New to Area and Want to Plant a Garden

Updated on May 14, 2008
J.T. asks from Saint Ann, MO
17 answers

Ok, this really isn't about my kids but I wasn't having any luck on google. I want to plant a garden and don't know the first thing about it. We want mainly onions, tomatoes, and jalapeños. Perhaps strawberries as well but my whole family is in other states and so I don't know when I should plant for this area and I guess how since this is my first garden. Thank you all in advance. Have a great day:-)

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T.U.

answers from Minneapolis on

Welcome to MN! I enjoy gardening myself. I just planted my vegetable garden yesterday. I think typically the danger of frost ends somewhere around mid-May, but this spring has been kinda off. I think it's safe to start planting outdoors now. The farmers market is a great place to get plants. It's fun for the whole family too. Good luck!

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L.M.

answers from Omaha on

Onions sets can be planted as soon as the ground can be worked. You should be able to plant strawberries now. Hopefully next year you'll have some berries. Tomotoes and Jalapanos after the last frost.
Hope this helps!

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D.D.

answers from Minneapolis on

We are from Illinois originally, and I had pretty good luck with the U of I Extension people. I know that U of MN has an Extension office, but I'm not completely sure if they have "Master Gardeners" like the other one. Try finding a U of MN website and go from there...

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H.H.

answers from Minneapolis on

you know I have seen a premade kit for a salsa garden. which sounds like what you want. gardening in minnesota is an adventure. if you are starting from seed, planting indoors is a good idea. In a few weeks(they say after may 20th) it should be safe to plant outside. I have just started gardening(last year) and it is fun and very rewarding. good luck!

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E.I.

answers from Duluth on

well, since i cant find your town (gwinn? MN) on a map, its hard to tell where you are located... however, i live in northern MN zone 3, and we can normally grow onions tomatoes, strawberries... also many many others; corn, squash, pumpkin, carrots, beans and peas, and even broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce... USUALLY we can plant by the middle of may, which is now, but the unusually cool weather this year might push that into the middle of june. i KNOW that in past years (the past 3 anyway) my husband and i have bought flowers in the beginning of may and started our flower gardens by now. the shop we use opens the first of may and we are always really anxious for her to open... and this year we arent even thinking about it yet cuz its so cool.

so i would start the middle of june, or when temps start to stay above the 45 degree mark at night. i think thats probably a good night temp.. although higher would be preferrable. you can start seedlings now, but, like mine, they may grow too big for their seedling pots and you might have some trouble with that. i have TONS of seedlings that are waiting to get in the ground, and ive lost many because of lack of water and more soil. theres only so much one can do!

good luck! you should probably contact local greenhouses for more detailed information on the area you are in. they are the ones who would know the most about the planting time and what to do with this cool weather!

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M.F.

answers from Bismarck on

For what you're wanting to plant, you'll have the best luck for your first time if you plant plants, so go to a reputable nursery where they will help you choose varieties that are good for your area (NOT Walmart). They can also give you suggestions about how you might need to modify/improve your soil (like, tomatoes often need extra calcium). They can also tell you when to plant. Onions, tomatoes & strawberries (if there's enough moisture) will do great in MN; jalapenos need a little longer growing period, so you'll definitely want to plant established plants for those. The strawberries won't give you really anything this year, but if you can get them established (ask the nursery how & when to prune them so they put energy into berries instead of spreading) they will improve in how much they bear each year. Have fun!

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P.L.

answers from Minneapolis on

J., I moved here last year from the sunny south, where gardens are planted in March! I went to my local Wal-Mart in St. Anthony (both last year and this year) and got my plants. They receive a plant truck 2 or 3 days a week and have a vendor quite often to help you with the plants. The brands of plants they carry are the same ones you will find at Cub and at the local nurseries, but are so much cheaper! The lady who has helped me several times is with one of the nurseries where Wal-mart gets its plants. She and one of the employees at the store have helped me plan my garden and my flowering pots to put around my patio. They were so nice and so helpful! My garden has been in the ground for about 10 days and is looking very healthy. My plants are strong and green!

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L.M.

answers from Minneapolis on

We plant green onions, and usually from seed right now in May. Then I buy tomoatoe plants and Jalapeno and other peppers at Cub Foods as soon as they have them available. We do not do Strawberries as we do not have enough space for them, but there are great patches where you can go to pick your own berries, which is a lot of fun. Cilantro is also easy to plant from seed, but you have to time it right so that it is ready when the tomatoes are ready( late August ) I usually end up with cilantro in late June/ early July and then it goes to seed before the tomatoes are ready. Hopefully this year I will have finally mastered that timing:) I think the best place to buy tomatoe cages is Big Lots, they are so much cheaper than are other stores. Good luck! Happy gardening!

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J.B.

answers from Minneapolis on

In the Twin Cities you can grow tomatoes, peppers, all kinds of squash, cucs, herbs, rhubarb, berries, etc. almost effortlessly. I put most of them in pots to minimize bugs, weeding and crawling around on my knees. Officially, the last frost warning is May 15, but we've been known on occasion to get weird weather in the spring/summer, so check the weather forecast regularly. Growing from seed takes so much time that I buy bedding plants from Linder's and WalMart so they have a head start. Make sure they get plenty of water and have good drainage since we can get downpours and hot spells. Enjoy!

SAHM of seven

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C.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

I have flowers and have never planted any fruits or vegetables. Seems like fun, but we have tons of animals that come and eat our flowers as it is. Anyway, I have found that the local nurseries can give good advice about what grows and what you need to help them survive. Bachman's has a special counter with someone trained to answer all sorts of questions. It is amazing all the things they know!

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J.H.

answers from Grand Forks on

Look up squarefoot gardening on the web. I think that would be the perfect garden for you to start. They're easy to maintain and no tilling involved, not as many weeds, and you can make a small garden to start out with if you want. They don't take up that much room. That's what we are doing here. Good luck with your Garden!!!

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S.F.

answers from Waterloo on

I have had a garden for several years. If you decide to plant strawberries, you should know that they don't prduce hardly anthing until like the 3rd year. I would use starter plants for everything, including your onion otherwise you will have tomatoes ready and your onions will still be small.

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D.G.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi J. -
Our family is planting our first garden this year. To start, we bought boards to create an above ground box with those silver L shaped things to put it together. We are doing 4 ft by 8 ft. Buy some black material, a home improvement or gardening store will know what I am talking about - it keeps the weeds from coming through. Staple the black material inside the box. I can send you a picture if you would like and maybe we can keep up with how each of our gardens are doing, since it is a first for us both. You can email me at [email protected]____.com of luck. Hope to hear from you. -D.

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B.J.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi J.
Where exactly are you located??
Backyard living is a great magazine.
If you're in the north midwest- you'll need to get started soon- we'll be planting by Mem. Day- short season here.
Raised bed is better- less weeds.
You'll want to make sure you have a good mix of soil if you don't have a garden already in place- check with a local family garden center- mix of sand, peat, black dirt
We've already started our seeds in doors- but Walmart and places like that have great starter plants if you're behind on doing that and they don't cost much.
Strawberries spread- so keep in a separate area- and they will come back yearly.
Fence off for rabbits or everything you're wanting to plant will be gone in a day ;)
Email if want more advice- I do part time side landscaping in addition to 3 other careers- 2 in marketting and wellness, one in medicine
Have fun and get dirty
B. J
[email protected]____.com

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L.L.

answers from Dubuque on

Sounds like you want to make Salsa! We make several quarts of that every year.

Onions should be in the ground now. The rest of the things by the end of May. We've done strawberries in pots on the deck too - there are special pots you can get.

Have fun.
L. L

K.B.

answers from Milwaukee on
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J.T.

answers from Minneapolis on

I'm not sure exactly where you are at, but if you are in the Hudson WI area, you could get some professional help/advice from the wonderful people at Willow River Tree farm.
Looks like you've got some great tips from the others!
Good luck. . .gardens are the BEST!!! Your kids will thank you, too!

J.

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