Welcome to my special gardening page for those of you who like to garden yourselves! Each week, I will make suggestions as to what gardening tasks we need to do every week during the growing season. It will help keep you on track--as well as myself!
To keep things simple, I am using the year's weekly number, Week #1 through #52 (example: the week of January 1 is Week #1), instead of specific dates.
So, come on! Let's get our hands dirty!
Easy Plants for the Beginner Gardener
If you are new to gardening, there are lots of plants that you can start from seed or tubers, directly in the ground right now, and have great success! These plants grow quickly and easily in full sun. You will have food and flowers before you know it!
In the vegetable patch:
In the flower garden:
In the Vegetable Patch:
Nothing is better on hot summer's day than biting into a cold, crisp cucumber. These easy growers require little attention from us, other than giving them plenty of water. They love the heat, but also need lots and lots of water.
They are available in both bush type, which are compact and can even be grown in containers; or vine types, which need to have some kind of trellis or tall teepee made out of large poles to climb up on. Which ever type you choose, be sure to mulch heavily with straw or wood chips to help conserve water and keep any fruit that may lay on the ground, clean.
Nothing beats the fresh taste of Scallions, either chopped raw and used as a garnish, or grilled with olive oil. Scallions are nothing more than immature onions, grown from seed. Pick what ever variety of onion you like to eat! Sliced red scallions can be beautiful sprinkled on a green salad.
A lot of them can be grown in a very small space. They can be grown in rows or blocks; but for easy weeding, I recommend rows. Scallions can be planted fairly thickly, then just harvest the biggest ones as you need them, leaving the rest to grow on.
For the biggest reward, for the least amount of effort, nothing is easier than Summer Squash! Just stick a seed in the ground, water it and stand back! Before you know it, you'll have enough squash to feed the whole neighborhood.
Summer Squash come in many different varieties, from green to yellow to striped; smooth, bumpy; long, round, crooked necked - even saucer shaped!
This is another very thirsty plant, so give it lots of water.
All have different flavors, so try several and choose your favorite.
Bush Beans are another quick and easy crop for beginners, as well. They are great to grow amongst summer squash, too! Plant them around your squash as they grow. These compact beans will grow, bear and be done before the squash overtakes them. Like the name implies, they are a small bushy plant that requires no staking or trellis to climb on.
Plant seeds in succession every two or three weeks, removing the old plants as they wane. You can get three or four harvests in a summer.
They come in several different colors, as well - green, yellow, red speckled, even purple! Have some fun, grow some beans!
In the Flower Garden:
Beautiful, dancing, Cosmos. What could be more cheerful in a garden? This old fashioned favorite will delight you with arm loads of flowers week after week. They come in mostly white, pink, lavender, purple and magenta colors; but there are are also yellow, orange and red varieties.
Although the plants can get quite large, the leaves are delicate and lacy, so they never overwhelm other plants in the garden. Cosmos also come in several different flower forms, including doubles, ones with shell shaped petals, semi-doubles, even some shaped like cupcake papers!
All you have to do is scatter seeds directly on the ground and water in. They will do the rest. Keep picking them to keep them blooming and remove any spent blossoms. Once you plant them, they reseed readily and will pop up all over the garden next year. Either leave them for a wildflower effect, or transplant them where you want them.
Zinnias still remain one of my favorite flowers to grow. They are so easy, fast growing and very prolific in their blooms. They come in so many colors and sizes, that you are sure to find several that tickle your fancy!
They go from seed to 36-40" tall in full flower in less than 30 days! They also come as small as 12" and everything in between. As long as you keep picking them or dead heading the spent blooms, they will keep producing all summer. These bright beauties will put a smile on your face every day.
Gorgeous, exotic Dahlias! Sigh... Who knew they could be so easy to grow? They most commonly are grown from tubers, but also can be grown from seed to full sized flowering plant in one season. When you buy them as tubers, you know what you are getting and they come in a huge variety of colors, sizes and flower forms. When you plant seeds it's "pot luck", but can be really fun!
Dahlias have a reputation of being really difficult to grow, but it's not true. They are extremely easy, if you grow them as annuals, instead of trying to winter them over. They will not tolerate any frost and it's the digging and storing of the tubers that is difficult. However, if you grow them as annuals and just replace them every year, they are extremely easy. The seeds are cheap and tubers are generally inexpensive. The plants are quite large, so you only need three or four of them to fill a very large space.
Place the tubers in a hole about six inches deep, cover and don't water until you see green shoots above the soil line. The tubers will rot otherwise. They will need staking, too, as the flowers can be quite large and heavy. Put the stake in when planting so the tubers don't get damaged.
It will take a while to get flowers, Dahlias are a late season bloomer, so don't expect any flowers until August. They are well worth the wait, however, and will reward you with profusions of flowers until frost.
Now, lets get busy!
If you have any questions, put them in the comments below!
Valmont Valley Farm
Where Beautiful Magic is Always in Bloom
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