Alabama residents should consider planting a vegetable garden, as the warm climate makes it possible in at least three seasons. The clay soil of the northern region retains minerals well, while the sandy soils of central and southern Alabama allow for good water drainage. There are many vegetables in Alabama that are easy to grow whether you are near the state's northern borders or on the gulf coast.
Bush beans, pole beans and lima beans all are grown in Alabama. A first planting can be done in April with a second planting in July. Bush bean varieties that grow well in Alabama include Contender, Green Crop and Derby. Pole bean varieties for Alabama include Dade, Kentucky Wonder and Kentucky Blue. Carolina Sieva, Florida Speckled and King of the Garden are varieties of lima beans that grow well in Alabama. Bush beans and pole beans take up to 75 days to mature while lima beans take 80 to 85 days.
Traditional and oriental cabbages flourish in Alabama gardens. Traditional cabbage varieties include Bravo, Round Dutch and Ace. Oriental cabbage varieties include Michihli, Bok Choi, Pak Choi and Napa. Oriental cabbages normally are planted in July and take 45 to 60 days to mature. Traditional cabbages can be planted as early as January or February with a summer planting in July. Traditional cabbages will mature in 60 to 85 days.
Collards, spinach and mustard greens are all grown in Alabama. Collards are planted in July through September and take 60 to 80 days to harvest. Some varieties of collards that do well in Alabama include Champion and Top Bunch. Spinach can be planted from February through September and takes approximately 45 days to be ready for picking. Bloomsdale Longstanding is the most common type of spinach in Alabama. Mustard greens are grown from February through August and take 40 to 50 days to grow. Common varieties in Alabama include Florida Broadleaf and Red Giant.
Hot and sweet peppers are widely grown in Alabama. Hot pepper varieties grown in Alabama include cayenne, habenero and jalapeno. Sweet pepper varieties include banana peppers and all colors of bell peppers. Sweet peppers and hot peppers can be planted in April, with a second planting to follow in July. They will produce fruit in approximately 75 days.
Okra can be planted from April through June in Alabama. One oz. of okra seeds will produce a 100-foot row of plants. These plants will bear fruit in 50 to 60 days after the seeds have been sown. Varieties that will flourish in Alabama include Clemson Spineless, Emerald Lee and Burgundy.
Summer and winter squashes are grown in Alabama. Summer squash can be planted in April, with a second planting in August. The varieties of summer squash grown in Alabama usually take 40 to 55 days to provide squash. Summer squash varieties include zucchini, yellow crookneck, sundrops and dixie. Winter squash should be planted in April for a fall harvest or July for a winter harvest. These varieties take 85 to 100 days to mature. Winter squash varieties include acorn, butternut and spaghetti squash.