How to Grow Vegetables
In everyday usage, a vegetable is any part of a plant that is consumed by humans as food as part of a savory meal. The term vegetable is somewhat arbitrary, and largely defined through culinary and cultural tradition. It normally excludes other food derived from plants such as fruits, nuts, and cereal grains, but includes seeds such as pulses.
How to grow Potato
Plant potatoes from late winter to late spring–as early as 4 to 6 weeks before the last average frost date in spring–depending upon the number of days the variety you are planting requires to mature to harvest. So-called “early” potatoes will come to harvest in summer; “mid season” and “late” potatoes will mature and come to harvest in fall. Plant potatoes in full sun.
Potatoes require a cool but frost-free growing season of 75 to 135 or more days.
The ideal potato grow temperature is 45° to 80°F. Hot weather will reduce the number of tubers per plant. Potatoes prefer well-drained fertile soil high in organic matter with pH of 5.0 to 5.5. As the soil becomes more alkaline the size of the crop will grow but the incidence of scab–a condition that affects the skin of the potato but not the eating quality–also will increase.
How to plant and spacing :Plant potatoes in a hole or trench 4 inches deep and cover with 2 inches of soil. When sprouts emerge, add the remaining 2 inches of soil to the hole or trench. Sow seed potatoes 12 to 18 inches apart; space rows 24 to 36 inches apart. Potatoes also can be planted on top of the ground if covered with a 12-inch thick mulch of straw or hay.
Storing and preserving. Store potatoes in a dark, well-ventilated place at about 40°F. Potatoes will keep for about 6 months. Do not refrigerate potatoes. Prepared or new potatoes freeze well and potatoes can also be dried.
How to Grow Carrots
Carrots are a cool-weather vegetable. Sow carrots in the garden 2 to 3 weeks before the last average frost date in spring.
Succession crops can be planted every 2 to 3 weeks until about 12 weeks before the date of the average first frost in autumn. Where winters are mild grow carrots in autumn and winter. Carrots require from 50 to 80 days to reach maturity; baby carrots can be harvested in about 30 days.
Some carrots grow to 10 inches long; others are much shorter.
Planting time. Carrots are a cool-weather crop best grown in spring, early summer, and autumn.
Sow carrot seed ¼ to ½ inch deep about 1 inch apart; thin carrots to about 4 inches apart in wide beds and about 2 inches apart in rows .
Carrots will be ready for harvest 50 to 80 days after sowing depending upon variety. Baby carrots can be harvested in 30 to 40 days.
There are hundreds of tomato varieties available as seed, and choosing a few for your home garden can be a daunting task.
Step-By-Step Seed Starting
Thoroughly moisten the seed-starting mix, and then fill the containers to within 1/2″ of the top. Firm the mix but don’t compact it.
Place two or three seeds into each small container or each cell of a seed starter. Cover the seed with about 1/4″ of soil and gently firm it over the seeds.
Water to ensure good seed-to-mix contact. You can use a plant mister or just dribble a stream of water over the top. You don’t need to soak the soil, just moisten the top layer.
Place the pots in a warm spot or on top of a heat mat. At this point, the seeds don’t need light.
Keep the mix moist but not soaking wet. If your seed-starting system has a greenhouse top, use it to help hold moisture. Or, you can lay some plastic kitchen wrap over the tops of the pots.
Check pots daily. As soon as you see sprouts, remove the covering and place the pots in a sunny window or under grow lights, keeping the lights just an inch or two above the tops of the plants.
Continue to keep the soil moist but not saturated. Dry seed-starting mix is lighter in color than moist mix — a good indication that it needs water. Some gardeners run a fan in the room with their growing seedlings; good air circulation reduces the chances of disease problems, such as damping off.
If you’re growing plants on a windowsill, rotate pots daily so plants grow upright instead of leaning toward the light. If you’re growing under lights, raise the lights as the plants grow, keeping them just a few inches above the plants.
Thinning out tomato seedlings
Use a scissors to thin out crowded seedlings.
Once the second set of true leaves appears, it’s time to begin fertilizing. The first two leaves are called “seed leaves;” subsequent leaves are called “true leaves.” Once or twice a week, apply a water-soluble fertilizer that’s been mixed at half the recommended rate.
Transplanting tomato seedlings into larger biodegradable pots
Biodegradable pots help reduce transplant shock.
Your tomatoes may need to be transplanted to larger containers if they outgrow their pots before it’s time to set them outdoors. Don’t allow the plant to get pot-bound, with the roots filling the container, or growth may be stunted. For step-by-step instructions, read How to Re pot a Tomato Seedling.
Transplanting into the garden
Wait to transplant your tomato seedlings into the garden until after the average last spring frost date. Be prepared to protect the seedlings with season-extending garden fabric, row covers or plant covers) if a late frost threatens. If all goes well, you’ll be harvesting ripe tomatoes in eight weeks or less.
How to grow Cauliflower
Cauliflower is a cool-season crop and a descendant of the common cabbage.If you plant to attempt growing cauliflower in the home garden, it requires consistently cool temperatures with temperatures in the 60 s. The soil pH should be between 6.5 and 6.8.
It is best to start cauliflower from transplants rather than seeds. Transplant 2 to 4 weeks before the average frost date in the spring, no sooner and not much later.
Space the transplants 18 to 24 inches apart with 30 inches between rows. Use starter fertilizer when transplanting.
Plant fall cauliflower about the same time as fall cabbage. This is usually 6 to 8 weeks before the first fall frost and also need to be after the temperature is below 75 degrees F.If you really want to try starting cauliflower from seeds, start the seeds 4 to 5 weeks before the plants are needed. Plant the seeds in rows 3 to 6 inches apart and ¼ to ½ of an inch deep.They need 1 to 1.5 inches of water each week; with normal rainfall, this usually requires supplement watering.
For best growth, side-dress the plants with a nitrogen fertilizer.Note that the cauliflower will start out as a loose head and it takes time for the head to form. Many varieties take at least 75 to 85 days from transplant. If the cauliflower has a coarse appearance, it is too mature and should be tossed.
How to grow onions
Onions are a cold-season crop, plant the smaller sets 1 inch deep, with 4 to 5 inches between each plant and in rows 12 to 18 inches apart.Think of onions as a leaf crop, not a root crop. Fertilize every few weeks with nitrogen to get big bulbs. Cease fertilizing when the onions push the soil away and the bulling process has started.onions do not need consistent watering if mulch is used. Be sure to harvest in late summer, before cool weather. Mature onions may spoil in fall weather. Store at 40 to 50 degrees F (4 to 10 degrees C) in braids or with the stems broken off.