How to Arrange my Vegetable Garden

by Ada
(Boise, ID)

I am starting a garden but not sure which order to put the vegetables in.

I have corn, tomatoes, broccoli, red and green bell peppers, jalapeno, cabbage, bush snap green beans, red onions, carrots and zucchini. I am just wanting a few suggestions on how to arrange the plantings.

My garden area is 20 ft by 14 ft.


ANSWER:

You will want to plant the tallest vegetables (corn) on the north side of your garden. That way they won't shade your other sun-loving vegetables.

Zucchini and tomatoes will probably be the next tallest-growing plants, so you can put them south of the corn.

Peppers, cabbage and green beans can be planted next.

The carrots and onions can go on the very south side of the garden.

In your area, (Boise, Idaho) you probably will have to wait until June to plant everything except the carrots, cabbage, broccoli and onions.

Corn, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, green beans are all very sensitive to frost. So be sure to wait until about 2 weeks past your last expected frost date to plant these vegetables.



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Which Vegetable Plants Need Staking?

by Kathy C.
(Jonesboro, GA)

I'm growing zucchini and peppers along with pole beans, tomatoes and cucumbers.

I know the beans, tomatoes & cukes are trellised, but do the peppers and zucchini need staking?

Also, how much room should I provide for each mature plant?

And how many plants should I plan on for only 2 people?

My raised bed is 4x8. Thanks for your help!


Answer:

Hi Kathy,

The zucchini doesn't need to be staked. The peppers shouldn't need to be staked unless they are in a windy location, and/or after they become very heavy with lots of growing peppers.

One tomato, one cucumber and one zucchini plant should be plenty for two people. Each of these vegetables require about 3 square feet of growing room.

You might plant the zucchini in a sunny flower bed if you can. They tend to be "space hogs" in the garden. And with a 4 by 8 raised bed, you don't have a lot of room to spare.

Twenty green bean plants will give you fresh beans for two people. Plant the pole beans on the north side of your garden so that they don't shade your other plants. The bean seeds should be spaced about 3" apart in the row.

Two or three pepper plants should be enough for two people. They should be spaced about 12-15" apart.

In the beginning, you could fill in the empty space around the small tomato, cucumber, and zucchini plants with lettuce. It will be ready to harvest by the time the bigger plants need the space.

Good luck, and send pictures!



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When can I plant a garden outside using plants?

by Cheryl
(Spencer , MA.)

I live in Massachusetts and am wondering is it too early to plant an outside vegetable garden using plants, not seeds? (Today is April 21st.)

Not sure when the last frost will be. When is it safe to plant outside?

Thanks!


ANSWER:

Hi Cheryl,

It is too early to plant the warm-season vegetable plants such as tomatoes, beans, peppers, corn, melons, eggplant, pumpkins, and cucumbers outdoors in most parts of Massachusetts.

Most gardeners in your area plant their warm-season vegetable crops around Memorial Day which is at the end of May. These vegetables can be purchased at your local garden centers as small plants when it is closer to the planting time.

You can plant cool-season crops such as peas, onions, carrots, spinach, beets, and lettuce as soon as the ground is ready to work in the spring. Usually this is about mid-April. These vegetables are usually grown from seeds ("sets" for onions) planted directly in the garden soil.

Hope this helps...Have a great garden!

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Planting a Garden When the Ground is Wet

Should you plant a garden when the ground is wet?


ANSWER:

In general, no. It is best to wait until the soil is damp, but not soggy-wet. Some types of seeds are especially prone to rotting if the soil is too wet.

If you have really good drainage in your garden, if necessary you can plant when it is fairly wet if you expect that the soil will be drying considerably in the next day or two.

But another reason to wait for a couple of sunny days to dry things out a bit, is that it is pretty messy planting a garden when the soil is really wet!

Also, the soil temperature should be at the proper temperature for the type of vegetable seeds that you are planting.

For example peas, lettuce, and onions like cool soil, but even those seeds will rot if the ground is too wet for too long.

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Growth period?

by Former Brown Thumb

What does it mean on the vegetable chart when it says "growth period"?

Answer:

The "growth period" is generally the amount of time it takes from planting the seeds or transplants, until the plant produces it's first fruit.

The "growth period" varies among different varieties of the same vegetable, so this is a general guideline only.

The seed packets or small plants you purchase will give the specific "days to maturity" for that specific plant.

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Where to Plant My Garden?

by J Mayes
(Calvert City , KY, USA)

Is it a bad idea to plant a vegetable garden by a security light? Will it affect the flowering?


Answer:

Hi J.

You can try planting a small garden to see what happens. Some plant flowering may be adversely affected by bright night lights.

So it depends on how bright the light is, how close it is to the garden. Is it a motion activated light, or is it on all night? A motion activated security light should not be a problem unless it is on most of the time.

Ideally your garden should be located away from night lighting for best results for all of your growing vegetables.

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1st time Trying to Have a Garden

by Lindsay
(Kannapolis, NC)

I built a raised garden bed. I went to my local Lowes and they have lettuce and broccoli already on sale.

I live in North Carolina and I am wondering if I can go ahead and plant these things in my garden? Or any seeds? Please help.


ANSWER:

Usually when you see certain plants for sale in a local gardening section of a store, it means that it is time, or almost time, to plant these particular vegetables.

Both lettuce and broccoli are "cool season" vegetables, which means that they prefer to grow in cool weather such as spring. (If you plant them in hot summer weather, they tend to grow very quickly, then "bolt" immediately into producing a flower head.)

You can always ask someone in the gardening department if it is time to plant these vegetables in your area, as these are questions they will be able to answer for you.

Most garden centers have at least one "expert" on the staff to answer gardening questions for their customers.

Best wishes for your first garden!

You can also read the back of the seed packets for the vegetables you are interested in planting. The planting directions will tell you the best time for planting that particular vegetable seed.

It usually has to do with the "last frost date" for your area, or when the soil has warmed from winter, or when overnight temperatures reach a certain level.

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Easy to Grow Vegetables

I want to raise a vegetable garden for myself and my family of course first of all, but I also want to raise them to sell at flea markets as well.
Can you advise me about which vegetables sell best and are easiest to grow?
Thanks....Etta

ANSWER

Hi Etta,

I don't know which climate zone you are dealing with, so this is a general recommendation:

If you are a beginning gardener, some easy to grow vegetables are lettuce, green beans, onions, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, and tomatoes. If you have lots of space for a garden, sweet corn is another popular vegetable that is easy to grow.

These are also among the vegetables that you are quite likely to sell at a vegetable market. After your first season selling at flea markets, you will have the benefit of knowing which other vegetables your customers request most often. You will also have some gardening experience to build on!

Now is a good time to begin planning your garden! Best wishes, and I hope it turns out well for you.

Sincerely,

Charlotte

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My First Garden in SW Florida

This will be my first garden here in Ft. Myers Florida and I think I messed it up before even planting.

I bought a lot of bags of potting soil for the garden but now when it gets wet it seems like muck. I am afraid the plants will get root rot in it.

Help.

ANSWER:

If your garden soil seems "mucky", you can buy a couple of bags of vermiculite and mix it into the soil.

The vermiculite will absorb water from the surrounding soil, and hold it for later release to your garden vegetable plants. Vermiculite also helps aerate (add air) to the soil.

You can also add some sphagnum moss to the soil. It also helps "lighten" the density of the soil, and creates better drainage.

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Beginner Gardeners

We are starting a vegetable garden and after some research and thought we have decided to do it in raised garden beds.

My question is if we plant watermelon and cantaloupe in the same bed can we alternate them per row?

For instance, can we do a row of watermelon then a row of cantaloupe then a row of watermelon then another row of cantaloupe?

I have the same question about pumpkin and cucumber.

Please get back to me and if you have any other suggestions, please feel free to mention.

ANSWER:

You didn't mention the size of your raised beds. So I am basing this answer on a "typical" raised bed of 4-5 feet wide, by any length.

Watermelon and cantaloupe both require LOTS of space, sun, water, and nutrients. The vines for EACH plant will sprawl 6 to 10 feet in each direction if you let them.

If you cut the vines back to save space, you will loose some of the fruit also.

Bearing that in mind, it is fine to alternate watermelon and cantaloupe plants in the same bed. But I don't think you will have room for "rows" of either plant.

When you buy the seeds or small plants for your garden, choose the smallest variety of watermelon, cantaloupe, and pumpkin available when you are planting in limited space such as a raised bed garden.

Even the smaller varieties will require a lot of room to produce their vines and fruit.


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Should Cats Be Allowed in the Garden?

by Wendy Lee Shackelford
(Attica, IN USA)

Is it a myth or fact if a cat urinates on your tomato plants it will not produce?


ANSWER:

It seems like a myth to me. Tomato plants grow their fruit from the blossoms they produce. You would have to remove the blossoms from the plant in order not to have tomatoes. Cat urine could possible burn your plant foliage, though, so if you notice this happening, water the plant well to dilute the urea.

It can be difficult or impossible to keep a cat out of the garden. Therefore, it is really important to wash your vegetables carefully before cooking or eating them.

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Planting Vegetables

by Tom Heins
(Orange, Ct)

I am going to build a raised bed garden because the vegetable garden is going in where the swimming pool used to be. The ground is very flat and is mostly clay.

How deep do I have to make the raised bed if I am planting corn, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, cantaloupes and onions?

Is there a certain depth the soil has to be when I transplant these vegetables?


ANSWER:


There is not an exact depth for a raised bed garden.

However, typically raised bed gardens are 8"-10" or more in depth. This gives room for larger plants such as tomatoes to establish a good root system.

We were able to purchase something called "Spring Soil" for our raised bed garden, from a local soil products company. It is a mixture of medium grade bark, dairy compost, peat moss, pumice, coconut core, lime charge, and organic fertilizer.

We filled our entire raised bed with this mixture. It has been really nice to work with, as we also have very heavy clay-like soil in our area.

Each fall, after the garden is put to rest for the winter, the soil products company recommends adding and mixing in about 1-2" of dairy compost to replace lost nutrients.

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Organic Garden

Hi,
A friend of mine is starting an organic garden and has about 3 acres of land. We don't know how to start. We are going to have to start from zero, since all we have right now is some acres with grass.

Any tips will help; like where to start, if setting up irrigation first is best, etc...'

Thank You

ANSWER:

You didn't say where you live, or what you want to grow. But, if you are in the USA, I would contact your local County Extension Agent. These agents are a treasure-trove of information on everything about farming, gardening, and much more, in your area.

They also have brochures and publications available with much helpful information for gardening in your specific area.

Before you get started, you will want to have a complete plan in place for what you will grow, and all the steps involved.

That said, all gardeners will tell you that you learn as you grow, and each growing year is different. So, be as prepared and organized as you can, but don't expect perfection!

Get some local, qualified, professional help with your garden before you begin. Three acres is a lot of ground to plant and care for. It will be a big investment of time and money. The more prepared you are before you start, the better your results will be!

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How Much Soil Do I Need?

by Maggie

How much space do I need to grow 6 plants each of the following vegetables:

1. Peppers; jalapeno
2. Cucumber; Muncher
3. Broccoli; De Cicco.
4. Tomato
5. Cantaloupe
6. Onion; White Lisbon Bunching.
7. Pepper; California Wonder.
8. Pepper; Sweet Babana.
9. Pepper; Grand Bell Mix

I want to grow them from seed in time for eating.

Thank you for your time and knowledge in this matter. I have never grown anything in my life up to this point.

Answer:

Hi Maggie,

The cucumber and cantaloupe plants will take up a lot of room unless you grow them vertically using a trellis or cage for them to climb.

You will need to allow at least 4 square feet for each plant if they sprawl. Probably 3 square feet will be enough if you use a cage or trellis.

Tomatoes also require at least 3 feet by 3 feet even if you grow them in a cage.

The rest of your plants will need about 16" each; except for the six onions. They will only need about one square foot of garden space.

I would plan on about a 12' x 25' garden plot to grow these vegetables.

You didn't say where you live, but be aware that you won't be able to grow tomatoes or peppers from seed-to-eating in many of the cooler parts of the country, unless you start the seeds indoors or in a green house 8-10 weeks before outdoor planting time in your area.

You can also buy small transplants of these vegetables at a garden center if needed.

Hope this helps. Good luck. Take pictures and send them to us if you can!

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Desert Gardening

by Jerry
(Mojave Desert, Ca. USA)

We live in the Mojave Desert (CA. zip code 92365) What kind of vegetables can we grow here? Can these be grown in an above ground or raised beds?

Thanks,
Jerry


ANSWER:

I'm sure that you can grow vegetables there, and in raised beds if you want to. As long as the plants have enough water, the right temperature for growing, and fertile soil they should be fine.

However, I would check with your local garden club, garden center, or garden expert to see what they recommend for vegetables that will grow best in your area, and when to plant them.

I have never gardened in the desert, and would not want to lead you astray.

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How to Protect Seeds from Frost

by Tom
(Longmeadow, MA)

How can I protect some seeds I planted last weekend?
It is supposed to be in the thirty's tonight.


ANSWER:

If the seeds haven't yet sprouted, it shouldn't be a problem. If they have sprouted, you can cover them with fabric. Plastic doesn't work as well, as it transfers the cold to the seeds.

If the seeds have sprouted into seedlings, put some stakes or wood to make a frame to hold the fabric up off the plants. That way you won't break or crush the small plants.

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What to do with extra vegetable garden produce?

Hi Charlotte,

You have a great and informative gardening website.

Your readers with greenhouse herb and vegetable gardens may well find that they will grow more than they can use, preserve or give to friends.

They may want to visit www.AmpleHarvest.org - a site that helps diminish hunger by enabling backyard gardeners to share their crops with neighborhood food pantries.

The site is free both for the food pantries and the gardeners using it.

More than 1,200 food pantries nationwide are already on it and more are signing up daily.

It includes preferred delivery times, driving instructions to the pantry as well as (in many cases) information about store bought items also needed by the pantry (for after the growing season).

AmpleHarvest.org enables people to help their community by reaching into their back yard instead of their back pocket.

Lastly, if your reader's community has a food pantry, they should make sure the pantry registers on www.AmpleHarvest.org.

Its free.

Thanks,

Gary
Founder of Ample Harvest

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What Do I Grow in a Limited Space?

by Peter Wilkinson
(Greensboro NC)

We have just moved into an older home in West Greensboro with a neglected garden, requiring much effort to be ready for vegetables. We have built a raised garden, 4' x 4' x 1' with a 4.5' trellis at one end.

The growing bed is a selection of top soils and composted cow manure. Any suggestions please for planting?

We are growing tomatoes in grow bags (a very popular English method) and there is an area I can set up for a wigwam style structure for beans.


ANSWER:

I would start with your favorite small vegetables such as lettuce, green onions, peppers, radishes, and anything else that you are spending a lot of money for at the grocery store!

If you love cucumbers, you could grow a cucumber plant on a trellis to keep it from spreading all over your garden.

Carrots don't require much room in the garden, but they are still pretty inexpensive to buy. So you might want to use your limited garden space for more expensive vegetables that you use on a regular basis.

For now, just avoid any of the "space hogs" such as pumpkins, squash, or corn. Later you can always expand your garden space to include room for all of your favorite vegetables.

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Vegetable Garden Layout

by Heidi
(Grand Rapids, MI)

Hello,

We would like to plant a garden for the first time, but are not sure how to arrange the vegetables.

We would like to plant peppers, beans, squash (acorn and yellow), cucumber, tomato, onions, pumpkins and possibly watermelon.

Thank you for your help!

ANSWER:

Hi Heidi,

Sounds like a delicious garden plan!

You will want to layout your vegetable garden in rows that run north to south.

Next, arrange the vegetables in order of their height. The seed packets or transplants will give the estimated height information.

The tallest vegetables such as (in your case) tomatoes, beans (if they will be pole beans rather than bush beans), cucumbers on a trellis or cage, should be on the north side of the garden. This will prevent them from shading the shorter plants such as peppers and onions.

Most vegetables prefer full sun, and won't do as well if they are shaded.

Squash, pumpkins, tomatoes, and cucumbers all grow quite large, so be sure to leave plenty of room between plants.

The spacing information for the plants you choose will also be given on the seed packets or transplants.

Most of us tend to plant our vegetable plants too close together. It's hard to imagine how large and how quickly healthy plants grow!

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A Beginner Gardener

by Jackie Leyba
(Gallup, NM, USA)

I really want to grow my own garden. We have a garden area, but we rent the home and I feel that container gardening will be better.

I live in Gallup, New Mexico. It's about 20 minutes from the Arizona Border close to the 4 corner area. We are at a high elevation and we have VERY dry summers.

I want to grow various vegetables, herbs, & fruits and I was wondering what are the best for my region.

Also, I have a dog that has free roam of the back yard. What vegetables/herbs/fruits are harmful to him if he was to get into them?


ANSWER:

Lettuce, onions, radish, tomatoes, and peppers would be good easy vegetables to start with in containers.

You could also grow herbs such as parsley, chives, thyme, rosemary and any other herbs that you normally use in your kitchen.

Strawberries will grow in containers, but other berries such as raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries will need to be planted in the ground.

If you select plants from a local nursery, they will be suited to your location and climate requirements.

Since you live in a hot, dry climate, you will need to be sure to water your containers adequately. That may be twice a day. It's ok for the top few inches of the soil to dry between watering, but the soil in the containers should not completely dry or your plants will suffer.

I don't know of any vegetables, fruits, or herbs that would be harmful to your dog. Just don't plant a chocolate bar, or chicken bone shrub!

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Vegetable Plant Spacing

by JDK
(Los Angeles, CA)

Can you tell me what is the spacing for:

Broccoli--Arcadia
Cauliflower-Snowball
Fennel--Florence Bulbing Fennel
Swiss Chard--Rainbow Chard
Gourmet Culinary Herb Assortment



ANSWER:



Hi JDK,
Broccoli Arcadia is spaced 15"-18" apart. If you are planting from seeds, they should be thinned to this spacing. Rows are spaced 32"-36" apart.

Cauliflower--Snowball is usually spaced 24" apart. Rows should be at least 18" apart.

Fennel--Florence Bulbing should be spaced 8" to 12" apart, with rows spaced 18" apart.

Swiss Chard--Rainbow plants should be spaced 8"-12" apart.

Re: Gourmet Culinary Herb Assortment
I would need to know the specific plants in the assortment to know what the spacing should be. Hopefully you have the seed packet or some information that came with the plants?

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Vegteable Garden Near Road

My yard goes downhill from the road into the backyard. I want to have a vegetable garden this year. Should I worry about run-off from the road and driveway?


ANSWER:

Not necessarily. But if the water from the road will be running directly into your garden, it could have chemical contaminants. If the road water will drain into the ground before it reaches your garden, it will be fine.

It is best to have your garden on level ground. You can make a raised bed garden, or put a trench or ditch around your garden if you think it is likely that water from the road will wash directly into your vegetable garden site.




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Where Do I Even Start?

by Amy Braig
(Kalispell, Montana, U.S.A.)

I'm only 13 and I have always loved gardening. So this summer I have decided to start my own vegetable garden in my backyard.

The thing is I really don't have a clue on where to start! I was hoping you could point me in the right direction.


ANSWER:

You might want to start with a container garden. It is easier to organize this type of garden than a backyard in-ground garden.

Lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and herbs such as parsley are pretty easy to grow in containers.

Or you could ask someone to help you build a "square foot" garden. You will need to buy or build a frame and fill it with gardening or potting soil. There is a section on my website about square foot gardening that can give you the details.

If you have a relative or neighbor who loves to garden, perhaps they will be willing to give you a hand at getting started. Many gardeners are happy to share their knowledge and experience with those just starting.

Some day when you are experienced, you can teach someone else. That's one of the nicest thing about gardening; learning as you go, and sharing your knowledge and experience with others when they need some help.


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Companion Planting

by Allen
(Alamosa, CO)

Do you have a good chart for the growth period of the different herbs and flowers (ie, Marigolds) used in companion planting so one can plant them for maximum effect?



ANSWER:

Hi Allen,

I'm sorry I don't know of such a chart. If anyone reading this knows of a chart of this type, please let us know by adding a comment to this question.

My experience has been mainly using marigolds as a companion plant in my vegetable garden.

Some years I plant a border of marigolds around the edges of the garden, and some years I mix a row or two inside the garden.

Marigolds grow and bloom the entire summer in our area (Oregon), so they make a good pest deterrent for the entire garden season.

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How cold can it be outside for seedlings?

by Paul Groves
(Morristown,N.J., U.S.A.)

How cold can it be for my pea & pepper seedlings to be ok outside?


ANSWER:


Hi Paul,

Pea seedlings will be fine during cold and frosty weather. They are a cool-season vegetable, and prefer cooler weather. They are most sensitive to being in soil that is too wet, so be sure they have a well-drained area in which to grow.

Peppers, on the other hand, are a tropical or warm-season vegetable. Even a slight frost can damage or kill pepper seedlings.

You will need to keep your pepper seedlings indoors, or in a sheltered area where you can protect them from freezing until all danger of frost is past.

Best wishes for a successful garden,
Charlotte
























































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Round Vegetable Garden Plans

by Joanne Vecchiola
(Cabot)

Sample Circular Garden Plan

Sample Circular Garden Plan

Hi Charlotte,

I changed my new square vegetable garden into a larger round garden and I love it.

Now how to proceed? I do have some thoughts but am open to any resources you might have for a practical yet interesting layout.

Thanks,

Joanne



ANSWER:



Hi Joanne,

I am attaching a diagram of a circular or round garden plan that will give you some ideas!

This garden plan is available for download on my website at www.vegetable-gardening-online.com/free-vegetable-garden-plans.html.

I am in the process of writing an article on round vegetable gardens. Will get it finished as soon as possible.

If you can take a digital picture of your garden and send it to me, I would love to add it to my article on round gardens!

Thanks,
Charlotte

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How Do I Start a Container Garden?

by Tonya

I am wanting to start a container vegetable garden. I am not sure what vegetables I should start out with at first.

Also, regarding the vegetables I do plant, I'm not sure if I should plant them all together in one big container or plant each vegetable in an individual containers?

Also what size container do I get if I do them in one big container or individual?

Answer:

Hi Tonya,
Some of the easiest vegetables to grow in a container garden are lettuce, radish, onions and tomatoes. Many other vegetables are pretty easy to grow in pots as well.

It's really up to you to decide whether to mix smaller vegetables such as lettuce and onions together or plant them separately.

You probably should plant a tomato by itself in a 3-5 gallon size container. Most of my containers are 3-5 gallon size, but you can use larger or smaller containers depending on your situation.

You can find many different sizes and types of containers at your local garden centers; from very inexpensive to shockingly expensive.

You might check your garage or garden shed and see if you have any containers on hand that you can recycle for your container garden.

I am not trying to be vague about answering your question. But the fact is that many different containers and planting techniques will work just fine. You can mix vegetable seeds and plants or plant separately.

The most important consideration is finding a sunny location for your garden, and having ready access to water. You will want to water your container garden every day unless the soil already appears wet.

It will also help to fertilize your growing garden with a liquid plant fertilizer every week or two. Follow the directions on the fertilizer container for exact timing and measurements.

I hope this helps. For more information, read some of my pages on container and potted garden ideas.

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Is it safe to start a garden near mature rose bushes?

by Jennifer
(Kingsville TX)

I am starting a vegetable garden in an area where I have mature rose bushes growing. Will this be a problem with either of them? How far from the bush should I start planting?

ANSWER:

As long as the rose bushes don't shade your garden vegetables, it should be fine. Just keep out of the rose bush roots (2-3 feet away from the outer edge of the bush).

Some of your vegetable plants will grow quite large, so be sure to leave enough space that you can get to them without getting poked by your roses!

Avoid using an insecticide, or pesticide on your roses while next to your garden, unless it is something that is also safe for use on a vegetable garden.

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Do I Have a Chance?

by Ashley
(Honesdale, PA)

I want to start a garden but I don't move into my new home until June 15 and will also need time to dig out a space and get the soil ready.

I have never done a garden before and know little about what I am doing. I would like to plant seeds but I'm afraid if I do it will be too late into the season and nothing will grow. What do you suggest I do?


ANSWER:

Go to a local garden center, and ask them which vegetables can grow to maturity in that time-frame in your area. There may be at least a few vegetables that you can grow with a late start.

Also, you could start a container garden earlier, and move it to your new home if that appeals to you.

At the least, you can go ahead and prepare your garden plot for next year's garden season. It helps to put mulch, straw, or manure on the garden over the winter months, so that it has time to break-down and soak into the soil somewhat.

When spring comes, you can mix the top-dressing into the soil using a rototiller or spade.

Then your new garden will be off to a great start!

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Availability of Garden Mint

by Mrs M Greene
(Marblehead MA)

I would like to order seeds to grow Garden Mint. I cannot find this herb in the local garden centers in MA ( Boston North Shore).

On the various websites I have visited, there is no mention of mint. Back home in England it was available everywhere.

Please advise.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs M Greene


ANSWER:

Check with Territorial Seed Company; one of my favorite seed companies. They have a website www.territorialseed.com. Their catalog is great. The company is located here in Oregon, but they ship their products all over the USA.

Their catalog offers several types of mint seeds. I believe that Garden Mint is what is called spearmint in their catalog. But they also have a toll free number that you can call to ask questions.


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When Do You Pick Jalapeno Peppers?

by Tom
(Florida)

When is it the right time to pick peppers? Some are very large and look ready but some are very small or even still flowering?


ANSWER:

The peppers mature continually over a period of time. You can harvest the peppers each day or week as they become ripe.

The flowers that are showing now will become peppers that will be ready for harvest in another month or so.

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Growing Celery

Does celery grow in California?



ANSWER:

Yes. Celery plants will not tolerate frost. But the plants also needs a long cool growing season in order to thrive. Celery is usually planted in the early spring in warmer climates. It needs about 3 months to mature.

Celery will grow in partial shade, but needs at least 6 hours of sunlight per day for best results.

Before planting celery, use lots of compost or a good fertilizer well-worked into the soil.

Celery plants also need a lot of water or they will become tough and stringy.

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Canning in Pressure Cooker

by Joanne Stone
(Greenville,Pa)

Do I need to have the canning jars and lids hot when using a pressure cooker?


ANSWER:

Yes, it is best to scald or heat the jars before using them in the pressure canner.

If you are canning fruits or vegetables that have boiling syrup or water added, this will also heat the jars.

Sometimes right before I need the jars, I run them through my dishwasher with the "heated dry" cycle on. This gets them really clean, and they are very hot before I add the boiling liquid and place them in the pressure canner.

My mother taught me to put the jar lids in a small pan of water on the stove. This is kept at a very low simmer, so that the lids are always very hot when placed on the jars.

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