You do not need a large area for a garden. Even a very small plot can provide salad vegetables and a few flowers without too much work. Most garden plants do need full sun and a source of water. If you are new to gardening, you will want to start with some common garden plants.
A garden never seems complete without tomatoes. You can purchase tomato plants or start your own from seed. You may have to protect ripening fruit from birds. Early Girl ripens more quickly than most varieties. Use small meaty Romas for sauces. Big Boys are large and meaty, but take a few more weeks to ripen.
Leaf lettuce, one of the easiest plants to grow, forms the base of summer salads. You can start harvesting leaves within a few weeks of planting. Because the lettuce will continue to grow new leaves as you cut the old ones, a short row in your garden will keep you supplied all summer. Choose Buttercrunch, Bibb or Salad Bowl.
Spring Onions and Radishes
Grow spring onions and radishes together. The radishes will be ready to harvest in just a few weeks, leaving enough space for the onions to continue growth. Both spring onions and radishes tolerate some shade and may do well in the shadow of taller plants in the garden. For radishes, plant Cherry Bell or Scarlet Globe. The easiest spring onions include Crystal Wax and Evergreen Bunching.
Climbing cucumbers will appreciate a trellis or support as they begin to mature. If you leave them on the ground, you will have to watch for damage from insects. The most successful varieties include Crispy, Burpless, Salty and Early Pik.
You can purchase pepper plants ready for the garden or start your own seeds indoors. The easiest big green pepper varieties include Yolo Wonder and Keystone Resistant Giant. For hot peppers, plant Jalapeno or Red Cherry.
Because Marigolds repel many insects, you will want to plant a few with your vegetables. Several varieties of marigolds will provide shades of yellow and gold during the whole summer. For small plants, use Signet. For larger flowers, plant African marigolds.
Zinnias provide colour in your garden and attract bees. You need the bees to pollinate your vegetables, especially tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. Elegans, the most popular variety, originated in Mexico.
The University of Minnesota Extension states that parsley seeds germinate very slowly, and may take up to five weeks. Parsley will flourish in partial shade or full sun. The best varieties include Evergreen and Moss Curled.
If you have enough space, you will want corn in your garden. According to Iowa Corn, Iowa grew more corn than any other state for 14 years. However, most commercial operations grow field corn. Choose True Gold or Butter and Sugar sweetcorn for your home garden.
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