twinbabies2000
Full Member
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:49 pm
Location: Appleton, WA

First big garden w/ not a lot of experience

[img]https://i912.photobucket.com/albums/ac328/twinbabies2000/GardenPlan.jpg[/img]

Hello everyone,

I'm looking for help, advice and even corrections. My husband and I just bought a house, zone 6-7 elevation 2500ft. I have an area of about 30 x 30 that I am going to make into a vegetable garden. The image above outlines one way I think I can do it... image found on internet and tweaked for me. It lists all that I want to grow and location in garden. Sorry the image is a little light... please let me know if it's too light and I will try again.
Is this a good set up? Anything next to each other that shouldn't be. Yes I did homework on all, but with so many things I have been learning it's all swirling in my head now. Would rows be better?
I will be erecting a fence around the garden about 8' tall to keep the wildlife out. Is there anything I should be starting indoors... I'm a little confused on that and would rather not start too much indoors this first year. We had our home set as the snow came, so I have to wait for it to go away before I can till and get the ground ready.
I have done a couple little gardens, but really just guessed at what I was doing.
This is going to be an every year thing and I want to start it right.

I would very much like advice, pointers.. help in getting my garden off to a great start.

Thank you
Wendy

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Congratulations on your new home and garden! Welcome to the forum!

Best advice: Start your compost pile now, so that you will have some finished compost in the spring for planting with (do some reading in our Compost Forum if you haven't done it before). Single best thing you can do for your garden.

Next step, buy a soil test kit or send a sample to County Extension service to be tested, so you will know what kind of soil you are working with and what it needs.

Work really hard at preparing your soil in the spring, getting it loose, weed free, and nutrient enriched. The rest will be easy after that. :)

Use this winter time to read up on your plants. Planting time/ schedule will be the next issue. The carrots, chives, lettuce, garlic, onions would get sowed directly in the ground, as soon as the ground can be worked (frost free and not too wet).

The peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, herbs could be started indoors (I couldn't read all of the light print), but I think you are right not to overwhelm yourself. If you don't mind buying some plants just for this first year, that will make your spring a little easier.

The tomatoes, peppers, oregano can go in the ground after all danger of frost and once the soil has warmed up a little. The basil and cantalope, zucchini and cucumbers like it really warm, so should wait a little longer.

twinbabies2000
Full Member
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:49 pm
Location: Appleton, WA

Thanks

Thank you for the input... very appreciated.. :D
I did start my compost.. as of tonight...
I have been reading on the types of veggies and how to get the best results from them. I'm pretty sure I'm on the right track, but it's always nice to have someone with more knowledge make comments.

Thank you
Wendy

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7492
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: Colchester, CT

Couple of quick thoughts...

So cool to see the bee balm; attracting pollinators is a great idea AND it makes a great tea (Mountain mint (Pycnanthemum spp.) does both as well and is a nice mix with the bee balm for a tea. I'm drinking some now!)

You will need to be savage with the oregano to keep it in bounds; it too can be a wanderer...

I think you might need to rethink the impatiens and nasturtiums; the former want shade and the latter want really crappy soil, neither of which will agree with tomatos. Perhaps marigolds and zinnias? How about more basil? (I don't think you have enough, but we eat pounds and pounds of pesto in garden season, so I may be biased...) I looked again and the tomatoes should shade the impatiens, so that's probably okay in the long run, but I looked again, and you definitely need more basil... :wink:

Corn is wind pollinated and needs a ten by ten plot all it's own to do well (or hand pollination by brush, a tedious chore). Perhaps another plot (or another year)? Or get your camel hair artists brush warmed up...

Canteloupes need way fertile soil; pile some poop on that spot now and get it rich ahead of time. And they tend to run around a bit too. Might be more than the lettuce can handle, might want to think about a different spot for them too (just pile the poop now, let it rot down and plant in spring; instant bed...) Maybe more basil in that spot too? :lol:

So cool to see stevia on your list; going to grow that one myself this year. Sweet without carbs; every sugar heads dream (I inherited my granny's sweet tooth, or so she said...) I am dedicating a spot for at least ten plants...

Don't get discouraged by all my quibbling (I do this a lot; ask anyone here). You are going about this in the right way; planning and plotting now makes for success later. And no one here knows everything and some of us have been gardening longer than you've been breathing. So starting out, you should plan your work and work the plan, and ask lots of questions, and you have already gotten that part of it right. Good job!

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7453
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:20 pm
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

This is great! You will enjoy growing things. If you buy seed in packets, quite often there are instructions on the packet about planting time, spacing, and culture. Cantaloupe, melons, cucumbers, pumpkins and many squash are vining and can get quite large. Even the bush types of summer squash can get quite large. I only mention this so that you can give things enough space. You could plant something that finishes early like radishes close to the vining plants then they would be done before the vines got too large. Most things won't do well under the canopy of the vines.

We plant in faith and each year is different. Sometimes things fail, and sometimes things do great. Weather, soil conditions, insects and other critters all have an impact. Plant a good variety and you will always get a harvest of something.

Here is a picture of a Crookneck Squash Plant. Actually it is four plants in a hill. There is one hill and part of another in the pic. It is a bush type. To give you an idea, the corn is six feet tall.

[img]https://donce.lofthouse.com/jamaica/crookneck_plant.jpg[/img]
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7453
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:20 pm
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

About starting things in the house, some people like to do it, some don't, so they just buy tomatoes and peppers at the nursery. Most garden seeds can be started right in the garden with good success. Some exceptions are the herbs, since their seed is so small. You may have more luck starting those insdoors.

There is no need to start squash, melons nor cucumbers. They grow well from direct seeding in the garden.

Here is a plan for a corn planting. It takes a plot 4 feet square. The seed is on a grid of one foot squares.

If you want more than this leave 3 feet between and do another 16 plants. Do not make a larger planting close together like this.

[img]https://donce.lofthouse.com/jamaica/corn_planting.jpg[/img]

May I suggest Bodacious or Ambrosia?
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7492
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: Colchester, CT

JAL, are you getting good pollination with this smaller plot? I have not tried the corn yet becuase everything I read and hear says, well, what I've been regurgitating, but if you tell me different, I'll buy in...

HG
Scott Reil

twinbabies2000
Full Member
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:49 pm
Location: Appleton, WA

Lots of information

Thank you all for the great information. Adding more basil, but not a huge user of it so I will add one more plot and see how that goes. I think I'm going to try the corn, but may expand the overall length or width of the garden to accomodate. I will do some research on marigolds and zinnias and see how I fell about them. Thank you for the tip on the Impatiens and Nasturtiums... that advice is wonderful to get. I'm going to get rid of the lettuce that is by the cantaloupe and plant a little bit of cantaloupe and see wha happens... my whole family loves cantaloupe.. may have to expand it next year.
In regards to the zuchinni and cucumbers planted with the tomatoes.. I'm not sure about that one yet, I haven't made it to them in types and what I want to grow. If they are going to be to big I can alway get rid of the tomatoes around them... have to wait and see what I find out and I'm glad for any and all suggestions... they are great. :)
Wendy

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7492
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: Colchester, CT

Wendy, here's a [url=https://elise.com/recipes/archives/001329fresh_basil_pesto.php]good pesto recipe[/url]. Beck and I are a two person household, we grow twenty plants or so a year and unlike tomatoes, squash, cukes, etc., we never give pesto away. We even have ice cube trays we use for nothing else; I can go in the fridge and thaw one, and while it's not as good as fresh, in thses dark days of weeks below freezing, it is still a taste of summer that can really brighten you up...

We eat it on toast points, pita wedges, hot pasta of course, but pasta salads are great too. A rub for any meat or fish you care to, I even mix it into my pizza sauce (I have been pizza mad lately; at least once a week I make pizza now. Tonight we started with a pepperoni (with the pesto) and finished with a shrimp and scallop white pizza...molto bene!)

But trust us on the basil; you'll use it...

HG
Scott Reil

Turk
Full Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:31 pm
Location: Ventura County, CA

Lots of folks will give you growing help, seed info, compost help, etc.

What I have to tell you is ALWAYS finish cleaning and putting away all of your tools. Sometimes I will think "Meh, I'll be back out in the morning. No problem." Then next morning I come out and have to clean and put things in bins and this and that and it's a big headache. Also, you may get distracted and end up with tools in the yard for a few days, maybe even weeks (you never know!). So always clean up and make sure things are tidy and you will always walk out to a clean, welcoming and healthy garden area.

/2cents
If you see a weed, pull it.

Everyday brings a new Google search.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Good tip and one I had to learn the hard way too! :)

twinbabies2000
Full Member
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:49 pm
Location: Appleton, WA

Basil uses and tool storage

Wow I never thought of some of those uses for Basil.. I did add more space for it and will give it a whirl. I have always thought of it as a pasta sauce and I don't really eat pasta. The ice cube trick is very interesting and as a rub I will definitely try that. I use cilantro like you use basil, but have decided not to have cilantro this first year, it sounds like a pain to grow, so I will wait until I have at least a year of gardening before trying that one.
The tip on storing tools when done and cleaning up is a great tip. I have actually been thinking of adding a few feet to one side of my, not yet existing, garden and growing green beans along part of the fence and then putting a nice tool storage cabinet inside the garden area, along with a small garbage can for composting material that can be transferred to the composter later. We are a bit spread out and it would save a lot of trekking back and forth from garden to garage.
GREAT advice and thank you for it.
Wendy

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7492
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: Colchester, CT

Spot on Turk...

TB you are welcome for ideas na dyou are probably right about the cilantro (which we also love, but usually purchase twice a year, as it bolts out pretty quickly). Concentrate on easy stuff first year, and try the more difficult stuff when you find your feet...)

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 28237
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Ah, but I think of cilantro as cool early spring seeding herb (start and plant out with broccoli and cauliflowers + sow additional seeds) and basil as starting inside and planting out with the bean, cucumber, and pumpkin seeds herb (a bit later than tomato transplants) + sow additional seeds. Cilantro bolts as soon as it gets hot (though you can plant some again in late summer for fall crop.) If you stagger planting them, basil will grow until frost.

User avatar
gixxerific
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5889
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 5:42 pm
Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

Tomatoes love basil and vice versa, the basil will even improve the flavor of your tom's. Good luck with corn it is not easy to grow unless you hav e a lot (normally). I feel you on the cilantro I love it myself and make fresh pico de gallo several times a year, it is not easy to grow either, I planted and planted it again and again last year in the ground and in pots and I never really got anything out of it. Though I will try again.

i will reiterate compost, compost, compost. Another thing i like to do is use my grass clippings as a mulch. I very rarely have weeds and it adds organic material to the ground.

You might want to check this out too. A lot of plants will do better when planted with certain other plants and some will harm them. This might help you get some idea of what to and what not to plant in your garden.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=20541&highlight=companion+planting

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7492
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: Colchester, CT

Can't argue AS, s'all true. For me the cilantro has been a pot herb that I can keep a little shade on (slows bolting). We've had good luck just buying fresh cilantro at the supermarket (usually has the roots on it) and planting that as starts. Easier than germinating and just as cheap ( as we use the most of the tops before planting). Works for me, anyway...

HG
Scott Reil



Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”