Delilah
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Posts: 88
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:05 am
Location: Coastal Australia, warm-temperate climate

Your best beginner's veggie patch advice

Hi

I am planning my first proper veggie patch (organic or nearly-organic) and I'm hoping to leverage the experience of those who've been there, done that, learnt a lot. What are your most treasured bits of veggie patch adivce - the things that will be good to understand sooner rather than later? e.g. Make sure that you do XYZ because it makes a huge difference / Don't bother about ABC because it's a myth / etc

The climate here is sub-tropical/warm-temperate. The patch I'm starting with faces the sun with some dappled shading. It used to be overgrown with all sorts of plants and we cleared it a few weeks ago, but I just went up to look at it now and I can see grass sprouting densley EVERYWHERE :evil: .

Thanks for all your tips :)

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hendi_alex
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Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:58 am
Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

Size of plot?

Location?

General quality of soil?

Usual distribution of rain during growing season?

Kind of plants interested in growing?
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

Delilah
Cool Member
Posts: 88
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:05 am
Location: Coastal Australia, warm-temperate climate

Size: About 2m x 3m

Location: Facing the sun, with dappled shade. Sub-tropical/warm-temperate climate - east coast of NSW, Australia.

Soil: Don't know. Gets a huge amount of leaf litter from gum trees, but deeper down is probably clay and shale.

Rain: Don't know. Have yet to experience a growing season at this location.

Plants of interest: Chinese/Japanese greens, Kale, Broccoli, Zuccini, Tomatoes, Potatoes, Kumera, Ochra, Snowpeas, Strawberries, Carrots, Maca, Aloe, various herbs.

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hendi_alex
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Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:58 am
Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

I always mulch around the base of tomato plants, both to preserve moisture and to discourage disease and competing weeds.

As strawberries are perrenials, they will want a special, dedicated spot in the garden, that won't be tilled the next year. Spread some kind of clean mulch around the berry plants so that the berries do not rest directly on the soil. That way you should have no problem or less problem with fruit rot.

Don't plant the tomatoes and the potatoes too close together, and pay attention to their location, so as to avoid planting in the same exact location year after year. That cause a problem with disease build up in the soil.

Plan on using succession plantings. Kale, broccoli, snowpeas for example get through very early and can be followed with green beans, peppers, okra, etc. that will mature later in the growing season. I would plant okra in the area between snow peas, and the okra will be small but growing when the snow peas are finished. When sketching your garden arrangement be sure and group plants according to early, short season, vs. later long season. That way you can plan on a good arrangement in the garden, and can use interplanting and/or succession planting to maximize the things that you grow and to maximize the length of your growing season.

Never wet the foilage of tomatoes when watering as that encourages disease.

IMO most perennial herbs are easier to give care and maintain in planters. Would save my garden space for annual herbs. Aloe may be a better candidate for a container plant.

These are just a few somewhat random thoughts, way early in the morning. Hopefully, you will get some other input.

Consider using drip irrigation as it saves both water and time.

Good luck!
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

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rainbowgardener
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

starting a garden

Start your compost pile first! Compost is essential for "organic or nearly organic" gardening. Be sure you water your compost pile any time it is hot/dry enough to need to water your garden.

Think about gardening in beds, not in rows. Lay out your beds (they can be raised beds, which I personally really like, but they don't have to be) no wider than 4' so you can reach everything with out walking on your garden soil, with paths between them, then fill up the bed.

Mulch everything! Way cuts down on watering and weeding. Only water in the AM (unless you are doing the drip irrigation alex suggested -- it doesn't matter much if no water is getting on foliage).

If you start having trouble with insects, try making a mixture of onions, garlic, tomato leaves, red pepper, black pepper, and anything aromatic or strong smelling like mint, herbs. Blend it up in water, let it sit for awhile, then strain and spray. Totally organic, edible even (though wouldn't taste good!) but insects don't like it.

Let us know how it goes and ask specific questions as they come up... Have fun!

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