Ask a Gardener

Ask a Gardener

Burpee's Garden Forum is a unique hub for the garden community, a one-step-shop to get your questions answered from fellow gardeners!

I live in Central Texas. The subdivision in which I live has a layer of hard-packed, sun-baked, clayish soil over limestone. Is there anything I can do to make the soil less-clayish?

Asked by: TexasTroy
I lived in San Antonio, TX for three years when I was active duty USAF. I ordered a dump truck load of builder's sand and tilled it in deeply, along with bales of Canadian spaghnum peat moss, which has the added advantage of acidifying the relatively alkaline soil. These maneuvers resulted in an excellent garden.
Answered by: Hessianguy2
Date published: 2017-03-22

Hello, I'm doing a school project about gardening. For my project I want to start a garden of my own. I live in Texas, and I have a few ideas of what I would like to grow, but tomatoes are going to be my main focus. What kind should I grow?

Asked by: Npawlick
I would recommend doing a google search or an amazon search on "Square Foot Gardening". It is an excellent method. I think you should try Burpee 'Bush Steak', available on this website. You get nice big tomatoes from relatively smaller plants. It is a plant breeding marvel. Good Luck
Answered by: Hessianguy2
Date published: 2017-03-16

Hi I start tomatoes from seed every year but still have not figured out the trick to get strong thick stems on the plants. What trick or advice do you have? Thanks in advance

Asked by: donnab
I will take my tomato plants from the window put them on a card table and turn a fan on them for an hour a day after they get about 3 leaves on them. Keep the fan on low and set it back so the breeze is gentle. I have planted burpee porter house tomato for three years now. I have to start them myself. Our local green houses do not have them. If I start them the 15 th of April I will have to stake them in there boxes with 12 inch wood dowel rods before I can put them out. They get tall fast but sometimes South Dakota weather will not let me put them out as early has I want. I always have strong stems and they always do well after transplant.
Answered by: gmarsh
Date published: 2017-03-22

Last summer all of the leaves on my tomato plants turned yellow, starting from the bottom of the plant and going up. How can I avoid the same problem this year?

Asked by: Agneta
I had that problem for many years with my tomatoes. Finally, I realized that the bacteria on the ground was splashing on the tomatoes and killing the plants. The only solution I could find was to cover the entire area around the plants with a plant/weed barrier. Do you have any better suggestions?
Answered by: danparke
Date published: 2017-03-16

what does determinate and indeterminate mean?

Asked by: Greta
I presume you are referring to tomatoes? I answered this question around 2 months ago. Here is what I wrote: There is a video on this website that explains the difference. The difference, in a nutshell, is that indeterminate tomatoes are similar to the wild form, which send their vines all over the place, and can become quite unruly as a plant. The determinate forms have a 'compact' gene which limits the growth of the vines, allowing the tomato plant to be more bush-like and civilized, and more conducive to growing in smaller spaces, especially in containers. Good luck.
Answered by: hessianguy2
Date published: 2017-03-22

We recently had to have a huge ornamental pear tree removed.  My garden will be getting much more sun but unfortunately I have many shade plants (brunnera, hostas, ferns, etc.) that now will be getting direct sun.   Are they doomed?

Asked by: Norma jean
Unfortunately, this new software package that Burpee has installed does not require you to give your location. But to answer your question, they may not be doomed if you live in New England or the Pacific Northwest where it is cloudy much of the time. Nearly everywhere else, they are probably doomed unless you transplant them to a more suitable environment. Good luck
Answered by: hessianguy2
Date published: 2017-03-03

I just bought the self watering seed starter with 36 pods for seeds. But I want to stagger the growth of my tomatoes. So I really only want to start 12 now, the 12 more in 2 weeks, and 12 more in 2 more weeks.  Can I use this system that way?

Asked by: Scotika
Tomatoes germinate best with the humidome placed on top, but the humidome is not good for your already growing tomato seedlings, and should be removed when your little plants are up and growing. Therefore, I would take some scissors and cut your 36 pods into three pieces of 12 each, and plant your seeds in these in succession as you describe, keeping the previously already germinated little group of 12 plants off to the side. Once all three sets are up and growing, you can return the first two sets of twelve to the assembly. Good luck.
Answered by: hessianguy2
Date published: 2017-02-23

I want to make raised beds. Is there a good size that is easy to manage to start with?

Asked by: Mamahavs
8' x 4'. 1.5" thick cedar. I use 10" tall boards and then put a finishing board on the top edge that is 2" wide just to add a little more height and to have something to sit on if I need to. Tie it all together with 4"x 4" posts on the corners. 
Answered by: Scotika
Date published: 2017-03-11
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