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Columbia Journal logoVolume Nine, Number Three    May 2004    www.columbiajournal.ca

    Gardening this summer? Thinking about What to Plant? Ask the Gardener’s Companion

    CPP News Service

    While the lower mainland is considered by many to have some of the most fertile commercial farmland in North America, there is no shortage of urban gardeners in the region either.

    veggiesNow that planting season is finally here, and people are getting out in their gardens en masse, we thought some advise from The Old Farmer’s Almanac Gardener’s Companion, one of the best known sources of food and agricultural information, might come in handy as what to plant:

    If  you’re going to put the time and effort into creating a vegetable garden, you might as well grow food that your family will eat-and enjoy. The Summer 2004 Old Farmer’s Almanac Gardener’s Companion provides tips on how to grow the vegetables a recent USDA poll ranks as America’s favorites.
    Grow What Everyone Loves to Eat!

    1. POTATOES: Plant in loose, fertile, well-drained soil in full sun as soon as the soil is about 45 to 55 degrees F and can be turned over without clumping. Put a seed potato piece, cut side down, every 14 inches, and cover with three to four inches of soil.

    2. LETTUCE: Leaf lettuce, the easiest type to grow and the most popular for backyard gardens, needs very little space. Plant it at the ends of garden rows, or in containers on porches, patios, and balconies. Always buy new seeds each season.

    3. ONIONS: Start onion seeds indoors 8 to 12 weeks before the last frost, or buy sets and plant them two to six inches apart, gently pressing them into loose soil as soon as the ground can be worked. (Use the closer spacing if you want to pull immature onions as scallions.) If planting seeds in the garden, sow them _-inch deep and keep the soil evenly moist. Seeds are tricky, because if the soil dries out, they won’t germinate. Thin emerging seedlings to three inches apart.

    4. TOMATOES: Tomatoes like warm weather. Plant seedlings outside when evening temperatures are above 55 degrees F. If you purchase lanky seedlings from a nursery, bury their stems right up to the first two leaves when you plant them.

    5. CARROTS: Carrot flavor can vary depending on they type of soil. Prepare the soil well by turning it over to a depth of at least a foot before planting carrots. If you soil is heavy clay or very rocky, plant carrots in a raised bed at least 12 inches deep, filled with fluffy, rich soil. Plant carrot seeds _-inch deep. Cover with a layer of vermiculite or fine compost to prevent a crust from forming and slowing germination.

    Editor’s Note: The preceding excerpt is from the summer 2004 issue of The Old Farmer’s Almanac Gardener’s Companion. Full permission for reprinting is granted on the condition that credit is given to the Gardener’s Companion, on sale wherever books and magazines are sold. For more information on the Almanac’s line of products, please visit www.almanac.com.

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