Eggplants are an easy to grow vegetable for our area. They need a warm sunny spot in the garden and room to grow. You can grow eggplants in containers or in raised bed gardens. They do better in raised beds because the soil warms faster for quicker maturity of plants and fruit. Eggplants like a slightly acidic soil with a ph of 6.3 to 6.8. Eggplants need water to produce plump fruit. Mulching your plants will help retain water for your garden and keep your eggplants healthy. Eggplants range in size from 18″ to 4′. Supporting your eggplants with a small tomato cage or other support will help the plant stay strong and keep fruit from laying on the ground. Eggplants are very versatile and can be baked, broiled, sautéed or grilled depending on the variety. We carry a large variety of eggplants at Maas so you can be sure to find the type that is right for your needs. Here are some eggplant varieties we carry.
High yielding southern heirloom with light green 8″ to 9″ long cylindrical fruit. Rich nutty flavor.
Spacing – 2′ to 3′.
Family: Capsicum annuum
Mature Height: Fruit size 4 inches by 3 inches
Soil: Widely adaptable
Growth Rate: 72 days to harvest
Sun exposures: Full Sun
In Season: Bell peppers are available year-round, but they’re at their best — and most abundant — from July through November.
How to Store: Store in a paper bag in the crisper up to five days.
Grow peppers in full sun (at least 6 hours per day) in soil that is rich in organic matter, moisture retentive but well draining.
Choose a site protected from wind.
Keep peppers evenly moist but not wet particularly when blossoms appear and fruit begin to form. Soil that goes too dry can result in flower drop. Keep the soil evenly moist just after transplanting peppers to the garden; avoid under or over watering peppers early on. Add aged compost to planting beds before planting and again at midseason.
Once hot pepper plants are established you can vary the watering. Hot peppers that are deprived of water and become slightly stressed will produce more pungent fruit.
Companion plants. Beets, garlic, onions, parsnips, radishes.
Pests. Peppers can be attacked by aphids, cutworms, flea beetles, and hornworms. Discourage cutworms by placing a collar around each transplant at the time of planting; hand pick hornworms off of plants. Flea beetles and aphids can be partially controlled by hosing them off the plants and pinching out infested foliage.
Diseases. Peppers are susceptible to rot, blossom end rot, anthracnose, tobacco mosaic virus, bacterial spot, and mildew. Plant disease-resistant varieties. Keep the garden clean and free of weeds where pests and diseases can shelter. Remove infected plants before disease can spread. If you smoke, wash your hands before working with the plants to avoid spreading tobacco mosaic virus.
- Sun Exposure: Part Sun
- Soil Type: Sandy
Harvest in early spring
Prune Brown Foliage in winter. Likes full sun or at least 1/2 day sun
Prefers deep, well-drained garden. Can be a garden border or planted up against a fence
Tomatoes – by Deb Pavlosky
I bet you all are wondering where the useful tomato planting information is. Here ya go:
Tomatoes require full or part Sun (though most say they require full sun or 6 hours of direct sunlight) and lots of water to grow well.
You can remove the bottom leaves off a tomato plant once the whole plant gets pretty close to its normal height. These leaves get very little sun and are usually the ones to start fungal issues for the entire plant. You can also thin the leaves to allow more sun to reach the tomatoes, but remember, the plant needs leaves for photosynthesis. Lastly, you can remove the small growths that pop up between branches. These won’t bear fruit and just take energy away from growth or fruit production.
Just a few of the cultivars Maas Nursery will likely carry this year:
BigBeef: ht.8-10′, Medium fruit, 69-80 days to maturity, indeterminate (good for fresh slicing, canning)
BrandywineHeirloom: ht.3-9′, Large fruit, 90 days to maturity, indeterminate (good for fresh slicing, seeds can be stored if properly cleaned)
Celebrity: ht. 2-3′, Medium fruit, 69-80 days to maturity, determinate (good for fresh slicing, canning, drying)
Glory:ht. 6-8′, Medium fruit, 69-80 days to maturity, indeterminate (good for fresh slicing)
PurpleCalabash: ht. 4-6′, Medium, PURPLE fruit, 69-80 days to maturity, indeterminate (good for fresh slicing, seeds can be stored if properly cleaned)
SunLeaper: ht.4-6′, Medium fruit, 69-80 days to maturity, determinate (good for fresh slicing)
SweetMillion: ht. 4-6′, Small fruit, 55-68 days to maturity, indeterminate (good for eating fresh)
VivaItalia: ht. 4-6′, Medium, plum-shaped fruit, 69-80 days to maturity, determinate (excellent for sauces and canning)
GOSH! And that’s just a few…
I am always intrigued to find out about the brave souls who first ate those exotic and interesting foods that came from far away. We should pay homage to those who did not make a wise choice (moment of silence here). It is rumored that Mr. Robert Gibbon Johnson did us all a favor when he ate an entire basket full of bright red delicacies brought over to New Jersey from Europe in the early 1800s. Folklore says he did it just to prove to the crowds the tomato fruits weren’t poisonous. Good thing he didn’t eat any of the leaves!
Brussels sprouts are part of the Brassica plant family, including mustard, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and kale.
The plants produce edible green sprouts that resemble tiny sized cabbages on a thick stalk.
In the mild winter areas of Zones 7, 8, and 9, grow Brussels sprouts in the autumn or wintertime since the crops plants thrive most during cooler weather.
Set Brussels sprouts out as seedlings.
Sprouts need a long, cool weather season to grow into maturity.
In fact, their flavor improves considerably after experiencing a few frost bites from old man winter.
2-3′ (60 to 90 cm) tall x 8 – 12″ (20-30 cm) W. Sprouts are about 1- 1 ½” (25 to 40 mm) in diameter
Days to Harvest:
Begins about 3 months, from transplant
Named after the city of Brussels, Brussels sprouts were first made popular in Belgium, where they’ve been grown since about 1200.
horrendous and our rain is much more regular. We don’t swelter in the summer heat and neither do the things we plant. Vegetable gardening is much more enjoyable in winter and there are lots of vegetables that like cooler weather. My personal favorite fall and winter veggie is lettuce. I absolutely love growing lettuce from seed. The combination of types and varieties of lettuce seeds provide endless combinations of taste and color. No grocery store lettuce can compare with home grown lettuce. No bland, pale iceberg lettuce for me in the winter. My front and back flower beds, containers, and vegetable garden are brimming with greens. Lettuce also makes a great annual edible border. I even have a few neighbors jumping on the edible landscaping bandwagon.
Harvesting lettuce is easy. Harvest crisphead and butterhead lettuce when the heads have formed. Cut the plant off at the soil line. If the head starts to elongate harvest immediately. Elongated heads means the lettuce is bolting and that will turn your harvest bitter. Looseleaf and romaine lettuce can be harvested completely or you can harvest a few outer leaves at a time. These leaves will grow back giving you a continual harvest. We have a large selection of lettuce seeds here at Maas. Come and see us and we will be happy to help you start your winter green garden.
Article and photos by Kim Messer
Collard Greens, like Mustard Greens are loose leaf cultivates of Brassica Oleracea. They have large dark colored edible leaves. They can grow to 2 feet wide and 2 feet tall. They prefer cooler weather in a fall or winter garden. Collards and Mustard Greens like full sun and well drained soil. They are very easy to grow. Originally cultivated by the Ancient Greeks, they are a popular southern staple. Both are cruciferous vegetables with many healthful benefits. They both have Cholesterol lowering benefits and cancer preventative properties. Collards and Mustard Greens are a good source of soluble fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Both greens support the function of several bodily systems including the Detox System, the Antioxidant System and the Anti-inflammatory System. Greens are also a good source of Vitamins C, K, and A. Collards are best and most healthful when steamed for 5 minutes. Mustard Greens are best and most healthful when sautéed in some broth or olive oil. Two to three servings a week would be ideal. Eat your greens!
Well Drained Soil
2 feet x 2 feet