Got my hands on Lois Hole's Vegetable Favorites - a must-have for gardeners in Alberta. It has specific information on a host of vegetables, arranged in an easy-to-read format. The photos are helpful, as are the problem sections for each crop.
Here are just a few tips from our former lieutenant governor and gardener extraordinaire:
Spinach: 1. spread blood meal along the row to encourage a larger, more succulent crop
2. consider planting spinach between rows of taller-growing vegetables, as it has a tendency to bolt (go to seed) in too much hot sun
Carrots: 1. never add fresh manure; it may produce rough, hairy roots and will cause forks and splits
2. try this trick: mix radish seed with your carrot seed before sowing. Vigorous radish sprouts will easily push up through the earth, breaking the way for the carrots. Radishes mature earlier, and as they are harvested, space is left for the carrots to grow.
Peas: 1. pick peas when they are young and tender for best flavour. Peas which become too old for fresh eating can be left on the vine until dry, and used in soups.
2. be gentle with plants when picking, as the vines are brittle and break easily - causing the plants to stop growing.
Zucchini: 1. water deeply once a week during dry spells
2. water around the base of the plants, not over them, and try to do so early in the day to allow plants to dry before nightfall. Avoid splashing dirt onto the leaves; many diseases are harboured in the soil and can be transferred.
3. pick twice weekly to increase yield
Beans: 1. try to plant in a site where beans or peas have not been planted for at least a year to keep disease problems lower
2. adequate watering is most important during and immediately after flowering, and once pods have formed, in order for the plants to produce a high yield of evenly-shaped beans