fish68
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Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2004 11:30 am
Location: zone 6 (1 hour west of philadelphia )

New home owner with sunny yard

hi to all- what can i do to get ready for spring planting? i would like herbs and veggies- should i use rasied beds? what are good veggies to start for beginners? i live in eastern PA. in a sunny yard - i have a few sites read already- is square foot method good to start with?

The Helpful Gardener
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Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

We are fans of raised beds here at THG; you get to pick the soil and it makes it easier to work it and pick it so that's a great start you can do now.

Check some of the other threads here on this forum and definitely read the veggie article from the site, lots of good tips on both (I include a link to both here). There aren't really beginners veggies; most are easy to grow so pick what you like and plan and plant accordingly.

[url]https://www.helpfulgardener.com/vegetable/2003/vegetable.html[/url]

The square foot method works but I think it's overthinking a pretty simple process. Most of the really good info and tips I have picked up over the years have come from word of mouth and first hand examples; my friend Len (with whom I occasionally do a radio gardening show here in CT) did his WHOLE vegetable garden in containers this year and is in love with it, that's what I'm talking about... THis is a great place to do some of that talking...

Scott

Newt
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Posts: 1868
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

Hi Fish,

Welcome to THG. That's a good link that Scott gave you. Since you say you've done some reading I'm guessing that you already know that your first consideration will be great soil. You might also consider doing lasagna or sheet composting to prepare the soil for spring planting.

https://www.motherearthnews.com/menarch/archive/issues/173/173-050-01.htm
https://www.bconnex.net/~carolw/lasagna1.html
https://www.farm-garden.com/primers/26/

If your soil is already in great shape then consider a cover crop.

https://www.attra.org/attra-pub/covercrop.html#principle


Square foot gardening seems to be most helpful in a small garden. If you need any more information on soil or organic gardening don't hesitate to ask. You might also want to go back to your profile and add your state and hardiness zone so you won't have to remember to tell us each time. It can be most helpful. Here's a zip code zone finder if you aren't sure what it is.

https://www.arborday.org/trees/whatzone.html

I always think that lettuce, radishes, cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, greens like kale and beans are great for beginners. These sites should be helpful. I'm including your state site for your extension service. You might want to poke around there as well.

https://www.explore.cornell.edu/scene.cfm?scene=home%20gardening&stop=HG%20%2D%20Find%20a%20Vegetable
https://www.savvygardener.com/Features/harvesting_vegetables.html
https://www.extension.psu.edu/

Newt[/url]

fish68
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2004 11:30 am
Location: zone 6 (1 hour west of philadelphia )

thanks

wow thanks you guys are alsome!! i move to my new home in mid december. what can i do to prep for spring? i am planning on a rasied bed 4x4.

Newt
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Posts: 1868
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

Hi Fish,

You are very welcome! Well, even though you haven't moved yet, congratulations on your new home!

I'm a bit confused though, are you asking the same question?
what can i do to prep for spring? i am planning on a rasied bed 4x4.
If so, do read the links I gave you. They should answer your question. If you already have soil in the raised bed then I would suggest that you either do the lasagna method or add at least 6" of compost and mix it in. Then plant a cover crop that you can turn under in the spring. If you don't have the raised bed yet I would suggest a mix of 60% SCREENED topsoil and 40% compost and then plant a cover crop. Mother Nature doesn't like blank spaces and if you don't cover the soil with plant material, she will. ;) If that doesn't answer your questions, please write back with specific questions.

Btw, DO NOT use treated lumber to edge the bed. You can just hill up the soil or use stone, blocks, untreated wood, etc. And, square foot gardening should work well in such a small space.
https://www.squarefootgardening.com/


Newt

The Helpful Gardener
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Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

A good wood for doing raised beds is locust; it doesn't rot for decades. My friends Anita and Vin did their whole garden with it and 8 yrs later it still looks great; grey and weathered but sound as a bell. It will outlast me by a few decades. Who needs pressure treated?

Newt, I'm gonna break an arm patting you on the back... :wink:

Scott

Newt
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Posts: 1868
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

Fish,
I just thought of something and that is your location - one hour west of Philly - combined with the date you are moving. Hmmm. I suspect that the ground will freeze around that time and you may not be able to plant a cover crop. I remember three years ago trying to work the soil and plant 500 pots after a combo house and garden renovation. I had to cover the beds where I wanted to dig, with the pots under the covers, so the ground wouldn't freeze. I used old sheets, old blankets and old sleeping bags. I couldn't use plastic because of the plants and the risk of them getting cooked under the plastic. I was able to put the potted plants on top of their planting bed on Thanksgiving and I finished 'planting' the pots in January. Wherever the ground hadn't been covered, it was frozen solid.

If the ground is frozen when you move in, you aren't going to be able to plant a cover crop. If you will only be working with that one small bed, in such a small space you won't need to get a bulk delivery of soil or compost. If you are creating this bed from scratch on level ground you will need bags of soil and bags of compost. The problem is that they probably will be frozen solid. Been there! So, you will have to purchase the amount you need in bags before Thanksgiving and keep them from freezing so you can spread them in Dec. If you don't have a heated garage or similar place to store them, you will need to keep them in a sunny place and covered with several layers of old sheets, etc. Then you can spread the soil and compost and mix it in. You will have about 24 hours before it freezes if the temps are low. You won't be able to plant a cover crop. You could build that lasagna bed though on top of this one. It's only a 4' by 4' space. Over the winter the action of freezing and thawing will help to break down the lasagna bed and keep weeds from sprouting because you will be covering the soil with 'goodies'.

Hope this is clear as I just woke up and am sleepy. I volunteer 2 nights a week and end up sleeping all day so I get foggy. Please write with any questions.

Newt

Newt
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Posts: 1868
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

Scott,
Pats on back are great!!! My back is sore anyway. Rough night last night. So many strays and so little time! Thanks so much. Guess I can't save the whole world so I'll have to work on small patches at a time. :)

Hugs,
Newt

The Helpful Gardener
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Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

You go girl!

Doing good work all over, I see... 8)

Scott

Newt
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Posts: 1868
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

Hey Scott,

I'll tell you that the more I see the more I feel I need to do. It breaks my heart that so many people think that animals don't feel anything or have needs.

Newt

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