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Gardening, whether cropped in the backyard or perched in a planter on your window sill, can be the most rewarding thing you ever decide to do. It may not be for everyone, but if you're passionate about developing a green thumb, you can learn to garden like a pro with just a few simple steps. Now that we're breaking free from our winter coupe, it's time for a little dirt digging therapy. Here's what you need to know for a hardy crop this year. Let's get planting!

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Blackberries: Early, dewy mornings on the farm picking blackberries by the bushel is a southern rite of passage. Growing plump, juicy berries is easy with just a few steps to follow. Plant in a vast area with plenty of sun exposure, good drainage, and fertile soil. To allow for plenty of growth, plant 3 to 4 feet apart. The planting season for blackberries starts in late fall to early winter if you want ripe berries early summer.

Blackberry Curd Tart

Blueberries: Add some color to your garden landscape with lusciously sweet blueberries. Similar to blackberries, grow in an area area with plenty of sun exposure, good drainage, and acidic soil. Plant during any season but be sure to water religiously for the first year to help plants become established.

Blueberry Crisp

Citrus: This large category of fruits thrive in warmer weather regions, however, many citrus trees can adapt to container growing for northern regions to cultivate and harvest -- just be sure to move plants indoor during cooler seasons. Planting season starts early spring. Plant in direct sun exposure and well-drained soil.

Cilantro-Jalapeño Limeade

Apples: Due to soil hardness and sensitivity to temperature, the northwest is home to many thriving orchard farms. The most important note on keeping apple trees healthy is to follow a structured schedule for pruning and maintenance. Routine pruning will ensure a healthier tree, which will result in greater fruit harvests with every passing season.

Shrimp Tacos with Green Apple Salsa
| Credit: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr

Depending on which region of the country you live in, growing seasons can differ.

Warm-Season Crops

  • Artichokes
  • Beans
  • Corn
  • Cucumber
  • Okra
  • Peppers
  • Squash
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Arugula
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Fennel
  • Greens
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Parsley
  • Most fruits
  • Chives
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

For more irresistible dishes from the best seasonal produce, enjoy the fruits of your garden with Cooking Light Pick Fresh Cookbook.

Cooking Light Pick Fresh Cookbook: Creating Irresistible Dishes from the Best Seasonal Produce. New York: Oxmoor House, 2013. Print.