Planting the Vegetable Garden

Martha Stewart
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MSL-corn-360x450From early spring to fall’s first frost, my vegetable garden produces delicious and nutritious organic crops. It does not require good planning to have a long and bountiful growing season, especially if you live in a cooler climate like I do.

In general, vegetables are divided into two major groups that determine when they are to be planted: cool-season and warm-season.

Cool-season vegetables prefer daytime temperatures that are around 60-65°F but will tolerate a light frost. They can be planted outdoors in the garden from late March through early May and are usually harvested in June and July before the heat of the summer.

For a fall harvest, a second planting of cool-season vegetables can be planted between early June and mid-August for harvest in late October through November.

Some cool-season vegetables I have planted include beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, kale, leeks, lettuce, mustard greens, and spinach.

Warm-season vegetables like temperatures that are 65-80°F and will not tolerate a frost. Back in February, I started the seeds of warm-season vegetables and herbs such as tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, basil, and cilantro indoors to give them a head start. Now that the chance of frost has passed, they are ready to be transplanted into the vegetable garden where they will thrive.

Each year, the vegetables are planted in different beds to lessen disease problems and interrupt the life cycle of pests that are attracted to a particular plant. Crop rotation also allows the soil to replenish after hosting heavy feeders such as broccoli, corn, tomatoes, and cucumbers. I also like marigolds amid the vegetables because they are believed to repel insects, and their edible petals can be used to add color to salads.

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