Top Vegetables for Outdoor Gardens

vegetables for outdoor gardens

 

Have you thought about growing vegetables in your outdoor garden for this summer? In this post you will find some of the best vegetables to grow. Not only will you find tips on the best vegetables to grow in your garden, we are also offering some of the most important garden maintenance tasks – check these out!  Check out these other backyard vegetable gardening tips too.

1) Beans, broccoli, sprouts and cabbages are some of the easiest veggies to grow even in a small indoor garden. They  offer a long list of advantages and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Not to mention the aesthetic advantage that these low-growing veggies offer. They cover the pots or the area in your garden with a green texture that will become one of your most favourite corners to spend your afternoons.

2) Cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, sweet corn and potatoes – don’t forget the most important vegetables that every gardener should have. Or at least some of them. These plants require just basic care and some are suitable for almost a year-round harvest if you have a greenhouse.

3) Carrots, beetroot, onions and herbs – these small yet delicious plants are perfect for small vegetable gardens or even for growing in pots. Choose these plants if you prefer green colors or if you want to harvest some good-quality veggies in the autumn. These edibles grow underground and are more resistant to the climate conditions, so you can start the season with planting these about a month before the last frost in the springtime.

You could use these few tips for growing vegetables too:

– Make a gardening schedule and keep it alongside the most important gardening tools in your tool kit. The schedule should include the dates for sowing and starting seeds, the dates for planting directly outdoors and the expected harvesting periods. Do this for every different veggie in your garden. Don’t forget to include other important dates and tasks in your schedule, for instance – the expected first and last frosts for the year; the preferred date for great garden maintenance services, the frequency of watering during the hottest months, the dates for weed control, etc.;

– Choose the harvest periods, which will help organize the sowing and select the right dates for it. If you pick the right moment, you can get the advantage of a double-season harvest for some fast-growing edibles.

– Always try to plant good-quality seeds if you want to get the best harvest. Contact the gardening experts in your region to discuss the details and to get help with the selection of the best seeds at least for the most important veggies. The experts can also assess the specific conditions of your garden and give you indispensable advice for your specific case.

– Bear in mind the regional and climatic factors. The location plays a major role in all the activities in your veggie garden. Some plants prefer slopping terrains, while others – only a certain type of soil. Other veggies prefer terrains with a southern (usually warmer) exposure, while others grow better in shaded terrains.

– Make different combinations of veggies to take full advantage of their individual benefits. When sowed in a combination, some plants absorb only certain types of nutrients from the soil.  And leaves the other nutrients at the disposal of the other veggies. Other plants grow high and have a large leaf structure, which provides the important shaded conditions for some low-growing veggies.  Other combinations of veggies give just aesthetic advantages, but are very effective too. Choose wisely and make sure you give your plants the proper garden care they need at every stage of their growth.

Bio: Ella Andrews is a content writer. She has a passion for home maintenance, healthy living and gardening  projects. She is presently focused on writing and enjoying every opportunity to share tips and advice with her readers.

 

 

My Winter Sow Seed List

vegetable garden, vegetable seeds, gardening, canning

 

Are you wondering what seeds you can winter sow?  You’ve come to the right place. So, stay awhile and check out my winter sow seed list.  I started my winter sowing last week, and I thought I would share my list of flower and vegetable seeds.  They are currently sitting on my decking waiting for the perfect opportunity to germinate.  My list is not all inclusive, I’m sure there are many others.  However, I live in zone 6B.  So I select plants that will grow in my zoneSome plants do well in some zones, but not in others.  Check out my other backyard vegetable gardening tips too.

Because I have a short growing season, it’s important that I give my plants a head start in the garden.  As a result, I start my seeds early so I plant out by Mother’s Day at the earliest and Memorial Day at the latest.  By mid-June my garden is fully planted.  I water and nurture the plants so they can establish a good root system.

I’ve been successful with some seeds and not so much with others.  I love the thrill of seeing what emerges each year and watching the plants produce.  Here’s my winter sow list:

  • Spicy Globe Basil
  • Genovese Basil
  • Greek Oregano
  • Italian Oregano
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Cilantro
  • Zucchini
  • Squash
  • Collard Greens
  • Lettuce – Salad Bowl, Romaine,  Butter Crunch, Black Seeded Simpson
  • Spinach – Noble
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower

Also, the following tomatoes found a place on my list to germinate inside this year:  Roma, Amish Paste, San Marzano, Cherokee Purple, Black Krim, Hillbilly, Yellow and Pink Brandywine, Tiffin Mennonite, Mortgage Lifter, German Johnson, Paul Robeson, Early Girl, and White Wonder tomatoes inside.

Unfortunately, not all of them will germinate successfully.  As a result, germinate enough seeds to ensure you produce enough plants for the garden. There have been times when I have attempted to sow a variety a second time if it doesn’t germinate.  So, allow enough time for this step if you want a certain variety.  Additionally, I sowed belle, cayenne, and jalapeno peppers.  Stay tuned, I’ll be posting updates on the germination journey.

Finally, I hope my winter sow seed list has helped you decide what seeds you will be winter sowing or sowing inside.  Again, it is not all inclusive and you will need to check your zone to ensure your seeds are compatible.  In conclusion, I suggest that you order a few catalogues to browse through the winter and make a decision based on your research.  I love looking at the catalogues and checking out the new varieties of tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and more.  Stay tuned for future gardening posts.

 

 

 

 

 

Home Grown Cantaloupes

 

cantaloupes


My second favorite item in the garden is home grown cantaloupes. My garden is winding down and I’m feeling a little sad.  So, I sooth myself when I’m closing the garden for the year by planning my garden for the next season.  I spend months deciding what I want to plant and that usually cheers me up. Yesterday, I pulled my last squash and cantaloupes. I have tons of tomatoes and green beans left.  As a result, I will can and freeze those next week-end.  I see tomato sauce and salsa on the horizon too.  Great way to use some of my garlic, basil and oregano too.  Check out my other backyard vegetable gardening tips before you leave.

Back to my harvest, this was my first year planting cantaloupes, and I’m so glad that I did.  These are Hale’s Best, which is an Heirloom seed, and they are delicious.  I’ll be having fresh cantaloupes for the next few days.  I started the cantaloupe plants under grow lights in mid-March and moved them into the garden in June.  However, you can direct the seeds when the soil warms up.  I mulched around the plants and left about 6 feet of space for them to spread. I harvested eight cantaloupe from 2 plants. Not bad for a pack of $1.00 seeds. I’ll be saving seed from these melons to plant next year.

 

I’m a frugal gardener, I put my garden in for pennies by purchasing Heirloom seeds and than saving the seed from year to year. Purchasing plants from garden centers can get expensive.  I choose what I want to splurge on, and groceries is not one of those things. If you plan to save seed from your garden, make sure you don’t purchase or use Hybrid seeds or plants.  You want the same characteristics of the parent plant versus inbreeding/cross breeding. Heirlooms are the way to go.

I planted Belle peppers, which performed nicely.  After picking them off the plants, I chop and freeze my peppers. I like to get them into freezer bags as soon as I pick them off the vines. The sooner you lock in the freshness the better. Did you know that orange, red, and yellow peppers are green before they turn into these beautiful colors.

Yep, they start out green.  Patience is a must if you want then to reach the red, yellow or orange stage.  Additionally, there are also male and female peppers.  Check out how to determine and use male and female peppers here.

My Kitchen Garden Is Thriving


I spent some time in  my kitchen garden checking on my babies and pulling weeds.  The only negative that find in gardening is weeds.  In the above picture are Sugar Baby watermelons, cantaloupe, and a yellow watermelon which I have never grown before.


I cut down on my peppers this year.  I have an orange, red and green belle.  I lost my white belle. I have a Tabasco and a jalapeno planted as well.  


My Blue Lake pole beans are starting to climb.  Hopefully I will have a good crop.  I did remove the weeds and laid a path of newspaper and leaves to help keep the weeds down.


My sunflowers are getting huge.  I started these in bottles during the winter.  You can see my post on Greenhouse Bottles here.


I have a small bed of lettuce, which is looking good.  I have a shady spot, that receives some sun, so I’m going to start another bed this week. Homegrown lettuce taste so much better than store brought.  

 



My cucumbers are starting to climb.  A few have latched onto my make-shift trellis, but it looks like I will have to train one.  I used left over rabbit fencing for my trellis staked with 2 fence posts. Last year I used a bamboo trellis, it didn’t work very well.  I have Marketmore, Lemon, Boston Pickling and Salt and Peppers cukes in this area.  

 


This is garlic, which I will be digging up in another 1 – 2 weeks.  This is the first season that I was able to grow it successfully.  The first season I planted in the spring, and it did not do well.  I planted this crop last fall and it has done great.  The leaves are starting to dead back, so it’s getting close to  harvest time.  I can’t wait to use fresh garlic in my recipes this summer and into the winter.  


Stay tuned for a future post on the other veggies in the garden.  I’ll be starting my seeds for my fall crops, cauliflower, kale, spinach, and collards.  What’s growing in your garden?  Leave a comment and I’ll stop by to check out what’s thriving.  

How To Build A Green Bean Teepee Trellis

home gardening, vegetable gardens, bean trellis 


Last year I used a teepee trellis for my pole beans and it worked well. This year, I decided to modify it to maximize my harvest. Several bars were added to the teepee so I could plant beans completely around it.  However, one side was left open. I wanted my grandchildren to have a seat inside of the teepee while I’m gardening.  An adorable miniature chair will be placed inside the teepee for them to sit.  Check out my other backyard gardening tips before you leave.

Making a bean teepee can be simple and inexpensive.  I used the bamboo poles from last season and cuttings from my bamboo squash trellis from last year as well.  I found left over string from other projects under my sink and  used around the teepee.  String is great for the tendrils of the plant to latch onto. Lowes and Home Depot sell bamboo poles that won’t break the bank if you can’t found a resource locally. The Dollar Store sells string.  My brother has a yard full of bamboo, so I luck out. 

The poles should be 6 – 8 feet tall and you will need 4 pieces.  I used (4) 7 foot poles and 5 bars across.  Be sure to secure the poles tightly at the top and get them deep into ground before you tie on the horizontal poles.

 

 

Here’s the steps again:

1.  Tie your 4 poles at the top securely.
2.  Your poles should look like A-frames.
3.  Place the frames in the ground deep enough to secure them.
4.  Tie the smaller pieces (20) across the bars to form 3 sides.  Leave an opening to place a chair for the kids or spacing for growing lettuce through the summer, which requires shade.  The leaves of the beans will provide the shade.
5.  Plant your choice of pole beans completely around the bottom of the teepee and watch them climb.

 

Last, I use Blue Lake pole beans.  I believe they are more flavorful and less stringy than other beans.  However, planting Jade Bush Beans along with the pole beans will prove beneficial.  They were recommended by a fellow gardener.  Can’t wait to try them.  Also, green beans can be used as a companion to tomatoes and cucumbers.  Plant green beans close to your tomatoes and cucumbers this gardening season.  Finally, do you plant pole beans or bush beans?  What’s your favorite brand?

You may also like:  Using Eggshells In The Garden or Leaning Tower of Pole Beans

 

How To Harden Off Garden Seedlings


My seedlings have germinated and are thriving.  I had a 90% successful germination rate.  All starters have been re-potted to larger pots, but for now they’re still under the grow lights.  I plan to start hardening them off this week.  


My herbs, oregano, dill, cilantro and basil germinated.  All of my tomato seeds germinated, which is unusual for me.  I usually lose a few.  This year, I allowed then to stay in the starter pots longer.  I think this method allowed the roots to get stronger before I re-potted them.  I save pots from the garden center when I purchase my flowers and reuse them for my vegetable plants the next season.  My squash, watermelon, peppers and zucchini germinated as well.  I’m looking forward to a great growing season.  

The plants are ready to be hardened off.  What is hardening  off?  It’s where you expose your plants to the elements gradually.  First, I sit them outside for a few hours in the shade.  The next move is to gradually expose them to the sun and longer hours outside, and than I leave them out overnight.  Once they get used to the temperatures, I leave them out until I’m ready to plant them in the garden.  


I have about 20 plants ready for the garden.  I estimate that I have $5.00 in seeds this year.  I would never be able to purchase 20 plants from a nursery or garden center for $5.00 and another $3.00 for potting soil, which I will also use in other areas of the garden.  I will direct seed the cucumbers and green beans.  


This week I will work on getting the manure in the garden and having it tilled. I should have the plants in by the end of the month.  Stay tuned for future posts.  






                                                                   

Using Eggshells In The Garden

 

 

using eggshells in the garden

 

Don’t throw those eggshells away.  Eggshells are beneficial in the garden.  Start using your eggshells in the garden.  Your tomato and pepper plants will thank you.  So, grab a container and save them throughout the year.  Ask your family members or neighbors to save them for you if you don’t consume a large quantity of eggs.  Explain that using eggshells in the garden will benefit the tomatoes they will receive in exchange.  This will give them an incentive to save the shells for you.  Check out my other backyard vegetable gardening tips before you leave.

However, before you store the eggshells I recommend rinsing them thoroughly and than drying them in the oven on a low temperature. You can also set them outside on sunny days or leave them in an open dish on the kitchen counter. When your dish becomes full, have the kids crush them and than store.  Check out my other backyard vegetable garden tips.

 

using eggshells in the garden

If you decide to dry them in the oven, remember they don’t need to be in the oven long or on a high temperature.  Just long enough for them to dry on your lowest setting.  Once cooled, crush them and put them in a plastic bag or container. You can store them in your refrigerator if you don’t have counter space.  A rolling pin is a good way to crush mine or have the kids crush them with wooden spoons.

So, when garden season arrives place a generous dose of the crushed eggshells in the hole when you plant your tomatoes.  They are a great source of calcium for the plants.  Furthermore, I also sprinkle the shells around the plant once I get the tomatoes in the ground.  I actually do this throughout the growing season.  The eggshells will help give your tomatoes a calcium boost, and help fight off blossom end rot.

Secondly, I mix the crushed eggshells in with my birdseed.  Bluebirds, Baltimore Orioles, Scarlet Tanagers and Barn Swallows love eggshells.  You can spread the eggshells on a log or on the ground if you don’t have a platform feeder.  We hope that you enjoyed our tips on using eggshells in the garden, and you will start recycling your eggshells.  You may also like 20 Flowers to Use in a Wildflower Garden.

10 Reasons Why I Garden

vegetable gardens

 

I started gardening several years ago.  Planting a vegetable garden was something that I always wanted to do, but never made the time.  I love fresh vegetables, especially tomatoes.  The taste and price of tomatoes sent me into high gear.  They were expensive, hard and tasted like cardboard.  My grandfather had a garden when I was growing up.  Picking weeds out of his garden was an expectation when I was visiting.  I also remember all of his children being supplied with fresh vegetables during the summer and the week-ends spent canning the harvest.  I have other gardening tips, so please check them out.  Fortunately, I decided to plant my veggie garden and I’m glad I did.  Here’s 10 reasons why:

  1. It’s so relaxing. And I’ve learned to appreciate the open country and the quiet that it brings. 
  2. I purchased an acre of open ground years ago, and it wasn’t being using to its full potential.  
  3. The price of store brought fruits and vegetables are expensive and lack taste.
  4. I love working with my hands, and making things grow. 
  5. Saving money on my grocery bill is a plus.    
  6. Connecting with others who grow fresh vegetables and learning different techniques is rewarding. 
  7. I love walking by the produce in the grocery store smiling because I know mine is better.   
  8. I’ve learned to grow my vegetables from seed.
  9. I love having fresh vegetables, homemade salsa and sauce during the winter.   
  10. I love sharing my harvest with family and friends.

 

Not only does it taste better, but it’s less expensive to grow your own especially if you grow your plants from seed.  Yes, it’s time consuming but rewarding.  When you involve your children, they get a sense of how food grows and will make better choices in food selection.  They will also learn how to sustain themselves, and save on the grocery bill.

You don’t need land to garden to plant a vegetable garden.  Put a few planters on your deck or patio and decide which  veggies to grow.  You can grow tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, radishes and the list goes on in containers.  Do you currently garden?  If so, container or row garden?  Also, check out my other backyard vegetable gardening tips before you leave.

 

Vegetable Garden Closed



I’ll be spending the day closing out the garden.  Frost it hit Friday night, so it’s done for the season.  This is my second year gardening, and I’m really enjoying it.  There’s nothing better than picking fresh vegetables in your back yard and preserving them for future use.  This year I planted a variety of tomatoes, squash, zucchini, peppers, green beans and Sugar Baby watermelons.  

I love sliced tomatoes with a little mayo.  I freeze the green beans to use with green beans and corn for holiday meals and family gatherings.  This year I froze a variety of peppers and tried my hand at pickling them.  I have to say the pickled peppers are the bomb.  I sent a few jars home with my daughter and in-laws and they received great reviews.  They are so good the cleaning lady at my office chased me down as I was leaving with two empty jars asking me to refill them, lol. 
I eat them on nachos, in chili and anything else that I can find to put them on.   I made fresh salsa and canned it.  It’s a lot of work, but so worth it.  I love being able to pull out a jar of garden fresh salsa during the winter and it tasting like I just worked down to the garden and picked the ingredients.  I’ll be munching while reading my kindle when the cold weather sets in.  What I’ve enjoyed most is having my grandson involved in watering and harvesting the veggies. 

Here’s a picture of one of my prized tomatoes weighing in at 1.136 ounces.  It was huge and delicious.  I managed to harvest at least 6 colanders of green beans putting away 5 – 6 quarts in the freezer.  Probably the same amount for peppers.  In addition to the frozen peppers, I’ve canned (pictured below) 30 – 40 pints/quarts of pickled peppers, most given away.  
 
I’m working on 12 pints of salsa this week-end.  I’ll be putting them in baskets along with salsa chips and homemade cookies and brownies for Christmas gifts.   Do you have a garden?  How productive was it?  If not, are you interested in planting one and exchanging gardening techniques and seeds next season?  Please leave me  a comment and let me know your thoughts.  You can find my gardening blog here

Squash Casserole

Need to use up that squash and zucchini from the garden or that pile that you found on your porch from the neighbors?  You’ll love this recipe.  It’s quick, easy and delicious.  My garden didn’t produce an abundance of squash or zucchini this year.  I started an abundance of plants inside to get ahead of the season, but I got hit with vine borers and squash, but I was able to salvage a few for this recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 3 yellow squash
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 – 10 ounces of Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup of mayo
  • 3 tablespoons of melted butter
  • bread crumbs.

Cube squash and zucchini
and saute for 10 – 15 minutes along with the chopped onion. Mix the mayo and
eggs. Add the cheese to the mixture; blend well. Drain the squash and zucchini
and add to a greased baking dish. Mix in the mayo, egg and cheese mixture. Top
with bread crumbs and drizzle the butter over the bread crumbs. Bake for 30
minutes at 350 degrees
.

Follow my garden adventures at A Diva’s Garden, http://adivasgarden.blogspot.com

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