Growing summer veggies can provide top nutrition at little cost, but vegetable gardening requires work. One of the best vegetable gardening tips to make sure your labors pay off all season long—from pretty spring salads and fragrant fresh herbs to juicy summer tomatoes and hearty fall squash—is to choose varieties with long track records of success. This can be daunting when seed company catalogs and websites make every variety seem better than the one before, but some varieties really are better than others. In the following pages, you will find guidance on choosing the best tomatoes and peppers for your climate, and learn which types of lettuce and green beans give gardeners the greatest satisfaction.
We would need a hefty book to cover great varieties of every veggie you might want to grow (and many excellent vegetable gardening resources are available in the Mother Earth Living store, if you’re inclined to read much, much more on this topic). Here we will concentrate on seven crops that almost always prosper when the right varieties and growing conditions come together. If you use potatoes, lettuce, kale, chard, tomatoes, peppers and green beans as your foundation crops, you will have a garden that is easy to manage, fun to grow and makes you proud to be a gardener.
• Vegeatable Gardening for Beginners: Leafy Greens
• Vegeatable Gardening for Beginners: Potatoes
• Vegeatable Gardening for Beginners: Green Beans
• Vegeatable Gardening for Beginners: Tomatoes and Peppers
Find Your Frost Dates
Most veggies are fast-growing annuals with clear preferences for cool or warm weather. Planting season for cool-season crops such as potatoes and lettuce starts before the last spring frost, but tomatoes and other warm-natured crops are planted later, after danger of frost has passed. Several seed company websites provide frost dates by ZIP code, or you can use the free trial of the Mother Earth Living Garden Designer, which will also suggest planting dates for the crops you want to grow.
Contributing editor Barbara Pleasant gardens in southwest Virginia, where she grows vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers and a few lucky chickens. Contact Barbara by visiting her website or finding her on Google+.