National Garden Month

A look back at a National Garden Month week:

It's National Gardening Month, 2018! Each week this month we will share our favorite articles about growing different kinds of plants. Our second week this month will focus on vegetables.

Week 2: Celebrating Gardening with Vegetables

Thumb of 2012-03-15/dave/149c93Planning, Designing and Growing a Vegetable Garden

It's that time of year, when freezing temperatures suddenly fade away into our distant memory and we start getting that vegetable garden itch. Let's talk about vegetables - how to grow them and how to design your vegetable gardens.

Thumb of 2016-04-01/dave/0bdd93The Garden Planting Calendar

Enter your location into this webpage and experience the magic of their garden calendar planting guide. You can enter a zipcode, a landmark, "City, State" or "City, Country" and it will tell you your frost dates and when you should sow or transplant all the different kinds of vegetables in your area.

Tomatoes: Getting Started

Healthy, vigorous tomato vines can produce a lot of fruit. If you're new to gardening, try growing just a few tomato plants at first - perhaps two or three plants of two to three different varieties. But of the thousands available, from cherished heirloom types to the hottest new hybrids, how do you narrow your choices? Read more to find this out, and much more.

Carrot Essentials

Want to grow carrots? Here's the essential information you'll need to be successful. For most of the country, now is a great time to grow carrots!

Sweet Potato Essentials

Learn all about how to grow the state vegetable of Louisiana and North Carolina. Sweet potatoes are a long-season, tropical vegetable, so it's no surprise that they're grown mostly in southern states. However, it's possible for northern gardeners to grow these tasty, highly nutritious vegetables.

Eggplant Essentials

Long and thin or round and fat, eggplants range from egg- to melon-sized and come in a rainbow of colors, including purple, pink, white, orange, and green. They're used in hors d'oeuvres, main courses, grilled dishes, and pickled condiments.


The glistening greens of the leaves and the rainbow of colors of the ripening peppers -- red, yellow, orange, green, brown or purple -- make pepper plants an ornamental, as well as delicious, addition to the garden. Sweet bell peppers go well with just about anything and are wonderful eaten right out of the garden, while the hotter varieties spice up many recipes. Stuffed peppers, pickled peppers, fried peppers -- peppers fit in, deliciously, everywhere. Peppers like warmth, so wait to plant until the soil and air temperature has warmed up reliably.


Easy-to-grow beans are a favorite of home gardeners. High in protein, they are a staple in many cuisines. There are thousands of varieties to choose from, many of which have colorful seeds, and colorful names: Jacob's Cattle, Painted Pony, Vermont Appaloosa, for example.


The word "kale" often brings to mind an image of the purple and lime green frilly balls of ornamental kale in the garden. But culinary kale is a different vegetable entirely. There is an array of varieties available, from smooth light green to crinkly, almost black to Red Russian that turns purple-red in cold weather.


Summer squash are harvested when tender and still immature. They're usually separated into yellow, straight or crookneck varieties; green zucchinis; scallop-shaped "patty-pan" fruits; or round, softball-sized types. Summer squash grow fast, usually maturing within 2 months of planting, and continue to produce all season long. They are prolific, reliable producers, but they don't store well, so use them right away.

Melons and Cantaloupes

Most melons need a long, warm growing season, usually 80 to 100 days, to reach maturity, so in regions with short summers, choose early-maturing varieties. Consider growing some unusual types, including charentais and crenshaw. Where watermelon is concerned, you can now try compact, round (or "icebox") types, yellow-fleshed fruits, or seedless ones in addition to the traditional oblong types.

Want more Gardening Ideas? Check out Week 1: Flowers

When You Garden, You Grow!

Every April communities, organizations, and individuals nationwide celebrate gardening during National Garden Month. Gardeners know, and research confirms, that nurturing plants is good for us: attitudes toward health and nutrition improve, kids perform better at school, and community spirit grows. Join the celebration and help to make America a greener, healthier, more livable place!

About National Garden Month

Why Garden?

"During his imprisonment of 27 years, Nelson Mandela and his colleagues refused to participate in prison work assignments. Instead he spent his time tending a small garden on the prison rooftop, consisting of about two dozen oil drums in which he grew the following vegetables: Beans, Chillies, Beetroot, Lettuce, Broccoli, Onions, Cabbage, Peppers, Cauliflower, Spinach, Brinjal (Eggplant), Tomatoes and Strawberries. The challenge for all of us, to grow a ‘Nelson Mandela garden’ this year. 'Living isn’t just about doing for yourself, but what you do for others as well.' -Nelson Mandela"

-- Peter Prakke, Allergy Friendly Schoolyard(c)

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