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Inherited vegetable garden and greenhouse-HELP!

Posted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 1:02 pm
by TaraontheCoast
My partner and I just moved into a beautiful new house that comes complete w/veggie garden with raised beds and a little greenhouse. This is wonderful, except I've never gardened before and am clueless as to where to begin. I peeked in and it looks like we've got some kale that needs harvesting, but the previous tenant said she hadn't planted anything because she knew she was moving.

I'd love to get started planing, but honestly, I don't know where to begin. I'm interested in growing any and all vegetables, but I don't know if anything would be wise to plan now that we're moving into winter (outdoors). I have time to hoe and mo this weekend in the garden, but don't know where to begin! What would I need supply wise to start? What can I grow in a greenhouse, or more importantly, what needs to be grown in a safe environment?

Honestly, I'm like a child when it comes to gardening, so explanations as such would be greatly appreciated. :D Friends have recommended this book (Golden Gate Gardening) which I'll buy when I have more resources, but initial guidance would be great! THANK YOU!

Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 9:49 am
by rainbowgardener
Lucky you! Sounds wonderful, congratulations! A cared for yard and a greenhouse in Northern California... sounds like my dream.

So what to do with it all. At this point not to overwhelm yourself, I'd focus on two things: doing a little getting the garden ready for winter/ spring and the greenhouse. The first part would be that mowing you are talking about, trimming anything back that needs it, mulch the raised beds, start a compost pile (see our Compost Forum).

Then you can work with the greenhouse through the winter. Cool weather crops like the kale you mentioned should do fine there, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard.... That's presuming your greenhouse is not heated and that you are not up in the mountains somewhere where you will have lots of snow and freezes (california does have a big range of climate depending on things like elevation).

And use the winter to do some reading and planning for spring! Another book to look for would be the Sunset Western Gardens book. You can get it at the library or older editions are available very cheap on Amazon.

Posted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 11:15 am
by TaraontheCoast
Thank you so much for the reply! We already have an awesome compost pile going started by the previous tenant, so that's taken care of.

I'd love to jump on trimming and even harvesting some veggies that might be in there already, but the trouble is, I have NO clue how to identify things. You'd think that someone who eats a strictly plant based diet would be able to handle this. :roll: I'll get out there in a little while and take some photos; maybe ya'll can provide some guidance!

I'll look up how to mulch the beds.

Yes, the greenhouse is not heated; it's very small and simple. We are right on the coast, so at sea level, and I don't think the weather fluctuates that might during the winter. Would I be planting these cool weather crops from seeds, or would it be best to get potted plants already started?

Will post pics of the garden very soon!

Posted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 12:51 pm
by TaraontheCoast
I apologize in advance about the photo overload! I'll number the pictures and if you all could help me identify the stuff in them and let me know if things can be harvested/eaten, I would be so grateful :) Obviously, the tomatoes are obvious. I'm also unsure on what can be cleared out.




























Plant ID's needed

Posted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 2:09 pm
by rainbowgardener
General comment: Since I have a garden I've invested tons of time and money in which we will probably sell in a few years, I'm starting to have a sense of what that is like from the seller's point of view. I bet if you contacted the previous owners (or tenants, whoever put the garden in), they would be glad to know that you want to keep the garden up and would be glad to walk around with you and explain what everything is and what it needs.

Picture ID's:

2 & 3 look like beet greens, dig one up and see if the root isn't a beet. The greens are also edible as a leafy green.

4,5,7,8 are some mysterious members of the brassica family. The long leaves in 4 & 5 look like some types of kale, but it doesn't usually grow a long stalk like that. The stalk looks like brussels sprouts, but they have rounder leaves.

9,10 more beets?

11 looks like a strawberry patch getting overgrown with grass.
12 looks like probably a raspberry plant also needing weeding out
13 & 14 are spinach
15 is leaf lettuce
16 looks like a picture of your compost pile
17 is more mysterious brassicas - possibly grown out cabbage this time?
18 is mostly weedy. Hard to tell but some of the feathery stuff might be carrot tops.. dig down and see.

20 more lettuce, the red leaves
23 purslane, an edible weed
24 cherry tomatoes
25 something died, don't know what
26,27 beautiful little hot peppers of some variety

Hopefully Kisal or someone good on plant ID's will come along and finish this and do better on all the brassicas.

You are lucky to inherit what was clearly once a well kept garden. You can be working on weeding a lot of stuff out, so the weeds don't choke things like the strawberries out.

Re: Plant ID's needed

Posted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:28 pm
by Duh_Vinci
rainbowgardener wrote:...You are lucky to inherit what was clearly once a well kept garden. You can be working on weeding a lot of stuff out, so the weeds don't choke things like the strawberries out.
Very lucky indeed! Yes, does need some work, but well worth it. And I agree with Rainbow, weeding would be where I'd start first! And later on in the spring, once you are ready for the new planting, some of the easiest veggies to start with (from seeds specially) imo would be (but not limited to):


Good luck, keep us updated on your progress!


Posted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 5:36 pm
by SP8
What a wonderful 'problem' to have!

Hours and hours and hours of fun to be had right there

I jealously look forward to seeing your progress and my only advice would be to keep a record of all that you do.

Posted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 9:44 pm
by cynthia_h
photos 4 and 5 look exactly like the salsify (oyster plant) I have growing right now.

drive-by! maybe more another time...


Posted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 9:45 pm
by TaraontheCoast
Thanks for the thoughtful replies all!

rainbow-HA, I didn't mean to include the compost pile pic, I know what that one is :) Thanks so much for the great help ID'ing things; I'll also be contacting the previous tenant. I'm sure she'd be happy to come by and give me a tutorial.

I will keep everyone updated on the progress-thanks for the encouragement!

Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 10:22 am
by petalfuzz
Good luck with everything! I hope the previous owner will be able to come by--I know I would if I were to sell ;)

Gardening can be really rewarding and often it changes your life for the better. So keep us updated!