Category Archives: vegetables

Twenty Tips for Growing Tomatoes Successfully

By now you should have started your tomato seeds indoors under lights. This is just if you want a head start of course, it is not necessary. You can also purchase tomato plants but be aware that the night temperatures are still cold for them to be out in the garden now. They prefer warmer weather. Waiting to plant tomatoes until the beginning of May or Mother’s Day will give you the best results. For tomato success, read these twenty tips for growing tomatoes in the Washington DC metro area. Continue reading

Growing Sugar Snap Peas

March is the time to grow peas here in Northern Virginia. In our family we prefer the sugar snap peas where you eat pea and pod together but shelling peas and snow peas are also started during March’s cool weather. Continue reading

Growing Cucamelons in Virginia

cucamelonAlthough I have heard a lot about cucamelons, I have not grown them until this summer. Earlier this year, Burpee sent two small plants in containers, which they labeled “Mexican sour gherkin cucumber.” In fact, this type of cucumber has a variety of common names: cucamelons, Mexican sour gherkins, mouse melons, pepquinos, sandita, and Mexican miniature watermelons. The Latin name is Melathria scabra and they truly are in the cucumber family. Continue reading

Twenty Tomato Tips for the DC Metro Area

By now you should have started your tomato seeds indoors under lights. This is just if you want a head start of course, it is not necessary. You can also purchase tomato plants but be aware that the night temperatures are still too cold for them to be out in the garden now. They prefer warmer weather. Waiting to plant tomatoes until the beginning of May or Mother’s Day will give you the best results. For tomato success, read these twenty tips for growing tomatoes in the Washington DC metro area. Continue reading

Growing Potatoes: Easy, Fun, and Delicious!

leavesWhen you are ordering your seeds, don’t forget to order your seed potatoes. “Seed potatoes” are potatoes for planting, not a true seed. Think of them as “starter” tubers. Seed potatoes are planted outdoors about 4 weeks before the average last frost date. In the DC metro area, this is March and many gardeners use St. Patrick’s Day as the traditional day of planting but later in March is okay too. Continue reading

Tatsoi: A Cool Green in the Garden

A great green to have in your fall and winter garden is tatsoi. A member of the brassica or cabbage family, tatsoi is a low growing plant with dark green, spoon-shaped leaves. It has a beautiful rosette shape that can span a foot across. Continue reading

Plan for the Fall and Winter Garden

mustard

mustard

August is the time for harvesting the summer’s bounty in the vegetable garden while thinking ahead to a winter’s garden. Even though it is hot and humid, you have to plan now to have even more edibles in the fall and winter. These edibles prefer cool temperatures. Often these plants are not bothered by as much disease and pests as in the summer plus you as a gardener are not bothered by heat, humidity, and mosquitoes. Continue reading

Cutting Celery: A Kitchen Staple Growing in the Garden

cutting celery foliage

Foliage of first year’s growth of cutting celery

Cutting celery is a great culinary herb to have in your garden. Unlike stalk celery from a grocery store, cutting celery is full of flavor, reminiscent of black pepper. Cutting celery (Apium graveolens var. secalinum) looks more like parsley than stalk celery (Apium graveolens var. dulce). This foot-tall, bushy plant has short, hollow stems and green, finely serrated leaves about one-inch wide. Continue reading

Twenty Tomato Tips for the Washington DC Metro Area

Here are twenty tips for growing tomatoes successfully in the Washington DC metro area. Continue reading

You Can Grow Sugar Snap Peas

March is the time to grow peas here in Northern Virginia. In our family we prefer the sugar snap peas where you eat pea and pod together but shelling peas and snow peas are also started during March’s cool weather.

St. Patrick’s Day is my cue to soak the seeds in water overnight, insert in cone shaped coffee filters (could have used paper towels too), and place in zipped plastic bags. I left them on a shelf, I did not put them under grow lights. Within two days, the seeds germinated. After a few days, when it was necessary for the shoots to receive sunlight, I planted them outside about 4 inches apart. Planting them when they have germinated as opposed to planting seeds makes them able to withstand the cold soil temperatures. Last year, we picked them almost every day when the peas had expanded enough to make the pods plump – hence – snap when you bit them or bent them. They were so sweet, we ate them raw as the vegetable portion of dinner.

Pea plants are light in weight and their small tendrils need to wrap around thin nylon, string, or wire. In the beginning, you may have to “train” them to wrap around the nylon or unwrap them if they find a nearby plant but eventually they learn to wrap up and create a pretty green screen.

 

Another great thing about peas is that the flowers are edible. They are great in green salads, they can be added as garnish to pea soup or tomato soup, and they can even be used to decorate cupcakes. Just remember, if you pick the flower, you won’t get the pea. But then, plant more peas!