Dear Charlotte, when to Plant?

“When do you plant beets?  I’m new at this gardening thing but have bought and pickled beets for years.  I think I might try planting my own this year.  Any advice?  Thank you in advance for your suggestions.” – Terri


Hi Terri.  University of Missouri Extension has a wonderful guide on when to plant and what varieties work best.  Here is a link to their guide:


“When do I plant lettuce and onions and tomatoes? This is my first year to put in a garden and I’m very excited. I enjoy reading your columns, and your winter tomato plant has me encouraged.” – Philip


Hi Philip.  Those are all easy vegetables to plant, especially for a beginning gardener. Most lettuce varieties prefer cool spring weather. You can also plant onions now.  I just scattered a few around my roses to keep bugs away. It’s a little early for tomatoes outside, but if you want to get them started from seed inside, you can try to get them started in seed pots.

If not, wait to buy an established tomato plant and keep it going through this summer. Then take one of the fruits, plant it, and take one of the starts to bring into the house in the fall and have it winter over.


“My boyfriend gave me a little miniature rose for Valentine’s Day. Can I plant it outside?” – Rachel


Hi, Rachel.  I would wait until after Mother’s Day in May, then set your miniature rose out for a few hours a day and gradually add a couple of hours until it has been outside for a whole day before planting it outside.  Remember to give it some banana peels, egg shells, and used coffee grounds in the bottom of the hole before you plant it and you will get it off to a very nice start growing outside.

Charlotte Ekker Wiggins is a gardener, beekeeper and sometimes cook.  For more, visit Published by Kaleidoscope Weekly with permission. Copyright 2018, all rights reserved. This column may not be copied, published, reprinted, rewritten, or redistributed. Contact Charlotte at

Tomatoes are also a plant that grows best outside after the danger of frost, usually around Mother’s Day in May. Tomatoes will also winter well inside. This cherry tomato has spent this winter inside in one of my bay windows. (Photos by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

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