In the Garden Blog
Cincinnati's Garden Blog
Vegetable Gardening Questions – Cincinnati gardeners love their veggies. Here are some common vegetable gardening questions and answers.
“What vegetables can you plant in Cincinnati in early Spring?”
As long as the soil is workable and soil temps are above 45-50 degrees, there are many cold-loving veggies to plant in early spring. Some of our favorites in the nursery are Kalettes, Kale, Cabbage, Collards, Peas, Onions, Potatoes, Spinach, Lettuce, Radishes, and Carrots. A fun new plant is a KOSMIC KALE it brings dinner and a show!
“What tomato plant is good for tomato sauce or tomato paste?”
There are quite a few for types of tomatoes that are great for sauce and paste. A tried and true is the Roma tomato it is an oldie but a goodie. San Marzano has taken the top of the requested list for sauce tomatoes. Here is a list of Natorp’s Tomato Collection for more ideas.
“What is the Basil is good for containers?”
All of them are great container plants! It’s amazing how often I see gardeners growing mass amounts of basil in those pickle buckets or large pots, placed in the garden, patio, or wherever they can set them in sunlight. I like the Green Bouquet, although there are several ‘dwarf’ basils available. These plants only get 15-18 inches high, small leaves so you don’t have to do a lot of chopping, and the flavor is unreal! Power-packed flavor in a really small leaf.
“Should I use Epsom Salt on my tomatoes and peppers?”
Using Epsom Salt (magnesium sulfate) on tomatoes and peppers has been around for many years. And those that use it all have a different method or amount they use. I’ve heard anything from sprinkling a tablespoon or two in the hole when you plant them, and doing it again mid-season, to watering them about 3-4 times during the season with 1-2 tablespoons dissolved in a gallon of water, to spraying the foliage 2-3 times during the season with 1 tablespoon dissolved in 1 gallon of water. Pick one and try it. Moderation is the best way to try it. Many rose growers use this as well. By the way, some research is questioning the actual benefits of using Epsom Salt in the garden and landscape; but if you have used it and it works for you, keep on keeping on!
“How often should I feed your tomatoes in containers?”
You can work in some Osmocote for a very light feeding all season, then feed with Espoma’s Tomato Tone at planting, and again after a good solid fruit set. If during the rest of the year, they look a little off-color, I may hit them with a quick shot of Miracle-Gro. Make sure you have a source of calcium, to help prevent blossom end rot.
“What are the little black bugs on my potatoes?”
Probably flea beetles, and it’s a very common problem on many vegetable plants. They feed on the tops and bottoms of leaves, and are quick boogers in the garden, so they move when you move! Diatomaceous earth dustings may help. For regular insecticides, use Eight, and make sure you do the tops and bottoms of the leaves.
“How deep do you plant tomatoes?”
Ah, great question! Usually go at least ½ of the plant goes down into the hole, if not 2/3 for the taller plants. That’s the root ball and then ½ to 2/3 of the plant below ground. That part below ground actually roots in and helps the tomato vine become even sturdier with more roots. You don’t have to plant them deeply. They do fine planting as deep as the root ball. But I think deeper is better.
“Do you grow the grafted tomatoes ?”
We do! We have grafted Brandywine Pink, grafted Cherokee Purple, and the ever-popular grafted Ketchup n Fries. Tomatoes on top and potatoes on the bottom – great for container growing!
“What do you spray for peach leaf curl?”
Nothing you can do now – thin the fruit and do all you can to keep the tree as healthy as possible. In the fall, when 90% or more of the leaves have fallen, spray with Mancozeb, Fungonil, or Copper, then do it again as buds just start to swell in early spring.
“So what’s the deal with growing figs in our area? Are they hardy here?”
Fresh figs have an unreal taste! So growing your own figs is becoming very popular. You can grow any type of fig in containers – simply overwinter it in the unheated garage. And we have Chicago Hardy Fig which is listed hardy thru Zone 6, and that’s us! BUT, with the proper placement in the yard (south side of the home) and proper winter protection, we’re finding you can grow about any fig outdoors / in the ground! So when you come to look at our selections, be sure to grab a tip sheet on growing them in-ground or in containers, written by our good friend and fig expert Byron Martin from Logees.
“How late can you plant vegetables in Cincinnati?”
Based on our average first frost (mid-October), tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, corn, cucs, and such until the end of this month / first of July. Many of the greens, beets, radishes, beans, onions, etc. go into July and early August, looking for a late summer/fall crop. Most ‘cole’ crops like planting (late July / August) for fall harvesting. The cooler it gets, the better they perform, and taste!
Have a question? Ask the vegetable gardening experts!