Kitchen Garden Questions – #1

I’ve had several questions sent to The Mail Box on kitchen gardening and thought you may find the information useful:

Question – I plan to plant Kentucky Wonders this year in a raised bed,
and I don’t know how many to plant for canning purposes. Will one teepee produce
enough beans to can, or do I need to have more? (Check out my post building a bean teepee). 

Response – If you’re going to pressure can your green beans, I would suggest that you
plant bush beans instead of pole beans in your raised bed.  If you plant bush
beans you will be able to harvest enough from the bushes to fill your
canner with 6 – 7 quart jars per load. Planting pole beans gives you a gradual
harvest throughout the planting season. I’m sure you don’t want to spend time
canning 1 or 2 quarts of beans. I use pole beans because I freeze my harvest and
can put them away a quart at a time. 

You didn’t mention the size of your raised bed. A 4 x 4 raised bed should
hold about 32 plants if you space the seed about 6 inches apart. You may be able
to plant about 4 inches apart and get a few more plants in the bed. Using
a gallon bucket for your harvest is a good way to determine how many quarts you
will be canning.  Five gallons will yield around 18 quarts. 
There is a disadvantage to bush beans, you have to bend over to harvest

Question – I am tired of procrastinating with this container garden! I am ready to get
started! My plan is to purchase organic, nonGMO seeds from SeedsNow. I’ve been
doing research but I feel like I’m overthinking things and I need to just jump
in and give it a try. I think container gardening is the best start. I’m
concerned about planting a garden in my yard because my hubby uses a lot of
pesticide to control fleas and other pests. I plan to buy the following seeds:
lettuce, spinach, bell peppers, collard greens, and tomatoes. I would appreciate
any advice you can give me. I also have a few questions.
1. Should I use organic potting soil so that my veggies are truly
2. What should I plant that can grow year round?
3. Can I start planting now?

Response – Glad to hear that you’re ready to jump into container gardening. I think
you’re wise to use containers if pesticides are being used in your yard. They’ll
grow just as big and delicious in a container. Lettuce, spinach, peppers and
tomatoes grow well in containers. I’m not sure about the collard greens, but
give it a try.  I’ve been gardening for years, and I’m not always successful
with everything that I plant. Here’s a few tips: 
  • Use deep plastic containers for your tomatoes and peppers, and make sure
    your container is large enough for a stake. Paint buckets from Home Depot or
    Lowes work well for tomatoes and peppers. Remember you will have to drill holes
    in the bottom for drainage and come up with a staking system. If you can find a
    large, plastic flower pot with good drainage that’s even better. 
  • While choosing your tomato seeds, select the Indeterminate tomato variety.  
  • Old wash tubs, basins, flower pots, window boxes, whatever you can locate,
    will be great for lettuce and spinach.  These are cool weather crops, but
    can grown from spring until a hard frost hits in shady areas. If you have a cold
    frame, you can extend your growing season.    
  • Using organic soil in your containers is a good idea.  Do you plan to start
    you seeds inside under grow lights?  If so, I use Miracle Grow Seed Starting
    Mix.  You don’t want to use regular potting soil for this step.
  • Plant according to the zone that you live in. I’m in zone 6B, so I plant
    what will grow in this region and the planting times states for that region.  
Have questions?  Send an email to The Mail Box using  I will respond.  



  1. This is awesome! What great information!

  2. thanks for the great info