The second phase of my experiment in vegetable gardening (which maybe should have been the first) is planning out what I am actually going to plant. There is a ton of information on the web about when, how, what to grow and it can be rather overwhelming. I eventually found my way to the Missouri Botanical Garden website which allowed me to find specific information about growing in St.Louis and also helped to streamline the rather intensive process. In a nutshell, this is what I learned.
When: In Missouri, vegetables are classified as cool seasons, warm seasons or perennials. The cool season is planted in mid-March and then again in July or August. These plants can withstand frosts and some even have their flavor enhanced by it. The most popular vegetables in this category are: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, kohlrabi, kale, collard greens, lettuce, onions, spinach, beets, swiss chard, carrots, radish, potatoes, and peas. Depending on how the next few months go I plan on trying to grow some brussel sprouts or broccoli come August.
The warm season vegetables are planted in late April to early May (mid-May this year as it has been unusually cool for this time of year). The most common species are tomato, pepper, eggplant, corn, cucumber, green beans, sweet potato, squash and melons.
Perennials grow all year round and include things like asparagus and rhubarb.
While the above types dictate the approximate dates in which vegetables should be planted each variety has its own specific timeline -some early and others late. One should also keep in mind the the last average frost date and the first killing frost date - in Missouri its April 15th and October 15th.
How: There is really two options: a container or in the ground. Since we are renters, this really wasn't a choice for us. Unfortunately, this means we are limited on space and will have to invest more upfront for the cost of the container (completed) and its preparation -lining and finding soil (not done and will probably require a whole other post).
What: I had a rough idea of what I wanted to grow but not if it was possible. One this list was: tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, onions, and lettuces. What I discovered that is that I could grow everything (lettuce is a bit risky but I am going to try it anyways) except the onions. I also decided I would add sweet bell peppers and some strawberries and that I would get two separate pots to plant basil and dill.
Thus after more research that would surely bore most of you I made a plan.
Any experienced gardeners out there see any problems with the plan? Please let me know if you do!