Starshine
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Location: Knoxville, TN

My experimental batch this year...

Last year all I planted were annuals, you know the cheap easy ones. It was a VERY hot summer and humid here - almost killed everything. I live in Tennessee by the way. This year I have gone and purchased a ton of tulip, daffodil, coccus, hyacinth, and random bulbs and tubules. I have planted them all in containers and have them outside(in case we get one more cold snap and I need to bring them in). I have also bought corn, tomatoes, sunflower, okra, lettuce, and rosemary seeds and started them in a seed starter. I want to have a HUGE flower and vegetable garden this spring. I just need some advice on how to care for these plants. I adore the joy of raising plants. So far everything is just a pot of dirt(with seeds in them) or a pots with bulbs starting to pop through the soil. The weather has been perfect lately, in the 60's so I have had them in the sun most of the day.

Any advice on how to get my garden going and prospering? I have an in ground pool in my backyard and my front yard has azelia and a willow and a spruce, I want to turn my backyard into a huge garden. But most likely will just keep things in containers this year(unless I can get a plan for a true garden).

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rainbowgardener
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Re: My experimental batch this year...

Starshine wrote:Last year all I planted were annuals, you know the cheap easy ones. It was a VERY hot summer and humid here - almost killed everything. I live in Tennessee by the way. This year I have gone and purchased a ton of tulip, daffodil, coccus, hyacinth, and random bulbs and tubules. I have planted them all in containers and have them outside(in case we get one more cold snap and I need to bring them in). I have also bought corn, tomatoes, sunflower, okra, lettuce, and rosemary seeds and started them in a seed starter. I want to have a HUGE flower and vegetable garden this spring. I just need some advice on how to care for these plants. I adore the joy of raising plants. So far everything is just a pot of dirt(with seeds in them) or a pots with bulbs starting to pop through the soil. The weather has been perfect lately, in the 60's so I have had them in the sun most of the day.

Any advice on how to get my garden going and prospering? I have an in ground pool in my backyard and my front yard has azelia and a willow and a spruce, I want to turn my backyard into a huge garden. But most likely will just keep things in containers this year(unless I can get a plan for a true garden).
Am I understanding right that you only recently planted the bulbs (tulips, crocuses, etc)? Those are cold country bulbs that need 6 weeks or more of cold dormancy before spring in order to bloom. Sometimes you can purchase ready to grow ones that have already had the cold treatment. But anyway stop bringing them in!

In Tennessee you probably wanted to plant your lettuce seed directly in the ground awhile back. Mine was planted over a week ago, up here in Ohio. It is a cool weather crop that doesn't mind frost and cold, but will tend to bolt and go to seed as soon as the weather warms up.

Other than that, sounds like you are off to a good start. If you have other questions about starting your garden, it might help to ask them a little more specifically.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

Starshine
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Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:02 am
Location: Knoxville, TN

Well I bought bulbs(tulip, daffodill, croccuss, etc) that already have little sprouts coming out so I assumed they were ready to go. They are getting larger, and I got my first bloom today. I really want to know how to keep my flowers/vegetables healthy, blooming and producing, and alive! I planted carrots, lettuce, onion, peppers, tomato, beans, corn, okra, sunflower, rosemary, and I think that's. Started them in seed starters( planted way more of each than I need - these were seeds mind you). If they don't work out I'll buy seedling when they come out.

What tips do you have to start a new small vegetable garden with what i listed above. If seeds work well how many seedlings of each should I keep and what order should I plant? Nothing is in the ground this year yet, all in containers until I get my grass mowed and beds weeded and everything looking good.

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rainbowgardener
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It helps to start with a general sense of cool weather crops and warm weather crops.

Cool weather crops include the green leafies, most of the root crops, broccoli, cabbage, peas. They are cold hardy, frost tolerant, but don't like hot weather much. They are generally planted in the garden before the average last frost date. For the ones that are direct seeded in the ground, they say "as soon as the soil can be worked." That means the ground in unfrozen and dried out enough that it is crumbly, not clumpy.

"carrots, lettuce, onion, peppers, tomato, beans, corn, okra, sunflower, rosemary"

So from your list, the carrots, lettuce, onion are cool weather crops. All of them are usually direct seeded in the ground. For you, the time to be planting cool weather stuff is right now (if not sooner!). The onions are slow. I usually plant them in fall to be harvested the following summer. The carrots particularly do not transplant well. The root, which is what you want, tends to get messed up. If you want to keep going with your carrots in the seed starter, here's a thread where one of the mods, applestar, gave instructions about how to transplant them, since it's a bit tricky:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=183390#183390

The rest are warm weather crops. The tomatoes and peppers really benefit from being started ahead as you are. The rest can be started ahead or can be just planted in the ground.

How many seedlings of each to keep depends mainly on how much room you have to plant them in and secondarily how much of the crop you want/ can use. I plant 5 tomato plants in one 4' x8' bed. That is way crowded by most people's standards. You certainly wouldn't want to put any more in that amount of space. The five plants is about enough to keep the two of us in tomatoes all season, but not much left over (if you wanted to can tomatoes etc).

Corn does not do well, planted as just a few plants. It needs a little block of corn plants so that they can pollinate each other. As a rough estimate minimum would be a 4 x4' square planted with at least 12 corn plants. Corn can be planted once soil temperature (different from air temperature) is about 60 degrees. Unlike tomatoes which generally keep producing all season, corn matures its crop all at once, 1 -2 ears per plant. If you want to keep some corn coming it helps to do some succession planting - plant one block of corn plants, then two weeks later plant another.

I haven't grown okra and don't know anything about how they produce, but they are large plants, at least the size of tomato plant, but even bushier, i.e 6' tall and 4 - 6' wide. You would want to space your plants about 2' apart in every direction. It likes really warm soil, soil temperature like 75 degrees.

Beans are in between the corn and okra as far as when to plant. There are bush bean varieties and vining varieties. Unless you have bush beans, you will need to give the bean plants some kind of trellis to climb (could be just some strings strung between poles). Beans keep producing for awhile, maybe 20 pods or so, maybe 1/2 pint of beans from a plant (ROUGH estimate, varies a lot on conditions). Plant seeds of bush beans 2 to 4 inches apart in rows at least 18 to 24 inches apart. Plant seeds of pole beans 4 to 6 inches apart in rows 30 to 36 inches apart; or in hills (four to six seeds per hill) 30 inches apart, with 30 inches between rows.

The rosemary is a perennial. That means it is going to stay where you put it. So you don't want to plant it in with all the annual veggies. It needs its own spot. A couple rosemary plants is probably all you need.

I would start by figuring out how much room you have and can prepare the soil for and can take care of (remembering that preparing the soil and planting is only the first step, then you will need to be weeding and watering all summer). Once you know how much room you have, then you can figure out how much of what to plant. Since you are new at this, don't take on too much. You are way better off to have a small garden that you can take good care of and be happy with, than to end up mid-summer with a big weedy, buggy mess that you give up on!

You haven't asked about preparing the soil. That's what you should be thinking about right now. The secret to good plants is good soil. So put some effort into preparing your veggie beds well if you want to be happy with the results!

Hope this helps a little for getting started...
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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