Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:41 pm
Location: Mississippi

New to Vegetable Gardening - Questions

Sooo.... My wife and I have decided to start a vegetable garden this yr. We are in Mississippi by the way (zone 8). We will be doing raised beds.

We are going to try: Jalepenos, serranos, Habeneros, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, zuchini and summer yellow squash. I ordered packets of seeds of each from Burpees along with their xl seed starting kit. We would like to grow 2 of each, with some extra rm to rotate in some lettuce and spinach as needed.

How much space do yall think we will need?

Does it matter what I plant together?

suggestions, things to think about?

Oh and we are in the process of starting a compost bin made of chicken wire. Thanks in advance, Chad

Full Member
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:29 am
Location: Milton

I don't grow all of what you plan to grow, but I've done quite a bit of reading here and elsewhere. I don't think there will be any issues with what gets planted where as far as any chance for cross pollination/disease issues etc.

I believe burpee gives plant width information on a lot of their plants. So that can give you an idea of how big of an area each one needs. And of course you need to add open space onto that and account for that too.

When deciding what to plant where, just keep the sun in mind. If your rows are running east and west, you want the taller plants to be to the north of shorter ones, so the talls don't shade out the shorts. So if it were me and you had one raised be, I'd want tomatoes "furthest from the sun" or to the north, then peppers, then squash/zuc, then spin/let. You could probably make an argument to plant the squash/zuc to the north of the peppers, simply because they tend to grow bigger faster. But I wouldn't expect any issues either way. There are many other ways you could design the plants in your bed, but always keep the sun and shading in mind.

If you want 2 of each plant, do not start only 2 seeds of each. With the seeds being cheap generally speaking, plant liberally. I would either do about 6 of each tomato and pepper seed, or 3 cells with two seeds each. If all the seeds come up, you can just pull up the weaker one when you're sure you will get the amount of plants you want. It wouldn't be a bad idea to even keep an extra growing, because problems can arise later in the growing stage as well. I wouldn't start the squash and zuc in the starter pack. I would plant the seeds directly into the garden. Others may have a different opinion, but unless you have a limited growing season there is just no need. I'm not sure about the lettuce and spinach as far as starting them, as I have little experience.

I have typed enough here, and want to let others give their opinion as well because like I said, I am far from an expert. But one other tip I can give you is that you will definitely need to decide how you are going to support the tomatoes and peppers if you want to ensure their health and safety. I wouldn't recommend the basic 3 to 4' store bought cages for the tomatoes. Depending on type, they will almost certainly outgrow them quickly. Plan on needing something a minimum of 5', likely 6' maybe more. You and your wife can decide which method is best for you. There is an entire "sticky" thread on this site I believe in the tomato section about ways to support them. Peppers have several options as well. With only 6 plants or so, I would recommend a separate stake for each plant, and a loosely, yet sturdily tied cloth or string to hold them up. They aren't nearly as troublesome as tomatoes.

Good luck

Senior Member
Posts: 266
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:24 am
Location: AZ, zone 9

Hey AFGuy! I am in zone 9, in Arizona.
I would definitely get the lettuce and spinach planted ASAP, if you want to eat any of it. When it gets too hot little pests will either eat it all or it will bolt (bloom and go to seed) and be very bitter and most likely die off anyway.

The tomatoes and peppers will need plenty of root space and are both heavy feeders, meaning they will need lots of organic matter and fertilizer, so try not plant them too close together. They both like lots of sun and the peppers can tolerate the higher heat and longer hours of daylight, so you can plant them in the sunniest parts of the garden.You can start the seeds for them indoors right now and they'll be ready to go in your raised bed when they have a few pairs of true leaves (not the tiny seed leaves which look totally different than the plant's mature leaves.)

Do some research on the types of tomatoes you have to find out how much space they each need. This will depend on the variety and can differ a lot. I'd give the peppers about 1- 2 square feet per plant. At some point you're going to need to cage and/or stake the tomatoes and probably cage the peppers, as well. So keep that in mind during your space planning. Decide where you want the bigger plants first. This will save you lots of headaches later. :D

If you're growing head lettuce you can leave some extra space between the peppers and tomatoes and direct seed the lettuce now (while the other seeds are starting in the house). Once you get the tomatoes and peppers in there they'll provide a bit of shade for the lettuce and can extend your grow time on them a little bit. 8)

The spinach is not really going to tolerate much heat, so I'd plant in the front where it will get lost of sun while it still cool and you can access it easily to harvest the leaves continuously without climbing into the middle of the dern box. If you're wanting to eat the lettuce as baby lettuce, plant it the same way so you can harvest the tender leaves easily and often. It will also be easier to pull them up when they begin to flower.

Squash are vines and will do very well in your weather conditions there. Maybe better than you will want them to! :wink: You might want to consider giving them their own bed. The zucchini and yellow squash will grow well together and the vines will become inextricably interwoven. You'll be able to tell the ripe squash apart easily. You could easily do 3-4 plant in four square feet, but do them as much room as possible, they will use all the room you allow them and are generally heavy producers.

If you must plant them in the bed with tomatoes and peppers you'll want to give them something to climb up/on and will have to train them to it pretty regularly. If you neglect training them they will take over your garden and grow over your peppers and tomatoes, and might even choke them out. If I want cukes, squash, melons, what have you, I have to plant them with other things in a large bed and they do very well on a trellis that I put behind the peppers, in front of other things that will be wanting afternoon shade in the summer months. The squash will start taking off when it's getting pretty warm and the tomatoes want less sun anyway.

Good luck! Do let us all know how it turns out!

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