The Q&A Archives: New Gardener

Question: I plan to plant a vegetable garden next year. This is all new to me. I usually avoid any outdoor activities.

I know I want to plant ingredients for a salad ... cucumber, tomato, lettuce, ???
I understand there are different types of seeds. How do determine what to use here in Southaven, MS? I want the type of lettuce you cut leaves as needed.
Are there any suggestions for other salad ingredie

Answer: Gardening is a fun and rewarding hobby! Planning your garden now, and spending a few weeks preparing the soil will keep you occupied for the next month or so and you can actually plant a few things in late summer (August) for a fall harvest. Some things to consider for fall planting include leaf lettuces, radishes, and herbs. Next spring you can plant the warmer season vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers.

Both leaf and head lettuce grow well in Mississippi gardens in spring and fall. Leaf lettuce is more cold hardy, faster maturing, more shade tolerant, and a few varieties are more heat tolerant than head lettuce.

Leaf type lettuce recommendations:

Black Seeded Simpson?old variety; large, upright plant; light green leaves; heavily frilled. Grand Rapids?old popular home garden variety; large, erect, compact leaves; light green; wavy. Prize Head?early; curled and frilly; outer leaves reddish-brown, inner leaves medium green. Red Sails?deep bronzy-red ruffled leaves; attractive; slow to bolt; Salad Bowl?slow to bolt; large, upright leaves; light green; deeply notched; SloBolt?long-standing Grand Rapids type.

Slicing type cucumbers:
Ashley?straight, slightly tapered fruit; 7 to 8 inches long; 66 days. Cherokee?gynoecious hybrid; 7 to 71⁄2 inches long; 63 days. Gemini?gynoecious hybrid; multiple disease resistance; 8 to 81⁄2 inches long; 61 days. General Lee?tolerates cucumber mosaic virus. Poinsett 76?open-pollinated; monoecious; 7 to 8 inches long; multiple disease resistance. Salad Bush?monoecious hybrid with short (24-inch) vines; multiple disease tolerance; dark green fruit; adapted to containers, hanging baskets, and small gardens; Slicemaster?early gynoecious hybrid with multiple disease tolerance; 8 to 9 inches long; dark green color; 61 days. Straight 8?white spine; Sweet Slice?hybrid; multiple disease tolerance; mild burpless; nonbitter; 10 to 12 inches long; 63 days.

Best tomatoes for your gardening region:
Amelia?large-fruited with tomato spotted wilt virus resistance; Better Boy?VFN hybrid; 8- to 12-ounce red fruit; 72 days; Big Beef?large-fruited beef stake with good disease resistance; Celebrity?VFNT hybrid; 7- to 8-ounce red globe; firm, flavorful fruit; D; 72 days; Cherry Grande?VF hybrid; large cluster of 11⁄2-inch firm, round, red fruit; D; 60 days. Floramerica?VF hybrid; 8- to 12-ounce red fruit; 76 days; loradel?F; 8-ounce red fruit; 75 to 85 days; old variety; open-pollinated.
Marion?F; 6-ounce red fruit; 79 days; I; old; open-pollinated. Mini Charm?miniature cherry tomato with indeterminate growth and abundant production. Mountain Spring?VF hybrid; early; resistance to cracking; Park?s Whopper?VFNT hybrid; large fruit; 70 days. Super Fantastic?VF hybrid; 8-ounce red fruit; 70 days; Sweet 100?hybrid; large clusters of 1-inch, round, red fruit; 65 days.

Enjoy your new garden!

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