MrsHWoody
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Searching for advice about starting a veggie garden

Hello,
I'm new to gardening (actually I haven't started yet). I had the realization that I have room to garden and I'm tired of buying veggies and herbs in the store. Either they won't have what I want/need or I won't use them all up before they go bad. Frustrates me to no end.

My solution? Grow my own herbs and veggies. But I have no practical knowledge, just what I've gleaned from Google and Pinterest. Yes, I know. Bad bad bad lol.

What I want to know is,
1. Is there a certain type of soil I should use to grow herbs in a pot?
2. What about veggies in the ground?
3. How do I know how many of something to plant near each other?
4. How far about should I plant each type of plant?
5. Is it easier to grow from kitchen scraps? Faster?

Obviously I have a lot to learn! Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Garden Newbie searching for insight and advice

Wow, a lot of questions and hard to know how to help someone start from the beginning in a climate that I don't know...

Is there a certain type of soil I should use to grow herbs in a pot? Yes, regular soil does NOT work well for growing things in containers. You need potting mix. If you have big box stores around (Lowes, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, etc) they will carry it.

2. What about veggies in the ground? Veggies in the ground just need good rich soil with lots of organic matter and fertility. Preferably slightly acidic soil, but anything neutral or just a little bit on either side of neutral is okay. They need the soil loosened up enough that their roots can get through it and air and water can circulate.

3. How do I know how many of something to plant near each other? How many to plant depends on how much garden space you have and how much of that crop you want/ have use for.

4. How far about should I plant each type of plant? Plant spacing varies a lot by the plant. In general bigger plants need more space between than smaller ones. If you are buying plants, they should tell you the spacing. If not, you can find out (look up if need be) the mature size of the plant. If a plant is going to get to be 3 ft wide then it should probably have 3 ft around in in every direction.

5. Is it easier to grow from kitchen scraps? Faster? Kitchen scraps? I don't think I understand. Potatoes can grow from chunks of sprouted potato. Garlic cloves can be planted. When I think kitchen scraps I think of potato peels and onion skins and what not and I can't think of anything that can grow from that kind of scrap. I guess onion bottoms and celery bottoms and carrot tops can be planted. I don't have experience doing that, so someone else can answer that question better.

Alaska has a pretty different climate, with short growing season but very long days. I can't help you with what is best for you to grow. If you can find a good garden store (NOT the big box) with knowledgeable staff, they should be able to help you with what grows best in your area.

General advice getting started:


*START SMALL. One or two 4x8 beds will be plenty for you to start with. Beginning gardeners often get too ambitious, and then get overwhelmed trying to keep up with weeding and everything and give up.
*Invest the time at the beginning preparing your soil. You can't have a good garden without good soil
*Start a compost pile. It won't help you right now, but your home made compost is the best thing you can give your garden. If you start now you can have some compost to add to your garden in fall. We have a whole composting section here with instructions about how to get started.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

MrsHWoody
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Re: Garden Newbie searching for insight and advise

Thank you so much! That was a lot of helpful information!!
I'm not sure why I didn't think to ask the garden nursery down the road from me, thanks for that tip.

For clarifacation, when I said scraps I meant potato eyes, garlic cloves, carrot tops, celery and onion bottoms, etc.

I don't really want to get into composting as I don't really have an easy spot for that (I have dogs). But the place I was planning on planting my veggies is the pre prepped plot along my house (1-2x24). The herbs I want to plant in an Elf Garden on my deck.
I have gardened in the past when I was a child but I have forgotten most of my learned skills. I have neighbor kids who want to help, but it helps if I have a base knowledge going in :P

MrsHWoody
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Re: Garden Newbie searching for insight and advise

I'm starting with a wide assortment of veggies we like and will use :)
Next year I'm moving my garden to a bigger and better spot in my yard, this year I mostly want to see if I have a black thumb or not since its been so long since j gradened in my gma's garden as a child.

My neighbors garden, so that will be a big help too.

I will definately post pics of my progress.

imafan26
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Re: Garden Newbie searching for insight and advise

PLant what you like to eat, that is relatively expensive to buy but easy for you to grow.
With your short season, you may have to learn to start early indoors. There are threads dedicated to that.

Herbs in pots are good and they can come inside in the winter, but you have to have a spot for them.

Succession plant. Don't plant the entire package of lettuce seeds, only a few at a time every couple of weeks for a constant supply. Choose northern varieties. Things like broccoli and kale can handle a light frost.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

MrsHWoody
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Re: Garden Newbie searching for insight and advise

The veggies I want to plant (I know it's a long list lol) are:

Tomatoes
Lettuce
Potatoes
Cucumber
Spinach
Onions (green and white)
Celery
Artichoke
Asparagus

Herbs:
Garlic
Basil
Cilantro
Mint
Aloe (not really an herb I know)
And maybe Parsley

The herbs would be in a pot with decor, I want to do an elf garden but I can't bring myself to plant something I can't eat or use for more than aesthetics, so I'm doing it as an herbal elf garden :)

MrsHWoody
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Re: Garden Newbie searching for insight and advise

Right now I have 10 rhubarb in the space I want to plant my veggies. I don't care for rhubarb so my neighbors and friends are going to take them off my hands.
I also have raspberries growing at the edge of my yard that i want to transplant to an easily accessible place so they don't get over grown with weeds this year (I didn't know they were there until the neighbor kids told me about them, as the kids used to live in my house)

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Garden Newbie searching for insight and advise

Tomatoes
Lettuce
Potatoes
Cucumber
Spinach
Onions (green and white)
Celery
Artichoke
Asparagus

Herbs:
Garlic
Basil
Cilantro
Mint
Aloe (not really an herb I know)
And maybe Parsley

Mixed bag of stuff: garlic cloves are usually planted in the fall to over-winter and sprout again in early spring, harvest in mid-summer.
"General Guidelines for Garlic Planting:
Zones 0-3 (if no permafrost): Plant garlic in early to late September. (Hardneck) Garlic can grow well in cold climates including some parts of Alaska." https://greyduckgarlic.com/Garlic_Planting_Chart.html

I don't know where you are in Alaska. Here's a cold hardiness zones map of Alaska:

https://www.plantmaps.com/interactive-al ... ss-map.php

Apparently Alaska has an extreme range of climates all the way from zone 1 to zone 7.

I don't think I can say a lot more without knowing more about where you are and what your climate is like and cold hardiness zone. For example, mint is a perennial, best grown in a pot. Some mints are only cold hardy to zone 5. Peppermint is cold hardy to zone 3.

Parsley is a biennial. It grows the first year, then dies back. The second year it comes back and then flowers and sets seed. But it will only survive winters down to about zone 6. If you are colder than that you could just grow it as an annual, starting it over every year.

Asparagus is a perennial, which is hardy down to zone 3. It needs its own bed where it can stay undisturbed. It is best planted in the spring, but then you can't harvest any the first year and hardly any the second year, while the roots are getting themselves established.

Artichoke is a perennial which is only cold hardy to zone 7. If you can find well started plants (which I would expect to be rare in your area), you might be able to grow it as an annual, starting over each year, but it will be expensive and not very productive that way.

When is your average last frost date?
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

MrsHWoody
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Re: Garden Newbie searching for insight and advise

Well, I live in Palmer, Alaska of that helps? Where do I go to find out what Zone I'm in?

The mint and other herbs I would be growing in a pot. Only the veggies would be outside.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Garden Newbie searching for insight and advise

Assuming Alaska has zip codes like the rest of us do, then you can go here:

https://garden.org/zipzone/

and enter your zip code and it will tell you your cold hardiness zone. Cold hardiness zone only tells you how cold the lowest low is in the average winter. That lets you know what perennials, shrubs, trees, etc can survive that much cold.

Here

https://davesgarden.com/guides/freeze-frost-dates/#b

is a site that when you enter your zip code, it will tell you your average first and last frost date. You need to know that too.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Garden Newbie searching for insight and advise

RE "The mint and other herbs I would be growing in a pot." I'm sure you really mean you would be growing your herbs in some pots .... :) The mint needs a large pot to itself, it will quickly fill it up. Garlic can be grown in containers and brought in for the winter, but to grow any useful amount of garlic that would be one pot, full of just garlic. If you have a large container, you could try putting one plant each of basil, cilantro, and parsley in it. And plan to bring all the containers in for the winter.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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