General Description: Leeks require a long season, but are otherwise very easy to grow and the mild onion flavor makes a great addition to many soups, stews, sautés or salads. Start the tiny seeds indoors in early spring, setting out any time after hard frosts are gone—seedlings can tolerate a few degrees of frost. As the plants start to become larger, earth up soil or mulch, covering the stems, which then blanch or turn white and improves their flavor. American Flag Leek has blue-green leaves with thick white stalks and will make an attractive and tasty addition to your vegetable garden.
Light: Full sun to partial shade
Water: Medium moisture and tolerates some periods of drought
Soil: Well-drained soil with high organic matter.
Start the tiny seeds indoors during February or 6-8 weeks before last frost date. Seeds should be planted in soil 1/4 to 1/2 inch in depth. Seedlings will begin sprouting between 5-7 days. For direct seeding, sow seeds in mid-late April. For transplanting, space seedlings 3-4 inches apart in the garden.
When tops are 8-12 inches and white stalks are 1 inch in diameter.
Leeks are a great source of fiber, folic acid, vitamins B6 and C, manganese and iron.
Leeks are cold tolerant so they can be left in the garden for fall harvest but should be lifted and stored before bitter cold arrives.
Common Name: Walla Walla Sweet Onion
Scientific Name: Allium cepa
Native Range: Corsica
Hardiness Zone: 2 to 5
Days to Maturity: 90-100
General Description: Walla Walla Sweet Onions are an heirloom from the early 1900’s. They are large and (you guessed it) sweeter than typical onions. They have a slightly flattened, round shape with light brown skin and creamy white flesh. Plants will reach a height of 10-12 inches with fruits sizes between 4-6 inches.
Light: Full sun to partial sun.
Water: Moderate moisture until tops fall over.
Soil: Fertile well-drained soil. For sweeter onions, avoid fertilizing with gypsum.
Begin planting onion seeds indoors between January and February. Use fresh seeds because onions will lose their viability after 2 years. Set out starts a month or six weeks before your frost-free date. For direct seeding, sow seeds at a depth of 1/8 to 1/4 inch during mid-late March to April. Seedlings will start to sprout within 10-14 days. Thin to 4 inches apart when seedlings have 5-10 leaves.
Harvest Time: Can be harvested for fresh eating at any size. As summer progresses, days become warmer and longer which encourages bulbing (formation of underground tissue). By late August the tops of plants will begin to fall to the ground and watering is no longer needed. Once most of the tops are on the ground, bulbs will be ready for harvest in a week or two. Harvest by pulling the neck and lift the onions out of the ground. Leave onions on top of soil for 3-5 days to let cure for better storage properties.
The Washington State Vegetable is the Walla Walla Sweet Onion.
Onions are an excellent source of vitamin C, B6, Folate, and manganese.
Slice into planks, grill until caramelized and enjoy your summer bounty!
Common Name: Detroit Dark Red Beet
Scientific Name: Beta vulgaris var. crassa
Native Range: Europe & Asia
Hardiness Zone: 2-7. For zones 8-11 grow as a fall crop
Days to Maturity: 55-65
General Description: The Detroit Dark Red Beet is the most popular all-purpose red beet. It is globe-shaped, tender with blood red flesh that is sweet and delicious. Beets are easy to grow and tolerate a wide range of climates. Beets prefer cool weather; in zones 8-11 where summers can be hot, grow them as a fall, winter or early spring crop.
Light: Full sun to part shade
Water: Consistent moisture
Soil: Well-drained, sandy loam soil high in organic matter. Avoid acidic soil areas.
Sow seeds directly into soil in early spring as soon as soil can be worked. Beets tend to have spotty germination. Pre-soaking seeds for 1-2 hours will soften seed coat and speed germination. Plant seeds ½ inch deep and 1 inch apart. Seeds need close contact with the soil; it is best practice to press down on soil after planting. Sprouts will emerge in 10-20 days. Thin seedlings when they reach 4-5 inch to 3 inches apart.
Pull up plants when exposed root tops are 2 inches across.
Reddish green leaves make a great addition to summer salads
Planting garlic and mint with your beets will improve the growth and flavor
Beets are very sensitive to toxic substances in the soil and may not germinate if planted near walnut trees or soils containing herbicides
Common Name: Scarlet Nantes Carrot
Scientific Name: Dacus carota var. sativus
Native Range: Mediterranean Region
Hardiness Zone: 4 to 10
Days to Maturity: 65-75
General Description: Scarlet Nantes Carrot is a standard market carrot that has a long, cylindrical shape and a rich reddish-orange color. Flavor is sweet and delicious. Roots are fine-grained, containing almost no core. High moisture content makes this variety perfect for juicing. Carrots can reach up to 7 inches long. To prevent diseases, rotate planting location every season.
Light: Full sun. Will tolerate very light shade.
Water: Moderate moisture. Crusted soil can suppress germinated sprouts.
Soil: Well-drained soil with organic matter. Area needs to be free of stones.
This cool-weather crop is easily overplanted due to its fine seeds. Sow seeds directly into loose soil in early spring 2-3 weeks before last frost date. Carrots are slow to germinate, emerging in 2-4 weeks. Cover seeds with ¼ inch of soil—no more than ½ an inch. Lightly water seeds everyday for best germination. Once sprouts emerge thinning is critical to reduce competition. Thin seedlings to 1/2 – 1 inch spacing. Best time for thinning is when soil is damp. Plant seeds every 2-3 weeks throughout midsummer for continuous harvest.
Start harvesting as soon as carrots have reached desired size (up to 7 inches). Try pulling up one at a time to check size. Watering the area before harvest can make pulling by hand easier. Harvest by mid-September to avoid pest damage.
Carrots are a great source of fiber, potassium and vitamin A.
Carrot greens can be used in soup stock, pesto, curries or tea.
Common pest: carrot rust fly
British gardeners plant sage around the area to repel the carrot fly