Backyard Vegetable Gardening

Gardeners Don Boekelheide (left) and David Blackley (right) on Charlotte Talks.

WFAE’s Charlotte Talks tackled vegetable gardening today. Apparently, it’s not as hard as you might think! One guest, David Blackley is a backyard gardener and owner of Renfrow’s Hardware in Matthews; he eats something from his garden every single night for dinner. He shares some of his harvest (pictured) and some of his tips with us. What should you plant and what should you eat every holiday of the year – Good Friday, Tax Day? His tips fill you in… (keep reading.)
Listen to the Show

Click for a full PDF of the Vegetable Planting Guide

Vegetable Planting Guide (pdf)

Backyard Gardener David Blackley eats from his own garden every single day.

Holiday Calendar for your Garden of Eatin’ (From Renfrow’s Hardware)

Remember, there is something to plant and something to eat from your Garden of Eatin’ 365 days of the year.

New Year’s Day
Cook collards; scratch in onions; plant blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, fruit trees, scuppernongs, etc. Prune fruit trees and grape vines. Eat your last ripe tomato from fall (ask David how!) Eat the Brussels sprouts and broccoli that you planted in the fall.

Super Bowl Weekend
Earliest starting of indoor seeds: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant. Cook up a pot of greens and make a spinach salad to go with your chips and beer! Pop up a skillet of your homegrown popcorn. Delicious!

Valentine’s Day
Plant sugar peas, onions, fruits and berries, Irish potatoes and asparagus. Plant rhubarb and horseradish.

ACC Tournament
Start tomato and pepper seeds inside. Cut down cover crops so soil can begin to dry out. You should still be enjoying your collards, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, lettuce and spinach from your fall planting. Put up your walls of water for your tomatoes that you started indoors during Super Bowl weekend. Plant lettuce, spinach and Swiss chard for a short harvest season before spring planting hits.

Good Friday
Traditional planting day in the south. Good zodiac signs. Often too cool when Easter falls early though. Arrival of baby chicks, turkeys, guineas, bobwhite quail. Will have shipments every week for the next eight or so. First planting of sweet corn.

Tax Day
Most everything can be planted by seed or plants, though it may be a little cool at night for cukes, eggplant, okra seed. Second planting of sweet corn.

May Day
Replant after your “frost god” sacrifices. (Those tomato and pepper plants that weren’t protected when that late frost came around.) Plant sweet potato plants. Second planting of tomatoes. Best to have waited to plant pepper plants now. Harvest large sweet onions. Early garlic harvest.

Memorial Day
Traditional planting day for our  transplanted Yankee customers. Planting and weeding is in full swing. Really good gardeners have picked their first ripe tomato. Squash should be coming in nicely.

Last Day of School
Third planting of tomatoes and last planting of sweet corn. Leave excess zucchini on neighbors’ porches. Should be harvesting and drying herbs by now before they begin blooming. You could be eating your first picking of green beans.

Fourth of July
Most folks should be eating maters by now and some sweet corn if you are good! Last planting of squash and zucchini. Any later and the worms get into the fruit. Great time to plant Crowder peas. They will harvest in August and September when you are sick of eating green beans. Start leek, onion and broccoli seeds in cups. Last chance for planting tomatoes. Lima beans and butter peas are in full swing.

Dog Days
Vegetarian Month: Who wants meat when there is okra, corn, beans, maters, peas, squash, corn…? Well, you get it. August maters make the best juice. You should be canning everything in sight! Plant fall turnips before Labor Day.

Labor Day through Halloween
Plant mixed greens, beets, sugar peas, cover crops, collards, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, onions. Dig sweet potatoes and harvest pumpkins and remaining green tomatoes before frost. Gather the first eggs from your spring chicks that are now around six months old.

Your greens have had a few good frosts on them. Now it’s time to put some in the freezer. Give thanks and gorge yourself on your sweet potatoes, collards, turnips. Time to eat the turkey you raised. Who needs Harris Teeter these days! Start planting fruit trees, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. New package seed will start arriving for Santa to pick up for stocking stuffers.

Eat one cherished red tomato from the dozen on your kitchen windowsill with the cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts you just harvested from your garden.

More from WFAEats:

Vegetable Planting Guide (pdf)

Composting: Turning Trash Into Treasure

Dreaming of Summer Tomatoes in Winter (Ode to a Tomato)



Filed under Healthy Eating, Sustainable Food, The Foodie's Garden

6 responses to “Backyard Vegetable Gardening

  1. erin

    Our entire yard is pretty shady. The sunniest part only gets about 5 hours max of sun. Would it be effective to plant spring and fall veggies there throughout the summer?

    • Don

      Experiment. Personally, I suggest not trying to cheat on sun. Veggies are little solar energy factories (the originals) making food for us to eat, and they need the power. You can’t put a solar electrical panel in the shade, it won’t work. Some veggies will do better in shade than others, but nothing like they do with full sun. Also, there’s a hidden factor. Those big trees making the shade have massive root systems that get into gardens. So – join a community garden!!! More on that soon.

      That said, I’d still give it a go in that sunniest spot. I have a similar situation, and though it is mostly flowers now, we still grow cukes, tomatoes and even lettuce in our partly sunny corner.

    • I’d say go for it as well. Our front yard gets hardly any direct sunlight during the day, but once I had a bunch of spare seeds that I thought why not try using there, and since then I have very nice tomatoes and some lettuce growing in my front yard that I first thought to be useless for vegetable growing purposes.

  2. Gill

    I listened to the awesome Charlotte Talks show today. I am an avid gardner and have a nice part of my backyard dedicated to growing veggies. I also have a couple peach trees, a pear tree (disappointed by this one) and I have always wanted citrus. On your show today, you all spoke about citrus but I cannot find any information about it on the site on even on the web as it relates to growing citrus in Charlotte. Any information you guys can point me to?

  3. Pingback: Five Common Mistakes In Vegetable Gardening // WFAEats

  4. Home Garden –

    This helpful application will be your assistant as you venture into planning and building your own home vegetable garden. Included are tips for preparation, tools for estimating harvest, and valuable information for cultivating many of the most popular vegetables.

    Each vegetable has information on how to plant it, what conditions are best for it, and how best to harvest and care for that particular future ingredient.

    If you would like to estimate when your newly planted ingredient will be ready for the dinner table, we have included a harvest predictor. You can enter the date it was planted, and the application will estimate an approximate date for when it will be ready.

    Need help getting the garden ready? We have that covered as well. Our preparation section will give you tips in preparing the soil and your garden environment for growing action.

    Home Garden includes 37 popular vegetables including:

    Artichokes, Asparagus, Beans, Beets, Bell Pepper, BokChoy, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chicory, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Garlic, Jalapenos, Kale, KidneyBeans, Leeks, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Okra, Onions, Parsnips, Peas, Potatoes, Pumpkin, Radishes, Rhubarb, Summer Squash, Sweet Potato, Tomato, and Turnips.

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