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Vegetable Garden Planning Guide

In these long, cold days of winter it’s therapeutic to visualize the goodies we’ll get from our vegetable gardens this summer—especially the veggies that go best with wheat germ!

We’ve come up with a few kitchen garden ideas below that will provide great flavor, color and nutrition to your summer meals—and if you’re feeling really ambitious, to your canning and preserving for the cold months after.

Planning ahead assures that you’ll be ready at just the right time to plant seeds or seedlings, depending on where you live. Here are five of our favorite plantings that are easy to grow, cultivate and harvest. We also provide serving suggestions and a few hints on how to pair them with wheat germ in recipes.

Peas: Many pea varieties can be planted as early as February, but it’s best to wait until the soil has warmed up a bit. Garden-fresh peas are tender and sweet; scatter them raw in salads or make a nice creamed pea side dish with a bit of wheat germ thrown in with the flour.

Tomatoes: Absolutely nothing beats home-grown tomatoes. Find the heirloom varieties, either in seed or seedling form. Cherry and grape tomatoes are also very easy to grow. Try making homemade bruschetta; sprinkle it with a little wheat germ and parmesan combo.

Cucumbers: Did you know cucumbers thrive when grown vertically? All you have to do is install a sturdy mesh fence in your vegetable garden; as the cucumber vines sprout, gently weave the tendrils through the mesh. Cucumber plants like warmth, so wait until the soil temperature reaches about 60°F. When it’s harvest time, make cucumber and plain yogurt raita mixed with a little wheat germ for your curry dishes.

Green beans: Most green bean plants are prolific producers, and you’ll have beans to harvest within just two months. Try Contender beans; they are very flavorful and grow in a variety of conditions. Use them in updated versions of green bean casserole, sprinkling wheat germ on top for a nice crust. Or serve them blanched and coated with garlic, lemon zest, a bit of oil and seasoning.

Herbs: You will love having your own basil, mint, chives and oregano, with fresh leaves for snipping right when you need them. Start your herb garden outdoors this spring or summer, then snip the tops (about 4 inches from tip) of your favorites and plant them indoors in potting soil for winter use. Mix chopped herbs and a tablespoon of wheat germ into your favorite salad dressing recipe.

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