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How to Grow an Exotic Vegetable Raised Bed

This raised bed has been filled with heat-loving tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and feathery-leaved garbanzo plants, as well as cucumbers and sweet potatoes that scramble up the wall.
Excerpted from Simple Steps: Vegetable Gardening

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Raised Bed Filled with Exotic and Productive Crops

Highlights:

Step 1: Get the Basics

If you have a sheltered, sunny wall that absorbs the sun’s heat during the day and warms the surrounding air at night, take advantage of this microclimate to grow exotic crops. Some of these vegetables only crop well in hot summers, but they make attractive curiosities that are fun to try.

Border Basics
Size: 6x3 feet
Suits: Any style of garden
Soil: Fertile, moist, but free-draining
Site: Border in front of a wall in full sun, in warm regions

Step 2: Buy the Plants

1 x eggplant 'Moneymaker' (image 1)
1 x cucumber 'Carmen' (image 2)
1 x sweet pepper 'Gypsy' (image 3)
1 x tomato 'Summer Sweet' (image 4)
1 x garbanzo 'Principe' (image 5)
1 x sweet potato 'Beauregard' (image 6)

Step 3: Maintain Your Plants

Sow seeds of tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers and eggplants under cover in spring. Once the risk of frost has passed, harden the young plants off and plant them out in the raised bed. It is a good idea to soak the garbanzos in regularly changed water for a few days until they sprout before planting them in their final positions. Plant the sweet potato "slips" with about 2 inches of stem above the soil and, as with the other young plants, water well. Attach wire mesh to the wall and train the cucumber and sweet potato stems through it. Once the first fruits have set, fertilize weekly with a tomato fertilizer that is high in potash. Crops should be ready to harvest in late summer.

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Excerpted from Simple Steps: Vegetable Gardening

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2007

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