From the Garden to the Table

From the Garden to the Table |

There’s more growing in your home than you think. Equity? Maybe even a family? How about fresh organic veggies? A wide array of information tells us that locally grown, organic produce is a healthier choice to feed ourselves and our family, as 600 active chemicals are registered for agricultural use in America. After discovering the ugly truth about the food we consume everyday, why not start an organic garden right at home?

 Can we BLOW YOUR MIND & show gardening is fun & not a chore? 
Try growing these 9 EASY VEGETABLES in your garden! 

9 easy veggies to grow in your own gardengreenbeansGreen Beans: great for a wide range of climates
Also known as:
  • String beans
  • Snap beans 
Planting & Caring:
  • Use a garden fork to loosen the soil of the garden.
  • Wait to plant on or after the last frost date in the Spring.
  • Sow seeds in fertile, well-worked soil.
  • Plant seeds 1 inch deep and 2 to 4 inches apart.
  • 2 parallel rows of beans planted 12-14 inches apart is the most space efficient way to grow various types of beans.
  • Harvest the green beans when they are young and tender.
  • Growth period: 50-55 days bush, 50-67 days pole
  • Most bush beans will produce a second or third time after the first batch are picked.
  • Harvest pole beans at least twice a week to keep the plants productive.
Common Pests & disease prevention:
  • Mexican Bean Beetles: These bean beetles look like Lady Bugs. Mexican bean beetles often lay yellow eggs on the leaves of bean plants. Watch out for these buggers and handpick them off to protect plant leaves from being eaten.

Tip 1: Try spraying Neem Oil to control light infestations

  • Cutworms: These are the larvae of night-flying moths. Cutworms (aka caterpillars) cut down stems or climb and feed on foliage and buds of plants.

Tip 2: To keep plant loss better controlled, try spreading diatomaceous earth on the top of the soil’s surface. It kills bugs, but it is still edible. 

  • Avoid working in your garden when foliage is wet to avoid spreading fungal and bacterial diseases to your bean plants.
  • Cut down and compost plants that are past their prime. This will reduce the number of pests and diseases from spreading to other healthy, young plants.

Garlicky Green Beans |

 cucumber Cucumbers: productive and fast to mature
Also known as:
  • Cucumis sativus
Planting & Caring:
  • Plant cucumber seeds in a sunny site with fertile, well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5.
  • Sow the seeds in rows or hills placed 6 feet apart, 1-2 weeks after the last frost.
  • Cucumbers grow best in fertile, organically enriched soil.
  • Mix a 2-inch layer of rich compost into the planting site with an organic fertilizer.
  • Water the soil thoroughly before planting seeds half an inch deep and 6 inches apart.
Preventing Pests/diseases:
  • Cucumber beetles: These striped, yellow beetles cause serious losses in cucumbers and other crops, such as muskmelon and watermelon. When the beetles become more active, they do more than just eat your cucumber plants.

Tip 1: Cucumber beetles prefer squash plants. Using Blue Hubbard winter squash or borage as a perimeter trap crop can help control loss.

  • Bacterial Wilt: This common disease is formed on plants from the cucumber beetle. When the beetles feed, they spread the bacteria onto plants, usually from their feces or contaminated mouth parts. Bacterial wilt can easily spread from one plant to another.

Tip 2: There are seeds that are resistant to bacterial wilt, such as  ‘County Fair’ or ‘Little Leaf.’ This is the best defense mechanism against bacterial wilt.

Cucumber Lemonade |

zucchini_notpaleZucchinia favorite among organic gardeners
Also known as:
  • Cucurbita
Planting & Caring
  • Plant zucchini in well-drained, fertile soil amended with lots of compost.
  • Wait to plant seeds until the soil has reached 60 degrees, roughly a week after the last frost.
  • Squashes, like Zucchini need space to grow: plant about 3-4 feet apart.
  • Zucchini likes consistently moist soil.
  • Spray compost tea 2 weeks after seedlings rise above the soil and again in 3 weeks when the first flowers appear.
Preventing Pests/diseases:
  • Squash Bugs: These types of bugs are a potential problem on all vegetable crops in the squash family. They camouflage very well, as they are brown in color and like to find shelter under wilted and/or dead leaves.  

Tip: Diatomaceous earth is abrasive to many insects and can be dusted over plants to reduce numbers. If pest levels become intolerable, spot treat with an organic insecticide.Zucchini Noodles |

beetBeets: not just stunning edible displays
Also known as:
  • Taproots
Planting & Care:
  • Beets grow best when temperatures average about 65 degrees.
  • Planting beets early help growth.
  • Pull weeds early and often, and use light mulches of grass clippings or compost to help maintain even soil moisture.
Preventing Pests/diseases:
  • Flea Beetles: These beetles are commonly found feeding on plant leaves early on in the growing process. These pests will also damage and kill plants by chewing multiple holes in leaves. Healthy plants may be able to outgrow the damage.

Tip: Trap crops, such as mustard and radish, can be planted near garden areas to draw pests away. You can also use Beneficial nematodes to destroy the larvae, reducing root feeding and helping to prevent the next generation of adults from emerging. Diatomaceous earth can be dusted over plants to control the number of feeding adults.

Beet Chips |

basilBasil: adds flavor to dishes
Also known as:
  • great basil
  •  Saint-Joseph’s-wort
Planting & Care:

Make sure to plant basil seeds when frost is over and the soil is warm.
  • Plant in full sun, in well-drained soil enriched with compost, aged manure, or other organic materials. 
  • Larger leaf basil plans should be planted between 1-1 ½ inches apart from one another.
Preventing Pests/diseases:
  • Fusarium wilt: Basil is commonly affected by fungal diseases like fusarium wilt. It enters through the roots and interferes with the vessels of the plant. As the infection spreads up into the stems and leaves it restricts water flow, causing the foliage to wilt and turn yellow.

Tip: Prevent the disease from occurring and spreading by waiting to plant until soil is warm and giving ample space.

Peach Basil Flatbread |

carrotCarrots: fast and easy to grow
Also known as:
  • Daucus carota
Planting & Care:
  • Carrot seeds like fertile, well-worked soil.
  • Plant 2 weeks before your last frost date.
  • In cool climates, continue planting every 3 weeks until midsummer.
  • Before planting, loosen the soil to at least 12 inches deep.
  • Mix in a 1-inch layer of mature compost or a half-inch layer of vermicompost.
Preventing Pests/diseases:
  • Aster Leafhoppers: The feeding of leaf hoppers causes minor damage to plants. However, they are still very destructive to carrot plants because they spread a disease called aster yellows.

Tip: Grow carrots in compost-enriched soil far from grapes and nut or fruit trees, which often host the parasitic bacteria. Use row covers to exclude the leaf hoppers.

Carrot Taco Shells |

peasPeas: a frost-hardy, cool-season vegetable
Also known as:  
  • Pisum sativum
Planting & Care:
  • Sow in spring, about one month before your last frost date.
  • Where summers are cool, planting additional seeds can be made 3 weeks apart.
  • Peas do not produce well in hot weather, so an early start is always a wise.
  • Use a trellis to support growth of pea plants.
  • Loosen the soil to at least 10 inches deep before planting while mixing in compost.
  • Do not use fertilizer unless your soil does not contain organic matter.
Preventing Pests/diseases:
  • Mildew: White patches form on leaves and pods, but it is easily prevented by growing resistant varieties.

Tip: While planting resistant pea plants can help mildew growth, rotate your pea plants with other non-legumes. This will help avoid fungi growing in soil.

Creamy Pea Salad |

bellpepperPeppers: sweeten or spice up your garden
Also known as:  
  • hot peppers
  • sweet peppers
  • bell peppers
Planting & Care:
  • It’s best to start seeds early indoors, 8-10 weeks before your last frost date.
  • Seeds should sprout in approximately 3 weeks, then transfer in a larger container.
  • Peppers love warm climate, so do not plant your pepper plants outside until at least 2 weeks after your last frost date.
  • Choose a sunny site that has fertile, well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5.
  • Loosen the soil to 12 inches deep, and mix a 1 inch think layer of compost within the soil.
  • Planting holes should be 12 inches deep and 18 inches apart.
  • Enrich each planting hole with additional compost.
  • Make sure to water well.
Preventing Pests/diseases:

Tip 1: Use resistant variety pepper plants. This is the best defense against crop loss due to these viruses.

  • Blister Beetles & Pepper Weevils: Blister beetles can be found in large numbers in midsummer. They secrete a blistering agent and feed on pepper foliage. Pepper Weevils are another beetle posing as a potential threat to your pepper plants.

Tip 2: Clean up fallen fruit daily to interrupt the life cycle of these pests. Trap adult beetles with sticky traps, and hand pick them off of plants, making sure to wear gloves to prevent skin irritation.

Bell Pepper Pizza |

radishRadishes: Fast, crisp, and easy-to-grow
Also known as:
  • Raphanus sativus
Planting & Care:
  • Plant salad radishes at 10-day intervals starting two weeks before your average last spring frost, continuing to three weeks after your last frost date.
  • Rat-tail radishes should be planted around your last spring frost date.
  • Loosen the soil 6 to 10 inches deep, and mix in compost or well-rotted manure.
  • Plant seeds ½ inch deep and 1 inch apart, in rows spaced 12 inches apart.
  • Seeds typically sprout in 3-7 days when sown in 60-degree soil.
Preventing pests/diseases:
  • Flea beetles: These types of beetles are small, black or brown and jump when disturbed. Flea beetles feed off of the leaves of radish plants making a number of small holes.
  • Cabbage root maggots & cutworms: These pests feed on the roots and skin of the radish. They make holes and channels in the radish.

Tip: All of these pests are easily controlled by using a lightweight floating row cover.

Roasted Radishes |

Knowing when to plant is easy as 1, 2, 3!
The USDA created an interactive map to help you decipher when to plant.
Click the map to determine your first and last frost dates :

USDA Plant Hardiness Map

Don’t have a backyard? Don’t be discouraged–you can plant too!

Does anyone think they have a better, organic recipe?
Challenge us & comment below!
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Caitlin Murphy

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