The Starter Garden

comments (20) March 15th, 2009

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Ruth Ruth Dobsevage, member
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Heirloom lettuces light up the spring garden.
Juliet grape tomato at summers end.
Welded wire fencing scraps support cucumber vines.
Heirloom lettuces light up the spring garden.Click To Enlarge

Heirloom lettuces light up the spring garden.

Photo: Ruth Dobsevage

If you’ve never grown vegetables before and want to give it a try, here are five relatively easy ones that will keep fresh produce on your table from spring to fall.

Homegrown lettuce is a welcome relief from insipid supermarket fare. Here’s something you might not know: Exotic-looking lettuce is just as easy to grow as plain green varieties. Here in Connecticut, you can plant seeds as early as mid-April. It’s a cool weather crop that matures quickly and usually bolts (goes to seed) by July. Plant the seeds in shallow furrows, as directed on the back of the seed packet, and thin or transplant when the plants start to grow. Instead of harvesting whole plants, just pick a leaf or two from several plants. Thay way, your lettuces will go on producing for several weeks.

Green beans produce bountifully over a long period of time. You can plant bush beans or filet beans in rows, or you can plant pole beans along a fence or tepee structure. Seed can be planted after the last frost-free date for your area. For a late-summer crop, plant mid-June. Once the beans ripen, harvest frequently, or the plants will stop producing. Frost kills beans, so pick whatever you have when you expect the temperature to drop below 32 degrees.

Tomatoes can be started from seed, but for the simplest experience, just buy sets at the local garden center. You’ll find plenty of offerings to choose from: cherry tomatoes (great for salads and snacking), plum tomatoes (for sauce), mid-sized, beefsteak, and maybe even some heirloom varieties. No need to pay big bucks for huge plants, either. The little six-pack seedlings will do just fine, if you plant and stake them properly. And by August, you should have plenty to eat. You can harvest tomatoes into the fall. When frost threatens, bring them all inside, where they will continue to ripen. Tomatoes can also be grown in containers, if you like.

Cucumbers and zucchini (or other summer squash varieties) are best started from seed about Memorial Day. You can get compact plants (bush varieties), but most are vines that need a lot of space. I like to grow cukes on fence sections. Plants will bear fruit in August. Cukes and zukes should be picked at peak ripeness, before they become tough and seedy. 

posted in: tomatoes, Lettuce, beans, zucchini, cucumber

Comments (20)

Johnychamp writes: hi
Posted: 12:41 am on October 30th
Patriciagilder writes: Nice
Posted: 2:17 am on October 14th
pattimay54 writes: I really like this one
Posted: 2:45 am on November 9th
learmsit writes: Small and mid sized tomatoes do best for me too.
Posted: 5:03 am on November 5th
martinblair54 writes: Awesome
Posted: 4:58 am on November 4th
abelhicks34 writes: Endclass
Posted: 2:22 am on November 2nd
Bethanymullins writes: Great job
Posted: 2:32 am on October 28th
hankrooster writes: I like this garden.
Posted: 4:47 am on October 24th
billybaker54 writes: Awesome
Posted: 12:59 am on October 24th
jessyjackson writes: Its good gardening procedure.
Posted: 5:25 am on October 17th
jessyjackson writes: Its good gardening procedure.
Posted: 5:25 am on October 17th
karlhardy55 writes: Garden looking awesome
Posted: 5:51 am on July 28th
jesushale writes: Its good method.
Posted: 5:56 am on March 3rd
hardythomson writes: My goal now is about refining my skills and experience, trying new things, decreasing my dependence on store-bought produce
Posted: 2:01 am on October 21st
DianaBoyce writes: really nice
Posted: 5:51 am on June 13th
CharlottBrown writes: likeeee
Posted: 6:11 am on May 22nd
CherylMays writes: superbbb
Posted: 3:04 am on May 21st
Barbarajhon writes: nice share
Posted: 3:42 am on May 19th
Ruth writes: Small and midsized tomatoes do best for me, too. As for beans, I plant some of each, but prefer the pole beans. I think you can avoid the pest problem with your beans if you plant them late, say June 15-30. Your pole beans should produce from August to frost if you keep them picked. For the zukes, maybe a light netting might keep the pests away.
Posted: 4:19 pm on April 20th
GEide writes: Great recommendations Ruth! I tried everything you mentioned (with success!) except cucumbers in my first veggie garden last year. Cherry tomatoes worked out really well, but I had some difficulty with the bigger tomato varieties.

I'm going to try pole and bush beans this year. I heard that the pole beans produce over a longer period of time? Last year, I only planted bush beans. I got gallons of green beans one week in July and that was it.

I also had a lot of trouble with pests. They went to town on my green bean and zucchini leaves. I have no idea what kind they were, but will have to do some research on how to foil them this year. -Gina
Posted: 3:57 pm on March 29th
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