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Aya
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Help! I think I'm in trouble here! (Sorry, long)

So I think the raised bed that my fiance built me just isn't right for what I want to grow. Coupling that with this being my first year gardening, along with hoping for a bountiful harvest in the Pacific Northwest and I think I might be in trouble. The box he built is 8 ft. long, 2 ft. wide and 2 ft. tall. It also has a "lip" around the edge for me to sit on. It already has about 10 bags of soil in it, so moving it is out of the question unless I take out the transplants and the soil. What would you all recommend? Should I cut the side panels in half to make them 1ft. tall? I have quite a list of plants I'd like to try out and my melons and corn are shooting up along with my peas and beans. They are all in little cups in my garage right now - and are outgrowing their current environment. I know I shouldn't have started the melons and such inside, but I got impatient :roll:
Any suggestions on what to do would be great - I'd also like to get my seedlings out of my garage where they currently are, since my fiance parks the cars in there and he remarked about the fumes from the cars killing my seedlings (which I never even thought of!!). I don't have a basement to put them in or anything and my puppy pulls up and eats plants that are within reach (Which I think is why the fiance built the bed up so high). Okay..end rant - hoping for some help!

P.s. Posting pics of seedlings in a sec

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Aya
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[img]https://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p121/WereAya/March-2011-4.jpg[/img] Black Eyed Peas

[img]https://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p121/WereAya/March-2011-6.jpg[/img] Watermelon...I think (or Pumpkin)

[img]https://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p121/WereAya/March-2011-7.jpg[/img] Peas

[img]https://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p121/WereAya/March-2011-8.jpg[/img] Potatoes - Are the little leggy sprouts normal or should I pull those?

[img]https://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p121/WereAya/March-2011-5.jpg[/img] Sweet Corn

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rainbowgardener
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I'm not sure what the problem is exactly except that your bed is way too small for the amount of things you want to grow. :) There's nothing wrong with it being 2' tall and it does help keep the plants away from the puppy.

Can you & he build a couple more beds? And/or do a bunch of containers to go with it (in response to one of your other posts, I suggested containers for the herbs you wanted). And/or just till up some of the lawn and plant some of the spreading things like melons in that patch and allow them to crawl out over the lawn? (Melons and pumpkins take up a TON of space.)

You had corn on your previous list. You may want to give up the corn for this year. There's really no way to grow it without having a fair sized bed dedicated to corn. You can't plant just a couple corn plants, because they don't get pollinated well that way. At the absolute minimum you need a 3x3' bed, preferably 4x4' or more, planted with one corn plant per square foot. And to plant the corn that close, you need very enriched soil, because corn is a heavy feeder. Any less corn than that isn't likely to get the kernals pollinated. And you need to do it in square blocks like that, not a stretched out row, again for better pollination.

For the next beds you build, the two feet wide seems a bit limiting. I like to plant lots of things in a bed, pop onions and garlic and marigolds all around the other stuff. If you are building a bed anyway, it is hardly any more work or materials to make it 4' wide instead of 2. It does of course take twice the soil to fill, but quit buying your soil in bags and have a truckload delivered. You will save a bunch of money.

PS the two little spindly things in the potato picture are weeds. Pull them. Most potting soil does come with a few weed/ grass seeds in it.
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Aya
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I never thought about having a truckload of soil delivered. Is there any specific type I should be aiming for? I think I'll take the lip off the edge of my planting bed so that I can plant stuff in the corners and it'll still get full sun. I also didn't know that corn needed so much pollination - so I may have to give up the corn as you said. I'll be sure and pull the weeds from the potatoes, but do you think the seedlings are okay in the garage with the cars?

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rainbowgardener
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Each individual kernal of corn in the ear has to be individually pollenated with its own individual grain of pollen, or else that kernal won't develop. So you can see there need to be a lot of grains of pollen flying around. And of course one large corn plant produces one or two ears of corn, period, and then it is done. So for small space gardeners it's not a lot of return for the space.

I think your seedlings will be ok in the garage for a little while, presuming the car isn't left to run in the garage. I would worry most about things like lettuce where what you are going to eat is the leaf that might be coated in car exhaust. Do you have plenty of light in your garage?
Last edited by rainbowgardener on Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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rainbowgardener
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PS. Getting started, for anything you haven't grown before and aren't familiar with what the plant looks like and how big it gets, it helps to look it up. Did you know that one watermelon plant can take up a 20 x 20' space (400 square feet)? In that 400 square feet it will produce no more than 4 watermelons over the season, and that only with LOTS of watering and fertilizing. If you have limited space, look for dwarf varieties. There are things like Sugar Baby watermelons, where both the melon and the plant are considerably smaller.

Pumpkins are probably similar, but also have dwarf varieties.
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Aya
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Currently, my garage is my greenhouse. I have all my seedling trays on a workbench and have shop lights hung over them (about 5" above the trays). The potatoes, beans, peas, melons, and pumpkins are strong and growing well, but the carrots, lettuce, herbs, kale, etc all seem a little leggy - as do the tomatoes. They were all started in the same soil, at the same time and have all had the same amount of light. I'm not sure why some are doing better than the others..

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rainbowgardener
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Well lettuce and kale are cold weather crops. I usually direct seed mine in the ground "as soon as the soil can be worked," meaning the ground is unfrozen and dry enough to be crumbly. That was back in early March for me.

Lettuce and kale do transplant well if started indoors, there's just not much reason too, since they are cold hardy and frost tolerant and fast growing. The carrots on the other hand are almost always direct seeded in the ground, because they do not transplant well. What you want in a carrot is the root and it is very difficult to transplant it without disturbing that root. Not impossible, but not something a beginner should want to take on.

Here's a post from Applestar on transplanting carrots:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=183390#183390
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Aya
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Alrighty then, I'll probably seed some in my bed today and see if they do any better :)

Des_WA
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I'd second the recommendation on more beds, and also warn you about melons and Seattle. :oops: Our summers are often too short and cool for all but the fastest most determined melons to produce. I tried a 60 day mini-melon last year under a hoophouse and got only 1 ripe melon out of it (admittedly it was a cool summer, but on the other hand it was in a hoophouse that was pretty darn warm every day). My kind advice would be to not get your hopes up too high about melons, that way if you do get some it'll be a nice suprise. :wink:
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Aya
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And I was getting my hopes up because the melons are growing like weeds! Same with the corn. Which crops do you find do really well in our climate? I've been told to stay away from warm weather crops because of our short growing season - but I love them so much!

DoubleDogFarm
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I would say for the beginner, forget about melons, peppers, corn, and eggplant. Probably others I can't think of. :wink:

We can grow many types of summer and winter squash, pumpkins, tomatoes, tomatillos, cucumber, onions, beans,


Carrots, beets, chard, lettuce, kale, collards, spinach, peas, asian greens, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower.

Eric

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Aya
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Well so far here's what I got going:

Sugar Pie & Big Max Pumpkins
2 tomato seedlings are up
1 tomatillo seedling is up
Still no signs of life on my cherry tomatoes - and they've been in a couple weeks now...
Lots of peas - marvel, sugar snap and black eyes
One tiny lavender sprout (Yay!)
Basil popping up everywhere - but no signs of life from my chives, parsley, cilantro, tarragon, oregano etc..

Just planted lettuce, swiss chard, and baby spinach in my beds yesterday - so hopefully they do better outside.

Should I restart the other herbs and cherry tomatoes or give them more time?

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rainbowgardener
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If the tomatoes haven't sprouted in two weeks, they aren't likely to. Some of the herbs, especially parsley can be quite slow to sprout, so you might wait a little bit longer. All those warm weather crops sprout better when the soil they are in is warm. For indoor sprouting I use a heat mat.
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Aya
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Well I replanted more of the cherry tomatoes - and since the two Red Lightning tomatoes have seedlings, I'm hoping they'll survive, but I'll plant more if they aren't doing better in a few days. Same with the tomatillos..

WinglessAngel
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Gardening Space :)

Hi there....one suggestion I can make for giving you more space is do you have a flower bed or anything like that? i have a bed next to my driveway which our wolf does like to get into but only one little area he can reach on his chain outside. If you let your dog roam with you...One thing you can do is use chicken wire with stakes wound in it and staked into the edges of the beds that way you get more space to garden, it keeps the dog and rabbits out, and you can maximize space much better. You can also think about container pots for your tomatos and such that aren't big spreading plants like the watermelon. I am going to be containering probably about half of my tomato plants as I will not (I am sure) have the space for them all) You can also use some plants as a lure to keep the rabbits from the rest of your garden thats on the ground as well...Kohlerabi is in the cabbage type family and rabbits do like to munch on the leaves, which are edible for us humans and actually quite good for you, so the ones the rabbits don't get you can cook and eat but them eating the leaves wont hurt the bulbs growing and its a great veggie cooked or raw. I have about 6'x6' of space devoted to mine with 2 bushes in the middle of it, but the seedlings are planted around them...they can also be packed in tight about 6" away from each other as they are best eaten when about 4" in diameter anyway. Hope that helps you! Good luck!

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