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Gardening: The Basics: Vegetables

This is a how to guide to help anyone get started in gardening.


Tomato plants are tender, warm-season crops that love the sun and cannot bear frost. It’s important not to put plants in the ground too early. In most regions, the soil is not warm enough to plant tomatoes outdoors until late spring and early summer, except in zone 10, where they are a fall and winter crop. See when to start tomatoes for your location.

Tomatoes take 60 days to more than 100 days to harvest, depending on the variety (see more about varieties below). Due to their relatively long growing season requirements (and late planting date), most gardeners plant small “starter plants” or transplants instead
of seeds after the weather has warmed up in spring. Many gardeners purchase their transplants at a garden center or nursery, but you can certainly grow your own from seed indoors. 

A few guidelines on buying transplants:

  • Choose young tomato plants from a reputable nursery.
  • Good starter plants are short and stocky with dark green color and straight, sturdy stems about the size of a pencil or thicker.
  • They should not have yellowing leaves, spots, or stress damage, nor have flowers or fruits already in progress.

For more information on how to grow tomato's click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Tomatoes.

For other resources please click on Cornell Universities Tomatoes link or click on Gardening Know How's Tomatoes link.  


Tomatillos are not just unripe tomatoes! Usually sold with their papery husks still intact, these green fruits are an easy-to-grow garden performer—and go wonderfully in salsas and more! Learn how to plant, grow, and harvest tomatillos. 

Despite the name (tomatillo means “little tomato” in Spanish), tomatillos are not tomatoes but a separate species, Physalis philadelphica or Phsyalis ixocarpa. Common names also include Mexican ground cherry or husk cherry. The fruits are smaller than an average tomato, usually less than 2 inches in diameter. The plants, however, can grow quite large, some reaching 4 feet tall and wide.

Native to Central America, tomatillos grow wild in parts of Mexico and have been cultivated for hundreds if not thousands of years. Smaller than a standard tomato, the fruits are green and covered in a papery husk, called a calyx. Some varieties may ripen to yellow or purple. 

Picked green, they have a tart, bright, almost citrusy flavor and are a good source of vitamin C. The most famous use for tomatillos is in making salsa verde, but don’t limit yourself to just one dish! Tomatillos are fantastic in chilis and soups, with eggs and seafood, as an ingredient in salad dressings, preserved in jellies, added to guac, and grilled with meats.

For more information on how to grow Tomatillo's click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Tomatillos.

For other resources on Tomatillos please click Gardening Know How's Tomatillos link.  

For growing information on other varieties of tomatoes please click on Gardening Know How's Tree Tomato Tamarillo link.


Cucumbers are an easy-care vegetable that loves sun and water, cucumbers grow quickly as long as they receive consistent watering and warmth. Don’t let cucumbers get too large before you pick or they will taste bitter! See how to plant, grow, and harvest cucumbers in your garden.

There are two types of cucumber plants: vining cucumbers and bush cucumbers

  • Vining cucumbers, the most common varieties, grow on vigorous vines shaded by large leaves. The growth of these plants is fast, and the crop yield is abundant if you care for them properly. Vining varieties grow best when trained up a trellis or fence. Since they grow off the ground, the fruits will be cleaner—versus those that grow directly atop soil—often more abundant, and easier to pick.
  • Bush cucumbers, however, are nicely suited to containers and small gardens.

If you’re interested in making pickles, we recommend several prolific varieties below that are bred especially for pickling, such as heirloom ‘Boston Pickling’ or ‘Calypso’. For crispy pickles, be sure to prepare them within a few hours of harvesting!

For more information on how to grow Cucumbers click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Cucumber.

For other resources please click on Cornell Universities Cucumber link or click on Gardening Know How's Cucumber link.  


Mexican Gherkins also called mouse melon, sandita, and Mexican sour gherkin, this fun, diminutive veggie is a great addition to the garden. Knowing how to harvest a cucamelon, though, is not obvious, so it is important to understand how and when these fruits ripen and how to know when they’re best to pick and eat. Cucamelon Harvest Info If you have yet to discover and grow cucamelon in your vegetable garden, it’s time to try out these fun little fruits. A cucamelon in Spanish is called a sandita, or little watermelon. Both names describe just what this fruit is like: it looks like a miniature watermelon, and it is a member of the same family as cucumbers.

For other resources please click on Gardening Know How's Mexican Gherkin link.  


Eggplants (Solanum melongena) grow wild in South Asia as a perennial plant, but these warm-season vegetables are treated by most North American gardeners as annuals. Given their tropical and subtropical heritage, eggplants do require relatively high temperatures, similar to tomatoes and peppers (which, like eggplants, are in the Nightshade family). They grow fastest when temperatures are between 70° and 85°F (21° and 30°C)—and very slowly during cooler weather.

Like tomatoes and peppers, eggplants develop and hang from the branches of a plant that can grow several feet in height.

Because they need warm soil, eggplants are usually purchased as 6- to 8-week-old transplants (or started indoors about two months in advance) to get a head start. Raised beds enriched with composted manure are an ideal growing place for eggplants because the soil warms more quickly. Eggplants are also great for containers and make lovely ornamental borders. In fact, there are quite a few ornamental eggplant varieties available today, whose inedible fruit have attractive variegated patterns.

Though eggplant fruits are usually a beautiful dark purple color, they can also be white, pink, green, black, or variegated purple-white. Their size and shape varies as well, ranging from the large, gourd-shaped eggplants you’ll commonly find in stores to the more exotic slender Japanese eggplant.

For more information on how to grow Eggplants click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Eggplants.

For other resources please click on Cornell Universities Eggplants link or click on Gardening Know How's Eggplants link. 


Cauliflower is a sun-loving, cool-season crop to grow in spring and fall. An annual plant in the cabbage family, cauliflower has edible white flesh that is extremely healthy and considered a “superfood.”

This vegetable’s name comes from the Latin words caulis, for cabbage, and floris, for flower. It’s a descendant of wild cabbage! Like its cousin broccoli, the tightly bunched florets of cauliflower are connected by a thick core, often with a few light leaves surrounding it.

Though usually white, cauliflower does come in other colors, including purple, yellow, and orange. No matter the color, the taste is the same: mild, slightly sweet, and a little nutty.

Cauliflower can be a challenge for beginner gardeners because it requires consistently cool temperatures in the 60°Fs. Otherwise, it may prematurely “button”—form small, button-size heads—rather than forming a single, large head.

For more information on how to grow Eggplants click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Cauliflower.

For other resources please click on Cornell Universities Cauliflower link or click on Gardening Know How's Cauliflower link. 


Kohlrabi is a cool-season vegetable, often overlooked because of its strange, almost alien appearance. But this edible’s fast growth and great taste make kohlrabi something every gardener should try. Here’s how to plant, grow, and harvest kohlrabi!

Kohlrabi can be grown as a spring or fall crop; hot summer temperatures will stress the plant and hamper the growth of its nutritious, bulb-shaped stem.

Kohlrabi, which can be either purple or green, is a member of the Brassica family (alongside broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and many others). It’s a biennial; in the first year, the bulb-shaped stem grows. In the second year, the plant will flower and produce seeds.

When eating, the outer tough layer needs to be removed with a vegetable peeler. The interior white flesh is sweet and tender with a crisp texture and peppery flavor. In terms of taste, think of kohlrabi as a milder turnip. Some folks say it tastes somewhat of apple. It can be eaten raw, sprinkled with salt and lime or lemon juice. Or, slice thin and add to salads. You can cook kohlrabi but only lightly, added last in a stir-fry.

Kohlrabi is not only enjoyed for its taste but its nutritional value. It offers vitamins C, A and K; minerals like calcium, potassium and iron; and phytochemicals that protect against certain cancers. Kohlrabi greens are also nutritious, containing carotenes, vitamins and minerals. Like other Brassicas, both the stem and greens are rich in dietary fiber that aids digestive health.

If given a chance, kohlrabi is simple to grow, fast to mature (in as little as 6 weeks), and is generally pest-free. Give it a try!

For more information on how to grow kohlrabi click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Kohlrabi.

For other resources please click on Cornell Universities Kohlrabi link or click on Gardening Know How's Kohlrabi link. 



Bell Peppers have a long growing season (60 to 90 days), so most home gardeners buy starter pepper plants at the garden nursery rather than grow them from seed. However, you can start pepper seeds indoors if you want to grow your own. Northern gardeners should warm outdoor soil by covering it with black plastic as early as possible in late winter/early spring.

Red and green peppers are good sources of vitamin C, some vitamin A, and small amounts of several minerals. They’re wonderful raw in salads or as a snack with dip or hummus. You can also stuff peppers with seasoned bread crumbs or meat and bake them.

On this page, we focus on growing sweet peppers, but much of the advice for growing hot peppers is the same. That said, we also have a growing guide for jalapeño peppers!

For more information on how to grow bell peppers click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Peppers.

For other resources please click on Cornell Universities Peppers link or click on Gardening Know How's Peppers link.  


Jalapeño Peppers: The jalapeño is the most popular chili pepper in North America! This medium-size pepper produces deep-green 3-inch fruit that mature to a bright red.

Hot peppers love the sun and grow in temperatures that range from 70 to 90 F (21 to 32 C). They don’t take up a lot of growing space. A half dozen plants should provide a family with peppers all summer long. You can also grow peppers in containers; look for compact varieties.

All chili peppers vary in heat. On the Scoville heat scale, the jalapeño is rated 2,500 to 5,000 units—a “medium-hot” pepper. If you’re interested in growing other hot peppers, you can follow this same guide. It’s fun to grow a variety, especially if you yearn for the burn!

  • Slightly less heat than the jalapeño: sriracha and tabasco
  • Slightly more heat than the jalapeño: serrano pepper
  • Ratchet up the heat: cayenne pepper and Thai chili
  • Buckle down for the hotlist: habanero, ghost pepper (one million units!), and Carolina Reaper (the record holder at 2.4 million!)

For more information on how to grow bell peppers click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Jalapeno Peppers.


Radishes are hardy root vegetables grown for their crisp, colorful, and peppery roots. They can be planted multiple times in a season—and be ready to harvest in as soon as three weeks! Find out how to grow radishes and how to tell when they’re at their peak.

Radishes are an annual root vegetable and a member of the Brassicaceae or cabbage family, which includes broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, collards, and, as the name suggests, horseradish. The entire plant is edible—from root to leaves—and can be enjoyed raw or cooked. (See Cooking notes below.)

Seeds can be planted in both the spring and the fall, but sowing should be suspended when warm temperatures arrive (70 degrees or higher); this causes radishes to bolt, making them essentially useless. Otherwise, radishes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow. 

Because radishes mature so quickly, you can really sow them anywhere there is an empty space or sow in between rows of other vegetables such as carrots or beets. Radishes also happen to make excellent companion plants to help deter pests from other vegetables.

For more information on how to grow Radishes click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Radishes.

For other resources please click on Cornell Universities Radishes link or click on Gardening Know How's Radishes link.  



Peas are very easy to grow but their growing period is very limited. It’s important to plant them early enough in spring so they mature while the weather is still cool. (This means planting in February, March, or April in most parts of the United States and Canada.) However, they can also be grown as a fall or winter crop in warmer regions.

Peas do not stay fresh long after harvest, so enjoy their taste as soon as you can! Those peas in grocery stores are often starchy in taste which you’ll find has no comparison to garden-fresh peas.

Three varieties of peas suit most garden and culinary needs:

  • Sweet peas, aka garden peas or English peas (Pisum sativum ssp. sativum), have inedible pods from which the seeds (peas) are taken.
  • Snow peas (P. sativum var. macrocarpon)      produce edible, flat, string less pods containing small peas.
  • Snap peas (P. sativum var. macrocarpon ser. cv.produce thick, edible pods containing large/full-size peas.

For more information on how to grow bell peppers click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Peas.

For other resources please click on Cornell Universities Peas link or click on Gardening Know How's Peas link. 



Pumpkins: Whether you use them for carving or cooking, pumpkins do not disappoint—if you have the space for them. Learn how to harvest, cure, and store this nutritious, delicious American native!

Did you know pumpkins have been grown in North America for almost 5,000 years? It’s a lot of fun to grow this native plant.

There are two requirements for growing this winter squash: 1) Having the space to grow them (ideally 1,000 square feet per plant) and 2) having a long growing season (generally 75 to 100 frost-free days). Growers in northern locations need to plant by late May; in southern states, plant by early July. 

Pumpkins do require a lot of nourishment. That said, pumpkins are easy to maintain.

For more information on how to grow bell peppers click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Pumpkins.

For other resources please click on Cornell Universities Pumpkins link or click on Gardening Know How's Pumpkins link. 


Broccoli: The most common type of broccoli we see in grocery stores is “Calabrese broccoli” (named after Calabria in Italy). Planted in mid-spring, this variety produces big green heads on thick stalks. 

Closely related to cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and kohlrabi, this cole crop is worth growing for its nutritional content alone. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals as well as a good source of Vitamin A, potassium, folic acid, iron, and fiber. 

Broccoli takes a long time to mature, so be patient! Once you harvest the main head of a broccoli plant, it will often keep producing smaller side shoots that can be enjoyed for months to come.

For more information on how to grow bell peppers click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Broccoli.

For other resources please click on Cornell Universities Broccoli link or click on Gardening Know How's Broccoli link. 


Broccoli Raab which is also known as spring raab or Brassica ruvo is part Brassicaceae Family. An Italian favorite with a somewhat bitter taste, this fast-growing, cool-season annual forms loose flower heads similar to broccoli in the axils of lower leaves.

For more information on how to grow Broccoli Raab click the following hyperlink to Cornell Cooperative Extension's Broccoli Raab.

For other resources please click on Gardening Know How's Broccoli Raab link. 




Turnips are cool-weather root vegetables that can be grown both in spring and fall. They mature quickly and both the bright greens and roots can be enjoyed. Learn more about this ancient root vegetable—all the way from planting to harvesting.

Turnips will grow in spring or fall weather but do not like the hot summer months. (Note that an autumn crop seeded in late summer is usually sweeter and more tender than a spring crop, and pests are less of a problem.)

Turnips are seeded directly into the garden; they do not transplant well. Plus, they germinate in only a few days. Within a month, their greens are ready to harvest, and within a second month, the swollen roots are ready to be taken up.

How do you cook turnips? Turnips can be eaten raw, baked, boiled, roasted, or mashed. Prepare turnips as you would carrots. Or, try them as an alternative to potatoes; we enjoy a turnip gratin or a turnip soufflé.

For more information on how to grow turnips click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Turnips.

For other resources please click on Cornell Universities Turnips link or click on Gardening Know How's Turnips link. 



Okra thrives in warm weather and is traditionally grown in the southern U.S., though there are varieties for northern growers, too. Easy to grow and use, it also has beautiful flowers that look great throughout the growing season! See how to plant, grow, and harvest okra.

About Okra

Many gardeners are discovering okra, and the range of this warm-weather crop has been creeping northward and gaining in popularity. This plant not only grows edible vegetables and beautiful flowers, but it is also rich in vitamin A and low in calories, which makes it a great addition to your diet. 

If you look at the flower of okra, you’ll see a resemblance to a hibiscus flower. It’s no coincidence—okra is a member of the hibiscus family!

For more information on how to grow okra click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Okra.

For other resources please  click on Gardening Know How's Okra link. 


Green beans are a staple of so many vegetable gardens because they are so easy to grow—even in limited space—and incredibly productive! Here’s how to plant, grow, and harvest green beans, including both the pole and bush types.

All green beans (also called “string beans” or “snap beans”) are tender annuals. Though most green beans are indeed green, they also come in purple, red, yellow, and streaked varieties.

What’s the Difference Between Bush Beans and Pole Beans?

The main difference between the many types of green beans is whether their growing style is classified as “bush” or “pole.”

  • Bush beans grow compactly (reaching about two-feet tall) and do not require extra support from a structure like a trellis. 
  • Pole beans grow as climbing vines that may reach 10 to 15 feet tall and require a trellis or staking.
    • Watch this video to learn how to support beans properly.

There are upsides and downsides to both types, of course:

  • Bush beans generally require less maintenance due to their size, but pole beans typically yield more beans for longer and are mostly disease-resistant.
  • Bush beans produce in about 50 to 55 days; pole beans will take 55 to 65 days. 
  • Bush beans often come in all at once, so stagger your plantings every two weeks to get a continuous harvest. Pole beans need their vines to grow and will produce for a month or two if you keep harvesting.


For more information on how to grow Green Beans click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Green Beans.

For other resources please click on Cornell Universities Pole Beans, Green Beans, Wax Beans link or their Bush Beans or click on Gardening Know How's Beans link.  


Edamame is originally from East Asia, edamame is a relatively new crop in North American gardens—especially for home gardeners. It requires a growing season of 10 weeks. Here’s how to plant and grow edamame at home!

Originating from Asia, edamame (pronounced eh-dah-MAH-may) is the name for young, green soybeans that are picked early in the green pod stage before they harden. (Once edamame pods mature, they become dried beans which are used to make soy products like tofu and soymilk.)

After the edamame pods are harvested and steamed in water, they are eaten by squeezing the beans out (2 to 3 per pod), popping directly into the mouth. They have a sweet, nutty, creamy flavor and are very high in protein.

Edamame is not a common crop, but has been gaining ground in North America in recent years. It’s a low-maintenance crop similar to bush beans, but often has a higher yield. As a legume, it also offers the same soil-health benefits as beans—specifically, it helps to fix nitrogen into the soil, making the soil more nutrient rich for later crops. This makes it a great vegetable to practice crop rotation with!

For more information on how to grow Edamae click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Edamame.

For other resources on Edamame or Soy Beans click on Gardening Know How's Soybeans (Edemame) link.


Fava Beans (aka broad bean or faba) is a frost-hardy crop that can be sown in the early spring or planted in the fall and overwintered. Discover this delicious, nutritious plump bean!

Though part of the pea and bean family Fabaceae, fava beans are not like common green beansPhaseolus vulgaris. They are a member of the vetch genus which is a widely cultivated annual legume grown for its nutritious seeds and pods. They are also grown as a cover crop, keeping the soil covered over winter, which will keep soil life happier; they make efficient use of otherwise empty beds.

Fava beans require cool weather; temperatures in the 60s (Fahrenheit) are ideal. They are a stiffly erect plant that grows 2 to 6 feet tall. A staple crop in many countries, and one of the first beans to have been cultivated (as far back as the Bronze Age), fava beans’ pods, beans, shoots, leaves, and flowers are edible. They are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, with exceptional levels of protein, and plenty of potassium that’ll help reduce blood pressure and good for your heart!

They also grow sweetly fragrant white flowers which are truly gorgeous and worth growing on their own; many pollinators including bumblebees and native bees are attracted to the blooms.

For more information on how to grow Fava Beans click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Fava Beans.


Carrots are a cool-season crop grown in spring. They are an excellent source of vitamin A and add color to a meal. They can be served cooked or raw.

This popular vegetable has a natural sweetness—especially the homegrown carrot because the sugar that makes a carrot sweet begins to be replaced by fiber as it ages in the grocery stores.

Plus, the home gardener has so many more varieties to grow from Belgium Whites to Purple Dragon to Parisian heirlooms that are round! (Not all carrots are the grocery store shape.) In fact, don’t expect to get perfectly straight ”grocery store” carrots. Your carrots will still taste better, whatever their shape!

Carrots have a reputation of being difficult to grow, especially in heavy, compacted soil. However, with a little effort, you can indeed grow carrots. Learn more in our planting guide below.

For more information on how to grow Carrots click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Carrots.

For other resources please click on Cornell Universities Carrots link or click on Gardening Know How's Carrots link. 


Parsnips are a hardy, cool-season crop planted in the spring, kissed by fall frost, and harvested before the ground freezes. Parsnips enrich soups and stews but can also be enjoyed as a side dish. Here’s how to plant, grow, and harvest parsnips in your garden.

Parsnips, popular with ancient Greeks and Romans, were brought over to the Americas with the first colonists. A relative of carrots and parsley, parsnips are biennials even though they’re usually grown as annual vegetables. 

Parsnips need a long growing season and are best harvested after a few fall frosts; if planted too late in the season, their roots will be small. 

Parsnips lend nutty, sweet flavor to any dish, but these root vegetables can also be enjoyed by themselves as a side dish. (Roasting is a favored method!) Plus, they are packed with nutrients, like potassium and vitamins B6 and C.

For more information on how to grow Parsnips click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Parsnips.

For other resources please click on Cornell Universities Parsnips link or click on Gardening Know How's Parsnips link. 


Salsify Also commonly referred to as black salsify (Scorzonera hispanica), scorzonera root vegetables may also be called black vegetable oyster plant, serpent root, Spanish salsify, and viper’s grass. It has a long, fleshy taproot much akin to that of salsify, but black on the exterior with white interior flesh.

For other resources please click on Gardening Know How's Salsify link. 


Celery: Not only is garden celery better-tasting than store-bought types, but it’s also less chemical-laden. In cooler regions, it does best planted in the early spring. In warmer areas, plan to plant in mid- to later summer. Here’s our advice on planting, growing, and harvesting celery!

Although one of the more difficult crops to grow at home, celery always has a place in our gardens because it’s so useful in the kitchen—for stews, stir-fries, soups, and salads. 

This cool-weather, long-season crop can require up to 140 days to come to harvest, although short-season varieties are available. Celery is considered a hardy biennial, but it’s typically grown as an annual for its edible 12- to 18-inch stalks. Celery is considered a relatively difficult crop, as you do need to start celery from seed indoors (transplants are hard to find and do not always succeed), and the plant is prone to bolting in cold weather.

There are two main types of celery available:

  1. Trenching celery needs soil mounded up against the stems as they grow to produce crisp, pale stems. To make this easier, trenching celery is typically planted into trenches, hence the name, but some gardeners aid this blanching process using cardboard tubes, pipes, or collars.
  2. Self-blanching celery requires none of these extra steps. This makes it a lot easier to grow, and the stems are just as tasty!

For more information on how to grow celery click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Celery.

For other resources please click on Cornell Universities Celery link or click on Gardening Know How's Celery link. 


Celeriac is cool season vegetable stemming from the parsley family. It is also known as root celery, knob celery or Apium graveolens var. Rapaceum and part of the Umbelliferae Family  Celeriac is closely related to celery, but easier to grow. It is prized for its crisp, celery-flavored root, which you can eat raw or cooked. A staple in Europe, it is little known in North America.

For more information on how to celeriac click the following hyperlink to Cornell Universities Celeriac.

For other resources please click on click on Gardening Know How's Celeriac link. 


Rutabagas also known as “swedes,” rutabagas are essentially a cross between a turnip and a cabbage. They’re grown for their softball-size, golden-color roots and their greens. Here’s how to plant and grow rutabagas in your garden!

A biennial root vegetable, rutabagas are usually treated as annual crops that are generally planted in midsummer and allowed to mature in the cool weather of fall (or as a winter crop in warmer climates). They make a lovely autumn harvest vegetable after being “kissed” by a fall frost, which brings out a richer flavor. 

Rutabagas are often confused with turnips; they’re called “swedes” in Europe and “neeps” in Scotland. To add further confusion, they’re also called “Swedish turnips” or “winter turnips” or “yellow turnips.” They are not turnips, though they are cousins and essentially a cross between a turnip and cabbage.

Turnips are much smaller than rutabagas which are the size of a grapefruit (thanks to its cabbage relation). In addition, turnips are have a lighter skin and white flesh whereas the rutabaga has a warmer color and yellow fresh with a smooth and waxy blue-green foliage. Finally, there’s the difference in taste. Turnips generally have spicy notes; rutabagas have a mild, sweet flavor with a faint peppery flavor.

Compared to turnips, rutabagas require a few weeks longer to mature. Otherwise, the two vegetables require very similar care in the garden. This is an easy-to-grow root vegetable as long as you follow some of the basic requirements outlined below, namely planting dates and consistent watering.

For more information on how to grow rutabagas click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Rutabagas.

For other resources please click on Cornell Universities Rutabagas link or click on Gardening Know How's Rutabagas link. 



Sweet Corn is a tender, warm-season annual crop that produces ears of yellow, white, or bi-colored kernels. A long, frost-free growing season (60 to 100 frost-free days) is necessary to grow and harvest corn.

Native to the Americas, sweet corn has been cultivated for thousands of years; it’s famous as one of the Three Sisters—corn, beans, and squash—grown by Native Americans.

A member of the grass family (Poaceae), corn relies on wind to pollinate its flowers! This is why we plant corn in blocks of short rows instead of long, single rows. 

Corn comes in early-, mid-, and late-season varieties. Early-season varieties are the quickest to mature, while late-season may take the entire growing season. For an extended harvest, plant varieties with different “days to maturity.” 

For more information on how to grow sweet corn click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Corn.

For other resources please click on Cornell Universities Corn or click on Gardening Know How's Corn link.  


Beets—or “beet roots”—are a colorful, cool-season crop that is easy to grow from seed in well-prepared soil and grows quickly in full sun.

They are a great choice for northern gardeners because they can survive frost and near-freezing temperatures. This also makes them great as a fall crop.

If you are a beginner, look for bolt-resistant varieties, which have less of a chance of bolting (maturing too quickly) in warm weather. There are many different varieties of beets, showcasing deep red, yellow, white, or striped roots of different shapes. 

Beet roots can be harvested from the time they’re about the size of a golf ball to the size of a tennis ball; larger roots may be tough and woody. Plus, beet greens have a delicious and distinctive flavor and hold even more nutrition than the roots!

For more information on how to grow Beets click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Beets.

For other resources please click on Cornell Universities Beets link or click on Gardening Know How's Beets link. 


Zucchini is known to be staggeringly productive. But there are some pitfalls such as poor pollination and pests to avoid if you wish to have a prolific harvest. In our growing guide, we’ll cover planting through harvesting and also share tips and tricks to sidestep common problems.

Note that squash is generally divided into two categories: summer squash (harvest in summer) and winter squash (harvested in autumn). The skin of summer squash is edible, unlike the skin of winter squash. Most summer squash now come in bush varieties, which take up less space, whereas winter squash are vining plants that need more space. 

This guide focuses on summer squash. Summer squash varieties include zucchiniyellow squash (straightneck squash), and crookneck squash. Note: All types of summer squash require very similar care, so even though we mainly refer to zucchini on this page, consider it to be applicable to whatever summer squash variety you’re growing!

Zucchini is a vigorous grower.  While each plant will produce several squash during peak season, you’ll typically find that one or two zucchini plants will produce a “bumper” (unusually large) crop, leaving you to give the squash away to neighbors or bake lots of zucchini bread!

For more information on how to grow Squash click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Squash.

For other resources please click on Cornell Universities Squash link or click on Gardening Know How's Squash link. 


Winter Squash requires some patience, but this garden vegetable is well worth the wait—and most varieties have a long shelf life after harvest. From butternut squash to acorn squash, learn how to plant, grow, harvest, and cure winter squash in your home garden!

Because winter squash requires a long growing season (generally from 75 to 100 frost-free days), the seeds are generally planted by late May in northern locations to early July in extremely southern states. See your local frost dates and length of growing season.

Winter squash are harvested in late summer or autumn, just before or after their fruits reach full maturity. Squash have a relatively long shelf life. Some varieties will keep through winter, hence the name winter squash. Varieties include acorn, butternut, delicata, Hubbard, pumpkin, and spaghetti.

Despite the great diversity of squash, most commonly grown cultivated varieties belong to one of three species:

  1. Cucurbita pepo
  2. C. moschata
  3. C. maxima

Over several generations, these plants have been cultivated to produce fruit in all kinds of shapes, colors, and flavors.

For more information on how to grow Winter Squash click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Winter Squash.

For other resources please click on Cornell Universities Winter Squash and Zucchini links or click on Gardening Know How's Gourds or Zucchini links. 


Onions are planted early in the spring and harvested from midsummer through the fall. Whether you start your onions from seed or from sets, there are some tricks of the trade that make the difference between a great crop and a disappointing one. See how to plant, grow, and harvest onions.

We prefer planting onion sets over starting them from seeds, simply because the sets establish quickly and are easier to plant.

  • Onion sets are tiny onions that mature in about 14 weeks. They can withstand light freezes and have a higher success rate than direct-sown seeds or transplants. The onion sets look like small bulbs and are sold at gardening stores; once they mature, they develop into a full-size bulb. Choose onion sets with bulbs that are 3/4 of an inch in diameter; larger ones tend to produce stiff necks and go to seed.
  • Of course, starting onions from seed is certainly doable, and may even be necessary in colder regions (Zone 5 and colder). Onions grown from seed require the soil to be at least 50°F to germinate, so these should be started indoors about 6 weeks before transplanting to the garden. If you’d prefer to try this method, check out our tips for growing onions from seed.

For more information on how to grow Onions click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Onions.

For other resources please click on Cornell Universities Onions link or click on Gardening Know How's Onions link. 


Egyptian Onions 

Vegetable (Cool Season) - Onion Family

Also known as tree onions, multiplier onions (topset), walking onions
Allium cepa var. proliferum
Alliaceae Family

Similar to shallots - but with a much stronger flavor - this perennial allium produces numerous bulbs below ground, and as a bonus forms clusters of sets for replanting on its stalk.

For more information on how to grow Egyptian Onions click the following hyperlink to Cornell Cooperative Extension's Egyptian Onion link.



Vegetable (Cool Season) - Onion Family

Also known as potato onion, multiplier onion (root)

Allium cepa var. aggregatum

Alliaceae Family

An easy-to-grow gourmet favorite, these perennial onions produce a cluster of smaller bulbs instead of one large bulb. You can replant small bulbs for next year’s crop.

For more information on how to grow Shallots click the following hyperlink to Cornell Cooperative Extension's Shallots link.

For other resources please click on Gardening Know How's Shallots link. 


Potatoes taste better when you grow your own! Nutrient-rich “taters” epitomize the joy of gardening—satisfying to plant, quick to grow, and fun to dig up. Our Potato Growing Guide covers planting, growing, harvesting, and storing potatoes. 

Potatoes aren’t fussy vegetables, which makes them a fabulous choice for first-time growers. They do well in most soils and almost always produce plenty to go hunting for at harvest time. That said, there are a few things you can do to elevate your crop.

About Potatoes

The potato (Solanum tuberosum) is a cool-weather vegetable that typically yields bigger crops in the northern portion of the U.S.; however, they can be grown as a winter crop in warmer climates. Potatoes are related to peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants, but are adapted to higher elevations and harsher growing conditions; they were first documented by the Incas in Peru. According to the Maine Potato Board, this vegetable arrived in the American Colonies in 1621 when the Governor of Bermuda sent potatoes to the Governor of Virginia at Jamestown.

The edible part of the potato is the underground “tuber” which is an enlarged underground storage portion of the potato plant. The tuber develops from underground stems called stolons once the plants are 6 to 8 inches tall, or around 5 to 7 weeks after planting.

Potatoes are nuggets of goodness. The nutrient-rich skin provides 45% of your daily vitamin C and 18% of potassium, plus many more nutrients. 

For more information on how to grow potatoes click the following hyperlink to Farmers Almanac Potatoes.

For other resources please click on Cornell Universities Potatoes link or click on Gardening Know How's Potatoes link. 


Sweet Potatoes: Unlike potatoes (which are tubers), sweet potatoes are roots and, as such, are propagated via a slip. What is a sweet potato slip? A slip from a sweet potato is simply a sweet potato sprout. Sounds simple enough, but how do you get sweet potato slips? If you’re interested in sweet potato slip growing read on to learn more. What is a Sweet Potato Slip? Sweet potatoes are members of the morning glory or Convolvulaceae family. They are grown not only for their edible, nutrient-rich roots but for their trailing vines and colorful blooms. Given that sweet potatoes are from a different family than regular spuds, it’s no wonder that propagation is different.

For more information on how to grow potatoes click the following hyperlink to Gardening Know How's Sweet Potatoes.  

For other resources please click on Gardening Know How's Sweet Potatoes link.