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Vegetable Gardening For Dummies

Vegetable Gardening For Dummies

by National Gardening Association, Charlie Nardozzi
Vegetable Gardening For Dummies

Vegetable Gardening For Dummies

by National Gardening Association, Charlie Nardozzi

Paperback(3rd ed.)

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Vegetables from your own farm to your own table

We all love good food, and the fresher it is, the better! And what could be fresher than farm-to-table terms than vegetables you've grown at home? The new edition of Vegetable Gardening For Dummies puts you in touch with your roots in a thousands of years old farming tradition by demonstrating how easy it is to grow your own. And there's no need to buy a farm: all you need to become a successful cultivator of the land is this book and a small plot of soil in the yard, or a container set aside for some tasty natural edibles. Add water and some care, love, and attention—et voila!

In a friendly, come-relax-in-my-garden style Charlie Nardozzi—leading horticultural writer and guest expert on shows such as Martha Stewart Living Radio—shares the nutritious results of a lifetime of vegetable-growing experience to delve into the nitty-gritty of micro-farming. It's not rocket science—quite the opposite—but you do need a bit of patience before you can reap your first glorious harvest. This book shows you how to master that, as you get down and dirty with the enjoyable work of building soil, starting seeds, controlling pests, and maintaining your garden. And as your early efforts turn to green shoots, you can dig deeper into information on special tips and tricks, as well as hundreds of vegetable varieties—many of which are beautiful to behold as well as tasty to eat!

  • Plan out your garden
  • Know your veggies, from tomatoes to chard
  • Keep your plants happy and healthy
  • Harvest, store, and preserve your crops

Whether your thumb is a fertile green or you've never put plant-to-pot before, this book will bring out your inner farmer: you'll find everything required to transform your garden into a self-renewing larder—and complement every meal with a crisp, healthy, home-grown treat.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781119782070
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 03/23/2021
Series: For Dummies Books
Edition description: 3rd ed.
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 111,720
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

The National Gardening Association is the leading garden-based educational organization in the United States. Visit http//

Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie delights in making gardening information simple, easy, fun, and accessible to everyone.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Foolish Assumptions 2

Icons Used in This Book 2

Where to Go from Here 3

Part 1: Digging Into the Basics of Vegetable Gardening 5

Chapter 1: Vegetable Gardening 101 7

Having a Garden: Yes or No 7

Planning a Veggie Garden 8

Growing a Cornucopia of Vegetables 9

Tomatoes 9

Peppers and eggplants 9

Carrots, onions, and potatoes 10

Peas and beans 10

Cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, and squash 11

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower 11

Lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and specialty greens 12

An array of other great veggies 12

Non-vegetable edibles 12

Getting Down to Growing 13

Choosing between seeds and transplants 13

Working the soil 13

Keeping your garden growing and enjoying the rewards 14

Trying for a bigger bounty 14

Chapter 2: Eyeing the Popularity and Benefits of Vegetable Gardening 15

Food Gardening: It’s Popping Up Everywhere 15

Identifying a Few Good Reasons to Grow Your Own Food 17

Better tasting and higher quality food 17

Improve your health 18

Save some cash 18

Help the environment 20

Increase your quality of life 21

Self-reliance 21

Chapter 3: Planning Your Veggie Garden 23

Deciding Where to Put Your Vegetable Garden 23

Considering different sites 24

Letting the sun shine 26

Checking your soil’s drainage 27

Understanding Veggie Varieties 28

Timing Your Planting Wisely 30

Some like it cool, some like it hot 30

Frost dates and the length of the growing season 31

Your local forecast trumps frost dates 33

Designing Your Garden 33

Deciding on hills, rows, or raised beds 34

Spacing your plantings properly 36

Following the paths 37

Sketching it out 37

Part 2: Focusing on All Things Veggies 43

Chapter 4: Tomatoes: The King of Veggies 45

Checking Out Tomato Varieties 46

Categorizing tomatoes 46

Classifying tomatoes by their appearance 48

Enjoying classic red, round tomatoes 48

Surveying all the other colors of tomatoes 50

Sweetening the pot with cherry, grape, and pear tomatoes 51

Considering some saucy tomatoes 52

Introducing the tomato’s relatives 53

Growing Tomatoes with Ease 54

Jump-starting tomatoes 54

Planting, trellising, and pruning 55

Fertilizing and maintaining your plants 57

Eliminating pests and other problems 59

Harvesting tomatoes 61

Chapter 5: Meeting the Tomato’s Cousins: Peppers and Eggplants 63

Producing Plenty of Peppers 64

Those sweet bells 64

Long and round sweet peppers 66

Peppers that turn on the heat 67

Pretty peppers: The ornamentals 71

Distinguishing Eggplants by Shape 71

Large and oval 72

Cylindrical 72

Small and round 73

Growing Peppers and Eggplants 73

Starting and planting 74

Fertilizing and watering tips 75

Patrolling and controlling pests 76

Harvesting peppers and eggplants 76

Chapter 6: Growing Underground Crops: Carrots, Onions, and Potatoes 79

A Rabbit’s (and Gardener’s) Favorite Root: Carrots 80

Classifying carrots by type 80

Examining some varieties 81

Onions: The Bulbs with Layers of Sweet and Pungent Goodness 82

Choosing your onion varieties 83

Looking at scallions and perennial onions 85

Potatoes: No Longer a Boring Spud 87

Potatoes classified 87

Selecting a few potato varieties 87

Growing and Gathering Root Crops 89

General guidelines for all your root crops 89

Cultivating carrots 90

Growing onions 91

Producing potatoes 92

Keeping Your Root Crops Healthy and Pest Free 95

Chapter 7: Sweet and Simple: Beans and Peas 99

A Bevy of Beans: Filling Your Rows with Bean Family Plants 100

Bushels of bush beans 101

Pole beans: The long and tall crop 102

The versatile shell and dried beans 103

Miscellaneous beans not to be forgotten 104

Growing Peas, Please! 106

English peas: The reliable standby 107

Sweet and tender snap peas 108

An earlier harvest: Snow peas 109

Get ’Em in the Ground: Growing Beans and Peas 109

Planting legumes for an ample harvest 110

Thwarting pests and diseases 113

Keep on pickin’: Harvesting your crop 115

Chapter 8: Vigorous Vines: Cucumbers, Melons, Pumpkins, and Squash 117

Checking Out Cool Cukes 118

Before you choose: Brushing up on some cucumber vocabulary 118

Surveying common cucumber varieties 119

Melons: The Sweet, Juicy Vining Plant 121

Distinguishing different types of melons 121

Perusing popular melon varieties 122

Unearthing the Humble Squash 123

Identifying different squash types 124

Recognizing popular squash varieties 125

Great Pumpkins: Counting the Uses for This Versatile Squash 127

Growing Those Vines 129

Planting and feeding 129

Watering and watering some more 131

Ensuring proper pollination 132

Controlling pests and diseases 133

Harvesting your vining crop 135

Chapter 9: Cool Weather Staples: Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, and Cauliflower 137

Paying Attention to the Often-Overlooked Cole Crops 138

Easing into cole crops with broccoli 138

Brussels sprouts: The little cabbages 140

Choosing cabbage: The age-old and dependable cole crop 141

Considering cauliflower in a rainbow of colors 143

Growing Your Own Cole Crops 145

Giving cole crops what they want 145

Nurturing cole crops 146

Putting a stop to pesky pest problems 148

Harvesting cole crops 149

Chapter 10: A Salad for All Seasons: Lettuce, Spinach, Swiss Chard, and Specialty Greens 151

Lettuce Get Together 152

Crisphead lettuce 153

Romaine lettuce 154

Loose-leaf lettuce 154

Popeye’s Pal: Spinach 155

Savoy spinach 156

Smooth spinach and some spinach-like friends 156

The Attractive and Hardy Swiss Chard 157

Going Wild with Specialty Greens 158

Growing Great Greens 160

Timing is everything: Determining when to plant your greens 160

Putting your greens to bed 162

Adding nitrogen-rich fishy fertilizer 163

Thin and bare it: Thinning your greens 163

Watering to win the war against wilt 163

Working out the bugs (and other common ailments) 163

Your bowl runneth over: Harvesting greens 164

Chapter 11: Sweet Corn and an A to T of Other Worthy Veggies 167

Sweet Corn and Its Relatives 168

Sweet corn 168

Popcorn 170

Considering Other Great Vegetables 171

Arugula 171

Asparagus 172

Beets 174

Bok choi 175

Broccoli raab 176

Celeriac 176

Celery 177

Chinese cabbage 178

Collards 179

Endive 179

Escarole 179

Florence fennel 180

Garlic 180

Globe artichokes 183

Gourds 183

Horseradish 184

Kale 185

Kohlrabi 186

Leeks 186

Mizuna 187

Okra 187

Parsnips 188

Peanuts 189

Radicchio 190

Radishes 191

Rhubarb 192

Rutabagas 193

Shallots 194

Turnips 194

Chapter 12: Edible Landscapes: Fruits, Herbs, and Pretty Things to Eat 197

Sweetening Your Garden: Berries and Trees 198

Strawberries 198

Blueberries 199

Blackberries and raspberries 199

Unusual fruits 200

Focusing on Herbs 201

Basil 203

Chives 204

Cilantro 205

Dill 205

French tarragon 206

Mint 207

Oregano 208

Parsley 209

Rosemary 210

Sage 210

Thyme 211

Blossoming Edible Flowers 212

Part 3: Getting Down and Dirty in Your Vegetable Garden 215

Chapter 13: On Your Mark, Get Set Grow! 217

Choosing Seeds or Transplants 218

Deciding on Your Seeding Method and Decoding a Seed Packet 219

Starting Seeds Indoors 220

Picking a pot to plant in 221

Using a mix that doesn’t include soil 222

Sowing your seeds 222

Providing the right amount of light and heat 225

Watering your seedlings 225

Thinning and transplanting indoors 226

Feeding your seedlings 227

Transplanting Indoor Seedlings and Starter Plants 228

Buying starter plants 228

Toughening up all types of transplants 229

Making the big move to the ground 230

Sowing Seeds Directly in Your Garden 232

Deciding on a seed-planting method 233

Thinning seedlings in your garden 237

Chapter 14: Workin’ the Dirt 239

Razing Your Garden Spot 239

Killing weeds and aggressive grasses 240

Stripping sod 242

Analyzing and Improving Your Soil 243

Distinguishing different types of soil 244

Testing your soil 245

Adjusting soil pH 247

Adding organic matter (aka the dead stuff) 249

Turning Your Soil 251

Making Your Own Compost 252

Building a compost pile 253

Avoiding materials that don’t belong in a compost pile 255

Moistening and turning your compost pile 255

Chapter 15: Maintaining Your Vegetable Garden 257

Addressing the Basics of Watering 258

Knowing when your veggies need a drink 259

Discovering ways to water your vegetable garden 260

Conserving water with a few handy tips 266

Keeping Your Plants Cozy and Weed Free with Mulch 267

Spreading organic mulch 267

Laying inorganic mulch 269

Deciding which mulch to use 271

Determining Important Nutrients Your Soil Needs 272

Macronutrients 273

Secondary nutrients and micronutrients 274

Fertilizing Your Vegetable Garden 275

Examining a fertilizer label 275

Choosing a fertilizer 276

Side-dressing 277

Supporting Your Vegetables 281

Beans and peas 282

Melons and cucumbers 283

Tomatoes 283

Fighting Weed Wars 283

Making a preemptive strike on weeds 284

Battling weeds after planting 285

Chapter 16: Surveying Some Cool Planting Techniques 287

Adding Nutrients and Stability with Cover Crops and Green Manures 288

Eyeing the advantages of cover crops 288

Choosing cover crops 289

Planting cover crops 290

Giving Your Plants Some Friends: Companion Planting 291

Making Your Garden Work Double Time with Intercropping 292

Extending Your Harvest with Succession Planting 293

Rotating Crops to Preserve Soil Nutrients and Maintain a Pest-Free Bed 295

Planting by the Phases of the Moon 296

Building a Hügelkultur-Raised Bed 297

Growing Plants in Strawbales 297

Adding an Herb Spiral to Your Yard 298

Combining Fish with Plants: Aquaponics 299

Chapter 17: Keeping Your Plants Healthy 301

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Controlling Pests 302

Recognizing the good bugs 302

Rounding up the bad bugs 303

Considering the best form of attack 309

Gardening to Eliminate Diseases 312

Avoiding diseases with good habits 312

Watching out for common diseases 313

Keeping the Animal Kingdom at Bay 315

Chapter 18: Containing Your Veggies 319

Considering a Few Container Characteristics 320

Filling Up Your Container: Potting Soil Made Simple 322

Knowing Which Vegetables Grow Well in Pots 323

Identifying some common container veggies 323

Some bee-u-tee-ful vegetable combos 325

Planting Your Veggies in Pots 326

Caring for Container Veggies 327

Chapter 19: Harvesting, Storing, and Preserving Vegetables 329

Knowing When to Harvest 329

Putting Away Your Vegetables 332

Freezing, Drying, and Canning Veggies 335

Saving Vegetable Seeds 336

Part 4: The Part of Tens 339

Chapter 20: Ten Tools of the Trade 341

Watering Hoses and Cans 342

Hand Trowels 343

Hand Cultivators 343

Garden Hoes 343

Spades and Shovels 345

Garden Forks 345

Garden Rakes 345

Buckets, Wagons, and Baskets 346

Wheelbarrows and Garden Carts 347

Power Tillers 348

Chapter 21: Ten (or So) Ways to Extend Your Growing Season 351

Plant in Clever Locations 352

Time Your Planting Wisely 352

Protect Plants with Hot Caps 353

Add Elegance to Your Garden with Glass Cloches 353

Buy or Build Cold Frames 354

Drape Row Covers over Veggies 355

Place Wall O’ Waters around Plants 356

Try Portable Greenhouses and Hoop Houses 357

Appendix: Planning Guidelines and Other Resources 359

Index 383

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