10 Easy Plants to Grow
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Mustard likes full sun and enjoys regular watering and fertilizer, but it’ll come up no matter what. Just water it until it gets established. Plant early, as it tastes best if harvested before the heat of the summer.
Use this spicy green to jazz up your salads or steam it up to eat plain. It also works great in stir-fries.
Potatoes are the king crop in northern Maine, a growing area plagued with rocky, acidic soil and a terribly short growing season. That’s all you need to know about a potato’s hardiness.
Like garlic, you can tinker endlessly with growing the perfect potato, but you can grow good potatoes easily. They even grow well in plastic bags filled with dirt, according to one potato blogger. Potatoes can be planted as soon as the soil is worked, but you might want to cover them if it’s a soggy spring. Plant again in June for a second crop.
Tempting as it is to use a shriveled potato in the back of the fridge for seed, buy seed potatoes from the garden center. They’re cheap and, hopefully, disease-free. Cut up bigger seeds so that each chunk has two or three eyes. Plant a foot apart in rows, closer in hills.
If you can’t beat them, eat them. Dandelions are nearly impossible to keep out of your garden, but they also are a great crop to eat. Every part of the plant is edible and extremely nutritious. And talk about a no-maintenance crop.
The leaves are tastiest young, but you can eat them anytime if you boil them long enough. Add young leaves to a salad or sauté to add to any dish. The yellow flowers are versatile and tasty. I love adding them to muffins because they give baked goods a vibrant yellow color. The roots can be brewed for tea, roasted or added to soups.
One word of caution: Dandelions are great at soaking up toxins. Don’t harvest them near roads or in public places where pesticides or herbicides are used.
Dandelion seeds sometimes are tricky to buy, but why bother? You don’t have to go looking for them; they’ll find you.
Reporter and editor Craig Idlebrook focuses on issues of sustainability and parenting. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, and can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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