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New Gardener Seeking Advice


Last year was our first attempt at a small garden and it went well enough that we're looking to expand our garden with a few new vegetables. Since I have what I like to say is a black thumb, I would like to ask a few questions and see if there are any veteran gardeners out there willing to help. Below is a list of the vegetables we're hoping to grow and a list of questions. Any help will be greatly appreciated!!

Plants: Carrots Summer Squash/Yellow Squash Zucchini Cucumber Green Peppers Red Peppers Peas (the kind you take out of the pod, not snap) Cherry Tomatoes Reg. Tomatoes (not sure the name) Strawberries..... maybe Basil (in a pot) Chive (in a pot) Rosemary (in a pot) Mint (in a pot) Parsley (in a pot) Oregano (in a pot)

My questions: 1. Can I buy this/theses as a plant and not as a seed? 2. When do I plant them in the ground.... we've already tilled. 3. How much water/ sunlight does it need? 4. How much spacing between each plant? 5. When do I pick them? 6. Are there any special needs for any of these plants?

Again, I'm really new to gardening so I appreciate the help. My kids loved the vegetables we grew last year even if they were just a handful. I'm even hoping to learn the fine art of canning this year instead of freezing everything and praying my freezer doesn't go out! I know I can probably look this up on google or something but it's nice to be able to ask local gardeners that are familiar with the weather conditions, soil, etc. Thanks!! Dejacrew423


Deja Coffin 8 years ago

Please help this momma out!! Thanks!!

RoeDapple 8 years ago

Taking a soil sample from your garden plot to the Douglas County Extension agent for analysis can save you a lot of second guessing on alkalinity, porosity,etc. If you buy seeds to start, the packaging should tell you about watering, sunlight requirements. Most nurseries have knowledgeable staff who can tell you the best growing conditions for your purchases. I have had excellent experiences with Pines on North 3rd and Henry's Plant Farm west of Lawrence.

Happy Gardening!

BorderRuffian 8 years ago

Mega dittos on Roe's advice. I took soil samples to the extension agent and discovered that my soil was way too alkaline, and the agent gave me instructions on what to do. Turned out to be entirely different than I would have suspected otherwise. Kudos to the lady agent!!!

Henry's has wonderful plants! They're pretty knowledgeable also.

Be not dismayed when you plant your zucchinis and squash - you will discover nasty little spacebugs that will destroy the plants overnight. Ask the place where you buy your seed (zucchinis do better planting from seed and come up lightening fast) and they might help you get a little control over the little buggers.

By the way, gardening is a lot of BS - or at least it ought to be. Find a good source of BS (aka cow manure) and incorporate it in the soil - it'll add wonderful organic matter and lots of nutrients.

If we get lucky enough to have a good tomato year, there is NOTHING like fresh off'n the vine home grown tomatos. They're even better than those nice pinky orange ones ya gets on a Mickee Dee's McTasteless Mombo burger.

Deja Coffin 8 years ago

Thank you RoeDapple, looks like that's what I'll have to do. And pick up a Gardening for Dummies book while I'm at it. Any suggestions on where the cheapest place to buy plants is?

LadyJ 8 years ago

I got some from the farmer's market last year. Talking to plant vendors may yield advice. Was it Henry's that was having a clinic on vegetable gardening this weekend?

LadyJ 8 years ago

Started my seeds inside weeks ago ( only place I do nude gardening sorry merill) and hopefully will be ready in a couple of weeks. Started a strawberry bed last year so I hope I get some this year. I hope the few berry bushes I planted last year made it through the winter. Think the rabbits chewed on them a bit. Tried to grow broccoli last year in a raised garden bed and darned if the rabbits didn't jump up two feet to eat them down to the roots. I tried rhubarb in a container last year but thought it didn't work out. Threw it out for the rabbits and darned if I don't have the biggest rhubarb plant growing out there. Mostly trying container gardening, by the way Topsey Turvey is a Flopsy Whopsy.

verity 8 years ago

Henry's Plant Farm is a great place to buy plants---they grow their vegetables from seed, so you know they are acclimated to this weather and not hauled in on a truck from Alabama or someplace.. Mrs. Henry is most helpful---she also is often at the Farmer's Market with plants. They have dozens of kinds of tomatoes and signs with instructions and explanations. Also a lovely garden with a lookout that you can wander through with the kids. Make sure you give yourself several hours when you go there.

Basil won't overwinter, but take your other potted herbs inside, although I would advise planting them in the ground and letting them overwinter outside---except for rosemary---it will only survive outside if the weather is very mild. Sage is another good herb and quite hardly.

A warning---once you get started you will be hooked.

cato_the_elder 8 years ago

If you're seeking gardening advice, the first advice I'd offer is for you to learn how to spell "gardener," especially since it appears in the caption of your blog.

RoeDapple 8 years ago

deja are a honeraree cuzin so gits a free pass on spellin

Deja Coffin 8 years ago

Thank you for being so concerned with the misspelled word in the caption of my blog. I know that must have really bothered you. If you'll notice I did spell it correctly in the actual blog so it could have either been an oversight while balancing a fussy two year old on my lap or I don't know how to spell the word at all and try several different ways out hoping one is right. Feel free to visit my past comments and have a field day with correcting spelling and grammar. In fact, I think in one I used the word homocide instead of homicide. How exciting!! Either way, I'm just teasing. I know I'm a horrible speller, spell-checker, talker, etc. but I thankfully I was also blessed with the, "oh who cares you know what I was trying to say," attitude to balance it all out!

LadyJ 8 years ago

sheze akchewly the bestest spellin cuzin. She wonded that ther countree cuzin spellin be last weak.

LadyJ 8 years ago

This is hilarious, I originally tried to spell countree without the o (not realizing it spelled an offensive word) and got this message when I went to previewed the comment

Watch your mouth! The words "c--t" are not allowed here.

So even though there was a ree after the t, because the letters c-u-n- were in front of the t, I got told to watch my mouth. I was too chicken to just hit post without changing the spelling to see what would happen.

impska 8 years ago

Definitely keep your mint in a pot - some people even advise a pot with no holes, since it spreads vigorously through its roots. Most of your stuff can be put in the ground May 1. Chives, parsley, lettuce and peas can all be planted now by seed or plant, carrots can be done now by seed, strawberries can be done now by plant.

Everything other than carrots can be bought as a plant - just don't buy your warm-weather plants too early. Some garden centers stock warm weather plants such as tomatoes, peppers and basil now, but to be safe, you should wait until May on those.

verity 8 years ago


They're giving some classes this weekend and next. Also there is a PDF file of plants.

tomatogrower 8 years ago

Keep a journal, so you can remember what worked, and what didn't. And draw a picture of where you planted what, so you rotate them.

Deja Coffin 8 years ago

Thanks for all the advice, I really appreciate it. Sometimes it's just easier to ask local gardeners! I'll definitely be getting those peas and carrots in ASAP.... like tomorrow! I really enjoy gardening even if I'm just a beginner and can't wait to get some veggies in the ground. I do have onions in so far!

Deja Coffin 8 years ago

Thank you, feel free to read my prior response to the spelling mishap and insert your name. I'll check and see if I can correct it.... I didn't even think about that!

Deja Coffin 8 years ago

Thank you TOB, last year I had the cutest cucumber plant that was just growing crazy and was so proud of it. One day my gardener friend comes by and I of course had to show it to her so she could see how well I was doing. She takes one look at it and goes, "um, that's not a cucumber plant..... in fact, it's just a weed." So I'm learning fast that some things will grow great, (last year it was zucchini) and others, not so much.

Pywacket, thank you for the advice. I don't live 'in' Lawrence but close enough that I'm definitely going to go by the county extension office and pick up some information on the plants. To be honest, I never knew there were so many avenues to help me out. My birthday is at the end of April so maybe momma will have to ask for a couple tomato plants for her birthday!

verity 8 years ago

Know the feeling. I carefully tended a plant growing where I had planted something only to be told it was a horse weed.

Danielle Brunin 8 years ago

Something fun to try is growing celery in a pot. Buy a bag of celery and cut somewhere between 1/4 and halfway up the stalk. Basically, the part that would be discarded. I leave a little extra so that it looks prettier, and water well. The original stalks will harden and die back, but leaves and tender little stalks will grow from the center (basically the really tasty parts). You can use them for salads and soups. I did this as an experiment last year and it grew until the beginning of September. My son loves to walk by and snack on it.

I grow tons of stuff in a container and always have pretty good success. Regarding the strawberries, you can get Ozark Beauty everbearing strawberries at Henry's that are already producing fruit. They slow down in the heat, but if you mulch them, they will produce into the fall. Container gardening has become so popular that there are lots of good varieties to try. They even have bush watermelons for containers. I didn't have a lot of luck with those last year, but I want to try again!

Danielle Brunin 8 years ago

Oh, and one word of caution if you grow zucchini, squash, melons, and cucumbers, space them far apart because they will cross-pollinate if given the chance. Be sure and space them far apart so you don't end up with funky squash cucumber melons. :)

Deja Coffin 8 years ago

Thank you... I was going to plant my zucchini and summer squash right next to each other but I think I'll make sure they are on opposite sides of the garden. Although a squash/zucchini could actually be good. I think we're definitely going to try the celery thing, my girls will love it!

Deja Coffin 8 years ago

Thank you Pywacket for the help. Good to know about rotating crops because I did have some zucchini and green peppers last year and was going to just plant them in the same place. I will definitely change it up this time. I am really learning a lot and I do appreciate it. I finally got my carrots and peas planted so I'm hoping they weren't started too late.

gatekeeper 8 years ago

Just move to N. Lawrence and you'll hardly have to do anything to your garden and it will be huge compared to gardens in the rest of town. My tomato plants grow up and over my privacy fence. Seriously, if you know anyone in N. Lawrence, buy some of their soil. When I do move from there, I'll be hauling dirt away for my new garden. I don't know if Pine's sells any N. Lawrence soil, but if they do it would be worth getting.

If you're doing cucumbers, grow them up a trellis. Works great and they aren't laying on the ground and it takes up a lot less space.

Don't plant most of your stuff until after the 1st weekend in May. There's always a chance of a freeze until you make it to that weekend.

Good luck!!

Deja Coffin 8 years ago

I'll have to check out Pine's on the soil, I really love that place and it's closer to where I live. Do you think I could use my fence as a trellis for the cucumbers? That sure will free up some space in my garden!

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