tiffydeedear
Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2014 3:28 pm
Location: USA

New to Gardening... Where to start?

HellO! I'm new here and I have finally decided to start my Vegetable, Fruit and Herb garden this spring. I am planning to build some above ground planters because the dirt in my yard is horrible and I don't want to be planting in it. There is a crap ton of weeds, rocks and who knows what else in it. I've found spoons in there! LOL So I decided on the ones for above the ground since it seems easier. Plus we live on an Air Force Base and I don't want to put in anything too permanent that I can't bring to our next base.

I am planning on the planters being about 5ft in length and maybe 3ft in width. I am only going to start with one planter outside to see how it goes since it will be my first time really diving in and doing something like this. Later on if my efforts prove successful I will be building another one and adding more plants to my garden.

So my question, after all of that rambling, is 'What are some good starter Vegetables?' I have been looking around and reading on a lot of sites, but I can't really find what is easiest to grow when you are first starting out.

The Vegetables I would like to plant as soon as possible are as follows:
*Potatoes
*Peas
*Carrots
*Lettuce
*Broccoli
*Onions
*Garlic
*Peppers of any kind

The Fruits I would like to plant are:
*Strawberries
*Ground Cherries
*Grapes
*Tomatoes
*Zucchini

Any of these good to start out with? There are a few other Vegetables on my list that I want to do, but I am not in any rush to start on them at this time. The ones listed above are foods we use often so they are what I am going to focus on.

--

My final questions are, 'How do you organize them in your planters? Do you have to put certain ones by other ones? Does it matter where they are placed in the planter? How much space between each one? How many of each seed should I plant?'

Those are all the questions I have at this moment, I know it's a lot and I am sorry! I hope someone will be able to answer at least a few of them! Thanks!

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11360
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: New to Gardening... Where to start?

You will either have to pare down your list or make a bigger bed. I would start with a shorter list first. I would try the easiest ones to grow first and that would depend on your climate and soil conditions. Unless you plan to hand water, put in soaker tubing that you can either attach to a faucet or a hose that can reach the faucet. You can put it in so the holes face down and loop it so it can make at least a couple of rows. I used lawn soakers that way in the beginning but I eventually did put in a drip system. You want to avoid watering the leaves of the plants as much as possible.

I don't know where you live but onions and garlic are seasonal. You can start the right kind from sets. What type you need to plant depends on where you live.

When you plant a garden you need to give them enough room to grow
https://www.thegardenhelper.com/vegtips.html

broccoli 18-24 inches. between plants in a three by five foot garden about 6 plants if you let the end ones hang out
since they are slow to mature you might be able to get a fast crop like lettuce to grow between them while they are still young. Broccoli is not a summer crop so it can be rotated with peppers for summer
Peas, carrots, broccoli and lettuce are cool season crops. Peas can be grown on a trellis to save space. Carrots require very fine rich deep soil and are cheap to buy.

Potatoes would take up the whole bed. It would have to be a fairly deep bed without rocks to get good results or grow them in a mound.

Peppers are a summer crop they need 24 inches between them, they should not touch each other or you will be asking for pests and disease. They do well in pots and if you plant a couple of them and space them out, you may be able to grow some thing between them like lettuce, spinach, black eye peas ( they can sprawl), or oregano, thyme, sage or some of the other culinary herbs.

In a 3x5 foot bed. I would put in the Spring. A couple of cucumbers on a tomato trellis. On the north end a trellis for peas and beans. lettuce 4 heads 8-10 inces apart in all directions.(plant in succession as long as the weather is not hot) 1 bell pepper, Beets 4 inches apart and thinned to a single plant wherever there is space as long as the pepper is small. A clump of green onions or chives. Nasturtiums as a border they can sprawl out of the bed. Leaves, flowers and seeds are peppery.

A better size for a bed would be 4 feet accessible on all sides and oriented North-south, with a trellis on the north end. and about 10 ft long with at least 6 hours of full sun. It is wide enough to get 3 or 4 rows in and if its accessed from all sides it is easier to maintain. Beds up against walls and fences have problems with the wall or fence shading the bed and it is harder to access the back. I put big and long term plants like eggplant, tomatoes, pepper, zucchini, and perennial herbs in pots placed around the yard. That way they don't take up valuable garden space and they get a spot all to themselves to sprawl.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27913
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: New to Gardening... Where to start?

It's kind of important to know where you are located -- north will have short summer growing season but possibly cooler summer, south will have divided spring and fall growing seasons with long season for heat tolerant vegs... but here's the general timeline for planting

*Garlic -- fall of year before up to around January, but depends on north (long day) mid (intermediate), south (short day) of U.S. Because there are three types.

*Broccoli -- seeds need to be started indoors 8-10 weeks before planting (about a month before last frost) <<<RECOMMEND BUYING STARTED PLANTS AT PLANTING TIME>>>
-- will require 18 to 24" square per plant -- not a very good return for space used, but will finish and get out of the way for other plants to grow in the summer --

*Peppers of any kind -- seeds to be started indoors 10-12 weeks before planting (a week to 2 weeks after last frost) <<<RECOMMEND BUYING STARTED PLANTS AT PLANTING TIME>>>

*Ground Cherries -- seeds to be started 6-8 weeks before planting (a week after last frost) <<<RECOMMEND BUYING STARTED PLANTS AT PLANTING TIME>>>

*Tomatoes -- seeds to be started indoors 6-8 weeks before planting (a week after last frost) <<<RECOMMEND BUYING STARTED PLANTS AT PLANTING TIME>>>

*Strawberries -- bare-root plant can be ordered on-line and planted about 6 weeks before last frost. Container plants can be purchased for planting around 2-4 weeks before last frost but will not have as much time to establish for cropping this year and probably should be limited.
<<< need own planting area or 1/2 barrel/tub planter>>>

*Peas -- seeds can be directly sown about 6 weeks before last frost (2-3 wks to germinate)
-- or seeds can be germinated and sown about 4 weeks before last frost

*Lettuce -- seeds can be directly sown about 6 weeks before last frost (2-3 wks to germinate)
-- or seeds can be started indoors about 4-6 weeks before planting (about 4 wks before last frost)

*Carrots -- seeds can be directly sown about 4-6 weeks before lady frost. Need deep planting bed but don't take up much space -- can be planted in front of tomatoes, etc.

*Onions -- seeds can be sown and sets can be planted about 6 weeks before last frost, plants about 4 weeks before last frost

*Potatoes -- seed tubers (cut to two eyes each) can be planted about 4 weeks before last frost
<<<SHOULD HAVE OWN minimum 2 ft x 2 ft planting area>>>

3 ft x 5 ft is not a lot of space as mentioned. Start earliest with peas and lettuce. Onions tucked between or along edges. Broccoli near the front edge. Peas and lettuce will finish up when starts to get hot -- about 2-3 weeks after tomatoes and peppers (2-4 plants at most in the indicated space) are planted. Broccoli soon after that. So take advantage and succession plant. If in far south, tomatoes and peppers will shut down in summer months, too. Need to grow heat vegs like okra, hot peppers, heat tolerant beans, sweet potatoes, etc. during the summer, then fall crop of tomatoes, etc.


I wouldn't start with these
*Grapes -- need permanent location
*Zucchini -- large planting area needed; prone to pests and diseases... What about cucumbers? -- might be do-able with trellis.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

tiffydeedear
Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2014 3:28 pm
Location: USA

Re: New to Gardening... Where to start?

I live in Central Arkansas currently. We only just moved here a couple months ago so I'm not 100% on what the weather is like around here year round.

My list is what I want to grow is overall what I'm aiming for, I was curious what would be best to start out with and could fit in a 3x5 garden. Later on I will be building another one, probably when my husband gets home. I don't want to over whelm myself since I'll be having a baby in June and already have a three year old... Just want a little out door project, so I will probably only do a few to start.

If potatoes will take up a whole bed then I will wait until I can give them their own area..

I want to aim to do lettuce and carrots and broccoli for sure. Fruit I can wait on, as I think I want them separate from vegetables anyways.. Should I just do the three I just mentioned to start out with since they may take up the whole space I'm planning on having?

Now will I need to replant vegetables each year or will they just go dormant and come back when they are in season again?

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27913
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: New to Gardening... Where to start?

Lettuce will only grow during cool season and broccoli too -- they bolt -- go to flowering stage and become bitter (broccoli us eaten at tightly closed flower bud stage), so yeah, start out with the cooler season crops I mentioned, but plan on growing heat tolerant during hot season. Carrots can be harvested small to larger after full season of growing, but they taste better when harvested in cooler weather up to late spring, then later in fall.

If you are having a baby in June, it's probably best to plan on growing simple, no fuss crops. Carrots are actually good for that. You might want to consider something mostly plant and forget like potatoes or butternut squash. Southern peas for summer growing is easy, too.

You will probably have hot summer in Arkansas and need to plan on growing heat tolerant vegs in the sumner or take a break until fall. You will need to time the broccoli well if you reality want to grow them.

Most vegetables are grown and harvested the same year, and re-planted each year.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

tiffydeedear
Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2014 3:28 pm
Location: USA

Re: New to Gardening... Where to start?

Thank you both for your replies they were very informative. I am going to drop my lowes tomorrow and see the pricing for wood and stuff to get this bed built and finish reading up on those few vegetables.

I hear it gets pretty hot in the summer out here, and humid so I think I'll need to find some plants for Summer that will do well with hot weather. I had no idea there were spring, summer, and fall plants... *sigh* time to go read more pages about different plants and divide them into seasons as well!

User avatar
digitS'
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3539
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:10 pm
Location: ID/Wa! border

Re: New to Gardening... Where to start?

The three you mentioned, lettuce, carrots and broccoli, are annual vegetables and will have to be grown from seed each year.

I'm talking through my hat here but I don't know that it is a good idea for mothers in the advanced weeks of pregnancy or with newborns to be doing much with soil. It might be a very good idea to run your gardening plans by your local Cooperative Extension folks. Their job is to not only advise gardeners but to encourage healthy lifestyles.

You can find your local Extension office here: https://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/

I know that they will have good advice for you. Understanding your local conditions will go a long way towards insuring a successful garden.

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

tiffydeedear
Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2014 3:28 pm
Location: USA

Re: New to Gardening... Where to start?

I think all I have to worry about is making sure i wear gloves and not breath in any fumes. I think all that applies now stays in effect but I'll look it up, never really thought about it. I only worry I will exert myself to much which is why I wanted to start small :)

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11360
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: New to Gardening... Where to start?

You should try to make the garden as carefree as possible by choosing plants that are suited for your area and putting in time savers like a watering system run on a faucet timer or at least something installed so all you have to do is turn on the tap. Mulch as much as possible to control weeds.

I would prefer myself to put in plants that are going to give multiple harvests over a long time.
For the cool season and early summer cucumbers, peas, beans, peppers
Swiss chard and kale are cut and come again
I also like eggplant. My one eggplant produces 5-8 fruit every 10 days or so, it is very productive, likes the heat and produces over a long time. It does take up a lot of space so I would plant it ouside of the garden bed.
Carrots will turn bitter in the heat, so plant early and use them before the weather heats up
These publication are from the University of Arkansas site
https://www.uaex.edu/publications/PDF/FSA-6062.pdf
https://www.uaex.edu/yard-garden/vegetables/a-z.aspx#
https://www.uaex.edu/yard-garden/vegetab ... tables.pdf
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Susan W
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1859
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 6:46 pm
Location: Memphis, TN

Re: New to Gardening... Where to start?

Welcome to the world of gardening! As you are in central Ark, climate very similar to mine in Memphis. Hi there neighbor!
A few suggestions and ideas from my perspective. You can direct sow your lettuce (leaf lettuces) in your new bed, then carrots. Carrots take forever to sprout. Go for the smaller varieties and the toddler should enjoy them before they get to the kitchen. Radishes are easy and early if you like them (I don't).
In my opinion, forget the broccoli, sorry. It takes up space, gets bugs, hard to fit it the short window of warm enough but not hot. I'm a vendor at a farmers market here (fresh cut herbs) and even the veggie growers don't have much broccoli. If you like spinach or chard, go with chard for the spring through fall. Spinach will bolt come June.
You have room for a couple of tomato and pepper plants. Get those as starts. Last frost is around mid April, and ground warms by late April.
If you like okra there's a smaller variety available as seed. Baby Bubba (I kid you not).

As for watering systems, as small as your garden is, and as much rain as we get, your hose works fine. Water some when plants are babies and getting started, then 1 -2/week when hot and drier. Your little one will be watering the plants, yard, herself, you, the baby and anything else!

Hope this helps
Have fun!
Susan

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: New to Gardening... Where to start?

Welcome to a great new hobby. You have gotten some good advice from those near you. I am in Northern Utah at 5000 ft elevation. A high, dry and rather cool environment. My gardening techniques will vary from those in the warm humid regions. I have never used raised beds, but garden in the soil that is on the lot. Your soil will likely grow plants. It would need to be dug and possibly some organic matter worked into it. You might try a small spot in your local soil and plant some squash. Weeds are not a big problem in such small plots, they can easily be pulled or removed with a hoe.

Let me say, the summer squash will make a lot of food. About six seeds in a 3x5 bed will do it. Zucchini and crookneck.

Have fun!
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: New to Gardening... Where to start?

My top food producers are corn, potatoes, beans and squash. Bush beans would go well in a raised bed. Potatoes may do well too. I don't know how taters do in that climate? For corn you need a larger planting to get it to pollinate and fill out the cobs right. I would suggest a 12 x 12 foot plot with 4 rows of corn. Put the seed 8 inches apart in the rows.

If there is a local garden store or feed and seed co. the folks there would be able to steer you toward the best varieties for the area. The problems with the big box stores, they just ship the same stuff to all the outlets, not much attention paid to what might really work best in the area.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: New to Gardening... Where to start?

Plants do take space to do well. For one raised bed 3x5 may I suggest:
8 strawberry ever-bearing plants,
or ten bush bean plants,
or 50 to 60 onion sets,
or a row of spinach and a row of chard,
or a row of broccoli and a row of lettuce,
or two indeterminate tomato plants, (four determinate tomato plants)
or two rows of peas,
or six pepper plants?

You see it is going to take several 3x5 beds to grow all that you name.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”