Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:28 pm
Location: Northern VA

How to start my garden

This may be a stupid question, but I want to start a fruit and vegetable garden in my back yard, and I know pretty much nothing about gardening. So my first question(of probably many to come) is should I remove the turf and backfill with fresh dirt and compost, or just till the lawn?

Senior Member
Posts: 103
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:43 pm
Location: Southeast MI

I started with just a shovel...turn the sod over-it's done. If you have access to a rototiller all the better. I've done it both ways, but with a shovel, it's personal...good luck!!!

Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:28 pm
Location: Northern VA


Full Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:03 pm
Location: Belleville, IL

I would suggest planning.

Know where you want to plant.

What you want to plant.

and then cut the plan back to about 10% of what you want as you said you have no clue.

My first garden worked......but.....it was...about like getting a D on that first test. It was to far from the house, raised beds were too close together, and I checked on it like once a week. So yeah.

This year I have bigger plans but have also been planning it out and getting materials and such for about 2-3 months.

So I anticipate better success.

That would be my advise.

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3065
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:01 am
Location: New Orleans

Make a plan first. Decide what you want to grow to eat. Ask a lot of questions. Simple things like 20 ft. of cucumbers near a fence so they can climb can feed several families over the course of the season. Your location says USA, that is pretty broad so any real advice needs to be zone specific to offer more tangible help.

There are a lot of vegetables out there and many different varieties of each. Some grow well in certain areas, some not so well. Check you growing zone map (can be found on the internet) to see when is the best time to plant certain things. A lot of vegetables do well until the summer heat hits and then they fade quickly or go to seed.

Things you could consider this time of year are tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, summer squash, bell and hot peppers, eggplants, swiss chard, etc.

Things like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts are cool weather plants that will likely not produce much before the summer heat gets to them---at least in my neck of the US in New Orleans.

Best advice is start relatively small to see if this suits you. Lots of folks have grand plans but little follow-through and they lose interest, especially when it is hot and muggy and the garden could use a good weeding.

User avatar
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 6837
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

If you use a garden tiller and till the soil every day in about 2 weeks the grass will be dead. When the weather gets right you will be ready to plant.
Last edited by Gary350 on Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Full Member
Posts: 33
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:01 pm
Location: North Florida

I'm new to gardening, too! I was really confused at first, but I found most of what I needed to get started from a book I found at the library: the sustainable vegetable garden by john jeavons. He has also posted a complete set of how-to videos to watch for free: https://www.johnjeavons.info/video.html
Have fun!

Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:28 pm
Location: Northern VA

Thanks for all the tips! I live in Northern VA and where my garden will be is in full sun with no trees or anything to block the sun. Another quick question, I heard rabbit droppings are some of the best fertilizer, is this true? I have 2 rabbits and would like to put the billion little balls of poop they produce daily to good use, if it is true should I mix it with the soil, or put it in the holes with the seeds?

User avatar
Cool Member
Posts: 75
Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:23 pm
Location: Utah, USA

Vegetable gardening is a fun adventure. Read up on starting your garden on some garden sites. A lot of the people here have great sites with good information. Start by planning your space and what you want to plant. After you plant some vegetables this year you will learn so much and it will help with next years garden.

Good luck and start planting.

Green Thumb
Posts: 543
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:40 pm
Location: Coastal Southern California

I have two rabbits, Saltflower and Cloveblossom. The poops don't affect plants but the peep does. It even killed tough old ivy !

Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”