8 Vegetables Every Heirloom Grower Must Have In Their Garden
Learn about eight vegetables every heirloom grower must have in their garden plot. These vegetables include carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, onions, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, and radishes. Most of these plants are best suited for cooler growing seasons with lots of water and rich, deep soil so their roots can travel deep into the ground to find water. Start your organic heirloom garden now by learning about these vegetables, the best ways to plant them, which vitamins and nutrients they contain, how to plant each seed, and other facts about the plants.
Planting Heirloom Carrots
Carrots are an easy and hearty heirloom vegetable to grow in your garden plot. Carrots are usually not bothered very much by pests and require very little gardening attention. Simply plant, water, and watch them grow. Heirloom carrots are a type vegetable which is rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamin A, and carotene. Carrots are also a great source of dietary fiber. Radishes are also a nice companion plant to plant along with carrots since the radishes will have a shorter growing term and will practically be ready to pick and eat when the carrots being to sprout. Carrots can be eaten raw or cooked and are usually found in healthy recipes involving salads, soups, and roasted vegetables.
How To Plant Carrots
To plant carrots, prepare a hole approximately one-fourth to one inch deep (1/4" to 1"). Place two to three carrot seeds in the bottom of the hole. Plant the seeds by covering the hold with dirt until the ground is level again and the hole is filled in. Make multiple holes in a row several inches apart, and leave a few inches in between the holes. An alternative way to plant carrots is to make a furrow in the ground about the same depth of one-fourth inch to one inch (1/4" to 1") and sow seeds into the furrow with a coverage of around fifteen (15) seeds every other inch. Then cover the seeded row with dirt. When the carrots start growing, it is best to thin out the seedlings. This can be done in stages of ten to fifteen (10 to 15) cm apart by plucking up the carrots which are growing in clumps together. These small, thinned carrots can be eaten or used in recipes. The soil should remain moist when the carrot sprouts are young but reduce the water as the plants start to reach maturity and grow in size. Harvest the carrots at anytime depending on the optimal carrot size you enjoy.
Planting Heirloom Cucumbers
Cucumbers are not the easiest heirloom vegetable to grow in your garden, but they produce a good crop if you can get them started. Several cucumber plants can produce a large enough crop to feed your family or share extra cucumbers with friends. Cucumbers contain a lot of water content and are rich in antioxidants and vitamins like vitamin B, vitamin K, and vitamin C. They also contain minerals like potassium and magnesium. Cucumber slices are a great addition to salads and sandwiches and they can also be pickled in brine to make pickles. The intended use of the cucumber usually defines the type of seed you plant. Keep this in mind when selecting seeds.
How To Plant Cucumbers
Cucumbers grow best in well-watered soil which is deep and very rich in nutrients. Plant the cucumber seeds in holes which are one-half inch to one inch deep (1/2" to 1"). Make a row of similar holes about five inches apart to give the cucumbers enough room to grow. In smaller garden plots or confined spaces, cucumber vines can easily grow up lattice fences, wire support cages, and trellises. These growing methods are excellent for keeping the cucumbers off of the ground and protecting them from insects, excessive ground moisture, and other environmental factors. Water the vine frequently to keep the soil moist. The cucumbers will be ready for harvest in seven to ten (7 to 10) weeks. Be sure to harvest the cucumbers before they turn yellow in color. By then, they should be around six to nine inches (6" to 9") in length and a nice green color.
Planting Heirloom Lettuce
Lettuce is another easy heirloom vegetable to grow in your organic home garden. Almost every garden can grow lettuce with some fertile soil, water, and sun. This vegetable is a very low maintenance and rich in minerals, vitamins, and nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, and potassium. The lettuce leaves make many meals better and can be used as "greens" to top hamburgers, create salad mixes, used in wraps, and other organic recipe creations.
How To Plant Lettuce
Plant your lettuce seeds in richly fertilized soil. Dig holes which are about one-fourth inch (1/4") deep and spaced out about twelve to sixteen inches apart (12" to 16") depending on the type of lettuce you are planting. Vigorously thin additional plants which are growing in the spaces between about twelve inches (12"). These thinned sprouts can be planted elsewhere where there is more room. Loose leaf versus head types of lettuce differ in how much room they need to spread. Water then at least once a day starting in the early morning and ending in the evening. Also make sure the soil has plenty of nitrogen for the lettuce plants to grow optimally. Lettuce can be harvested between six to ten (6 to 10) weeks on average. When harvesting, make sure to harvest the outer leaves of the plant since the inner leaves can continue to grow.
Planting Heirloom Onions
Onions are an great heirloom vegetable you can grow to help round out your garden plot. They can be raised from planting seeds, using "sets" of bulbs, or using young onion shoots. The best of these three ways to start onions comes down to the options you have available for starting your garden and how much time you want to wait until harvest. The bulbs of onions contain a wealth of vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, vitamin B, folate, potassium, and fiber. They are used in many types of recipes and meals including onion soups, garden salads, sandwiches, and as garnishes for dishes. Onions can also be eaten raw, cooked, or pan fried.
How To Grow Onions
Onions are best grown in rich soil which is not compacted. This gives the bulbs plenty of room to grow as they utilize water and nutrients from their surrounding environment. Onion plants are easy to grow once planted but do require large amounts of water. When planting onion shoots or bulb sets, plant the them in holes about one inch (1") deep and about four to six inches (4" to 6") apart. When planting onion seeds, plant them in the same manner, but make sure you thin the shoots to avoid overcrowding. Water the planted onions every few days. The harvesting time for shoots and bulb sets usually takes around seven to nine (7 to 9) weeks. The time to harvest for onion seeds is longer naturally and normally takes eleven to fifteen (11 to 15) weeks. The seeds may also require more soil enrichment than onion shoots and bulbs since they are using more of the soil's resources to grow.
Planting Heirloom Potatoes
Potatoes are a staple vegetable found in many organic gardens. Planting them in your heirloom vegetable garden plot is a great idea. This vegetable thrives in cool weather and is also called a "tuber" because potatoes are grown underground as roots, but have larger nutrient storage capacities than standard roots. Potatoes are starchy carb-based vegetables which also contain vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin B as well as minerals like potassium and folate. They are used in many recipes, foods, and cooking dishes from potato chips to potato soups to casseroles and potato salads. They are almost always cooked and are hard to eat raw.
How To Plant Potatoes
Potatoes can be planted in several ways including using seed potatoes and seeds. Seed potatoes are a specific type of potato which is used for planting and contains "eyes" which begin to sprout when stored properly. When this occurs, larger seed potato can be cut up into smaller pieces about the size of a golf ball and planted in the ground with the "eyes" facing up towards the surface. Potato seeds can be planted like seed potatoes but take much longer to grow. When planting potatoes, plant the seed potatoes or seeds in rows with holes about three inches (3") deep and about fourteen inches (14") apart between the holes. Water the potato plants several times a week. The potatoes will be ready to harvest in about fourteen to seventeen (14 to 17) weeks. The potatoes are harvest ready when the plants begin to sprout blossoms. When inspecting the potatoes, make sure there are no green ones since this is an indicator the potato contain solanine toxins.
Planting Heirloom Spinach
Spinach is a very nutritious and healthy vegetable to grow in your garden. This is a cool weather vegetable which is very hardly and resilient. Heirloom spinach is non GMO and an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, iron, and other minerals like calcium. It is also easy to grow and can be eating raw in salads, added to smoothies and shakes, or cooked as a side dish for recipe making. The spinach leaf stems can also be trimmed off if they add too much fiber to for your liking.
How To Plant Spinach
When planting heirloom spinach seeds, prepare your soil with compost first. This ensures the ground is rich and will support a healthy spinach crop. dig half-inch (1/2") holes in the ground to plant the spinach seeds in. Space out the holes evenly with around twelve to fourteen inches (12" to 14") of space between them. This allows the spinach seeds enough room to grow without fighting the other plants for the same resources and water. Water the planted seeds regularly and pluck the leaves when they turn deep green for eating and are a good size. The green color is an indicator they are ready to eat. The average harvest time for spinach is about five to seven weeks (5 to 7). Watch for buds forming in the middle as this is a sign to harvest the whole spinach plant.
Planting Heirloom Tomatoes
Tomatoes are a wonderful heirloom vegetable to grow in your garden plot. They can be grown from tomato seeds or tomato seedling plants. While tomatoes are technically fruits by definition, they are usually grouped into the vegetable category due to similar characteristics and nutritional value. Tomatoes are high in fiber and contain vitamins such as vitamin C and vitamin K and minerals like potassium. They are widely used in recipes and food preparation and are a great garden addition for that reason. They can be eaten raw or cooked. Common cooking uses include salad garnishes, tomato soups, sandwich toppings, and dinner entrée add-ons.
How To Grow Tomatoes
Tomatoes are an easy garden plant to grow with a stable environment with rich soil, lots of water, and warm weather. Gardeners have the option to plant tomatoes by using seedling plants or tomato seeds. For heirloom tomatoes, tomato seeds might be best since heirloom seedlings can be hard to find. Tomato plants need a lot of room to grow, so plant seedlings in rows spaced about three feet (3') apart. Dig the hole about as deep and big as the seedling's pot. Tomato seeds can also be started in a tray or window planter. To start a tomato planter, plant the seed about one-fourth inch (1/4") deep in rich soil and water often. Transition to the garden lot in the same way as a seedling when it's ready and several inches tall. When in the garden, train the tomato plants to climb a wire support structure or similar lattice to support the tomato plant. This also helps protect the tomato fruit. Tomatoes are ready for harvest after about seven to twelve (7 to 12) weeks. The tomatoes will turn from green to red when they are ready to be picked from the vines.
Planting Heirloom Radishes
Radishes are great a vegetable to grow and a super easy heirloom vegetable to plant in your garden plot. You can plant radishes separately from other heirloom vegetables or inter-crop them with other vegetables like carrots and lettuce by intermixing the seeds every other planting hole. Radishes provide rich sources vitamins and minerals like potassium, magnesium, folic acid, and calcium. These vegetables are fast-growing. Compared to carrots, radishes will be ready for harvest by the time carrots sprout. They will be ready to pick and eat in few weeks. Radishes are also considered a low maintenance plant since most pests do not try to eat the leaves, stems, or radish bulbs.
How To Plant Radishes
To plant radishes, create a sunny spot that has some shelter around it. Using a mini greenhouse works every well for a setting up a growing area with a combination of light and shelter. Water the soil first to make it slightly wet before planting any seeds. Plant the radish seeds in half inch deep (1/2") holes in the soil with about one inch (1") spacing between holes. Sow your heirloom radish seeds into the holes. At this point, if you are intermixing lettuce and radishes, sow every other hole and use the other type of seeds in the skipped holes. Wait until the radish seeds begin to sprout then water the sprouts in their planted seed holes every two days. The radishes will be ready for harvest after about three to four (3 to 4) weeks. They will show the tops of the bulbs just above the soil's surface which means the radish bulbs are ready for harvest.