Questions And Answers On Home Garden Tips

Kylee asks…

Tips for someone wanting to start a garden?

My husband and I just moved in our new home. We would like very much to start a garden of veggies and flowers. We have never really planted before and I was wondering when to start, and what is best to start out with. I would like to plant as many veggies as possible. What would I have the best luck at?

Home Gardener answers:

Cool weather crops can be planted 2-3 weeks before the last frost. They include lettuce, spinach, and onions. You can also plant a second harvest of them in late summer for a fall harvest. Other crops have to wait to be planted until all danger of frost has passed. They include beans, tomatoes, peppers, squash, and so on. For tomatoes and peppers, you buy seedlings instead of putting seeds in the ground. If you plant them, and a week later it gets down to 33 degrees one night, then you have to throw a tarp or blanket over them, or they will be totally dead by morning. So be careful about that.

Find a place in the yard. Cool weather crops would be alright with a little shade, especially afternoon shade when it gets really hot during the day. Tomatoes and whatnot like full sun. Take a shovel and scrape off the grass/ top 2-3 inches of sod. You can use it to transplant in a bare spot in your yard if you have any. Then, take a shovel and turn over the plot one shovel full at a time. It’s a lot of work so don’t plan on too big of a plot, or plan on a big workout and LOTS of exercise. You will then have to till the area with a rototiller, or you can chop it up with a shovel and hoe. That’s a lot of work, but that’s how I do my small garden. Using a rototiller is much easier, but avoid buying a doinky little rototiller because they are cheaper. Then, smooth the surface with a steel rake.

Next, stake out rows. Some plants need rows every 12″ and some need rows every 24″. To maximize space, I plant lettuce and spinach every 10″ or so. The back of the seed packet says 12″ or 18″. You need to make wooden stakes or buy whatever they are selling, and pull a white string tight between them to mark the row. (Twice as thick as kite string. Sold at hardware stores.) That way you can plant the seeds in a straight line. So stake out a row, plant the seeds, stakje out the next row, plant the seeds, stake out the next row, plant the seeds. It takes half a day or longer. When the seeds sprout, you pull up the stakes/string. You plant a seed every 2 or 3 inches or so, and then thin the seedlings to every six inches or so. Gardens like to be watered. I water mine almost every evening in the hot summer. It’s better wet than dry. The plants really respond to the water.

When you plant tomatoes seedlings, you add a small stake and loosely tie the plant to the stake with twine. When the plant overgrows the stake, you pull the stake and add a larger support. With both tomatoes and beans, you need to tie them up. For tomatoes, I buy a wire cage shaped like a cone from WalMart or somewhere else. They used to be $1-2, but some places charge $4-5 even though it’s just a few thick wires. You can support them any way you want. You can use a 6′ stake, or you can use several stakes and string between them. You tie off the plant to the support system. With beans that gown as vines, you put two stakes at each end of the garden and maybe a stake in the middle. You use string or wire horizontally at the bottom and top of the stakes. Then, you add strings vertically every 6″. The vines grow up the strings. Lots of people buy bush beans to avoid this process.

Don’t refigerate tomatoes after you pick them. They lose some of their flavor. Just let them sit on the kitchen counter. I use them in salads, and people love them as a side dish at supper salted and peppered. It is great having them every day during the summer.

Here’s a picture of a tomato cage:

Cage Baby

I got it from here. You can see different supports for tomatoes:;_ylt=A0geu7fLgspJE0YAGihXNyoA?ei=UTF-8&p=tomato%20cage&fr2=tab-web&fr=b2ie7

However you trellis beans is fine. Here is a string trellis. You can use whatever. The tomato cages also in this picture are from a roll of wire fencing (6″ gap farm fence). The fencing is cut to length and wrapped in a circle making a nice support:

Here they used wire instead of string for peas (vines like beans):

Pic of a garden:

Good luck.

Daniel asks…

Starting a home garden?

I’m basically interested in growing some of my own food-indoors or outdoors. I don’t know too much about hydroponics but would be willing to learn.

The climate is Northern Ohio.

I’ve noticed that seeds are relatively cheap assuming you can keep insects and disease away from the plants to get a decent crop.

Most Fruit/vegitable seeds: $1.50 a bag
Fruit bearing yearling trees: $35.00 a tree

Any tips?

Home Gardener answers:

Green beans are very easy to grow and generally produce a good crop. They don’t get many pests or disease. If you plant them now, you will have green beans by the middle of July – maybe sooner. I find bush beans are easier than pole beans, but both are productive.

Lettuce is an easy crop and pretty quick to produce.

Asparagus are a good home garden crop as they come back every year on their own. Strawberries are also a good home garden fruit because they also come back every year.

Ask at your local garden center what grows well in your area.

Fruit trees takes a lot of care and require spraying. That would not be a good choice for a beginning garderner.

Wayne asks…

How to start your first home vegetable garden?

Me and my wife just finished moving in to our first home and we want to have a vegetable garden next Summer. Problem is we both know absolutely NOTHING about gardening. Neither of us ever did any growing up, nor did our parents really do much either.I was hoping the community here could give some good tips to help us get started. We a do not have a ton of space, probably from a rough estimate I did a minute ago 12×50 at the max and that would need to include walking space since most of it is our side yard. We also live in Ohio so winter will need to be accounted for. If possible we would really like to do tomatoes and I have heard we may be able to grow them off the side of our garage saving us some space, and zucchinis would also be nice! Outside those we are open to any suggestions.

Anyways if anyone has helpful websites, step by step guides, general tips, advice on fertilizers or pesticides to use/not use all of it is appreciated, since as I said we are completely ignorant on this subject!

Home Gardener answers:

Good evening MSI Magus,

Let me be the first to say “congratulation” on your new house. I know you are excited about your house and your first garden. You will get better with (not a joke) age. Keep good records in your computer about each vegetable.

I love to help new gardeners. My best advice: Start with a small garden. 12×50 feet is too big for one person who is new at gardening especially with a new house. I would suggest 10×10 feet maximum to start. A garden is work. You need to discontinue your membership (smile) to your gym.

First: Head for Home Depot. Buy a Ph Soil Testing Meter. The meter cost is around $7. Soil ph is the secret/key to a healthy garden. The meter is easy to use, and it will last you for years. With good soil, you get twice the yields and fewer insects. Good soil also draws earthworms. Earthworms continuously help your plants and improve your soil. They also work for low wages (smile again).


Therefore test your soil. If your soil is too acidic add lime. If your soil is too alkaline add pine needles. Changing soil ph can take two years. Do this now. Read web site below. The web sites explain WHY ph levels are so important.


Next, buy some bags of chicken manure, compost/mulch, and a box of Epsom salt. I hope you know about compost and fertilizers. I use chicken manure.

Next till/turn your soil. You should be able to do this with a good hand pick or shovel. I use a hand pick because of the exercise. Try to till/turn at least 3 to 6 inches deep. Lightly hand sprinkle the whole area with Epsom Salt. Apply your chicken manure and compost now in the tilled area. Since you live in Ohio, let it rain on the area about two or three times. Cover the whole area with a big (paint dept.) plastic sheet. The sheets cost about $4 each. The plastic sheets will kill all the weed seeds. Place heavy rocks on the edges. Your garden will be ready to plant in the spring.


In the spring uncover your garden area. Till again and rake. You will have rich and beautiful weed free soil. Do this about ten days before you plant. You can grow any vegetable you like. Just follow the instructions on the package. Bell peppers and tomatoes do very well for all beginners. Start with small/starter plants from Home Depot. Very important you keep them damp and mulched, especially when the plants are young. Grow a yellow tomato. They fight off birds, mice and insects better than the red tomatoes. You will love to grow yellow tomatoes. They are easy. Again less work. They will come out great. They will be a great conversation piece around your house.

My freezer always has some stuffed bell peppers inside. Whenever my wife (or myself) doesn’t feel like cooking, unexpected guest, after a late night of partying/dancing, or listening to jazz at a locate club, in goes some stuffed bell peppers. She stuffs them with shrimp, sausage, hamburger, or ham/potato.

I grow a Japanese eggplant. They are very easy to grow. They have a beautiful purple flower. You can get some great recipes for eggplant. They also do very well for beginners.

I do not use pesticides or chemicals. Chemicals kill helpful insects. I go out at night with a flashlight, and I hand pick or cut the few worms and insects with scissors. I only have to do this once a month. Between the good insects and my own work, my plants stay healthy. You will also notice a good healthy garden has wasp flying from plant to plant. These are good insects which hunt the leaves for harmful worms and caterpillars. Wasps really fight for you and your plants.

Also plant a herb to attract more wasps. I plant Dill. Dill will grow about three feet tall. The plant will have nice looking flowers. Fresh dill is very good on fish. We use a lot of dill seeds for canning. Try these two things before using chemicals. They do work.

In my opinion, a raised garden is nothing but a way for Home Depot to advertise, push, and make money. Add up the materials for yourself. I find that the soils in raised gardens becomes weak and accumulates chemicals, fungi, viruses, and mildew.

I hope these were the tips you needed. You received these tips from an organic gardener with sixty (60) years experience. I started learning at the age of three (smile) from my uncle in the hills of Kentucky. I have a 20×20 feet garden and nine (9) rare fruit trees. Last year we canned over sixty quart jars of vegetables and fruits. Each year we give them out in a basket as Christmas gifts to family and friends.

Good luck new little beginner (smile). You and your family have a great week. Peace, from Los Angeles.

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