Getting ready for spring planting

Hot Springs, AR(Zone 7b)

Hey guys. I am not new to gardening but just moved to Hot Springs, Ar two years ago. Have had my ups and down in trying to work a garden like I did in Houston, Texas. Not so good. I lost my first planting of tomato two times my first year. March is not a good time to put baby tomato plants out without protection. I found out the hard way. Learned what ground worms were. These showed no mercy when it came to my squash plants. I lost my potatoes crop to freeze! I never got my egg plants to germinate in the ground. My corn was pathetic. *sigh. I have figured out when and how to grow good tomatoes. In spite of the scorching heat last year. I mastered lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cucumber, cantaloupe, onions, carrots and strawberries. I have learn about putting a tin can around the plants to keep those bugger off my roots. Now I need help in picking a good corn, cabbage, kale, sweet potato, squash and watermelon varieties that will provide a healthy abundant crop in Hot Springs, Ar. I grow my veggies in raised bed with organic amended soil. Good drainage since the beds sit on top of shale and soil. Any help will be appreciated. I will start seed indoors this week end.

Ripley, MS

I posted your question on the chat thread, I am not very good with veggies

Little Rock, AR(Zone 7b)

I'm in Little Rock and grow a few vegetables in a raised bed. Sounds like you are getting it under control. My parents lived in Houston for 10 years and it is in an entirely different zone. My mother had things growing in the ground in her flower beds that are strictly house plants here. So it sounds like a lot of your problem had to do with frost dates. I don't usually plant vegetables until late April or even later.

Laceys Spring, AL(Zone 7a)

Sorry for the late reply but as you probably know, Dave's was messed up for a couple of days last week. I prepared a long post but it wouldn't post, so it's gone now.
Anyway, Charlotte is right, you probably planted too early. Our recommended plant out date in north Alabama is around April 15. I have pushed it a little bit earlier on occasion if the weather reports are for no cooler weather or frost but you just have to know our spring weather can be fickle and change in a minute.

I don't plant corn anymore because the raccoons just steal it but a lot of people plant Silver Queen or a bi-color, I believe Peaches & Cream. For squash the plain old crook neck variety is good. You just need to watch out for squash bugs. I have tried ground cover to keep them from laying eggs under the plant. Just keep an eye out for the eggs under the leaves and spray them before they hatch. Hard to get rid of them. I don't grow much cantaloupe or watermelon because they take a lot of space so not much help there. DH doesn't eat the cantaloupe so I just go buy one when I need it at the farmers market.

I'll have to look up the small burpless cuke I grew last year. It was really good and a good producer.

Laceys Spring, AL(Zone 7a)

Sorry for the late reply but as you probably know, Dave's was messed up for a couple of days last week. I prepared a long post but it wouldn't post, so it's gone now.
Anyway, Charlotte is right, you probably planted too early. Our recommended plant out date in north Alabama is around April 15. I have pushed it a little bit earlier on occasion if the weather reports are for no cooler weather or frost but you just have to know our spring weather can be fickle and change in a minute.

I don't plant corn anymore because the raccoons just steal it but a lot of people plant Silver Queen or a bi-color, I believe Peaches & Cream. For squash the plain old crook neck variety is good. You just need to watch out for squash bugs. I have tried ground cover to keep them from laying eggs under the plant. Just keep an eye out for the eggs under the leaves and spray them before they hatch. Hard to get rid of them. I don't grow much cantaloupe or watermelon because they take a lot of space so not much help there. DH doesn't eat the cantaloupe so I just go buy one when I need it at the farmers market.

I'll have to look up the small burpless cuke I grew last year. It was really good and a good producer.

Little Rock, AR(Zone 7b)

I'm learning about dealing with squash bug from both of you. I've just about given up on planting squash because I get squash bug every time. Flowerjunkie you mentioned using a tin can around the roots. Tell me more about how you place it. Also Elaine I hadn't thought of planting a ground cover! What do you use for your ground cover?

Ripley, MS

I would like to know about the cucumber seed too,Elaine

Laceys Spring, AL(Zone 7a)

I put newspaper down last year and then didn't mulch up to the base of the plant. I think that gives them something to lay eggs in. They still managed to lay eggs, but it was very late in the season and weren't as bad. I have to pay attention to crop rotation more with squash than anything else too. This year I'm going to try a weed control fabric a couple of feet around the plant and see if that helps more than the newspaper.
I forgot to look at the cucumber seed yesterday and am at work. I'll try to look tonite and post the name. I had my seeds out too and still forgot. I managed to get my pepper seeds planted yesterday. Yay! Earliest I've ever gotten them started.

Little Rock, AR(Zone 7b)

I'm going to try some of your ideas for squash.

Laceys Spring, AL(Zone 7a)

The cucumber I really liked last year is Tendergreen Burpless from Baker Creek heirloom Seeds.

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