How To Grow Vegetables


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The Vegetable Gardener's Guide


We've included everything you need to know to grow nearly any vegetable For new gardeners we recommend a good general text on gardening to get the general principles and techniques. Any library will have a good selection. We particularly like How To Grow More Vegetables... by John Jeavons, who invented and has refined the biointensive and Grow Biointensive methods of gardening. Experienced gardeners will need little else to produce a fine variety of excellent vegetables.

This poster has been successfully "field tested" for over 10 years by Master Gardeners, Co-op Extension Agents, professional nursery people, and thousands of satisfied gardeners all over the country. Below are what we tell you about each and every vegetable. We look forward to making your gardening experience easier and more productive with this poster.

Name -
as in the common garden name. Usually all of one vegetable is grown the same way, but not always. For example, Cabbage covers regular cabbage, savoy cabbage, and collards. Chinese cabbage is an exception - there is enough difference in cultivation that we give it a separate listing.

Latin Name -
Latin names can be a pain, but they are excellent for exactly describing what you are talking about. Helpful when talking with gardening professionals, your ag extension agent, etc.

Plant Type -
as in "is it an annual, perennial, biennial?" Kind of important to know for garden planning, whether to pull it up at the end of the season, and for growing for seed. A = annual, B = biennial, P = perennial. Exceptions: A(B) = actually a biennial, but usually treated as an annual, A,B = some varieties are treated both as an annual and biennial (Swiss Chard is a biennial, and I prefer the taste of the leaves the second year, but it is usually grown as an annual), A(P)= tender perennial, perennial grown as an annual, P,A = some varieties are treated both as an annual and perennial

When to Plant-
The season or seasons in which it is best to plant each variety. Some have a very narrow window of opportunity for the best results, others can be started anytime in the growing season. If you have a very challenging climate, you will have to adjust these recommendations for your climate (if winter starts with snow November 1, planting anything the week before isn't a good idea)
EaSp = early spring, as soon as the soil can be worked; Sp = spring, after all danger of frost is past; LaSp = late Spring, soil has warmed to 70-80 degrees; EaSu = early summer, can take some cool; Su = summer, plant in full heat; LaSu = late summer, plant as close to the end of the hot season as possible; Fa = fall, get established before first hard frosts

Exposure (Location)-
How much of the day's sun does the plant need? Some plants need full sun to thrive, others will wilt without some shade. Those with extremely cool or hot climates must adjust these recommendations. Full = plant where there is sun pretty much throughout the day;    Part = prefers some shade during the course of the day;   Full,Part = prefers full sun but part shade is ok, or in very hot climates needs partial shade;   Part, Full = prefers part sun but can tolerate full sun if not too hot

Soil Type-
Generally describes the range of soils that the veggie will grow in, as well as any preferred soil. Any = any good garden soil;   OM = likes lots of organic matter, the living part of the soil, made up of decayed plant and animal matter;
Ca = Calcium;   Mg = Magnesium;
NPK = three basic plant fertilizers:  N = Nitrogen,
P = Phosphorous, K = Potassium (potash);
Loam = excellent, friable soil composed of clay, silt, sand, and organic matter. Should be half solid matter, and half space.
Sandy = sand loam, comprised of more than half sand. Has characteristics much like sand. Its structure is loose and slightly heavy.
Clay = clay loam, with more clay than average, but not yet heavy and clinging. Good sustained source of minerals for greedy feeders.
Loose = structure is half air or more, either naturally or because it's been dug and broken up. Often essential for optimum root growth.
Light = soil that is quite loose while having a lot of OM in it, ideal for root crops that need excellent nutrition.

Feeding Habit-
How much nutrient does it consume? Ranges from very greedy feeders that drain the soil of a lot of nutrients to light feeders which need minimal fertilization. We specially note leguminous varieties that add Nitrogen to the soil. If you are harvesting lots of produce, then even the lightest feeder will drain the soil, because the veggie was basically created from your soil
Very Greedy = puts a real drain on the soil. Fertilize the soil well before planting. Side-dress fertilizer or foliar spray regularly during growth,
Greedy = soil should be well fertilized before and rested/rotated after this crop,
Moderate = needs fertilization but does not greatly exhaust the soil,
Light = takes little out of the soil, or adds to the soil. May not need fertilization if the soil is in good shape,
+N = adds Nitrogen to the soil

Bed Preparation-
Describes how to prepare the soil for this plant.
(Nearly all plants benefit from soil that has been dug deeply, has good organic matter content, and a good supply of all soil nutrients).

Seed Preparation-
Some seeds need special procedures in order to germinate well. Many seeds need to soak in water to soften hard coatings.
Germinates readily = doesn't need any special handling before planting it.

How To Start - The best way to grow from seed.
Flats = best to get an early start on the season by starting the seeds indoors in flats, and then transplanting into the garden.
Pots = doesn't transplant well, but individual peat/paper pots often work;
Direct = plant directly into the spot in the garden where it will be growing,
Starts = very difficult or impossible to start from seed. Start with already growing plants from the nursery.

Germination Percentage-
Minimum percentage of seeds that should germinate. na = doesn't start from seed.

Germination Air Temperature-
A safe minimum air temperature that is best to start plants at. You can often start at somewhat colder temperatures, but it is risky. The soil temperature can be somewhat colder than this, but this often stunts growth.
* = to produce seed, these plants need 1-2 months of chilling temperatures (less than 45 degrees)

Spacing Overview-
There are two methods of spacing your plants:
Row planting is in lines and rows(Spacing Row, Spacing Width); and
Biointensive planting is on generally closer hexagonal spacing.
Spacing, Initial - is used by both: the initial spacing in rows in Row planting, and in Biointensive for the seed spacing in flats and pots.
Abbreviations: B = Bush; P =Pole; T = Trailing, vining ; L= leaf type; H = head type
M = can be grown in 1-1.5 foot mounds, with 3-6 seeds planted in a circle. Use row spacing between mounds (Row planting).

Spacing, Biointensive -
Hexagonal spacing based on the high-yield biointensive method. In the biointensive method most plants are started in flats (using the Initial Spacing), and then transplanted to this spacing. This eliminates the need for subsequent thinning. For plants to thrive at this closer spacing, the soil needs the additional methods of the Grow Biointensive method, such as special, deeper digging and companion planting. For more information on this method visit the Bountiful Gardens website.
For abbreviations, see Spacing Overview.

Spacing Width -
When planting in row culture, this is the linear spacing between the plants as you plant them in a line. M = Many row gardeners plant in mounds, use this spacing between plants in the mound.

Spacing Row -
In row culture, the spacing between the planted lines of seeds. Generally a wider spacing.

Spacing, Initial-
Row Culture - Seeds are planted at this spacing then thinned to their Spacing Width. Since a percentage of seeds will usually not germinate, this spacing insures that you have more than enough plants started to end up with a full garden crop. Any excess sprouts will be pulled out of the bed (thinned).
Grow Biointensive - use this spacing to start seeds in flats or pots, then transplant.
If there are two numbers, plant your seeds to the closer spacing, then later thin to the second after seeds have sprouted. Once plants are well established, thin to the appropriate final spacing.
na = doesn't need an initial spacing, and just plant at its final spacing.

Seed Depth-
How deep to plant the seed in soil for best results. In inches.

Companions, Beneficials and Enemies-
Many gardeners from time out of mind have felt that their plants do better when growing around certain plants, and do worse around others. Companions are listed for each vegetable.
Companions = does better growing around these plants.
! = particularly strong companion
* = beneficial, helps keep bugs and/or diseases away. Many aromatic herbs are universally beneficial.
E = enemies, presence of this plant inhibits growth and productivity.

pH Range-
The range of acidity or alkalinity in which a plant will thrive. It is generally important to keep your plants within this pH range when conventional row gardening. Organic and biointensive gardeners don't generally find this as critical, as the greater fertility and the biological balance of their soil allows a greater pH range.

Water Need-
How much water does it need? Correct water is needed - too little and the plant dries up, too much and it is susceptible to rotting and/or disease:
Keep Moist = keep the soil pretty constantly moist
Constant = water twice a day, hard to water too much
Keep Watered = water daily, twice a day on hot days
Periodic = do not let the soil dry out too much
Occasional = water every few days, more in very dry weather

Matures-
How many days after germination before the plant begins to bear produce. If there are two figures, the first is for greens or green fruit, the second is for seeds or dry/mature fruit.

# Plants-
A reasonable number of plants to grow for one person's needs. If you really like a vegetable, you should plant more. S = plant in succession, so that you always have this amount ripening. When half mature, plant this number again, then replant this number after harvesting the first crop, and so on.

Special Cultural Needs-
Most plants have something special that they need in order to perform well. Please Note: Greedy and Very Greedy feeders need additional fertilization.

How To Harvest-
Either how to physically harvest your produce, or how to proceed to maximize the quantity of your harvest.
Poisonous Plant: Caution - all parts of these plants except fruit are poisonous. Keep these plants out of reach of children.

Signs of Ripeness-
What to look for in mature produce when it's time to harvest. Either how to physically harvest your produce, or how to proceed to maximize the quantity of your harvest.
Poisonous Plant: Caution - all parts of these plants except fruit are poisonous. Keep these plants out of reach of children.

General Abbreviations-
N = Nitrogen, K = Potassium, Ca = Calcium, Mg = Magnesium,
P = the most confusing abbreviation is P, which depending on its context means: perennial, pole (climbing plant), or Phosphorous. We have tried to keep this clear in each case.
OM = organic matter (usually compost), the living part of the soil, made up of decomposed plant and animal matter.
Side Dress (fertilizer) = gently dig in fertilizer near the sides of plants while growing, generally once or twice during growth.
Foliar Spray = Liquid fertilizer that is applied directly to the leaves of plants



Poster Size = 24" X 36"
Fully laminated card stock
Price $9.95


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Bill and Betsy Bruneau
18001 Shafer Ranch Road, Willits, CA 95490-9626 USA
Website: www.bbruneau.com
Copyright 2008, William Bruneau

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