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

When would be the best time to start seeds indoors? I live in Chicago. Would use a grow light. Also what's the best seeds to grow indoors?

Asked by: Maxhavoc
I start my tomatoes and peppers indoors, as well as occasionally some annual flowers. The best time to start is 6-8 weeks before your last frost date. (I planted my tomato seeds today.) For Chicago, that would be early to mid March, I believe. Good luck.
Answered by: Hessianguy2
Date published: 2019-01-14

My tomatoes get wiped out every year from early and late blight. I have tried Mountain Magic seeds that state they have the best resistance to these diseases but they get it too. Any sprays or treatments or varieties you could recommend to help fight

Asked by: Healeyman 65
The very best insurance against diseases is to raise extremely healthy plants, since great health allows most plants to ward off diseases on their own. (Planting disease resistant plants helps also, of course.) When growing tomatoes, it is important to realize the unique or preferred growing requirements of the species that you are attempting to grow. In the case of tomatoes, they are native to the leeward slopes of the Andes Mountains of South America, and as such, they are adapted to a semi-arid climate with plentiful sunshine (not a desert, but kind of.) And as a semi-arid adapted plant, they like to send their roots down deep, and they like "even moisture", i.e. not too wet, and not too dry either, but just right. Also, tomatoes and other Solanaceae family plants prefer acidic soil, more so that any other group. They can tolerate a pH as low as 5.0, believe it or not, and acidity is another factor that will tend to ward off diseases. So, what to do? I recommend digging your tomato beds down to a depth of at least 18 inches (2 feet would be even better), and then filling the trench back with generous organic matter mixed in, as well as some bone meal (to add Calcium, which will tend to prevent blossom-end-rot disease.) If you have dense clay soil, as most of us do, then add some sand in as well, mixed well, as you are filling up your trench. I also add in some all purpose fertilizer to the back fill. Once your transplants are planted, I lay down several thicknesses of old newspapers on top of the soil, followed by any kind of mulch, such as wheat straw or shredded bark, etc. to keep the wind from blowing the newspapers away. If you provide your tomatoes with this sort of growing environment, then your plants will not need any watering at all throughout the summer in a place like New Hampshire, and watering them will just cause harm, even death, and just make them more prone to diseases. (New transplants will need some watering, of course, until they can become established.) Employing good crop rotation is also a must, as tomatoes and other Solanaceae should not be grown in the same ground for two years in a row, and waiting every third year would be even better. So in summary, 1) dig deeply, 2) add organics, sand, bone meal, fertilizer to the back fill, 3) Mulch well, 4) Do not water them in New hampshire, 5) employ crop rotation, 6) plant disease resistant varieties. If you do these things you will have the best tomatoes of your life and you will be the envy of the neighborhood. Where I live I can buy a 1 cubic foot bag of organic matter for $1.57/bag, and a 1/2 cu. foot bag of sand for ~$2.50/bag at my local home center. "Celebrity" is a tomato variety that has the most disease resistance known to man. Good luck.
Answered by: Hessianguy2
Date published: 2019-01-14

I have never had a garden before and want to start one this year. I live in zone 8 in Ga and was wondering what is a good starter seed to do. I'm thinking of making a raised bed and some pots for things since I only have a tiny little area to put things.

Asked by: AlphaWolf
Hessianguy2 Thank you very much for the info. I can not wait to get to work on it and see it growing.
Answered by: AlphaWolf
Date published: 2019-01-12

I live in Indiana Pennsylvania. I purchased the Mexican sour gherkin cucumber seeds and would like to know when to start the seeds indoors and when I could plant seeds outdoors if I don't get to start them inside.

Asked by: JohnD
I believe your growing zone is zone 6, with a last frost date of around April 30th. You could start them indoors around three weeks prior to your last frost date, or wait until early May to direct seed them outdoors. I find that performing a succession planting is best for cucumbers, since the plants tend to peter out of old age after a couple of months, and could be best replaced by younger plants. Good luck.
Answered by: Hessianguy2
Date published: 2019-01-08

Can you give me any instructions on how to grow peach tree from a peach pit

Asked by: Cathy R
A peach pit will usually split open and germinate into a peach tree seedling with no trouble outdoors. However, most likely you don't have any idea who the "father" is, i.e. the pollen source. Therefore you have no idea what sort of peaches will come from your seedling. Professional plant breeders always tightly control which pollen sources are allowed to generate new offspring, and for good reason. Why go to all of the trouble and expense of growing a peach tree when you have no clue about its future fruit quality? It would be better to buy a small peachtree from a reputable source, in my humble opinion. On the other hand, it might be great fun to see what comes from your sprouting peach pit. Good luck.
Answered by: Hessianguy2
Date published: 2019-01-08

I have 2 questions. I live in Eastern NC and want to grow corn. Small gardens worth. How do I prepare my garden for corn and what corn would do best?

Asked by: JamieM
I have lived in Wake County, NC for over 10 years in the past, and corn is easy to grow in eastern NC. Your ground should be well tilled and large enough to accommodate at least 3 rows side by side for adequate pollination. Corn is a kind of grass, and thus likes plenty of high nitrogen lawn type fertilizer to do well. And corn really appreciates frequent light rains, just like your lawn grasses. Soils in NC tend to be quite acidic, so adding some crushed limestone to raise the pH would be in order. The supersweet sh2 varieties have the poorest germination and must be isolated from other corn pollen sources, so I would tend to avoid these for a beginner. I prefer the SE varieties myself anyways. (Burpee 'sweetness' would be great for a small space.)The worst part of growing corn in most of North America is that your corn will likely be ravaged by racoons during the wee hours of the night, wrecking any harvest. I have to build a veritable fortress of wire fencing around my corn crop, with extra fortifications at the fence bottoms so they can't burrow under. And I run an electrified wire at the top of my fence to keep them from climbing over. Even then they sometimes figure a way to get in and destroy your corn crop. They are very smart, and they have workable hands, which is a formidable combination. Good luck.
Answered by: Hessianguy2
Date published: 2019-01-08

my daughter is getting married in a old barn on my farm. she wants me to plant two acres of flowers instead of crops around this barn. in live in grow zone 5. what type of flower can I plant that that is the easiest to sow and has the best chances

Asked by: 2leo
Cosmos grows well in poor soil with no fertilizer and no work/no pampering. Cosmos comes in whites, purples, reds, and yellows, and blooms profusely. Cosmos is the closest thing to flowering weeds that I can think of. Just a thought.
Answered by: Hessianguy2
Date published: 2019-01-08

My tomatoe seeds when grown indoor, always grow straight up with a skinny stalk and fall over???

Asked by: Phil85541
The usual cause of this problem is inadequate light. Tomatoes need lots and lots of light to grow well. I use ordinary cheap "shop light" fluorescent fixtures, preferably with the newer brighter T8 bulbs. A color spectrum of 3,000-3,500K is preferable to ensure adequate reds, but good results can be had with any light bulbs if they are bright enough. I place these lights ~2 inches above the tops of the plants, propping their containers up with 2-3 tiers of blocks or bricks underneath, and then removing a tier from time to time as the little plants grow taller. And I leave the lights on 24/7. Contrary to what you may have heard from others, light for 24/7 will not harm your plants. I have read that tomato seedlings will grow a thicker, stronger stem if they are "tickled" from time to time, to simulate the wind. I just blow on mine whenever I look at them, which is usually at least once a day. Other issues include proper nutrition, which can be easily provided with a teaspoon of water-soluable fertilizer per gallon of their water. Tomatoes, peppers, and others in the Solanaceae family prefer acid soil/growing media, so I add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per gallon of their water. Lemon juice would probably be just as effective. Good luck
Answered by: Hessianguy2
Date published: 2019-01-08
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