nufcmichael
Newly Registered
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:58 pm

Want to start a garden, but need lots of help!

So I've just graduated from high school and will soon start my first year of junior college, and with extra time I thought it would be really cool to start a garden in my backyard. I don't have very much money but I think my parents and brother may help me if I get a good plan. I live in southern California and I figured growing some healthy food would save me money over time and create a nice new hobby.

I'm not really sure what I should grow, but I was thinking maybe avocado's and almonds, I know they both grow here locally so I figure it must be possible. Maybe tomatoes too.

So where do I start? What do I need?

Edit: I would love to grow berries the most though!

Moley
Cool Member
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun May 01, 2011 5:00 pm
Location: Brooklyn NY

Start reading everything, make a plan, execute it, expect to fail, enjoy the successes, never stop reading

nufcmichael
Newly Registered
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:58 pm

Good advice, got any suggestions of sites or threads I should read?

Moley
Cool Member
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun May 01, 2011 5:00 pm
Location: Brooklyn NY

This site for sure, and do some basic Google searches for instance, "growing blueberry/strawberry/raspberry in California" "California Garden tips" etc

Also don't worry about killing plants at first, This season I've killed a blueberry plant, a raspberry bramble and a few tomatoes, stuff happens

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Avocados and almonds are long term projects. Starting avocados from seeds it is ten years or more until it bears fruit. Obviously if you can buy a well started tree, you can take a few years off of that. But for any reasonable amount of money, you are not going to buy an avocado tree that will produce any fruit while you are still in college...

Almond trees are a little quicker, but it is still likely to be 4 years from planting before it bears. And the tree (unless you get a dwarf variety) will get to be 30 feet tall by about 15 feet wide. Do you have plenty of room in your backyard?

Why not think about growing something that will produce the first year? Tomatoes sound like a great idea! Start some seeds next month to grow through the fall and winter (tomatoes don't really do well in a southern california summer).
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

nufcmichael
Newly Registered
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:58 pm

Thanks! both have great ideas. I went to home depot with my brother today and we talked with this lady who grows raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and black berries in her back yard. and she gave me some great ideas so I think I will try those. She told me that our area lacks acidic dirt and its not very good quality so she said to dig it up, and then mix it half together with some compost and then add some moss stuff, and then she told us to buy a meter and check the range before planting it. She said blueberries require a lot of work and its probably too late for raspberries or strawberries so we are going to plant blue and black berries so they can produce some fruit in about a year which would be cool.

As for the trees you are right I don't have near enough room haha.

Also, do I want to have the black and blue berries getting maximum sun? and do they have to be far apart of can they grow near each other?

nufcmichael
Newly Registered
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:58 pm

so in order to plant these blueberries and blackberries I need the ground to have an acidity of around 4.5 -5.5 but my current acidity is about 6.5 :o, someone told me it would take years to get down, but others said I could get it down pretty quickly in other ways... any advice?

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

You can lower the pH of your planting area with sulfur and other amendments. However, you will need to keep re-doing this forever if the planting area is in contact with surrounding non-acidified soil, which will keep neutralizing it. If you want to have them planted in soil that has significantly different pH from your native soil, you really want to build raised beds for them, so that you have a planting area that is isolated from the surrounding soil.

I know this because I have a hillside at the back of my property that I am trying to make a native woodland shade wildflowers garden. However my soil is alkaline (7.5 - 8 ) and many of those plants need acid soil (e.g. rhododendrons, mountain laurel, wintergreen and others). I keep trying to acidify the soil they are planted in, but no matter what I do the acid lovers eventually die out. Partly, I'm not diligent enough about keeping on renewing the amendments, because it's not easy areas to get to, but I would have to keep working at it forever and even if I could do well enough to keep them alive, I think they would never thrive there. (The slope is too steep to build raised beds and anyway the look I am trying for there is natural woods.)
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

Moley
Cool Member
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun May 01, 2011 5:00 pm
Location: Brooklyn NY

plant the Blueberries in 3/4 peat moss and 1/4 garden soil, pick up some Ammonium Sulfate (21-0-0) and some garden Sulfur and go to town.

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Moley wrote:plant the Blueberries in 3/4 peat moss and 1/4 garden soil, pick up some Ammonium Sulfate (21-0-0) and some garden Sulfur and go to town.
The OP posted this in the Organic Gardening Forum. Unfortunately, ammonium sulfate is *not* an organic soil amendment.

My own personal experience with peat moss is that it's a real trial to get it...wet. Peat is naturally water-repellent; I'm sure there's a scientific explanation, but I simply haven't looked into it. The OP may be better off asking an independent garden-supply shop or nursery for ready-made acidic potting mix and using that mix in a dedicated raised bed or containers for the berry plants.

I know that blueberries require acidic conditions, but I have very robust blackberries in native California soil underlain at approx. 8 to 12 inches by native California adobe clay. I'm sure it's not acidic, given the other plants that grow nearby: [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=150121#150121]French sorrel[/url], common valerian, jade plant, a young fig tree, and red geraniums/pelargoniums.

Thus, it may not be necessary to provide acidic conditions for the blackberries.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

kzhen
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:55 pm

Good luck to you! Berries sound like a great idea since they don't take too long for them to grow. My dad loves to garden, and I've been meaning to find time to get into it.

nufcmichael
Newly Registered
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:58 pm

Thanks for the advice everyone, I found out my soil tester was actullay broken LOL, so we have ordered a nicer one but we think its lower then we originally thought... we have added peet moss, and some sulfur and also are going to make our own compost, we have gone ahead and planted them we have 4 black and 4 blueberry plants seperated I will try to post pictures soon I am very excited tho!

User avatar
farmerlon
Green Thumb
Posts: 671
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:42 pm
Location: middle Tennessee

cynthia_h wrote:
Moley wrote: My own personal experience with peat moss is that it's a real trial to get it...wet. Peat is naturally water-repellent; ...
That can be true in some instances.
However, in this circumstance, where the Peat Moss would be mixed in with the native soil and compost, I don't think moisture absorption/retention should be an issue. :)

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

farmerlon wrote:
cynthia_h wrote:
Moley wrote: My own personal experience with peat moss is that it's a real trial to get it...wet. Peat is naturally water-repellent; ...
That can be true in some instances.
However, in this circumstance, where the Peat Moss would be mixed in with the native soil and compost, I don't think moisture absorption/retention should be an issue. :)
My one (and only, based on the experience I related above) time using peat moss was in "Mel's Mix," Mel Bartholomew's recommended ingredients for Square Foot Gardening: one-third peat moss, one-third vermiculite, and one-third compost from multipel sources. Mix 'em all up and plant away! Except that...the water ran every which way but down *into* the subsurface. :x

So there I was, looking completely dorky, lifting plants back up OUT of the raised bed, putting water into the planting hole, and putting the plants back down into the planting hole so the roots would at least get wet.

Never again.

Cynthia

tammysons123
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:49 pm
Location: TENNESSEE

Inexpensive Gardening

The best way to start your own garden without alot of expense is to plant the seeds in cell trays or peatpots and grow into a small 6 inch plants then take to your garden and plant.

A Pack of seeds is inexpensive under $2 per pack and you can buy at Walmart for less than $5 a tray where all you need to do is place your seeds in the peated cell trays and sprinkle daily with water until they are ready to take to your garden and transplant.

You can get a 24,32 or 72 cell tray to plant your seeds in complete with the soil and for as little as ($5 for the tray and $2 for the seeds) you can grow upto 72 tomatoes plants or any other kind of plants for your garden you may want.This is very inexpensive gardening and Instead of plating those large numbers i buy cucumber seeds,tomato seeds,okra seeds and corn and for less than $15 i have a wonderful garden in the summer.

After those come up and I transplant those,I start a new growth cycle forthe seeds in have left over.So this way i can have fresh garden produce in my back yard garden for at least 12 weeks instead of the usual 8.
we are a wholesale nursery grower located in Tennessee that ships perennialsmferns,trees and plants from our online nursery to every staes and internaitonal.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Seeds are a very slow way to get started when what he wants to grow is berries, mentioning blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. I grow tons of things from seed every year and I would not try any of those from seed.

Growing from seed is easy, cheap, and fun when what you want to grow is annual veggies, flowers, and herbs. As soon as you get into perennials it gets a lot more challenging and shrubs from seed are a major investment of time and energy, for something you can buy easily and cheaply as a plant.
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

nufcmichael
Newly Registered
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:58 pm

ah good advice, yeah maybe in a while I will start some veggie seeds then or some herbs!

Nature's Babe
Full Member
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:24 pm
Location: East Sussex

You say your space is limited, most people think of a garden as a flat surface to fill, if you think of it as a cube and plant some plants vertically,
you will get a greater return from the area you have to plant, Cucumbers and melons can be trained up instead of rambling on the floor If you have a sunny south facing wall plant with the more sun loving fruits,. Herbs can be grown in a very small space if you stack three graded pots on top of one another,, choose pots that are wide at the top and narrow at the base, plant moisture loving herbs in the large bottom pot and mediteranian herbs in the top, when watering each pot drains into the lower one, conserving water.
Sit down before a fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconcieved notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.
By Thomas Huxley

Guest

Im about to start my first garden. I was going to use a mix of fox farm soil and the soil that's in my hillside. What would be the best mixture?

tomc
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2665
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

bigsoil wrote:Im about to start my first garden. I was going to use a mix of fox farm soil and the soil that's in my hillside. What would be the best mixture?
Make your own. Your wallet will stay fuller.
Think like a tree
© 2016 Invisable Inc.

Guest

Yea, that's what I was thinking. Want to start off on the right foot. Thanks

FlowerPowerGirl
Full Member
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:36 am
Location: In the garden.

This is what I would do if I were you. First dig up some dirt. Buy some tomato plants at the store and plant them. Water every day. I love tomatoes.

Return to “Organic Gardening Forum”