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Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 3:18 pm

Semi-new gardener here

Hi all! I planted a garden spur of the moment last year with little to no prep work. It did well enough that I am going to plant again this year. My squash and cucumbers did really well last year. Tomatoes not so well.

I have raised beds that were here when we bought the house. The squash/ cucumber side is 19.5' long by 7.5' wide. The back side is a chain link fence I plan to use as a trellis to grow the cukes up. I also plan on crookneck squash, zucchini, and maybe a spaghetti squash. How many plants can fit in an area of that size?

The second bed is raised 24' long by 5.5' wide. The very front is a row of carrots (although I am not holding my breath on those as the soil is pretty rocky.) In the middle I want a row of peppers and an okra plant or two. Then along the back along the chain link fence I am growing sugar snap peas up it.

The third raised bed is 15' long by 10.5 feet wide. This is where the beans go (pole beans) up the fence in the back. Tomatoes will take up the rest of it. About how many
tomato plants can I put in here.

I am also doing lettuce, spinach, potatoes, and eggplant in containers.

My soil isn't the greatest as it is rocky from the previous owners filling the beds with crappy soil. Fertility wise it is okay and I did add some composted cow manure/ peat moss. We are slowly raking/ picking rocks out and maybe in 500 years we will get them all! I am in zone 7 as well.

Any advice, words of wisdom, suggestions? You guys have such great advice and I have enjoyed lurking here for awhile. Oh and I failed to mention that I went all out and decided to start plants from seed this year. That is a lot of work.

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

Welcome to the forum! Glad you decided to quit lurking and introduce yourself! :) How do you work a raised bed that is 7.5 feet wide? Does it have a lengthwise path down the middle? Part of the idea of raised beds is never to walk on the soil so it doesn't get compacted.

I don't grow cucurbits much because the root borers always get them (I'm going to try again this year with row cover!) so I would be just guessing, but that's a very big area and especially if you trellised the cukes, they wouldn't take up so much room. So more squash plants than any reasonable person has a use for! :) Ten? a dozen?

If you are in zone 7, it is almost getting late for putting peas in (I'm in zone 6 and it was 85 degrees here today!). If they aren't in already the peas, lettuce, spinach need to go in NOW! They don't like it once the weather gets hot, which may be like tomorrow at the rate we are going.

The thing about tomato spacing is very individual. It depends so much on how you treat them, do you prune them, your climate, etc. I just planted 5 tomato plants in a 4X8' bed, which will make some tomato purists gasp in horror. Some people would say 3 feet between plants and 5 feet between rows, which is the other extreme from me.

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Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 3:18 pm

Unfortunately I have to walk in all of my raised beds. Well except the very narrow one. My house's owners before me put them in and they back up the a chain link fence so there is no way to reach the back. (Unless I climb a 6.5 foot tall fence each time I want to get to the side of the garden and then stick my hands through it. :lol: ) But I do try to always plant in the same general areas so I can walk in the same general areas.

The peas, lettuce, potatoes, and spinach are in. I started a 5 * 5 strawberry bed as well (although the dormant roots aren't doing anything and I am probably going to buy plants.) I also have planted my bean seeds.

I am planting the tomato transplants ASAP. I just held off because I saw a few temps in the 30's in the 10 day forecast. Now all looks better for planting. I plan on putting the squash/ cukes in as seeds probably in about a week.

Now for the mulch question. The weeds are insane no matter how many I pick. I plan on putting corn gluten meal to help for future years, but I also need to mulch for weed control and conserving moisture as the beds drain very quickly because of the rocks. Would a layer of newspaper with straw scattered on top do that?

Greener Thumb
Posts: 729
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:58 pm
Location: zone 4

Soaked newspaper makes excellent weedblock, you just have to use at least 4 sheets in a layer :) Straw on top is even better as it hels any low hanging/laying on the ground veggies from rotting.
Good luck with everyhting!

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