lindseylou
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Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:13 pm
Location: Wisconsin

Don't know where to start!

Hello everyone! I'm new here and to gardening in general. I have high hope sand am very excited to learn but I don't have a clue where to strat. Not even a little bit. My husband and I just bought a home and the previous owners had a very large garden that they grew a bunch of stuff for years. About seven years ago they replanted grass and let it grow over. Well we figured they had a successful garden we should use the same spot so we tilled up a space of about 40X20 and there's a lot we want to grow. HUGE problem, we have no idea where to start. What can be grown by each other, what can't. I know I want strawberries, but we also want tomatoes and I'm understanding they can't be buy each other, but can they be at opposite ends of the garden? We want herbs, can we grow herbs with vegtables? See completley lost and I have no idea where to start. We live in Wisconsin and right now wether has been hanging in the 50's but getting some frost some nights. Any help would sooooo be appreciated!!!

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jnunez918
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:07 pm
Location: Austin, TX

I feel ur frustration, I too am new. U will love this site. There is a sticky abt companion planting or u could use the search. I'm in a completely diff growing zone so can't advise what to choose. Welcome :D
Jennifer
Austin, TX Zone 8b

stryper
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Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:03 pm
Location: Belleville, IL

check out the pinned companion planting thread in this section. That will tell you what can be planted together and what should be avoided.

Suddenly the sound of music comes to mind. "Start at the very beginning/It's a very good place to start"

The beginning is planning.

What kind of garden? Decorative, Veggie, Mixed.

What kind of plant? what Veggies will you eat? What flowers or colors do you like?

How much? That sounds like a big area. It is going to take alot of time. Do you have the time in your current schedule to give an hour or two a day to tending the garden?

Of the foods you will eat, are you going to eat 40 ears of corn and 15 pumpkins for example?

Do you have the room to store the extra?

Could you give it away without becoming annoying about it?

How much do can you afford to spend on the garden? Individual seeds packets are cheap. 100 of them are not.

Plan, Plan, Plan.

Also you will probably need to get started soon. April and May are generally prime planting time.
Faith is silly. It demands blind obedience to things you have every right to question.

lindseylou
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Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:13 pm
Location: Wisconsin

It's going to be a mix of veggies, fruit and herbs. It is a large space, but we eat a lot of fruits and veggies so our hope is to grow our own, save money of course and I will be learning how to can tomatoes adn dilly beans for the year. I will have the time to put in and I think it will be a great learning experience for my 5yr old as well. After this year we can see if we need to scale it down, keep it the same or go bigger. I'm gonna look at companions. I just don't want to spend a bunch of money to find I did it wrong and have those veggies go to waste so I'm tryin gto educate myself the best I can.

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stella1751
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Location: Wyoming

Someone, I can't remember who, makes these lovely color-coded charts when planning her garden each year. Space is carefully allocated by color for different types of plants, and she uses a legend at the bottom to remind herself what goes where. Maybe a scale reminder, too. I wish I had a big space like yours! If I did, I'd make one of those charts to keep myself organized.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

lindseylou
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Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:13 pm
Location: Wisconsin

That companion guide was a huge help. It's stuff like know what should and shouldn't be by each other is just a part of me learning. Thank you for that sticky reference.
What about soil? I got overwhelmed reading about having to test your soil first to see what you have. Should I be buying a testing kit?

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jal_ut
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Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

OK, first draw a line through the center so you can have all 20 foot rows.
If you want corn plant 4 rows spaced 30 inches. Put a seed every 8 inches in the rows.

Plant 2 rows of Bush Beans. Space the rows 20 inches.

Plant a hill of zucchini and a hill of crookneck in one corner. They need a space about 5 feet square for each hill. You can put 4 or 5 seeds in a hill planted in a little circle about 12 inches diameter.

Want to try some potatoes? Plant 2 rows 30 inches apart. Put the sets 18 inches apart in the rows.

Beets, turnips, carrots, lettuce, spinach, chard are all good choices for the home garden. Rows of these varieties can be spaced about 18 inches.

The seed packets often have planting instructions. Many packets are just right for a 20 foot row. That is why I said make 20 foot rows.

You need to know that there are cool weather crops that can be planted now and warm weather crops to be planted in May.

Lots of skilled gardeners on this board. Ask questions.

If you plant mints, put them in a bucket! They like to take over and are hard to remove.

Yes, good advice to make a separate strawberry bed.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

greenstubbs
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Posts: 231
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:41 pm
Location: N. Nevada

The best thing is to ask questions and read read read. Do web searches on what your looking to learn about. Alot of gardening if you really don't know what your doing is trail & error, suffer your losses and reap your bounties, and deal with what works and what doesn't and not to make those mistakes the following year.
I'll throw ya a couple sites to get ya started, Good Luck
https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/lawn_garden/veg.html
See pg. 5 for planting guide--
https://learningstore.uwex.edu/assets/pdfs/A1653.PDF

As I say, "it's the grand experiment"!

lindseylou
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Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:13 pm
Location: Wisconsin

Do you think if I put about 3-4ft between my strawberries and a new row of veggies that would be ok instead of tilling a seperate space?

greenstubbs
Senior Member
Posts: 231
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:41 pm
Location: N. Nevada

You can but they will crawl as the years pass and encroach on that area. I kinda built a box to contain them but they started to get dense packed and started to crawl over it. You can just treat them like weeds and just pull up what you don't want when they get to that point. I have a buddy that has his planted in a hanging pot which I think is brilliant. Haven't seen it, but out here we have a slug/snail problem and they like living and breeding in there, as well as munchin on the fruit. I got to the point that I just dug them all up and using that space for other things. You wouldn't believe the amount of snails that were camping out in there.

barnhardt9999
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Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:23 pm
Location: Charlotte, NC

40x20 is a lot of space to jump into for a first time gardener. Unless you are retired and have a lot of time to keep a close eye on things, I would consider slowly rolling your garden out over the next couple years.

Start with your perennial herbs as they are the easiest and once established will require very little effort. Its always nice to get one in the win column early to help mitigate some of the inevitable frustration later. Also, the difference between fresh vs. store fruits and vegetables is great but fresh herbs wil bring your whole kitchen up a couple notches.

After that, I'd shoot for 2 new plants each new growing season. Say tomatoes and squash this summer. Then lettuce and broccoli in the fall. Strawberries and onions in the spring. Any more that two and it will be tough to determine what went wrong and fix it next year. Just remember things will go wrong. Don't give up.

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jal_ut
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Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

40x20 is a lot of space to jump into for a first time gardener.
Sorry, I don't agree with this. A 40 x 20 garden is a good size to start with in my opinion. You can do it. This gives you enough space to really make a worthwhile contribution to the food budget.

Yes, you can plant strawberries in one corner of that area. As noted though they do send out runners in all directions. Next year you will have 3 times the plants.

[url=https://donce.lofthouse.com/jamaica/GARDEN.pdf]Check This Out[/url]

The link is for a paper I wrote for this area in Utah. You can adjust your planting times for your area, but this will tell you which are the early crops.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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