Missouri Gardening - Help Please?

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by CluckyCharms, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. CluckyCharms

    CluckyCharms Chillin' With My Peeps


    Well, since we are getting chickens for eggs, I decided I'd take it a step further and start my own garden (I've never had one). I'd like to know that I'm helping to provide food for us instead of my husband doing all the work (outside the home) to spend his hard earned money on...groceries that we don't know the origins of.

    If anyone here lives in Missouri and can give me some tips on what to plant (we like all veggies except cauliflower) and what time of the year to plant it, and what kind of soil/watering/fertilizing is needed? ...I'd be VERY grateful.

    Even if you have some well-trusted site links that are good for gardening according to Missouri's weather - that would help too!

    Our favorite vegetables:

    Sweet potatoes
    Tomatoes (yes I know it's a fruit, but still)
    Brussels Sprouts
    Mushrooms (we have those in the front yard naturally, but NOT the kind you can eat LOL)
    Green beans
    Spinach (but I don't know how to make it hot, like you buy in the cans, haha)

    I just don't know when to grow them. I've spent quite a bit of time googling but I can't find anything specifically for Missouri other than very vague sites that don't really say exactly when to plant or how to plant, or how deep under the soil, nothing like that. I've also been to the local library but I didn't find much there except for big commercial farming/irrigation and crop books.

    We also REALLY like strawberries but I don't know if those are possible to grow in Missouri (we have weird weather), and we like raspberries and blackberries too.

    Like I said - even if you have nice website links that would help for gardening with Missouri's weather - that would be so wonderful.

    I'd really appreciate any help, big or small. =)
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2012
  2. theGrizzFan

    theGrizzFan Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 3, 2012
    Missouri Ozarks
    My wife and I are in the process of buying a home with a little acreage in Missouri. We were in Lebanon last week and stopped at a book store. On the shelf was a book titled "Missouri Gardening". I now regret not getting this book as I would be able to help you, but perhaps you will be able to find it before we head back and I can pick it up.
    Best of luck to you.

    Edit: I could be wrong about the title, but it did include the state and either garden or gardening.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2012
  3. CluckyCharms

    CluckyCharms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ahhhhh nice! Thank you for the reference, I will be sure to find it. I wonder how come the library (the one I went to) didn't have any 'regular' gardening books? Perhaps I wasn't looking in the right section!! lol

    I did find home gardening books at the library, but they were 'flower' gardens..not veggies (I should have specified that).

    I'll head to Amazon I think - they have some nice books there and might have that one (and some others to consider)...didn't think of that until your post.

    Thanks again!
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2012
  4. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2012
    Northern Colorado
    Generally, you want to plant a week or so after the last frost date. We typically plant around Memorial Day. Most vegetable use only the top 4 inches of soil or so. Things like beets and carrots are usually planted as seed, so they can go in a bit earlier than more tender plants. Spinach likes colder weather and is also a seed, so it can go in earlier as well. Broccoli is generally bought as a started plant and can tolerate cooler temps as well. Onions are usually bought as "sets"...little bitty onions, basically, and they can go in reasonably early too. Tomatoes are very susceptible to frost, so make sure you're well past the frost date before putting them in. They can be started by seed, but I find it easier to just buy plants. The tags on the plants will tell you how many days it will take for them to be ready to pick. I usually put in at least one early plant so we have some to eat earlier on. They need regular watering or they will develop blossom end rot, so even amounts on a regular basis are needed. They love the heat too so make sure they get plenty of sun. Squash is hardy but tends to vine and take a lot of room so space them a good distance apart. Green beans come in two varieties..bush and pole. The bush variety grows about 2 feet tall, but the pole variety is a vine and needs something to climb on...like corn stalks, sunflower stalks or a pole or stake. They can grow to 6 feet or more.

    I've never grown sweet potatoes, but regular potatoes need a fairly light soil. They'll grow in clay but are a pain to dig out of it without wrecking them. Mulch them well so the soil doesn't get too hot...the plant part likes the sun but too much heat in the soil will kill them.

    Missouri is in zone 6 and 7 which is really conducive to just about any sort of veg you want to grow. Check the labels on the plants or the backs of the packages of the seeds and you'll find a lot of information there.

    We never plant corn...it just takes too much space and needs a LOT of water...I find it just easier to buy it at the farmers market when it's in season.

    Are you planning on canning, freezing or dehydrating at all, or just planting for fresh eating? Remember that most things will all come ripe at about the same time...I mean all the beets you put in at one time will be ready to pick at the same time...that sort of thing. If you just want to fresh eat items, it's a good idea to make staggered plantings eg plant a row of carrots or two, and 2 weeks later, plant another row or two. Oh, and carrots and beets and other seeded starts need to be thinned...if you leave all the seedlings growing where the seed fell, you'll be disappointed because none of them will have room to grow properly.

    If you've never had a garden before, now is a great time to start preparing for it. I assume you have grass now? If so, you can simply cover the area you want to use as a garden with cardboard or several thicknesses of newspaper and throw some soil over it to hold it in place. The lack of sun will kill the grass. In the spring you can remove the covering and either dig or till the soil to a depth of about 4 inches. It sure beats trying to dig out all that sod by hand!

    If you don't have a compost pile, now is a good time to start one as well. Come mid summer or early fall, you'll have some wonderful fertilizer to put back into the soil of your garden.

    You can also plant all sorts of stuff your chickens will eat as well. Any leafy greens are good for them and as a rule they love them. Chard, spinach, lettuce, beet tops, carrot tops, sunflower seeds, they love the seeds from cukes and squash as well.
    1 person likes this.
  5. CluckyCharms

    CluckyCharms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you SO MUCH for allll your advice ::soaks it in like a sponge!:: I'm going to print this out. =D
    Your advice is really going to help (and already has) and you are chalk full of information! Have you ever considered writing a gardening how-to? haha - you should!

    Thank you again and I'm keeping all this info bookmarked as well as a print-off I can take with me!
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2012
  6. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2012
    Northern Colorado
    LOL...glad to help! I've been grubbing in the soil for a lot of years and like to think I've picked up a thing or two along the way ;) Check the internet too...there are tons of gardening resources there you can find for free rather than buying books. You can find a huge amount of information about canning and dehydrating as well. If you're interested in canning, I'd suggest starting with something simple, like a fruit jam. It only requires a water bath for processing and you probably wouldn't even need to buy anything to get started except some jars and lids. If you decide it's something you want to do, you can then invest in equipment and a pressure canner. Low acid foods (essentially anything except fruit) have to be canned under pressure to make them safe, and that sort of canner is pretty pricey. So, best to start with something simple cuz you may find you don't like it or just don't want to.

    There are threads here on the forum for both canning and gardening...have a look through...I'm sure you'll find lots of good info. You're welcome to PM if you'd like, or just post here and I'll be happy to help if I can!

    You don't really need to get specific to the state to garden well. Remember your USDA Zone; that will tell you a lot about what will and won't grow for you. However, since most vegetables are annuals, it really doesn't matter...as long as it's not something that needs more growing days than you get, you're good to go. You can check your soil to decide what it's like...clay, or sand or loam...take a handful and squeeze it. When you let go, give it a poke...if it stays gummy and all wadded up, you've got a lot of clay. If it collapses as soon as you open your hand, it's got a lot of sand. If it holds together till you poke it and then it sort of crumbles, you've got the best of all. The neat thing is that if your soil is either clay or sand, the addition of peat moss will help correct it...one cure for both! You can check with your local extension office (the nearest college) and they can likely check the pH for you. I haven't bothered because Colorado soil is very alkaline...which means I can't grow things like blueberries which like an acid soil. This has much more effect on perennials than annuals, so it's something you really don't need to do to start off.
    1 person likes this.
  7. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 10, 2010
    Check out the Missouri University Extension website. They have alot of information specific to your area.
    Here is a link to help you out: http://extension.missouri.edu/p/G6201
    If you download the pdf that is on the top of the left-hand column (follow the DOWNLOAD link), it is a really nice chart of planting dates and suggested varieties for vegetables.

    I enjoy seeing what type of info the different states have available from their University Extension. There is alot of good information out there that is free. While I do not necessarily agree with everything that they poblish, there are jams of information available. Alot of the information from Extention sites is geared toward industrial/commercial farmers, but there is increasingly more information being published for homeowner use.
    2 people like this.
  8. CluckyCharms

    CluckyCharms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you so much for your recent addition wyo! :) I bookmarked the site and will be using it as a reference, for sure!

    We've decided to do 4 raised gardens in the backyard, close to each other, with a separate strawberry bed in the middle...kind of like this rough draft I made.

    Granted, I don't know how much "room" is necessary for the 4 things pictured, but those are the 4 vegetables we have decided we want in our garden.

    If we have to make adjustments in the width of the gardens we can work with that. We have a big, empty backyard with nothing but 2 very large trees so plenty of room (the trees don't block the sun in the majority of the yard though).

    We shall see!!

    We kind of want to get the actual landscaping in and the actual garden beds raised and filled with soil before we start planting anything, otherwise we'll just end up with a big mess of mud and plants, and I don't want that.

    Suggestions on how big the beds should be for the veggies specified would be very much appreciated, too. =D

    There's only the 2 of us here...no kids...and we usually host small get-togethers with our friends once a month (we all take turns) so really we don't want a ton of vegetables everywhere, just a small amount.
  9. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 10, 2010
    Here's another site that may be of some help. It will give you an idea of planting densities. They are planting fairly dense on that site, but always follow teh recommended spaing on the seed packet when planting.


    Corn should be planted 6" apart in rows. Don't plant the rows any closer than 1 foot apart though because it is wind pollinated so you need to plant it so the wind can blow down the rows to get decent pollination. Carrots are planted and thinned to 3 inches apart. So you can get 16 carrots per square foot, times that by 16 square feet - that's 256 carrots. :) I would highly recommend doing s staggered planting with the carrots. You may want to add another vegetable to that bed, say a couple of tomato plants, one in each of the back two corners or some herbs like rosemary or sage. You could also do a row beans in with the carrots, if you like fresh green beans.

    A 2x2 bed of strawberries isn't nearly enough for me. I would do the cucumbers in the 2x2 with a trellis, and the strawberries in the 4x4. Just because strawberries are the best and you can never have enough!

    and - What?!?! no garden peas!?! man, it isn't a complete garden without peas. I am starting on my third crop of snow peas from my garden right now - the plants just never stopped blooming and producing. Hint - make sure to give your peas something to climb on, mine just took down a tomato plant. lol
  10. CluckyCharms

    CluckyCharms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aaghh I forgot about peas! My husband and I both really like peas, too. *sigh* - time to replan. Thank you for the reminder!! lol

    ...and this is why I have to do the landscaping part first. =P

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