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Vegetable Garden Planning for Beginners

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If you're a beginner vegetable gardener, here are basics on vegetable garden planning: site selection, plot size, which vegetables to grow, and other gardening tips.

Remember this: It's better to be proud of a small garden than to be frustrated by a big one!

One of the common errors for beginners is planting too much too soon and way more than anybody could eat or want. Unless you want to have zucchini taking up residence in your attic, plan carefully. Start small.

The Very Basics

First, here are some very basic concepts on topics you'll want to explore further as you become a vegetable gardener extraordinaire:

  • Do you have enough sun exposure? Vegetables love the sun. They need at least 6 hours of full sun every day, and preferably 8.
  • Know your soil. Most soil can be enriched with compost and be fine for planting, but some soil needs more help. Vegetables must have good, loamy, well-drained soil. Check with your local nursery or local cooperative extension office about free soil test kits so that you can assess your soil type. See our article on preparing soil for planting.
  • Placement is everything. Avoid planting too near a tree, which will steal nutrients and shade the garden. In addition, a garden too close to the house will help to discourage wild animals from nibbling away your potential harvest.
  • Decide between tilling and a raised bed.  If you have poor soil or a bad back, a raised bed built with nonpressure-treated wood offers many benefits. See more about raised garden beds and how to build them.
  • Vegetables need lots of water, at least 1 inch of water a week. See more about when to water vegetables.
  • You'll need some basic planting tools.  These are the essentials: spade, garden fork, soaking hose, hoe, hand weeder, and wheelbarrow (or bucket) for moving around mulch or soil. It's worth paying a bit extra for quality tools.
  • Study those seed catalogs and order early.
  • Check your frost dates. Find first and last frost dates in your area and be alert to your local conditions.

Vegetable Garden Planning for Beginners

Deciding How Big

A good-size beginner vegetable garden is about 16x10 feet and features crops that are easy to grow. A plot this size, planted as suggested below, can feed a family of four for one summer, with a little extra for canning and freezing (or giving away).

Make your garden 11 rows wide, with each row 10 feet long. The rows should run north and south to take full advantage of the sun.

Vegetables that may yield more than one crop per season are beans, beets, carrots, cabbage, kohlrabi, lettuce, radishes, rutabagas, spinach, and turnips. 

Suggested Plants for 11 Rows

The vegetables suggested below are common, productive plants but you'll also want to contract your local cooperative extension to determine what plants grow best in your local area. Think about what you like to eat as well as what's difficult to find in a grocery store or farmers' market.

(Note: Link from each vegetable to a free planting and growing guide.)

(Note: If this garden is too large for your needs, you do not have to plant all 11 rows, and you can also make the rows shorter. You can choose the veggies that you'd like to grow!)

When to Plant?

Try our Garden Planner

It's easy to plan your garden with our Almanac Garden Planner!
This planning tool spaces out your vegetables for you, provides sowing dates, and has many free garden plans for inspiration! Try it for free here.

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I was wondering about the

By Ashley Shelnutt on March 27

I was wondering about the miracle growables that have the seeds in the pods. Are they worth buying? If so, would you recommend placing them in a raised bed?

I am going to be planting

By New gardener help! on March 17

I am going to be planting potatoes when the weather is right and I have no clue when your supposed to harvest a potato... How do you know when they are ready when they are underground? Oh and is it smart to have maragolds surrounding your garden I've heard that they keep pests away and wasn't sure if it was supposed to be all around the garden or just in random spots... I have so many questions and I have been trying to google them but there's so many different answers I don't know what to listen too! Someone help me please!!!!

Hello, new gardener! We're

By Almanac Staff on March 18

Hello, new gardener! We're happy to help beginner gardeners. In terms of potatoes, you plant them just after your last spring frost. New potatoes are ready in about 10 weeks, in mid-July in many regions. Here's the direct link to our Potatoes plant page:

We have plant guide pages for all your common vegetables here:

Yes, marigolds have been known to repel some insects and animals and most certainly parasitic worms. Just plant them on the edges of the bed. See our marigold page here:

what is safe to use on my

By new at this

what is safe to use on my vegitable/fruits to keep insects away?

is companion planting the

By holli

is companion planting the same as planting in family groups?

Not exactly. Companion

By Almanac Staff

Not exactly. Companion planting is planting different families that will compliment/benefit each other. Check out this page with more information:

I planted a small vegetable

By Karla Mariska

I planted a small vegetable garden next to our house. The plants closest to the house remain sickly, low bearing. I was told that cement foundations leach something harmful for some plants. Is this true?

I doubt it's that harmful.

By georgewilson

I doubt it's that harmful. Maybe it could change the pH of the soil. Are you plants getting less rain water or sun because they are too near the wall?

Hello, I m working on making

By dr lalit janjirala

I m working on making plan of training tribal ppl on kitchen garden which can help them to increase their nutrient intake with food diversity so can suggest any site or links which have videos for training these ppl on how to develop a kitchen garden.

I have a large area in my

By A frusterated Grower

I have a large area in my backyard that I rototilled up and planted vegetables that I knew my family woudl eat. The issue is that I think the vegetables I chose may not have been planted properly next to ones that would help them thrive. HOw do you know where and which plants to plant to one another to have the healtiest garden? I planted teh following but would love for someone to tell me what to plant to what for next year.
Tomatoes, Corn, Yellow Squash, Zuchhini, Green Beans, Orka, Green, Red Peppers, Jalapenio peppers strawberries and raspberries.

Good for you for trying to

By Cora87

Good for you for trying to grow veggies. I so firmly believe that home-grown, organic produce is best for me and my family.

I have not been a totally successful gardener myself. I've looked at various ideas and ways to change my garden into something truly fruitful and productive. I recently stumbled upon this information, which I'm going to try as soon as the snow melts. It has some great reviews. Check it out:

Hello frustrated

By Almanac Staff

Hello frustrated grower, 

When an entire garden doesn't thrive, the reasons are usually related to a) sunlight.  Most veggies need a LOT of sun—6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight and b)  soil preparation. Soil must be nutrient-rich most of us have to supplement with plenty of organic matter/compost, c) watering, of course!

However, you are correct in saying that some plants grow better next to each other.  It's called "Companion Planting" and we do practice it.  Here are two beginner articles on this top which you may find useful:

Finally, to plant the veggies you want, we would suggest you try out our online Garden Planner for free. You can do a search for gardens in your area and find gardens that match your interests, too.  See:

We hope this gets you started!  Gardening is a never-ending learning process—for us, too!

Is it safe to use a weed

By Carsi

Is it safe to use a weed killer in my garden? The weeds are just terrible this year and I can't keep up with them. I pull them out and they're back in a few days.Some weed killers state they are safe in vegetable gardens. Are they really?

Weeds need to be raked when

By Almanac Staff

Weeds need to be raked when young; at this point, pulling weeds can be very difficult indeed and perhaps not worthwhile. You can try pouring boiling water or vinegar on weeds if you're seeking a homemade recipes. Ask your local cooperative extension about safe herbicides in your state.

Deterring weeds is mostly about soil preparation--all before you even plant the garden. At this point, we would suggest that you use an organic mulch to smother the weeds. Apply 3 to 4 inches deep around the base of veggie plants (not on the base). Materials are manures, bark chips, leaves, and even newspapers (shredded or in layers). Water plants right at their base, not on the leaves nor mulch.

Hi, We started a raised bed

By padmini

We started a raised bed for the first time. I plant some eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, spinach, corn, some beans. But I started all of them in mid may(may 15). We are in St.Louis now. Can I get the harvest within october or not?

And my other suggestion is I planted some ridge guard and bitter guard. The spacing for them is just similar to Pumpkins or not? I did same as the pumpkins. I want to make it better for the next spring.


Hi Padmini, You will find

By Almanac Staff

Hi Padmini,

You will find that some of your vegetables will mature before others during the summer months and you may want to plant more for a second crop.

Ridge gourd (or luffa) can be planted in hills (3 seeds to a hill) about 6 feet apart. Use a trellis for the vines to grow up.

Ok, Thanks for the reply. I

By Padmini

Ok, Thanks for the reply.

I am so exited as this is my first vegetable garden. You are very helpful to the starters like me.

I have planted tomatoes and

By tammy Stevenson

I have planted tomatoes and green beans in pots. The tomatoe plants seem to begrowing very slow. I have used plant food. I water every morning and night. They get full sun.

Hi Tammy, Make sure the pots

By Almanac Staff

Hi Tammy,

Make sure the pots are big enough for the tomatoes roots. Cool weather slows growth so hopefully with the warmer temperatures your plants will thrive.

Very helpful

By tammy Stevenson

Very helpful

I'm new to gardening and have

By t hickson

I'm new to gardening and have planted just three tomatoes, two peppers, six squash. Then I decided to plant some sprouted potatoes I had between the tomatoes. Now I read that tomatoes and potatoes shouldn't be planted together. Should I pull up the potatoes?

It is a risk for

By Almanac Staff

It is a risk for disease/pests that attack both plants, but gardeners have done it before, as the plants require similar conditions. If the potatoes haven't started rooting, you might want to look for another spot, even a large container. But if they've developed roots/leaves, you might want to leave them. Make sure, though, that there is plenty of space between the potatoes and tomatoes; otherwise, you may disturb the tomato plant's roots when you harvest the potatoes underground.

Hello . I am wanting to start

By vivianatfield

Hello . I am wanting to start a raised garden. I have these seedling ready to go out but idk how to arrange them or what size gardeb I need ? 2 pumpkin plants , pack of corn seeds , pack of carrot seeds , lots of cucumber plants , lots of watermelon plants and some beans germenating indoors . can you please help me ? Ive tried on online planners to help me with creating a plan but nothing works on my cell :/

how can i start a vegetable

By erica mansalapus

how can i start a vegetable plantation if my place is suffering from drought '//where should i get water to watered the plants? is there other plants that can survive without water

We know many folks have

By Almanac Staff

We know many folks have drought conditions. The best solution is to dig in buckets of organic matter such as well-rotted manure. Better yet, garden in raised beds or plant in containers so that you can add your soil mixed with compost. Carrots, beetroot, parsnips and other root crops are probably the most drought tolerant. Avoid eafy vegetables and flowering vegetables. See more tips on a water-wise garden:

Very helpful post. I love the

By Rory C-H

Very helpful post.
I love the chart that helps determine when to plant certain seeds. Also, it never crossed my mind to consider the direction of the sun when deciding where to set up my veggie patch. Very handy tip with the Marigolds - I've got a couple of rabbits myself and they always seem to be hungry... Hopefully a couple of flowers will deter them!
Article is really well laid out and easy to follow. Many thanks for the tips!

This information has been

By Jesss

This information has been very helpful and your site is very simple and organised, which has really helped me to understand all your quality information. I am hoping to begin my first vegetable garden this week in my new house and your site has given me all the knowledge I feel I need to do so. However I do have a question, if I was to have a dog would I have to do anything different or should it be okay with the dog and vegetable patch?

Hi . wanting to start a

By vivianatfield

Hi . wanting to start a raised bed . I have cucumber plants (a lot! I didn't think every seed would make it but they did n I have like 25 plants ), watermelon plants ( same as cumcumbers ) , 2 big pumpkins plants , as well as green beans , yellow beans and carrots . im wanting to build raised beds . suggestions what size I should build? How I should set it up ? Should I make more then one ? Maybe a few different 4x4 beds to separate everything individually ? Ticks I thought the planning would be the easy part but it seems the growing them will be much easier then deciding where to put them :p

Wow—sounds great! Answers to

By Almanac Staff

Wow—sounds great! Answers to your questions already exist on this Web site. A few minutes reviewing these pages will save you hours, maybe days, in season.

Go to these pages for advice, videos, specific directions and tips for a successful raised bed:

Good luck!

OK I'm going to start off by

By Olivia

OK I'm going to start off by saying I am BRAND NEW to this. We are a family of seven trying to eat healthy. I have RA so my husband made me a raised bed. I love it! It's 8 foot by 4 foot and about 12-14 inches deep, & about waist high off the ground. I know we need to plant very small amounts of things. Any suggestions on what to plant that won't take over the entire bed?

Congrats! Almost every

By Almanac Staff

Congrats! Almost every vegetable can be grown in a raised bed so you just want to consider what you enjoy eating and perhaps start with some easy vegetables. See this article on which veggies are good for beginners:

To plan your garden with the right spacing , try our online Garden Planner for free here:

It will tell you the planting dates for your area, too. Good luck!

What's the difference between

By Chicago Gardener

What's the difference between a raised bed and an elevated bed (like a table w/ a trough) in terms of what you can grow and watering/maintenance?

A raised bed is placed

By Almanac Staff

A raised bed is placed directly on the ground and holds moisture and warmth better than an elevated bed, plus it benefits from the action of worms and other soil fauna which help to keep the soil light and fertile. It can potentially also offer more root depth, depending on how high it is built and if you're growing directly onto the soil (rather than on a patio, say).

An elevated bed on stilts is great for people with limited mobility, and are often built to enable a wheelchair to get underneath for easy access. They will need more watering than a raised bed, and plants may need some protection in colder weather. Often you are limited to growing shallow-rooted crops but some raised beds are built in a V shape, so that deep-rooted vegetables such as carrots and parsnips can be grown in the centre while shallower-rooted ones can be grown round the edges. One other thing to consider is the height of the vegetables you want to grow--tall or climbing plants such as cucumbers and tomatoes may be out of reach!

Hi, thank you for the

By Sarah Q

Hi, thank you for the wonderful information on this site! My husband and I have been trying to start our first vegetable and herb and some Fruit garden this year. Therefore, we planted numerous seeds in small pots and kept out of the frost until after our last frost date for our area - however, it has now been approximately 1 month and we still have very few things that have started to sprout. I actually think I can count on 1 hand the number of seedlings that have sprouted from the possible 50 or more seedling pots we planted. I think we likely were not as diligent on maintaining the temperature and water for these in the earliest days - but I would like to know how much longer I should try to nurse these seeds before I decide to say its time to throw it away and start over - or with some already developed plants from a local nursery. We planted corn, tomatoes, carrots (planted some in an old spaghetti glass jar so our children could hopefully watch them grow & some in the seedling pots -- the ones in the jar are the only carrots that have sprouted), various beans and peas (have had a couple of purple hull peas and green peas sprout), cucumber, cantaloupe, watermelon, etc. and herbs such as: dill, lavender (have had a couple of these sprout), thyme (have had a couple of these sprout), oregano, rosemary, spearmint etc.
Any help/suggestions are GREATLY appreciated!!
We are not opposed to building a more formal green house inside our garage to start seeds in with grow lights - but figure that is probably something we would not need until later in the year... (??)

Hi Sarah, It is sometimes

By Almanac Staff

Hi Sarah,

It is sometimes tricky to start seeds indoors. You need warmth, plenty of light and the right amount of humidity. Go to our vegetable/herb pages and read about the specific veggies and herbs that you started from seed.

A few of the vegetables that you started indoors are better seeded directly in the garden. Peas, beans and corn germinate quickly outdoors. Peas can be planted earlier than beans and corn. Carrots usually also do better if planted directly in the garden (they don't transplant very well).
Good luck!

Hello again what would be the

By Fatima

Hello again what would be the best soil for my garden? and is it safe for the garden to plant on early spring

For a vegetable garden, you

By Almanac Staff

For a vegetable garden, you want rich, well-drained soil of loamy texture. Most soil needs the addition of some organic matter such as compost. To see if you have the right soil, you could do a soil test. Contact your local Cooperative Extension office for information on getting your soil pH tested. 

My class is building a veggie

By Romeo

My class is building a veggie garden, could we plant trees in a garden???

It depends on the size of

By Almanac Staff

It depends on the size of your garden. Generally, you want to plant a vegetable garden away from trees and shrubs so that they get 6 to 8 hours of sun and don't compete.

I've heard of using cement

By Paula JRG

I've heard of using cement fiber siding to build raised garden beds on you-tube. A brand called Hardie plank. Is this safe?

It's made out of cement , wood fiber, and silica sand.

I am planting a new garden in


I am planting a new garden in this location. I have a small ditch near my site. I have seen snakes in my yard in past years. I am afraid of them and don't want an encounter in my garden. Do you have any ideas so I can keep them away? I await your response, thank you.

ceder chips, are a natural

By josh fahring

ceder chips, are a natural repellent to not only snakes, but all bugs,except pollinators.(such as bees, hornets, and such.)

I am an old at vegetables

By Lukasas75

I am an old at vegetables growing at my garden :) I even sell them, because I grow them i huge amount :) Not far away I discovered this thing- Sodo kultivatoriai :) It is amazing how it helps for me and saves my time. Try to do the same if you grow vegetables at your garden :))

ive been growing vegtables

By Natalee Braund

ive been growing vegtables for quiet some time now and have been reasonably successful in what ive given a go much to that great soli we had been bleesed with. but since building a new home and no longer at the old address im now faced with what I consider my biggest challenge yet? rock hard almost cement like clay??? and lots of it ive read ways of breaking down clay with lime and other products but I would really prefer to stay away from any form of chemical to break down the clay. Now im in the mean time slowly progressing with my compost and as it is a fairly slow process in its self so my question is there any other ways you could possibly suggest to me so I can get the process started as I would really like to start my growing before the winter months start. any advice would be much appreciated. NattyB

Have you thought about raised

By MarkBartley

Have you thought about raised bed gardening, check out square foot gardening on google. I think it's a very excellent idea. But then again I'm just new to gardening myself :) hope I helped or maybe planted a seed in your mind about something new. Best of luck

The best amendments for clay

By Almanac Staff

The best amendments for clay soil are coarse sand (builders’ sand) and coarse organic matter. There are lots of types of organic matter and it needs to be coarse. Try to find a source for aged manure (local farm) or compost (maybe your city has a compost site for leaves and garden debris).

I am thinking of starting a

By Markab

I am thinking of starting a garden for the markets I was wondering if you have any tips or any advice for me ? Also I was wondering how would I plan on producing say 10 lbs of tomatoes each week till the seasons up is that even possible?

You can get a yield of 5

By Almanac Staff

You can get a yield of 5 pound tomato per plant. Here is a good resource on growing tomatoes for market:

I'm curious about growing

By Jassa

I'm curious about growing enough food in your garden to last a year and to feed a couple of people.

This story outlines how much you'd have to plant per person, but woould you need a really large plot to actually pull this sort of thing off? If for example, the only fruits and veggies you ate were the ones you grew, and you were feeding two adults, would you need something like an acre of land?

i have stumbled across some

By EmilyManson

i have stumbled across some issues and im not entirely sure how i want to go about gardening. my soil might be toxic because of the mill in my area, and id have to do raised beds but im not entirely sure which plants are suitable for raised beds an whats not. and i dont want to plant something thats gunna not work. beginner gardener. starting to try to do something different this year. thank you.

If you are worried about

By BronzeFire

If you are worried about toxic soil, you could make a tote garden. There are diretions on how to do this on utube. It is simple, recycles materials, saves water, no weeds, and even helps keep the bugs out(at least the ones you dont want). Just be sure to get the right soil for the plants you want to grow. I find that red totes are great for tomatoes and peppers.

Hi Emily, Thanks for your

By Almanac Staff

Hi Emily, Thanks for your post. First, we are concerned about the toxic soil. We suggest that you call your county extension agent. They check for pH levels to see what kind of soil you have--and perhaps they can tell if the soil is contaminated. Here is a list of cooperative extension web sites for each state:

Second, most plants do well in raised beds. As you mention that you are a beginner, we think that you would like this video on How to Use Raised Beds in Your Garden. Click here:

All the best with your beginner gardener, the OFA editors

hello , this site is

By lutus flower

hello ,
this site is beautifull and organized
at the same time is simple
i hope i can make best benefit out of it

I tried to rekindle an old

By Glenn Kidd

I tried to rekindle an old garden area that was no longer productive. I took two years adding and tilling in compost matter. On the third year, I tilled up and planted in this area. The plants thrived for the first couple weeks with my late afternoon watering. At the first good rain, the plants were overtaken immediately by weeds. For the remainder of the year, none of my plants could be seen due to the excellent weed growth. Is there any good way to rid such a garden of weeds that grow so rapidly without harming the vegetables?

Instead of worrying about

By Jon Griffin

Instead of worrying about weeds or trying pull them all so that your plants will thrive, have you tried adding 3" to 4" of mulched leaves or dried lawn clipping lawn around them to smother weeds? You may want to water earlier in the day. I never suggest sprinkler water for a vegetable garden and watering just around you veggies will keep water from the 1,000's of years of weed seed in the soil. That will allow the plants to have the water they need during the warmest part of the day.

We just bought a new house.

By Artemus

We just bought a new house. It has an area near the house that I am turning into a garden. The problem is it is covered in weeds. Not very tall but some are viney. What is the best way to get rid of the weeds without poisoning my soil? I will remove a lot by hand but any easier ways and/or preventing them from coming back?

I have a small roto-tiller

By Dale Brevik

I have a small roto-tiller (Honda FG100, similar to a Mantis cultivator except uses reg gas). It's great for going between rows eats up weeds as easy as mowing the lawn. These tillers will do most of your tilling if your ground is good and only weight 30LBS and cuts a 12" path

You might want to use mulch

By Jon Griffin

You might want to use mulch to cover you soil around your plants after you have tiller and planted. There is honestly, no way to get rid of all of the weed seeds in your soil. You can, however, begin to build new weed free soil on top of your garden soil by adding mulch mulch and more mulch. As the years go by, you will notice that you have fewer and fewer weeds showing up in your garden.

I have a problem with

By Johnport

I have a problem with raccoons eating my corn. They can destroy a garden in one night.
What is the best method to keep raccoons out of the corn field?
I have an electric fence, however they still get in. If I use a trap, what is the best bate to use?

We are nature loveing people

By James Heim

We are nature loveing people we have wild animals that live on our land and I feed them , I got a big bag of dog food (we dont have a dog) and I put out a large bowl every night when i feed the chickens and the coons eat that and leave the garden alone and as for the rabbit's i just throw the seeds out by the fince and grow them a batch also I'm anti hunting so I have deer feeder's all ove my property and feed them during hunting season , we have three that come right up to the deck.

I am very very concerned

By Cheryl hall000111

I am very very concerned about the suggestion of putting out dog food for the raccoons. My neighbors used to do that...until both of us had RAT problems. I can't begin to tell how horrific that was.

to help with the raccoon

By chanda

to help with the raccoon problem, plant cucumbers around the exterior of your garden, their paws are too sensitive for the vines and they hate the smell of them. also you can put a well stinky shirt *work out in a tshirt and sweat a lot* and put it out there, they hate the smell of humans. put a spot light on it, most raccoon wont come out in the sun, they dont like the light. i have a raccoon at my place, i did the cucumbers, i had a lot of cucumbers LOL but none of my plants were bothered.

late june my husband tilled

By shuffman

late june my husband tilled an area where we had a small fire pit. he squared it to about a 5x6 area. I figured that I can plant my tomatoes and habaneros 18" apart and have room for all of them. all were started and growing well in a pot before moving them to the ground. I planted the tomatoes in the center and the peppers around the outside. this was a last minute project with no planning for the 'priming' the dirt (which is old used up farmland)The tomatoes are where the ash is left...not so much for the peppers. we've had a mild summer with a few hot days. I water when needed and nothing seems to be growing. the peppers are bushing but not growing, the tomatoes are producing but don't seem to be getting much taller either. this is my first time doing this and getting results from tomatoes what am I doing wrong. if it makes a difference everything was started from seeds, no nursery plants. it's mid july and i'm concerned I won't get much out of the plants before the end of the expectations get the best of me.

When you say there was ash

By shirey

When you say there was ash there, it suggests to me that was the problem. Ash is very alkaline, causing problems for the plants. While ash may contain some nutrients (such as potassium and calcium), the burning of wood released the small amount of nitrogen present in the wood. The ash was potentially beneficial only if the soil was too acidic. And in that case, only a small amount of ash can be tolerated. Remember there's plants that can tolerate whatever soil you have. But ash is quite harmful to plants, especially in large amounts.

As you say, this was a "last

By Almanac Staff

As you say, this was a "last minute project"; sometimes these are inspired, sometimes they just make you tired.
You should have checked the pH of the soil before planting and, as you also say, primed the soil
While wood ash can be beneficial, too much can alter the nutrient values in the soil—and the nutrient values can vary depending on the type of wood.
It may be too late to amend the soil, but you can try. Get a pH test kit from a garden supply store and amend as indicated.
Next time, . . . well, we'll spare you that advice. You know what to do. Best wishes!

Safe Insecticides Hi there, I

By lisells

Safe Insecticides

Hi there, I attempted to plant a vegetable patch for the first time this year. I have noticed that something is eating away at the leaves of my eggplant plants. Do you have any suggestions for a food safe, even natural, insecticide? Thank you.

Try Safer Insecticidal Soap.

By Almanac Staff

Try Safer Insecticidal Soap. Also, it's best to grow eggplants under floating row covers until they start to bud; then they're big enough to handle the insects.

we had a major rainstorm last

By carol aitken

we had a major rainstorm last night and it has flattened all of my Potatoes.Some of them have started flowering how can I save them to get a harvest this season?

Your potato plants should

By Almanac Staff

Your potato plants should survive. If you have continuous rain over a week or more, you would have to worry about them rotting. Otherwise, the foliage should perk back up.

I am new at this and i have

By Karen Ryle

I am new at this and i have lots of thistle in my garden, Is there any thing i can do this fall to keep them from coming back next year other then digging them up each time one pops up?

We rented a house a few years

By Nick Day

We rented a house a few years ago and there was a raised bed with lots of weeds ready to use. That fall we laid down some heavy black plastic after weeding. In the spring I removed the plastic turned the soil and was ready to plant. You may get similar results by running a large "HOT" compost pile over the garden through the winter if your location allows for such, then just turn the fresh compost into your garden, that way you can use all that lovely thistle biomass in place of chucking it away. Best of luck. I compost my pig weed and morning glory all the time...see, weeds do have a use.

Smothering the ground in that

By Kat Geier

Smothering the ground in that manner can be bad for the soil. When you put down landscaping fabric, or in this case plastic, to smother or bake out the weeds, it also kills beneficial things in the soil such as earthworms (which digest dead plant material and in turn both aerate the soil as well as fertilize it) and good bacteria. Instead, you should spend a year or two seriously overmulching the area to smother the weeds. This will still let the earthworms and other beneficial creatures live, keeping your soil healthy, while the mulch slowly breaks down and adds a new layer of compost to the top, which will be healthy for your new garden when it's planted.

I am wanting to plant a

By Jamie Shumate

I am wanting to plant a garden and it is the begining of June! The only place i have to plant my garden is in the evening shade but it has the morning sun, so will it be ok to plant my garden now in the shade

i recently planted a small

By travis andeasen

i recently planted a small garden with 4 rows. i planted corn and peas from seed, and tomatoes already started and peppers, and onions with starters, but i think i may have overwatered them cuz they were looking good then today they look wilted. any suggestions?

Is it ok to plant my garden

By BeUp

Is it ok to plant my garden next to are well?

It's generally advised not to

By Almanac Staff

It's generally advised not to put a garden near a drinking well, due to possible nitrate contamination.

why would I use gypsum? We

By laver

why would I use gypsum? We do have hard clay in our dry arid
desert. Do we apply that liberely or on the rows or till? We are not tilling the soil. good idea?

Gypsum has not been proven

By Almanac Staff

Gypsum has not been proven effective. Break up your hard soil and improve aeration and drainage by mixing in organic amendments such as compost, peat and manure. The Colorado extension services advises, "Add a two inch layer of the organic amendment on the surface of the soil and till or spade in to a four to six inch depth. When purchasing organic soil amendments, buy four cubic yards for every thousand square feet of area."

Hello, I'm confused about the

By KaraF

Hello, I'm confused about the wording when it says planting too close to the house will discourage wild animals from nibbling... So planting close to the house it a good thing then? The south facing portion of our house is really the only place I can plant but I would have to put them right against the house because our lot isn't very large. I was thinking of building raised beds or buying breathable fabric containers. What would you suggest?

Planting close to the house

By Almanac Staff

Planting close to the house will keep nibbling animals at a distance. Both raised beds and fabric containers work well. The containers you can store away during the cold months while the raised bed will be a permanent fixture.

I would love to build a

By Greta Rowe

I would love to build a wooden box next to the house but I'm worried that watering a lot right next to the house is bad. Is that a concern that I should have (damaging the house in some way from all the water)?

Planting a garden close to

By Almanac Staff

Planting a garden close to your house is not a bad idea, in fact, having it close to the house means you may be more inclined to use it/care for it. But you need to be sure that the spot you choose receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. 10 hours is even better.

I have looked at the best

By Paulabsnc

I have looked at the best planting dates for my region and evidently I am late in my planting. I have the plants not seeds. Can I still plant and grow? When do I plant?

Hi I have just made a veggie

By sarahjanee255

Hi I have just made a veggie garden I planted seeds in spots I had to dig up the soil and put it into planting boxes and re plant my other plants now all the seedlings are starting to come through everywhere is it bad having a cramped garden?

I have a question...Should I

By hollybarberra

I have a question...Should I soak all my seeds in water overnight before planting them in the garden or just certain ones? I have a variety of seeds I'm planning to direct sow both vegetables and herbs had read somewhere that I should soak them. Just wanting an "experts"advice. Thanks.

I just planted my first

By JCib

I just planted my first garden using wood pallets, The bottoms and sides are covered with landscaping fabric. Don't know if the roots will go deep enough, but really wanted to try this as it is much easier than building raised beds. I put my tomato and pepper plants in livestock water tanks. We shall see........

horse manure... fresh or

By Maine.. planter

horse manure... fresh or frozen lol.
I am going to rototill some fresh stuff into the whole garden except where the potatoes will be. good or bad idea.
thank you ahead of time.

Bad. Do not apply fresh

By Almanac Staff

Bad. Do not apply fresh manure to beds in the growing season; apply fresh manure only in the fall, several months before planting.

How do you keep crows from


How do you keep crows from eating all your young corn plants???

We also have a page

By Almanac Staff

We also have a page specifically about Crows and how to deter them here:

Hi, EMT, If your rows aren’t

By Almanac Staff

Hi, EMT, If your rows aren’t too long, consider making a V-shaped “tent” above the row to protect seedlings until they are rooted well enough to resist the crow pulling on it. Another idea from a reader was to put balloons between the corn rows! One oldtime cure was to soak a few quarts of dried corn in whiskey, and scatter it over the fields for the crows. All the best.

I had a treatment plant

By bpkingfox

I had a treatment plant instaled with a sprinkler system off of it. Can I water my veggie garden with this system safely.

The circumstances you

By Almanac Staff

The circumstances you describe are general and require a specific answer. We are not qualified to give you a conclusive response to this, sorry. Consider getting the water tested and then talking to your cooperative extension service about the results and the viability of using the water on edibles. We champion the idea of recycling water but it may be that this water is best used on ornamentals and the like. We hope this helps.

I have a huge rabbit

By renae rosenbaum

I have a huge rabbit problem.....We have jack rabbits & cotton tails. My house sits accross from an open field. We have a large lawn area in the front yard, as well as several large planters. Little did my husband & I know we were opening a 24/7 buffet for the lil boogers when we started filling in these planters. For a brief time we had 9 beautiful purple fountain grass, 7 agapanthus nile lilies, 5 Day lilies, several calla lilies, tulips, & hiacinths, freesia & asiatic lilies among flowers. What the rabbits didn't eat down to nothing died from lack of h2O because the they chewed through my drip system hoses. There has got to be a solution! We are so tired of repairing the drip system & feeding the rabbits. We just want our pretty yard back & to survive these attacks. Please help! I am surrounded by dirt & need something pretty to look at. Any suggeststions on remedies & or rabbit proof plants, ground cover or flowers. we had rosemary at our old house, rabbits didn't seem to touch that....

Here are are a few flowers

By Almanac Staff

Here are are a few flowers that rabbits may be less likely to eat: geranium, ageratum, wax begonia, bee balm, peony, Russian sage, salvia, daffodils, and ornamental onions. For vegetables try potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and squashes. Some larger shrubs may also work. Rugosa roses have thorns that will keep bunnies away. Have you considered putting up a fence?

This post is a good guide for


This post is a good guide for the gardening beginners...very good tips are shared here! Got to learn many important things which should be kept in mind for gardening! I must say that this is a must read post!

Hello, I am building my first

By Flatfootthomas

Hello, I am building my first tilled garden in many years and trying to do it right. when I till the garden flat, then make rows, do I plant in the mounded rows or in the valley? Sorry to be so dumb but been awasy from gardening for over 30 years. Thanks So Much

Hello, Thomas, For most

By Almanac Staff

Hello, Thomas, For most veggie seeds, you just make rows but there is no need to created mounded rows. The seed packets will mention how deep the seeds need to be planted.
Those gardeners who mound their rows often have heavy soil with poor drainage, such as hard-packed clay soil; the rain just runs off it. Mounded rows can also help warm the soil faster in the spring.

If you do mound your rows, usually you plant on top, not in the valley. Make a depression in the middle to hold the water a little longer.
Of course, there are certain plants that prefer mounds such as melons and squash. See our Plant library for each plant's planting needs:

If you are putting a fence

By hazel

If you are putting a fence around your garden what kind of fence would you put?

A low (2ft) wire mesh, such

By oldngrumpy

A low (2ft) wire mesh, such as chicken wire, will deter small animals. If you have deer in the area place an additional high (3ft) wire or string 3ft outside the low fence and tie some rag flags to it. The deer will not jump the high fence and low fence both. Something about the combination makes them wary of being trapped.

It depends on your purpose.

By Almanac Staff

It depends on your purpose. Do you wish to keep out animal pests? In general, a simple 3-foot-high chicken-wire fence with 1-inch mesh keeps out rabbits and most small- and medium-size animals. You'll also need steel or rot-resistant wood posts. We'd suggest you visit a home improvement store for more advice, but hope this gets you started!

I am new to gardening Last

By NNYLisa

I am new to gardening
Last year none of my green pepper plants had any growth
This year I had a lot of green pepers but they stayed small
They tasted great but also had a "brown rash" on the bottom
They were not touching the ground at all
Anyone know what this is?

Peppers and tomatoes are both

By oldngrumpy

Peppers and tomatoes are both sensitive to calcium deficiency that is often caused by watering with fluoride laden water. Fluoride blocks calcium uptake into plants and causes "blossom end rot". Severe cases literally rot on the end opposite the stem. Less severe occurrences resemble the brown to black "rash" you described.

Check the soil for ph, and nutrient content and amend it with bone meal generously. Crushing a calcium based antacid tablet into the hole when planting is also good. Try to use rain water or allow municipal water to sit in a barrel to "gas off" for 48 hrs prior to applying.

hi what is the best veggies

By kaamila

hi what is the best veggies to plant in winter

It depends on where you live.

By Almanac Staff

It depends on where you live. In the South, you have many options. The main concern is whether you have a killing frost in your region. For example, if you have a first freeze by late October, you could plant root crops by mid-August (early carrots, leek, turnips) as well as some leafcrops (early cabbages, winter cauliflower, Swiss chard). By mid-September, you could plant chives, radishes, spinach, and cover crops. Cold frames are a great way to grow fall and winter crops. See:

I also have a jay

By DonF

I also have a jay problem.
They attack rubber snakes & owls & steal my tomatoes & strawberries.
The only thing I've found to stop them is a net!

I have used the hay that my

By snookiebird

I have used the hay that my cows didnt eat as mulch in my garden now i have grass comming up every place that i used the mulch what should I do

Old-timers say that if you

By Almanac Staff

Old-timers say that if you see weeds coming up through the hay you need to mulch more. Add another layer of hay. Another tip from a reader is to put the hay in the chicken yard first and let the chickens find all the seeds. Then use it as mulch.
The grass that comes up from hay is usually pretty easy to pull out by hand.

I have chipmonks and squirls.


I have chipmonks and squirls. Last year they ate ALL my tom and peeppers. Funny thing, they would eat them 2 days before I could even do a eary pic. I really dont want to cage thentire garden, any advice? By the, my tenant just moved in w/2 small dogs, maybe the wil keep vermen @ bay

See this squirrel page here

By Catherine Boeckmann

See this squirrel page here for remedies that have worked for me and other readers:

I'm just starting my first

By kimme721

I'm just starting my first veggie garden, and because of the small back yard my husband and I have and my bad back, we isolated a spot and built up a raised garden bed. After reading these threads I realized that it was probably a bad idea that we used pressure treated wood.... what should I do now? Is the pressure treated wood going to stop my veggies from growing? will it make them dangerous to eat with the arsenic and copper that leaches into the soil and plants?

Hi Kimmie, It really depends

By Almanac Staff

Hi Kimmie, It really depends how the type of pressure-treated wood. Pressure-treated lumber sold in the US after 2003 contains no arsenic (and is no longer CCA-treated). The wood you bought should come with tags that identify how it's been treated and here's a page about types of treated wood:
If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378. To be on the safe side, they suggest lining the beds with plastic.

hello, i'm new to gardening

By Turk Cook

i'm new to gardening and have a very limited site that gets good drainage but is somewhat shaded by large oak trees. what vegetables can you recommend for a newby?

By shirey

In my experience, some plants

By shirey

In my experience, some plants produce surprisingly well even near trees, but maybe not on the north side of large trees.
In partial sun (near trees), try squash, greens, beans, cucumbers, and potatoes.
If you want corn, tomatoes, or peppers, I think they will need full sun (far from trees).

Hello, I plan on starting my

By LindseyD

I plan on starting my first vegetable garden this spring. I have a small cat problem though. The neighbours cats, while friendly, already make use of my flower garden in the front. Could anyone suggest a safe method of keeping the cats out of the veggie/herb garden?

Chicken wire around plants

By Granny Moses

Chicken wire around plants and other areas you don't want dug into. The cats will not like scratching into it and will find another place.

I have heard that sprinkling

By nnpavona

I have heard that sprinkling citris peels onto the dirt keeps them out.

A large

By LBauer007

A large keeps all the neighborhood cats away.

I am attempting my first ever

By magdalina

I am attempting my first ever vegtable garden and want to go all organic, I seem to have red ants EVERYWHERE around my raised garden beds, does anyone have any ideas on how to get rid of them organicly?

Try a light sprinkle of boric

By Michael Robinson

Try a light sprinkle of boric acid. It is a light white powder sold at hardware stores in the pesticide dept. just use a light sprinkle. they walk through it an when they groom they ingest it and it poisons them. it should not hurt flying bugs as it has to be picked up and eaten. it also works on roaches. it should be organic, but check to make sure. But if you just leave the ants alone and work around them, you should be alright. They are considered benifical.

I hard that some plants

By Tpot4T

I hard that some plants compliment other plants and should be planted next to the one
that compliment the other in order to help pollination. Is this true & if so do you have a planting guide?

Book by Louise Riotte called

By Toni30

Book by Louise Riotte called Carrots love tomatoes &roses love garlic is a superb book for companion planting

A good companion planting it

By oldngrumpy

A good companion planting it the "three sisters" first passed to early settlers by Natives. It's corn, squash, and beans. The plants will grow in the needed order to protect the others and they are nitrogen neutral when planted together. Little weeding should be necessary after the plants emerge and less water is needed in the tight pattern that mulches itself.

I am currently doing research

By MeadowLynn13

I am currently doing research on this as well. If you look on-line there are numerous sites which suggest,"companion plants" for all different kinds. Also lots of flowers to attract bee's, like honey suckle and bee balm. Happy planting!

For Grudge: Sounds like you

By like2beapepper2

For Grudge:
Sounds like you have cut worms. To protect the corn that has not been cut yet, make cuffs for all the surviving plants. You can take paper cups, cut out the bottom and cut a slit up one side. Slide the cuff over the plant, tape the slit, and push the cuff down into the ground about an inch or two. This should keep the cutworms from gaining access to the plant shoot until the danger has past. You could also use plastic cups which would last longer, or make tubes from plastic water bottles. If you find any grubs while doing this work, especially ones with pincers on them, destroy them! Hope this helps!

I am doing my very first

By alw122909

I am doing my very first vegetable garden this year with my oldest son and we have bought tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, okra and 2 kinds of hot peppers and i have a 12X16 garden. I have yet to put anything in the ground because i have been getting the spot ready and this morning i woke up to blue jays in my garden. How or what can i do to keep them out of my garden and not eat my plants?

they may be eating some

By the24kcalf

they may be eating some insects but mostly they are eating worms that are good for your soil and they and other birds will eat your seed and sprouts after you plant. An owl decoy will help, I also use two black hoses, the kind that are used on the back of a washing machine , but any black or brown hose about 2 or 3 feet long will work. I place them in my garden in a way that resembles a snake and move them to different locations about once a week. This works great.

The blue jays and other birds

By Lisa Ray 2

The blue jays and other birds aren't eating your plants, they are eating the insects that eat your plants. So, birds are always welcome in my garden.

Thanks for the information.

By farmerboy96

Thanks for the information. But, how do you keep birds away from eating your corn?

see my above reply to the

By the24kcalf

see my above reply to the bluejay problem. I discovered this because of a crow problem. The owl decoy will not work on crows they will attack it but the fake snake does work.

fake snakes made from rubber

By Dick Davies

fake snakes made from rubber or plastic work on people also some people are scared of snakes it keeps them away from your vegges

I see where marigolds

By pattiesmith

I see where marigolds discourage bunnies from nibbling on your young plants. What do you do about squirrels? We have a real problem with squirrels in my backyard, and that is why I've not planted a garden before now. This year I want to try one. What do I do about the squirrels, short of shooting them?

Look for coyote urine at your

By oldngrumpy

Look for coyote urine at your garden supply store or online. Rodents won't come within yards of the smell. It's also good for fending off deer and other nuisance critters without harming them.

Get a cat, but then you have

By Home_grown

Get a cat, but then you have the cats messes to deal with. Fence them out is another option. There are also electronic rodent repellers which work well for keeping mice out that will probably work for squirrels.

i would like to know if you

By jglitter77

i would like to know if you can plant veggies in pots,and if so why didnt my garden grow?

Maybe the pots you used were

By Home_grown

Maybe the pots you used were too small. Remember 50% or more of any plant grows underground.

The size of the pot is def a

By thegabrielj

The size of the pot is def a factor I grew some Basil in a pot and some in the ground the Basil in the ground was amazingly better..if say triple the yield

May be your plants are not

By UK-Wholesalers

May be your plants are not getting the necessary light or may be you need to fertilize the mud of your garden if you say than I can arrange you some cheap fertilizers from I Got some contacts their;-)

I have planted my first

By Grudge

I have planted my first garden ever this spring, it is 12x20, i planted 8 rows of corn 8feet long, a row of half white runners 8 feet long, a row of burpless cucumbers 8 feet long, a row of okra 8feet long, 2 tomato plants and 2 bananna pepper plants, my corn is the only thing that is not doing wonderful, it is growing well, but within the last week, some of the stalks are falling over and when i goto straighten them up they are completely out of the ground, they seem to have no roots at all, just rounded ends where the roots should be, any ideas?

The problem you are having

By kendogg

The problem you are having sound like you have cutworms. They eat the corn at the base of the plant, making it look like their are no roots. They feed at night, so you may not see any. Try digging around the root area and inspecting for a dark to black grub.

corn should be planted in

By tnjed

corn should be planted in patches not rows. It is pollinated by wind

Eight rows Eight feet long

By Tom Ato

Eight rows Eight feet long does make a nice patch.

I have a garden that is 12x20

By Davetruth

I have a garden that is 12x20 with tomatoes and hot peppers. I have 24 tomato plants and about 72 hot peppers. But I was just wondering about the watering of the tomatoes. I hear that you need 2 inches of water a week for tomatoes. How do you know how much to water in the morning? e-mail me at thank you.

Yes, you should give your

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you should give your tomato plants 2 inches of water per week. Water your plants 2 to 3 times a week, giving them about 3 to 4 liters (roughly a gallon) of water each time. If it's really warm out, you can give your plants extra water.
You can also look at our tomato plant page for more growing tips.
Hope this helps!

I want to plant a vegetable

By JobelleCollie

I want to plant a vegetable garden, my very first. I need to make a raise bed garden as I need to sit while gardening, what is the best frame for a garden? Cinder blocks, wood?

Make it out of timber . I

By cs-p

Make it out of timber . I used deck boards, but make sure it is not too wide you can manage to reach across from one side to the other without excessive travel for sowing and watering.
More ideas on gardening tips

We are going to use

By P Gaines

We are going to use galvanized stock water troughs for our raised beds. Generally 2x4x2. How to use tips are on the web.

If you want a good raised bed

By oldngrumpy

If you want a good raised bed on the cheap check out cedar fence boards at your local lumberyard. They are usually limited to 6in x 6ft and are dogeared on one end, but a little creative design with some cedar 2x2 stakes made from deck spindles can give you a great raised bed on a budget.

It depends on where you live.

By MeadowLynn13

It depends on where you live. We got compressed wood because we get so much rain. But here is an ideas, this company offers triple raised beds, that might be easier for you.

If you want a permanent bed

By Home_grown

If you want a permanent bed cinder blocks work fine and last longer than wood. Treated wood is OK for growing things you aren't going to eat.

Wood is mostly used, but DO

By Davetruth

Wood is mostly used, but DO NOT get pressure treated wood.

Why shouldn't I use pressure

By Erin0213

Why shouldn't I use pressure treated wood?

Pressure treated wood has

By Kent Despain

Pressure treated wood has toxic chemicals, such as arsenic and copper, in it that will leach into the soil and into your plants.

UH, OH ! Just finished

By Teresa Hulett

UH, OH ! Just finished planting in my new raised beds made from pressure treated wood ! Any suggestions?

Don't worry about the

By Lane A

Don't worry about the pressure treated wood. They don't use arsenic anymore and the chemicals that are used are much safer. Also, many tests have been done to show that the amount absorbed into the food you grow is absolutely minuscule and cannot possibly pose any harm.

I do not know much about

By gvlarson3

I do not know much about raised gardens. However, I have used the following to create my own self watering container garden. It took a little over an hour to build one. The tomatoes in the self watering containers resisted the first frost and kept producing until mid December.

link to PDF file

Hope this helps

I have a 5x12 16" deep that I

By DagoBob

I have a 5x12 16" deep that I framed with non-insulated vinyl siding. Staked it with 2x4"s cut to size, screwed them into siding and added plastic ties for more support. Durable and inexpensive

I have a problem with Morning

By freon1mr

I have a problem with Morning Glories. They choke 60 % of my garden. I have a large Garden of about a half an acre. I am growing pretty much all the veggies that you recommend. How do I control these? Also what is a good deterrent for deer?

I found the best thing for

By katrina77

I found the best thing for deer is human hair. This is very easy to get and free. You can go to just about any salon and ask for clippings. The longer hair works best. Then you just decorate like tinsle on a tree. The hair smells like us. This helps with just about any anilmal. Slugs can't cross hair either.

Deer hate fishing pole

By Tandis

Deer hate fishing pole string. They can't see it so when they feel it scares them off. If you put up poles around the edge of your garden and string it around it should take care of the problem.

I have a lot of deer, I

By Espy

I have a lot of deer, I found that by planting rosemary helps but I also found rosemary oil which is fantastic for keeping the deer away from my veggies and flowers

Hi, I have heard that if you

By Lori Kirchmeier

I have heard that if you put a bar of Irish Spring soap in your garden the deer will not come near it. I would assume that with 1/2 an acre you would need a few.
Good luck!

Hello My name is Jeremy

By Jeremy Boyett

Hello My name is Jeremy Boyett i am new at planting Butter beans When is the best time to plant Butter beans?

Thanks for your question,

By Almanac Staff

Thanks for your question, Jeremy.

A good rule of thumb is to wait at least two weeks after the last frost. These beans need to be planted in soil temperature of at least 65 F. This time will vary depending on your location.

Thank you for your interest in the Old Farmer's Almanac and our Web site.

If the flowers are white,

By DIY Jan

If the flowers are white, then the plant here in the northwest is called choke weed. First, do NOT pull the weed up! Just little tips of root can and WILL spring forth again with a new plant. You need to use a good herbicide on the plant. When I found this out, it was springing back after my vegetables had already sprouted, so I couldn't just spray the whole plant without losing what I wanted to grow. I got an old child's paintbrush and painted all of the leaves of the new choke weed sprouts. Make sure that it has not rained or received water for a couple of days before either spraying or painting so that it will absorb the herbicide right away and completely. If the major portion of the plant is far enough away from your garden I would spray that with a heavy dose to get down to the major roots. If the plant is originating on someone else's property, you may have to install a deep enough barrier to prevent the roots from traveling onto your property, as they can travel some distance before springing up elsewhere.

We have quite a few deer in

By Sudden_Sam981

We have quite a few deer in our neck of the woods. See if your local barber will save a bag of hair clippings for you, scatter it around your garden, and you should see less deer...

Hair clippings do help. Also

By C Jones 2

Hair clippings do help. Also randomly placing old knee high stockings containing Irish Spring soap shavings helps, as does hanging pie pans around. I think the key to any of these home remedies is not to use the same method for too long at the time. Rotate the remedy when you see deer venturing back into the forbidden territory.

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