More and more people are catching on to how beneficial a backyard (or front-yard for that matter) garden can be to the health of themselves and their family.  People are saving money by growing a lot of their own produce, and enjoying the rewards that come along with producing some of their own fruits, vegetables and herbs.   The size of the average vegetable garden in backyards across America, is only 600 square feet.  Wondering what you could grow in all of that space, plus more if you wanted to? Here's a list of the most commonly grown vegetables in backyards, probably just like the one you have at home. 

Tomatoes have a relatively high water content, which makes them a filling food. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, can protect you against high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, and heart disease. One tomato packs a powerful punch of nutrition!  

“Cool as a cucumber” does not describe how cucumbers prefer their growing weather. They love warm temperatures! For an extended harvest, plant a few more cucumbers about a month after you've planted the first round. Don't forget to trellis! They are excellent climbers! Nothing is sweeter than a homemade pickle! 

Sweet peppers! They take up very little space in the garden, less than a tomato plant, in fact. You can always squeeze in a sweet pepper plant or two, no matter how small your garden space. Peppers even grow really well in containers or planters!

Familiar bulb onions are easy to grow as long as you plant varieties that best suit your climate. You can also expand your onion season by growing leeks, scallions, and other non-bulbing varieties.  Onions prefer slightly acidic, well drained soil. 

Beans like warm soil, so for best germination when sowing your seeds, wait until the soil temperatures are warmer than 60 degrees F.  For extra fast germination, soak the seeds in water for 30 minutes before planting, or put the seeds between two damp paper towels the night before planting.

Hot peppers seem to be thought of as a more "exotic" vegetable, but really can grow just about anywhere, even indoors!  You can keep your plants producing by harvesting regularly, once they reach an eatable size. Many gardeners like to allow their peppers to fully ripen and change color, but ripe fruits tend to lose some of their heat. Cut the fruits from the plant, don’t pull. Hot peppers are best used within in days of harvest. They freeze well and are used a lot in home canning as well. 

Make sure after sowing, you thin your carrotsThin to 1 inch apart when the tops are 2 inches high, and be thorough, because crowded carrots will produce crooked roots. Thin again 2 weeks later to 3 to 4 inches apart, all depending on the variety of carrot you're growing of course. 

Here's a tip! Sow lettuce seeds every 30 days so you'll have a variety of different lettuces, for a year round harvest.  Every month, plant a new variety! 

Growing peas is an easy way to get a good yield out of a small space in your garden. Trellis your peas near other companion plants to maximize your growing space. Very easy to grow and a wonderful choice for all "first time gardeners"! 

Squash is a warm-weather crop that takes more room in the home garden than most vegetables, but, given the right conditions, it outproduces other choices.  It also can be used in a wide variety of recipes. 

Sweet corn is wind-pollinated, so it should be planted in blocks, rather than in single rows. Early, mid, and late-season varieties extend the harvest. If you miss the optimal harvest time, corn will go downhill fast as sugars convert to starch.

Are you growing any of these popular crops in your backyard garden? 

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