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Planting a Garden, Part 3

Consider space and environment for the best outcome!

Once you have your garden prepared and ready for planting, you have the task of choosing what types of plants will work for you. If you are preparing a vegetable garden, it's best to choose vegetables that will have a high yield over the course of the summer. (Of course, it helps if you actually plan to eat the vegetable you grow.)

Tomato plants come in several varieties and will produce throughout the summer for consistent, weekly crops if they are cared for properly. You can purchase young tomato plants from your local home and garden or hardware store this time of year.

Lettuce, cucumbers, cantaloupe, zucchini, peas, spinach, beans and beets can all be planted this time of the year with relative ease and a high crop yield throughout the summer.

Spacing the seeds or plants out in your garden is essential and cannot be stressed enough. Tomato plants will require wire cages around them to grow properly and prevent the tomatoes from falling to the ground, where they can rot before you pick them. Make sure you allow for plenty of space between each tomato plant and its cage, about 2 or 3 feet to give each plant enough room to grow to its maximum potential.

Cantaloupes, cucumbers and zucchini tend to spread out all over, with long tangled vines; it’s best to keep the crawling, vine-type plants on their own side of the garden with a trellis for the vines to crawl on. Lettuce and beet seeds can be spaced a couple of inches apart in the soil at a depth of about an inch.

For those growing flowers, there are a multitude of choices out there. Annuals and perennials come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors to suit your taste and style. Consider how much sun or shade you have in your garden; some plants prefer the sun, while others like the shade, and choosing the wrong types of plants for the environment probably won’t turn out right.

When you are shopping for the perfect plants, check the tags on each plant if you are not familiar with the particular species of flower. The little tags on each plant usually identify the species and preferred habitat of the plant or flower; by checking those little tags, you will be saving yourself some major headaches!

Claire Gawinowicz May 02, 2011 at 02:31 PM
Thank you, Carolyn, for your Gardening 101 tips. They are very helpful and I am ejnoying them. Do you have any tips on how to keep pests (bunnies, bugs and other critters) away organically? I do not want to use chemicals.
Laurel May 03, 2011 at 06:51 PM
First for Claire. Look into the benefits of Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE). It, unfortunately, won't keep the bunnies away, but it will definitely help wth the bugs. It is totally organic. Secondly, I've found that shopping online for my cantaloupe plants and everything else I plant for the garden each year saves me a ton of time and money, both in traveling to the grocery store and when I get there, and just traveling to find all the plants I want. I found GardenHarvestSupply upon the recommendation of a friend because it is really a long ways (70 miles) for me to travel. So, I order from a HUGE selection; they come right to my front door; they're healthy and guaranteed. My cantaloupe plants, along with my watermelons, Salsa Peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers were amazing producers last year! I did pickles for the first time, but my biggest pleasure was watching my husband and grandkids harvesting melons from the cantaloupe plants and then slicing and eating them right there! Check them out here: http://www.gardenharvestsupply.com/ProductCart/pc/Potted-Cantaloupe-Plants-for-Sale-Muskmelon-Honeydew-c53.htm and HAPPY GARDENING! TIS THE SEASON!
Laurel May 03, 2011 at 06:52 PM
I fogot to say Claire--you can find all kinds of info on DE at the same place mentioned above. I used it last year and also treated my yard and pets and didn't see a flea or tick all year....really!
Carolyn Jordan May 03, 2011 at 10:49 PM
As far as keeping pests away, there is no perfect solution, but there are a lot of tricks out there that can help. Aside from using fencing as a barrier there are natural products called "Deer Scram" and "Deer Away" which keep deer and rabbits away without the use of chemicals (Deer scram really works! it needs to be re-applied every 2 weeks). These are comprised of garlic powder, black pepper and a dried-blood scent that scares animals away....but it doesn't smell too bad to humans. You can also use things like little mirrors tied to string to create a barrier that scares away deer and birds, but most people don't like the glare. Some people have used bar soap, like Irish spring or Dial, cut up into little pieces and scattered about the garden; this method can keep some animals away, but others are very stubborn. Slugs love to chow down on cabbage, and they can be trapped by placing very shallow dishes filled with a mixture of cheap beer and laundry detergent around the garden. The slugs will be attracted to the smell of the beer and fall into the mix and die....keeping them off the vegetables!

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