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Easy to Grow Vegetables A-Z Planting Guidelines

ASPARAGUS  a permanent bed for 15 years!

Asparagus once planted lasts 15 years! 

This is a permanent bed year 'round but may take up to 3 years to produce.

Grown from 1" crowns.

Hardiness Zones:  4-9

When to plant:  Early Spring

Light: Full Sun but can tolerate some shade

Soil: Must have good drainage

pH:  6.5 - 7.0

Water:  Do not overwater

Fertilize: Twice a year: early Spring before spears emerge and immediately after harvest with 1 pound per 100 sq. ft of 10-10-10

Maturity: 2-3 years


​First eliminate all weeds from the planting area. 

  • Most important: Till and work in a 2"-4" layer of compost .

  • Average soil: Dig shallow trenches 6" deep by 12" wide   

  • Sandy soil: Dig trench 8" deep by 12" wide.

  • Space the crowns 12 to 18 inches apart in rows that are 4 to 5 feet apart. Spread the roots out in the trench with the buds pointing upward.

  • After planting, completely fill the trench with soil. (No longer necessary to gradually fill in trench as the plants grow.) 

  • Top with 4" to 8" of compost then water thoroughly.

HOW TO GROW ASPARAGUS​ - takes 2 years for first harvest​

  • Do not harvest the spears in the first year but cut down dead foliage in late fall and side-dress with compost. 

  • Second year: keep bed mulched, side-dress in spring and early fall with 10-10-10 fertilizer and cut down dead foliage in late fall.


  • Third year begin harvesting.

  • Harvest spears at 8 inches tall, cutting the spears off at soil line with scissors.

  • Harvest every other day or spears will become woody.

  • Stop harvesting spears when the  spears reduce to pencil size or when the spear starts to produce foliage as the spears will be too tough.

  • With young plants, the season may last 2 to 3 weeks, or established plants produce up to 8 weeks.

  • After harvest, the ferns will grow to provide nutrient's for next year. 

  • In the fall after the first frost and/or foliage has died and turned brown or yellow, cut back asparagus to 2" above ground. Mulch with thick layer of leaves.

Vegetables A-Z: List

BEANS (Green) - High Yield 

Tip:  Do not plant marigolds next to beans!  They are enemies to each other.  

Bush Beans or Pole Beans?

Pole beans require a fence or teepee trellis.  Pole beans have higher yield, are more resistant to disease and some think have a better flavor.  Pole beans save your back when picking!

Hardiness: Plant after soil warms to 65 degrees

Light:  Full Sun

Soil: enriched with organic matter 

pH:  6-6.5

Water: One inch per week. When the beans have sprouted but have no pods, let the soil dry out between waterings. After pods appear continue to water one inch per week.

Fertilizer: Low nitrogen once per month (5-10-15 or 6-12-1);  1.5  pounds per 100 square feet. Too much nitrogen produces no beans!

Maturity: 60-70 days.  Multiple harvests possible.

Planting: To plant in rows with a trellis, use your hands or a spade to build up the soil into long rows that are 30 inches (76 cm) apart. Poke a 2- 3"  deep hole for each bean, and space the beans 4 inches apart. Place a bean in each hole and cover it loosely with soil.

  • Don’t plant beans near marigolds, onions, basil, beets or cabbage were where these vegetables were previously planted. 

Mulch when the seedlings grow 2nd set of leaves.

Harvest beans as soon as pods are full and swollen, picking every 3-5 days.

BEETS:  Prefer cool weather

Leaves of plant can be eaten like spinach.

Hardiness: 2 seasons: before last frost and early fall before first frost

Light: Full sun or partial shade

Soil: High in organic matter and loamy

pH: 6.0-7.5

Water: 1" per week

Fertilizer: compost tilled into soil prior to planting

Maturity: 55-65 days

Read seed packet first! Beets are direct seeded in the garden in early fall 8-10 weeks before first frost or in winter 8 weeks before last frost . (check crop planting chart for your area).  Prepare soil with compost or lightly broadcast 10-10-10 and till to create loose soil.  After soil is tilled, rock free and raked, lay down the rake handle and press lightly into the soil to form a 1" shallow straight row  (rows can be about 12"-18" apart).    Sprinkle beet seeds 2" apart on row. Lightly cover seed with soil on sides so seeds are 1/2-1" deep.  Keep soil moist until sprouts emerge in 7-14 days.  Thin seedlings to 4" apart by snipping at soil line. Use these seedlings in salads!  Beets ready for harvest in about 8 weeks.

BLUEBERRIES:   Easy to Grow Acidic Soil

A Shrub - Highbush or Lowbush

Hardiness zone: Plant in fall with compost added to the soil.

Light: Full sun

Soil:  highly acidic (add 2 cups used coffee grounds in 1.5 gallons of water and pour at base of shrub or use ammonium sulfate - follow directions

pH: 4.5 -5.5  acid soil

Water: Weekly 1"- 2" until leaves drop in fall. Keep mulched

Fertilizer: In early spring 5 ounces of ammonium sulfate per plant before leaves appear.  Increase rate 1 oz per plant per year up to 8 oz.

Maturity: Harvest in summer. May have to use bird netting to protect berries.

BROCCOLI:  A cool weather vegetable for early spring and fall

Two Seasons: Early Spring and Fall

Hardiness: Plant early spring or late fall
Full Sun - at least 6 hours day

Soil: Add compost before planting
pH: 6.0-7.0
Water: 1.0" - 1.5" water per week


Maturity: 60-80 days

Set plants 12 -18" apart and rows 24" apart.  Mulch.  

Large flower head will form.  Pick when buds are still tiny - too late when yellow flowers appear.  Cut head from stem. Plant will continue to grow small side spears to be harvested later.​


Plants 2 ft. tall x 18-24" wide.  May need staking in windy areas.

Hardiness: Can plant in winter and late summer

Light: Full Sun

Soil: Compost or organic matter

pH: 6.8

Water: Needs consistent water

Fertilizer: Before planting add 5 lbs 10-10-10 per 100 square feet.

Maturity: 90-180 days

Note:  may need Boron if small sprouts (check soil sample) without it, Brussels sprouts develop hollow stems and small buds. If your plants have shown these symptoms, you can add boron to the soil by dissolving 1 level tablespoon of borax (such as 20 Mule Team from the grocery shelf) in 5 quarts of water and sprinkling it evenly over 50 square feet of bed. 

Prior to planting add 5 lbs. of 10-10-10- per 100 square feet to soil.

Set out plants 18"-24" apart in rows 24"-30" apart. Mulch.


Four weeks later add 1 Tablespoon blood meal per plant on outside 3 inches of each plant base.  After 4 weeks apply second side-dress, and a third side-dress 4 weeks after the second one.


Be sure to harvest once the lower leaves begin to turn yellow. When harvesting, pick the 1"-2"sprouts that are lowest on the plant. To pick the sprout break the leaf directly below the sprout and carefully remove the sprout from the plant. Picking the leaves and sprouts will send out a signal to the plant to continue to produce new sprouts.

CABBAGE:  Cool weather vegetable

Note: avoid planting cabbage or other “cole crops” (such as kale, collards, kohlrabi, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower) in the same spot each year. Rotate with a crop from a different family for 2 years before returning to the same spot. 

Hardiness: 2 cool seasons fall and early spring

Light: Sun (6 hours) and partial shade
Soil: well drained and enriched with compost
pH: 6.5-6.8

Water: 1"-1.5" water per week

Fertilizer: Prior to planting  use 5 cups of 10-10-10 for every 100 square feet of garden plot.

Maturity: 50-100 days

Plant cabbage with stem 2" deep, 12"-24" apart in row.

When cabbages are 6" tall, add 1 Tablespoon blood meal around base of plant 3" from stem.

Once a head forms, add final dose of 1 Tablespooon blood meal around base of plant 3" from stem.


When heads are firm, cut at the base of plant and remove entire plant and root system from garden.

CARROTS:  Cool weather crop

Do not plant near dill or parsnips

Hardiness: In Georgia a cool weather crop

Light: Full sun to light shade

Soil: Loose, well-drained

pH: 6-6.8

Water: 1" per week 

Fertilizer: Lightly Side dress with 5-10-15 after carrot tops emerge

Maturity: 70-80 days

Read seed packet first! Carrots are direct seeded in the garden in early fall or in January. Prepare soil with compost or lightly broadcast 10-10-10 and till to create loose soil.  After soil is tilled, rock free and raked, lay down the rake handle and press lightly into the soil to form a 1" shallow straight row  (rows can be about 8" apart).    Before planting, mix seeds with a little sand to help seed spread more evenly. Sprinkle carrot seeds evenly on row. Lightly cover seed with soil on sides so seeds are 1/4" deep.  Keep soil moist until sprouts emerge in about 15 days.

When seedlings are about 1-2" tall,  thin by snipping at soil line leaving them about 3" apart. Lightly sidedress with 5-10-15 fertilizer two weeks after carrot tops emerge. Make sure your garden is protected from rabbits!  Raised beds work!

CAULIFLOWER: Cool season vegetable

Cooked cauliflower "riced" is a no carb substitute for mashed potatoes

Hardiness: Cannot tolerate summer heat

Light: 6 hour sun minimum

Soil: Fertile enriched with compost; well-drained

pH: 6.5-6.8

Water:  1"-1.5" water per week

Fertilizer: Enrich soil with 10-10-10 prior to planting.
Maturity:  70-80 days

Plant 12-18" apart and space rows 30" apart.

When the cauliflower heads are about 2 inches wide, you may need to pull the leaves up over each little head and fasten with a clothespin or twine. This shades the head to ensure it will be white and tender at harvest (called blanching). Plants are supposed to “self-blanch,” in which the leaves naturally curl over the head, but watch them beca to pin top leaves together.use they often need the help of a clothespin to pin top leaves together.

Harvest by cutting head from the stem. Then remove plant and roots from the garden.


Grow from the stub of your store bought celery!  It's fun!

Hardiness:  zones 8-10

Light: 6 hours with afternoon shade

Soil:  Enriched with compost

pH: 5.8-6.8

Water: 1" per week

Fertilizer: Prior to planting broadcaast and till 10-10-10

Maturity:  80-100 days

Cut the stalks from the celery bottom, leaving a 2-inch stub at the bottom. Rinse the stub and set it in a shallow dish of water. Leave the celery bottom in the dish for about a week, changing the water daily. Over the course of a week, the outer portion dries and shrivels and the inner part begins to grow.  Transplant the celery bottom into the soil-enriched garden after about a week. Choose a sunny location. Mulch.

In second month and third month sidedress with a 5-10-15 fertilizer (one tablespoon per plant and sprinkle it in a shallow furrow three to four inches from the plant and cover it with soil).

COLLARDS:   Harvest over and over!

The plant that keeps on giving!  We have had several months with as many as 15 complete cuttings off each plant by snipping lower leaves only and leaving a few leaves at top to continue to grow.

Hardiness:  Cool season vegetable. Can tolerate frost but not summer heat.

Light: Full Sun

Soil: Enriched with 10-10-10 prior to planting 1 cup per 10 feet of row
pH: 6.0-6.8 

Water: 1.5-2" per week


Maturity: 45-70

In the fall, set plants 16" apart in rows at least 3 feet apart. Harvest when the leaves are of edible size from the bottom of the large, inedible stalks. leaving a few leaves at the top to continue to grow.  When plants start to grow flowers from stalk in the middle, this is called bolting and leaves become bitter. Harvest is over.


Heavy Nitrogen Feeder

Pollination is the key to full kernels of corn. To achieve this in a small garden, it may be necessary to hand pollinate.

Hardiness: Plant after soil warms to 55 degrees or above at night.

Light: Full Sun 

Soil: Rich garden soil with aged compost or cow manure 

pH:  6.0-6.5  

Water: 1" per week faithfully at base of plant.

Fertilizer: Heavy nitrogen feeders.  Use high nitrogen fertilizer such as blood meal or diluted fish emulsion fertilizer following manufacture's instructions.  Feed three times: when corn is 6" high and again when 2 feet tall; and last when silks appear.  Water thoroughly after each feeding.

Maturity: 65-90 days (pick 3 weeks after tassels appear)

How to Plant 

Till 6 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer for every 100 feet of planting row. Rake soil.  Plant seeds 1" deep 8-12" apart and should germinate in 7-10 days. Water thoroughly.  If you plant only one or two rows, hand pollinate for best pollination which produces full ears of corn. Three or more rows can be planted in block formation.

Spread mulch to prevent weeds from sprouting.

Fertilizer Requirements:

Use high nitrogen fertilizer such as blood meal or diluted fish emulsion fertilizer following manufacture's instructions.  Feed three times: when corn is 6" high and again when 2 feet tall; and last when silks appear.  Water thoroughly after each feeding.

Corn Pests Prevention:

Corn Borers  are present when brown "frass" or sawdust appears in the whorls at the time the tassels appear on young outer leaves of ears.  Borers can be a problem, too. They burrow in the stalk and tunnel into ears. If 15% or more of the plants show damage, spray inside the whorls with organic options of Spinosad, , neem, or carbaryl. Follow directions.

Earworm moths lay eggs on corn silks to develop and eat your corn! To prevent, using a dropper, apply five drops of mineral oil to each corn ear tip when the silks begin to turn brown or clip a clothespin to the tip of each ear once the silks start to turn brown to prevent the earworms' destruction.


Corn is ready to pick three weeks after tassels appear. Look for dark green husks, brown  silks and fat kernels that squirt “milky” liquid when punctured with fingernail.  Pick in late afternoon by twisting downward. 

CUCUMBERS:  High Yield

Two Types:  Slicing (long) or pickling (short)

Tip:  Expand your varieties - Try Armenian Cucumbers which do not require peeling!

Hardiness: Plant seeds after last frost when soil is 60 degrees.

Light:  Full Sun

Soil: Well-drained with compost or aged manure. 

pH: 7.0 (acid - raise with lime)

Water: Consistent - 1” per week - or more if extreme heat.  Water early morning to avoid water on leaves which creates fungus.

Fertilizer:  LOW Nitrogen - use bone meal or compost. Fertilize one week after bloom and every 3 weeks directly to soil.

Maturity: 50-65 days


Planting Cucumber Seeds

Before planting add lime (if needed) and 2" of compost or aged manure and work into soil 6-8" deep. Direct sow seeds after last frost when soil is 60 degrees. Plant 3 seeds 1" deep in a 12" mound 8" high with trellis or cage to climb.  Space mounds 18" apart.


​Mulch to hold in soil moisture.

When seedlings reach 4 inches tall, thin plants so that they are 1½ feet apart.

Spray vines with sugar water to attract bees and set more fruit.

Pick slicing cucumber at 7-8" long

Vegetables A-Z: CV

EGGPLANT Very Heat Tolerant

Hardiness: summer crop

Light:  Full sun

Soil:  enriched with compost and well-drained

pH: 5.5-6.8

Water:  1" per week (more during hot weather)

Fertilizer:  Prior to planting add 3 pounds 10-10-10 per 100 square feet and till

Maturity: 60-75 days

  • Grow eggplants in a part of the garden where you haven't grown related crops, including tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers, within the last 3 or 4 years.

  • Plant eggplant when soil temps are above 50° F and all chances of frost have passed.

  • Space eggplant 24"apart with rows 36"apart. and stake them once established to prevent toppling. 

  • Mulch

  • If blossoms but no fruit,  add about one tablespoon of Epsom salts to an empty spray bottle. Then fill the bottle with lukewarm water, shake it up so the Epsom salts dissolve and spray the solution on the leaves and blossoms of your pepper plants. If you do this a couple of times during the blossom period, you should have plenty of eggplant.

  • Harvest when fruits are glossy and stopped growing.

FIG TREE:  Easy to Grow

Hardiness: Produce outdoors in zones 7b -10 sometimes in June and early Fall.

Light: Full Sun

Soil: incorporate compost or organic matter at planting

pH: 6.0 - 6.5

Water: after fertilizing and also in hot weather

Fertilize:  Feed 10-10-10 when new leaves begin to show on one to two-year-old trees one ounce of fertilizer around drip line and water in. Give older trees one-third pound of 10-10-10 sprinkled at drip line per foot of bush height when leaves first appear in early spring and use Milorganite (slow nitrogen release) fertilizer in late May or early June in the same manner.  Water the fertilizer into the soil slowly so it doesn’t wash away.

Harvest: When fruit droops, i.e. stem on fruit slight bends, or fruit is soft to touch it is ready to harvest. 

Pests: Prior to fruit ripening use bird netting

Ants: put wood ashes around base of tree.

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KALE  - sweetest if grown in cool weather

Hardiness:  zones 7-9

Light: Full sun to part shade

Soil: high in organic matter

pH: 5.5-6.5

Water: Keep moist not soggy

Fertilizer:  Prior to planting use 0.5 cups of 5-10-15 fertilizer for each 10 feet of row.  Mix in top 3-4" soil

Maturity: 60 days


Kale can be direct seeded (read seed packet) with 16" between each plant in the garden in late summer or early fall, but must keep soil moist until seeds germinate.  

Fertilize with high nitrogen fertilizer like Miracle Gro Organic once a month.

Harvest outer leaves and allow the center of the plant to keep producing.  Very young leaves can be used in salads.  Store in refrigerator and keep moist but not sealed.  It keeps for up to two weeks.

LETTUCE - Easy to Grow Many Varieties.  Try growing in containers so you don't have to bend to harvest!

Hardiness: Can survive minor frost in early spring

Light: Full Sun to Part Shade

Soil: Well-drained

pH: 6.0-6.5

Water: Consistent watering

Fertilizer: Throughout growing season use high nitrogen Miracle Gro Organic

Maturity: 21 days for leaf lettuce. 45-80 days for head lettuce

Plant in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked.  Rake area and lay down rake to create a straight row.  Read seed packet.  Sprinkle lettuce seed on top. Can have different bands of lettuce to create a rainbow effect. Keep seed moist until seedlings show.

Harvest as soon as the seedling has more than three leaves and a little bushy.  Don't pull the whole plant when you harvest.  Select a few leaves per plant until the plant starts to bolt (get tall and grow flowers).  Hot weather will make the lettuce bitter.

MUSTARDGrows Fast - cool weather

Hardiness: early fall through winter

Light: Full Sun to Shade

Soil: enrich with compost

pH: 6.5-6.8

Water: consistent

Fertilizer: Use Miracle Grow Organics according to directions throughout season

Maturity: 4 weeks

Do not plant mustard or cabbage family crops where other members of the family have grown during the previous year

If planting mustard green seeds, follow seed packet instructions.

Space plants 12 to 18 inches apart. Mulch.

Harvest outer leaves at four weeks.  Mustard will survive light frost but will turn bitter in hot weather and bolt. 

OKRA      Thrives in Hot Heat.  Grows 4-6 feet tall

Hardiness: Summer Crop- plant after last frost

Light: Full Sun

Soil: Prior to planting broadcast and till 10-10-10 at the rate of 2-3 pounds per 100 square feet

pH: 5.8-6.8

Water: 1" per week unless extremely hot

Fertilizer: When blossoms show, fertilize each plant with 1 Tablespoon 5-10-15, scratch into soil and water.

Maturity: 55-60 days

Tip:  Pick pods when between 3-5" long.

Soak seeds 12-18 hours prior to planting.  Plant 2-3 seeds per hole 1" deep, 12" apart and rows 36" apart.  Thin to one plant every 12".  Seven weeks later blossoms will appear.  See fertilizer requirement above.  Mulch.  Pick pods when 4-6" long or they will be tough.

ONIONS & LEEKS  What type are you planting?  Long-day onions (require 14 hours of daylight) or short-day onions (require 10 hours of daylight)

Plant the correct onion: Fall planting with short- day onions. Spring planting with long-day onions need about 14 hours of daylight to bulb. Short-day onions need 10 hours of daylight. Day-neutral onions form bulbs regardless of daylight hours and produce well in almost any region

Hardiness Zones:  4-9   plant:  4-6 weeks before last freeze for long-day onions; after September 15 for short day onions

Light: Full Sun 

Soil: Must have good drainage and be enriched with compost or Black Kow

pH:  6.2 - 6.8

Water:  Do not overwater.  If leaves develop a yellow tinge, cut back on watering. The closer to harvest time, the greater the need for water.

Fertilize:  Fertilize with 5-10-15. After planting see below.

Maturity:   60-80 days

How to Plant

Dig a trench that's 4" deep and 4" wide. Sprinkle ½ cup fertilizer (5-10-15) per 10 linear feet of row. Cover the fertilizer with 2" of soil.

  • Plant the onions 6" from the edge of the trench on both sides of the trench. DO NOT plant the onions in the trench! Leave a 2" margin between the onions and the outside edge of the bed.

  • Plant the onions 1" deep and no deeper. Water thoroughly after planting.

For green onions, space them 2" apart and pull every other onion during the growing season, leaving the rest to grow to maturity. For large bulb  plant onions 4" apart.  When planting several rows of onions, leave 16" between the outside edge of one bed, and the outside edge of the next. The spacing from the center of one fertilizer trench to the center of the next should be 36".


Every 2 to 3 weeks after planting, fertilize with ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) in alkaline soils, or calcium nitrate (15.5-0-0) in acidic soils. Sprinkle it on top of the original fertilizer strip at the rate of ½ cup per 10 feet of row. Water the onions after every application. Stop fertilizing when the onions start to bulb.


When the ground starts to crack as the onions push the soil away, the bulbing process has begun. Stop fertilizing at this point.


When the tops of the onions turn brown or yellow and fall over, it's time to harvest. Ideally, the plant will have about 13 leaves at this point. Pull the onions early in the morning on a sunny day. Dry the onions in the sun for two days. To prevent sunscald, lay the tops of one row over the bulbs of another.  Store in cool dry place - not the refrigerator.

Store onions in a cool, dry, well-ventilated location, such as a garage or cellar. Place them in mesh bags to permit airflow.

PEPPERS:   High Yield.   Fast crop

Plant after soil warms to 65 degrees. Plants need support- cages or stakes

Hardiness:  Summer Crop

Light: Full sun

Soil: Add compost prior to planting, a handful of lime to prevent blossom end rot and 3 matchsticks in bottom of hole to add sulphur.

pH:  6.0

Water:  1-2 inches per week or daily if hot

Fertilizer: A week before planting use 10-10-10 in soil or compost.  After first flowering, use 5-10-15, 1 Tablespoon per plant every 6 weeks.

Maturity:  45-60 days

Planting:  When temperatures are 70 or above, plant 18" apart with rows 12-15" apart - triangulated to give ample space.  At planting follow directions above for Soil amendment and fertilizer additions.

Will need to support plants with cages or stakes

After first flower, for larger fruit,  spray the plants with a solution of one Tablespoon of Epsom Salts in a gallon of water, than once ten days later.

Thereafter fertilize with 1 Tablespoon of 5-10-15 fertilizer around each plant at drip line.

Pollination can be reduced in temperatures below 60 degrees and above 90 degrees.

POTATOES:    Try this!  GROW IN A 5 GALLON FOOD GRADE BUCKET! (Determinate potatoes)


Light:  Full Sun

Soil: For bucket mix 1/3 top soil, 1/3 peat moss and 1/3 Black Kow.    

pH: 5.8-6.8

Water: Daily early in the day  1 gallon water with a soaker being careful to soak soil and not leaves

Fertilizer: When blossoms begin fertilize each plant with1 Tablespoon 5-10-15 and water thoroughly. Mulch

Maturity: 70-90 days

Can get food grade bucket from a restaurant or bakery.  Drill 5 holes in bottom.  Purchase determinate seed potatoes of Yukon Gold and Pontiac Red - plant only one variety per bucket

Mark outside bucket from bottom to 4” and 10”  Bottom is where seed potato sits then fill with soil up to 10”.  Then fill additional two inches.

Bucket Mixture of Soil:  Mix well 1/3 top soil; 1/3 peat moss; 1/3 Black Kow 

Add mixed soil to first level of soil at 4” mark.  Put 2 potatoes in evenly spaced (not cut) with chits facing up.  Then cover soil to 10” level.  Water well to saturate. Set bucket off ground on pallet to prevent ants and allow drainage.  Put handful of bone meal on top of soil and water bone meal.  When potatoes leaves grow above top of bucket, add two more inches of soil from outside of bucket to the center.  Carefully cover up - very gently.   Then add 1” mulch with leaves or straw to protect from sun and hold moisture. Continue to water gently with nozzle in soil not on leaves to soak into soil to equal a gallon of water per bucket.  Water early in a.m. not wetting leaves. Then water each day unless rain.

Use preventative spray for pests.  For pesticide use 100% cold pressed Neem oil (order online) 2 Tablespoons in gallon of water with 1/4 Tablespoon liquid soap.  Spray every two weeks underneath the leaves until run off.  Then spray on top.

Repeat every 3-4 days until pests under control then once a week.

Will see blooms on top of leaves which means you are getting potatoes.  When leaves turn yellow and flowers die off, this indicates harvest is soon.  When plants look pitiful let sit for two weeks.  Cut off green top one foot above soil.

Harvest one bucket at a time. Dump entire bucket onto 4 foot square of black plastic so you can conserve soil and reuse.  Separate potatoes from soil and plants.  Set aside seed potatoes with chits showing as they are not good for eating.  Leave dirt on useable potatoes and set out not touching on cardboard lids for 2 weeks to cure inside which makes skin toughen. Yield 4-15 pounds potatoes per bucket.    Information from Hollis and Nancy's Urban Homestead Garden.

SPINACH     Cool weather vegetable

Hardiness: Plant Jan 15-March 15 or Sept. 1-October 15

Light: Full Sun to Part Shade

Soil: Well-drained and nitrogen rich

pH: 6.2-6.9

Water: Consistent watering

Fertilizer: Every 6 weeks  use high nitrogen Miracle Gro Organic

Maturity: 40-45 days

Plant the spinach seeds ½ inch deep in rows, spaced 6 inches apart in rows at least 12 inches apart. Cover the newly planted seeds with a light layer of soil. Water immediately after planting and keep the soil moist for the next few days. for effective seed germination. Thin seedlings to four to six inches apart once they have at least two true leaves. 

Fertilizing Spinach

When 4 leaves appear per plant apply liquid high nitrogen fertilizer to the base of the plants once every 2 weeks. 

In six to eight weeks start harvesting from any plant that has at least six 3-4"inch long leaves cutting from the outside leaves. Heat makes spinach bitter, so at the first sign of bolting (center stalk with flowers) by using a sharp knife to cut through the main stem just below the soil surface.

Vegetables A-Z: Courses

Fruits and Vegetables A-Z continued

Squash:   High Yield

                   Winter (butternut and acorn squash stores well)  

                    Summer varieties (yellow straight neck or crookneck

Note"  Do not plant where white potatoes were previously planted.

Hardiness: Soil must be warm 60 degrees

Light: Full Sun
Soil: Add compost before planting. Must be 60 degrees warm, moist and well drained
pH: 5.5-6.8 (can add Espoma Soil Acidifier to lower pH)

Water: 1"-1.5" per week early in the day to avoid mold

Fertilize: 5-10-15 after first blooms, then every 3 weeks  apply 1 Tablespoon at base of mound not touching leaves.

Maturity: Summer Squash 40-55 days; Winter Squash 85-90 days

SUMMER SQUASH - BUSH PLANTS - High Yield - Matures in 50- 70 days. Can have second sowing in mid summer.

Sow seeds 1 inch deep after last frost.  Use compost/manure and plant summer squash seeds in 6-inch (15 cm) hills that are 12 inches (30 cm) apart. These hills will help provide the soil and nutrients for summer squash to grow. 

Mulch when  2” tall.

Tip:  Remove lower leaves on squash plant touching ground or touching other plants, to aid circulation and allow pollinators to find flowers.

Fertilizer - Heavy Feeder - when they begin to blossom and set fruits - apply 1 Tablespoon of 5-10-15 at base of hill every 3 weeks

Harvest when 6” long.  Pick frequently.


Every two weeks use a pest preventative homemade soap spray (from Backyard Gardeners):  2 gallons water, 4 tablespoons liquid dish soap and 4 tablespoons hot sauce in a 2 gallon pressure sprayer.  Shake it up and spray it all over squash plant every 10 days or so or after every heavy rainfall.  


Every two weeks use Preventative Fungicide (from Backyard Gardener): 2 gallons water, 4 tablespoons baking soda and 4 tablespoons hydrogen peroxide in a 2 gallon pressure sprayer.   Shake it up and spray it all over summer squash plants every 2 weeks or after every heavy rainfall.  

WINTER SQUASH:  HAS LONG VINES   (Butternut or Acorn Squash store well)

When vines have grown to five feet pinch off section that juts out from last leaves to encourage fruiting not growing longer.

When butternut squash first appear on the vine, they have green vertical lines on them. As the squash matures, the lines begin to fade and the rind turns to a pale orange or brown color, depending on the variety.

Most butternut squash matures when it is 8-12 inches long. When the squash is mature, the stem end will turn from green to brown and is ready to be picked.

To harvest butternut squash, use shears to cut the squash from the vine, leaving about an inch of stem attached. The first time for fertilizing butternut squash plants is when the seedlings are a few inches tall. A dose of fertilizer 5-10-15 at this stage will help the plant to get as large as possible.  Avoid adding more fertilizer until after the blossoms appear. then add  another dose of fertilizer can be applied to maximize fruit production.

When using a granular type, choose a well balanced one such as 10-10-10 (1.5 lbs per 100 square feet  Just scatter the granules on the ground around not touching the plant ,and water them in well.

SUGAR SNAP PEAS  - Grow on Trellis  

Hardiness: Cool Weather Crop - Plant Valentines Day - early March

Light:   - Full Sun

Soil:  Add bone meal before planting and compost.

 pH:  6.0 - 7.0

Water:- don’t overwater

Fertilizer: - only LOW NITROGEN like Bone Meal

Maturity: 60-100 days;     germinate in 10-12 days


Seeds:  soak seeds in water for 12-24 hours prior to planting.  Plant 1” deep and 6” apart on both sides of trellis. vining peas can really just be sown along a row without worrying about the exact space. They can tolerate being very close to each as long as they have room to grow upwards.  Peas require very little soil fertilization since they can create their own nitrogen in the soil. Spread 2 to 3 inches of compost over the loosened soil. Turn the compost into the soil with the spade. The natural nutrients in the compost provide enough fertilization for the plants to begin growing.

Don’t overwater peas.    Mulch around the plants

Fertilize peas a second time with bone meal after the first harvest if the plants seem weak or are producing poorly. Robust, heavily producing plants don't require a second fertilization. Apply a low-nitrogen fertilizer, such as a 5-10-10 blend, at half the rate recommended on the label. In general, 2 tablespoons of 5-10-10 applied per 20 square feet suffices.  Apply the fertilizer 6 inches away from the base of the pea plants. Irrigate the soil following fertilization so the nutrients can dilute and leech into the soil.

Safe insecticide:

mixing fresh water with a little vegetable oil and a few drops of mild liquid detergent in a spray bottle and blast bugs whenever they pop up.

Harvesting Sugar Snap Peas

  • Sugar Snap Peas are plumper than the snow peas, but not as full as garden peas.  Pick them just before they are bulging.

  • You can remove the string from the pea pods or leave them if you like.

  • These peas freeze well after you blanch them in boiling water for 1-2 minutes.  Lay them out on a tray after they have cooled from an ice bath and stick them in the freezer.

SWEET POTATOES: Requires lots of space for vines; thrives in hot weather

Hardiness: Spring crop after soil is above 65 degrees at night

Light: Full Sun

Soil: Well tilled and good drainage
pH: 5.0-6.0

Water: One-half inch water per week

Fertilizer: Before planting till in three pounds 10-10-10 per 25 foot row

Maturity: 90-120 days

information from:

Sweet potatoes are grown from "slips" obtained at a local garden center.  Slips are formed from the eyes on the sweet potatoes which are suspended in water until rooted and ready to plant.

BED PREPARATION: After tilling with fertilizer (see above) bed rows should be 8-10 inches high & 12-14 inches wide & flat on top.


Set plants asap upon arrival. Best time is 2 hrs. before dark. Set plants 3-4" deep or leave one node above ground, spacing 16” apart on top of mounds.



Sidedress your plants 30 days after transplanting with 10-10-10 Fertilizer - 3 Lbs. per 25 Ft. row.

Apply Dipel  every 10–14 days beginning around June 20th.


Check your sweet potatoes around 90 days by digging underneath your rows with a fork or shovel, making sure not to detach potatoes from vines. If not to your satisfaction gently lower back into the ground and cover with soil. Dig your potatoes no later than light frost.


Do not wash off dirt until ready to cook.  Move tubers to an open building if temperature does not get below 55°. Keep out of direct sunlight and rain. Dry like this if possible for about one week. This heals cuts and scrapes for a good winter storage. If this air cure is not possible, store potatoes in a room or building for one week at 85° and relative humidity of 85 percent. A little fan will help considerably moving the air around. After completion move potatoes to their winter storage area or basement at no less than 58° and no more than 60°. Do not guess at temperature. Use a thermometer. Select your potatoes from your crates or baskets as you come to them. Do not move potatoes around in baskets so they will keep better. Your harvest is complete.

TOMATOES:   Know what type of tomato to select - Determinate ( plant is more like a bush 4'-5' tall and fruit ripens all at once ) or Indeterminate (tomato vine just keeps growing and growing and fruiting until you choose to snap off at the end of the vine).

Know which variety is best for your purpose:  Read tomato glossary below

Hardiness: After last frost when soil is 60 degrees

Light:  Minimum 6 hours full sun

Soil:  See Linda's Tomato Soil Recipe below

pH: 6.2-6.8

Water: Consistent 1" per week or when top one inch of soil is dry

Fertilizer: See below **

Maturity:  60-80 days

Types of Tomatoes Glossary:


Paste or Sauce

Cherry or Grape Size for Salads

Heirloom - any tomato variety that is at least fifty years old and is not a hybrid.

Hybrid - a tomato bred by crossing varieties which offer better disease resistance and higher yield 

Early - a variety that yields within 50-60 days of transplant.

Disease Resistant Codes on Tags:

V - Verticillium Wilt

F - Fusarium Wilt

FF - Resistant to both races 1 and 2

N - Nematodes

VFN - combines the previous 4 above

ASC -  Alternaria Stem Cankers

TMV - Tobacco Mosaic Virus

St - Stemphylium (gray leaf spot)

SWV - Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus

LB - Late Blight

Can start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost OR purchase plants.

Decide on your support plan with stake, trellis or cage to keep vines off the ground. 

Dig each tomato planting hole 8" deep x 6"wide 

Mix together Linda's Tomato Soil Recipe:

1 cup of lime (calcium prevents blossom end rot)

1 cup Blood Meal (nitrogen)​

1 cup Epsom Salt  

1 cup palm fertilizer (6-1-8)

Put 1/4 cup Linda's Tomato Soil Recipe in the bottom of the hole.  Remove all but the top four leaves of tomato plant.  Bury 2/3rds of the tomato plant in the hole. Mix the removed soil with Black Kow compost and fill the hole so that the top tomato leaves are just above groiund. This makes a strong stem and helps the plant reach water.  Water.

Plant tomatoes 24-36" apart with rows 36" apart.

**In two weeks fertilize plant with 1 Tablespoon of 5-10-15 at base of plant 3" from stem. 

When tomato plants reach 3 feet tall, remove all leaves from the bottom 12" of the plant. Mulch base of plant.

As the plants grow Suckers develop in the crotch joint of two branches.  Remove all suckers as they appear because they do not benefit the tomato plant. 

**From this point on, feed every two weeks with Epsom Salt mixture of 2 Tablespoons of Epsom Salt in 1 gallon of water.  Spray.

Now, ladies and gents -  fry that bacon and spread mayonnaise on your favorite bread!  Time to enjoy the supreme summer treat - a BLT with a vine ripe tomato you just picked from your garden!!!

WATERMELON:  Vines take LOTS  of growing room and heat

Hardiness: plant after soil warms
Light: Full /sun  8-10 hours

Soil: Prior to planting enrich with compost
pH: 6.0-6.8

Water: 1-2" per per week.  Be consistent!  About a week before ripening stop watering.  This increases sugar content.
Fertilizer: see below

Maturity: 70-90 days

Select proven varieties with seeds or seedless: 

CRIMSON SWEET round, 10-20 lbs., sweet, heavy producer

JUBILEE:  Long with green stripes and juicy red interior


Work 3-4" aged compost or Black Kow into 6 inches of  soil.  Or broadcast 5-10-15 at the rate 5 pounds per 100 square feet and till.  Make a mound 12" round and 8" high.  Direct sow 3 seeds 1" deep per mound/hill.  As space allows add additional mounds 5 feet apart.  Sow 8 to 10 watermelon seeds in a hill, and push seeds 1 inch into the soil. Space hills 3 to 4 feet apart, with at least 8 feet between rows. 

After seedlings emerge add 10-10-10  in the amount of 1.5 pounds per 100 square feet. Don't let fertilizer touch leaves.   Water well.  Mulch around the mound.
Once flowers and fruit appear, reduce nitrogen and increase phosphorus and potassium; use a 5-10-15 fertilizer.

As the melon grows, it is helpful to put a styrofoam dinner plate underneath to keep it dry.  

When is a watermelon ripe and ready to pick?

Look at the tendrils on the vine next to the stem of the watermelon. If the tendril is dried up, the melon is ready to be picked!

Gently cut the melon from the vine with a sharp knife cutting as close to the fruit as possible. There may be other melons on the same vine, so don't cut the vine!!!

Other clues that a melon is ready to be picked:

  • A bottom streak of color that is cream or yellow (not white when lightly tapped

  • Stripes on certain varieties with strong contrast

Nothing can cool you off better on a blistering hot summer day than indulging in a slice of ice cold watermelon!  Enjoy - you earned it!

ZUCCHINI: HIGH YIELD  Can have second sowing in mid summer.

Note"  Do not plant where white potatoes were previously planted.

Hardiness: Soil must be warm 60 degrees

Light: Full Sun
Soil: Add compost before planting. Must be 60 degrees warm, moist and well drained
pH: 5.5-6.8 (can add Espoma Soil Acidifier to lower pH)

Water: 1"-1.5" per week early in the day to avoid mold

Fertilize: 5-10-15 every two weeks

Maturity:  40-55 days;

Sow seeds 1 inch deep after last frost.  Use compost/manure.  Plant zucchini seeds in 10' round hills 8" high that are 12 inches apart. Mulch when leaves are 2" tall.

Fertilizer - Heavy Feeder - When they begin to blossom and set fruits sprinkle 1 Tablespoon 5-10-15 around base of plant and away from stems and leaves.  

Tip:  Remove lower leaves on squash plant touching ground or touching other plants, to aid circulation and allow pollinators to find flowers. This increases production.

Can grow vertical by by placing stake in ground and attach stem to stake as it grows. 

Harvest when 6-8” long.  Pick frequently.


Every two weeks use a pest preventative homemade soap spray (from Backyard Gardeners):  2 gallons water, 4 tablespoons liquid dish soap and 4 tablespoons hot sauce in a 2 gallon pressure sprayer.  Shake it up and spray it all over squash plant every 10 days or so or after every heavy rainfall.  

IF YOU HAVE POWDERY MILDEW PROBLEM: Every two weeks use Preventative Fungicide (from Backyard Gardener): 2 gallons water, 4 tablespoons baking soda and 4 tablespoons hydrogen peroxide in a 2 gallon pressure sprayer.   Shake it up and spray it all over summer squash plants every 2 weeks or after every heavy rainfall.

Vegetables A-Z: Text
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