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Freshen up your eats

 
Wanna find a way to make your meals healthier? Instead of bugging Mom to go shopping, try taking a turn farming your own food this summer. A small garden will give you fresh fruits and veggies to add to your usual sandwiches or to mix in with dinner side dishes. You only need a little patch of yard space, and the best part? It’ll give ya somethin’ to do on those summer days when your little bro is hogging the TV or your go-to gals are MIA.

 

 

If you’re not the most patient gal, head to the nearest nursery and pick up some small plants that have already been started. You can pop ‘em in the ground and won’t have to wait as long as you will for seeds. But if you’ve got a little more time on your hands and you’re lookin’ for a project that’ll be yours and yours alone, grab some of those tiny plant babies and get to work! Certain seeds have to be in the ground at certain times, or else they won’t grow. So for the beginning of June, here are our top picks:
 
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    Beautiful Beans
     

    There are lotsa different kinds of beans, but the best are green snap beans. They’ll give ya tons of produce per plant, and most people like eating ‘em. They take 50 days to grow and need about 6 inches of space around them.

     

    Burpees Stringless Green Pod, $4 for 1 packet of 2 oz. of seeds, burpee.com

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    Crunchy Corn
     

    This golden staple of summer is great for backyard BBQs, and this particular brand will keep ya stocked all season long. After 64 days, you’ll have more ears than you ever thought you’d need. Just remember to plant the seeds about a foot apart, since they’ll get to be pretty tall.

     

    Early and Often Hybrid, $6 for 1 packet of 200 seeds, burpee.com

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    Cool Cucumbers
     

    Once cucumbers start growin’, they tend to take up a bit of room and can spread out about 3 feet. So if you’re space is squished, these might not be your best bet. They are super productive, though, and they’ll be all grown up in just 55 days.

     

    Sweet Burpless Hybrid, $4 for 1 packet of 30 seeds, burpee.com

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    Wild Watermelon
     

    These juicy fruits are good for more than just seed-spitting contests. Add ‘em into a fruit salad or just munch on them plain for a fat-free dessert. When you’re planting, group five or six seeds together in mounds about 6 feet apart. They’ll pop up in late summer, since they take 80 days to grow.

     

    Bush Sugar Baby, $4 for 1 packet of 25 seeds, burpee.com

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    Savory Squash
     

    Yellow squash tastes great grilled and in casseroles. These plants produce lots of veggies but don’t take up as much room as watermelon, even though they’re put in the ground in the same group style. They should be ready to pick in 50 to 55 days.

     

    Summer Saffron, $4 for 1 packet of 50 seeds, burpee.com

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    Outstanding Okra
     

    This tasty green veggie is a fab addition to soups, stews, or grilled creations. Plant the seeds about six inches apart, water ‘em, wait 56 days, and voila! You’ll have a new cooking ingredient to spice up your summer meals.

     

    Clemson Spineless, $4 for 1 packet of 100 seeds, burpee.com

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BY CARRIE RUPPERT ON 6/8/2012 12:00:00 AM

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