Mississippi State University Extension Services: Providing Education and Resources for the Community


Farmstand variety seedlings are more easily started indoors to get a jump on the vegetable and herb growing season to start a variety of vegetables even when soils are slow to warm or when there is a disease issue. Started indoors, seedlings don’t need everything that plants growing in the garden need, such as irrigation, fertilizer needs, or protection from insects. Also, seeds started indoors can be planted earlier, which means the plants may produce an earlier and more abundant harvest of fruits and vegetables. Indoor seedlings will need a good source of light, since they won’t be getting as much sunlight as they would if they were growing outdoors.

When your goal is to have a self-watering system available for indoor plantings, there are many adaptatable vegetables from which to choose. Head lettuce, crisphead and leaf varieties grow very well in a tower system. Care for head lettuce are the same as for growing head lettuce outdoors. The major difference is in the planting density. Whereas crisphead lettuce is normally planted 12 inches between plants in row (15,300 plants/A), the self-watering plantings should be 8 inches between plants within the columns.

It’s easy to start seeds indoors for vegetable and herb gardens. But when should you start seeds indoors? The answer to that question is dependent on the type of plants you’re growing. Some plants need more time to grow before they can be moved outdoors, while others can be planted sooner. A general rule of thumb is to start seeds indoors about 6-8 weeks before the last frost date in your area. This will give the plants plenty of time to germinate and grow before they can be transplanted outside in the garden.

Starting your seeds indoors is a great way to get a head start on the gardening season. By starting your own seeds, you have control over which varieties you grow and when you start them. Plus, it’s a fun and rewarding project that allows you to actively participate in the growing process. So if you’re ready to get started, gather your supplies and follow these simple steps to successfully start seeds indoors.

If you need specific information on how to start seeds indoors, contact your local MSU Extension office. They can provide you with the information you need to get started and answer any questions you may have. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – MSU Extension is here to assist you in your gardening journey!

Home Garden Lettuce

At MSU Extension, we understand that growing your own lettuce can be a rewarding experience. Lettuce is a versatile and nutritious vegetable that can be enjoyed in salads, sandwiches, or as a healthy snack. With the right care and attention, you can easily grow your own lettuce at home.

When it comes to irrigation, lettuce requires some moisture to thrive. It’s important to keep the soil evenly moist, but not wet. Make sure to water your lettuce plants regularly, especially during dry periods. If you notice the soil drying out too quickly, you may need to move your lettuce to a location with more shade to conserve moisture.

Lettuce can be growing from either seeds or transplants. If you choose to start from seeds, it’s best to sow them directly into the garden in early spring or late summer for a fall planting. When planting lettuce, make sure to select a variety that suits your taste preferences. Some popular lettuce varieties include leaf, romaine, butterhead, and crisphead.

Lettuce plants require at least 6 hours of sunlight each day to grow properly. If your garden receives heavy shade, consider planting your lettuce in containers or using vertical gardening techniques to maximize sunlight exposure.

Enroll in our MSU Extension program to get more information on growing lettuce at home. We can provide you with tips on soil preparation, seeding, irrigation, and pest control.

When it comes to pests and diseases, lettuce can be prone to aphids, slugs, and other insects. We can provide you with information on how to identify and control these pests in your garden. Additionally, we can help you with weed control methods that are safe for your lettuce plants.

During the winter months, it’s important to protect your lettuce plants from harsh weather conditions. Consider using row covers or cold frames to provide extra insulation. These structures can help keep your plants healthy and productive throughout the winter season.

Harvesting lettuce is a simple task. You can start harvesting leaves as soon as they reach a size that you find satisfactory. Simply cut or pick off the leaves from the outside of the plant, allowing the inner leaves to continue growing. With proper care and attention, you can enjoy fresh, homegrown lettuce throughout the growing season.

So, if you’re looking to add lettuce to your home garden, look no further than MSU Extension. We have all the information you need to get started and keep your lettuce plants thriving. With our help, you can enjoy the benefits of growing your own lettuce in no time!

Soil Requirements

When it comes to MSU Extension and soil requirements, there are a few things to keep in mind. The soil in which you choose to grow your plants plays a major role in their success, so it’s important to pay attention to its needs.

First and foremost, the soil should be well-drained. If water runs off too easily or gets trapped, it can cause problems for your plantings. Additionally, the soil should be fertile and rich in organic matter for optimal growth.

Before planting, it’s a good idea to test the soil to see if it has any deficiencies or imbalances. This way, you can address any issues before you move forward with your garden. MSU Extension provides resources and information on soil testing, so you can better understand your soil’s composition.

Once your soil is ready for planting, make sure to prepare it properly. This includes removing any weeds, rocks, or debris that may hinder your plants’ growth. Additionally, adding compost or other organic matter can help improve the soil’s texture and nutrient content.

Different plants have different soil requirements, so it’s important to match the soil to the specific needs of the plants you’re growing. For example, lettuce varieties like Bibb lettuce prefer well-drained soil with a slightly acidic pH level. On the other hand, crops like peas and beans prefer nitrogen-rich soil.

During the growing season, it’s important to monitor the soil’s moisture levels. If the soil becomes too dry, you may need to water your plants more frequently. If it becomes too wet, you risk waterlogging the roots and potentially causing root rot.

It’s also important to control weeds, pests, and diseases in the soil to protect your plants. There are various methods and techniques you can use, such as mulching to prevent weed growth, using organic insecticides to control aphids and other pests, and practicing crop rotation to reduce disease buildup.

In addition to proper soil care, fertilizing can also be beneficial for your plants. Depending on the specific needs of your plants, you may need to apply fertilizer during different stages of growth. MSU Extension can provide guidance on the correct types and amounts of fertilizer to use.

Overall, paying attention to soil requirements is crucial for successful gardening. Whether you’re growing vegetables, flowers, or herbs, understanding the needs of your plants and providing them with the right soil conditions will help ensure healthy and abundant harvests year-round.


When it comes to planting, MSU Extension offers a wide selection of major fruits and vegetables that can be grown in your garden. From seed selection to cultivation, they provide the information you need to get started.

For most fruits and vegetables, it is best to start with seeds or seedlings. MSU Extension has a variety of plant starts available for purchase, making it easy to get your garden going.

Before planting, it is important to prepare your soil. This can be done by removing any weeds or grass and loosening the soil with a garden fork or shovel. MSU Extension recommends adding compost or other organic matter to improve soil fertility.

Depending on the weather, planting can begin as early as the last frost date or as late as mid-summer. This will vary between different fruits and vegetables, so be sure to consult the planting guide provided by MSU Extension.

Once your garden is prepared, it’s time to plant. Whether you choose to grow your plants in raised beds, containers, or directly in the ground, MSU Extension has the information you need to ensure success.

  • For heavy varieties such as melons or pumpkins, consider using a trellis or other vertical support to keep the fruit off the ground.
  • Many herbs can be started indoors and then transplanted outdoors once the weather warms up.
  • Leafy greens, such as lettuce or spinach, can be planted in both the spring and fall for a continuous harvest.
  • For easy irrigation, MSU Extension recommends using self-watering containers or installing timers on your outdoor hose.

During the growing season, it’s important to keep an eye on your plants for pests and diseases. MSU Extension offers resources on pest control and disease management, so you can keep your garden healthy.

Thanks to MSU Extension’s efforts, most pests can be controlled through regular monitoring and proper care. Insects, diseases, and heavy weather can all be avoided with the right knowledge and preparation.

When it comes to watering, MSU Extension recommends irrigating your plants as needed. This can vary depending on the weather and plant type, so be sure to monitor soil moisture and adjust your watering schedule accordingly.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, MSU Extension is here to provide the information and resources you need for successful planting. Enroll in one of their programs today to learn more about growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs.


Irrigation plays a crucial role in cultivating a successful garden. Dealing with the signing and vegetables, irrigation helps to provide the necessary moisture for plants to grow. Additionally, irrigation helps to deliver the required nutrients to the plants through the soils.

When it comes to irrigation, there are a few options to consider. One option would be to go for a heavy-duty irrigation system that can cover a large area. Another option is to opt for a drip irrigation system, which can be more adaptable and efficient in presenting water directly to the roots of plants.

If you’re not sure which irrigation method would be best for your garden, it’s always a good idea to consult with an expert. You can reach out to MSU Extension for more information and guidance.

It’s important to note that irrigation requirements can vary depending on the type of plants you are growing. For example, some fruits and vegetables like tomatoes and strawberries require more water compared to others like lettuce.

When it comes to outdoor gardening, irrigation can be a bit more challenging. However, with the right techniques and tools, it’s definitely doable. One way to control the water flow is to enroll in gardening classes or workshops that teach you about proper irrigation techniques.

Indoor gardening, on the other hand, is relatively easy when it comes to irrigation. Indoor plants usually don’t require as much water as outdoor plants. However, it’s still important to monitor the soil moisture levels and ensure that the plants are getting the right amount of water.

When you’re planting seeds or seedlings, it’s essential to water them well to promote healthy growth. Once the plants are established, you can reduce the frequency of watering but make sure to provide deep irrigation to encourage root development.

When harvesting fruits and vegetables, it’s crucial to protect them from pests and diseases. Proper irrigation techniques can help in controlling pests and reducing the chances of diseases spreading among the plants.

One great irrigation tool that can be used in both indoor and outdoor gardening is a self-watering planter tower. These towers are designed to provide water and nutrients directly to the plants’ roots, making it an efficient way to irrigate.

In conclusion, irrigation is an essential part of gardening. By taking the time to understand the irrigation requirements of your plants and implementing the right techniques, you can ensure that your garden produces fresh and healthy produce. So, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener, don’t underestimate the power of proper irrigation.

✿ Read More About Vegetables.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.