Garden Time : Choosing plants

Hello fellow Gardeners ! The fun part of any garden is choosing the plant to include. Do you usually buy the same plats? Try something new? Here’s some tips and tricks for everyone ….

What is the difference between heirloom and hybrid?

Hybrid seeds are created by crossing two selected varieties, sometimes resulting in vigorous plants that yield more than heirloomsHeirloom vegetables are old-time varieties, open-pollinated instead of hybrid, and saved and handed down through multiple generations of families.

Why Choose Heirloom Seeds?

1. Exceptional taste is the No. 1 reason many gardeners cite for choosing heirloom varieties.

2. Heirloom vegetables are likely to be more nutritious than newer varieties.

3. Many gardeners prefer heirloom vegetables because they are open-pollinated, which means you can save your own seed to replant from year to year.


Standard tomatoes produce medium to large tomatoes in a variety of colors, including red, yellow, orange and purple. Cherry tomatoes produce small round fruit around one inch to two inches in diameter, and Grape tomatoes produce smaller fruit, oblong, one inch or less. Other groups include Heirloom tomatoes (older, open pollinated cultivars with excellent flavor but poor disease resistance; production tends to be less reliable), and Heat Tolerant tomatoes that may be planted later as they have the ability to set fruit during high temperatures (generally medium-sized fruit, plant in the garden by May). You also need to decide whether you want to grow determinate cultivars that stay short or indeterminate cultivars that grow tall.

Standard: Amelia, BHN 640, Carolina Gold, Celebrity, Floramerica, Floralina, Mountain Delight, Mountain Fresh, Mountain Spring, Sun Start

Heat Tolerant: Bella Rosa, Tribeca, Tribute, Floralina, Heatwave II, Florida 91, Phoenix, Solar Fire, Sunbeam, Sunchaser, Sunleaper, Sunmaster

Planting and Harvesting Tips


South Louisiana gardeners can plant seed from mid-March to mid-May. A fall crop is planted in late August in the south. Two general types of cucumbers are pickling and slicers. The pickling types produce short, blocky fruit with a tender skin that usually has more white coloration than the slicing types.

One of the most common cucumber types is the English or European cucumber. These cukes are almost seedless, thin skinned without spines and long (1-2 feet in length) (30-61 cm.). They are marketed as a “burpless” cucumbers and have a mild flavor compared to many other types. Because they are grown in hot houses, they also tend to be more expensive.

Armenian cucumbers, also called snakemelon or snake cucumber, have very long, twisted fruit with dark green, thin skin and pale green stripes the length of the fruit – which turns yellow and aromatic as it ripens and has a mild flavor.

Kyuri, or Japanese cucumbers, are slim, dark green with small bumps and thin skins. They are crisp and sweet with tiny seeds. I grew them last year and highly recommend them. They were the most delicious cucumber I have ever had and bore fruit for weeks

Kirby cucumbers are more often than not those you buy as commercially sold pickles. These cucumbers are usually unwaxed and are crisp, thin skinned with tiny insignificant seeds.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Cucumber Varieties: Learn About Different Types Of Cucumbers Plants

Harvest cucumbers when they reach the desired size and are green in color. Do not wait until they turn yellow. Yellow cucumbers are over mature and will have a strong flavor.

Bell Peppers :

The bell pepper is the fruit of plants in the Grossum cultivar group of the species Capsicum annuum. Cultivars of the plant produce fruits in different colours, including red, yellow, orange, green, white, and purple. Bell peppers are sometimes grouped with less pungent pepper varieties as “sweet peppers”.


  • Peppers are a tender, warm-season crop, so they typically need to be started indoors if grown from seed. Start seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before your last spring  frost date :
  • Bell peppers require a fairly long growing season (60 to 90 days), which is another reason to start them indoors: they get a nice headstart!
  • If growing from nursery-bought transplants, plant them outdoors 2 to 3 weeks after the threat of frost has passed

Look for varieties that ripen to their full color quickly; fully mature peppers are the most nutritious—and tastier, too!

  • Green peppers that turn Red: ‘Lady Bell’, ‘Gypsy’, ‘Bell Boy’, ‘Lipstick’
  • …Orange: ‘Milena’, ‘Orange Sun’
  • …Yellow: ‘Golden California Wonder’

Which color bell pepper is the healthiest?

Red peppers pack the most nutrition, because they’ve been on the vine longest. Green peppers are harvested earlier, before they have a chance to turn yellow, orange, and then red. Compared to green bell peppers, the red ones have almost 11 times more beta-carotene and 1.5 times more vitamin C.


For a summer harvest, sow seeds outdoors 3 to 5 weeks before the last spring frost date..

  • We recommend sowing seeds directly in the garden (or wherever you plan to grow them) rather than transplanting. Carrots do not like to have their roots disturbed. 
  • Sow ¼ inch deep, 2 to 3 inches apart in rows 1 foot apart. Carrots are sometimes slow to germinate. They may take 2 to 3 weeks to show any sign of life, so don’t panic if your carrots don’t appear right away!

Carrots come in a rainbow of colors, sizes, and shapes.

  • ‘‘Bolero’: slightly tapered; 7 to 8 inches; resists most leaf pests and blights. 
  • ‘Danvers’: classic heirloom; 6 to 8 inches long, that tapers at the end and has a rich, dark orange color; suited to heavy soil.
  • ‘Little Finger’: heirloom; a small Nantes type of carrot only 4 inches long and one inch thick; good for containers. 
  • ‘Nantes’: cylindrical (not tapered); 6 to 7 inches; exceptionally sweet; crisp texture.
  • ‘Thumberline’: heirloom; round carrot, good for clumpy or clay soil and containers.
  • For unusual color, try heirloom ‘Red Cored Chantenay’ and bright ‘Solar Yellow’.
  • Generally, the smaller the carrot, the better the taste.
  • Harvest whenever desired maturity or size is reached. Carrots should be about as wide as your thumb or at least ½ of an inch in diameter. Carrots are biennial. If you fail to harvest and leave the carrots in the ground, the tops will flower and proeduce seeds in the next year.

What plants keep deer and rabbits away?

Select rabbit and deer-resistant flowers to plant in your garden. Some flowers that rabbits and deer tend to avoid eating include astilbe, daffodils, marigolds, snapdragons, daylilies, primrose and peonies. Snapdragons are a good choice for attractive flowers that ward off deer from your garden.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.