Growing Organic Vegetables
By: Rob Colbourn
Organic Vegetable growing is becoming increasingly popular with the general population. People grow vegetables in their gardens, allotments and windowsills, as we become more health conscious as a nation. Here are some handy tips for the beginner vegetable grower, to nurture their first crops of delicious, nutritious food.
• If you don’t have a garden r an allotment you can grow a small amount of vegetables in pots on the windowsill or in a courtyard or balcony. Plants that bode well in such conditions include herbs, tomatoes, chilli’s and peppers.
• Timing is highly important when growing vegetables. Some vegetables thrive in the summer and some in the wet coolness of the spring or autumn months.
• Warm-weather vegetables include aubergines (eggplant), lima beans, snap beans, corn, Crowder peas, courgettes (zucchini), cucumbers, Malabar spinach, marrow, New Zealand spinach, okra, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, soybeans, squash, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.
• Cool-weather vegetables include beetroot (beets), broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, celtuce, Chinese cabbage, corn salad, cresses, endive, escarole, fava beans, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, lamb’s lettuce (mache), leeks, lettuces, mustard, onions parsnips, peas, radicchio, radishes, salsify, shallots, spinach, swedes (rutabagas) and turnips.
• Spring planting – Sowing seeds in the spring can start as soon as soon as first and snows are over and soil is workable. The first seeds that can be sown include peas and lettuce.
• Warm weather vegetables do not like frost so should not be planted until you are sure that the frosts are over.
• Tomatoes and peppers need a long growing season and are best grown from transplants in short-season northern climates. Tomato transplants should be put in the garden one to two weeks after the last frost.
• You can keep planting seeds to crop your vegetables in autumn or even winter.
• Some autumn garden vegetables are lettuces, spinach, radishes and peas. When planting late-summer peas, sow seeds up to two inches deep if the soil is hot and dry. While peas can tolerate a moderate freeze, however, they’re more sensitive to freezing in the autumn than in the spring.
• Brassicas are frost-tolerant, and a light frost can improve their flavour. Broccoli, cauliflower and the hardier cabbages can even take a hard freeze. Kale is so hardy it will even come up in the snow, so can be planted to crop in the mid-winter! Brussels sprouts are another late-season winner and taste better after a hard frost. Sow Brussels sprouts four months before first frost.
Remember to protect your crops as best as you can from frosts and pests. Ensure they are constantly well watered and the soil is workable with.
Growing vegetables is a past time that the whole family can get involved with, young and old. It produces some healthy and delicious results, but is also health enhancing in that it is a fun form of physical exercise, making you fit and healthy using food and activity.
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