Before I make decisions regarding which seeds to plant in my garden each season, I usually check the Internet for suggestions. I can always find those types of recommendations, but I don’t always see detailed advice on how and when to plant them, or how to care for them once they start growing.
Just in case you’re in the same boat, here is the first in a series of suggestions on starting and caring for a variety of plants that will grow from your non-hybrid seeds.
Beet Detroit Dark Red. Soak your seeds overnight to help soften them and speed up the germination process. Direct sow these seeds outside as soon as the ground can be worked, even if it’s two to three weeks before the last expected frost. They can also be planted in the fall. If you want a longer harvest, sow them every three weeks or so. Plant the seeds about four inches apart and about ½ inch below the soil surface. Rows should be spaced 12 to 18 inches apart. The soil should be fertile, weed-free and regularly moisturized. These plants may be susceptible to aphids, carrot weevils, flea beetles, leaf miners, leafhoppers and slugs.
Black Turtle Bean. Because they don’t respond very well to transplanting, direct sow these seeds just after the last spring frost. If they’re planted too early, they could rot in cool and damp soil. Plant the seeds one to two inches deep and four to six inches apart, with at least two feet between rows. These beans can be finicky. Too much moisture can result in mildew or mold, but they will also drop blossoms during a heat wave. They do best in fertile, draining soil with compost worked in and a weed-free environment. They are resistant to many diseases and can tolerate very hot conditions.
Blue Lake Bush Bean. Plant in the early spring after danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed to at least 60 degrees F. Coat the bean seeds with bean and pea inoculant for best results. Direct sow these seeds one to two inches deep and two to three inches apart in hills separated by 30 to 36 inches. The soil should be watered immediately and regularly until sprouting occurs. The quality of the soil is not as important with this hardy plant as it is with many others. If the leaves appear pale, add a natural, nitrogen-rich fertilizer. These plants are vulnerable to rot and soil-borne diseases, some of which can be avoided by not growing them in the same garden beds two years in a row.
Broccoli Green Sprouting. Sow these seeds indoors before the last frost in colder climates, or direct sow them outside after the last frost. Plant seeds about ¼ inch under the soil surface with 18 to 30 inches between plants in rows three feet apart. This plant will do best with sunlight, but cooler temperatures are fine. The soil should be fertile, well drained and moist, and be sure to add plenty of organic matter rich in nitrogen. Seeds of cold-hardy broccoli can be sown in the early fall, with plants being produced late the following spring. These plants may be susceptible to black rot, black leg, downy mildew, flea beetles, ring spot, club root, white mold, white rust, powdery mildew, cabbageworm and thrips.
Cabbage Golden Acre. Sow these seeds indoors prior to the last frost, or sow them directly outside after the last frost. Plant the seeds ¼ to ½ inch under the surface of the soil. If planting indoors, they should be separated by six inches. If planting outdoors, allow six to 18 inches between the plants. Cabbage plants will grow best in cooler weather. In warmer areas, you can plant them in late winter for a spring harvest and/or in late summer for a fall crop. The soil should be firm and fertile for best results. These plants may be susceptible to aphids, caterpillars, cabbage loopers, flea beetles, cabbageworms, club root, fusarium wilt and downy mildew.