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New Gardener Seeking Advice

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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

Comments

gatekeeper 4 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!!

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rodentgirl16 4 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. :)

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rodentgirl16 4 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!

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Deja Coffin 4 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!

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Pywacket 4 years ago

Deja~ Everybody's right about waiting on the tomatoes.... However, it's so cheap to buy a 4-pack or 3-in pot or two, I always put a few in early--last week of April--just to get a jump on the season. Put in a couple of Early Girls (or other shorter-season variety), and give them a homemade hot cap if if the nighttime temp looks to be dangerously low. If you lose 'em, you're out, what?--$4-$5? But if the gamble pays off, you could harvest the first tomatoes on your street!

Whenever you plant, remember to plant deep. Strip the lower leaves off the tomato plant and bury half the stem or more. Your plants will root better and be stronger. Also, as they grow, pinch the axial growth (small shoots that grow between the main stem and each "branch") for optimal production.

The county extension office, in the brick building at the fairgrounds, on Harper, has printed sheets on every kind of item you could think of growing. They are very informative and usually include particular varieties (especially helpful for perennials and trees) that do best in KS. You can also go to the KSU website and find the same flyers that you can download and print.

Also, before you spend a lot of money on books, hit the Lawrence Public Library. They have an extensive collection of gardening books. Look for the newer ones for up-to-date information. That's also a good starting place for building your personal library--you can see which books you really like and which are ultimately useless before you spend money on them. Once you find a few you love, they might be available on Amazon or Daedalus at a pretty good price. Look at Dusty Bookshelf, too--they have a pretty good selection of gardening books.

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timetospeakup 4 years ago

It's gardener, not gardner

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The_Original_Bob 4 years ago

Deja -

Trial and Error. You'll be pleased with some things and mad at others. Have fun!

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Deja Coffin 4 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!

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tomatogrower 4 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.

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verity 4 years ago

http://www.thehenrysplantfarm.com/news.htm

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

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impska 4 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.

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Pywacket 4 years ago

...cont.

Another fun way to grow climbers, especially for kids: take 6 or 8 long bamboo poles or 1x1 wood stakes (8-foot length is good), and dig them into the ground, deep enough to anchor (~6 inches) in a circle, with equal distance between each pole or stake. Angle them so that you can lash them together at the top with twine, making a tepee scaffolding. You can also wrap twine around the circumference (tying tightly at each pole) of the tepee at 2-3 different heights) to provide a little horizontal support for the growing vines.

Plant peas, green beans, scarlet runner beans (red flowers and very cool, edible, variegated beans), or other climbers around the base of the tepee. As the vines grow and cover the structure, the leaves will fill in and the kids can get inside the shady tepee and play. Leave an area unplanted between 2 poles or stakes--this will be the entrance to the tepee. For a more finished look, go out about 6 to 8 inches from where the vines are planted, and put in some pretty annuals (impatiens, snapdragons, sweet williams, petunias) or compact herbs (globe basil, lavender, thyme) around the tepee. They will fill in and provide a visual anchor to the ground and hide the bases of the vines. (Plus, they keep the mower from getting too close and nicking the vines...)

Sunrise Nursery (on E 15th St.) is a good source of herbs and bedding plants. I also go to Pine's, Ace Hardware, and Enright Gardens--out in the country! Go to Baldwin, get on 56 Hwy heading E toward Edgerton and Gardner. Watch for signs--you'll take a left from the highway, then watch for another sign showing you one more turn--they are on N 400 Rd. Here's their website: http://enrightgardens.com/ Kind of a drive from Lawrence, but grab a girlfriend and go on one of these nice spring days. Huge selection of flowers, herbs, veggies... They have a great variety of tomatoes, peppers, and other veggies, but go back for those in a few weeks. There's also Vinland Valley Nursery, between Vinland & Baldwin... http://www.vinlandvalleynursery.com/

The cool thing about all these little spots is that each one will have something or other that you can't get at any of the others. I make the rounds each year.

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Pywacket 4 years ago

I would advise putting the herbs directly in the ground--they will be much more productive that way. As T_O_B mentions, if they're in pots, it will be hard to keep them watered properly. Too little and the roots will fry in those pots--too much and they will rot. Also, most herbs will yield all summer and into the fall, especially if you trim them with garden shears regularly. Use, dry, or freeze the cuttings and the plants will bush out nicely. Semi-hardy herbs, such as rosemary, can be potted up and taken indoors in the fall, or you can mulch them & they may make it through the winter.

Herbs that the kids like, or that are just a kick to grow: pineapple sage (leaves really smell like pineapple and plant has pretty red flowers) clary sage (blue flowers) stevia (a natural sugar sub--my son loves to nibble the leaves) scented geraniums (lemon, rose, coconut, etc) dill parsley oregano various thymes (woolly, creeping, lemon, variegated) lemon balm (hardy perennial--spreads but is not a nuisance) borage (big rosette of large leaves, pink buds which open to pretty blue flowers; crush the leaves and put into iced tea for a refreshing flavor; edible flowers can be scattered in a salad or candied and used to garnish a frosted cake) nasturtium (not technically an herb but entirely edible--leaves & flowers can be put into salads, buds can be pickled and used as a substitute for capers; plus, they love bad soil! If you have an area of the yard where the soil is deficient, plant nasturtium there. Don't fertilize. They'll do great. Too much nitrogen and they won't flower well.) Mints are invasive, so put them in some part of your yard where they can't take over your garden plot. Again, you can pot them up, but they'll do much better in the ground.

In general, veggies, herbs, and sun-loving flowers need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. Some, such as tomatoes, peppers, and squash, benefit from as much as they can get.

Cool-weather crops--peas, lettuce, spinach, broccoli--will stop producing when it gets too hot, especially if they are in the open, with the sun beating on them. Plant peas now (if not two weeks ago!), and plant a lot! Be sure to have somewhere for them to climb. An easy & cheap solution: take two sections of cattle pen, stand them (long sides horizontal) about 2 feet apart, dug into the ground about 4 inches, with the top sides tied together. This will form a long, open "tent" less than 4 feet high (because they are angled inward). Plant peas, beans, cukes, or other climbers along the length at the bottom edge of each section, and they will grow up the sides. It will be easy to pick the pods and it's a lot less work than stakes, strings, & the like.

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LadyJ 4 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.

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LadyJ 4 years ago

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

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cato_the_elder 4 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.

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The_Original_Bob 4 years ago

"Sage is another good herb and quite hardly."

Sage is awesome. I love it when it starts going downhill on cool fall, windy afternoons. The smell is awesome.

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verity 4 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.

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LadyJ 4 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.

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The_Original_Bob 4 years ago

When you till in the garden, throw in some chicken poop. You can buy it in bags at some store. Failing that, just use manure. You can find that anywhere. Don't plant your tomatos or peppers until May. The ground needs to warm up. The herbs will do just fine in pots. Just watch it on hot summer days that they do not dry out. You may have already missed the boat for Strawberries this year, but MD is right, critters eat them up. IMO, they aren't worth the trouble. Zucchini and Squash are the devil's vegetable.

Other easy to grow stuff... green beans, spinach, cucumbers, and hippie lettuce.

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Multidisciplinary 4 years ago

1) check that headline Lady, giggles. 2) Here is a link to Sedgwick County's Ext. Office with KSU's info links, which are wonderful!!! Dg County also has similar site, but it doesn't have nearly the same number of excellent links. This one lists the plants they've researched as being great for the area, included exact varieties to be proven better, etc. Printable pages to take with you to the store if you want to, etc. http://www.sedgwick.ksu.edu/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=404

From mine and my parent's years of experience, unless you are willing to start seeds early indoors, then transplant, many things you list are better off spending the money on seedlings and getting those weeks of head start, being able to see their healthy plants to choose from, and you'll get an earlier yield, this not being Georgia, where you've got a longer growing season. Don't forget to ask the nursery about pinching back to promote bushier grown, and for how long.

I'll divide up your list(IMHO), others will have their own too. (Order yourself a free Henry Field's seed catalog too, this will help too, but I'd check out the site first) Seeds: Carrots Summer Squash/Yellow Squash Zucchini Cucumber Peas (the kind you take out of the pod, not snap)

I think I've seen everyone grow these from seeds, I've only grown a few. I know you can get Mint in pots. Basil (in a pot) Chive (in a pot) Rosemary (in a pot) Mint (in a pot) Parsley (in a pot) Oregano (in a pot) Mom always said to get two types of large tomatoes, beefsteak and some other large one.(Early Girl?, not sure) I'm trying to remember, some years around here, some had some bad years, plus some worked better for some dishes, so she liked a variety, along with her cherries.

Plant enough squash to be able to harvest small, yet have enough for each meal. (IMHO, nice to slice and for looks.) Also know, if you're watering, you'll have a lot of a few plants. They take a lot of room..compared to a geranium, lol.

Strawberries. These are the plant and get the first year bumper crop you might be expecting, read up. Unless you plant a lot, in my opinion, these are a crop that tends to get eaten off the vine faster than they ripen to use for cooking, lol. (darn kids..but that's what they are for, right, wouldn't have changed a thing!) Same thing with the other berry bushes, it was a rare day any hit the table after we went to pick them. lol. cont

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LadyJ 4 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?

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Deja Coffin 4 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?

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RoeDapple 4 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!

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Deja Coffin 4 years ago

Please help this momma out!! Thanks!!

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