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Location: Maryland

My first vegetable garden--what should I expect?

Hi everyone :) This year I'm planting my first vegetable garden ever! I plan on growing peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers and watermelon, as well as a few potted herbs. I've already started my seeds indoors. They're sprouting beautifully and will soon be ready for hardening.

This forum seems like a great online community to be a part of. Everyone is so friendly and knowledgeable! I'm sure I'll be posting here quite frequently with questions. I was wondering if any of you more experienced gardeners could give me some tips on what to expect my first year? More specifically, what sort of problems might I run into, and how can I solve and prevent them? What are some essential tools and techniques I'll need to use? And any other tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Green Thumb
Posts: 636
Joined: Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:08 am
Location: Ohio

New here myself and I'm not going to be able to help you as much as some of the others on the forum but I am going into this not expecting alot. If I succed at producing anything I will be happy. I fiqure if I expect alot and it doesn't happen my first year I'd get discouraged. Your right, there are alot of friendly and experienced people that can give you advice or opions from their trials and errors. :)

Full Member
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:45 am
Location: USA

I'm pretty new too, just started my first garden this year. The experts will chime in shortly, but you def want to read up on your Zone, and about the various pests and weeds that could be a problem in your area. Better to get a handle on that in the beginning.

Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 7:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Please read up in the Vegetables section and, maybe, the Organic Gardening section as well.

There's a Search function available on every page. Be sure to search on the veggies you're most interested in and read the most relevant-looking threads on them.

"What should I expect?" is a very vague question, so maybe by reading other people's experiences (both beginners and more experienced gardeners), you'll see what kinds of outcomes we can experience.

One question I have, though, is: do you plan to plant the watermelon seeds and the carrot seeds in the ground at the same time? Watermelon wants lots of heat; carrots don't like heat all that much.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b


Cynthia is right about the timing thing. Carrots don't usually like to be transplanted, they are usually direct seeded in the ground. The seed packet will say "as soon as the ground can be worked." In my climate, zone 6b, that was about a month ago. The lettuce can be transplanted but since it is a fast growing, cold weather crop, I usually don't; I direct seed that as well. I didn't look up what zone you are in, but my lettuces (and spinach, swiss chard, onions) were planted awhile back and are now nice little seedlings outside. (Not too long until I can pick the first baby leaves for salads, yay! ) The tomatoes and peppers don't like frost or cold soil but (being an impatient gardener), I'll be putting mine out in a couple weeks. The melon is even later, really doesn't want to go out until the soil is all nicely warmed up for it.....

Then your issue is going to be WATERING! All the things you named (except the herbs), like a lot of water. So you don't want things to be wet or soggy, but you do want them to stay moist all the time... Plan on a lot of time watering, unless you get lots of rain there...

Jeff H
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Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:03 pm
Location: North Alabama

I did a google on Maryland cooperative extension office. It took me to the University of Maryland site. The following link has some useful info for your growing region. I know I am not directly answering your question with the link, it is some useful info. [url]https://growit.umd.edu/[/url]. Now to your question...I will answer from experience. You should have excellent success with summer squash, okra, bush snap beans, southern peas, sometimes tomatoes are a hit or miss, sweet or hot peppers. I used to grow onions, cabbage and lettuce and they were pretty easy to grow. These vegetables will pretty well grow themselves with a little fertilizer. The summer peas will not need any fertilizer at all. Hope some of this was useful.

Jeff H

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