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Tender Vegetables

Tender Vegetables

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This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

Larry Sagers Horticultural Specialist Utah State University Extension Service Thanksgiving Point Office © All Rights Reserved

Warm season vegetables are divided into tender and very tender types. The best biofix time for planting these plants is about when the apples bloom. At that time, the chance for hard frost is not likely.

Another good indication is to measure the soil temperature. Put the thermometer a couple of inches under the soil. Check the temperature at 9:00 am each morning. When the temperature reaches 55 degrees for three successive mornings, it is usually safe to plant the tender vegetables.

The tender vegetables are beans, celery, sweet corn, cucumbers, New Zealand spinach and summer squash. Beans are covered as a separate KSL garden tip.

Celery was at one time a very important crop in Utah. Even now, one of the most important varieties still sold is ‘Utah’ while another on is ‘Pascal’. Celery grows best in light, well- drained soil with plenty of organic matter added. Although celery is hardy and does not freeze, cold temperatures are a problem. If celery plants are started too early and they freeze, they bolt and go to seed. Celery is a biennial and if they are exposed to freezing temperatures, they perceive the time after the frost as the second season. They then flower and go to seed and this ruins the celery for fresh eating.

Sweet corn is one of the most popular fresh vegetables in Utah. Unfortunately, for most gardeners, it does take a considerable amount of space so many depend on local growers to provide their sweet corn fix.

Cucumbers are easy to grow and are very productive. They are a good choice for home gardeners because they start producing early and keep producing for much of the growing season.

Cucumbers are divided into pickling and slicing types. Pickling cucumbers are smaller and produce many more per plant while slicers produce larger, longer fruits. Good quality cucumbers need adequate water and fertilizers to form sweet, good tasting fruits.

Summer or New Zealand spinach is a good salad crop for hot weather in Utah. Unlike other kinds of spinach, summer spinach thick, fleshy leaves and a low growing spreading habit. The plants grow quickly and are mature in about eight weeks.

Summer squash is a popular though often maligned vegetable. Once you get past all of the jokes, these make perfect sense for most gardeners. They are easy to grow and produce from seed in as little as seven weeks. While zucchinis are the butt of most of the jokes, other popular types are yellow crookneck, scallop or patty pan squash and several other types.

Pick the fruits frequently while they are still young and tender and eat them soon after picking for best quality. Baseball bat sized zucchinis are worthless for fresh eating.

Carefully watch the weather, and then plant these vegetables at the right time. The tasty treats will reward you throughout the summer as you enjoy the fruits of your labors.

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