O'Tooles Garden Centers
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Vegetable Guide  

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A vegetable garden is healthy, economic and a whole lot of fun!  Here at O'Toole's, we've found that a lot of people would love to grow their own veggies but they just don't know where to begin.  So we've compiled some simple tips and tricks to help you grow some of the most popular garden vegetables.  From when to plant and when to harvest to care and feeding, these simple tips will have you growing tasty, healthy vegetables in no time!

Vegetable Guide

Arugula

Onions

Beans

Peas

Beets

Peppers

Broccoli

Potatoes

Brussel Sprouts

Pumpkins

Cabbage

Radish

Cantaloupe

Shallots

Carrots

Spinach

Celery

Squash

Corn

Swiss Chard

Cucumber

Tomatoes - Cherry

Eggplants

Tomatoes - Large

Lettuce

Watermelon


Arugula

- Plant before the last average frost date (May 15th)
- Select a cool location that is at least partly shaded
- Space 3”-4” apart
- Use plenty of water during hot weather – bolts quickly in hot weather
- Can produce multiple crops if careful not to uproot plant
- Cut plants near ground level with scissors when leaves are 2 – 4” long.
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Beans

- Plant after last average frost date (May 15th)
- Use an inoculant
- Harvest when pod snaps or breaks cleanly.  If you wait too long, the bean will get tough and stringy
- Freezing – Blanch for 3 minutes and put in Ziploc bag.  Stores up to 12 months!
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Beets

- Plant 3 – 4 weeks before the last average frost (May 15th)
- Thinning is important and don’t let the ground crust over
- Harvest the tops but leave at least 2” of foliage
- Harvest the roots when they are 2 -4” in diameter.  The smaller the root the more tender the plant
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Broccoli

- Plant  4 – 6 weeks before the last average frost date
- Companion plants – Carrots, Lettuce, Dill, Rosemary, Nasturtium, Spinach, Swiss Chard.
- Harvest when the main head is 3” in diameter.  This will encourage side heads.
- Harvest before it flowers and then harvest 4 – 6” of the stem.
E- at fresh or blanch for 3 minutes.  Then dunk in ice water and hand dry.  Put in freezer bags.
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Brussel Sprouts

- Plant 4 – 6 weeks before the last average frost (May 15th)
- Harvest when leaves start to yellow.  Snap off little sprouts at the bottom first.  This is best done when slightly smaller than a - golf ball.  Leave little sprouts on upper half of plant to mature.
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Cabbage

- Plant 4 – 6 weeks before the last average frost date (May 15th)
- Companion Plants -  Herbs, Marigolds, Beets and Beans
- Not compatible with Strawberries, Grapes or Tomatoes.
- Harvest heads as soon as they are well developed.  They should feel firm and solid when squeezed. 

   If they are left in the ground too long the head will be subject to disease and splitting
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Cantaloupe

- Cantaloupe doesn't transplant well. Sow directly in the soil.  If using protection like Wall-O-Water, plant at the end of April
- Melons love heat, and they love to be planted in mounds.  2 seeds per mound
- Harvest melons when:
- Color between surfaces is brown  - not green
- The blossom end has a fruity aroma
- A crack forms on the stem right from the point of attachment
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Carrots

- Plant 4 weeks before the last average frost date (May 15th) Planting when it is too hot will produce all tops and no bottoms
- Harvest – do not let the carrots get lager than normal size
- Freeze carrots in a Ziploc bag after scrapping and blanching for 2 minutes
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Celery

- Slow growing cool weather crop which matures in spring or fall
- For spring crops, start plants in doors 10 weeks before last frost date (May 15th)
- Keep your plants warm (about 70 degrees) well watered and well fertilized
- Transplant outside when temperatures are above 55 degrees.
- Blanching will help reduce bitterness and improve color
- Harvest when plant reaches desired height, cutting plant off at the soil line
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Corn

- Plant May 1st.  Corn does not transplant well.  Sow directly into the soil.
- Corn is a heavy feeder.  Fertilize often.
- Harvest when husks are dark green and the silks are brown
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Cucumbers

- Sow directly into the soil on May 15th.  You can plant earlier if you use Wall-O-Water
- Harvest – Don’t let Cucumbers get too big.  Vines will stop producing if mature cucumbers stay too long on the vine.
- Use early smaller fruit for pickles.  Constantly pick off small sized fruit.
- Cut off vine – Do not break off.
- Once picked, immediately immerse in cold water to disperse field heat. This will also increase quality and life or picked fruit
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Eggplants

- Best started indoors 8 weeks before last average frost date (May 15th)
- Put plants in the ground after the danger of frost has passed
- Place these plants among your other flowers for a different look
- Harvest when they have developed some color.  Pick them small, or if you like your eggplant larger, pinch off some of the -terminal growth
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Lettuce

- Plant 4 – 6 weeks before the last average frost date with a new planting every 2 weeks after initial planting
- Companion plants – Onions, beets, garlic, carrots
- When harvesting, shear to 2” above ground when plant is about 10” in diameter or pick individual leaves at anytime.  The plant will re-grow.  The earlier the harvest, the more tender the crop.
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Onions

- Plant sets – push them under the surface of the soil spacing them 4 – 5” apart or closer if you want scallions
- Trim or harvest tops about halfway for larger bulb production
- Soil should be loose, rich and well drained.  A raised bed is preferable
- Harvest in fall when leaves start to turn yellow
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Peas

- Plant 4 – 6 weeks before the last average frost date
- Pre-soak seed for 24 hours and treat them with an inoculant
- Harvest snow peas before the seeds start to form.  Peas that are too mature will stop the plant from producing.
- Harvest shelling peas when the pods are plump – about 3 weeks after flowering
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Peppers

- Plant afer last average frost date or earlier with some protection like Wall-O-Water
- Pepper Plants will get stunted if they get too cold
- Peppers are heavy feeders so fertilize often
- Peppers are ready to pick when they reach a good size. Wait until they turn yellow or red for richer flavor
- Add gypsum to the soil to help prevent blossom end rot.
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Potatoes

- To plant, cut seed potatoes into pieces that have at least 2 eyes
- Plant on Good Friday for New Potatoes on the 4th of July or when the plant begins to bloom
- Harvest after the first frost for larger potatoes
- Put the plant down about 10 – 12”. As the plants begin to grow, fill in the hole.
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Pumpkins

- Sow directly in the ground after frost danger has passed or earlier with the protection of Wall-O-Water. 

- Pumpkins don’t transplant well.
- Harvest when the shell has hardened, usually after the first frost
-Use Neem Oil periodically throughout the season to prevent bugs and powdery mildew.  Don’t wait until the fungus is on Pumpkins because then you need to spray and remove the infected leaves. 
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Radishes

- Plant 4 – 6 weeks before the last average frost date (May 15th)
- Companion plants – Lettuce, Swiss Chard, Arugula
- Best if they are harvested when they reach full size or slightly earlier, usually 4 – 5 weeks after sowing.  If left too long, they will be weedy tasting.
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Shallots

- Plant 4 – 6 weeks before the last average frost date and grow like an onion
- Harvest the tops after 60 days and new bulbs in late summer or early fall when the shoots turn yellow and die
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Spinach

- Sow directly in the ground 4 – 6 weeks before last average frost date.  Spinach doesn’t transplant well
- Sow approximately ½” deep and 2” apart in wide rows
- For a continuous harvest, sow continuously every 2 weeks until daytime temperatures average above 75 degrees
- Cover seeds with a fine soil and keep evenly moist until germination
- Thin out seedlings to 6” apart when 4” tall to prevent bolting
- Harvesting by pulling the entire plant when leaves are still young
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Squash

- Sow in ground in early May or earlier if using protection like Wall-O-Water
- Use Neem Oil periodically to prevent bugs and fungus. 
- Harvest Summer Squash early and often – don’t let the fruit get too big
- Harvest Winter Squash after first or second frost.  It cannot be over ripe but can easily be under ripe
- Harvest when you can’t dent skin with your fingernail
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Swiss Chard

- Plant 2 – 4 weeks before the last average frost
- Plant ½” deep and 2” apart and keep evenly moist
- Loves high nitrogen fertilizers.  Suggest 15-5-10 or equivalent
- If plant sends up a seed stalk, pull up and re-plant immediately as a fall crop
- Harvest when leaves are 10” or shorter
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Tomatoes – Cherry

- Start indoors 6 – 8 weeks before last average frost date.  Transplant outside after last average frost date but protect with - - Wall-O-Water
- Keep fairly moist – 1” of water per week when hot
- Heavy Feeder – likes plenty of calcium and phosphorus to prevent blossom end rot
- Harvest when firm and fully colored
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Tomatoes – Large Varieties
- Start indoors 6 – 8 weeks before last average frost date.  Transplant outside after last average frost date but protect with Wall-O-Water
- When planting outside, bury plant to first set of leaves
- Keep fairly moist – 1” of water per week when hot
- Heavy feeder – likes plenty of calcium and phophorus to prevent blossom end rot
- Harvest when firm and fully colored
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Watermelon

- Plant after April 30th and use Wall-O-Water
- Plant likes being moist but do not water the tops of the plant.
- Heavy Feeder – fertilize every 4 – 6 weeks with a good water-soluble fertilizer
- Harvest when you see a creamy golden color.
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