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Questions About Your Vegetable Garden? Here are Answers!

By Joe Julian, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, horticulture and entomology

Well, you've planted a vegetable garden. Now what do you do?

Your plants have started to grow, and it's awhile before harvest. You're wondering what to do while you wait for the garden to produce by the bushel. Here are some common questions and a few tips to help you monitor your garden until the tomatoes ripen and the zucchini takes over the yard.

Question: Why are my carrot roots short and sort of knobby? Some of them have split.

Answer: If you have heavy clay soils or rocky ground with low fertility or if you planted your carrots too close together - less than 2 inches apart -- you may see this problem. Hot weather may also trigger root problems and, when followed by periods of wet weather, will cause roots to expand rapidly and develop cracks.

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Question: Should I pull suckers from the base of the corn plant?

Answer: No. In fact, you may reduce your corn yield by doing this.

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Question: My corn is tasseling but my plants are very short. Is this normal?

Answer: Unless you planted a naturally short variety, this probably is happening because of a lack of nitrogen, poor soil conditions or drought.

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Question: Do cucumbers cross with watermelons, pumpkins, or squash?

Answer: No. This is a common myth, but in fact cucumbers cannot pollinate any of the crops mentioned.

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Question: I have little white bumps on the stems of my tomatoes. What causes them?

Answer: These are root primordia. Should the tomato fall down, or the stem get covered up, these can develop into roots. It is normal and natural for your tomato plant to have these "bumps". The bumps are more evident in wet weather.

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Question: Why did the seeds I planted in my garden germinate poorly?

Answer: Unfavorable weather conditions at planting time usually are the main cause, especially if it was cold and the soil was not warm when seeds were placed in the ground. Too much watering also causes problems as excess water invites diseases. Other reasons for poor germination include planting too deeply, damage from insects or rodents or seed that is too old to plant.

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Question: Can vegetables "help" each other by planting certain ones side by side?

Answer: No research based information from Colorado State University indicates certain plants placed side by side can be beneficial to each other.

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Question: How do I know if my garden needs fertilizer during the growing season?

Answer: If plants are pale green, stunted or are losing lower leaves this could be an indication of nitrogen deficiency.

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Question: Is it better to water my garden during the day or at night?

Answer: Watering during the night may promote disease development. The early morning is the ideal time to water your garden. The next best time is late afternoon but early enough so leaves dry before dark.

Photo: Judy Sedbrook


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Date last revised: 01/05/2010