ChrisA
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Help a new gardener start his FIRST garden please!?

Hello Everyone!

I am somewhat new to this forum. I came here asking about Bonsai questions but now I'm here for an entirely new purpose.

I have come to the conclusion that its time I start "Trying" to grow my own veggies for my family.

The problem? I have NO clue where to start. What information I need. What veggies grow well in my area of the country. There is SO Much information on the internet, it's overwhelming. I wouldn't even know where to start.

So I come here to ask the following questions, in hopes of lots of assistance!

- 1 - I live in Kansas and would like to start gardening right now. What veggies produce well in this environment?

- 2 - I am trying to keep the costs somewhat minimal. What items/tools/materials will I absolutely need to get this started?

- 3 - I have 2 4x3 foot boxes in the yard that were here from the previous owner. Can I use these? If so, should I dig out all of the old soil and plant new soil?

- 3A - These boxes have chicken wire laying on top of the soil all the way across. Is this necessary or should it be removed?

- 4 - I have a local cat that roams since its owner apparently doesn't care. Any tips on keeping this cat out of my garden?

- 5 - I would like to maximize my gardens plantability. Out of the veggies named, which of them work well in close proximity to each other?


That basically outlines my current information needs. I will list the kinds of veggies that my family eats so you can let me know what, from that list, works here in Kansas.

My family enjoys the following veggies;
- Broccoli
- Baby Spinach
- Corn
- Cucumbers
- Carrots
- Potatoes
- TOMATOES <-- I pray they work out well here.
- Cabbage
- Lettuce
- Beets
- Onions (Red or Yellow)

Thanks so much for any and all information!

imafan26
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Re: Help a new gardener start his FIRST garden please!?

The chicken wire was probably placed over the boxes to keep the cat out.

Some of those vegetables are cool season and some are warm. So you can rotate them at different times of the year.

Take a closer look at the soil in the boxes. They should be loose and have about 20% organic matter. It can be improved with compost and well aged manure.

If you work the boxes, cover them at night to keep the cat from using it for a toilet.

This is one of the best written home gardening guides I have seen and it was written for Kansas

https://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/pubs/s51.pdf

It is hard to keep cats out, but they are creatures of habit and they do things the same time of day. If you know when the cat visits. Put out a sprinkler on a hose bib timer and plan to run the sprinkler just before the cat visits. Cats don't like to get wet or dig in wet dirt. Install a hoop tunnel over the beds and keep it covered with lightweight netting. It will also help keep the birds and some of the bugs out. I actually built a rectangular frame over my bed around 4 ft high and covered it with tulle from the fabric store. It lasts one season (it is not uv resistant). Cats were not my problem, but I did have birds, leaf footed bugs and locusts that would eat everything in sight.

If you use the fencing on the ground spread some citrus peels on the ground every day. Cats do not like the smell especially of lemon.

There is a coleus. Coleus canina that is supposed to repel cats, but I find they don't really like anything that smells like lemons. lemon verbena, lemon grass, lemon thyme. Do not plant mints near the garden, you can keep them in pots elsewhere or on the edges of the property, cats will hang out there since they love mint.

https://gardenerplace.com/coleus-canina/

https://www.cat-world.com.au/keeping-cats-out-of-gardens
Last edited by imafan26 on Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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ChrisA
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Re: Help a new gardener start his FIRST garden please!?

imafan26 wrote:The chicken wire was probably placed over the boxes to keep the cat out.
It lays directly on the soil, as if it was meant to be a ground cover or something. Not really sure as I never asked the previous owner.
imafan26 wrote:Some of those vegetables are cool season and some are warm. So you can rotate them at different times of the year.
Which are which though? I am truly 100% new to this. So I'm not sure which veggies are cool and which are warm season
imafan26 wrote:Take a closer look at the soil in the boxes. They should be loose and have about 20% organic matter. It can be improved with compost and well aged manure.
How do I tell the consistency of the soil though? Since I've never done this, I'm not really sure whats considered loose vs tightly packed. Are there any visual aids that would assist in explaining.

Also, I don't have a composter and was hoping I could avoid manure. Do they sell compost? What is it made of exactly?
imafan26 wrote:If you work the boxes, cover them at night to keep the cat from using it for a toilet.
What do you mean by "Work" the boxes?

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grrlgeek
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Re: Help a new gardener start his FIRST garden please!?

ChrisA wrote: - 5 - I would like to maximize my gardens plantability. Out of the veggies named, which of them work well in close proximity to each other?
Here's a general list of friends and foes for each of the veggies you named.

- Broccoli Friends: onion, beets Foes: tomato
- Baby Spinach neutral
- Corn Friends: cucumber, potato Foes: tomato
- Cucumbers Friends: corn, beet, carrot Foes: tomato
- Carrots Friends: cucumber, tomato, onion
- Potatoes Friends: corn Foes: carrot, cucumber, onion, tomato
- TOMATOES Friends: carrots, onion Foes: potato, corn, beet, broccoli, cabbage
- Cabbage Friends: onion Foes: tomato, lettuce
- Lettuce Friends: carrots, beets Foes: cabbage
- Beets Friends: lettuce, onion, broccoli
- Onions (Red or Yellow) Friends: tomato, broccoli

I didn't list all the companions or the crops to avoid, I just cross referenced against your list. Some lists contradict themselves a little so I try to take it all with a grain of salt, and plant the most recommended combo when possible. Or not! :?

For a complete overload, here's a few sources for companion planting:
https://www.motherearthnews.com/organic- ... jzraw.aspx
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_companion_plants
https://www.gb0063551.pwp.blueyonder.co. ... companion/
https://www.westcoastseeds.com/topicdeta ... -planting/

Good books on the subject:
Great Garden Companions: A Companion-Planting System for a Beautiful, Chemical-Free Vegetable Garden by Sally Jean Cunningham
Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening by Louise Riotte

-----

I guess it's still cold where you live, so it's not to late to start things from seed, but you could get some starter plants from a nursery this year so you have less to worry about. Watch the ads for your local nursery or big box home improvement centers. They always have good sales at the beginning of planting season. Near me, the 2-for-1 veggie start sale begins this weekend. We've had many successful gardening years starting with plants. Once the addiction takes hold though, there are just too many varieties of veggies to try and you can't get most of them as plants. It's a natural progression, and for us anyway, it made for good "training wheels" when just starting out.

Good luck!
Zone - USDA 8b / Sunset 11

ChrisA
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Re: Help a new gardener start his FIRST garden please!?

Ok, so from what I've gathered so far it looks like just about everything dislikes being planted near Tomatoes. So I will plant those separately in those 5 gallon buckets. How many plants are ok in 1 bucket? Just 1, or multiples?

Why was I avoiding manure? I just have a bit of a dislike of anything fecal related. Plus I'm not really sure where I could acquire it nearby. I don't mind getting dirty with dirt, but getting dirty with poo just turns my stomach.

For my soil, is there ever a time when its best to just replace the soil in the boxes? The soil is near the top edge, so I will likely have to remove at least some of it to make it a 20% mixture with the compost. Is there any recommended composting material I can buy from places like Home Depot or Lowes?

It looks like Carrots, Baby Spinach, Cucumbers, Broccoli, Cabbage OR Lettuce, Onions and Beets will work out pretty well for me. Can those all be planted at this time of year?

Starting from seed sounds like it might be a better choice for next year. After I get this first year under my belt and understand what I'm doing.

So I would guess I'd definitely need a spade, small shovel, one of those 3 pronged fork looking things, a hoe maybe? How about fertilizing? Do I need to fertilize all this stuff too? What kind should I get?

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Help a new gardener start his FIRST garden please!?

One tomato plant in one five gallon bucket and it will need staking or caging or some kind of support- they are vines.

You really shouldn't have to replace the soil in your boxes, just keep nourishing it with compost, mulch, and perhaps organic fertilizer.

RE: It looks like Carrots, Baby Spinach, Cucumbers, Broccoli, Cabbage OR Lettuce, Onions and Beets will work out pretty well for me. Can those all be planted at this time of year?


All of those (EXCEPT the cucumbers) are cold weather crops that will do well now or soon. You said not trying from seed this year. I think that makes sense for the things that are ordinarily started indoors under lights like tomatoes and maybe the broccoli and cabbage. The things that are ordinarily direct seeded in to the ground, you will want to do from seed also. It is easy and some of them (especially carrots, onions, beets) don't transplant well anyway.

Carrots, spinach, lettuce, onion, beet seed can all be planted as soon as the ground can be worked- when it is unfrozen and dried out enough not to clump up. When the soil is ready, turn it with a shovel and chop it up with a hoe until it is a fine textured seed bed. Once your seed is planted just keep it moistened until it sprouts.

Cucumber doesn't get planted until the soil is well warmed up. You can buy it as plants or direct seed it.
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ChrisA
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Re: Help a new gardener start his FIRST garden please!?

Yea, I think what I meant was I have heard there's some process for certain plants that is required before taking them and planting them outside. I wasn't sure of the specifics, but figured I was not ready for that.

When you say Mulch, what kind of Mulch is best? Are you talking about mixing the Mulch into the soil?

Also, do I need fertilizer for this stuff? and are the tools I mentioned sufficient or will I need other stuff.

Another concern I have, how many of each of these plants can I put? Something tells me more than 1 for sure, but for the veggies going into the boxes. I think they are actually 5x3 foot now that I looked at them better. I haven't actually measured them yet.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Help a new gardener start his FIRST garden please!?

Mulch is any kind of organic stuff that just sits on top of the soil and doesn't get mixed in. They sell bark mulch in big bags, but it can be grass clippings, fall leaves, shredded paper... By being there it helps keep moisture in the soil (prevent evaporation), it suppresses weeds, and eventually it breaks down and feeds the soil.


Whether or how much to fertilize depends on how rich your soil is. You could have a soil test done to know for sure what kind of soil you have and what it needs. Or you can just wing it and see what happens. If you have good soil and good compost, your compost and mulch may be enough. Or you might need to fertilize. But probably that is a little bit later in the season any way.

If you have a shovel, a hand trowel and hand snips, a fork, and a hoe that's probably enough to get started on the scale you are talking about. If you need something else later, get it then, when you know what you want and why.

If you have two 5x3' beds, you can just plant lengthwise 5 ft rows. You pretty much have room for one row of each of the things you mentioned: Carrots, Baby Spinach, Cucumbers, Broccoli, Cabbage OR Lettuce, Onions and Beets . The cucumbers don't get planted now, but when it is time, think about arranging a trellis for them to grow vertically. Otherwise they take up a lot of space. The spinach, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce will get planted now and then will be done by summer. Think about having something to plant in their place. That could be beans, or herbs like basil, or pepper plants if you can find well started peppers in the nursery.

But do pay careful attention to spacing. If you plant seeds, the seed packets will tell you the spacing. It is based on the mature size of the plants. So carrots need to be thinned to something like 4" apart. Broccoli needs to be more like 18" to 2 feet apart. So one row of carrots is a lot more carrots than one row of broccoli.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Help a new gardener start his FIRST garden please!?

PS you really are a newbie. That's not an insult :) we all started somewhere and we have probably all killed our fair share of plants along the way. It is great that you are here asking questions, but it is a difficult way to get started from scratch. You don't know what you don't know and neither do we. And all gardening is local. What works for me in my climate, may not work for you in yours. In order to cut down on frustrations and plants killed, it would be really nice for you if you could find some experienced gardener in your area, to sort of apprentice with a little.
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applestar
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Re: Help a new gardener start his FIRST garden please!?

I remembered making suggestions in this thread about garden tools. :D
:arrow: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... p?p=252916
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applestar
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Re: Help a new gardener start his FIRST garden please!?

- Broccoli
- Baby Spinach
- Corn
- Cucumbers
- Carrots
- Potatoes
- TOMATOES <-- I pray they work out well here.
- Cabbage
- Lettuce
- Beets
- Onions (Red or Yellow)
Quick tips

-- since you are new at this, plant each crop separately in well-marked groups or rows. Once you learn what each crop should look like, you can mix them up. At first, planting them together will help you know that they are what you planted as opposed to weeds (things that you didn't plant but grew on their own). Alternatively, plant representative "catalog bed" of well marked individuals that you can refer to.


-- you can get started plants for cabbage and broccoli now. But be aware that they are not easy to protect from pests, particularly slugs, aphids, two or three species of butterfly and moth larvae, and harlequin bugs. IMHO they should be planted in a group that can be covered with insect netting to keep out the butterflies and moths.

-- consider growing peas in cool weather (early spring and fall) and beans in hot weather (late spring to late summer) They are easy to grow by sowing seeds directly in the ground, and they add nitrogen/fertility to the soil when seeds are properly inoculated before sowing (inoculant --black powder-- is usually sold where peas and bean seeds are sold)

-- Lettuce, carrots, beets are also pretty easy to grow direct sow. Choose short/blunt carrot varieties rather than long/skinny.

-- it's easiest to grow onions from onion sets (little dime sized onions) usually available in early spring. But typically they don't grow big onions. They don't take up space and can be tucked in between plants. You can always eat them as green onions. Be sure to plant/grow garlic in the fall.

-- potatoes will occupy the bed from early spring until mid summer. Since at that point you will dig up everything in the bed, it will have to be a dedicated bed. If you have room to so this, by all means plant some potatoes. They are very easy to grow.

-- tomatoes IMHO are so easy it's better to just plan on growing tomatoes in the garden bed. They are not as easy to grow in containers since they need A LOT of water while they are fruiting and can deplete the moisture in containers. Dry/wet cycle can stress the plant and make them vulnerable to disease and pests. Variety choice will make a big difference.

-- cucumbers are also easy to grow from direct sown seeds as long as you have a sturdy trellis for the vines to climb. In your list, cucumbers will be the last to be planted after weather gets warm.
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imafan26
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Re: Help a new gardener start his FIRST garden please!?

if you click the link to the kansas home vegetable garden publication you will find most of your answers there. It covers everything from sighting the garden. preparing the soil, making compost, testing soil, recommended plants. Alas, peas was not recommended for Kansas. Plant spacing and even container gardens. They have a chart for each vegetable; days to harvest and plant spacing as well as a chart for when to plant.

I would not try to plant all of the vegetables on your list first off. I would pick the easiest ones first.
For my part. carrots are cheap and they are not that easy for me to grow, they need very soft soil or the roots will not grow nicely. Beans are easy, peppers aren't too bad. Tomatoes have a lot of pests and take some time managing them but otherwise they are worth the effort for the amount they produce. Lettuce in the cool season is a short crop.

Until you get more skills, buying compost is a good option. Many people like mushroom compost and the brand I like is called black gold. Gardener and bloom are also good. I don't know if they are sold there. You want to get a compost that is dark and relatively fine. Good compost should smell earthy not like mold. If you can see pieces of the parent material like redwood or bark that is a coarse mix.

I try to avoid animal by products in my garden but I worry more about blood and bone meal and a lot less about well composted manures. If you want to do synthetic fertilizer at least add the compost. Get a soil test. Call your local master gardeners and they can tell you where to take the sample to be tested. It takes awhile to get it tested so do that soon. Don't buy too much fertilizer yet, the soil test will give you recommendations on what and how much you need and if you have to adjust for pH. When you get your results the master gardeners can help you interpret what it says. BTW it is a good idea to invest in a scale. You can get one at a local restaurant supply. A spring scale is fine, it does not have to be digital.

Get some good tools. Cheap tools don't last. A good round point shovel, garden fork, hoe, bow rake and some small hand tools, shovel, weeder, and gloves unless you love blisters, and a good hat and sunscreen.

If you have more than one bed it is best to do the companion planting

Crops grown for their greens lettuce, swiss chard, spinach, kale, Asian greens need more nitrogen in the soil so they are usually ok to grow together

Crops that need more phosphorus are the root crops. beets, turnips, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and radishes. Root crops are usually fall crops

Fruiting crops tomatoes, beans, corn, squash, melons are usually summer crops and some of them take up a lot of space so if you have a small space, you have to make a choice.

Get some concrete reinforcing wire from the local hardware store. If they sell it by the foot even better. You want enough to make a 2-3 ft diameter cage about 9 ft length 5-7 ft high for each cage. They make the best tomato cages. Commercial tomato cages are ok for beans and cucumbers but are too small for most tomatoes. I use clamps to hold my wire in a circle. If I need a wide trellis, I can open up the cage and use rebar as stakes and create a fence trellis for beans.

Plant all your tall plants and trellises on the north side so they don't shade the smaller plants.

Herbs are good beginner plants, most are not fussy and can grow in smaller containers like 6 inch or gallon pots. They will also attract beneficial insects. Basil, thyme, oregano, and sage are great beginner plants and fresh herbs add to much flavor and they are relatively expensive to buy.

Foes: Do not plant dill near tomatoes. In the beginning the dill will help the tomatoes, but once it starts blooming it will cause the tomato to stunt and stop production. Keep them at least 10 ft apart.

Cabbage alkalizes the soil as it mines the calcium out of it. All of the cruciferous veggies do that, broccoli, kale, mustard. Do not plant them near plants that like acid conditions.

If you grow lettuce, plant the mesclun mixes (they come in sweet or savory so make sure you get the ones you like) or loose leaf lettuce. Iceberg lettuce, head cabbage, and celery are not beginner plants

I tend to put large plants like tomato, eggplant, peppers in containers by themselves since they take up so much space in a garden bed

In general, it is best to plant what gives you a good yield, is something you like to eat, is relatively expensive to buy, tastes better fresh, and relatively easy to grow.

Also don't dismiss fruit trees. Some trees make good container plants if you pick the right ones.

Start slow, don't rush into planting until you have amended your soil and worked it. Which means digging in and turning in 3-4 inches of compost and the fertilizer recommended into the bed. You will want to dig it down as deep as the roots will grow. 6-8 inches.

Plant only one or two different things and once that is settled then plant another bed or container once you have mastered that. You have to consider also that for every plant and container you add, you will need a few minutes more each day to water (unless you put in an automatic watering system (its not hard), weed, and be on the lookout for pests. Those chores will take up most of your time, but it is a good thing to get the family involved in helping out with some of that.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

ChrisA
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Re: Help a new gardener start his FIRST garden please!?

Wow guys, Thanks for all the information. I must say though, its quite overwhelming. Some of the points made seem to go back and forth.

Would I be too much of a jerk to ask for someone to map this out a bit for me. It seems that the things I want, I can plant, but when to plant them seems to be where I'm confused.

So, I know the first thing I need to do is the Soil Test. I found out today that's $10 in my area and can take up to 2 weeks. I almost wonder if digging those boxes out and just replacing all the soil is a viable option.

So, in a chronological order, how would this go? It's just a boatload of information and has me more confused than anything. I usually do better with hands on experience, but that won't work here since hands on attempts at this will likely end up with a dead garden.

So I know, first things first

1 - Soil Test (Working on getting that done)
2 - Fertilize to fix the soil
3 - ??? Then what?

Which of my listed veggies should I be planting first?

Maybe I'm just a dumby, and I'm sorry, Im just completely overwhelmed by all this information. Especially when I thought it would be much simpler than it apparently is.

Susan W
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Re: Help a new gardener start his FIRST garden please!?

Wow! I am over whelmed myself.
1st. Glad you have a place to put in a few veggies
2nd. People have gardened for beyond forever. Now to narrow it down to your locale, and wants/needs.
3rd. Everyone has their pet ways of doing things. (as you can see here). Check with 5 neighbors and get 5 answers. Important however to watch and listen to neighbors and others in your area.
4th (or 1st) KISS (keep-it-simple---)

Now, move on. Is that 2 4 x 3 boxes? That will make a nice start for this season. Try several things, and you will win and lose. Tomatoes for sure, and you may want to dedicate one for that. You can get several varieties as starts when it warms, perhaps May. You could start soime cool weather veggies now, and as mentioned get starts as it is late to go from seed. Carrots from seed however, then spinach, chard and broccoli from starts. I mention chard as it will go into the heat much longer than your spinach. Broccoli is a space eater. When your broccoli and spinach go south perhaps June, could put in from seed some bush beans.

Soil? We all have our own ways. I just freshened a 4 x 4 today and put in broccoli starts, and some dill. 1st, turned it with a fork. Pulled out any weeds, heavy roots etc and they went to the trash. Then added a mix of 1 bag top soil, some cotton burr compost and black cow poo. The black cow is not much poo, more enriching. Then put in the starts.

Make a swing through the box stores and garden centers, make note of what's available, prices, and of course get all sorts of conflicting advise! This goes for bagged stuff and starts. I'm hitting them now on a regular basis, and see the starts coming in late with this late spring.

Hope this helps!
Have fun!
Susan

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grrlgeek
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Re: Help a new gardener start his FIRST garden please!?

ChrisA wrote: Maybe I'm just a dumby, and I'm sorry, Im just completely overwhelmed by all this information. Especially when I thought it would be much simpler than it apparently is.
You're not dumb. It can be overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be.

So what can you do while you're waiting for your soil test?

1. The more you learn, the more you see how it all fits together. One of the things that can help you do that is to read some basic gardening books. I really liked Square Foot Gardening: A New Way to Garden in Less Space with Less Work, by Mel Bartholomew (the first edition, not so much the 2nd edition) and The Vegetable Gardener's Bible, by Edward C. Smith. They are beginner level and make excellent reference books. The link to the Kansas guide that imafan gave you above is really awesome. I wish I had one of those for my corner of the desert.

2. I found a website a while back with a CAD component that lets you draw out your garden space and then select what you're growing to place in the plot. It is very easy to use. You drag and drop your veggies into your plot and then the design generates to-do's for you, based on your planting zone. It tells you it's time to go plant those cucumbers, to succession plant more carrots, to fertilize, when your expected harvest time will be. It's got its drawbacks, but it's free. A few handy tools cost a few dollars extra, but you can design a small space with the basic tools for free.

The cultivation timeline info comes from their site partners which includes several respected seed suppliers, and you can also add other brands of seed to the database in the unlikely event that the variety you're growing isn't already in there. It only takes a minute or two to type in the growing info from the seed packet. This might be a good way for you to plant your garden and get your hands dirty in a virtual setting so you can better visualize how it will work out in the yard. SmartGardener.com: https://www.smartgardener.com/

3. Go to Home Depot and wander around the garden department. Read some seed packets. Check out the seed starting supplies. Fondle the shovels and rakes and implements of destruction. Poke a hole in some bags of compost (or find one with a hole already in it) and note the consistency of different brands. Some have tons of wood chips and you don't want that. Some look like this:
compost1.jpg
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compost2.jpg
compost2.jpg (21.96 KiB) Viewed 881 times

4. Don't overthink it too much. (caveat: I am completely unable to follow my own advice in that regard - i'll put a grocery list in a spreadsheet lol) You may want to just try growing a few tomato plants over the summer, and then try your hand at cool weather crops when fall arrives. When your nite time temps will no longer go below 45 degrees, you can go to Home Depot and buy a few healthy starter tomato plants, a bag of good compost, and some organic veggie fertilizer. Mix in the compost and fertilizer according to directions to your garden bed. Pound in a few tall stakes. Put the plants in next to the stakes and keep tying them higher on the stakes as the plants grow. Water consistently and odds are, the plants will make tomatoes. Then from there, expand.

No matter what, have fun. Even when gardening is hard work, its still one of the most enjoyable hobbies I've ever become addicted to. And, you get tomatos!

Cheers,
Zone - USDA 8b / Sunset 11

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Help a new gardener start his FIRST garden please!?

I don't really feel like we are giving you conflicting advice, though maybe too much information at one. But imafan, marlin gardener and I gave you exactly the same list of cool weather crops from your list: carrots, broccoli, spinach, cabbage, onions, beets. Those are the things you would start with.

Here's a KSU planting guide. It is also TMI, but if you go to p.3 there's a very nice graphic calendar of when to plant what, that may help you sort it out:

https://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/pubs/mf315.pdf

Trying to worry too much about companion planting does complicate it and you don't need to get in to that yet. It is a nuance. They always say not to plant broccoli/ cabbage and tomatoes together, but I do every year. They don't really overlap that much. Broccoli plants go in NOW. Tomato plants go in a month from now or more, depending on weather and climate. So I plant a row of broccoli down the side of a bed. When the tomatoes are ready, they go in behind the broccoli. By the time the tomato plants are getting big and need the space, the broccoli is done and can be pulled. My secret for growing them together is that I pull the broccoli promptly, don't leave it sitting around waiting for every last side shoot it might produce. So if there's anything negative it might do being next to the tomatoes, it doesn't have a long time to do it.

So yes, don't overthink it. Add a bunch of compost to your beds, turn it all in and get started! You are not a dummy, but yes there is a lot to learn. That's why I suggested finding an experienced gardener in your area to learn with. But the best way to learn is to start doing it and see what happens. Then you can ask questions that aren't theoretical. We will still be here for you! :)
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Help a new gardener start his FIRST garden please!?

A couple of quick P.S.'s :


PS 1: You said you don't have a composter. That's fine and you can buy compost. But the best advice I can give you is to get started composting. It won't help you for right now, but if you start now, by fall you will have some good homemade compost, that is the best thing you can put on your garden.

There's a composting basics thread here:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... 35&t=56881

and here's a response I did to someone's composting question that has sample pictures of a variety of compost bins:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... 35&t=56957

PS 2: Your list of things to grow includes beets but not chard. They are basically the same species of plant, but beets have been bred to specialize in growing the root, swiss chard to specialize in the leaves. Chard is the easiest and most productive thing I grow. The spinach will bolt quickly and be done and soon as it gets hot. Chard (which can be used any way you use spinach), will grow and grow all season. You don't need a lot. A few plants of it will be enough.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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