and deep-fry t h e m . Serve temperatures. Plant them from
cleanliness and health of your onions as one of the vegetables for seed two to three weeks before
garden will help cut d o w n the a tempura. Add c h o p p e d , the average date of last frost.
incidence of disease. If a plant sauteed o n i o n to a cream sauce for
does become infected, remove vegetables, or fry a big panful of How to plant
it before it can spread disease to slices to t o p liver or hamburgers.
healthy plants. Detailed Serve pickled onions w i t h Parsnips prefer full sun but will
information on disease prevention cheese and crusty bread for a tolerate partial shade. Before
is given in "Keeping Your "farmer's l u n c h . " It's virtually planting, w o r k a 5-10-10
Garden Healthy" in P a r t i . impossible to run out of culinary fertilizer into the soil at the rate of
uses for your onion crop. half a cup to 100 square feet.
When and how to harvest Turn the soil thoroughly to a depth
of 10 to 12 inches, and remove
Harvest some leaves for all lumps and rocks. This initial-soil
flavoring t h r o u g h o u t the season, preparation is essential for a
and harvest the green onions healthy c r o p ; soil lumps, rocks, or
w h e n the bulb is full but not much other obstructions in the soil
larger in diameter than the will cause the roots to split, fork, or
leaves. Harvest dry onion bulbs become d e f o r m e d . Don't use
after the leaves have dried. Lift manure in the soil bed for root
them completely out of the soil; if Common name: parsnip crops unless it is very well-
the roots touch the soil they may Botanical name: Pastinaca sativa rotted; it may also cause forking.
start growing again and get soft Origin: Europe Plant seeds a half inch deep in
and watery. wide rows 18 to 24 inches apart.
W h e n the seedlings develop
Storing and preserving Varieties t w o true leaves, thin them to t w o to
H o l l o w Crown improved (95 four inches apart. Thinning is
Store green onions in the days). All American (105 days), very important; parsnips must
refrigerator for up to one week. Let Harris M o d e l (120 days). have adequate space for root
mature bulbs air-dry for about a development. Do not pull out the
week outside; then store them in a Description thinned seedlings; cut them off
c o l d , dry place for up to six or at ground level to avoid disturbing
seven months. Do not refrigerate Parsnips are biennals grown as the remaining seedlings.
Fertilizing and watering some people think this makes
them taste better. The low
Fertilize before planting and temperatures convert the roots'
again at midseason, at the same starch to sugar. Dig them up
rate as the rest of the garden. before the ground becomes
Detailed information on fertilizing unworkable.
is given in "Spadework: The
Essential.Soil" in P a r t i . Storing and preserving
To keep parsnips growing
quickly, give them plenty of water.
Store parsnips in the i
As they approach maturity,
refrigerator for one to three
water less; too much moisture at
weeks, or in a c o l d , moist place
this stage may cause the roots to
for t w o to six months. You can also
crack.
freeze t h e m . Detailed
>>
information on storing and
Special handling
preserving is given in Part 3.
In areas with high soil
temperature, roots will grow short Serving suggestions
unless you mulch to regulate
the soil temperature. Control Parsnips can be cooked like
weeds, especially during the carrots. If the roots are very large,
first few weeks, but cultivate remove the tough core after
shallowly to avoid damaging the cooking. Put parsnips around a
young roots. beef roast so that they cook in
the meat juices, or puree them and
Pests add butter and seasonings.

Parsnips have few enemies, but


root maggots may be
troublesome. Discourage flies
from laying eggs near the plants by
putting a three- or four-inch
square of plastic around each
plant. Control maggots
chemically by drenching the soil
around the plants w i t h Common names: pea, sweet pea,
Diazinon. Detailed information on garden pea, sugar pea, English
pest control is given in "Keeping pea
Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1. Botanical name: Pisum sativum
Origin: Europe, Near East
Diseases
Parsnips have no serious
disease problems. Varieties
Shelling types: Little Marvel (62
When and how to harvest days); Frosty (64 days); Wando (75
days); Dwarf Grey Sugar (65
Leave the parsnips in the soil as days). Edible-pod types: Giant
long as possible or until you need Melting (65 days); Melting Sugar
t h e m . The roots are not harmed (69 days); Oregon Sugar Pod (75
by the ground's freezing. In fact. days); Sugar Snap (65 days).
Description grown in clay soil. Although
soaking seeds can speed
Peas are hardy, weak-stemmed, germination, a lot of seed can be
climbing annuals that have leaflike ruined by oversoaking, and
stipules, leaves w i t h one to peas are harder to plant when
three pairs of leaflets, and tendrils they're wet, because the seeds
that they use for climbing. The tend to break. Before planting,
flowers are w h i t e , streaked, or w o r k a complete well-balanced
colored. The fruit is a pod fertilizer into the soil at the rate of
containing four to 10 seeds, either one p o u n d per 100 square feet
smooth or w r i n k l e d depending or 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
on the variety. Custom has it that Plant the peas t w o inches deep,
you can make a wish if you find a one to two inches apart, in rows 18
pea pod w i t h nine or more to 24 inches apart.
peas in it.
Edible-pod peas are a fairly Fertilizing and watering
recent development. Grow them
the same way as sweet peas, but Fertilize before planting and
harvest the immature pod before again at midseason, at the same
the peas have developed to full rate as the rest of the garden.
size. Peas have traditionally been a Detailed information on fertilizing
difficult crop for the home is given in "Spadework: The
gardener to grow, w i t h yields so Essential S o i l " in P a r t i .
low that it was hardly w o r t h Peas need ample moisture;
planting t h e m . The introduction of don't let the soil dry out. When the
the new easy-to-grow varieties vines are f l o w e r i n g , avoid
of edible-pod peas has made getting water on the plants; it may
growing peas a manageable damage the flowers and reduce
undertaking for the home the crop.
gardener, and no garden should
be w i t h o u t t h e m . All you need to Special handling
grow peas is cool weather and a
six-foot support trellis. Provide trellises to support the
pea vines. Cultivate very gently to
Where and when to grow avoid harming the fragile roots.

Peas are a cool-season crop that Pests


must mature before the weather
gets hot. Ideal growing weather Aphids, rabbits, birds, and
for peas is moist and between 60° people are attracted to pea vines. Diseases
and 65°F, Plant them as soon as Control aphids by pinching out
the soil can be w o r k e d in spring — infested foliage or by hosing them Peas are susceptible to rot, wilt,
about six weeks before the off the vines. Fence out the blight, mosaic, and mildew. New,
average date of last frost. rabbits, and discourage birds w i t h highly disease-resistant
a scarecrow. Stern words may varieties are available; use them to
How to plant do the trick w i t h human cut d o w n on disease problems
trespassers. Despite this in your garden. You will also lessen
Peas tolerate partial shade and competition, peas are an excellent the incidence of disease if you
need good drainage in soil that is crop for any garden. Detailed avoid handling the vines when
high in organic material. They information on pest control is they're wet, and if you maintain
produce earlier in sandy soil, but given in "Keeping Your Garden the general health and cleanliness
yield a heavier, later crop if Healthy" in P a r t i . of the garden. If a plant does
become diseased, remove and
destroy it before it can spread
disease to healthy plants. Detailed
information on disease
prevention is given in "Keeping
Your Garden Healthy" in P a r t i .

When and how to harvest


Common names: pea, black-
Time from planting to harvest is eyed pea, cowpea, chowder
f r o m 55 to 80 days. A 10-foot row pea, southern pea, black-
may give you about three eyed bean, China bean
pounds of pods. Pick shelling peas Botanical name: Gigna sinensis
w h e n the pods are full and Origin: Asia
green, before the peas start to
harden. Overmature peas are
nowhere near as tasty as young Varieties
ones; as peas increase in size, California Black Eye (75 days);
the sugar content goes d o w n as the lose little of their flavor when Pink Eye Purple Hull (78 days);
starch content goes up. Sugar frozen. Detailed information on Mississippi Silver (80 days).
will also begin converting to starch storing and preserving is given in
as soon as peas are picked. To Part 3. Description
slow this process, chill the peas in
their pods as they are picked Serving suggestions Black-eyed peas are tender
and shell them immediately before annuals that can be either bushy or
cooking. Freshly shelled peas are a luxury climbing plants, depending on
Harvest edible-pod peas seldom enjoyed by most people. the variety. The seeds of the dwarf
before the peas mature. Pods Cook them quickly in a little varieties are usually w h i t e w i t h a
should be p l u m p , but the water and serve them with butter dark spot (black eye) where they're
individual peas should not be and chopped mint. Or add a attached to the p o d ; sometimes
competely showing through the sprig of mint d u r i n g cooking. Fresh the spots are b r o w n or purple.
pod. peas and boiled new potatoes Black-eyed peas originated in
are the perfect accompaniment for Asia. Slave traders brought them to
Storing and preserving a lamb roast. Toss c o l d , cooked Jamaica, where they became a
peas into a salad, or add them to staple of the West Indies' diet.
Storing fresh shelling peas is potato salad — t h r o w in diced
seldom an issue for home cooked carrots as w e l l , and you've Where and when to grow
gardeners; there are seldom got a Russian salad. Simmer
any left to store but they can be peas in butter w i t h a handful of Unlike sweet peas, black-eyed
stored in the refrigerator, lettuce tossed in at the end of peas tolerate high temperatures
unshelled, up to one week. You the cooking time. Or try lining the but are very sensitive to
can sprout, freeze, can, or dry pot w i t h lettuce leaves and cold — the slightest frost will harm
peas. Dried peas can be stored in a cooking the peas briefly over low t h e m . They grow very well in the
c o o l , dry place for 10 to 12 heat. Add a few sauteed South, but they d o n ' t grow well
months. Edible-pod peas are also mushrooms or onions for a f r o m transplants, and some
so good raw that you may not sophisticated vegetable dish. Northern areas may not have a
even get them as far as the kitchen. A d d edible pod peas to a stir-fry long enough growing season to
If you do have any to spare, you dish — the rapid cooking accommodate them f r o m seeds. If
can store them in a plastic bag in preserves their crisp texture and your area has a long enough
the refrigerator for seven to 10 delicate flavor. Eat them raw, or warm season, plant black-eyed
days. Edible-pod peas also freeze use them alone, lightly steamed, as peas from seed four weeks after
well and, unlike shelling peas. a side dish. the average date of last frost.
How to plant Diazinon. Detailed information on
pest control is given in "Keeping
Black-eyed peas will tolerate Your Garden Healthy" in P a r t i .
partial shade and will grow in very
poor soil. In fact, like other Diseases
legumes, they're often grown to
improve the soil. Well-drained, Black-eyed peas are susceptible
well-worked soil that's high in to anthracnose, rust, mildews,
organic matter increases their mosaic, and wilt. Planting
productivity. W h e n you're disease-resistant varieties when
preparing the soil for planting, possible and maintaining the
w o r k in a complete, well-balanced general cleanliness and health of
fertilizer at the rate of one your garden will help cut d o w n
p o u n d per 100 square feet or 10 the incidence of disease. To avoid
pounds per 1,000 square feet. spreading disease, don't work
Sow seeds half an inch deep and with the plants when they're wet. If
about two inches apart in rows a plant does become infected,
t w o to three feet apart; when the remove it before it can spread
seedlings are large enough to disease to healthy plants.
handle, thin them to three or four Detailed information on disease
inches apart. prevention is given in "Keeping
Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1.
Fertilizing and watering
When and how to harvest
Fertilize before planting and
again at midseason, at the same Time from planting to harvest is
rate as the rest of the garden. f r o m 70 to 110 days. You can eat
Detailed information on fertilizing either the green pods or the
is given in "Spadework: The dried peas. Pick pods at whatever
Essential S o i l " in P a r t i . stage of maturity you desire —
Don't let the soil dry out, but either young and tender or fully
try to keep water off the flowers; it matured to use dried.
may cause them to fall off, and
this will reduce the yield. Storing and preserving

Pests Unshelled black-eyed peas can


be kept up to one week in the
Beetles, aphids, spider mites, refrigerator. Young black-eyed
and leafhoppers attack black-eyed peas can be frozen, pod and all;
peas. Control aphids and the mature seeds can be dried,
beetles physically by hand-picking canned, or frozen. Dried shelled
or hosing them off the plants, black-eyed peas can be stored in
pinch out aphid-infested a c o o l , dry place for 10 to 12
vegetation, or using a chemical months. Detailed information
spray of Diazinon or Malathion. on storing and preserving is given
Hose leafhoppers off the plants in Part 3.
or spray w i t h carbaryl. Spider mites
are difficult to control even w i t h Serving suggestions
the proper chemicals; remove the
affected plants before the Eat young black-eyed peas in the
spider mites spread, or spray the pod like snap beans; dry the
undersides of the foliage with shelled peas for use in
casseroles and soups. Combine made over 117 separate products inside, and then transplant
cooked black-eyed peas and out of peanuts. them outdoors w h e n the weather
rice, season w i t h red pepper warms up. Start them t w o weeks
sauce, and bake until hot; or Where and when to grow before your average date of last
simmer the peas w i t h pork or frost, and transplant them
bacon for a classic Southern Peanuts need a frost-free outside t w o to three weeks after
dish. growing season four to five your average date of last frost.
months long. They're not grown
commercially north of How to plant
Washington, D.C., but they can
be grown for fun much farther Peanuts like well-worked sandy
north. If your growing season is soil that is high in organic matter.
short, start the peanuts in pots The pegs have difficulty

Common name: peanut


Botanical name: Arachis
hypogaea
Origin: South America

Varieties
Few varieties are available. Try
either Virginia or Spanish peanuts,
whichever is available in your
area. If you can find raw peanuts at
the grocery store, plant those.

Description

The peanut is a tender annual


belonging to the pea family. It
grows six inches to 21/2 feet tall,
depending on whether it's the
bunch type, w h i c h grows
upright, or the runner type, which
spreads out over the g r o u n d .
Small clusters of yellow, sweet-
pea-like flowers grow on stems
called pegs. The pegs grow d o w n
and push into the soil, and the
nuts develop from them one to
three inches underground. You
can grow a peanut plant indoors if
you give it lots of sunlight; it's a
novel and entertaining
houseplant.
Peanuts are 30 percent
protein and 40 to 50 percent oil.
George Washington Carver
penetrating a heavy clay soil. Diseases through a meat grinder for
W h e n you're preparing the soil crunchy peanut butter; for the
for planting, w o r k in a complete, Peanuts have no serious disease smooth kind put them in the
well-balanced fertilizer at the problems. blender. And imagine homemade
rate of one p o u n d per 100 square peanut butter cookies with
feet or 10 pounds per 1,000 When and how to harvest homegrown peanuts — you'll be
square feet. Plant either shelled one up on everyone at the
raw peanuts or transplants six to Time from planting to harvest is school bazaar. Add peanuts and
eight inches apart, in rows 12 to 18 120 to 150 days. Your yield depends candied orange peel to a fudge
inches apart. If you're growing on the variety of peanut and the recipe — it makes a delicious
f r o m seed, plant the seeds one to weather at the time of flowering, crunchy candy.
three inches deep. Grow them but usually there are not as
in double rows to save space. many peanuts as you might
imagine. Start harvesting when
Fertilizing and watering the plants begin to suffer from
frost. Pull up the whole plant
Fertilize before planting and and let the pods dry on the vine.
again at midseason, at the same
rate as the rest of the garden. Storing and preserving
Detailed information on fertilizing
is given in "Spadework: The Shelled peanuts can be Common names: pepper, bell
Essential S o i l " in P a r t i . sprouted, frozen, or used for pepper, sweet pepper, hot
Keep soil moisture even until peanut butter, or roasted for pepper, wax pepper, chili
the plants start to flower, then snacks. Dried shelled peanuts can pepper, pimento
water less. Blind (empty) pods be stored in a c o o l , dry place for Botanical names: Capsicum
are the result of too much rain or 10 to 12 months. Detailed frutescens (hot pepper),
humidity at flowering time. information on storing and Capsicum annuum (sweet
preserving is given in Part 3. and hot peppers)
Special handling Origin: New W o r l d tropics
Serving suggestions
Use a heavy mulch to keep the
soil surface f r o m becoming You probably w o n ' t be able to Varieties
hard — the peanut pegs will not resist eating your peanuts as Peppers come in bell (sweet) or
have to w o r k so hard to become snacks, but if you've got lots, hot varieties. The bell peppers are
established in the soil. make peanut butter. Run the nuts the most familiar; most are
M u l c h i n g will also make sweet, but there are a few hot
harvesting easier. varieties. They're usually
harvested when green, but will
Pests turn red (or occasionally yellow)
if left on the plant. Hot peppers —
Local rodents will be delighted sometimes called chili
that you've become a peanut peppers — are intensely flavored,
farmer. Discourage them by and there are more than a
removing their hiding places and hundred varieties. Ask your
fencing them out of your Cooperative Extension Service
garden. Peanuts have no other for specific recommendations for
serious pest problems. In warm your area.
climates they are a good crop for The following are reliable
the organic gardener. Detailed varieties for general use; the
information on control is given in initials TM indicate resistance to
"Keeping Your Garden Healthy" tobacco mosaic disease. Bell
in Part 1.. (sweet) peppers: Bell Boy (TM, 75
control aphids w i t h Malathion decoration. Detailed information Varieties
or Diazinon, and flea beetles with on storing and preserving is There are more than 100
carbaryl. Carbaryl can also be given in Part 3. varieties of potatoes in the United
used to control cutworms; apply it States, and they fall into four
to the base of the plants. basic categories: long whites,
Serving suggestions
Detailed information on pest round whites, russets, and
control is given in "Keeping round reds. The most important
Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1. Stuffed, raw, pickled, or variety is Russet Burbank, but it
roasted, sweet and hot peppers does not grow successfully in all
Diseases add lively flavor to any meal. areas. G o o d white varieties for
Stuff sweet peppers with tuna, general use are Irish Cobbler (75
Pepper plants are susceptible to chicken, a rice and meat days) and Norchip (90 days).
rot, blossom end rot, anthracnose, mixture, or chili con carne. For a G o o d red varieties for general use
tobacco mosaic virus, bacterial vegetarian dish, stuff them with are Norland (75 days) and Red La
spot, and mildew. Planting rice and chopped vegetables, a Soda (110 to 120 days). Because
disease-resistant varieties and cheese mixture, or seasoned there are so many varieties, and
maintaining the general breadcrumbs. Stuff raw peppers the results you get will vary
cleanliness and health of your with cream cheese, slice into according to growing conditions
garden will help cut d o w n the rings, and serve in a salad. Use in your area, ask your
incidence of disease. If a plant thick rings in a dish of vegetables Cooperative Extension Service for
does become infected, remove it for tempura. French-fry peppers, specific recommendations for
before it can spread disease to or fry them Italian-style in oil your area.
healthy plants. If you smoke, wash and garlic. Use chopped peppers
your hands before w o r k i n g with in chili and spaghetti sauce Description
the plants to avoid spreading recipes, and add a spoonful of
tobacco mosaic virus. Detailed chopped hot pepper to a The potato is a perennial grown
information on disease prevention creamy corn soup for an as an annual. It's a weak-stemmed
is given in "Keeping Your interesting flavor contrast. plant w i t h hairy, dark green
Garden Healthy" in Part 1. W h e n you're preparing raw c o m p o u n d leaves that look a little
hot peppers, cut and wash them like tomato leaves, and it
When and how to harvest under running water and wash produces underground stem
your hands well when you're tubers w h e n mature. The potato
If you want sweet red peppers, finished. Avoid rubbing your is a member of the solanaceous
leave your sweet green peppers on eyes while handling hot peppers. family, and is related to the
the vine until they ripen and Milk is more soothing than tomato, the eggplant, and the
turn red. Cut the peppers off the water for washing the hot pepper's pepper; it originated at high
vine; if you pull them off half the sting from your skin. altitudes and still prefers cool
plant may come up with the fruit. nights.
Hot peppers can irritate skin, so Potatoes haven't always been
wear gloves when you pick t h e m . as commonplace as they are now.
They grew in temperate regions
Storing and preserving along the Andes for a couple of
thousand years before Spanish
Peppers will keep up to one explorers introduced them to
week in the refrigerator or for two Europe in the 16th century. To
to three weeks in a cool, moist encourage the growing of
place. Sweet or hot peppers can be Common names: potato, white potatoes, Louis XVI of France
pickled whole or in pieces, or potato, Irish potato wore potato flowers in his
they can be chopped and frozen or Botanical name: Solanum buttonhole, and Marie
dried. W h o l e peppers can be tuberosum Antoinette w o r e a wreath of
strung up to dry — a wreath of hot Origin: Chile, Peru, Mexico potato flowers in her hair to a ball.
peppers makes a great kitchen But the people didn't become
interested in potatoes until an
armed guard was assigned to
watch the royal potato patch.

Where and when to grow

Potatoes need a frost-free


growing season of 90 to 120 days.
They're a c o o l - weather crop,
and they grow best in areas w i t h a
fairly cool summer; the ideal
potato-growing temperature is 60°
to 70°F. Hot weather cuts d o w n
on the production of tubers. Grow
potatoes in summer in the
N o r t h , and in fall, winter, and
spring in the South. Plant early
varieties just before your average
date of last frost, and plant fall
crops 120 days before the average
date of the first fall frost. If your
season is short, plant as soon as
possible for a late crop.

How to plant

Potatoes are grown f r o m whole


potatoes or pieces of potatoes —
these are called seed pieces;
each piece must have at least one
eye. Always plant certified
disease-free seed pieces, and
d o n ' t try to use supermarket
potatoes, w h i c h have been
chemically treated to prevent
sprouting. Some suppliers are
experimenting w i t h potatoes
grown f r o m actual seed, but these
have yet to prove themselves,
and the use of potato seed is not
recommended at this stage.
Potatoes need well-drained
fertile soil, high in organic matter,
w i t h pH of 5.0 to 5.5. Adding
lime to improve the soil and
reduce acidity usually increases
the size of the crop, but it also w o r k in a complete, well-balanced 18 inches apart, in rows 24 to 36
increases the incidence of fertilizer at the rate of one inches apart. You can also plant
scab — a condition that affects p o u n d per 100 square feet or 10 in a trench or on top of the ground
the skin of the potato but not the pounds per 1,000 square feet. and cover them with a thick
eating quality. W h e n you're Plant potatoes or potato pieces in m u l c h , such as 12 Inches of straw
preparing the soil for planting, full sun, four inches deep, 12 to or hay. For a very compact plant,
you can grow potatoes in barrels, also lessen the incidence of different potato dish every day for
old tires, or large bags — as the disease. If a plant does become a m o n t h . Small new potatoes
plant grows you add layers of soil infected, remove and destroy it to are delicious boiled and tossed in
to cover the leaves and stems. avoid spreading disease to butter and parsley or mint;
This encourages the plant to healthy plants. Detailed d o n ' t peel t h e m . Stuff potatoes
produce new tubers. information on disease with tuna and spinach for a
prevention is given in "Keeping nourishing all-in-one dish. Enjoy
Fertilizing and watering Your Garden Healthy" in P a r t i . low-calorie fries by brushing the
fries all over w i t h oil and baking
Fertilize before planting and When and how to harvest them in a single layer on a
again at midseason, at the same cookie sheet. Pipe pureed
rate as the rest of the garden. Time from planting to harvest is potatoes around the edge of a
Detailed information on fertilizing 75 to 130 days, and a 10-foot row dish for an elegant garnish. Add
is given in "Spadework: The will give you eight to 10 pounds c u b e d , cooked potatoes w i t h
Essential Soil" in P a r t i . of potatoes. Each plant will other vegetables to an omelette or
For the best p r o d u c t i o n , try to probably produce three to six frittata. Don't t h r o w away
maintain even soil moisture; regular-size potatoes and a potato skins — they're full of
watering before the soil dries number of small ones. Potatoes goodness. Deep fry t h e m , or
out. A thick mulch will conserve are fun to grow, and the young simmer them to make stock. W h e n
soil moisture, keep d o w n new potatoes are delicious. Dig you're mashing potatoes use
weeds, and keep the soil from up new potatoes after the plant hot milk, not cold — they'll be
getting too w a r m . blooms, or if it doesn't b l o o m , lighter and fluffier; a teaspoon
after the leaves start to yellow. For of baking powder will have the
Pests potatoes that taste like store- same effect.
boughtones, dig up the tubers two A nonedible use for potatoes:
Colorado potato bugs, weeks after the vine dies in fall. Cut a potato in half, and carve a
leafhoppers, flea beetles, and Use a spading fork to dig the picture or design on the cut
aphids attack potatoes. Spray potatoes, and be as gentle as surface; ink it, and press on paper
Colorado potato bugs, possible to avoid bruising or for an instant block print. It's a
leafhoppers and flea beetles damaging the skins. splendid way of keeping the
w i t h carbaryl. Spray aphids with children busy on a wet
Malathion. Detailed Storing and preserving afternoon.
information on pest control is
given in "Keeping Your Garden Cure potatoes in a dark, humid
Healthy" in Part 1. Potatoes have so place for 10 days at 60° to 65°F; then
many pest problems they may store them in a cold, moderately
not be a good choice for the moist place for four to six months.
organic gardener. Be careful not to let them get
wet, or they'll rot. Do not
Diseases refrigerate t h e m . Prepared or
new potatoes freeze well and
Potatoes are susceptible to potatoes can also be dried.
blight and to scab, which causes a Detailed information on storing
curly roughness of the skin but and preserving is given in Part 3.
does not affect the eating quality of
the potato. Plant resistant Serving suggestions Common name: p u m p k i n
varieties for the best results,
Botanical names: Cucurbita
especially for large plantings, Potatoes are wonderfully
maxima, Cucurbita moschata,
and use seed certified as true to versatile in the kitchen — you can
Cucurbita pepo
type and free of disease. b o i l , bake, roast, fry, puree,
Origin: tropical America
Maintaining the general health and saute, and stuff t h e m . The
cleanliness of your garden will enterprising cook can serve a
Varieties Description are sensitive to cold soil and frost.
Small pumpkins are grown Plant them f r o m seed two to
primarily for c o o k i n g ; Pumpkins are tender annuals three weeks after your average
intermediate and large sizes for w i t h large leaves on branching date of last frost w h e n the soil
cooking and for making jack-o'- vines that can grow 20 feet long. has warmed up. Pumpkins are
lanterns; and the very large The male and female flowers — relatively easy to grow so long as
j u m b o ones mainly for exhibition. sometimes as large as eight you have space to accommodate
The bush and semi-vining inches in diameter — grow on the t h e m . They're not the vegetable
varieties are best suited to small same vine, and the fruit can to grow in a small home garden,
home gardens. The following weigh as much as 100 pounds. The although you can train them on
are a few of the varieties available, name p u m p k i n is also given to a afence or trellis, and the bush type
and unless otherwise indicated number of other squashes and requires less space than the
they are the vining kind. Ask gourds — anything that's vining varieties.
your Cooperative Extension orange and hard. The harvest
Service for other specific poem reference, " w h e n the How to plant
recommendations for your frost is on the p u m p k i n , " means
area. Small (four to six pounds, 100- the first light frost, not a hard Pumpkins can tolerate partial
110 days): Early Sweet Sugar; freeze. The first p u m p k i n pies shade and prefer well-drained soil,
Luxury; Spookie; Sugar Pie. were made by pouring milk into high in organic matter. Too
Intermediate (eight to 15 pounds, a p u m p k i n and baking it. much fertilizer tends to encourage
100-110 days): Cinderella (bush); the growth of the vines rather
Green-Striped Cushaw; Jack- Where and when to grow than the production of pumpkins.
O'-Lantern; Spirit (semi-vining). W h e n you're preparing the soil
Large (15 to 25 pounds, 100 days): Pumpkins need a long growing for planting, work in a complete,
Big T o m ; Connecticut Field; season; they will grow almost well-balanced fertilizer at the
Halloween; W h i t e Cushaw. anywhere in the United States, rate of one pound per 100 square
Jumbo (50 to 100 pounds, 120 days): but in cooler areas you'll do better feet or 10 pounds per 1,000
Big Max; King of the Mammoths. with a smaller variety. Pumpkins square feet. Plant pumpkins in
inverted hills, made by Storing and preserving
removing an inch of soil from a
circle 12 inches in diameter and Cure pumpkins in a dark, h u m i d
using the soil to build up a rim place for 10 days at 80° to 85°F; then
around the circle; leave six feet store them at 50° to 55°F, in a dry
betv^een hills. Plant six to eight place for three to six months. Do
seeds in each hill, and thin to not refrigerate. Stored pumpkins
two or three w h e n the seedlings will shrink as much as 20 percent
appear. W h e n the seedlings in weight; they'll still make good
have four to six true leaves, thin to pies, but they look sad if kept
only one plant in each hill. Cut t o o long. You can dry or pickle
off the thinned seedlings at soil be there, but you may still be p u m p k i n , or freeze or can the
level to avoid disturbing the able to save the plant. Slit the stem, cooked pulp. You can also
roots of the chosen survivor. One remove the borer and dispose sprout p u m p k i n seeds. Detailed
early fruit can suppress the of it, then cover the stem with soil information on storing and
production of any more to encourage rooting at that preserving is given in Part 3.
pumpkins. Some people point. Detailed information on
suggest removing this first pest control is given in "Keeping Serving suggestions
p u m p k i n , but this is a gamble Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1.
because there's no guarantee that Spice up the cooked p u m p k i n
others will set. If you remove it, Diseases flesh for pie fillings, breads, or
eat it like squash. muffins; or use it in custards, or
Pumpkins are susceptible to as a stuffing for meats or
Fertilizing and watering mildew, anthracnose, and vegetables. Roast the seeds for a
bacterial wilt. Planting disease- nutritious snack. If a p u m p k i n has
Fertilize before planting and resistant varieties w h e n possible, served only briefly as a jack-o'-
again at midseason, at the same maintaining the general lantern, you can still use the flesh
rate as the rest of the garden. cleanliness and health of your for cooking.
Detailed information on fertilizing garden, and not handling the
is given in "Spadework: The vines w h e n wet will help cut d o w n
Essential S o i l " in P a r t i . the incidence of disease. If a
Be generous w i t h water; plant does become infected,
pumpkins need plenty of water to remove it before it can spread
keep the vines and fruit growing disease to healthy plants. Detailed
steadily. information on disease
prevention is given in "Keeping
Pests Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1.
Common name: radish
Squash vine borers attack When and how to harvest Botanical name: Raphanus
pumpkins, and if the plant is sativus (spring radish),
wilting it may be that borers are Time from planting to harvest is Raphanus sativus
to blame. Prevention is better than 95 to 120 days. A 10-foot row may longipinnatus (winter radish)
cure with borers, because once give y o u one to three pumpkins — Origin: temperate Asia
the pest is inside the plant, when you're talking pumpkins,
chemical controls w o n ' t help. IT your back yard starts to look like
you suspect borers are at w o r k , small potatoes. Leave the Varieties
apply carbaryl to the crown of pumpkins on the vine as long as Radishes can be grown for a
the plant at weekly intervals. If the possible before a frost, but not spring or winter crop. Spring
vine wilts from a definite point too long — they become very soft varieties are the commonly
o n w a r d , look for a very thin wall or when they freeze. Cut off the k n o w n small red varieties. Winter
hole near the point where the p u m p k i n w i t h one or two inches of radishes are larger and more
wilting starts. The culprit may still stem. oval and can grow eight or nine
inches long. The f o l l o w i n g are a soil. W h e n you're preparing the the variety; thin small spring
few of the varieties available. soil for planting, w o r k in a varieties one to three inches
Spring crop: Cherry Belle (22 complete, well-balanced apart, and give winter varieties a
days); Burpee W h i t e (25 days). fertilizer at the rate of one p o u n d little more space.
Winter crop: Black Spanish (55 per 100 square feet or 10 pounds
days); W h i t e Chinese (60 days). per 1,000 square feet. If you're Fertilizing and watering
planting winter radishes, be
Description sure to loosen the soil well and Fertilize before planting and
remove soil lumps or rocks that again at midseason, at the same
Radishes are hardy annuals or might cause the roots to become rate as the rest of the garden.
biennials that produce w h i t e , red, d e f o r m e d . Plant seeds half an Detailed information on fertilizing
or black roots and stems under a inch deep in rows or w i d e rows 12 is given in "Spadework: The
rosette of lobed leaves. They're to 18 inches apart. W h e n the Essential S o i l " in P a r t i .
fun to grow, and youngsters get seedlings are large enough to Give radishes enough water
hooked on gardening after handle, thin them according to to keep the roots growing quickly.
growing radishes more than any
other vegetable. A bunch of
radishes, well washed, makes a
great posy to give away. Radishes
are distant relations to
horseradish.

Where and when to grow

Radishes are cool-season crops


and can take temperatures below
freezing. You can grow them
anywhere in the United States, and
they mature in such a short time
that you can get two to three crops
in spring alone. Start planting
them f r o m seed in the garden t w o
or three weeks before the
average date of last frost for your
area. Radishes germinate
quickly and are often used w i t h
slower-growing seeds to mark
the rows. Spring radishes produce
a crop so fast that in the
excitement very few people ask
about the quality of the crop.
Radishes can also be grown in six-
inch pots in a bright, cool
w i n d o w . They will grow in sand if
watered w i t h l i q u i d , all-purpose
fertilizer diluted to quarter
strength.

How to plant

Radishes tolerate partial shade


and like w e l l - w o r k e d , well-drained
Serving suggestions

Radishes can be sculptured into


rosettes or just sliced into a salad.
If the water supply is low, Diseases They are low in calories and
radishes become w o o d y . make good cookie substitutes
Radishes have no serious w h e n you have to nibble. Put
Special handling disease problems. radishes on a relish tray, or on a
platter of vegetables for
Radishes sometimes bolt, or go When and how to harvest d i p p i n g . Try " p i c k l i n g " the excess
to seed, in the summer, but this is crop by mincing them and
more often a question of day Time from planting to harvest is marinating in vinegar.
length than of temperature. Cover 20 to 30 days for spring radishes, 50
the plants in midsummer to 60 days for winter radishes.
so they only get an eight-hour Pull up the w h o l e plant when the
day; a 12-hour day produces radishes are the right size. Test-
flowers and seeds but no radishes. pull a few or push the soil aside
gently to judge the size, and
Pests remember that the biggest
radishes aren't necessarily the
Aphids and root maggots best. If you wait too long to
occasionally attack radishes, but harvest, the centers of spring Common names: rhubarb, pie
you harvest radishes so quickly radishes become pithy. plant
that pests are not a serious Botanical name: Rheum
problem. You can pinch out Storing and preserving rhaponticum
aphid-infested foliage, and drench Origin: southern Siberia
the soil around the plants w i t h Radishes will store for one to
Diazinon to control root maggots. t w o weeks in the refrigerator. You
Detailed information on pest can also sprout radish seeds. Varieties
control is given in "Keeping Your Detailed information on storing Canada Red; MacDonald;
Garden Healthy" in Part 1. and preserving is given in Part 3. Valentine; Victoria (green stalks).
Description

A hardy perennial, rhubarb


grows two to four feet tall, with
large, attractive leaves on strong
stalks. The leaf stalks are red or
green and grow up from a
rhizome or underground stem,
and the flowers are small and
grow on top of a flower stalk. Don't
allow the plant to reach the
flowering stage; remove the
flower stalk when it first
appears. You eat only the rhubarb
stalks; the leaves contain a toxic
substance and are not for eating.

Where and when to grow

Rhubarb is very hardy and


prefers cool weather. In areas
where the weather is warm or
hot, the leaf stalks are thin and
spindly. Rhubarb can be grown
from seed, but the plants will not
grow "true" — which means
they won't be the same variety as
the parent plant. Crow from the
divisions that grow up from the
parent stems for a close or exact
copy of the parent plant. Buy
divisions or divide your own
plants in spring, about four to six
weeks before the average date
of last frost. The timing is not
crucial, because you won't
harvest rhubarb the first year.
Refer to "Planting Your Garden"
in Part 1 for information on
dividing plants.

How to plant

Rhubarb likes rich, well-worked


soil that is high in organic matter
and drains well. Give it a place in
full sun or light shade. When
you're preparing the soil for
planting, work in a complete, well-
balanced fertilizer at the rate of
one pound per 100 square feet or
10 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
you're ready to use t h e m ; in not be confused w i t h black
very cold areas, mulch them salsify (Scorzonera hispanica) or
heavily. Store rutabagas in a Spanish salsify (Scolymus
c o l d , moist place for two to four hispanicus); both of these are
months; do not refrigerate. related to the radish. Some
They can also be frozen. Detailed people claim that salsify has a slight
information on storing and oyster flavor — hence the name
preserving is given in Part 3. "oyster plant." In fact, it tastes
rather like artichoke hearts.
Serving suggestions
Where and when to grow
Peel rutabagas and steam or boil
until tender; then mash them for Salsify is hardy and tolerates
use in puddings and pancakes. cold. Like its prolific cousin, the
They can also be served sliced or dandelion, it's very easy to grow
diced. Add rutabagas to and will grow anywhere in the
vegetable soups and stews. Saute United States. Plant salsify from
them in butter w i t h apples and seed two or three weeks before
brown sugar. Rutabaga is very your area's average date of last
good w i t h lots of butter or sour frost.
cream; low-calorie alternatives
are yogurt or low-fat cream How to plant
cheese.
Plant salsify seeds in full sun in
rich, well-worked soil. When
you're preparing the soil for
planting, w o r k in a complete, well-
balanced fertilizer at the rate of
one p o u n d per 100 square feet or
10 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
W o r k the soil thoroughly to a
depth of eight to 12 inches, and
remove all stones, soil lumps, or
Common names: salsify, oyster rocks that might cause the roots
plant to fork and split. Plant the seeds
Botanical name: Tragopogon half an inch deep in rows 18 to 24
porrifolius inches apart, and w h e n the
Origin: southern Europe seedlings are large enough to
handle, thin them to stand two to
four inches apart.
Varieties
Few varieties are available; grow Fertilizing and watering
the variety available in your area.
Fertilize before planting and
Description again at midseason, at the same
rate as the rest of the garden.
Salsify is a hardy biennial grown Don't overfertilize salsify; it will
as an annual. It's related to cause the roots to fork and split.
dandelion and chicory, and its Detailed information on fertilizing
flowers look like lavender chicory is given in "Spadework: The
blossoms. The edible part is the Essential S o i l " in P a r t i .
long taproot. This salsify should Keep salsify evenly moist to
prevent the roots from getting Crusades introduced them to
stringy. Europe, and that De Soto
brought them to America in 1532.
Pests Shallot plants grow about eight
inches tall in a c l u m p , with narrow
Salsify has no serious pest Common name: shallot green leaves, and look very
problems. Botanical name: Allium cepa much like small onions; they're
Origin: Asia favorites w i t h gourmets. The
Diseases roots are very shallow and fibrous,
and the bulbs are about a half
Salsify has no serious disease Varieties inch in diameter w h e n mature. The
problems. Few varieties are available; grow small bulbs have a more delicate
the variety available in your area. flavor than regular onions. Use the
When and how to harvest young outer leaves like chives.
Description
Time from planting to harvest is Where and when to grow
about 120 days, and a 10-foot rov^ The shallot is a very hardy
should yield 20 to 40 roots. biennial grown as an annual, and Shallots are easy to grow and
Salsify roots can take freezing, so it's a member of the onion very hardy. You can grow them
leave them in the ground as long family. It's believed that French anywhere in the United States
as possible until you want t h e m . knights returning from the from cloves planted early in spring.
The longer they're out of the
g r o u n d , the less they taste like
oysters. To harvest, dig up the
w h o l e root.

Storing and preserving

Cut the tops off salsify and store


the roots in the refrigerator for one
to three weeks, or store in a
c o l d , moist place for two to four
months. For freezing, handle
salsify like parsnips. Detailed
information on storing and
preserving is given in Part 3.

Serving suggestions

Salsify roots should not be


peeled before c o o k i n g ; they can
" b l e e d ' . " Scrub them clean,
steam, and slice t h e m , then dip the
slices in batter or breadcrumbs
and fry; serve w i t h tartar sauce.
People w h o have never had
oysters can't tell them apart. Try
salsify braised w i t h lemon and
butter — the lemon helps preserve
the color. Or serve it with a
white sauce; add chopped parsley
for color.
How to plant throughout the growing season, Varieties
but be careful not to cut away Few varieties are available
Shallots can be grown in any soil any new growth coming from the commercially; grow the variety
but may have less flavor when central stem. Dig up bulbs when available in your area. Garden
they're grown in clay soils. the tops wither and fall over. sorrel, French sorrel, and herb
Shallots are very shallow-rooted patience or spinach dock are all
plants and need little soil Storing and preserving good for eating.
preparation. Although they prefer
full sun, they'll survive in partial Store shallots in the refrigerator Description
shade. Shallots seldom form seed, for up to one week or store the
so they're usually grown from bulbs like onions in a c o l d , dry Several varieties of sorrel will do
cloves, which should be planted place for two to eight months. You well in your garden. Garden sorrel
four to six weeks before your can also freeze or dry them like (R. acetosa) grows about three
average date of last frost. W h e n onions. The greens can be feet tall and produces leaves that
you're preparing the soil for chopped and frozen like chives. are good used fresh in salads;
planting, w o r k in a complete, well- Detailed information on storing herb patience or spinach dock (R.
balanced fertilizer at the rate of and preserving is given in Part 3. patientia) is a much taller plant,
one p o u n d per 100 square feet or w i t h leaves that can be used either
10 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Serving suggestions fresh or cooked. French sorrel
Plant the cloves six to eight inches (R. scutatus) grows only six to 12
apart in rows 12 inches apart, Shallots have a delicate flavor inches tall; its fiddle-shaped
and set them so that the tops of the and are less overpowering than leaves make good salad greens.
cloves are even with the soil, but many onions. They're very good Spinach rhubarb (R.
no deeper. Keep them carefully stirred into sour cream as a abyssinicus) is a lofty p l a n t — it
cultivated when they're small; dressing for vegetables or fish, grows up to eight feet tall. As the
the shallow root systems don't like or chopped and added to an oil- name suggests, you can cook the
to compete with weeds. and-vinegar dressing for salads. leaves like spinach and the
Use the small bulbs in the classic stalks like rhubarb. Avoid other
Fertilizing and watering French beef stew, boeuf varieties — they're weeds and
bourguignonne. not good for eating.
Fertilize before planting and
again at midseason, at the same Where and when to grow
rate as the rest of the garden.
Detailed information on fertilizing All the sorrels are very hardy and
is given in "Spadework: The can be grown in almost every area
Essential S o i l " in P a r t i . of the United States. Start them
Water the shallots regularly; f r o m seed in the early spring
do not allow the soil to dry out. before your average date of last
frost.
Pests
How to plant
Shallots have no serious pest
problems. All the sorrels require a sunny
Common names: garden sorrel, location w i t h well-drained, fertile
Diseases herb patience or spinach dock, soil. W h e n you're preparing the
French sorrel, spinach soil, dig in a complete, well-
Shallots have no serious disease rhubarb. balanced fertilizer at the rate of
problems. Botanical name: Rumex acetosa, one p o u n d per 100 square feet or
Rumex patientia, Rumex 10 pounds per 1,000 feet. Plant
When and how to harvest scutatus, Rumex abyssinicus. sorrels from seed t w o to three
Origin: Europe weeks before the average date
Cut the green shallot leaves of last frost. Plant the seeds a half
inch deep in rows 18 to 24 inches Pests Diseases
apart, and w h e n the plants are six
to eight weeks o l d , thin them to Aphids will probably show Sorrel has no serious disease
12 to 18 inches apart. interest in your sorrel. Control problems.
them by pinching out infested
Fertilizing and watering areas or hosing the aphids off the When and how to harvest
plants; or spray with Malathion
Fertilize before planting and or Diazinon. Detailed information Pick the fresh leaves of the
again at midseason, at the same on pest control is given in sorrel throughout the growing
rate as the rest of the garden. "Keeping Your Garden Healthy" in season. Pick off the flowers
Detailed information on fertilizing Part 1. before they mature to keep the
is given in "Spadework: The plants producing new leaves
Essential S o i l " in Part 1. long into the fall.
Sorrel plants should be kept
moist; water them more often than Storing and preserving
the rest of the garden.
Use sorrel fresh, or store sorrel
leaves in the refrigerator for one to
two weeks. You can also freeze
or dry the leaves as herbs, but
you'll lose some flavor. Detailed
information on storing and
preserving is given in Part 3.

Serving suggestions
You can use sorrel leaves raw, as
salad greens or very lightly
steamed or boiled and tossed in
butter. Sorrel soup is a classic
French favorite, and the
Russians use sorrel in a green
borscht soup. In the time of
Henry V I I I , sorrel was used as a
spice and to tenderize meat.
The English also mashed the leaves
with vinegar and sugar as a
dressing for meat and fish —
hence the name green sauce.

Common name: soybean


Botanical name: Glycine max
Origin: East Asia
Where and when to grow

Soybeans are sensitive to cold


and most varieties have a narrow
latitude range in which they will
mature properly and produce a
good crop. Plant a variety suited
to your area about two to three
weeks after the average date of
last frost. Don't plant before the
soil has warmed up.

How to plant
After the last frost is over,
choose a bed in full sunlight;
soybeans tolerate partial shade,
but partial shade tends to mean a
partial yield. Prepare the soil by
mixing in a pound of 5-10-10
fertilizer — don't use a high-
nitrogen fertilizer, because too
much nitrogen will promote
growth of foliage but not of the
beans. Work the fertilizer into
the soil at the rate of one pound
per 100 square feet or 10 pounds
per 1,000 square feet. The seeds
may crack and germinate poorly
when the moisture content of the
soil is too high. Don't soak the
seeds before planting, and don't
overwater immediately
afterwards.
Plant seeds an inch deep, one
to two inches apart in rows 24 to 30
inches apart. When the seedlings
are growing well, thin the plants
Varieties flowers are white with lavender to two inches apart. Cut the
A number of varieties have been shading, and the pods are one to seedlings with scissors at
bred to adapt to certain types of four inches long and grow in ground level; be careful not to
climate. Ask your Cooperative clusters. The soybean is disturb the others. Soybeans
Extension Service for specific extremely high in protein and don't mind being a little crowded;
recommendations for your area. calcium and is a staple of a in fact, they'll use each other for
vegetarian diet. It's also very support.
Description versatile and can be used to
make milk, oil, tofu, or a meat Fertilizing and watering
The soybean is a tender, free- substitute. The ancient Chinese
branching annual legume. Though considered the soybean their most Soybeans set up a mutual
it can grow five feet tall, it's important crop. The United exchange with soil
usually only two to 3y2 feet tall. The States now produces about 75 microorganisms called
stems and leaves are hairy; the percent of the world's soybeans. nitrogen-fixing bacteria, which
help them produce their own off the vines, or spray w i t h made into o i l , milk, or tofu — a
fertilizer. Some gardeners carbaryl. Rabbits, raccoons, and major foodstuff among
recommend that if you haven't woodchucks love soybeans and vegetarians. Soybeans are also
grown soybeans or beans in the can be strong competitors for your used as a high-protein meat
plot the previous season, you crop. Discourage them by substitute or ground into flour.
should treat the seeds before removing places where they can Soybeans supply about half the
planting w i t h a nitrogen-fixing nest or hide or by fencing them vegetable fats and oils used in this
bacteria inoculant to help them out of your garden. Detailed country.
convert organic nitrogen information on pest control is
compounds into usable organic given in "Keeping Your Garden
compounds. This is a perfectly Healthy" in P a r t i .
acceptable practice, but it isn't
really necessary; the bacteria in Diseases
the soil will multiply quickly
enough once they've got a Soybeans have no serious
growing plant to w o r k w i t h . disease problems.
Fertilize before planting and
again at midseason, at the same When and how to harvest Common name: spinach
rate as the rest of the garden. Botanical name: Spinacia
Detailed information on fertilizing Time from planting to harvest is oleracea
is given in "Spadework: The 45 to 65 days, and a 10-foot row will Origin: Asia
Essential S o i l " in P a r t i . supply one to two pounds of
Keep the soil moist until the beans. The yield is not generous,
soybeans have pushed through so except for novelty value,
the g r o u n d . Water regularly if soybeans are not the ideal crop for Varieties
there's no rain, but remember that a small home garden. Harvest Spinach: Bloomdale
water on the flowers can cause when the pods are about four Longstanding (43 days); America
the flowers and small pods to fall inches long or when they look (52 days). New Zealand Spinach:
off. W h e n the soil temperature p l u m p and f u l l . O n l y a few varieties of New
reaches 60°F you can mulch to Zealand spinach are available; use
conserve moisture. Storing and preserving the variety available in your
area.
Special handling Store fresh unshelled soybeans
in the refrigerator up to one week. Description
Don't handle soybean plants Shelled soybeans can be frozen,
when they're wet or covered w i t h canned, or dried. They can also be There are two kinds of
heavy d e w ; handling or sprouted. D r o p p i n g the pods spinach — the regular kind which
brushing against them when into boiling water for a minute or is a hardy annual, and the less
they're wet spreads fungus two makes shelling easier. well-known New Zealand spinach,
spores. Cultivate thoroughly but Dried, shelled soybeans can be which is a tender annual and is
w i t h care, so that you d o n ' t stored in a c o o l , dry place for 10 not really spinach at all. Spinach,
disturb the plants' shallow root to 12 months. Detailed the regular k i n d , is a hardy
systems. information on storing and annual with a rosette of dark green
preserving is given in Part 3. leaves. The leaves may be
Pests crinkled (savoy leaf) or flat.
Serving suggestions Spinach is related to beets and
Soybeans do not have many chard. The cartoon character
pest problems, unless you're The Japanese cook soybeans in Popeye made spinach famous
growing them in an area where salted water, serve them in the with young children because he
soybeans are produced shell, and then squeeze out the attributed his great strength to
commercially. Flea beetles may seeds and eat t h e m . Soybeans are eating spinach — probably with
appear; hand-pick or hose them extremely versatile; they can be some justification, because
spinach has a very high iron Heat makes regular spinach bolt, area. Plant New Zealand spinach to
content. Spinach was brought or go to seed, very quickly. supply you with a summer
to America by the early colonists; harvest long after it's too hot for
the Chinese were using it in the Where and when to grow regular spinach.
sixth century, and the Spanish
used it by the 11th century. Spinach is very hardy and can How to plant
New Zealand spinach tolerate cold — in fact, it thrives in
(Tetragonia expansa) comes — cold weather. Warm weather Both spinach and New Zealand
as the name indicates — from New and long days, however, will make spinach are grown — like beets
Zealand. It's a tender annual with it bolt, or go to seed. Ideal and chard — from seed clusters
weak, spreading stems two to spinach weather is 50° to 60°F. that each produce several
four feet long, sometimes longer, Spinach grows well in the winter seedlings. This means they must
and it's covered w i t h dark green in the South, and in early spring be thinned w h e n the seedlings
leaves that are two to four inches and late summer in the N o r t h . appear. Both types tolerate
long. New Zealand spinach is Plant it about four weeks before partial shade and require well-
not really spinach at all, but when your area's average date of last drained soil that's rich in
it's cooked the two are virtually frost. organic matter. Spinach does not
indistinguishable. The leaves of New Zealand spinach likes like acid soil. W h e n you're
New Zealand spinach are long warm days. It grows best at preparing the soil for planting,
smaller and fuzzier than those of 60° to 75°F and w o n ' t start work in a complete, well-
regular spinach, and it has the growing until the soil warms up. It balanced fertilizer at the rate of
advantage of being heat-tolerant has a short season, however (55 one pound per 100 square feet
and able to produce all summer. to 65 days), so it can be grown or 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
successfully in most areas of the Plant spinach seed clusters half
United States. Plant it on the an inch deep, two to four inches
average date of last frost for your apart, in rows 12 to 14 inches
apart, and w h e n the seedlings are
large enough to handle, thin
them to leave the strongest
seedling from each cluster.
For New Zealand spinach,
plant the seed clusters half an inch
deep, 12 inches apart, in rows 24
to 36 inches apart. Thin when the
seedlings are large enough to
handle, leaving the strongest
seedling from each cluster to
grow. Cut off the others w i t h
scissors at soil level.

Fertilizing and watering

Fertilize both types before


planting and again at midseason, at
the same rate as the rest of the
garden. Detailed information
on fertilizing is given in
"Spadework: The Essential Soil"
in P a r t i .
Spinach does best when the
soil is kept uniformly moist. Try not
to splash muddy water on the
leaves — it will make the resistant. Planting disease-
spinach difficult to clean after resistant varieties and maintaining
harvesting. M u l c h to avoid getting the general cleanliness and
soil on the leaves. New Zealand health of your garden will help cut
spinach especially needs a d o w n the incidence of disease.
regular supply of water to keep it If a plant does become infected,
producing lots of leaves. remove it before it can spread
disease to healthy plants. New
Special handling Zealand spinach has no serious
disease problems. Detailed
Spinach does not like information on disease
competition f r o m weeds. Cut prevention is given in "Keeping
weeds at ground level to avoid Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1.
damaging the shallow roots of the
spinach plants. When and how to harvest

Pests For spinach, time from planting


to harvest is 40 to 52 days, and a 10-
Aphids and, occasionally, foot row should yield about five
leafminers may attack spinach. pounds of spinach leaves. To
Pinch out aphid-infested harvest, either pick the outside
foliage, and remove leaves on leaves periodically, or pull up the
w h i c h leafminers have laid their w h o l e plant at one time. Be sure spinach is w o n d e r f u l in salads,
eggs — look for the eggs on the to wash spinach thoroughly to and its dark green leaves add color
undersides of the leaves. eliminate the grit that sometimes and variety to lettuce. Add
Control aphids chemically with sticks to the crinkled leaves. orange segments and almonds to a
Malathion or Diazinon; For New Zealand spinach, salad of fresh spinach, and toss
chemical controls are ineffective time f r o m planting to harvest is 55 in a sweet-sour dressing. Or add
on leafminers once they're to 65 days, and a 10-foot row will crumbled bacon, hard-cooked
inside the leaf. New Zealand produce about five to 10 pounds of egg, and croutons. A d d cubes of
spinach has no serious pest leaves. To harvest keep cutting cheese to spinach, peppers, and
problems and is a good crop for the tender tips off the ends of the sliced fresh mushrooms for an
the organic gardener. Detailed stems; this will encourage new appealing lunch-time salad.
information on pest control is g r o w t h , and you can harvest Children w h o hate cooked spinach
given in "Keeping Your Garden until the first frost. on principle often enjoy it raw.
Healthy" in P a r t i . Cooked spinach is delicious
Storing and preserving creamed or in a souffle, in
Diseases crepes or topped w i t h poached
Both types of spinach can be eggs. Try it w i t h a horseradish
Spinach is susceptible to rust, refrigerated for up to one week. sauce, or w i t h melted butter and a
but most varieties are rust- They can also be frozen, little garlic. Spinach is an
canned, or dried. Spinach seeds attractive ingredient for a quiche;
can also be sprouted. Detailed add flaked salmon for a more .
information on storing and substantial meal.
preserving is given in Part 3.

Serving suggestions

Both spinach and New Zealand


spinach can be used in the same
ways, and the f o l l o w i n g
suggestions apply to both. Fresh
Description and frost. They like night
temperatures of at least 60°F. Don't
The cucumber family, to which plant the seeds until the soil has
squashes belong, probably has the warmed up in spring, about two to
greatest diversity of shapes and three weeks after the average
sizes of any vegetable family date of last frost for your area.
except the cabbages. It's the Direct-seeding is best for
genus Cucurbita and includes squashes, but if you're planting a
Common names: summer certain gourds and pumpkins, variety that requires a longer
squash, crookneck, pattypan, as well as squashes. Most are growing season than your area can
straightneck, scallop, trailing or climbing plants w i t h provide, use transplants from a
zucchini large yellow flowers (both male reputable nursery or garden
Botanical name: Cucurbita and female); the mature fruits center, or grow your o w n . To
species have a thick skin and a definite grow your o w n transplants, start
Origin: American tropics seed cavity. "Summer squash," four to five weeks before your
" w i n t e r squash," and " p u m p k i n " outdoor planting date, and use
are not definite botanical individual plantable containers
Varieties names. " P u m p k i n , " which any to lessen the risk of shock w h e n
Crookneck: Golden Summer child can tell you is a large the seedlings are transplanted.
Crookneck (53 days). Scallop or vegetable used for jack-o'-lanterns Make sure that the plantable
pattypan: Peter Pan (60 days); and pies, is applied to long- containers are large enough for
Scallopini hybrids (60 days); St. keeping varieties of C. moschata, the variety of squash you're
Patrick Green Tint (60 days). C. pepo, and a few varieties of planting.
Straightneck: Early Prolific C. maxima. Summer squashes are
Straightneck (50 days). Zucchini: eaten w h e n they are immature; How to plant
Gold Rush (60 days); Zucchini winter squashes are eaten when
hybrids (60 days). These are only mature. Squash varieties like well-worked
a few of the varieties available. Ask Squashes are hard to confine. soil w i t h good drainage.
your Cooperative Extension A bush-type zucchini will grow They're heavy feeders, so the
Service for other specific well in a tire planter if kept well- soil must be well fertilized. W h e n
recommendations for your area. watered and fertilized; a vining you're preparing the soil for
squash can be trained up a planting, w o r k in a complete, well-
fence. Summer squashes are balanced fertilizer at the rate of
weak-stemmed, tender annuals, one p o u n d per 100 square feet or
w i t h large, cucumberlike 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
leaves and separate male and Two to three weeks after your
female flowers that appear on the area's average date of last frost,
same plant. Summer squash w h e n the soil is w a r m , plant
usually grows as a bush, rather squash in inverted hills. Make
than as a v i n e ; the fruits have inverted hills by removing an inch
t h i n , tender skin and are generally of soil from an area about 12
eaten in the immature stage inches across and using this soil to
before the skin hardens. The most f o r m a ring around the circle.
popular of the many kinds of Make the inverted hills three to
summer squashes are crookneck, four feet apart, and plant four or
straightneck, scallop, and five seeds in each one. When the
zucchini. seedlings are large enough to
handle, thin them to leave the two
Where and when to grow or three strongest young plants
standing. Cut the thinned
Squashes are warm-season seedlings off at soil level w i t h
crops and very sensitive to cold scissors; if you pull them out
you'll disturb the roots of the
remaining seedlings.

Fertilizing and watering

Fertilize before planting and


again at midseason, at the same
rate as the rest of the garden.
Detailed information on fertilizing
is given in "Spadework: The
Essential S o i l " in Part 1.
Keep the soil evenly moist;
squashes need a lot of water in hot
weather. The vines may wilt on
hot days because the plant is using
water faster than the roots can
supply; if the vines are getting a
regular supply of water, don't
worry about the wilting — the
plants will liven up as the day
gets cooler. If squash vines are
wilting first thing in the morning,
water them immediately.

Special handling

If you grow squashes indoors,


or in an area where there are no the plants. Control them Detailed information on pest
insects to pollinate the female chemically w i t h carbaryl. To control is given in "Keeping
flowers — your 51 st-floor balcony, control borers, apply carbaryl to Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1.
for instance — you may need to the crowns of the plants at
pollinate the flowers yourself. weekly intervals. Do this as soon as Diseases
Take a soft-bristled brush and there's any suspicion of
dust the inside of a male flower damage — once the borers get Squashes are susceptible to
(the one w i t h o u t an immature inside the plants, chemical bacterial wilt, mosaic virus, and
fruit on the stem), then carefully controls are ineffective. If a small mildew. Planting disease-
dust the inside of the female hole in the stem tells you borers resistant varieties w h e n they're
flowers. are already inside, you may still be available and maintaining the
able to save the plant. Slit the general cleanliness and health of
Pests stem, remove the borers, and your garden will help lessen the
dispose of t h e m . Then cover the incidence of disease. When
Squash bugs, squash borers, area w i t h soil to encourage root watering, try to keep water off
and cucumber beetles are the development at that point. the foliage, and d o n ' t handle
major pests that squash plants the plants when they're wet — this
attract. They don't usually show up can cause powdery mildew and
until you have a good harvest, so spread disease. If a plant does
squash is still a good choice for the become infected, remove and
organic gardener. Squashes are destroy it before it can spread
prolific, so you can afford to lose a disease to healthy plants. Detailed
few of your crop to the bugs. information on disease
Beetles can often be controlled by prevention is given in "Keeping
hand-picking or hosing them off Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1.
when and how to harvest among vegetables for a tempura Ace (85 days); Table King (bush-
or slice it thinly in salads. Use type, 85 days). Butternut: Waltham
Time from planting to harvest the larger fruits for making (95 days); Butterbush (small-
depends on the variety, as does the zucchini bread. fruited bush, 90days); Hercules
yield you can expect. Harvest (95 days). Delicious: Golden
summer squashes when they're Delicious (100 days). Hubbard:
young — they taste delicious Kinred (100 days); Blue Hubbard
when they're small, and if you (100 days).
leave them on the plant too long
they will suppress flowering and Description
reduce your crop. Harvest
summer squashes like the zucchini The cucumber family, to which
and crookneck varieties when squashes belong, probably has the
they're six to eight inches l o n g ; greatest diversity of shapes and
harvest the round types when sizes of any vegetable family,
they're four to eight inches in except the cabbages. It's the
diameter. Break the squashes Common names: acorn, banana, genus Cucurbita, and includes
f r o m the plant, or use a knife that buttercup, butternut, cushaw, certain gourds, and pumpkins,
you clean after cutting each delicious, hubbard, spaghetti, as well as squashes. Most are
o n e ; if the knife is not perfectly Turk's turban trailing or climbing plants with
clean, it can spread disease to Botanical name: Cucurbita large yellow flowers (both male
other plants. species and female); the mature fruits
Origin: American tropics have a thick skin and a definite
Storing and preserving seed cavity. "Summer squash,"
" w i n t e r squash," and " p u m p k i n "
Summer squashes can be stored Varieties are not definite botanical
in the refrigerator for up to one Not every type of winter squash names. " P u m p k i n , " which any
w e e k ; don't wash them until has specific recommended child can tell you is a large
you're ready to use t h e m . They can varieties. These are some of the vegetable used for jack-o'-lanterns
also be frozen, canned, pickled, varieties available; ask your and pies, is applied to long-
or dried. Detailed information on Cooperative Extension Service keeping varieties of C. moschata,
storing and preserving is given for other specific recom- C. pepo, and a few varieties of
in Parts. mendations for your area. C. maxima. Summer squashes are
Acorn: Ebony (80 days); Table eaten w h e n they are immature;
Serving suggestions

Summer squashes lend


themselves to a good variety of
culinary treatments. Saute slices
of summer squash w i t h onions and
tomatoes for a robust but
delicately flavored side dish. Add
sliced zucchini and mushrooms
to a thick tomato sauce for
spaghetti. Halve summer
squashes and stuff with a meat or
rice mixture, or bake them with
butter and Parmesan cheese. Pan-
fry slices of summer squash, or
simmer them w i t h fruit juice for a
new flavor. Use the popular
zucchini raw on a relish tray and
winter squashes are eaten w h e n
mature. Squashes are hard to
confine. A bush-type squash will
grow well in a tire planter if kept
well-watered and fertilized; a
vining squash can be trained up
a fence.
Gourds are a close relation of
squash. They're warm-season
vining crops that are grown
primarily for decorative uses; you
can also make cooking utensils
out of t h e m , and some of them can
be eaten when immature. They need support, set the support in containers are large enough for
have the same growing place at the time of planting. If the variety of squash you're
requirements as winter squash, you do It later, you risk damaging planting.
and they're harvested in fall when the plants' roots.
the shells are hard and glossy. How to plant
The importance of the gourd was Where and when to grow
recognized by Henri Squash varieties like well-
Christophe, w h o fought in the Squashes are warm-season w o r k e d soil w i t h good drainage.
American Revolution under crops and very sensitive to cold They're he^avy feeders, so the
Lafayette and was a leader of the and frost. They like night soil must be well-fertilized. When
slave revolt in Haiti in the early temperatures of at least 60°F. Don't you're preparing the soil for
19th century. As Henry I, he used plant the seeds until the soil has planting, w o r k in a complete, well-
gourds as a medium of warmed up in spring, about two to balanced fertilizer at the rate of
exchange, and Haitian currency is three weeks after the average one p o u n d per 100 square feet or
still called gourde, which is also date of last frost for your area. 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
Louisiana slang for a dollar. Direct-seeding is best for Two to three weeks after your
Winter squashes are weak- squashes, but if you're planting a area's average date of last frost,
stemmed, tender annuals, with variety that requires a longer when the soil is w a r m , plant
large, cucumberlike leaves and growing season than your area can squash in inverted hills. Make
separate male and female flowers provide, use transplants from a inverted hills by removing an
that appear on the same plant. reputable nursery or garden inch of soil from an area about 12
Most winter squashes grow as center, or grow your o w n . To inches across and using this soil
vines, although some modern grow your o w n transplants, start to f o r m a ring around the circle.
varieties have been bred to have a four to five weeks before your Make the inverted hills three to
more compact, bushy habit of outdoor planting date, and use four feet apart, and plant four or
g r o w t h . Winter squash varieties individual plantable containers five seeds in each one. W h e n
have hard skins when they're to lessen the risk of shock when the seedlings are large enough to
harvested and eaten. Popular the seedlings are transplanted. handle, thin them to leave the
types of winter squash include Make sure that the plantable two or three strongest young
hubbard, butternut, acorn, plants standing. Cut the thinned
delicious, banana, Turk's seedlings off at soil level with
turban, buttercup, and cushaw. scissors; if you pull them out
Spaghetti squash is technically a you'll disturb the roots of the
small p u m p k i n and is planted and remaining seedlings.
cared for like pumpkins. Vining
types of winter squash can be Fertilizing and watering
caged or trained to climb up a
fence or trellis to save space. If Fertilize before planting and
you're growing a variety that will again at midseason, at the same
rate as the rest of the garden. (the one w i t h o u t an immature spread disease. If a plant does
Detailed information on fertilizing fruit on the stem), then carefully become infected, remove and
is given in "Spadework: The dust the inside of the female destroy it before it can spread
Essential S o i l " in Part 1. flowers. disease to healthy plants. Detailed
Keep the soil evenly moist; information on disease
squashes need a lot of water in hot Pests prevention is given in "Keeping
weather. The vines may wilt on Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1.
hot days because the plant is using Squash bugs, squash borers,
water faster than the roots can and cucumber beetles are the When and how to harvest
supply; if the vines are getting a major pests that squash plants
regular supply of water, don't attract. They d o n ' t usually show up Leave winter squashes on the
worry about the wilting — the until you have a good harvest, so vine until the skin is so hard that it
plants will liven up as the day squash is still a good choice for the cannot be dented w i t h your
gets cooler, if squash vines are organic gardener. Squashes are thumbnail, but harvest before the
wilting first thing in the morning, prolific, so you can afford to lose a first frost. Break it off the vine,
water them immediately. few of your crop to the bugs. or cut it off with a knife that you
Beetles can often be controlled by clean after cutting each o n e ; if
Special handling hand-picking or hosing them off the knife is not perfectly clean, it
the plants. Control them can spread disease to other
If you grow squashes indoors or chemically w i t h carbaryl. To plants.
in an area where there are no control borers, apply carbaryl to
insects to pollinate the female the crowns of the plants at Storing and preserving
flowers — your51st-fioor balcony, weekly intervals. Do this as soon as
for instance — you may need to there's any suspicion of Cure squashes in a dark, humid
pollinate the flowers yourself. damage — once the borers get place for 10 days at 80° to 85°F; then
Take a soft-bristled brush and inside the plants, chemical store them at 50° to 60°F in a
dust the inside of a male flower controls are ineffective. If a small moderately dry, dark place for five
hole in the stem tells you borers to six months. Winter squashes
are already inside, you may still be can also be frozen or d r i e d , and the
able to save the plant. Slit the seeds can be sprouted. Detailed
stem, remove the borers, and information on storing and
dispose of t h e m . Then cover the preserving is given in Part 3.
area w i t h soil to encourage root
development at that point. Serving suggestions
Detailed information on pest
control is given in "Keeping
Winter squashes lend
Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1.
themselves to a good variety of
culinary treatments and have
Diseases the flexibility of adapting to both
sweet and savory uses. Cut
Squashes are susceptible to winter squashes into halves and
bacterial wilt, mosaic virus, and bake t h e m ; serve them w i t h
mildew. Planting disease- honey or brown sugar and butter.
resistant varieties when they're Fill the halves w i t h browned
available and maintaining the sausages, or mash the pulp and
general cleanliness and health of season well w i t h salt and
your garden will help lessen the pepper. As a treat for the children,
incidence of disease. When top mashed squash with
watering, try to keep water off marshmallow and b r o w n it under
foliage, and don't handle the the grill. Use the pulp of winter
plants when they're wet — this squash as a pie filling — it makes a
can cause powdery mildew and pleasant change from p u m p k i n .
Description Where and when to grow
The sweet potato is a tender Sweet potatoes are extremely
vining or semi-erect perennial sensitive to frost and need w a r m ,
plant related to the m o r n i n g moist growing weather. They
glory. It has small w h i t e , pink, or have a long growing season —
red-purple flowers and swollen, about 150 days — and in areas
fleshy tubers that range in color w i t h a shorter growing season,
from creamy-yellow to deep tend to produce small potatoes.
red-orange. There are " d r y " and Don't try to hurry sweet potatoes;
" m o i s t " kinds of sweet plant them four weeks after the
potatoes, w h i c h describes the average date of last frost for
texture w h e n they're eaten; your area, or w h e n the soil is
some dry varieties have a higher thoroughly w a r m .
moisture content than some
moist ones. The moist varieties are How to plant
Common names: potato, sweet often called yams, but the yam is
potato, yam actually a different species that is Sweet potatoes are planted
Botanical name: Ipomoea f o u n d in tropical countries. from rooted sprouts, or slips,
batatas Sweet potato vines are taken f r o m a mature tuber. To
Origin: tropical America and ornamental, so this vegetable is grow your o w n slips, place several
Caribbean often grown as ground cover or in sweet potato roots about an
planters or hanging baskets. inch apart in a hotbed and cover
You can even grow a plant in water w i t h two inches of sand or light
Varieties in your kitchen — suspend the soil. A d d another inch of soil when
Centennial (150 days); Goldrush sweet potato on toothpicks in a jar the shoots appear, keep the bed
(140 days); Jasper (150 days). of water, and watch it grow. at a temperature between 70° and
80°F, and d o n ' t let it dry out. In
about six weeks you will have Pests Serving suggestions
rooted slips that can be planted
in the garden. Refer to "Planning Insects and diseases are not Sweet potatoes are very
Your Garden" for information much of a problem in the N o r t h . In versatile; you can b o i l , steam, fry,
on making and using a hotbed. If the South, sweet potato weevils or bake t h e m , and they take well
you don't want to go to the and wireworms are c o m m o n to either sweet or savory
trouble of growing your o w n , buy pests. The damage they do seasoning. Use pureed sweet
slips from a reputable garden appears in the form of stunting or potatoes in bread or cookies.
center or supplier. weakening of the plants. Both Candy t h e m , or stuff them and
A g o o d , sandy soil is best for pests can be controlled by a soil bake them in their skins, include
sweet potatoes. Over-rich soil drench of Diazinon. Detailed slices of raw sweet potato with
produces luxuriant vines but information on pest control is the vegetables for a tempura.
small tubers. The soil should be given in "Keeping Your Garden Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and
moderately fertile, rich in Healthy" in P a r t i . allspice all go well with sweet
organic matter, and well-worked potatoes.
to ensure looseness. Remove all Diseases
soil lumps, rocks, or other
obstacles that might cause Fungus diseases and root rot
deformity of the tubers, and work may attack sweet potatoes.
in a complete, well-balanced Planting disease-resistant
fertilizer at the rate of one pound varieties and maintaining the
per 100 square feet or 10 pounds general cleanliness and health
per 1,000 square feet. For good of your garden will help cut down
tuber production sweet potatoes the incidence of disease. If a
must have full sun; in partial plant does become infected, Common names: tomato, love
shade the vine will be handsome remove it before it can spread apple
but not very productive. Set the disease to healthy plants. Botanical name: Lycopersicon
slips on ridges made by mounding Detailed information on disease esculentum
up the soil about eight inches prevention is given in Origin: tropical America
high along rows three feet apart. "Keeping Your Garden Healthy"
Make the ridges about 12 inches in P a r t i .
w i d e , and set the slips at 12-inch Varieties
intervals. When and how to harvest The varieties of tomatoes
available w o u l d fill a book. Choose
Fertilizing and watering The tubers are damaged by them according to your growing
freezing or cold soils, so dig up season, whether you plan to stake
Fertilize before planting and sweet potatoes early rather than or cage them or let them sprawl,
again at midseason, at the same late, before the first frost. Be and what you want to do with the
rate as the rest of the garden. careful when you dig — these fruit. Some varieties are specially
Detailed information on fertilizing potatoes are thin-skinned and suited to canning and
is given in "Spadework: The bruise easily. preserving, others are better for
Essential S o i l " in Part 1. salads. Beefsteak varieties are
If the soil is t o o wet, the roots Storing and preserving the large kind w i t h rather
of sweet potatoes may rot; in well- irregularly shaped fruits. Patio
w o r k e d , loose soil this should Cure sweet potatoes in crates in varieties are suited to growing in
not be a problem. Although sweet a dark, humid place for 10 days at containers or small spaces, and
potatoes will survive dry 80° to 85°F; then store them at cherry tomatoes are the very small,
seasons, the yield is much higher if 55° to 60°F in a moderately moist round ones. Ask your
they get an inch of water every place for four to six months. You Cooperative Extension Service for
week until three or four weeks can also freeze, can, or dry t h e m . specific recommendations for
before harvesting. Do not water Detailed information on storing your area.
during the last three or four weeks. and preserving is given in Part 3. The following are just a few of
the varieties available and are well-
adapted for use in most areas.
The initials V, F, and N refer to
disease resistance; some
varieties are resistant to
verticillium (V), fusarium (F),
and/or nematodes (N). If you've
never had any problem with any
of these, you can try any variety. If
you have had difficulty growing
tomatoes in the past you'll do
better to stay with resistant
varieties.
Varieties for general use: Better
Boy (VFN, 72 days); Burpee's Big
Boy (78 days); Early Girl (V, 62
days); Fantastic (70 days); Heinz
1350 (VF, 75 days); Terrific (VFN,
70 days); Wonder Boy (VFN, 80
days). Beefsteak varieties:
Beef master (VFN, 80 days); Pink
Ponderosa (90 days). Patio
varieties: Pixie (52 days); Toy Boy
(68 days); Tiny Tim (55 days).
Cherry varieties: Small Fry (VFN, 60
days); Tumblin' Tom (72 days).
Canning tomatoes: Roma VF (VF, 75
days); Chico III (F, 75 days);
Royal Chico (75 days).

Description

Tomatoes are tender


perennials grown as annuals.
They have weak stems and
alternate lobed and toothed leaves
that have a distinctive odor. The
yellow flowers grow in clusters.
Most tomatoes have vining
growth habits and need a fair
amount of space. Some are
advertised as bush varieties that
save space, but they'll still sprawl
if you let them, and you may still
have to stake or cage them.
Depending on the variety, the
fruit varies in size and in
color— red, yellow, orange,
and white.
Tomatoes can be divided into
two main groups, according to
growth habits: determinate and
indeterminate. On the by the size and shape of their fruit Where and when to grow
determinate tomato (bush (currant, cherry, p l u m , pear,
tomato), the plant stops growing etc.), by their color (red, pink, Tomatoes grow best when the
w h e n the end buds set fruit — orange, yellow, and cream), and day temperature is between 65°
usually about three feet tall. It by their use (eating, canning, and 85°F. They stop growing if it
seldom needs staking. On the pickling). W h e n you're short on goes over 95°F, and if the night
indeterminate tomato (vine garden space, g r o w tomatoes in a temperature goes above 85°F
tomato), the end buds do not set large pot or container. Dwarf the fruit will not turn red. The
fruit; the plant can grow almost tomatoes can be grown in one flowers will not set fruit if the
indefinitely if not stopped by frost. cubic foot of soil, and standard temperature goes below 55°F at
Most of the varieties that are tomatoes can be grown in two to night. Start tomatoes either
staked or caged are indeterminate three cubic feet of soil. The f r o m seed planted in the garden on
tomatoes. small-fruited tomatoes do very the average date of last frost for
Tomatoes are also classified well in hanging baskets or your area or from transplants set in
w i n d o w boxes. Plants growing in the garden t w o to three weeks
containers may easily exhaust after the average date of last frost,
the available moisture, in which when the soil has warmed up.
case the leaves will wilt.
However, the plants will revive How to plant
w h e n they're watered.
Vining tomatoes can be Tomatoes must have full sun
staked or caged to support the and need w a r m , well-drained,
fruit, or can be left to sprawl fertile soil. Although they will
naturally on the g r o u n d . Naturally produce earlier in sandy soils, they
sprawling tomatoes require less will have a larger yield in clay
w o r k than staked or caged plants; soils. W h e n you're preparing the
they are less likely to develop soil for planting, w o r k in a
blossom end rot, and they produce complete, well-balanced fertilizer
more fruit per plant. In dry at the rate of one p o u n d per 100
areas, sprawling on the ground square feet or 10 pounds per 1,000
protects the fruit f r o m sunburn. square feet. Plant seeds half an
But sprawling tomatoes are harder inch deep in rows 24 to 48 inches
to cultivate than staked or caged apart (depending on how large
plants, and they need mulching the variety will grow). W h e n the
under the fruit to keep them seedlings are large enough to
clean to reduce disease. Staked handle, thin them to 18 to 36 inches
tomatoes give you cleaner fruit, apart.
less loss f r o m rot, and less loss Set the plants out on a cloudy
_ from problems that occur in day or in the late afternoon. If the
warm h u m i d areas. They require sun is very hot, protect the
less room for each individual plants w i t h hats made of
plant. On the negative side, they newspapers. Disturb the roots
produce less fruit per plant, are as little as possible when
much more susceptible to transplanting. Plants should be
blossom end rot, and are more gently slipped out of clay and
w o r k . Caged tomatoes require less plastic pots. If they're planted in
w o r k than staked tomatoes, but peat pots, plant the entire
slightly more effort than doing container. Make sure the tops of
nothing. Caged tomatoes the containers are below the soil's
conserve space, keep the fruit surface or the peat will act like a
cleaner, and are easier to work wick and evaporate the soil
around in small areas. moisture. If the plants are
growing together in a flat, cut the
plants apart several days before
transplanting t h e m .
Put the plant in the soil so that
it's deeper than it was growing
before, up to the first leaves. If
the stem is very long or spindly, lay
it on a slant so that only the
leaves are above soil level. The
roots will grow f r o m the
submerged stem, making a
sturdier plant. Set the
transplants 18 to 36 inches apart in
rows 24 to 48 inches apart,
depending on the variety.

Fertilizing and watering

Fertilize before planting and


again at midseason, at the same
rate as the rest of the garden.
Detailed information on fertilizing
is given in "Spadework: The
Essential S o i l " in P a r t i .
Tomatoes need lots of water,
but they don't like to swim. Water
thoroughly before the soil dries
out. During the hot days of
summer the leaves sometimes
w i l t because they use more water
than their roots can supply.
Don't worry about this if the
tomatoes are receiving a regular
supply of water. If the plants are
w i l t i n g first thing in the m o r n i n g ,
however, water them at once.
Sometimes tomato plants curl
their leaves as a survival tactic on appear below the first fruiting
hot days or d u r i n g a long period of cluster — the accompanying
no rain. This is nothing to worry illustration shows how to prune A five-foot w i d t h can be cut five
about; just water t h e m . a staked tomato plant. The suckers feet long and bent into a
are not productive, so you don't cylinder by locking the ends.
Special handling affect the yield by pruning, and Remove the bottom strand and
pruned plants have more push the whole cage into the
To stake tomatoes, use six-foot energy to develop fruit. Let the ground six inches deep around
stakes (one by two inches) or suckers develop two leaves the tomato plant. If the area is
reinforcing rods, and set the above the first fruiting cluster and w i n d y , drive in a supporting
supports at the time of then pinch out the rest of the stake. Or use commercially
transplanting. Staked tomatoes sucker; the extra leaves will produced cages — you can now
should be pruned so that they provide shade for the fruit. To buy square cages that have the
grow one straight stem. Prune cage tomatoes, use six-by-six-inch advantage of folding flat for
by removing any suckers that mesh concrete reinforcing wire. storage.
Tomato plants will not set fruit thoroughly before w o r k i n g w i t h with a little sugar. Alternate
in rainy or very h u m i d weather. tomato plants to avoid spreading slices of fresh tomato and cooked
Sometimes a plant that has tobacco mosaic virus. If a plant potato for an interesting side
plenty of water and fertilizer does become infected w i t h any dish — add olive oil and parsley.
produces a lot of foliage but no disease, remove it before it can A d d tomatoes to almost any
tomatoes. As a last resort, try spread disease to healthy plants. salad, or serve them alone, sliced
giving the plant a shock by Detailed information on disease with bread and cheese for an
pruning it back and cutting down prevention is given in "Keeping instant lunch. Stuff raw tomatoes
on water; it may start producing. Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1. w i t h tuna, chicken, or rice, or
broil them plain or t o p p e d w i t h
Pests When and how to harvest breadcrumbs. Serve broiled
tomatoes w i t h bacon and sausages
Aphids, tomato hornworms, Time f r o m planting to harvest is for a hearty breakfast. Use
cutworms, tomato fruitworms, 40 to 180 days from transplants, cherry tomatoes, w h o l e or halved,
and whiteflies are the major depending on variety, and in salads or on relish trays; the
problems. Tomatoes are almost several weeks longer from seed. green kind are delicious fried or
always attacked by some insect Transplants usually produce pickled. Cooked tomatoes,
and may not be the best choice for earlier than tomatoes grown from w h o l e , pureed, or as a paste, are
the organic gardener; however, seed. A 10-foot row will give you indispensable to all sorts of
the fresh taste of a ripe tomato may anywhere from 10 to 45 pounds of dishes — spaghetti sauces, stews,
overpower the logical choice. tomatoes. The color when ripe and casseroles — and fresh
Collars placed around the plants at depends on the variety; ripe tomato sauce, seasoned with a
the time of transplanting help to tomatoes should feel firm — little basil, is a delightfully
discourage cutworms, and neither squashy nor too hard. simple t o p p i n g for pasta. Make an
hornworms can be hand-picked W h e n the temperature is high unusual pie by alternating layers
off the plants. Aphids and d u r i n g the day, the fruit may get of sliced tomatoes with chopped
whiteflies can be discouraged by soft but not red. Take hard green chives and t o p p i n g w i t h pastry.
hosing them off the plants or tomatoes inside at the end of Oregano, sage, tarragon, and
pinching out infested foliage. the season to r i p e n ; d o n ' t leave thyme all go beautifully with
Malathion or Diazinon chemically them on the plants. tomatoes.
control aphids and whiteflies.
Detailed information on pest Storing and preserving
control is given in "Keeping
Your Garden Healthy" in Ripened tomatoes will keep up
Part 1. to one week in the refrigerator.
You can also freeze, can, or dry
Diseases them w h o l e , sliced, as juice, paste,
relish, or pickles. Green
Verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt, tomatoes harvested before a frost
early blight, septoria leafspot, can be held in a c o o l , moist Common name: turnip
tobacco mosaic virus, and place up to one month to ripen. Botanical name: Brassica rapa
blossom end rot are diseases that Detailed information on storing Origin: northeastern Europe,
can attack tomatoes. Planting and preserving is given in Part 3. Siberia
disease-resistant varieties and
maintaining the general Serving suggestions
cleanliness and health of your
garden will help cut d o w n the Fresh tomatoes from your Varieties
incidence of disease. Keep garden are w o n d e r f u l with very Shogin (30 days); Foliage Turnip
moisture off the leaves as far as little embellishment — slice (30 days); Tokyo Cross (35 days);
possible, and avoid handling the t h e m , and dress them with a touch Tokyo Market (35 days); Just
plants when they're wet. If you of olive oil and lemon juice and a Right (40 days); Purple Top W h i t e
smoke, wash your hands pinch of basil; or eat them as fruit. Globe (57 days).
Description

The t u r n i p , a hardy biennial


grown as an annual, sports a
rosette of hairy, bright green
leaves growing from a root—^which
is not really a root, but a swelling
at the base of the stem. The turnip
is more c o m m o n l y grown for
use as a root vegetable, but can
also be grown for the leaves,
which are used as greens. Turnips
originated in the Mediterranean
in prehistoric times. The rutabaga,
a younger cousin, is believed to
have come about in the Middle
Ages f r o m a cross between a
t u r n i p and a cabbage. Englishmen
have been k n o w n to refer to
each other as " t u r n i p h e a d " ; this is
not a compliment, as turnips are
often considered to be rather d u l l .
In fact, they're quite versatile.

Where and when to grow

Turnips are a cool-weather


crop, grown in the fall, winter, and
spring in the South and in the
spring and fall in the N o r t h . They
d o n ' t transplant w e l l , so grow
them from seed, and plant them
t w o to three weeks before the
average date of last frost for your
area.

How to plant

Turnips tolerate partial shade


and need soil that's high in organic
matter and well-drained but
able to hold moisture. Too much
nitrogen in the soil encourages ^
the plant to produce leaves and a
seed stalk rather than a good-
sized root, so w h e n you're
preparing the soil for planting,
w o r k in a low-nitrogen (5-10-10)
fertilizer at the rate of one
p o u n d per 100 square feet or 10
pounds per 1,000 square feet.
Plant seeds half an inch deep in
How to plant or weather are a p r o b l e m , wait a trellis, support the fruit w i t h a net.
bit before making the final If the vines are trailing on the
Watermelons must have full selection. If you're using g r o u n d , put a board under the fruit
sun, and prefer well-drained soil transplants, put t w o or three In to keep it off the g r o u n d . Mulch
that holds moisture w e l l . W h e n each hill. helps keep the fruit clean as well as
you're preparing the soil for regulating soil moisture.
planting, w o r k in a complete, Fertilizing and watering
well-balanced fertilizer at the rate Pests
of one p o u n d per 100 square Fertilize before planting and
feet or 10 pounds per 1,000 square again at midseason, at the same Cucumber beetles may visit
feet. C r o w watermelons in rate as the rest of the garden. your watermelon vines. They don't
inverted hills, made by removing Detailed information on fertilizing cause much feeding damage,
an inch of soil from a circle 12 is given in "Spadework: The but they carry cucumber bacterial
inches across and using the soil to Essential S o i l " in P a r t i . w i l t ; hand-pick them off the
f o r m a rim around the circle. Watermelons are 95 percent vines as soon as they appear.
Space the hills six feet apart, and water, so make sure they have Watermelons are a good crop
plant four to five seeds in each enough to keep them growing for the organic gardener w h o has
hill. W h e n the seedlings have w e l l . Do not let the soil dry out, lots of space. Detailed
developed three or four true and use a mulch to keep the soil information on pest control are
leaves, thin them to leave the moisture even. given in "Keeping Your Garden
strongest one or t w o seedlings Healthy" in P a r t i .
in each hill. Cut the thinned Special handling
seedlings w i t h scissors at soil Diseases
level to avoid damaging the As the watermelons develop,
survivors' root systems. Where provide a support for the fruit. If Watermelons are susceptible to
cucumber beetles, other insects. they're growing on a fence or anthracnose and wilt. Planting
disease-resistant varieties when the watermelon and make
they're available and maintaining pickles w i t h the r i n d .
the general cleanliness and health
of your garden will help cut d o w n Serving suggestions
the incidence of disease. Don't
handle the vines when they're wet. Slices of fresh watermelon make
If a plant does become infected, a w o n d e r f u l summer cooler.
remove it before it can spread Scoop out the flesh w i t h a melon
disease to healthy plants. bailer and add to other types of
Detailed information on disease watermelon is ready to harvest melon for a cool fruit salad —
prevention is given in "Keeping when the vine's tendrils begin pile the fruit into a muskmelon
Your Garden Healthy" in Part 1. to turn b r o w n and die off. A ripe half. For a great party dish, serve a
watermelon will also sound dull big fruit salad in the scooped out
When and how to harvest and hollow when you rap it with half-shell of the watermelon—or
your knuckles. carve the shell into a basket.
If one watermelon gets an early Make pickles with the rind.
start on a vine it can suppress all Storing and preserving
further activity until it matures.
Some people suggest pinching A watermelon will store for up to
out this first watermelon to one week in the refrigerator — it
encourage more melons, but this takes about 12 hours to chill a
is a gamble because, sometimes large one thoroughly before you
no more watermelons will set. eat it. If you have a lot of melons,
It's easier to judge when a store them in a cool, moderately
watermelon is ripe than it is with moist place for two to three
some other types of m e l o n ; a weeks. You can freeze the flesh of
commonly used in baking, average date of last frost. Plant
candy, or to flavor liquors. Anise the seeds a quarter inch deep in
used to be credited with warding rows 18 to 24 inches apart, and
off the evil eye; the Romans when the seedlings are six weeks
flavored their cakes with it on old, thin them to six to 12 inches
special occasions. Anise was one apart.
Common name: anise of the first European herbs to
Botanical name: Pimpinella become popular in America. Fertilizing and watering
anisum
Origin: Europe Where and when to grow Fertilize before planting and
again at midseason, at the same
Anise needs a long growing rate as the rest of the garden.
season — at least 120 days free of Detailed information on fertilizing
Varieties frost. It also prefers a moderate is given in "Spadework: The
Few varieties are available; grow and uniform rainfall, especially at Essential Soil" in Parti.
the variety available in your area. harvesttime. Anise prefers uniform
moisture especially at or just
Description How to plant before harvesting. Alternate
rainy and dry periods when the"
Anise is a slow-growing annual Anise prefers a well-drained seed is near maturity can cause it
with low, spreading, bushy plants fertile soil. Work a complete, well- to turn brown, reducing quality
that grow 12 to 14 inches tall and balanced fertilizer into the soil and yield.
almost as wide. The flowers are before planting at the rate of one
yellowish-white in umbrella- pound per 100 square feet. Give Pests
shaped clusters and appear about anise a location in full sun, and
10 weeks after planting. The plant it from seed in early Anise has no serious pest
licorice-flavored seeds are most spring, two weeks after the problems.
Diseases Storing and preserving

Anise has no serious disease The dry seeds can be stored for
problems. months in airtight containers.
Detailed information on storing
When and how to harvest and preserving is given in Part 3.
Common name: basil
Harvest the anise seed heads Serving suggestions Botanical names: O c i m u m
approximately 100 days after basilicum, O c i m u m crispum,
planting, while they are still Add anise to bouillon for fish or Ocimum minimum
green and immature. Be sure to veal stews. Sprinkle anise seeds on Origin: India, Central America
harvest before the first frost. an apple crisp. Aniseed balls are
an old-fashioned favorite
children's candy. Varieties
Citriodorum (lemon-scented);
Dark Opal (purple-red leaves and
rose-colored flowers); M i n i m u m
(dwarf variety). Or grow the variety
available in your area.

Description

These tender annuals grow one


to 21/2 feet tall, w i t h square stems
and opposite leaves. Basil may
have either green or purple-red
soft-textured leaves, and spikes
of small whitish or lavender
flowers. In India basil is
considered a holy herb. In Italy it is
a love gift, and in Romania it is
an engagement t o k e n . In Greece
the connotation is less romantic;
there basil is a symbol of death and
hatred. Basil has the distinction
of being fragrant at all stages of its
development.

Where and when to grow

Like most herbs, basil can be


grown quite easily anywhere in the
United States. It prefers a
climate that does not run to
extremes of temperatures, but it
tolerates heat better than cold. The
first fall frost will kill the plant.
It's grown from seed or
transplants, and you can plant
either in spring, a week or two
after your area's average date of
last frost. Basil makes a
charming houseplant — put It in a
sunny window.

How to plant

Basil needs a well-drained soil


that's high in organic matter. It
does well in soil that many other
plants wouldn't tolerate; and
too-fertile soil is actually a
disadvantage, because it
encourages lush foliage but a
low oil content, which affects the
aromatic quality of the herb. If
you grow from seed, sow the seed
a quarter inch deep in rows 18 to
24 inches apart. When the
seedlings are growing strongly,
thin them to stand four to six
inches apart. A sunny spot is
best, but basil will tolerate light
shade. Basil seeds itself and will
often produce good plants if the
soil is not disturbed too much in
the spring. Using transplants in the
spring will mean you can harvest
your basil sooner. You can also buy
a healthy plant from a nursery or
farmers' market stand and plant
that. If you want to grow basil
indoors, put it in a sunny window
or under lights.

Fertilizing and watering

Do not fertilize basil;


overfertilizing is a disadvantage to
most aromatic herbs. If the soil
is very acid, sweeten it with some
lime. Otherwise, let it be.
Detailed information on fertilizing
is given in "Spadework: The
Essential Soil" in Parti.
If basil needs water the leaves Description
will wilt — give it enough water to
prevent this. Borage is a tender annual that
grows t w o to three feet tall. The
Special handling stems and leaves are grey-green
and covered w i t h velvety hair,
Pinch off the terminal shoots to Common name: borage and the light blue flowers grow
encourage branching and slow Botanical name: Borago In d r o o p i n g clusters. W h e n
officinalis borage is In flower it's a striking
d o w n flower p r o d u c t i o n . If you
Origin: Europe plant, especially if you set it
d o n ' t , the plants will get tall and high — on a w a l l , for instance —
leggy- because the nodding flowers
Pests Varieties
Few varieties are available; grow
Basil has no serious pest the variety available in your area.
problems.

Diseases
Basil has no serious disease
problems.

When and how to harvest

Pick the basil as you need it by


cutting a few inches off the t o p .
This will encourage the plant to
become bushy instead of going to
flower.

Storing and preserving

Store the crushed dry leaves in


an airtight container. You can also
freeze the leaves. Detailed
information on storing and
preserving is given in Part 3.

Serving suggestions

Fresh basil gives a w o n d e r f u l


flavor to sliced tomatoes dressed
w i t h a little oil and lemon juice,
and it's good in other salads, t o o .
Fresh basil is the essential
ingredient in pesto, a luxuriously
aromatic pasta dish. You can also
use the leaves — fresh or dried —
w i t h fish, game and meat
dishes, on eggs, and in stews and
sauces. Try herbed butter with
basil, or make basil vinegar.
are seen to best advantage from Diseases feathery leaves that grow in a
below. The flowers are used to short rosette; the second year the
add color to p o t p o u r r i . Borage, Borage has no serious disease plant produces w h i t e , dill-like
like thyme, is supposed to give problems. flowers on fine, two-foot flower
courage. An old English jingle stalks. The finely cut foliage
goes: "\, Borage, Bring When and how to harvest makes the caraway plant a
Courage." charming foil to flowers in a
Harvest y o u n g leaves as needed garden border.
Where and when to grow throughout the growing season,
and harvest the entire plant in When and where to grow
Borage will grow almost the fall before frost.
anywhere in the United States. It If you only want the foliage, you
tolerates a w i d e range of Storing and preserving can grow caraway anywhere in the
temperatures but will not survive United States. In some colder
a hard frost. Because of its Refrigerate the stems and leaves areas, however, it may need winter
striking coloring and unusual for fresh use, or freeze t h e m . protection in order to produce
flowers, it makes an attractive Detailed information on storing flowers and seeds in the second
indoor plant. and preserving is given in Part 3. year.

How to plant Serving suggestions How to plant

Borage prefers well-drained Fresh borage leaves have a Caraway prefers full sun but will
sandy soil in full sun. W h e n cucumberlike taste and can be tolerate partial shade; it grows best
you're preparing the soil, dig in used in salads, soups, and stews, in a well-drained sandy soil.
a complete, well-balanced or cooked like spinach. You can W h e n you're preparing the soil,
fertilizer at the rate of one p o u n d peel the stems and use them in dig in a complete, well-balanced
per 100 square feet. Plant borage salads. Borage flowers are fertilizer at the rate of one pound
from seed in early spring after sometimes candied for use as a per 100 square feet. Caraway has
the average date of last frost. garnish in fruit drinks. a taproot, which makes it difficult
Plant the seeds (which to transplant, so grow it from
germinate readily) a quarter inch seed sown in early spring in the
deep in rows 18 to 24 inches South or in fall in cooler
apart, and w h e n the plants are six northern areas. Plant the seeds a
to eight inches tall, thin them to quarter inch deep in rows 18 to
stand 12 inches apart. 24 inches apart, and thin the plants
to stand 12 to 18 inches apart.
Fertilizing and watering Caraway will reseed itself in most
areas, assuring you a constant
Do not fertilize borage again at Common name: caraway supply.
midseason. Detailed information Botanical name: Carum carvi
on fertilizing is given in Origin: Europe Fertilizing and watering
"Spadework: The Essential Soil" in
Part 1. Fertilize before planting and
Let borage dry out between again at midseason, at the same
waterings. Varieties rate as the rest of the garden.
Few varieties are available; grow The second year do not fertilize at
Pests the variety available in your area. midseason. Detailed information
on fertilizing is given in
Borage has no serious pest Description "Spadework: The Essential
problems. Like most herbs, it's a S o i l " in P a r t i .
good choice for the organic Caraway is a biennial grown for Allow caraway plants to dry
garden. its leaves and seeds. It has fine out between waterings.
Pests salads. Harvest the seeds in the fall flavor cheeses. They add a nice
of the second growing season. crunch, as well as a distinctive
Caraway is a member of the Harvest when they dry out and turn flavor.
parsley family, so you may brown or before the first frost.
encounter a parsley caterpillar.
Hand-pick it off the plant. Storage and preserving

Diseases It's best to use caraway leaves


fresh, but they can be stored in the
Caraway has no serious disease refrigerator for a few weeks. The
problems. seeds can be stored for months in a
sealed jar. Detailed information
When and how to harvest on storing and preserving is given Common name: chervil
in Part 3. Botanical name: Anthriscus
Harvest caraway leaves as cerefolium
needed throughout the growing Serving suggestions Origin: Europe and Asia
season for use in soups and
Caraway seeds have all kinds of
uses—in breads, cakes, and Varieties
cookies; in sauerkraut; or to Few varieties are available; grow
the variety available in your area.

Description

Chervil is a hardy annual of the


parsley family, and its lacy, bright
green leaves resemble those of
parsley, although its flavor is more
subtle. The plant grows one to
two feet tall, and the tiny white
flowers appear in umbels—
umbrellalike clusters. In folk
medicine, chervil was soaked in
vinegar and the liquid
administered as a cure for
hiccups.

Where and when to grow

Chervil prefers a cool climate,


but will grow anywhere in the
United States. Plant it early in
spring.

How to plant

Chervil grows best in a moist


and partially shaded environment.
When you're preparing the soil,
dig in a complete, well-balanced
fertilizer at the rate of one pound
per 100 square feet. In spring.
When and how to harvest

Pick fresh leaves as you need


them during the growing season.
In the fall before a hard frost,
harvest all the stems and leaves
and dry them rapidly in a shady
area.

Storing and preserving

Store crushed dry leaves in a


tightly sealed container. You can
also freeze the leaves. Detailed
information on storing and
preserving is given in Part 3.

Serving suggestions
Add fresh chervil leaves to
salads; it also makes an attractive
alternative to parsley as a garnish.
Chervil is an especially appropriate
seasoning for fish, chicken, and
egg dishes.

Common name: chives


Detailed information on fertilizing Botanical name: Allium
is given in "Spadework: The schoenoprasum
Essential Soil" in Part 1. Origin: Europe
about the average date of last For best growth, keep chervil
frost, plant chervil seeds half an moist.
Inch deep In rows 18 to 24 inches Varieties
apart. When the plants are six Pests Few varieties are available; grow
weeks old, thin them to stand the variety available in your area.
three to four inches apart. To Chervil is a member of the
encourage thicker foliage, cut parsley family, so you may Description
the flower stems before they encounter an occasional parsley
bloom. caterpillar. Hand-pick it off the This hardy perennial relative of
plant. the onion has tufts of thin hollow
Fertilizing and watering leaves six to 10 inches long. In
Diseases the late spring, it produces striking
Fertilize before planting and flowers — rounded soft purple
again at midseason, at the same Chervil has no serious disease globes. The chive blossom
rate as the rest of the garden. problems. appears, dried or fresh, in many
soil dry out, the tips of the leaves — Serving suggestions
the part you want to eat—will
become brown and unappetizing. Try a little chopped chives and
parsley in an omelette — it's quick
Special handling and a little different for
breakfast. Used raw, chives add a
Chives will take care of mild onion flavor to any dish. Common name: coriander
themselves without much help They are often mixed with cottage Botanical name: Coriandrum
from you. Separate the clumps cheese, sour cream, or cream sativum
from time to time. If you grow cheese. The blossoms can be eaten Origin: Europe, Asia Minor, and
chives indoors, grow several too and are best when just Russia
pots so you can take turns clipping coming into bloom.
from them when you need chives
for cooking and flavoring.

Pests

Chives are trouble-free. Onion


thrips may be a problem in a
commercial onion-producing
area, but they shouldn't bother
plants that have enough water.

Diseases

Chives have no serious disease


problems.

When and how to harvest

If you start from seed, you can


start snipping chives after 90 days;
from transplanted divisions, after
60 days. Either way, the plants will
produce much better the
second year. To harvest, it's usual
to just snip the tops off the
leaves, but if you harvest from the
base you'll avoid unattractive
stubble.

Storing and preserving

If you're growing chives on the


windowsill or on the border of
your flowerbed, you may not
need to store any — you've got a
regular supply right there.
However, chives can be
satisfactorily frozen or dried.
Detailed information on storing
and preserving is given in Part 3.
Varieties inches apart when the seedlings The dried seeds are good in
Few varieties are available; grow are growing strongly. bread, cookies, potato salad, and
the variety available in your area. fruit dishes. Coriander is used a
Fertilizing and watering lot in sausages.
Description
Do not fertilize coriander at
Coriander is a fast-growing midseason. Detailed information
annual that grows to about 12 to 18 on fertilizing is given in
inches in height. It has tall "Spadework: The Essential S o i l " in
slender stems w i t h fine feathery Part 1.
leaves; the flowers are pale pink Coriander should be kept
and grow in clusters. The seeds are evenly moist throughout the
used for flavoring candies, growing season, but when the
sauces, and soups. Coriander has a Common name: dill
seeds are nearing maturity too
strong odor that many people Botanical name: Anethum
much rain can reduce the yield.
d o n ' t like; it's one of the oldest graveolens
Origin: Southeast Europe
known herbs. It was grown in Pests
ancient Egyptian gardens, and its
seeds have been f o u n d in Coriander has no serious pest
Egyptian tombs. Coriander is also problems. Varieties
mentioned as a f o o d source in Few varieties are available; grow
the O l d Testament. The Spanish Diseases the variety available in your area.
for coriander is cilantro, and the Bouquet is a dwarf variety.
herb is sometimes known by this Coriander has no serious
name. disease problems. Description

Where and when to grow How to harvest D i l l , a member of the parsley


family, is a biennial grown as an
Coriander grows almost You can pick a few coriander annual and grows two to four
anywhere that has a growing leaves any time after the plants are feet tall. Dill has finely cut leaves
season of at least 100 days. It's about six inches tall — the fresh and small yellow flowers
not very hardy and will not survive leaves are k n o w n as cilantro. growing in a fiat-topped cluster; it
hard frost, so plant it in the Harvest the coriander seeds has a delicate feathery look and
spring after all danger of frost has when they turn a light b r o w n , two makes a good background for
passed. to three weeks after flowering. flowers or vegetables. Carrying
The seeds are small — only an a bag of dry dill over the heart is
How to plant eighth inch in diameter — and supposed to ward off the evil
are split in half and dried after eye. Dill water was once used to
Coriander grows best in a harvesting. quiet babies and get rid of gas.
fertile, well-drained soil. It prefers
a sunny location but will survive Storing and preserving
in a slightly shaded area. W h e n
you're preparing the soil, dig in The dried seeds can be stored
a complete, well-balanced for months in an airtight container.
fertilizer at the rate of one You can freeze or dry the leaves.
p o u n d per 100 square feet. Plant Detailed information on storing
coriander from seed in the early and preserving is given in Part 3.
spring, two to three weeks after
the average date of last frost. Serving suggestions
Plant the seeds a quarter inch deep
in rows eight to 12 inches apart, Add a little coriander to
and thin the plants to stand 12 guacamole or to Chinese soups.
where and when to grow How to plant two or three weeks before your
average date of last frost in rows
Dill, like most herbs, can be Poor, sandy soil is an advantage t w o to three feet apart; they
grown pretty much anywhere, and w h e n you're growing dill — the germinate quickly. W h e n the
can withstand heat or cold. herb will have stronger flavor — seedlings are growing w e l l , thin
Grow it from seed sown in the but the soil must drain w e l l . Dill them to 12 inches apart. You can
spring or fall. Once established, will tolerate partial shade; in light also thin dill to f o r m a clump or
dill will seed itself and return year shade the plants w o n ' t get as mass rather than a row. Make
after year. bushy as in full sun, so they can be sure you know where you want the
closer together. Plant the seeds plants, because dill has a
taproot and is not easy to
transplant. Dill is short-lived, so
make successive sowings to give
you a continuous crop.

Fertilizing and watering

Fertilizing is unnecessary for


d i l l . Detailed information on
fertilizing is given in
"Spadework: The Essentia! S o i l "
in P a r t i .
It doesn't need too much
water and seems to do better if it's
kept on the dry side.

Special handling

The stems are tall and fine; you


may need to stake t h e m .

Pests
Dili, like most herbs, is a good
choice for the organic gardener.
It's a member of the parsley
family, so you may encounter a
parsley caterpillar; hand-pick it
off the plant.

Diseases
Dill has no serious disease
problems.

When and how to harvest

Time from planting to harvest is


70 days for foliage, 90 days for
seeds. To harvest, snip off the
leaves or young flower heads for
use in soups or salads. For
pickling, cut whole stalks when the
plant is more mature. Gather
the mature seeds for planting
(although the dill will do its own
planting without your help if you
leave it alone) or for drying.

Storing and preserving

Dill seeds can be sprouted if


they are allowed to dry naturally;
store the dried seeds in an
airtight jar. Crumble the dried
leaves, and store them the same
way. Detailed information on
storing and preserving is given
in Part 3.

Serving suggestions

Dill pickles, obviously. You can


also make a marvelous leek and
potato soup seasoned with dill,
and dill adds a new kick to rye
bread. Dill Is very good with fish
or potatoes, and you can use it for
garnish if you run out of (or are
bored with) parsley.

Common names: fennel,


Florence fennel, finnochio
Botanical name: Foeniculum
vulgaredulce
Origin: Mediterranean

Varieties
Few varieties are available; grow
the variety available in your area.

Description

Fennel is a stocky perennial


grown as an annual, and looks a bit
like celery w i t h very feathery leaves, and store them in an
leaves. Ordinary fennel (F. airtight container. Detailed
vulgare) is also a perennial. Its information on storing and
leaves are picked for soups, preserving is given in Part 3. You'll
sauces, and salads. The whole probably want to eat the stalks
herb has an anise flavor. The plant fresh, but they can also be frozen.
will grow four to five feet tall,
and the small, golden flowers Serving suggestions
appear in flat-topped clusters
f r o m July to September. A variant Fennel is featured in many
called " C o p p e r " has charcoal- Italian dishes. The leaves add
gray foliage and makes an flavor to soups and casseroles,
interesting contrast to other and fennel is a good seasoning
colors in a flower bed. In folk w i t h fish. Add the seeds to rye
medicine all sorts of good results bread or a creamed cheese spread.
have been attributed to f e n n e l ; at
one time or another it has been
credited w i t h sharpening the
eyesight, stopping hiccups,
p r o m o t i n g weight loss, freeing a Special handling
person f r o m " l o a t h i n g s " and
acting as an aphrodisiac. The plants grow four to five feet
tall; you may need to stake t h e m .
Where and when to grow
Pests Common name: garlic
Fennel will grow anywhere, and Botanical name: Allium sativum
tolerates both heat and cold. Grow Since fennel is a member of the Origin: South Europe
it from seed sown t w o to three parsley family, the parsley
weeks before your average date of caterpillar may appear. Remove
last frost. it by hand. Like most herbs, fennel Varieties
is a successful bet for the Few varieties are available; grow
How to plant organic gardener. the variety available in your area.

Like most herbs, fennel needs Diseases Description


well-drained soil that is high in
organic matter. Plant seeds in Fennel has no serious disease Garlic is a hardy perennial plant
full sun, in rows t w o to three feet problems. that looks a lot like an o n i o n ,
apart. W h e n seedlings are except that the bulb is
growing strongly, thin them to When and how to harvest segmented into cloves. The flower
stand 12 inches apart. Fennel is a head looks like a tissue paper
difficult herb to transplant because You can start harvesting a few dunce cap and is filled w i t h small
of its taproot. leaves as soon as the plant is flowers and bulblets. There is an
well-established and growing old story that when the Devil
Fertilizing and watering steadily; use them for flavoring. walked out of the Garden of
Harvest the bulbous stalk when Eden after the fall of Adam and Eve,
Do not fertilize fennel. Detailed it is three inches or more in onions sprang up from his right
information on fertilizing is given diameter for use as a vegetable. hoof-print and garlic from his left.
in "Spadework: The Essential
Soil" in P a r t i . Storing and preserving Where and when to grow
Keep fennel on the dry side; it
just needs enough moisture to The leaves of fennel can be Garlic must have cool
keep it going. frozen or dried. Crumble the dried temperatures during its early
growth period, but it's not
affected by heat in the later stages.
Plant garlic in spring in the
North; in the South you can get
good results with fall plantings.

How to plant
You grow garlic from cloves or
bulblets, which are planted with
the plump side down. Use the common enough to be a
plumpest cloves for cooking and problem. Keep the garlic fairly dry.
plant the others. They need full
sun and well-worked soil that When and how to harvest
drains well and is high in organic
matter. Do not fertilize the soil. Harvest the bulbs when the tops
Plant the cloves four to six start to dry—that's the sign that the
weeks before the average date of bulbs are mature.
last frost. Plant them an inch or
two deep, four to six inches apart, Storing and preserving
in rows about a foot apart.
Store the mature bulbs under
Fertilizing and watering cool, dry conditions. Braid the tops
of the plants together with twine
The organic content of the soil is and hang them to dry — very
important, but fertilizing isn't; Gallic; in France you can still see
don't fertilize because it will rural vendors on bicycles with
decrease the flavor of the garlic strings of garlic slung over their
bulbs. Detailed information on handlebars. Detailed information
fertilizing is given in "Spadework: on storing and preserving is
The Essential Soil" in Part 1. given in Parts.
Keep the garlic slightly dry,
especially when the bulbs are near Serving suggestions
maturity; this also improves the
flavor. Keep the area cultivated. Garlic is indispensable to
French cooking, and its use is now
Pests generally accepted in this
country. If you still know anyone
Occasionally onion thrips may who disapproves of the strong
attack garlic, but they don't flavor of garlic, try to convert
constitute a real problem; hose him—he'll thank you later.
them off the plants if they do Spice up your next spaghetti
appear. Garlic is a good crop for dinner with garlic bread. Rub a
the organic gardener. Detailed salad bowl with a cut clove of garlic
information on pest control is before tossing the salad. Add a
given in "Keeping Your Garden clove of garlic to a homemade
Healthy" in Parti. vinaigrette; let the dressing
stand for a while before use if you
Disease like your salad good and
garlicky. Insert slivers of garlic into
Mildew may occur in a warm, small slits in a roast, or rub a cut
moist environment, but it's not clove over a steak before grilling.
Common names: marjoram,
sweet marjoram
Botanical name: Marjorana
hortensis
Origin: Mediterranean

Varieties
Few varieties are available; grow
the variety available in your area.

Description

A tender branching perennial,


usually grown as an annual,
marjoram grows 10 to 15 inches
tall. It has greyish opposite leaves
and lavender or whitish flowers
growing up most of the stem.
Marjoram means " j o y of the
m o u n t a i n . " Venus was reputed to
be the first to grow this herb. Its
leaves and flowering heads,
steeped and made into a tea,
have been said to relieve
indigestion and headaches.

Where and when to grow

Marjoram will grow in most areas


of the United States, but it's
sensitive to frost and needs
winter protection to survive the
winter in very cold areas. Plant
marjoram f r o m seeds or
transplants on your average
date of last frost.

How to plant

Marjoram tolerates light shade


and thrives in poor soil w i t h good
drainage. D o n ' t fertilize the soil
before planting; over-fertile soil attractive qualities of many herbs plants w o n ' t tolerate. Marjoram is
will produce lots of leaves, but is that they'll thrive in the kind of started from seed or transplants.
they'll have little flavor. O n e of the soil conditions that a lot of Other On your average date of last
frost, sow seeds a quarter inch Varieties
deep in rows 18 to 24 inches
apart. Thin the seedlings about six There are many varieties of
inches apart w h e n they're mint, of w h i c h the best known are
growing sturdily, or plant spearmint and peppermint.
transplants that are two or three Other varieties have different
inches tall, and set them about six flavors, like golden apple mint
inches apart. If the weather or orange mint. G r o w the variety
warms up quickly, mulch available in your area or the
transplants to protect the roots scent and flavor you like best.
from too much heat until they're
acclimated. If you're afraid you can do this several times Description
marjoram w o n ' t survive the w i t h o u t harming the plant. Fresh
winter, dig up the plants in the leaves can be harvested at any A number of different varieties
fall, let them winter as time. go by the collective name of mint;
houseplants, and plant again in peppermint and spearmint are
spring — divide the clumps before Storing and preserving probably the two most popular.
replanting. Both are hardy perennials, and
Dry leaves and flower tops both are very prolific—once you
Fertilizing and watering quickly. Store the c r u m b l e d , dry set them in a corner of the
leaves for winter use. Detailed garden they'll quietly take over.
Don't fertilize marjoram. information on storing and Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is
Detailed information about preserving is given in Part 3. a tall, shallow-rooted, fast-
fertilizing is given in spreading perennial w i t h square
"Spadework: The Essential S o i l " Serving suggestions stems and leaves that usually have
in P a r t i . a purple tinge. The light
Water sparingly. The less Marjoram is one of the lavender flowers appear in
water marjoram gets, the better traditional components of a terminal spikes and bloom
the flavor will be. bouquet garni. The leaves are through most of the growing
good w i t h veal and liver, in meat season. The plant grows to
Special handling and egg dishes, and in poultry about three feet tall. Spearmint ( M .
stuffings. Try them in soups or spicata) is a perennial that grows
About all the special attention on roast beef sandwiches. Make t w o to 2y2 feet tall, w i t h square
marjoram requires is a protection herb butter w i t h t h e m . Add stems and leaves that are slightly
of mulch to help it weather very chopped marjoram leaves in curled and deeply veined. The
cold winters. melted butter to spinach just flowers are light purple to white
before serving. and grow in spikes two to four
Pests inches long that start b l o o m i n g
in early summer and continue well
Marjoram has no serious pest into fall. You may also come
problems. Like most herbs, it's a across varieties like golden apple
good plant for organic gardens. mint, which has a more delicate
flavor than spearmint. This plant
Diseases also has pale purple flowers, but
the leaves are dark green streaked
Marjoram has no serious w i t h gold. Orange mint,
disease problems. Common name: mint sometimes known as bergamot
Botanical names: Mentha mint, gets its name f r o m its
When and how to harvest piperita (peppermint); Mentha delicate scent of oranges. Orange
spicata (spearmint). mint has reddish-green leaves
W h e n the first blooms appear, Origin: Europe edged w i t h p u r p l e ; the flowers are
cut the plants back several inches; lavender.
where and when to grow Pests winter. Detailed information on
disease prevention is given in
Both peppermint and spearmint Mints have no serious pest "Keeping Your Garden Healthy" in
are very hardy and can be grown problems. Part 1.
almost anywhere in the United
States. Plant them from root Diseases When and how to harvest
divisions any time during the
growing season. Mints are susceptible to The more mint you pick, the
verticillium wilt and mint rust. better the plants will grow, and you
How to plant Prevent these diseases by can pick sprigs throughout the
removing all the dead stems and growing season. Harvest more
Mint varieties from seed will not leaves from the bed before fully as the plants begin to
grow "true." So it's generally more
satisfactory to use root divisions.
An innocuous little plant of mint
will wander all over the garden if
it gets half a chance, so plant each
one in a container that will keep
the roots in one place — a two-
pound coffee can with both
ends removed is good.
Peppermint and spearmint grow
well in any soil; they prefer sun but
will tolerate partial shade. For
spearmint, work a complete, well-
balanced fertilizer into the soil
before planting at the rate of a
pound per 100 square feet.
Don't fertilize before planting
peppermint—you'll get all the
peppermint you can use without it.
Although you can plant mints
anytime during the growing
season, root divisions will be
established faster if planted on a
cool, moist day in spring or fall.
Space plants two or three inches
apart in rows 18 to 24 inches apart.

Fertilizing and watering

Don't fertilize mints in


midseason; they'll never miss it.
Detailed information on
fertilizing is given in "Spadework:
The Essential Soil" in Parti.
Both peppermint and
spearmint prefer moist soil, so
they'll require more watering
than the rest of the garden. Keep
them evenly moist until root
divisions are established.
b l o o m , just as the lower leaves
start to yellow. Cut the entire
plant d o w n two or three inches
above the soil. You'll get a
second smaller harvest the same
season.

Storing and preserving

Strip the mint leaves f r o m the


stem and let them dry in a warm
shady area. The dried leaves can
be stored in a sealed jar. Detailed
information on storing and
preserving is given in Part 3.

Serving suggestions

A sprig of fresh mint is a pretty


garnish for summer drinks — and
you can't have a mint julep
w i t h o u t it. Cook peas in a very little
water to which you've added a
couple of sprigs of mint. Toss
boiled new potatoes w i t h butter
and chopped mint—a nice change
f r o m parsley. Instead of mint
jelly w i t h a lamb roast, try the
traditional English mint sauce.
Add a little sugar to a couple of
tablespoons of chopped fresh
mint leaves, add boiling water to
bring out the flavor, then top off
w i t h vinegar to taste.

vulgare is usually g r o w n ; it's


hardier and easier to propagate
Varieties than the alternative, O.
In cold northern areas grow heracleoticum—also known as
any variety of O. vulgare. In w i l d marjoram. The name
warmer areas grow any variety " o r e g a n o " itself has been
of either O. vulgare or O. traced back to an ancient Greek
Common names: oregano, wild heracleoticum. w o r d translated as "delight of
marjoram the mountains," which suggests
Botanical names: Origanum Description that the plants once grew w i l d
vulgare. Origanum on the hillsides of Greece.
heracleoticum The name " o r e g a n o " is more Oregano (O. vulgare) is a very
Origin: Mediterranean (O. accurately applied to a flavor than hardy perennial that may grow2y2
vulgare), Cyprus (O. to a plant, and there are two feet tall.
heracleoticum) varieties that you can grow for The leaves are greyish-green,
seasoning called oregano. O. slightly hairy, and oval in
shape, and the flowers are 12 inches apart in rows 12 to 18
pink, w h i t e , or purple. O. inches apart.
heracleoticum is a tender
perennial that grows only a foot Fertilizing and watering
high. The leaves are very hairy
and oval in shape, and the plant Don't fertilize oregano at all.
bears small white flower clusters Detailed information on fertilizing Common name: parsley
on tall stems. Oregano's reputed is given in "Spadework: The Botanical name: Petroselinum
medicinal powers are varied. A Essential S o i l " in P a r t i . crispum
tea made f r o m the leaves and Keep the oregano plants on Origin: Mediterranean
flowers was believed to relieve the dry side.
indigestion, headaches, and
nervousness. Oil extracted Pests Varieties
f r o m the plant was used as a cure Moss Curled (70 days);
for toothache. Oregano varieties have no Perfection (75 days); Hamburg or
serious pest problems. Parsnip-Rooted parsley (90
Where and when to grow days).
Diseases
O. vulgare can be grown Description
anywhere in the United States These plants have no serious
from root divisions or seed disease problems. Parsley is a hardy biennial that is
planted early in spring. O. treated as an annual. It has finely
heracleoticum can also be When and how to harvest divided, fernlike leaves that are
grown anywhere in the United either flat or curly. The leaves grow
States f r o m seed or root Oregano is ready to harvest in a rosette from a single taproot
divisions if planting is delayed w h e n it begins to flower; cut the that in some varieties is quite large
until all danger of frost is past; stems d o w n to a few inches and can be eaten like parsnips.
it should be grown as an annual above the soil. Leaves can be Parsley has flat-topped clusters of
or given winter protection in harvested for fresh use greenish-yellow flowers, similar
colder northern areas. O. throughout the growing season if to those of d i l l , which belongs to
heracleoticum can also be you cut off the flowers before the same family. The Romans wore
grown in a container — it makes they open—this encourages fuller parsley wreaths to keep from
an attractive houseplant. foliage. becoming intoxicated. Parsley is
probably the best known of the
How to plant Storing and preserving herbs used for flavoring and for
garnish.
Don't fertilize the planting bed Hang oregano in bunches to
for oregano—lack of nutrients dry; w h e n they're dry, remove Where and when to grow
even enhances the flavor. Both the leaves and store them in an
varieties need well-drained soil in airtight container. Detailed Parsley will grow anywhere and
a sunny location, although O. information on storing and can survive cold. It tolerates heat,
vulgare will tolerate partial shade. preserving is given in Part 3. but very hot weather will make
Plant both varieties f r o m root the plant go to seed. Plant parsley
divisions or seeds and space Serving suggestions
plants about a foot apart. Plant
O. vulgare on your average Oregano is essential to lots of
date of last frost, and O. Italian dishes. A d d it to spaghetti
heracleoticum t w o to three weeks sauce, and sprinkle it on pizza.
later. Plant seeds a quarter inch Try oregano and a touch of lemon
deep in rows 12 to 18 inches on lamb chops or steak. Sprinkle
apart, and thin to six to 12 oregano on cooked vegetables for
inches apart. Plant divisions six to a lively flavor.
two to three weeks before your How to plant process by soaking them in
average date of last frost. Parsley warm water overnight before
also does well as a houseplant; Parsley likes well-worked, well- planting. Plant the seeds a quarter-
some gardeners bring parsley in drained soil with moderate organic inch deep in rows 18 to 24 inches
from the garden in fall and let it content. Don't fertilize before apart. Thin the seedlings to 12 to 18
winter in a bright window. planting. Plant it from seed; inches apart when they're
they take a long time to germinate, growing strongly. Or start seeds
but you can speed up the indoors six weeks before the
average date of last frost.

Fertilizing and watering

You don't need to fertilize the


soil for parsley to grow well.
Detailed information on
fertilizing is given in "Spadework:
The Essential Soil" in Parti.
It's important to keep the soil
moderately moist; parsley needs a
regular supply of water to keep
producing new leaves.

Pests

The parsley caterpillar is the


only pest you're likely to have to
contend with. Hand-pick it off
the plants.

Diseases

Parsley has no serious disease


problems.

When and how to harvest

From planting to harvest is


about 70 to 90 days, and a 10-foot
row of parsley will keep you —
and all your neighbors — well
supplied. To encourage the
growth of new foliage, cut off
the flower stalk when it appears.
The flower stalk shoots' up taller
than the leaves, and the leaves on it
are much smaller. Harvest
parsley leaves any time during the
growing season; cut them off at
the base of the plant. The plant will
retain its rich color until early
winter. Many gardeners harvest
the entire parsley plant in fall
and dry it; you can also bring the
w h o l e plant inside for the
winter.

Storing and preserving

Parsley lends itself well to


freezing and drying. Store the
dried leaves in an airtight
container. Detailed information
on storing and preserving is
given in Part 3.

Serving suggestions

Parsley's reputation as a garnish


often does it a disservice—it gets
left on the side of the plate. In
fact it's been known for thousands
of years for its excellent flavor
and versatility. Add chopped
parsley to buttered potatoes
and vegetables; toss a little on a
sliced tomato salad along w i t h a
pinch of basil. A d d it to scrambled
eggs or an omelette aux fine
herbs. Parsley is a natural breath-
freshener.

Common name: rosemary


Botanical name: Rosemarinus
officinalis
Origin: Mediterranean
narrow, aromatic, grey-green " f o r remembrance." Keep up
leaves. It can grow six feet tall, anc the old tradition of a herb of
Varieties the flowers are small, light blue remembrance by tying a sprig of
Albus; Collingwood Ingram; or w h i t e . It's a perennial, but in rosemary to a gift.
Tuscan Blue; Prostratus; areas w i t h very cold winters it's
Lockwood de Forest. g r o w n as an annual. Rosemary is Where and when to grow
one of the traditional strewing
Description herbs; in the language of flowers Rosemary can handle
its message is " r e m e m b e r . " In temperatures a bit below freezing
Rosemary is a half-hardy, Shakespeare's play, Ophelia and tolerates cold better in a
evergreen, perennial shrub w i t h gives Hamlet a sprig of rosemary sandy, well-drained location. Less-
it into the house for winter use. In
the spring take stem cuttings
to propagate your new crop.

Fertilizing and watering


Common name: sage
Do not fertilize at midseason.
Botanical name: Salvia officinalis
Detailed information on
Origin: Mediterranean
fertilizing is given in "Spadework:
The Essential Soil" in Part 1.
If the weather is dry, water
regularly to keep the soil moist. Varieties
Don't let the roots dry out. Albiflora (white flowers); Aurea
(variegated leaves); Purpurea
than-ldeal conditions improve Pests (reddish-purple upper leaves).
its fragrance, but it's not really
hardy north of Washington, Rosemary has no serious pest Description
D.C. Grow it in a cold-winter area if problems. Like most herbs, it does
you're willing to mulch it for well In the organic garden. Sage is a hardy, perennial shrub
winter protection. that grows to two feet tall and gets
Diseases quite woody. The leaves are
How to plant oval, sometimes five inches long.
Rosemary has no serious Gray leaves are more common
Like most herbs, rosemary is disease problems. but several varieties have
most fragrant and full of flavor if it's variegated leaf color. The
grown in well-drained, sandy When and how to harvest flowers are bluish-lavender and
soil that's high in organic matter grow on spikelike stems.
but not over-rich. Very fertile You can take some of the leaves, Traditionally, sage water is
soil will produce beautiful plants which look like short pine needles, supposed to improve the
but decrease the production of and use them fresh any time you memory and keep the hair from
the aromatic oils on which the want them. Growth can be pruned falling out. The purple or golden
plant's fragrance depends. back several times during a varieties make delightful
Don't fertilize the soil if you're season. ornamental houseplants.
planting rosemary, except if They're smaller plants than the
you're growing it as a perennial in a Storing and preserving
mild winter climate; in this case,
work a low-nitrogen (5-10-10) Dry the leaves and store them in
fertilizer into the soil before airtight containers. Detailed
planting at the rate of about a half information on storing and
pound to 100 square feet. To preserving is given in Part 3.
grow rosemary from seed, start the
seeds indoors or in a cold frame Serving suggestions
four to six weeks before your
average date of last frost. Two Treat rosemary with respect; it
weeks after the average date of last can easily overpower more
frost, transplant them to a delicate herbs. Rosemary is
location in full sun with a foot or traditionally used with lamb or
more between the plants and 18 pork; it's also excellent
to 24 inches between rows. You combined with a little lemon
can also grow rosemary from juice and chopped parsley and
stem cuttings. Pot a rosemary plant sprinkled on chicken before it's
from the garden in fall and bring baked.
green or gray varieties^ but Pests When and how to harvest
they're prettier, and the flavor is
just as good. Most garden shops Sage has no serious pest Sage takes 75 days from planting
and catalog lists offer only the gray problems. Like most herbs. It does to harvest, and a few plants will
varieties. Go to a herb specialist well in the organic garden. supply you and a lot of other
for the less common types. people, too. At least twice during
Diseases the growing season, cut six to
Where and when to grow eight inches from the top of the
Sage has no serious disease plants. Pick the leaves as desired
Sage, like most herbs, is an problems. If the area is too damp as long as you don't cut back more
accommodating plant that will or shady rot may occur. Avoid
grow anywhere. In northern this by planting sage in a dry, sunny
areas, mulch to help the plants location. Detailed information
survive the winter. on disease prevention is given in
"Keeping Your Garden Healthy"
How to plant in Parti.

Sage can be reproduced by


layering, by division, or by using
stem cuttings. You can also start
it from seed. Sage thrives in poor
soil as long as the drainage Is
good, and it's not normally
necessary to fertilize—if the soil
is too rich the flavo rwill be poorer.
If you're planting sage as a
perennial, fertilize the first year
only with a low-nitrogen
fertilizer. When you're preparing
the soil for planting, work a
5-10-10 fertilizer into the soil at
the rate of half a pound per 100
square feet. Plant sage seeds or
divisions on your average date of
last frost. Plant seeds a quarter
inch deep in rows 18 to 24 inches
apart, and thin to 12 inches
apart. Plant divisions or cuttings 12
inches apart in rows 18 to 24
inches apart. They should be in full
sun; the plant will tolerate
partial shade, but the flavor will be
impaired.

Fertilizing and watering

Don't fertilize at midseason.


Detailed information on fertilizing
is given in "Spadework: The
Essential Soil" in Parti.
Keep sage plants on the dry
side.
than half the plant—if you do it
will stop producing.

Storing and preserving

Store dried sage leaves in an


airtight container. Detailed
information on storing and
preserving is given in Part 3.

Serving suggestions

Sage and onion make a good


combination and are traditionally
used together in stuffings for
pork, turkey, or duck. Sage can
overwhelm other seasonings,
so handle it w i t h care. Some
people steep dried sage leaves
to make a herb tea.

Common names: summer


savory, winter savory
Botanical names: Satureja
hortensis (summer savory);
Satureja montana (winter
savory)
Origin: Mediterranean,
Southern Europe inches. Winter savory is a bushy How to plant
hardy perennial that grows about a
foot tall. The small flowers are Summer savory can be grown in
Varieties white or purple and, like the almost any soil; winter savory
Few varieties are available; grow summer variety, winter savory prefers soil that is sandy and
the variety available in your area. has needle-shaped leaves and well-drained. Both need full sun.
square stems that become Before planting, w o r k a
Description w o o d y as they develop. The winter complete, well-balanced fertilizer
variety has sharper-flavored into the ground at the rate of
Both types of savory belong to the leaves than the summer k i n d . one p o u n d to 100 square feet. Plant
mint family. Summer savory is a seeds of both summer and winter
bushy annual w i t h needle-shaped Where and when to grow varieties half an inch deep in rows
leaves and stems that are square 12 to 18 inches apart. W h e n the
when the plant is young and Both varieties grow anywhere in seedlings are four to six weeks old
become w o o d y later. The flowers the United States from seeds thin summer savory plants to
are light purple to pink, and the planted t w o to three weeks after stand three to four inches apart.
plant grows to a height of about 18 the average date of last frost. Winter savory needs more r o o m ;
thin the plants to 12 to 18 inches Description
apart.
Sesame is a hardy annual that
Fertilizing and watering has a unique drought-tolerant root
system composed of a long
Do not fertilize at midseason. taproot and a large number of
Detailed information on fertilizing Common name: sesame fibrous secondary roots. It's an
is given in "Spadework: The Botanical name: Sesamum attractive plant, with cream or pale
Essential Soil" in Parti. indicum orchid-colored flowers that grow
Both varieties do better if kept Origin: Africa in the angles of the leaves. Sesame
on the dry side. used to be credited with magic
powers and was associated with
Special handling Varieties Hecate, queen of witches. Its
Few varieties are available; grow uses today are less dramatic; the
Summer savory has a tendency the variety available in your area. dried seeds are used to flavor
to get top-heavy; stake the plants if breads, candy, and baked goods,
necessary. and the oil extracted from the

Pests
Savory has no serious pest
problems.

Diseases
Savory has no serious disease
problems.

When and how to harvest


Pick fresh leaves and stems of
both summer and winter savory at
any time during the growing
season. In areas with a long
growing season you may get two
harvests. For drying, cut off the top
six to eight inches of the plant as
soon as it begins to flower.

Storing and preserving

Store the dried leaves in an


airtight container. Detailed
information on storing and
preserving is given in Part 3.

Serving suggestions

Savory has a peppery flavor that


is good with fish, poultry, and in
egg dishes. Try it in vinegars, or
add a little to a cheese souffle.
seeds is used for cooking and in seed pods are about the size of a produces flowers—they're small
salad dressings. peanut. Crack the pods open and whitish in color. True
carefully, and remove the French tarragon is a sterile clove
Where and when to grow seeds. and cannot be grown f r o m
seed; use rooted divisions or
Sesame is easy to grow if you can Storing and preserving stem cuttings. There is also a
give it a growing season of about Russian variety of tarragon, which
120 days; it grows well in the Store the dried sesame seeds in has a stronger flavor that most
w a r m , dry areas of the South and an airtight container. Detailed people d o n ' t like. Many herbs are
Southwest. Plant it when danger information on storing and decorative, but tarragon is not
of frost is over. preserving is given in Part 3. glamorous. However, its finely
textured dark-green foliage
How to plant Serving suggestions makes an attractive background
for small, bright flowers. The
Give sesame a place in the sun in Toast sesame seeds and toss w o r d tarragon comes f r o m the
well-drained, fertile soil. W h e n them over vegetable dishes or Arabic w o r d for dragon. The
you're preparing the soil, dig in soups. They give an extra French translation, estragon (little
a complete, well-balanced crunch to pan-fried fish. O r , just dragon), might reflect either
fertilizer at the rate of one p o u n d eat the roasted seeds as a snack. the way tarragon was used
per 100 square feet. Four to six Sesame is used a lot in Oriental medicinally to fight pestilence
weeks after the average date of dishes and the seeds, untoasted, d u r i n g the M i d d l e Ages, or the
last frost, plant the seeds a half are added to cookies, cakes, and snakelike appearance of its
inch deep in rows 12 to 18 inches breads before baking. roots.
apart. Thin the plants to 12 to 18
inches apart when they are four Where and when to grow
to five weeks o l d .
Tarragon can be grown
Fertilizing and watering anywhere in the United States
and will survive cold winters if
Fertilize before planting and it's given adequate protection. It's
again at midseason, at the same hardy in well-drained, sandy
rate as the rest of the garden. soils, but is less tolerant of cold in
Detailed information on fertilizing Common name: tarragon compacted or wet soil.
is given in "Spadework: The Botanical name: Artemisia
Essential S o i l " in P a r t i . dracunulus How to plant
Allow the plants to dry out Origin: Caspian Sea, Siberia
between waterings. Seeds of the Russian variety are
available commercially, but are
Pests Varieties likely to produce plants of
Few varieties are available. inferior flavor. Instead, use
Sesame has no serious pest Grow the variety available in your divisions or stem cuttings of
problems. area, but try to make sure that French tarragon. Tarragon
it's the French, not the Russian, tolerates poor, rather dry soil.
Diseases kind. Fertilize the soil the first year only
w i t h a low-nitrogen (5-10-10)
Sesame has no serious disease Description fertilizer; before planting, w o r k
problems. the fertilizer well into the soil at
Tarragon is a half-hardy the rate of a half p o u n d to 100
When and how to harvest perennial that grows two to four square feet. Plant cuttings or
feet tall; it has slender stems divisions on your area's average
Harvest about 90 to 120 days and thin narrow leaves that taste a date of last frost, and set them
after planting w h e n the mature bit like licorice, and it rarely 18 to 24 inches apart in rows 24 to
36 inches apart. Give them a
place in full sun; the plant will
tolerate partial shade, but the
flavor will be impaired.

Fertilizing and watering

Don't fertilize at midseason.


Detailed information on fertilizing
is given in "Spadework: The
Essential Soil" in Parti.
Keep tarragon on the dry
side to encourage the flavor to
develop.

Special handling
If you live in an area where the
ground freezes and thaws often in
the winter, mulch after the first
freeze so that a thaw will not push
the plant up and out of the
ground. Mulching also helps the
tarragon survive the cold.
Subdivide the plants every three
or four years.

Pests

Tarragon has no serious pest


problems. It does well in the
organic garden.

Diseases

Tarragon has no serious


disease problems.

When and how to harvest

Time from planting to harvest is


about 60 days, and you don't
need a lot of tarragon. One
plant supplies the average family,
so if you're growing a lot you
will be able to supply the whole
neighborhood. Pick the tender
top leaves of tarragon as you need
them. Cut back the leafy top
growth several times during the
season to encourage the plant
to bush out.
storing and preserving

Tarragon is best fresh, but can


be dried or frozen. Detailed
information on storing and
preserving is given in Part 3.

Serving suggestions

Put a fresh stem or two of


tarragon into bottles of good
cider vinegar or wine vinegar
and, vo/7a, tarragon vinegar; allow
a couple of weeks for the flavor
to develop before you use it.
Since the flavor of tarragon is
so distinctive, use it with a light
touch. Use the leaves to
decorate cold dishes glazed with
aspic. It's tarragon that gives a
kick to a good sauce tartare, and,
of course, you can't have
chicken tarragon without it.

Common name: thyme


Botanical name: Thymus vulgaris
Origin: Mediterranean

Varieties
Argentens; Aureus; Rosens;
Broadleaf English; Narrowleaf
French.

Description

Thyme is a fragrant, small,


perennial evergreen shrub with
six- to eight-inch stems that
often spread out over the ground.
It's a member of the mint family
and has square stems with small is a charming, cheerful little a border or rock garden. There a
opposite leaves and pale plant and will last for years once it's more than 200 species and man^
lavender mintlike flowers. Thyme established. It's a good plant for hybrids, but the common form i
the one grown for flavoring. The woody; reduce the clump
Greeks and Romans believed that greatly. If you've no room in the
thyme gave courage and garden for extra plants, plant
strength; their highest them in a hanging basket.
compliment was to tell a man
that he smelled of thyme. In the Pests
Middle Ages ladies embroidered
sprigs of thyme on the scarves they Thyme has no serious pest
gave their knights. Linnaeus, problems. Like most herbs, it's
the father of modern botany, ideal for the organic gardener.
recommended thyme as a
hangover cure. frost. Plant the seeds a quarter Diseases
inch deep in rows 16 to 24 inches
Where and when to grow apart, and when the seedlings Thyme has no serious disease
are two to three inches tall thin problems.
Thyme prefers a mild climate them about a foot apart. You can
but can survive temperatures also plant thyme cuttings or root When and how to harvest
below freezing. It tolerates cold divisions. Plant them at the
better in well-drained soil. Plant same time, and space them a foot Pick thyme as needed. For
thyme from seed anywhere in apart. drying, harvest when the plants
the United States two to three begin to bloom. Cut off the tops
weeks before your average date Fertilizing and watering of the branches with four to five
of last frost. inches of flowering stems.
Don't fertilize at midseason.
How to plant Detailed information on fertilizing Storing and preserving
is given in "Spadework: The
Thyme likes well-drained soil, Essential Soil" in Parti. After drying, crumble the thyme
preferably low in fertility; rich soils Thyme seldom needs and put into tightly capped jars.
produce plants that are large but watering; it does best on the dry Detailed information on storing
less fragrant. The first year, work a side. and preserving is given in Part 3.
low-nitrogen (5-10-10) fertilizer
into the soil before planting at the Special handling Serving suggestions
rate of about a half pound per
100 square feet. This is generous of Some herbs, like mints, grow Thyme is usually blended with
you, because in adverse soil like weeds whatever the other herbs and used in meat
conditions thyme, like many competition. Thyme can't dishes, poultry, stuffings
herbs, will have better flavor. handle competition, especially (parsley and thyme is a happy
Whatever the soil's like, it's from grassy weeds, and needs combination), and soups. It
important to give thyme a place an orderly environment; cultivate adds a nice flavor to clam chowder
in the sun. Plant seeds in early conscientiously. and is often used along with a
spring, two to three weeks Start new plants every three to bay leaf to give a delicate lift to a
before your average date of last four years, because thyme gets white sauce or a cheese souffle.
O nce you've harvested your crops, you may find
yourself with a big surplus. What do you do
with all those vegetables? Well, you can — and
chapters. But in some cases, cold storage — not
freezing — can be your best bet. It's a low-effort,
electricity-free choice that can keep you supplied with
will — enjoy them fresh; and you can also give a lot of fresh vegetables all winter long. Both refrigerator
them away. You can keep them in the refrigerator storage and cold storage are discussed below, and the
for a few days. You can freeze, can, or dry them for the accompanying chart shows you which methods of
months ahead, as detailed in the following storing or preserving work best for each vegetable.
SHORT-TERM REFRIGERATOR STORAGE thirds full; if it's empty or almost empty, vegetables
placed in it will dry out.
To keep vegetables moist and fresh, follow these
Most vegetables keep best for a short time when
simple rules of refrigerator storage:
stored in the refrigerator, at a high humidity and a
constant temperature, just above freezing. A • Store vegetables in the crisper or hydrator, and
temperature of about 40°F and a humidity of 95 keep the crisper full.
percent are ideal for storing fresh vegetables, and • When storing only a few vegetables, put them
these conditions are most likely to be found in the into airtight plastic bags or plastic containers,
crisper or hydrator sections of the refrigerator. For then into the crisper.
the best results, the crisper should be at least two- • When storing vegetables in other parts of the
refrigerator, put them into airtight plastic bags or Broccoli
plastic containers to prevent moisture loss.
Do not wash until ready to use. Remove any
Almost all vegetables store well in the
damaged leaves. Store in plastic bag up to 1 week.
refrigerator, but there are a few that don't. Mature
onions, peanuts (dried), potatoes, sweet potatoes,
pumpkins, winter squash, and such root vegetables as Brussels sprouts
rutabagas, salsify, and turnips keep better in cold
storage outside the refrigerator, in a basement storage Do not wash until ready to use. Remove any
room or root cellar. This type of storage is discussed damaged leaves. Store in plastic bag up to 1 week.
in the next section. Most other vegetables, regardless
of whether they can be kept in cold storage, keep Cabbage
very well for a short time in the refrigerator.
Do not wash until ready to use. Remove any
Preparing vegetables for refrigerator storage damaged leaves. Store in plastic bag for 1 to 2 weeks.

Refrigerator storage is the simplest type of storage Cardoon


to prepare for — all you have to do is sort the
vegetables, remove damaged or soft ones for Trim roots and cut off leaves. Wash thoroughly in
immediate use or discard, and remove as much cold water; drain well. Store stalks attached to root in
garden soil as you can. Some vegetables should be plastic bag for 1 to 2 weeks.
washed before they're stored; others keep better
when they're not washe^d until you're ready to use Carrots
them. The directions below tell you how to prepare
each type of vegetable for refrigerator storage. For Cut off tops. Wash thoroughly in cold water; drain
the best results, discard damaged vegetables or use well. Store in plastic bag for 1 to 3 weeks.
them immediately; perfect vegetables keep best.
Cauliflower
Artichokes
Do not wash until ready to use. Remove any
Do not wash until ready to use. Store in plastic bag damaged leaves. Store in plastic bag up to 1 week.
up to 2 weeks.
Celeriac
Asparagus
Cut off leaves and root fibers. Do not wash until
Do not wash until ready to use. Slice off bottoms of ready to use. Store in plastic bag up to 1 week.
stalks and stand upright in 1 to 2 inches of water. Store
up to 1 week. Celery

Beans, green or snap Trim roots and wash thoroughly in cold water;
drain well. Cut off leaves and store in plastic bag for 3
Do not wash until ready to use. Store in plastic bag to 5 days. Store stalks attached at root in plastic bag
up to 1 week. f o r i to 2 weeks.
Beans, broad, dry, lima, or mung
Chard
Do not shell or wash until ready to use. Store in
plastic bag up to 1 week. Wash thoroughly in cold water; drain well. Trim any
bad spots on leaves and cut off tough stalks. Store in
Beets plastic bag for 1 to 2 weeks.

Cut off tops, leaving about 1 inch of stem. Do not Chayote


wash roots until ready to use. Store in plastic bag for 1
to 3 weeks. Wash greens thoroughly in cold water; Do not wash until ready to use. Store in plastic bag
drain well and store in plastic bag up to 1 week. up to 1 week.
Chick peas Horseradish

Do not shell or wash until ready to use. Store in Cut off leaves and trim root; wash thoroughly in
plastic bag up to 1 week. cold water and pat dry. Mix with vinegar and water
according to recipe in " H o w to Freeze Vegetables."
Chicory Store in airtight glass jar in refrigerator f o r i to2weeks.
For stronger flavor, grate as soon as possible after
Do not wash until ready to use. Store in plastic bag picking; store in airtight glass jar.
up to 1 week.
Jerusalem artichokes
Chinese cabbage
Wash tubers thoroughly in cold water and pat dry.
Trim roots and wash thoroughly in cold waters- Store in plastic bag for 7 to 10 days.
drain w e l l . Store in plastic bag up to 1 week.
Kale
Collards
Wash thoroughly in cold water; drain well. Remove
Wash thoroughly in cold water; drain w e l l . Remove any damaged leaves. Store in plastic bag up to 1 week.
any damaged leaves. Store in plastic bag up to 1 week.

Corn Kohlrabi

Do not husk or wash; store in plastic bag for 4 to 8 Cut off leaves and trim root; wash thoroughly in
days. For best flavor, do not store; use immediately. cold water and pat dry. Store in plastic bag up to 1
week.
Cress, garden
Leeks
Wash thoroughly in cold water; drain well. Store in
plastic bag up to 1 week. Cut off roots and all but 2 inches of leaves. Do not
wash until ready to use. Store in plastic bag up to 1
Cucumbers week. Wash very thoroughly in cold water before
using.
Wash thoroughly in cold water and pat dry. Do not
cut until ready to use. Store in plastic bag up to 1 week. Lentils

Dandelion Do not shell or wash until ready to use. Store in


plastic bag up to 1 week.
Cut off roots and remove any damaged leaves.
Wash thoroughly in cold water; drain well. Store in
Lettuce
plastic bag up to 1 week.
Wash thoroughly in cold water; drain well. Store in
Eggplant
plastic bag up to 2 weeks.
Store eggplant at about 50°F, up to 1 week. Do not
refrigerate. Mushrooms

Endive Do not wash until ready to use. Store in open plastic


bag or spread on a tray and cover with damp paper
Wash thoroughly in cold water; drain w e l l . Remove towels. Store up to 1 week. Wash quickly in cold
any damaged leaves. Store in plastic bag up to 1 week. water before using; pat dry.

Fennel Muskmelon

Do not separate stalks or wash until ready to use. Do not wash. Store in plastic bag up to 1 week;
Store in plastic bag up to 1 week. cover cut surfaces with plastic wrap.
Mustard Shallots

Wash thoroughly in cold water; drain well. Remove Wash thoroughly in cold water; drain well. Store in
any damaged leaves. Store in plastic bag up to 1 week. plastic bag up to 1 week.

Okra Sorrel

Do not wash until ready to use. Store in plastic bag Wash thoroughly in cold water; drain well. Remove
for 7 to 10 days. any damaged leaves. Store leaves or stalks in plastic
bag f o r i to 2 weeks.
Onions^ green
Soybeans
Wash thoroughly in cold water; drain well. Store in
plastic bag up to 1 week. Do not refrigerate mature Do not shell or wash until ready to use. Store in
onions. plastic bag up to 1 week.

Parsnips Spinach, New Zealand spinach

Cut off tops, leaving about 1 inch of stem. Do not Trim roots and tough stalks. Wash very thoroughly
wash until ready to use. Store in plastic bag for 1 to 3 in cold water; drain well. Store in plastic bag up to 1
weeks. week.

Peas, black-eyed Sprouts (sprouted vegetable seed, any type)

Do not shell or wash until ready to use. Store in Store in plastic bag up to 1 week. Use sprouts as
plastic bag up to 1 week. soon as possible.

Peas, shelling Squash, summer


Do not shell or wash until ready to use. Store in Do not wash until ready to use. Store in plastic bag
plastic bag up to 1 week. For best flavor, do not store; up to 1 week.
use immediately.
Tomatoes
Peppers
Wash thoroughly in cold water; pat dry. Store
Do not wash until ready to use. Store in plastic bag uncovered up to 1 week, depending on ripeness. Let
up to 1 week. green tomatoes ripen at room temperature, out of
direct sun or in cold storage; then store as above.
Radishes
Turnips
Cut off tops. Do not wash until ready to use. Store in
plastic bag 1 to 2 weeks. Cut off tops, leaving about 1 inch of stem on roots.
Do not wash roots until ready to use. Store in plastic *
Rhubarb bag for 1 to 3 weeks. Wash greens thoroughly in
cold water; drain well. Store in plastic bag for up to 1
Cut off leaves. Wash stalks thoroughly in cold week. Do not refrigerate turnip roots; keep in cold
water; drain well. Store in plastic bag up to 2 weeks. storage.

Salsify Watermelon

Cut off tops, leaving about 1 inch of stem. Do not Wash thoroughly in cold water; pat dry. Store
wash roots until ready to use. Store in plastic bag for 1 uncovered up to 1 week; cover cut surfaces with
to 3 weeks. plastic wrap.
COLD STORAGE: KEEPING VEGETABLES FRESH example, squash have to be kept warmer than do
ALL WINTER carrots, so these two vegetables can't be stored In
the same spot. Or, if you plan to keep cabbages or
Cold storage is an old-fashioned but time-tested turnips, don't store them indoors in the basement;
method for keeping raw, whole vegetables through you'll soon find their strong, distinctive odor
the winter. If you've planted a big vegetable garden penetrating up into the house. And, if you live in a
and if you've got (or can construct) the storage space, climate where heavy snow is common in winter,
storing can be the most practical way to go. outdoor storage of vegetables in mounds or barrels
You'll find many vegetables from your garden isn't going to be practical for you, because deep snow
well-suited to cold storage, including beets, carrots, will make them inaccessible In winter.
onions, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkins, sweet Although storing vegetables may sound easy, it's
potatoes, turnips, winter squash, and many others. a lot more complex than at first meets the eye.
For a complete list, see "Directions for storing Although you don't have to do any chopping,
vegetables," later in this chapter. Other vegetables blanching, or processing of vegetables to be stored,
should be used fresh or preserved. Vegetables that each vegetable does have to be handled in a special
are not suitable for cold storage include asparagus, manner. Perhaps the trickiest part of all is that you've
fresh shelling beans, green beans, chayote, corn, got to keep a weather eye on your stored food.
cucumbers, eggplant, fresh greens — beet greens, Since the temperature of cold storage depends on the
chard, cress, dandelion, endive, lettuce, mustard, temperature outdoors, you may sometimes have to
and sorrel — fresh lentils, mushrooms, okra, green move or change the location of stored vegetables,
onions, fresh peas and chick peas, fresh peanuts, open windows or vents, or adjust the humidity
new potatoes, radishes, rhubarb, fresh soybeans, level. When storing food indoors, keep a
spinach and New Zealand spinach, summer thermometer as well as a humidity gauge in the
squash, and ripe tomatoes. Shelled dried beans, storage area so you can accurately monitor
lentils, peas and chick peas, soybeans, and dried temperature and moisture conditions.
peanuts can be kept up to one year in cold storage. Because it's harder to control the temperature of
Late-ripening and maturing vegetables are the stored food, spoilage can happen more easily than
best choices for cold storage. Certain varieties take with any other form of food preservation. Routine
better to this method than others — late cabbage, checks for spoilage will help you prevent food losses
for example. Check seed catalogs and packets before when storing vegetables indoors — but, once you
you buy and plant, and talk to the specialists at your open up an outdoor mound or barrel, you'll have to
County or State Extension Service Office. They can empty it of all the stored vegetables at once.
help you decide what vegetables to plant when
you're planning your garden, and what storage Storage methods for vegetables
methods work best in your area.
Before the days of refrigerators, freezers, and
How cold storage works supermarkets, most families depended on cold
storage to keep a supply of vegetables all year long.
Like any other method of food preservation, cold In colonial times, a certain portion of every harvest
storage keeps food from decomposing by stopping or was kept in cool caves or in straw-lined pits that
slowing down the activity of enzymes, bacteria, could withstand freezing temperatures. In later times,
yeasts, and microbes that can eventually spoil food. In most houses were built to include root cellars or
cold storage, this is done by keeping fresh, raw, cold, damp basements intended as storage areas.
whole vegetables at temperatures between 32°F and These chilly spots were perfect for keeping root
40°F. In this range, the food won't freeze, but it stays vegetables, celery, pumpkin, squash, potatoes, arid
cold enough to stop the spoilers. The length of storage other vegetables through the cold months.
time varies with each vegetable, from a few weeks Compared to houses of a century ago, our
for broccoli or cauliflower to four to six months for modern dwellings are snug, warm, and dry. Today,
potatoes. Dried beans and peas will keep the very few homes offer the cool, damp basement
longest —10 to 12 months. corners, outdoor sheds, or attics that formerly served
One of the advantages of storing your vegetables as food storage areas. That means you'll have to
is that you don't risk eating unwholesome, spoiled plan, and perhaps construct, one or more special
food. If the food goes bad, you can tell almost spots for cold storage of your garden's bounty —
immediately by the way it looks, smells, or feels. But particularly if you plan to store a variety of
there's still a lot to learn about storage. For vegetables.
In milder climates, where fros^t is infrequent and temperatures of 32°F to 35°F and humidity of 60 to 75
doesn't penetrate too deeply, vegetables can be kept percent.
in specially prepared outdoor locations. In colder The cool-dry group is composed of pumpkin and
areas, you'll have to store the vegetables indoors as an winter squash, dried peas and beans, and live seeds,
extra precaution against freezing. In the directions all of which must be stored at temperatures of
for storing vegetables that follow, you'll find the 50°F to 55''F and at a humidity of 60 to 70 percent.
proper storage method for each vegetable. Vegetables in the cold-moist and cool-moist
groups can be stored outdoors in a mound or barrel,
Four vegetable groups or indoors in a specially insulated basement storage
room that is partitioned off from the central heating
Where and how you store each vegetable will area or a root cellar. Vegetables in the cold-dry and
depend on how much or how little cold it can take and cool-dry groups can be stored indoors in a cool area
the amount of humidity it needs to keep fresh. of a heated basement, but they must be kept away
Vegetables to be stored fall into four groups: cold- from water that might condense and drip down
moist, cool-moist, cold-dry, and cool-dry. from overhead pipes. Cold-dry storage can also be
Vegetables that should be cold-moist stored provided by a dry shed or attic, window wells, or
make up the largest group, and include beets, cellar stair storage.
broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, The accompanying chart shows how vegetables
cauliflower, celery, turnips, and many others. These in each of these four groups should be stored — at
vegetables require the coldest storage what temperature, at what humidity, and for how
temperatures — 32°F — and the highest long. Any one of the storage methods discussed in this
humidity — 95 percent — of all vegetables that can chapter can be used if it supplies the necessary
be stored. conditions of temperature and humidity. For some
The second group of vegetables requires cool- vegetables in the cool-moist group, the refrigerator
moist: melons, peppers, potatoes, and green is an ideal storage area. And when cold storage
tomatoes. These vegetables can be kept at doesn't add significantly to the length of time you
temperatures ranging from 38°F to 60°F and at can keep a vegetable from the cold-moist group, you
humidity levels of 80 to 90 percent. may prefer just to refrigerate your crop, as detailed
Dry onions and shallots require cold-dry storage above.
Mound storage mixed vegetables instead of all carrots or all potatoes.
However, several small mounds are more practical
When planning mound storage, first find a spot in than one large mound. Once you've opened a mound,
your garden where the mound will have good it can't be repacked again—which means you'd
drainage. Dig a shallow, dish-shaped hole six to have to take out all the vegetables at one time. With
eight inches deep, and line it with straw or leaves. several smaller mounds, you can bring manageable
Spread the straw bed with some metal screening (to portions of vegetables into the house, without having
keep 6ut burrowing animals), and then stack your to disturb the whole store. The U.S. Department of
vegetables in a cone on the prepared bed. Wrap the Agriculture recommends changing the location of the
individual pieces and separate the layers of food with pits every year to avoid contamination.
packing material.
Making a cone or volcano shape, cover the Cabbage mound storage
mound with more straw or leaves, then shovel on
three or four inches of dirt. Cover all but the top of If you want to be able to remove cabbages a few at a
the cone. Pack the dirt firmly with the back of your time, you can store heads in a mound that's
shovel. Pile on another thick (six- to eight-inch) rectangular rather than volcano-shaped. Prepare a
layer of straw, but don't cover the top of the cone — it long, narrow, rectangular mound with the same base
must be left open for ventilation. Put a piece of of straw or leaves, metal screening, and more straw,
board on top of each mound to protect it from the as directed for mound storage. Then put in the
weather. If necessary, weight the board with a individual heads of cabbage head-down in one
stone or a brick to keep it in place. Finally, dig a layer, more straw, and a final layer of dirt. Dig a small
shallow drainage ditch around the mound. trench along each long side of the mound to drain
You can store several kinds of vegetables in the off water. With this type of mound, you can remove
same mound, if they're separated by packing just a few cabbages at a time, because there's only
material — that way you can enjoy a bushel of one layer of heads.
Barrel storage leave the trench open until the celery tops are dry.
Build a lean-to over the celery with the boards — set
Choose a well-drained spot in your garden for a wide board on edge along one side of the trenched
barrel storage. Dig out a hole deep enough to cradle celery, and prop another wide board against this
the barrel on its side — the barrel doesn't have to be support to make a slanted roof over the bunches of
completely buried. Line the hole with straw, and nest celery. Finally, cover the lean-to with straw and
the barrel into it. Pack in the vegetables, cover the then with dirt.
barrel opening with metal screening or tight-fitting
wood covers to keep out rodents, then cover the INDOOR STORAGE — THE ROOT CELLAR
whole barrel with several insulating layers of straw and
dirt. Be sure to mark the location of the barrel If you live in a region where freezing or very snowy
mouth, so you can find it easily when you're ready to weather is common in winter, you'll need to store
dig out the vegetables. your vegetables indoors. Your house (or possibly
another building on your property) may offer several
Frame storage of the storage areas described in this section, or you
may decide to build a basement cold storage room. If
Frame storage is a special method that works best you live in an older house, there may be a fruit cellar
for celery and celerylike vegetables, such as Chinese or cold corner that could easily be closed off to stay
cabbage and fennel. In this little underground lean- cold and moist. Or, your newer house may have a
to, you store the celery bunches upright with their crawl space that's cold and damp. However it's done,
roots in the ground. Dig a trench about one foot indoor storage calls for a bit more upkeep than
deep, two feet wide, and as long as needed to hold the outdoor storage, since you've got to keep an eye on
celery you've grown. Harvest the celery, leaving the the temperature, the ventilation, and the humidity
roots intact, and stand the bunches up — closely to which your vegetables are exposed, as well as make
together— in the trench. Water the roots, and routine checks for spoilage.
Check around your property to see if it offers
storage areas like those described in this section. Test
the temperature and humidity in any area you're
considering before you use it for storing your
vegetables. The ideal time to plan your storage area
is in winter before you plant.
Temperature. You'll need to put up a reliable
indoor/outdoor thermometer in your storage area.
Most vegetables are stored at temperatures below
40°F but above freezing. However, there are some
exceptions; watery vegetables such as tomatoes,
green peppers, winter squash, and pumpkins, must
all be cool-stored at temperatures above 40°F to keep
from spoiling.
Humidity. Unless extra humidity is provided,
your cold-moist and cool-moist stored vegetables will
dry up and shrivel when stored indoors. Keep a
humidity gauge in your storage area to be sure the
vegetables are getting neither too much nor too
little humidity, and make any necessary adjustments
from time to time. You don't need fancy equipment
or techniques for maintaining the right humidity. You
might put pans of water or a tub of dampened sand
on the floor; cover the floor with damp straw, sand, or vegetables. In colder climates, you may need to go
sawdust; use damp sand or sawdust for packing the through the basement. Cover the outside door to
food; or line packing boxes with plastic bags. keep your vegetables from freezing.
Ventilation. You need ventilation in your storage Use a thermometer to check the temperature on
area in case the indoor temperature grows too warm each step and put barrels or boxes of food where the
for the vegetables you're keeping. If that should temperature is right for each item. It's a good idea
happen, you must let in some cold winter air to cool to set a wooden plank as insulation on each step. If you
things off. Good ventilation can be provided by a need to add more humidity, set a bucket of damp
vent to the outside, a window, or a door. Although it's sand on one of the steps.
simple enough to open a window or a door to lower
the temperature of your storage place, you must also Window well storage
protect your stored vegetables from contact with
the air. Oxygen reacts with other substances in food to Window wells can make nifty little storage areas, if
cause changes that will spoil the food. Since whole they don't collect and hold water. Line the wells with
vegetables "breathe," they must be wrapped or
packed in materials that will prevent oxidation. You
must also keep the vegetables separate from one
another so any spoilage won't be able to spread. To do
this, layer the vegetables with clean, dry leaves,
sand, moss, or dirt, or wrap each vegetable
individually in paper.

Cellar steps storage

If your house has an outside basement entrance


with stairs going down, you can use it as a storage
area — the stairs become your shelves. You'll need
a door at the top of the stairs, and probably another
door at the bottom of the stairs, over the existing
house door, to hold in the basement's heat. Which
door you use as access depends on the climate. In a
straw or bedding, put in the vegetables and add boxes are only suitable for storing vegetables that
packing material, if necessary. Then cover the wells need dry conditions.
with boards or more bedding. If the windows open • Newspapers or other paper for wrapping
inward, you may be able to take vegetables out from vegetables.
the basement, without ever having to go outside • Packing and insulating materials, such as sand,
and dig! sawdust, peat, sphagnum moss, leaves, straw, or
wood shavings.
Dry shed or attic storage • An indoor/outdoor thermometer for monitoring
temperatures in an indoor storage area.
Dry shed or attic storage provides cold, dry • A humidity gauge for monitoring the humidity in
storage — just right for onions, shallots, pumpkins, an indoor storage area.
and winter squash. By "dry shed," we mean any • Metal screening for use as protection against
location that offers constant low temperatures and contamination by rodents in outdoor storage
low humidity. This could be a garage, an unheated areas.
breezeway, a shed or storage building, even an • Wood slats for constructing lean-to and frames.
unused doghouse, (if your garage or storage shed is • A shovel for digging out mound, frame, or barrel
fragrant with oil and gasoline, it's no good for storing storage areas.
vegetables. Some vegetables will absorb the oil and
gasoline fumes and odors.) In milder winter zones, BASIC COLD-STORING TECHNIQUES
shelves in a storage shed or boxes on the floor may
work well. If you live in a very cold region, you may Your vegetables must be harvested at just the right
have to insulate the corner of the shed to keep the moment so they'll take well to storing and won't decay
vegetables from freezing. before you're ready to use them. Damaged or
Attic storage is convenient only if temperatures imperfect vegetables will spoil quickly, so you must be
can be held somewhat constant. Since many attics will very careful when handling them prior to storing.
warm up quickly on a sunny day, you'll have to Never store bruised or damaged vegetables; they can
construct a special little storage area In it. Choose a cause spoilage of your whole crop. It's usually
spot that's well-insulated and near ventilation in the better to clean off but not wash vegetables before
coldest part of the attic. Partition and roof it off from storing, because washing can lead to the
the rest of the attic, and use it for storing winter development of soft rot.
squash and onions. With methods of food preservation, you can
process the food and then forget about it until you're
Basement storage room ready to use it. Not so with storage. Since the
temperature outdoors is the major factor affecting the.
You can go all out and build a cold storage room in storage of your vegetables, you have to be
your basement. What you'll be doing is creating a constantly alert to the changes in weather. If it turns
separate little room, insulated from heat. You can suddenly colder, warmer, or wetter, you must
get plans for constructing indoor cold storage rooms make whatever adjustments are needed to maintain
from agricultural extension offices, lumberyards, the proper conditions in your storage area. You
or gardening magazines. must also make regular spoilage checks of the boxes,
Basically, you'll have to partition off an area that bags, or bins of vegetables stored indoors.
has no heating pipes or ducts. For ventilation, there
should be a window — two or more windows if the Handling
room is partitioned. For air circulation, plan to have
removable slatted flooring and shelves. Slatted Harvest vegetables as late as possible. For many
flooring makes it easier to use dampened sawdust or vegetables, this means plant later than usual in order
other wet material to raise the humidity. to get a late harvest. You should wait until the first
frost warnings to harvest. Carrots, parsnips, potatoes,
BASIC EQUIPMENT FOR STORING VEGETABLES
and turnips, for example, can stay in the ground
even after the first frost or two, if the ground is well
In addition to the proper indoor or outdoor storage
mulched.
areas, you'll need the following equipment to store
Pick only perfect vegetables for cold storage and
your vegetables:
handle them carefully to avoid bruising. One bad item
• Containers, such as wooden boxes, crates, can spread decay to others and ruin the whole box,
barrels, or plastic garbage bags — cardboard barrel, or mound.
Harvest on a dry day, if possible, and let the storage. The following directions for storing
vegetables dry on the ground, in the sun, for several vegetables tell you which methods are best suited to
hours before packing them away. Onions often each vegetable. Choose the one that works best for
need several days of drying; potatoes, however, your climate and your available space.
shouldn't be exposed to hot sun or strong wind.
Produce should be cool when packed. Artichokes
Wash vegetables, if you must, but most experts
agree that all you really need to do is brush off excess Cut the fleshy, tight buds before they open.
dirt. The vegetables should be dry before you pack Artichokes are best stored in the refrigerator, but they
them. can be kept in cold storage. Store on shelves or
loosely packed in open boxes at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to
Curing 95 percent humidity (moist), with some air
circulation. Store in a basement storage room or root
Potatoes, pumpkins, and most types of winter cellar up to 1 month.
squash have to be cured before storing. Curing is
holding the vegetables at a warm temperature — Beans, dried (broad, dry, or lima)
70°F to 85°F — in a dark, humid place for about 10
days. Curing hardens the skins and rinds and helps Dried beans won't freeze, and will store well when
heal surface cuts, reducing mold and rot damage. properly dried and packaged. Dry them according to
the instructions in "How to Dry Vegetables." Then
Packing store them at 32°F to 50°F and 65 to 70 percent humidity
(dry), with some air circulation. Store in a dry shed
Some vegetables — potatoes, onions, and or attic for 10 to 12 months.
squash — can go from the garden right into boxes,
barrels, plastic bags, or other containers. Root Beets
vegetables — such as beets, carrots, turnips, and
parsnips — are better packed in some material such Choose late-maturing varieties and leave them in
as newspaper that will insulate them, slow down their the ground until after the first few frosts. Dig them up
breathing, and keep them from touching one when the soil is dry, and leave them on the ground
another, so decay can't spread from root to root. for 3 or 4 hours. Remove the tops, leaving about 1/2
You can wrap the vegetables separately in inch of the crowns. Don't remove the roots. Pack in
newspaper, then pack them loosely in boxes, barrels, packing material in wooden boxes, barrels, plastic
or plastic bags. If you use plastic bags, poke a few bags with air holes, or in a mound or buried barrel.
holes in the bags to allow some ventilation. Other Store at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity
packing materials include damp or dry sand, (moist), with just a little air circulation. Beets will
sawdust, peat, sphagnum moss, leaves, straw, or freeze at 30°F. Store in a basement storage room, root
wood shavings. Line the container with a layer of cellar, mound, or buried barrel for 5 to 6 months.
packing wood material, then arrange a layer of
vegetables, leave space around each vegetable for Broccoli
packing material. Fill in around each vegetable and
then again on top with a layer of packing material. Harvest in late fall. Remove the root, but leave the
Repeat these steps until the container is full. Be leaves on as protection. Pack in boxes; separate and
careful to leave enough room for examining the cover the stalks with moist sand. Store at 32°F to 34°F
produce at the bottom of the container when and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with some air
you're making routine spoilage checks. circulation. Broccoli will freeze at about 30°F. Store
Moist sand is sometimes suggested for packing in a basement storage room or root cellar up to 3
certain vegetables. You'll know the sand is just the weeks.
right consistency if it feels cold and falls apart in
your hand when squeezed, leaving just a few particles Brussels sprouts
sticking to your skin.
Leave Brussels sprouts in the ground and mulch
DIRECTIONS FOR COLD-STORING VEGETABLES them heavily to protect the sprouts. Brussels sprouts
plants can be stored in a frame, like celery, or in a
If you plan to store a variety of vegetables, you'll mound, like cabbage, but often the size of the plants
probably have to arrange several different kinds of makes this impractical. Store Brussels sprouts
plants at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity Celeriac
(moist), with just a little air circulation. Store in a
basement storage room or root cellar up to 1 m o n t h . Dig up the roots w h e n the soil is dry, and leave them
on the g r o u n d for 3 o r 4 hours. Cut off the tops, leaving
Cabbage 2 or 3 inches of the c r o w n ; d o n ' t remove the root
fibers. Pack in w o o d e n boxes, barrels, or plastic bags
Choose late-maturing varieties. For storage in a w i t h air holes, or in a m o u n d or buried barrel. Store
root cellar, remove the roots, then cover the heads in at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist),
moist dirt or sand in a b i n . For outdoor mound w i t h just a little air circulation. Celeriac will freeze at
storage, d o n ' t remove the stem or root. Place the just under 32°F. Store in a basement storage r o o m ,
cabbages head-down, pack straw between the buried b a r r e l , m o u n d , o r root cellar for 2 t o 3 months.
heads, then cover w i t h a final layer of dirt. Store at 32°F
to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with Celery
just a little air circulation. Cabbage will freeze at 30°F.
Store in a m o u n d , buried barrel, or root cellar for 3 Harvest the plants w i t h roots intact. Don't remove
to 4 months. Do not store cabbages in a basement the tops. Set the roots firmly in moist sand or dirt so
storage r o o m ; their strong odor can escape up into the celery stands upright, and construct a frame
the house. over the plants, as detailed earlier in this chapter.
Keep the roots moist during storage, but don't
Cardoon water the leaves of the plants. Store at 32°F to 34°F and
90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), w i t h just a little air
Harvest the plants w i t h roots intact. Don't remove circulation. Celery will freeze at just under 32°F. Store
the tops. Set the roots firmly in moist sand or dirt so in a basement storage r o o m , outside frame, or root
the plants stand upright, and construct a frame over cellar for 2 to 3 months.
the plants, as detailed earlier in this chapter. Keep the
roots moist d u r i n g storage, but don't water the Chick peas^ dried
leaves of the plants. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95
percent humidity (moist), w i t h just a little air Dried chick peas w o n ' t freeze, and will store well
circulation. Cardoon will freeze at just under 32°F. w h e n properly dried and packaged. Dry them
Store in a basement storage r o o m , outside frame, according to the instructions in " H o w to Dry
or root cellar for 2 to 3 months. Vegetables." Then store them at 32°F to 50°F and 65 to
70 percent humidity (dry), w i t h some air circulation.
Carrots Store in a dry shed or attic for 10 to 12 months.

Choose late-maturing varieties, and leave them in Chicory


the ground until after the first couple of frosts. After
harvesting, leave them on the ground for 3 to 4 Harvest the plants w i t h the roots intact, and don't
hours. Remove the tops, leaving about 1/2 inch of the trim the leaves. Tie all the leaves together, then stand
c r o w n . Don't remove the roots. Pack in packing the plants upright in moist sand or dirt and
material in w o o d e n boxes, barrels, plastic bags w i t h construct a frame over the plants, as detailed earlier in
air holes, or bury in a m o u n d . Store at 32°F to 34°F this chapter. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 85 to 90
and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with just a little percent humidity (moderately moist), with just a little
air circulation. Carrots will freeze at about 30°F. air circulation. Chicory will freeze at just under
Store in a basement storage r o o m , m o u n d , buried 32°F. Store in a basement storage r o o m , outside
barrel, or root cellar 4 to 5 months. frame, or root cellar for 2 to 3 months.
To store the roots only, dig them up when the soil
Cauliflower is dry, and leave them on the ground for 3 to 4 hours.
Remove the tops, leaving about 1/2 inch of the
Harvest in late fall. Remove the root, but leave on crowns. Pack in packing material in w o o d e n boxes,
the outer leaves as protection. Pack in boxes; separate barrels, plastic bags with air holes, or in a m o u n d or
and cover the heads w i t h moist sand. Store at 32°F to buried barrel. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent
34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with a little humidity (moist), w i t h just a little air circulation.
air circulation. Cauliflower will freeze at about 30°F. Chicory roots freeze at about 30°F. Store in a basement
Store in a basement storage room or root cellar for 2 to storage r o o m , m o u n d , buried barrel, or root cellar
3 weeks. for 10 to 12 months.
Chinese cabbage about 1/2 inch of the crowns. Then pack into boxes
or other well-ventilated containers, but without
Harvest the plant with roots intact. Don't remove additional packing material. Store at 32°F to 34°F and
the tops. Set the roots firmly in moist dirt so the 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with little air
cabbage stands upright and construct a frame over circulation. Jerusalem artichokes will freeze at just
the plants, as detailed earlier in this chapter. Keep below 31°F. Store in a basement storage room or root
roots moist during storage but don't water the cellar for 2 to 5 months.
leaves of the plants. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95
percent humidity (moist), with just a little air Kohlrabi
circulation. Chinese cabbage will freeze at just under
32°F. Store in a basement storage room, outside Choose late-maturing varieties and leave in the
frame, or root cellar for 2 to 3 months. ground until after the first few frosts. Dig when the soil
is dry, and leave on the ground for 3 or 4 hours.
Fennel Remove the tops, leaving about 1/2 inch of the crown.
Don't remove the roots. Pack in packing material in
Harvest the plants with roots intact. Don't remove wooden boxes, barrels, plastic bags with air holes, or
the tops. Set the roots firmly in moist sand or dirt so in a mound or buried barrel. Store at 32°F to 34°F at
the plants stand upright, and construct a frame over 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with just a little air
the plants, as detailed earlier in this chapter. Keep the circulation. Kohlrabi freezes at 30°F. Store in a
roots moist during storage, but don't water the basement storage room, mound, buried barrel, or
leaves of the plants. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 root cellar for 1 to 2 months.
percent humidity (moist), with just a little air
circulation. Fennel will freeze at just under 32°F. Leeks
Store in a basement storage room, outside frame,
or root cellar for 2 to 3 months. Harvest with roots intact. Don't remove the tops.
Set the roots firmly in moist dirt so the leeks stand
Horseradish upright. Keep the roots moist during storage, but
don't water the leaves of the plant. Store at 32°F to 34''F
Choose late-maturing plants and leave them In the and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with some air
ground until after the first few frosts. Dig them up circulation. Leeks freeze at just below 32''F. Store in a
when the soil is dry, and leave them on the ground basement storage room, outside frame, or root
for 3 or4 hours. Remove tops, leaving about 1/2 inch of cellar for 2 to 3 months.
the crown. Don't remove the roots. Pack in packing
material in wooden boxes, barrels, plastic bags with Lentils, dried
air holes, or in a mound or buried barrel. Store at
32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), Dried lentils won't freeze and will store well when
with a little air circulation. Horseradish freezes at properly dried and packaged. Dry them according to
about 30°F. Store in a basement storage room, the instructions in "How to Dry Vegetables." Then
mound, buried barrel, or root cellar for 10 to 12 store them at 32°F to 50°F and 65 to 70 percent humidity
months. (dry), with some air circulation. Store In a dry shed
or attic for 10 to 12 months.
Greens (collards kale and turnip)
Muskmelon
Harvest the plant with roots intact. Don't remove
the tops. Set the roots firmly in moist dirt so it Harvest melons slightly immature; they will
stands upright. Keep the roots moist during continue to ripen during storage. Store at 45°F to 50°F
storage, but don't water the leaves of the plant. Store and 85 to 90 percent humidity (moderately moist),
at 32''F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity with some air circulation. Pile or stack melons loosely,
(moist), with some air circulation. Greens freeze at with no packing material, on shelves in a basement
just below 32°F. Store in a frame for 2 to 3 weeks. storage room or root cellar for 2 to 3 weeks.

jerusalem artichokes Onions

Dig the roots when the soil is dry, and leave them on Dig up mature onion bulbs and leave them on the
the ground for 3 or 4 hours. Remove the tops, leaving ground to dry completely, usually about a week. Cut
off the tops, leaving 1/2 inch of stem. Pack the bulbs Potatoes
loosely, without any packing material, in well-
ventilated containers. If you like, braid the tops Choose late-maturing varieties. Early potatoes are
together and hang the onions from hooks in a cold difficult to keep in cold storage. Dig the potatoes
storage area. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 60 to 75 when the soil is dry, and leave them on the ground
percent humidity (dry), with some air circulation. for 3 or 4 hours. Avoid sun and wind damage. Cure
Onions freeze at just under 31°F. Store in a dry shed by storing them at regular basement temperatures —
or attic for 6 to 7 months. 60°F to 65°F—in moist air for 10 days. Then pack
them into boxes or other well-ventilated containers,
Parsnips but without additional packing material. Store at
38°F to40°F, and 85 to 90 percent humidity (moderately
Choose late-maturing varieties and leave them in moist), with a little air circulation. Potatoes will
the ground until after the first few frosts. Dig them up freeze at just below 31°F. Store in a basement storage
when the soil is dry, and leave them on the ground room or root cellar for 4 to 6 months.
for 3 or 4 hours. Remove the tops, leaving about 1/2
inch of the crown. Don't remove the roots. Pack in
Pumpkins
packing material in wooden boxes, barrels, plastic
bags with air holes, or in a mound or buried barrel. Harvest just before the first frost, leaving an inch or
Store at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity so of stem. Cure at 80°F to 85°F for 10 days, or for 2 to 3
(moist), with a little air circulation. Parsnips freeze weeks at slightly lower temperatures. After curing,
at 30°F. Store in a basement storage room, mound, move them to a cooler spot for long-term storage.
buried barrel, or root cellar for 2 to 6 months. Store at 50°F to 55°F and 60 to 75 percent humidity
(dry), with a little air circulation. Pumpkins will freeze
Peanuts, dried at just above 30°F. Store on shelves in a basement
storage room, dry shed, or attic for 3 to 6 months.
Dried peanuts won't freeze, and will store well for
10 to 12 months when properly dried and packaged.
Dry them according to the instructions in "How to Rutabagas
Dry Vegetables." Then store them at 32°F to 50°F and
65 to 70 percent humidity (dry), in a dry shed or Choose late-maturing varieties and leave them in
attic. the ground until after the first few frosts. Dig them
up when the soil is dry, and leave them on the ground
Peas, dried for 3 or 4 hours. Remove the tops, leaving about 1/2
(shelling, black-eyed) inch of the crowns. Don't remove the roots. Pack in
packing material in wooden boxes, barrels, or
Dried peas won't freeze, and will store well when plastic bags with air holes, or in a mound or buried
properly dried and packaged. Dry them according to barrel. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent
the instructions in "How to Dry Vegetables." Then humidity (moist), with a little air circulation.
store them at 32°F to 50°F and 65 to 70 percent humidity Rutabagas will freeze at about 30°F. Store in a
(dry), with some air circulation. Store in a dry shed basement storage room, mound, buried barrel, or
or attic for 10 to 12 months. root cellar for 2 to 4 months.

Peppers Salsify

Harvest before the first frost. Choose only the Harvest in late season. Dig them up when the soil is
firmest peppers for storing, since they're easily dry, and leave them on the ground for 3 or 4 hours.
damaged. Pack into plastic bags punched with air Remove the tops, leaving about 1/2 inch of the
holes; then place in boxes. Peppers must be crowns. Don't remove the roots. Pack in packing
monitored very carefully during storage to be sure material in wooden boxes, barrels, plastic bags with
they don't become too moist or too cold. Store at 45°F air holes, or in a mound or buried barrel. Store at 32°F
to 50°F and 85 to 95 percent humidity (moderately to 34°F and 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with a
moist), with a little air circulation. Peppers will freeze little air circulation. Salsify freezes at about 30°F. Store
at just below 31°F. Store in a basement storage room in a basement storage room, mound, buried barrel,
or root cellar for 2 to 3 weeks. or root cellar for 2 to 4 months.
Seed^ live humidity (moderately moist), with some air
circulation. Sweet potatoes freeze at just below
Most gardeners buy seeds to plant, but you may 30°F. Store in a basement storage room or dry shed for
want to harvest seeds to sprout when your vegetables 4 to 6 months.
mature. Cabbage and lettuce seeds, for instance,
can both be sprouted, as detailed in "How to Sprout Tomatoes, green
Vegetables." Leave the seeds on the plant until
they're dry and fully mature; then harvest them. Store Plant late so the vines will still be vigorous when you
dried seeds in airtight plastic bags in a metal pick the tomatoes for storage. Harvest green tomatoes
container, or in airtight glass jars; keep glass jars in a just before the first killing frost. When you harvest,
bag or wrap in newspaper to keep light from remove the stems from the tomatoes, then wash and
reaching the seeds. Store at 32°F to 40°F and 65 to 70 dry them before storing. Be careful not to break skins.
percent humidity (dry). Store in a dry shed or attic Separate the green tomatoes from those that are
for 10 to 12 months. showing red. Pack green tomatoes 1 or 2 layers deep in
boxes or trays; you can also ripen a few tomatoes
Shallots for immediate use by keeping them in closed paper
bags in the house and out of the direct sun. Store
Dig up mature bulbs and leave them on the ground green tomatoes at 55°F to 60°F and 85 to 90 percent
to dry completely, usually about a week. Cut off the humidity (moderately moist), with good air
tops, leaving about 1/2 inch of stem. Pack the bulbs circulation. At room temperature mature green
loosely, without any packing materials, in well- tomatoes ripen in 2 weeks; at 55°F, ripening will be
ventilated containers. Store at 32°F to 34°F and 60 to slowed down to nearly 1 month. Immature green
75 percent humidity (dry), with some air Circulation. tomatoes will take longer to ripen at either
Shallots freeze at just under 31°F. Store in a dry shed temperature; tomatoes showing some red will ripen
or attic for 2 to 8 months. faster, and can't be held in storage as long as totally
green ones. Check your tomatoes once a week to
Soybeans^ dried monitor the ripening; remove the ripe ones and
any that have begun to decay. Tomatoes will freeze at
Dried soybeans won't freeze, and will store well about 31°F. Store in a basement storage room or dry
when properly dried and packaged. Dry them shed up to1 month.
according to the instructions in "How to Dry
Vegetables." Then store them at 32°F to 50°F and 65 to Turnips
70 percent humidity (dry), with some air circulation.
Store in a dry shed or attic for 10 to 12 months. Choose late-maturing varieties and leave them in
the ground until after the first few frosts. Dig them up
Squashy winter when the soil is dry, and leave them on the ground
for 3 or 4 hours. Remove the tops, leaving about 1/2
Harvest just before the first frost, leaving on an inch inch of the crown. Don't remove the roots. Pack in
or so of stem. Cure at 80°F to 85°F for 10 days, or for 2 to packing material in wooden boxes, barrels, plastic
3 weeks at slightly lower temperatures. After bags with air holes, or in a mound or buried barrel.
curing, store at 50°F to 60°F and 70 to 75 percent Since the strong odor of turnips can escape from the
humidity (moderately dry), with some air basement up into the house, it's wisest to store
circulation. Squash freezes at just above 30°F. Store in them separately and outdoors. Store at 32°F to 34°F and
a basement storage room, root cellar, dry shed, or 90 to 95 percent humidity (moist), with a little air
attic for 5 to 6 months. circulation. Turnips will freeze at about 30°F. Store in a
mound or buried barrel for 4 to 5 months.
Sweet potatoes
Watermelon
Choose late-maturing varieties. Put sweet potatoes
directly into storage containers when you harvest Harvest melons when fully ripe; they will not
them. Cure them under moist conditions at 80°F to continue to ripen during storage. Store at 45°F to 50°F
85°F for 10 days. At lower temperature, curing takes and 80 to 85 percent humidity (moderately moist),
longer—2 to 3 weeks. Stack storage crates and with some air circulation. Pile or stack melons loosely,
cover them to hold in the humidity while curing. After with no packing material, on shelves in a basement
curing, store at 55°F to 60°F and 85 to 90 percent storage room or root cellar for 2 to 3 weeks.
Freezing foods is one of the fastest and simplest STOPPING THE SPOILERS
methods of food preservation. It's easy to
prepare food for the freezer and easy to prepare Extreme cold — and that means temperatures of
food for the table from the freezer. Best of all, foods 0°F or lower — is what stops the growth of the
preserved by freezing taste more like fresh than microorganisms In or around food that can cause
their canned or dried co