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Carrots

Plan to plant seeds outdoors 3 to 5 weeks before the last spring frost date. Make sure your soil is free of stones; carrots need deeply tilled soil that they can push through. Have you ever seen a carrot that has grown "legs"; or forked? Plant seeds 3-4 inches apart in rows

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Cabbage

Start cabbage seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last spring frost. Harden off plants over the course of a week. Transplant outdoors 2 to 3 weeks before the last expected frost date. Plant 12 to 24 inches apart in rows, depending on size of head desired

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Mushrooms

Mushrooms grow from spores -- not seeds -- that are so tiny you can't see individual spores with the naked eye.

Because the spores don't contain chlorophyll to begin germinating (as seeds do), they rely on substances such as sawdust, grain, wooden plugs, straw, wood chips, or liquid for nourishment. A blend of the spores and these nutrients is called spawn. Spawn performs a bit like the starter needed to make sourdough bread.

The spawn supports the growth of mushrooms' tiny, white, threadlike roots, called mycelium. The mycelium grows first, before anything that resembles a mushroom pushes through the growing medium.

The spawn itself could grow mushrooms, but you'll get a lot better mushroom harvest when the spawn is applied to a substrate, or growing medium. Depending on the mushroom type, the substrate might be straw, cardboard, logs, wood chips, or compost with a blend of materials such as straw, corncobs, cotton and cocoa seed hulls, gypsum, and nitrogen supplements.

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Lettuce

Lettuce is ideal for succession planting. Sow seeds every two weeks for production throughout the season, starting with early lettuce varieties, using heat-tolerant varieties as your main crop, and then switching to fall crops late in the summer. Or, if you prefer, use lettuce in successions with other crops.

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Cucumber

Mix in compost and/or aged manure before planting to a depth of 2 inches and work into the soil 6 to 8 inches deep. Make sure that soil is moist and well-drained, not soggy. Sow seeds in rows, 1 inch deep and 6 to 10 inches apart. If you are transplanting seedlings, plant them 12 inches apart

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Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes mature in 90 to 170 days and are extremely frost sensitive. Plant in full sun 3 to 4 weeks after the last frost when the soil has warmed. Make holes 6 inches deep and 12 inches apart. Bury slips up to the top leaves, press the soil down gently but firmly, and water well.

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