Jan 24

15 Gardening Tips

okra flower

Okra Flower

1. "The best way to plant peppers is too close together." was a tip my father taught me. As long as they have enough air about them, planting them closer than normally recommended lets them help support each other. We plants ours 8-10" apart for sweet bells, closer than the normally recommended 12-18".

2. Contrary to what others may tell you, you can save the seeds from hybrid plants. What you get may be different than the parent plant, but in many cases it doesn't matter. So go ahead and try a few tomato seeds from the one you got at the market. We got a delicious pink tomato that way one year.

3. The peak time to pick herbs is first thing in the morning. This is when they have the best flavor.

4. The best way to eat cherry tomatoes is straight from the garden while they are still warm. Yum! However, be careful eating any vegetable before washing it first, especially anything that developed on or close to the soil.

5. One of the best tips we've heard was about staking Tomatoes. Whereas wire can burn the stems, and twine can also cause damage, using pieces of old pantyhose is ideal. The hose ‘gives’ with the plant just enough, and heck the price is right! We have also tried it on pole beans and cucumbers and it worked well there too.

6. Ever hear of the Three Sisters of the Fields? They are corn, squash and beans growing together. The beans grow up the corn and the squash grows at the base of the corn, providing each other with necessary nutrients as well as discouraging little varmints (raccoons in particular) from nibblin’ the corn. Traditionally, dry beans, field or popcorn, and winter squash were planted together, as they are all harvested at the end of the season.

7. Basil plants do well when planted among tomatoes. They are slower to bolt because the tomatoes give them some shade, and the basil adds a nice flavor to the tomatoes.

8. Think twice before planting, or plant out of the way of the rest of your garden: Horseradish, Mints including oregano, sweet marjoram, balms; in many climates they can be very invasive. Likewise many other perennials.

9. Got Seeds? If you have them left over from last year you can still use them. Seeds do lose some of their potency over time, so the germination rate will drop a bit, but toss ‘em in anyway. You may be surprised at the results!

10. Compost: The ultimate recycling. Don’t throw any meat products into your compost, and Heaven forbid, don’t throw in any root ends of the perennials mentioned above.

11. It is nice throw a few earthworms into your compost heap every so often though. They love it and you will benefit.

12. A few flowers in the vegetable garden help attract bees which promote fertilization of your plants. Nasturtiums and sunflowers are especially good for attracting bees, plus they are edible.

13. If you wish to go the other way, and plant a few vegetables in the flower garden, we would recommend squashes and gourds. This family of vegetables gets beautiful flowers (mostly also edible) and are comparatively easy to grow. There are also some peas and beans that do well and are quite pretty when trellised, Purple Bean Hyacinth comes to mind, though I don’t think it is edible. Scarlet Runner Bean has pretty red flowers. Some gardeners plant okra as an ornamental, the flowers are just that gorgeous.

14. Don't handle bean plants when they are wet, it can spread disease.

15. The well-rounded garden will want to sport at least a showing of herbs. Lavender and sage are easy to contain perennials and quite prolific. Dill plants are tall, with delicate looking leaves and a wonderful fragrance.

Do you have a good garden tip? We would love to hear it. Please share it in the comment section below and thanks!

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1 comment

    • Avatar of gj
    • michele on January 29, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    I learn something about gardening every season. Thanks for these tips! I already use some, but I plant the tagetes marigolds with my tomatoes. They’re also edible & provide a pretty skirt around the edges of our tomato bed, attracting lots of pollinators. I always enjoy your articles!

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