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New gardener wondering, what veggies grow best in zone 7a?

Roanoke, VA

I am hoping to begin a vegetable garden this year, not only for healthy foods for my family,but as a learning experiance for my son. We live in VA, in zone 7a. I have been unsucessful thus far in internet searches to find out what type of veggies we should be growing here. Does anyone else have any suggestions or knowledge to share with me on that topic?

Pleasureville, KY(Zone 6a)

I am in zone 6, and we successfully grow, green beans, lima beans, corn, broccoli, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, peas, beets, turnips, kale, spinich. I am assuming you know that some of these are cole crops, and are better grown in the early spring, and fall. Examples are broccoli, turnips, kale and spinich. I have rhubarb, onions, potatos,cabbage,

So just plant, and I don't think that you can be too different from my climate.

Happy Gardening.

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

You can grow just about about any vegetable in the Roanoke Valley. Contact your extension agent or call Va. Tech for a list of recommendations. Start in March with the cold weather (plant as soon as the ground thaws and cna be worked) vegetables like English snap, and snow peas, beets, onion plants or sets, lettuceetc. Late March early April, Irish potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower (transplants) Late April-Early May snap beans, squash cucumbers, corn, tomatoes eggplants, peppers and the like. Middle of May, lima beans, southern peas, sweet potaoes. July Brussel Sprouts, late cabbage ( fall harvest) August turnips, kale, mustard etc.

Durham, NC(Zone 7a)

Hello all! I also am new to gardening although my mother planted one every year. She had the greenthumb in our family and unfortunately that's the DNA that I did not inherit. She just planted whatever she wanted and it would grow! We kids were the weed patrol and the harvest help. So that part of the gardening I know very well. The beginning... not so much. I am also unfamiliar with cole crops? What are those?

It gets so hot so quickly here in the Piedmont area of NC that we wanted to start very early and with seedlings in the hopes that they wouldn't roast in the garden. I planted quite a few seeds and most have already sprouted: Corn (Peaches & Cream and also Silver Queen), sweet peas, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, spinach, kale, turnips, beets, 3 types of peppers (sweet, golden and Jalapeno). I also planted Blue Lake green bean seeds, but only 2 plants out of 24 containers came up - not sure why.

This is my first garden on my own. I have grown flowers and container gardens for years but this is my first large-scale garden. Since it gets so hot so quickly here I am thinking about planting lettuce and other less intense sun tolerant plants north of my corn so that it doesn't get the hot afternoon sun. I have some potatoes that I am going to use for seed potatoes and also plan to purchase tomato plants that are well established. I figured the potatoes and tomatoes will be okay close together since they are both in the nightshade family and then the peppers. Does anyone have suggestions of which vegetables grow best beside each other or inversely which do not grow well beside each other?

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This message was edited Mar 26, 2007 6:13 PM

Independence, MO(Zone 6a)

lucasangel: along with everything else, let your son plant radishes. They'll sprout in a week and he can harvest them two weeks later. Leaf lettuce is also good, for he can sow a few seeds every time he has the itch, and harvest them by cutting individual leaves or pulling entire plants. He'll then also have the satisfaction of your announcing that tonight's dinner salad is courtesy of himself. Most other plants take so long to grow what is to be harvested that most children lose interest.

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7a)

I wish I better understood the zoning numbers. I'm in Albuquerque, New Mexico which is Zone 7a and our weather can't be anything like Roanoke, Va. which is also Zone 7a. We are high altitude, extremely arid, high winds and temps in the 90s during summer and usually little rain. As for vegetables, I guess we could grow them provided we can dig through and amend the hard alkaline clay soil and then water several times a day.

I have one spot at the back of an established flower bed and would like to try some tomato plants this year. I haven't had a tasty tomato since we left California six years ago.

I'm still mystified by the zones.

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

The USDA zones are meant for perennials like fruit trees, trees and shrubs and is based on the average low for the winter. Pretty meaningless for vegetables and other annuals as summer conditions vary widely among given zones.

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7a)

Aha! Thanks, Farmerdill. That clarifies it for me at last.


Roanoke, VA

aha! thanks farmerdill, I didn't know that either. I thought that the zones would help me know what to plant but I geuss not! :)
Thanks for all the great advice everyone! I can't wait to get started!

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

lucasangel...hope to see you checking in and let us know how your garden goes this year! And by all means, feel free to ask questions. I'm not too far from ya so will be glad to help out.

And monalesa, I'm even closer to you! Just up the road a ways! Welcome! I'll have to re-read your post (so many questions you have!) and make time to give you more definitive answers for our area.


Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

Monalesa wrote;
"the Piedmont area of NC that we wanted to start very early and with seedlings in the hopes that they wouldn't roast in the garden. I planted quite a few seeds and most have already sprouted: Corn (Peaches & Cream and also Silver Queen), sweet peas, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, spinach, kale, turnips, beets, 3 types of peppers"

Okay, here's where I get confused. I'm south of you (Upstate SC), and I haven't planted anything but lettuce and peas. I've been watching the gardens near me, and hoping to follow their lead. The "corn man" has plowed but not planted, and the same for the "watermelon man">. I was ready to plant seeds for cukes, squash and melons, but with the cold snap (maybe low 30's) coming the end of the week , I'm not sure what to do. My tomato plants will stay inside (and some won't be here 'til mid-April), but is it okay to plant other stuff now? As seeds or as plants? Sigh. It's a change from Florida, but a happy one...

Lenoir, NC

Hello Catmad. I'm in NC foothills and I've planted some lettuce, cabbage, potatoes and tomatoes even though our frost free period officially begins in a couple weeks.

Weather here has been abnormally warm, daffodils and many trees have bloomed or put out leafs, hostas are up, dogwood are in bloom, etc.

With warm weather so long a lot of us hoped for a early spring and took a risk. So I'm going to be covering some tomato plants in the evening. That should enable them to make it through nights around freezing. They are good sized and I hope they will make it and produce some really early tomatoes. I also have some seed starting under the lights and some outside hardening off. The ones outside will be brought in at night. since they aren't in the ground.

I sure hope this is the last cool spell--I plan to put them in the ground as soon as it passes and it looks as if we have a nice warm spell.

Have a blessed and cheerful day in the garden. If the garden, that's pretty easy to do!

Carl Walker

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