jamfas18
Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue May 05, 2009 1:54 am
Location: Des Moines, IA

My First Garden

A little background information for the introduction, I am from Des Moines Iowa. This is my first garden, you can call me Jay.

My garden fence is in a square of 50 feet. The length and the width are roughly 12.5 feet long.

The location I picked receives around 13 hours of sunlight a day.

First I tilled the ground. I made sure it was well after any rain because you do know want to till with soggy ground. After this I put down some garden lime. I applied two different sizes of pellets of lime. One was powder for fast acting lime. The other is pelletized and will take longer to break down this will help neutral the soil and raise the peat moss's low P h.

You never want to apply fertilizer and lime at the same time. So after a few days (and a good rain to help settle that lime in) I applied organic fertilizer all purpose 10-10-10 on the top of my freshly tilled clay/soil. These numbers stand for nitrogen phosphorus, and potassium the three basic nutrients for plants.

The soil contain here is very heavy. It is mostly clay. So What i had to do was prep my soil with what i think it needs.

Most plants like a medium where it drains well, receives air, and retains moisture. The medium I picked does all three. The items in my medium include:

Two 3.8 foot cubed compressed peat moss. Peat moss will make the soil less heavy and help with air and water retention.

Ten bags of top soil with peat added to enrich the soil with a nice dark color. This will also help hold nutrients in the soil.

I used a 5 gallon buck of vermiculite. I like vermiculite better than perlite because it holds more water. It also provides air for the roots and makes soils less heavy.

Next after this is all spread out fairly evenly I till the garden again. Now all that heavy clay is transformed into a light, fluffy root heaven. Its almost like a raised bed with 6-8 inches of rich loam soil. After this I rake the new soil and throw out any large clumps. My plants are going to like their new home. :)

So now with the six soil additives in my new soil ( peat moss, top soil, vermiculite, all purpose 10-10-10 fertilizer and two types of lime) I can start building my gate.

For fencing I used old gates that I recycled, it was nice saving money too. The fence is about 5 feet high. I need this fence because the deer population here is very high around 20 deer per square mile or more. These deer will eat just about anything.

The second fence is chicken wire. It is at the bottom two feet of my fence. I'm not a huge fan of chicken wire because of the environmental factors. I use it as a last resort due to the rabbit population. I bent the chicken wire so that two feet of chicken wire are vertical and one foot is horizontal to the ground. This is what it looks like

Here is a visual lets say 1 is equal to the five foot fence, L is equal to the chicken wire so the two fences look like this together: 1L

The L or chicken wire creates a corner so rabbits cant dig under the fence and if they do all they get is chicken wire. The rabbit would have to start digging at least a foot away to dig under the fence. Cover this horizontal part of the chicken wire with dirt to keep the lip of the fence flush with the ground.

Next I visited my locally nursery with a list of things I wanted to grow. When picking plants to grow I kept in mind how much space they would be take up and also the height they will grow. This makes it easier to plan where you want to grow your fruit. Take into account the angle of the sun. Have the smaller plants in front of the taller plants so the shorter ones don't get shaded. They need all the sunlight they can get to be strong and robust. You can start from seeds or seedlings/cuttings. This season I started with cuttings to get the extra size. Generally the bigger the plant the more it will produce.

Now I arrive home and its time to transplant. With a shovel I rake away the new light top soil till I come to the clay. When I reach the clay I dig it out about 4 inches wider than the size of the pot that the plant is currently in. I put about 4 inches of my homemade soil in the bottom so the roots can penetrate deeper. Then I back fill with the top soil.

Next I press down on the soil with my hands (you can use your feet too) about a foot and a half circle radius around the stem with the plant in the middle. What this does is naturally trap rain water and makes it flow to the plant. This will help keep the watering frequency lower.

After compacting the dirt around the plant in a bowl shape I water the plants as you should with all transplanting. Trick the plant into thinking it was in a bad storm. They may droopy for a few days, this is common after transplanting soon they will bounce back with vengeance.





[img]https://i44.tinypic.com/fx7ic.jpg[/img]



[img]https://i42.tinypic.com/alsxll.jpg[/img]



[img]https://i40.tinypic.com/2uzdwnl.jpg[/img]



[img]https://i41.tinypic.com/ohpzmg.jpg[/img]



[img]https://i42.tinypic.com/287qkqt.jpg[/img]
Last edited by jamfas18 on Tue May 05, 2009 4:40 am, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar
somegeek
Senior Member
Posts: 217
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2009 5:51 am
Location: Vancouver, WA - zone 8a/b

Nice looking build/plot there. Would certainly be nice to have a plot which got 13 hours of sun in my backyard. :)

jamfas18
Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue May 05, 2009 1:54 am
Location: Des Moines, IA

Yes its going to be nice. 8) Where are you from?

Timlin
Senior Member
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 6:59 pm
Location: Zone 3 Canada

Interesting post from a 1st time gardener. You've done a bit of studying.

I don't bother with all the store bought stuff......I grow my additives in my compost pile. Saves $$ and landfills.

You should be very pleased with your garden after all the thought and effort you've expended. Very nice. I also have no where near 13 hours of sunlight on any of my gardens.

User avatar
somegeek
Senior Member
Posts: 217
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2009 5:51 am
Location: Vancouver, WA - zone 8a/b

jamfas18 wrote:Yes its going to be nice. 8) Where are you from?
Washington State here... the lack of prolonged sun exposure on my garden is due more to our cramped backyard, location relative to houses/fences.

Haesuse
Senior Member
Posts: 168
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 1:18 am
Location: Birmingham-AL, USA

careful with your tomatoes. your bottom branches are practically sitting in the dirt...

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Nice going! Looks great!
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

jamfas18
Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue May 05, 2009 1:54 am
Location: Des Moines, IA

Thanks guys!

Haesuse - Thanks for the tip! I will try to remove some of the dirt around the bottom of the tomatoe plants without disturbing the rootballs.

It's about time to put these babies on there feeding schedule!

msuc5vette
Full Member
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:27 pm
Location: Norther Oakland County MI

jamfas18 wrote:Thanks guys!

Haesuse - Thanks for the tip! I will try to remove some of the dirt around the bottom of the tomatoe plants without disturbing the rootballs.

It's about time to put these babies on there feeding schedule!
I have had good success with just pruning the bottom branches. They will probably die regardless of removing the dirt. You can cut them to only two leaves each, or cut them right off at the stem.

There is also a good chance your plants will outgrow the cages, but a tall stake in the middle will solve that too.
If we all stop waiting, we will see something happen.

jamfas18
Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue May 05, 2009 1:54 am
Location: Des Moines, IA

update

Day 1

Today was day one for my transplants to be put on their feeding schedule. These include three large tomatoe plants, four cherry tomatoe plants, green, yellow, and red bell peppers, also three cantaloupe pants.

My plants were fed with an organic water soluble fertilizer 9-4-4. The dosage says one table spoon per gallon of water. Since this was their first feeding I only fed at half strength. Next week I will up the dosage to the recommended amount.

Today I also planted my sweet corn, bushbeans, raspberry bush, strawberries, water melon, and pumpkins.

msuc5vette,

Thanks for the advice I pruned the bottom branches from about three inches from the ground. I just cut them at the stem it looks cleaner that way. Are you suggesting that I remove the cages completely? Should I do so now before they start to overgrow them? Please elaborate more on this thanks!

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Re. the fertilizer: congratulations on choosing to make a half-strength solution. I would recommend keeping it at half strength and perhaps next season to add compost into your gardening plans so that such fertilizers won't be important to your plants.

"Feed weekly, weakly" is the slogan in the orchid world, at least for cymbidiums--sturdy, outdoor plants good down to 28 deg. F (-2 deg. C). The orchids are the only plants here who receive "artificial" fertilizer, and it's always a half-strength solution.

So I never have to worry about burning the plants, even if they may have gone a bit dry between waterings. :)

Maybe this will work for you, too?

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

msuc5vette
Full Member
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:27 pm
Location: Norther Oakland County MI

The cages will still be useful for keeping the lower branches off the ground, you can just add a stake if the tops get too tall for the cage.
If we all stop waiting, we will see something happen.

jamfas18
Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue May 05, 2009 1:54 am
Location: Des Moines, IA

Week 2

Today was the plants second feed.

Cynthia, I kept in mind weekly weakly =).

msuc5vette, I will add a stake when they grow larger.

Thanks for the advice everyone keep it coming!

There is a risk for frost tonight... any cheap creative ways of covering the plants with something I might have around the house or any other ideas?


Here are my weekly photos of my gardens progress:


[img]https://i41.tinypic.com/v8ool4.jpg[/img]



[img]https://i43.tinypic.com/25h0opi.jpg[/img]


My Tomatoes are starting to flower!

[img]https://i39.tinypic.com/2rh2xcx.jpg[/img]




[img]https://i40.tinypic.com/nv164j.jpg[/img]



Heres a few others from my weekend so far

[img]https://i43.tinypic.com/muwpw3.jpg[/img]



[img]https://i43.tinypic.com/2dhtp36.jpg[/img]



[img]https://i40.tinypic.com/ogb0u8.jpg[/img]



[img]https://i40.tinypic.com/29vo1hy.jpg[/img]


My new toy

[img]https://i43.tinypic.com/svoryd.jpg[/img]

msuc5vette
Full Member
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:27 pm
Location: Norther Oakland County MI

I might be too late on the frost advice, but for the tomato cages, garbage bags held on with cloths pins or similar.

Buckets, coolers, plastic bins, even a cardboard box would work for smaller plants.
If we all stop waiting, we will see something happen.

jamfas18
Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue May 05, 2009 1:54 am
Location: Des Moines, IA

Hey guys and gals its been awhile but im still here! I have been pretty busy with school and work. I will add some updated pictures soon. Many of my plants are starting to fruit.


The past two weeks I have been feeding the plants at a ph of 6.8 and EC of 0.4 they seem to like this dosage. The sweet corn is an exception they show signs of nute burn. I didnt give them any food this week with all this rain they have received a nice flush. I don't expect to harvast any corn this season due to how many sprouted. I have a total of five sweet corn plants. So pollination will be a problem. I wonder if i can possibly pollinate by head to recieve better results?

O well trial and error I am a newbie. I think next year i will germ. them in a humidity dome and then transplant. I planted about 50 of them at the recommended depth but most never came up. This also happened with my bush beans. It could have been that my soil was to hot to start out with for the little seedlings. I figure its probably too late in the season to try to start more seeds. So another question is if i started more bush beans and sweet corn seeds would they have enough time to fruit?



Yellow bell peppers doing well.
[img]https://i42.tinypic.com/2sbpbg6.jpg[/img]


The large tomatoes are gaining size.
[img]https://i44.tinypic.com/2w561x2.jpg[/img]


This picture shows the larger size of my big boy tomatoes from previous pictures.
[img]https://i40.tinypic.com/1tlggn.jpg[/img]


I had my first ripe strawberry friday... it was fantastic.
[img]https://i39.tinypic.com/o8vr06.jpg[/img]

myron26155
Full Member
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 6:01 pm
Location: Orlando

Nice garden, for someone whose hasn't grown before you sure do have a green thumb!
My Tomato Growing Journal https://myron26155.shutterfly.com/

Decado
Green Thumb
Posts: 480
Joined: Sat May 16, 2009 2:52 am
Location: Crystal, MN (Zone 4)

I have a few tips for you, although you have been doing a great job so far. First of all next year I'd get a yard or 2 of composted manure and put it on there and till it in, I did this for the first time this year and the whole garden has gone crazy because of it. Secondly, on your tomatoes you probably want to pull off all the vines about 6 inches up from the ground and make sure you don't have any branches hanging down into the dirt to prevent blight, fungus, etc. (don't worry, your plant will actually yield more fruit with less but bigger and healthier vines.) Thirdly, I see you have some sucker vines growing on the tomato plant (vines growing between another vine and the stem), you'll want to clip those off. Here's your picture modified to show you what I'm talking about:
[img]https://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y69/wrathloki/nv164j-2.jpg[/img]
Other than that, keep up the good work and I hope you get lots of veggies and fruit.

Edit: Here's another (and a big one) example of a sucker vine from your pictures:
[img]https://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y69/wrathloki/2rh2xcx.jpg[/img]

Return to “TOMATO FORUM”