Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Guide from Seattle Tilth!

Growing and Enjoying your Edible Garden ~ great info!

I'm also posting Seattle Tilth's information sheet below...

More Information for Growing and Enjoying your Edible Garden

Perennial Herbs
Few plants give more so easily and tirelessly than perennial herbs! This group includes common herbs such as sage, rosemary, mint and thyme as well as less commonly grown, but no less special, herbs such as winter savory, anise hyssop, garlic chives and lovage. Because they stick around year after year, perennial herbs make great choices for container gardening or planting along the border of your vegetable garden. Fragrant foliage and colorful blooms are a sensory bonus that you and beneficial insects will enjoy throughout the season. Give perennial herbs plenty of sun for the best production and take advantage of their flavor and nutrition in teas, sprinkled fresh on cooked dishes, stuffed in pastries, sandwiches, breads or other savory dishes, or used as delightful additions to floral bouquets and wreaths.

Annual and Biennial Garden Herbs
Each year we count on annual garden herbs for the addition of fresh, nutritious, and zesty flavor to top off our prized summer vegetable dishes. And boy, do they deliver! Dill, parsley, cilantro, basil, chervil—to name a few—can transform cooked or fresh vegetable dishes from so-so to wow! Use them solo or together chopped fresh, mixed with garlic as a pesto, the finishing touch to soups or grilled dishes, or as colorful additions to salsas and dips. Annual garden herbs are easy to grow given plenty of sun and fertile soil and they also make great choices for container gardens. If allowed to flower, annual garden herbs also provide an important nectar source for pollinators and beneficial insects. Be sure to include plenty in the garden for continual fresh use!

The Squash Family
Surprisingly, the squash family not only includes summer and winter squash, but also pumpkins, zucchini, and cucumbers! As a group these warm-season, fruiting vegetables need plenty of sun, fertile soil that has been amended with compost and warm garden air and soil to really get going. Protect young seedlings until the warmth of June arrives with a plastic hat made from recycled juice or milk containers (also known as a cloche) and you will be rewarded with plenty of plant growth to get a jump on the season! Generally, the squash family includes twining plants that can be trained vertically to climb a support or scramble on the ground in rambling trails. However, there are bush varieties as well to choose from and the more compact growth make them great additions for very small gardens.

The Onion Family
Onions, scallions and leeks are so easy to grow and need so little space, every garden can generally accommodate a few tucked in here and there. The onion family is considered a “leaf” crop so be sure to grow them in fertile garden soil that has plenty of nutrition for decent “bulbing” growth in the spring. Scallions are quick to grow, provide wonderful fresh onion flavor and if you leave some in the ground to over-winter, they will “bunch”, supplying plenty of side shoots in the spring to keep your scallion patch going. Leeks can also be left in the ground and harvested as you need them in the dark days of winter and spring. Sweet onion varieties grown in the summer garden are generally made for fresh eating soon after harvest. Storage onion varieties are bred to keep well in long-term storage and generally become sweeter as time passes.

Fewer vegetables define “summer” more than a flavorful tomato picked fresh from the garden. One can never really have enough of them and they can be used in so many ways--fresh, frozen, canned, or dried. However, some years are colder than others and getting them started in the garden requires a little extra “TLC” to coax plenty of growth in the early summer so that flowering, fruiting and ripening can get a start sooner rather than later.
Here are some general tips for success:
o Choose a short season variety bred for short season success. A tomato variety from Northern climates such as Canada, Russian or even the Northwest will produce sooner than a larger, beefsteak from the South or the Mediterranean.

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Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! Abundant blessings on your day... Joanie