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!

Why is my lettuce and escarole bitter?

Asked by: community gardener
If you grow your greens in the heat of the middle of summer, they are going to be bitter. When greens bolt, this also contributes to the bitter flavor. Seeing as you are in Massachusetts, I'd wait until the very end of August or the very beginning of September and direct sow your greens so that you can get a nice fall crop. The leaves will be far less bitter as the temperatures are cooler, and also make sure not to let your plants bolt.
Answered by: sunflowerlover
Date published: 2018-08-01

Can I start seeds outside in a raised bed? It is very warm now in the 90s. I want to use your starter kit. I can cover them with a shade type of structure.

Asked by: pat81
Right now in the middle of summer is not the best time for direct sowing, although it does depend what Zone you live in. For me in Zone 8, it is best to direct sow most varieties in mid-March after any frost might occur. It also depends on the variety of seed you are trying to grow, if it's greens, then I'd wait until August to direct sow, then get a nice fall crop. If it's something like tomatoes or peppers then you'll have to wait until next year as almost certainly the plants would die before producing if you were to plant now.
Answered by: sunflowerlover
Date published: 2018-08-01

My Okra plants are growing ok but the small buds dry up before blooming. My peas are alsr turning yellow and drying up also. Can you help please?

Asked by: roundtoit
Seeing as you are in Texas, your pea plants are not going to do well in the extreme heat, and this would definitely explain the yellowing and withering of the plants. Pea plants do best when direct sowed in early spring after danger of frost (for me in Zone 8 that's mid-March). I've never grown Okra so unfortunately can't answer that question.
Answered by: sunflowerlover
Date published: 2018-08-01

Started Burpee Dynamite butterhead lettuce from seed about 6 weeks ago. The plants are growing well with large leaves but don"t seem to be heading up. Any tips or tricks to promote the process? I trimmed some lower leaves but it didn't seem to help

Asked by: Mrpete1
Yes, try to plant some lettuce later, this fall when the temperatures are cooler (for me in zone 8, this is around August- Sept). Lettuce doesn't taste well in strong heat (and doesn't grow well either) and also tends to bolt.
Answered by: sunflowerlover
Date published: 2018-08-01

My Burpee Ambrosia Hybrid melon plants only seem to produce one melon per plant and I'm hoping you can provide guidance on how to improve productivity. Pollination seems good, soil is good(?), small melons develop then either disappear(?) or turn brown.

Asked by: Sabre1
Ok, Sabre1, I see that pollination is not your problem. All I can say at this point is that the Ambrosia cantaloupe plants are huge plants with huge root systems when grown properly. Generally speaking, one melon plant should not be any closer than 4 feet from any other melon plant, due to their very extensive root systems. Furthermore, the total harvest of melons will be directly proportional to the total leaf area present, which in turn is directly proportional to the total root system area present. If your melon plants are in any way crowded, then fruit production per plant will be impaired. A given plant will only produce as much fruit as its leaf area and root system will permit. Subsequent female flowers will get "terminated" by the plant, even when well pollinated. I personally have grown just one melon plant, that spread its vines over a 12 feet by 12 feet area, and harvested around a dozen melons from this one plant. I could have achieved the same yield with six plants, or even 12 plants, when planted in the same 12'x12' area with the same total leaves and the same total roots, producing the same total yield of melons. May I guess now that crowding may be your problem? P.S. I don't work for Burpee. I just answer these questions for the fun of it, and I certainly don't claim to know everything. Not by a long shot. Cheers
Answered by: Hessianguy2
Date published: 2018-07-25

When to harvest and cure garlic.  I have Elephant garlic and others, I’ve planted last fall

Asked by: Ron72
I was taught that June is the best time to harvest garlic, but July should be fine also. Good luck
Answered by: Hessianguy2
Date published: 2018-07-25

How do I apply garden lime to my tomato plants. They're planted in 5 gallon buckets and have blossom end rot.

Asked by: Arichards64
You are correct that blossom-end-rot is largely due to a Calcium deficiency. Applying some garden lime and/or bone meal to your growing media is best in order to prevent this. But once your tomato plants are already planted and up and growing, there is little that can be done until next year. However, I have heard that watering your plants with skim milk can supply the necessary calcium to their roots. Good luck.
Answered by: Hessianguy2
Date published: 2018-07-25

How to plant garlic?

Asked by: Holiday
Garlic and onions are native to the Middle East and thus prefer to grow in the fall, winter, and early spring, and be harvested in late spring to early summer. However, Pennsylvania may be too cold for this kind of growth, in which case planting in mid February would be preferable, depending on your climate zone. I personally believe that growing good garlic/onions is somewhat similar to growing a good lawn of grasses, in that they prefer generous fertilizer and frequent light rains in order to do best. Good luck
Answered by: Hessianguy2
Date published: 2018-07-25
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