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With Food Shortages and Rising Prices, Americans Look To Gardening | WVNews

Are you worried about hyperinflation and the threat of food shortages? Growing food relieves your climbing grocery budget and fears of food availability when you don’t know what to expect from the grocery store.

AllAboutGardening.com found new research revealed in Google Search Trends that shows the top 10 vegetables Americans want to learn how to grow the most. While growing your food may feel like a daunting task to beginner gardeners, there are a few simple tips and tricks to encourage you to gain the confidence to try it.

1. “How To Grow Potatoes?”

People throughout fourteen US states searched the most for “how to grow potatoes” compared to all other vegetables. The states with the most searches to learn how to grow potatoes include Connecticut, Utah, Montana, and Oklahoma.

Pre-sprouting potatoes reduces growth time by two weeks, rotting, and waste. To pre-sprout potatoes, simply place them on a tray, and set them in front of a window or on the porch where temperatures range 60-70°F. Allow the sprouts to grow an inch long before planting them. After harvesting potatoes, store them in a cool, dry place, away from any onions, to keep them fresh for up to a couple of months.

2. “How To Grow Cucumbers?”

Cucumbers ranked as the second most-searched-for vegetable to grow, searched by people in seven states, including New York, Nebraska, Texas, and Iowa.

Growing vegetables on a trellis reduces the garden space required, increases harvest, and reduces disease and rot. Cucumbers need twelve inches between each other to offer more airflow throughout the foliage.

To make cucumbers last longer, wrap them in a tea towel or paper towel and place them in a bag. Cucumbers last longer when they’re kept dry and stored in a cool place, like in the lowest compartment of your fridge.

3. “How To Grow Beetroots”

People throughout six US states searched for “how to grow beetroots,” making it the third most searched for vegetable growing tips. States with the most searches include Colorado, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Alabama.

The number one beetroot growing tip: test your soil for boron. If the soil’s boron levels are too low, beetroots will lack the nutrition they need, causing beetroots to develop “black heart rot,” weak leaves, or small root growth. Adding organic boric acid, other organic fertilizers, or compost from apples, avocados, bananas, broccoli, or chickpeas will help grow healthy beetroots.

To keep beetroots fresh longer, cut the greens two inches above the root and store them in the refrigerator crisper drawer to prevent them from drying out.

4th Place Tie: “How To Grow Carrots” and “How To Grow Zucchini”

Carrots and Zucchini tied for fourth and fifth place, with people across five states searching for them.

People searched the most for “how to grow carrots” in Arizona, India, Kansas, Louisiana, and Minnesota.

Carrots are very picky with watering needs, require two to four inches of space between them, and are more difficult to germinate. Before planting, consider using clear greenhouse plastic or clover to cover them to maintain even soil moisture until they sprout.

To keep carrots lasting longer after harvesting them, cut off the green tops and place them in an air-tight or vacuum-sealed bag in the refrigerator.

People throughout Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, and Wyoming searched most for “how to grow zucchini.”

Zucchinis are relatively easy to grow but require two to three feet of space between plants, frequent weeding, and either straw or leaf mulch to keep the soil in place when it’s raining. To make zucchini harvests last longer, don’t wash them until you’re ready to use them, and store them in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer.

5th Place Tie: How To Grow Onions, Bell Peppers, and Squash

Onions, bell peppers, and squash tied for 5th place, with the majority of people among four states searching for how to grow them more than other vegetables.

People in Washington state, California, Massachusetts, and Oregon searched for “how to grow onions” more than any other vegetable.

Plant “starter bulbs” instead of seeds to reduce growing time and harvest onions faster. Onions stored properly can last up to a few months. To properly store onions, leave them whole with the skin and hang them in a well-ventilated bag in a dark, cool place. Chopped onions also freeze well. For storing onions long-term, consider dehydrating or freeze-drying them.

“How To Grow Bell Peppers”

People in Florida, New Mexico, Georgia, and Wisconsin searched for “how to grow bell peppers” more than any other vegetable.

To increase bell pepper harvest, consider composting after the bell pepper plants’ flowers begin to bloom. After harvesting peppers, store them in a resealable bag in the refrigerator to maximize humidity to keep them fresher for longer.

People in Hawaii, Maryland, Mississippi, and Virginia searched more for “how to grow squash” than they did any other vegetable.

To improve squash taste and extend their storage time, harvest them once their vines begin to wither and turn yellow. After harvesting, cure winter squash by placing them in a sunny, dry, ventilated place for one to two weeks, periodically rotating them. After curing, wipe the squash with diluted white vinegar. If you live in a humid climate, use a dehumidifier.

People in Missouri searched the most for “how to grow lettuce” more than any other vegetable.

Hot weather and “bolting” – rapid growth – causes lettuce to develop a bitter taste. To avoid the heat, consider growing lettuce indoors during the hot summer months. Varieties like Salanova are bolt-resistant, producing a more palatable taste throughout its growing season. After harvesting lettuce, use it within a few days. Staggering lettuce planting over a few weeks extends the growing season. Keeping them in a perforated container to maximize airflow will help them stay crisper for a few extra days.

Turnips come in seventh place for vegetables people want to learn how to grow in Google searches. Again, most searches come from people in West Virginia.

Growing turnsips require watering consistency. Tender, crisp textured turnips benefit from a drip irrigation system or a hose set on a timer. Composted soil helps to increase water-holding abilities, feeding the turnip’s water content pickiness.

Turnips stored in the refrigerator or a cooler, bucket, or bin lightly packed with sand or sawdust last four to five months.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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